Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Moment of Reflection




There are more than 200 families left homeless today, a week before Christmas, their homes ravaged by fire.
While most people often groan about the coming holidays because of the additional expenses, me being one of them, it often escape our minds that some are having it a lot worse.

I am not saying one should take comfort in another person's misery but I hope incidents like these remind us that our life is not so bad after all.

Despite the harsh trials my family and I have endured this year, I still have a lot of things to be grateful for. I often just forget these things and get stuck up with the little troubles life deals me. A shame, but one that I hope I can correct.

I made enemies this year but I also gained new friends, strengthened my old bonds and got to spend another year with my loved ones. They, who I most cherish and adore.

I'm now looking forward to the coming new year and to the new addition of our family soon...

So I'm going to end this post with me wishing each and everyone of you a Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon! (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!)

Edit:
My friends have prepared this little dance number for all of you.
Its their way of saying "Happy Holidays!". Enjoy!
Dancing elves


Sunday, December 16, 2007

What Is A "Blogger"?

I hate the term "blog". Why couldn't they have named it something else?
Blog to me sounds like a disease. It sounds stupid too. Of all the names they could think of they had to stick to this one.
Please for the love of god and whatever it is you consider holy, don't post the word's history.
I already know what it stands for and how it came about.
This little tidbit of information was acquired because I know how to google stuff.

Anyway, I still keep a diary. I still love to write the old-fashioned way using pen and paper for my entries.
All my thoughts are released, frustrations set free, no word uncensored and I am loose.
I also keep an online journal, blog, website whatever you may wish to call it. This page you have accessed now being one of a few.
Here I freely share my thoughts and views, quirks and rants to anyone who cared to click and read.
The difference of the two medium is immense.

On the latter I do not disclose any intimate details. Only allowing the stories that usually does not involve me, to be published when I know something is learned, provide entertainment to someone or just me letting off steam.

With the advances in technology and the sprouting of so many free web-hosting sites more and more people are given access to keep their own blogs and be given a niche in the "writing" industry.
Yes, a blog let's you voice out your opinions. Yes, you can influence some people too (If your blog is a bit popular). But let's admit it, just because you have a blog doesn't fucking mean to me you can now legitimately call yourself a "writer". Newsflash dear, you are still not.

Of course, this being the "in" and "hot" thing, many people immediately jumped on the bandwagon and opened their own sites.
But finding out later that it is not easy to write something informative, entertaining, funny or witty.
Without any subject of interest to focus on, a lot of people then got this brilliant idea to blog about "ME!".
Yes, to a point I do agree with this article that the problem of the blog world is it's riddled with too many self-obsessed airheads, who think that they should blow out every detail of their existence to the world, is true. Often times they don't really make a point but just ramble.

This being a new thing, a phenomenon. People just need to be reminded and educated it's not right and safe to disclose personal information at all.
The best writers they say, write for themselves but this does not mean you have to document every goddamn move you make and every food stuff you take, listing your feeding reactions, what time you took a poo, what gave you gas etc.

We can do better than that, can't we?



Down Time

Sorry for the shitty layout folks. I was about to customize my page again because I got tired of the whole look but blogger right now is not working properly at my end.

I will take care of this as soon as possible.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Soon My Shit Will Glitter


Okay... Christmas is around the corner and this is probably one of the most celebrated yet wasteful holidays ever.
How many times do people throw money down the drain by gifting someone with a present they do not want, use or need?

Well, if you are looking for a smart glittery way to make a political statement voicing your disgust at this waste. Then let me point you to the new, golden way.
Gold is one of the most precious metal resources available.
What better way to waste it, than to poop it out your ass and flush it down the drain.
It might make for a good social commentary, political statement or merely an idiot's way to waste grand bucks.

Feeling cheap, down and depressed?
For the low price of $425usd well, you can now pop one of these golden pills to make your shit sparkle and shine.
It doesn't cure your depression and other self-esteem issues, it just literally increases your poo I mean self- worth.


Whatever your reason may be, this gold pill will make your shit sparkly.

Now, this pill is made of gold leaf dipped in gold, talk about gold overload.
I can think of another cheap alternative but that's not the baller's way to go.
So cough up your money and let your shit shine!
I'll just market the black toilet papers to wipe your ass. It will provide great contrast to the gold poo.

A fair warning to all. Many rappers will soon release videos where they would give a close-up, close camera angle to their glittery shit while talking about their bitches, cribs, rides, money and hoes. Woe to us all! As if we don't see shit on tv on a daily basis anyway.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Time Killer With A Good Cause

Ah boredom! It seems more common these days than the flu or any disease for that matter.

If you ask people how they are, the usual responses are either a sigh, a fake smile, a litany of how their day was, telling you the bland details of the events that occured that day and skipping on the more juicy parts. At the end they finish it off with these words "Its boring...".

"Perhaps the world's second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore." Sir Cecil Beaton

He is probably right, but as I am not yet in the mood to argue this statement I'll leave it as is.

One way most people combat boredom is to play games online.
But when I say "games" people immediately associate it with those hard to play, time consuming games like WoW.

Though I love World of Warcraft and similar games, I find that I do not always have the time to play it now.
So, whenever I am online feeling bored and inactive I usually look for games that are easy and relaxing. Its a bonus if I find one that I can also learn from.

My friend from Australia told me about this particular game while we were chatting yesterday and the concept could just blow you away.

How would you like to be able to "feed" some hungry people while relaxing at the same time?
I'm sure many of you would like to do that so check this game out and see for yourself.

Without further blab, just head on over to Freerice.com and start putting those mouse clicks to good use. Have fun!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Britney and the Philippines




A lot of buzz has been floating around my little country about Britney Spears' new leaked song Pieces Of Me. The buzz is due to the fact that Ms. Spears mentioned the name of my country, the Philippines in her lyrics which goes something like this.

"I’m Miss American Dream since I was 17
Don’t matter if I step on the scene
Or sneak away to the Philippines
They still gonna put pictures of my derrière in the magazine
You want a piece of me?
You want a piece of me…"


The whole lyrics can be found here
And if you want to listen to the whole obra maestra, just let this video load.

By the way, I chose to embed an AMV (anime music video) because its much better to look at than listen to.

Oh my fucking lord god almighty! The Philippines was mentioned in some mediocre song by a mediocre "pop princess" yeay! Lets report it on the prime time news and make a big deal out of it, because apparently it means so much to the ordinary Filipino citizen, who doesn't even give a fuck about Britney, her shenanigans, her music and over all her pathetic life.
I'm going to bring out the champagne now and give an overbearing toast to all this.
Finally, someone noticed and cared to mention the Philippines in their song.
Frankly, I was sick and tired of all these pop stars mentioning countries like Paris, Jamaica, Africa, Japan et cetera in their songs that as a Filipino I felt so left out.
But now, my spirits are lifted and I can travel around the world, proudly declaring my country's name.
If someone would ask me where I'm from, I will gladly tell them I'm from the Philippines.
You have not heard of the place you say, oh then you must have heard of Ms. Britney Spears' song where she mentioned my country, a place where she wanted to sneak away to.

The only reasons I could think of why she even mentioned it in her song is because it rhymes with the word scene. Yeah! Very poetic of you Shakespeare I mean Spears.
Or the other reason could be, its because her song writer (I doubt Britney writes her songs or writes at all) is a Filipino.

And if you analyze her song, which I doubt many do.
She is implying that she might as well come to an isolated country (which the Philippines isn't) so these paparazzi and other douchebags could not get near her.
Brilliant Ms. Spears! I'm sure when you come to the Philippines, these retards could no longer be after you because its inaccessible and so remote they can't possibly find you here and you will finally have the quality, quiet time you deserve. Boo hoo!

Anyway, whatever her reasons or lack of it, so what?
Its just a song, not even a good one at that.
I doubt other countries ran a headline in their news segment when a song mentioned their country's name. Jesus!

While the Desperate Housewives cast and crew are still busy answering the lawsuit filed against them about their offensive remarks, here comes Britney Spears wanting to sneak away here.
I think its another marketing plot, maybe it would boost her record sales and she may consider doing a concert here now, after all this time.
At the height of her popularity, I never could recall if she ever came to the country to do a concert. But she's a has-been at the very bottom of the has-been pit right now, so she could finally insert us in her concert tour (if ever there would be one, heaven forbid!).

Well, even if she mentioned my country in her song and in a neutral light, I still would not be buying her cds or any merchandise for that matter that is connected to her.
To quote Britney, "You want a piece of me? You want a piece of me..."
I will gladly answer you in two words my dear and I hope you can comprehend, "Hell No!"

What about you? Wanna piece of Britney?


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Idiocy Is Indeed Gender Neutral

I was exploring websites and other blogs yesterday when I came across this blog entry which was pretty interesting and aptly titled Idiocy Is Gender Neutral.
I agree with her opinions and views.
Idiocy won't choose genders and its fairly distributed among the sexes.
Your IQ and and line of logic is not determined by what is in between your legs.

My experiences (this has never been sexual) with Men have been fairly good and nice.
I never really had problems dealing with and relating to them.

My father and brother are both very loving and kind.
Which has probably influenced the way I look or even think about men in general.
Majority of my friends are male.
I must say, most times I prefer to be with them more than my female friends.
I can talk to them with different issues and subjects like news and politics, philosophy and religion, cars, movies *that aren't cheesy*, video games, rock songs and different genres of music other than pop, games, guns and other things.
Plus they are not so much into gossip and celebrities.

Girls have this bad habit of bad-mouthing their fellow females and gossiping a lot, finding it entertaining.
Which I don't really find worthy and above all appropriate.
That is probably the main reason why I have few real female friends.

Before you females blow your heads off, let me just make this clear just in case you'd be blabbing I know NOT all women are gossip mongers.
And yes I'm talking in general terms because I cannot possibly pin point each and everyone of you who does not fall under the typical category.

My two best friends are both female and I'm very blessed to have them.
They are one of the very few females whom I can really relate to.

The majority of women I see who constantly bad-mouth men are usually the foul-mouthed, ill-mannered twats who do nothing but complain and complain.
Constantly saying that men nowadays don't know how to treat a woman right and be chivalrous. blah blah blah
*Maybe if you act more lady-like and behave properly, they might...

I for one do not believe that chivalry is dead. It is not!
If you will conduct yourself in a more appropriate, lady-like manner men would treat you like a lady.
*I'm just saying this again because many have failed to realize this or somehow forgotten.

Mind you, I still find men opening doors for me, standing up so I can sit on their chair, be protective of me etc.

Looking back, I remember a classmate in elementary school his name was John Christian.
He was very kind and good kid. He would even carry my bags without me asking him to do such a thing.
My brother and his friends all treat me very well. Very protective of me in fact.

Since many of these women demand equal rights, I am just confused why they keep complaining when Billy, Bob or Tommy would treat them like the average joe?

Its equality you want, right?
So there it is, EQUAL RIGHTS!
*Don't expect them to do anything special, not unless they are looking to get laid.
Hell, even if they want to, why would they be doing you any thing special if you want to be treated like one of the guys.

Men are not idiots.
I would even go a further mile and say, I find more men logical and realistic compared to their female counterparts.
*Don't believe me?
Just look at all those bridezillas and fashion maniacs. The latter is mostly composed of women, who think their existence and happiness means spending tons of hard-earned money on a branded bag, shoe or piece of clothing.
The men in this area don't count because most if not all are gay.

If we just stop awhile and focus on what the other is really trying to do or say we would have a better understanding of them.
Plus it pays if we praise them for their efforts other than criticize them immediately for their shortcomings.

People praised and appreciated would then strive to do better.

And for the record, no I don't want to be treated like one of the guys.
I want men to treat me special, open doors for me, offer his seat and just treat me like a woman, just because I am one.
But not always, it does get boring!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Out of Commission

Shades of Gray would be down for some time.
The author would be online to read your blogs, comments and other quirks the soonest as she can.

Thank you to all those who still drop by *according to my status tracker people still drop by here, odd* and most especially the ones who bothered to leave a message.

Take care all!

Be safe and well.

Sincerely,
JeanGray






Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Desperate Housewives, Desperate for Ratings




All hell and damnation was raised when the premier episode of the fourth season of the American TV show "Desperate Housewives" aired some time ago. Prompting a response from the Malacañang palace and a slew of comments from Filipinos all over, said a report I was reading online.

A dialogue between Teri Hatcher's character and her doctor implied that Filipino doctors are substandard and inferior.
In that particular scene, Hatcher's character asked for her doctor's credentials because she thought she was approaching menopause and she just wanted to make sure it was not substandard and did not graduate from a med school here in the Philippines.
"Can I check those diplomas 'coz I just want to make sure that they're not from some med school in the Philippines."




The premier episode was posted on YouTube.com drawing in comments and outrage.

A ban and boycott of the said show has already been proposed by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon as a way of protesting against this very derogatory remark.

A slur like that would somehow tarnish the good image of Filipino doctors and health workers around the world. The show being famous and shown in many countries.
Not only was the remark racist but it was baseless and irresponsible.

Filipino-Americans have already launched an online petition calling for the ABC Network, who airs Desperate Housewives, to apologize.
The petition also points out the major contribution that Filipinos and Filipino Americans make in health care in the United States:

"[A] statement that devalues Filipinos in healthcare is extremely unfounded, considering the overwhelming presence of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the medical field. Filipinos are the second largest immigrant population in the United States, with many entering the U.S. (and successfully passing their U.S. licensing boards!) as doctors, nurses, and medical technicians.

"In fact, the Philippines produces more U.S. nurses than any other country in the world. So, to belittle the education, experience, or value of Filipino Americans in health care is extremely disrespectful and plain and simply ignorant. Many of the hospitals in major metropolitan areas of the U.S. (and the world) would not be able to operate without its Filipino and Filipino American staff members."

Jay Ngo, a Filipino health professional from Riverside, California in the United States ABS-CBN News that the episode was an outrage, saying, "the health care industry, including the best hospitals, is full of Filipino medical professionals."

We may not have the high end medical equipments here in the Philippines (unlike other advance countries) to train medical students but our doctors, nurses and workers in the health industry have proven that despite the lack of equipments they are still able to treat patients competently.
A remark like what Teri Hatcher said on her show not only belittled the Filipino doctors but the Filipino race as a whole.

Their show is aptly titled though, they are so desperate for ratings that they had to lower themselves to such a level.
I'm just glad I have never watched it. I see no point in watching a show that talks only about some housewife's boring life, her insecurities, infidelity and sex escapades.
If you wanted to secure your show's comeback make sure your plots are bearable, with a good story and the dialogues humane with a little wit in it.

If that comment was made in jest, well its not funny and no one is laughing!
And for those who would just say to "Get over it!" please educate yourself first and try to understand the whole situation. I don't think you would feel very fine and dandy when someone would berate you.

Many Americans or Westerners for that matter are flying to "third world" countries like India or the Philippines to get surgeries. Not only do they offer great medical services and lower fees they also have proven that we are very competent when it comes to treating sick people.

When you are already old and probably dying, a Filipino doctor or nurse may just be the one standing right by your side and taking care of your sick ass.

===========================================================

I checked out the Desperate Housewives message board and read some of the comments being made.
One particular poster, I forgot his/her name, was very passionate with their comment but fell short on English.
Of course, seeing the mistake an American then bashed him/her because of their English skills.

Another newsflash to those grammar Nazis out there.
We make errors when talking in your tongue and the more ironic thing is, so do you!
But despite the errors we still try hard to learn and master your language.
And one's skills are not determined by how well they speak English.
Just look at Japan and other nations that also lead in the different fields.
They are hardly taught English but they have excelled!

So, the next time you cannot give a relevant response and then just proceed to criticize someone's language skills just keep your mouth shut.
Spare us the verbal diarrhea! Thank you.

Related stories:
Barong Tagalog Controversy
News article

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Am Robot?!?

The Personality Defect Test

You are 71% Rational, 14% Extroverted, 14% Brutal, and 0% Arrogant.

You are the Robot! You are characterized by your rationality. In fact,
this is really ALL you are characterized by. Like a cold, heartless
machine, you are so logical and unemotional that you scarcely seem
human. For instance, you are very humble and don't bother thinking of
your own interests, you are very gentle and lack emotion, and you are
also very introverted and introspective. You may have noticed that
these traits are just as applicable to your laptop as they are to a
human being. You are not like the robots they show in the movies. Movie
robots are make-believe, because they always get all personable and
likeable after being struck by lightning, or they are cold, cruel
killing machines. In all reality, though, you are much more boring than
all that. Real robots just sit there, doing their stupid jobs, and
doing little else. If you get struck by lightning, you won't develop a
winning personality and heart of gold. (Robots don't have hearts,
silly, and if they did, they would probably be made of steel, not
gold.) You also won't be likely to terrorize humanity by becoming an
ultra-violent killing machine sent into the past to kill the mother of
a child who will lead a rebellion against machines, because that movie
was dumb as hell, and because real robots don't kill--they horribly
maim at best, and they don't even do that on purpose. Real robots are
boringly kind and all too rarely try to kill people. In all my years,
my laptop has only attacked me once, and that was only because my
brother threw it at me. In short, your personality defect is that you
don't really HAVE a personality. You are one of those annoying,
super-logical people that never gets upset or flustered. Unless, of
course, you short circuit. Or if someone throws a pie at you. Pies sure
are delicious.

===================================================

I was just taking this personality defect analysis test
online *yes damn it I was bored* the other day and the overall results pretty much said that I’m an
unemotional, unfeeling, cold-hearted *or no heart at all* robot!

Well, at first I really didn’t mind and just chuckled at it
but somehow I stopped giggling and finally reflected on it for a minute.
What were my answers to those questions that somehow gave me
that kind of result?
Am I that really that emotionally unattached, that somehow
they say I have the emotional attachment of a laptop or computer?
Good Lord!!!

I have often joked that it is better by far to be stone-hearted
than to be very emotional.
But I realize extremes are always a bad thing.

Its not like I don’t feel anything at all. I do feel hurt, pain, suffering,
joy, sadness and all those other human emotions. Its just that I have made a
decision that I won’t express them too much to the world for I see no reason
for it.
Always keep the firm upper lip, I always say.

I wonder if this explains the fact that I have been getting
lines like these in my chats.
“You are such a snob!”
“Why are you such a bitch?”
“Are you always that hard?”
“What can I do to get to you?”
“You seem so cold.”
“What did I do wrong this time? You are quiet.”

I’m not always hard, I’m just quiet most of the time.
I hate it when I constantly have to repeat myself.
I also hate it when people start acting cocky.
I am not good in opening up and sharing my past and all that
kind of stuffs.
I tend to slowly warm up to a person over time.
Well, maybe this test hit a few nails on the head. I may indeed have some robot-like qualities. And I am just fine with that.
That is just me! And the bad news darling, I am not about to
change anytime soon…
Then again, why am I bothered about all this? This was a personality defect test after all!

If you want to take the said test too, then just click here.



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cheese!!!



Just when I thought my brain was melting at room temperature because of inactivity I forced myself to get up and find something to do.
As I was finishing tidying up my room I decided to log in and check my e-mails and read articles online.
It has been raining here for the past week so most activities are limited indoors.

The news is basically all the same.
Bombings here, corruption scandals there.
Updates on abandoned/missing children here, custody battles of embattled has-beens there.
Damnit! We live in such a fucked up world.

Then boom! Right before my eyes was a line that somehow made me feel much better.
My life is not so boring after all, I thought.
What line was it you asked.

"Thousands of cheese lovers to log on... to watch cheddar mature."

It was as if the unseen forces of another parallel universe or higher powers that be, were trying to cheer me up on this gloomy weekday.

"Over the last nine months, more than 1.5 million people across the globe have logged on to www.cheddarvision.tv to watch a round of cheddar cheese as it slowly matures.

Viewing is expected to reach a fever pitch on Wednesday when something is actually going to happen in the project for the first time in many months.

The 44-pound handmade cheese, named Wedginald by its creators, will undergo its ninth month grading test."

I did log in and see for myself what this new trend is all about.
Well, there's the cheese and nothing more. But, since I only stayed on the website for less than a minute, I think my opinion won't mean much to the millions of cheese lovers out there.

If you are feeling bored. Then by all means check that 44lbs of fermented wonder and watch the magic happen right before your eyes.
Meh? I'd rather sleep.
Ciao!



Monday, September 17, 2007

Where Is The Honour in "Honour Killings"?



As I was scouring the different news sites that I check on a daily basis I came across this chilling revelation that I feel everyone should read.
For many of us women who enjoy the freedom of speaking one's mind, having the power to choose and make decisions, being open with anything in our society; oftentimes we forget how precious this gift could be. Taking it for granted even.

Yet, in other parts of the world women are silenced, forbidden to speak, told what to do like robots. They are expected to do only two things. "Respecting" the man and bear babies.
Now by "Respect" it simply means forsaking your rights and be like a programmed robot saying yes always to a man's every wish.
Now, if you are a woman who were bold enough to disobey or give out a different opinion you shall pay dearly... with your LIFE!

As Bekhal Mahmod will tell, her tale is of a horrible one.
I salute her for having the courage to speak her mind out and break the silence.
By speaking out against this and confronting the problem, instead of hiding and giving the illusion that all is well, her sister's death has been given justice.

And for the assholes who will just say

1.) I don't have a reliable news source because The Daily Mail is like the Fox News of the UK.

Yes please let your ignorance astound me more. The news site might have run some controversial articles before, but what news site hasn't?
That said, it doesn't discredit the credibility of said article.

2.) The author merely wish to paint a portrait of Islamophobia by spreading wrong information.

First off the girl was "interviewed".
She's a real, breathing, gloriously alive human being.
Helen Weathers wrote of her experience, bringing the truth out.
I would say that you too are a part of this horrendous crime if you feel that everyone or anyone who dares to speak and air out their side of the story should be silenced.
NO less than the very despicable criminals who perpetuated this crime. And IF this is how the ordinary person interprets Islamic teachings then don't you think it is about time Moslems take a moment of their time to examine such a horrible thing that is somehow giving their religion a bad name?

Lastly, think what you like about the article. I for one, just wish to air out this girl's side and let the world know that women have a right, the freedom and a voice and it should be heard.

The concept of "honour killing" is as honorable as peeing and spitting on your parents' faces.
To take the life of an individual simply because they violated the code of standards you imposed on your self is not honourable.
Killing an innocent, defenseless person is one of the most evil of crimes and if hell really does exist, may your souls rot in there for all eternity.

*Story copied and pasted here. Links available at the bottom.*

'Honour killing' sister breaks her silence


By HELEN WEATHERS

Britain was appalled by the horrific 'honour killing' of a girl murdered by her father for daring to kiss the man she loved.

Here, her sister, who narrowly escaped death herself and now lives in fear of her life, breaks her silence.


Every time Bekhal Mahmod leaves the safety of her home, she wears the
hijab with a black veil covering her face - even though she would give
anything for the freedom not to have to.


She has no family to turn to, few friends, and has to lie to new
acquaintances about who she is and where she is from. She is constantly
looking over her shoulder.


"My life will always be at risk," says 22-year-old Bekhal. "There are
people in my community who want to see me dead, and they will not rest
until I am. I will never be safe. I wear the veil so no one can
recognise me."

It is a desperately lonely and isolated existence, but at least she is alive - unlike her younger sister Banaz.

Both young women brought "shame" on their strict Muslim Iraqi Kurdish family by disobeying their father Mahmod.


Bekhal, 22, ran away aged 16 rather than agree to an arranged marriage to a cousin in Iraq.

She survived an attempted killing by her brother, but her sister
Banaz, 20, paid the ultimate price for leaving her own arranged
marriage and then falling in love with an "unsuitable man" of her own
choice.

On the orders of her 52-year-old father and uncle, Ari Mahmod,
50, she was strangled with a bootlace by Kurdish assassins, her body
stuffed in a suitcase and buried six feet down in the garden of a house
belonging to an associate in Birmingham.


Two of the murderers, who fled back to Iraq after this horrific
so-called "honour killing", have since boasted of raping Banaz before
she died in January 2006.

"Honour killing?" cries Bekhal. "Where is the honour in a
father putting his status in the community before the life of his own
flesh and blood?

"They should be disgusted with themselves. Honour in our community is about men having the upper hand, having the ruling power.


"Banaz was the most beautiful, loving, caring, easy-going girl you
could ever hope to meet. Her only crime was to want to have some say in
her life. Where is the shame in that?

"After I refused an arranged marriage, I knew I had two
choices; stay and be killed, or leave and live. I chose to live but I
had to leave everything behind."

Bekhal was one of the key prosecution witnesses at the
three-month trial of her father and uncle, which this week resulted in
their convictions at the Old Bailey for murder.


They have yet to be sentenced. A third man, Mohamad Hama, 30, of South Norwood, London, had already admitted the killing.

The other key witness was Banaz's boyfriend Rahmat Sulemani, 29,
whose own life was threatened because he was considered an unsuitable
match for Banaz, despite also being Iraqi.


Bekhal and Rahmat now face a future of secret addresses and identities under police protection.

"When I stared into the eyes of my father in court, there wasn't
even a twitch of guilt," says Bekhal. "No emotion at all. I still love
him because he is my father, but I can never forgive nor understand
what he did.

"Why, if he didn't want us to be influenced by Western ways,
did he bring us to Britain? You cannot expect your children to follow
the same traditions as back in Iraq.


"It is an impossible expectation. This would never have happened back there because we would have known no different."

Bekhal has shown incredible bravery in giving evidence against
her father and speaking out now in her first major interview, for the
threat of reprisals is very real.

She is believed by British police to be the first female family member ever to give evidence in an "honour killing" trial.


Indeed, her mother and three other sisters refused to cooperate with the police for fear of upsetting the community.

"Why should we have to die for wanting no more than for our voices to be heard, to have a say in our lives?" Bekhal says.


For it seems that it is women who are the main casualties when some
ultra-traditional immigrants are determined to protect their own
culture, even if it means operating above the law.

According to Bekhal, integration was the very last thing on
her father's mind, although she says he seemed happy to accept
Britain's hospitality in the form of a council house and benefits.

Despite being relatively well-off back in Iraq - his family
were property owners and ran various businesses - he never worked here.
His status in the community and the respect of Iraqi Kurds were all
that mattered to him.

Bekhal was 14 and Banaz 12 when they first arrived in England,
as asylum seekers fleeing Saddam Hussein's Iraq, with their parents
Mahmod and Behya, brother Bahman, now aged 28, and sisters Beza, 25,
Payman, 20, and Giaband, 16.

Having moved into a council house in Mitcham, South London,
Mahmod's daughters, who couldn't speak a word of English, were enrolled
at the local Bishopsford Community School.


Inevitably problems started almost immediately as Bekhal began to learn
the language and made friends with Western boys and girls.


She started to envy their freedoms, to the evident fury of her father.
The more Westernised his daughters tried to become, the more he tried
to control them, often resorting to verbal abuse and violence.


"We used to have to wear a headscarf and trousers to school, which was
so hot," Bekhal recalls. "I didn't want to wear mini-skirts or makeup
like some of the girls, but I longed to take my headscarf off.

"One day I was walking home through the park and I'd taken my
scarf off and my father saw me. He screamed at me: 'Who do you think
you are? You are acting like a bitch.'

"He pulled me inside the house, spat in my face and then
picked up his slippers to beat me around the head as he shouted: 'Don't
you ever disobey me.' In the two years before I ran away, I think he
beat me more than 20 times.

"It would be over silly things like undoing the top button of
my school shirt, or using hair gel. Once, he picked up a metal soup
ladle and hit me round the head repeatedly with it.

"I didn't want to have boyfriends or go out at night or anything like that. I was respectful to my parents.


"I just wanted to be able to have friends, to give my opinion, very small things that British girls take for granted."

Bekhal left school after taking her GCSEs and took a part-time
job working in a supermarket. All her earnings - around £300 a month -
were taken by her father; she was given just £50 from it.

"One day I was walking home from work and a male colleague was walking beside me, pushing his bike along," she says.


"All of a sudden my father drove up. My friend leapt on his bike to
cycle off and my father tried to run him over. Back home after that I
was beaten again.

"When I used to confide in friends what was happening to me, they used to accuse me of exaggerating.


"They couldn't believe that such things could go on in today's society.
They thought there were laws to prevent it, but they do happen and
there are many other women still suffering.

"It is not a cultural issue. It is criminal and people need to take it seriously."

Bekhal first ran away when she was 16 and went to live with a
schoolfriend. Her parents tracked her down and after countless threats
she reluctantly agreed to return home.

The second time, she ran away after she was locked for a week
in a bedroom for refusing to accept an arranged marriage with a cousin,
calling the police to rescue her after escaping her confines while the
rest of the family were out.

She was placed in foster care by social services, but again, reluctantly went home after a few months.

"My parents again tracked me down and kept sending me audio
tapes. At first they would be tearful, with my dad calling me his
'little rose'.

"Then they became more menacing. My father told me that unless
I went home he would kill all my sisters first, then my brother, then
my mother, then himself, such was the shame I had brought on them.


"I believed him, so I went back. Did I think he was capable of doing that? Absolutely."

The beatings continued, as did the demands that she agree to
marry her cousin. "I kept repeating 'I will not do it'. I could not
agree to marry some stranger and live an unhappy life."

It was when Bekhal ran away for a third time -returning to her
foster mother - and found herself a Muslim boyfriend, who was not
strict in his religion, that Mahmod decided he could not allow her to
live.

During Banaz's murder trial, the court heard how Mahmod
dispatched his only son Bahman to restore the family's honour by
killing Bekhal.

Bekhal recalls how her brother lured her to meet him at a
remote spot in South London, with promises of money, and then hit her
round the head with a dumb-bell while her back was turned.

"I felt this terrible pain in my head and collapsed," recalls Bekhal. "Blood was streaming down my face.


"I felt dizzy and sick, but I looked up at him and said: 'What are you
doing?' He was crying like a baby and kept repeating: 'I've got to do
it, you have brought shame on the family. It is my duty.'

"As he started to drag me across the gravel I was pleading:
'Please don't do this, I will do anything, just tell my father you
killed me and let me go, you will never hear from me again.'

"Thankfully for me, he couldn't go through with it. He put his
hand in his pocket and gave me six £50 notes before telling me to go. I
phoned my boyfriend, screaming hysterically: 'Please come and get me,
my brother's trying to kill me.'

Bekhal was taken to hospital where she received several
stitches to her head, but she refused to inform the police or press
charges, because - despite herself - she didn't want to shame her
family by involving the authorities.

From then on, she occasionally phoned her sisters in secret, careful not to tell them where she was living.

Some months later, she learned that her younger sister Banaz,
unlike her, had agreed to an arranged marriage when she was 17 to a
Midlandsbased Kurdish man, then aged 28, whom her father described as
"the David Beckham" of husbands.

But the marriage was a disaster. Banaz, the court would later
hear, fled home after two-and-a-half years complaining that her husband
was violent, regularly beating her.

"I remember going to see Banaz in secret when she was married and she was terribly unhappy," Bekhal recalls.


"She finally understood why I had run away. I told her she could come
and live with me, but she said she couldn't bring further shame on the
family. She later told me she only put up with her husband for so long
because she wanted to keep our father happy."

What a bitter irony that this young girl continued to try to please the man who would later take her life.

Back home with her family, Banaz was not yet divorced when she
met Rahmat Sulemani, from South London, at a family party in 2005.


For a long time they were just good friends before falling in love, but Mahmod did not approve.

Rahmat - despite being a family friend - was not from the same
village and not as religious as the Mahmods. He was warned off with
threats to his life.


Banaz, 20, was taken to a relative's house in Sheffield, where she was locked up for two weeks and beaten.

When that did not work, a family meeting was called by Banaz's
uncle, Ari Mahmod, a wealthy entrepreneur who ran a money transfer
business, where it was decided to kill the couple unless they stopped
seeing each other.


But Banaz and Rahmat, whose occupation has never been revealed to
protect him, and who now lives under an assumed name, continued to meet
in secret.

Their fate was sealed when a member of the Kurdish community
pictured them kissing in the street in Brixton on his mobile phone.

The first attempt on Banaz's life was on New Year's Eve 2005,
when she was taken to her grandmother's house in Wimbledon and plied
with brandy by her father, who then came towards her, arms outstretched
wearing surgical gloves, as she fought off sleep.

She ran out through the back door when her father briefly left
the room, and broke a neighbour's window to try to raise the alarm,
cutting her wrists in the process.


The police were called, but the female officer who interviewed her, PC
Angela Cornes, didn't believe her. She dismissed Banaz as an attention
seeker and even considered charging her with criminal damage for
breaking the window.

It was left to Banaz's boyfriend Rahmat to record on his
camera phone her chilling testimony, explaining - as she lay in
hospital - what had happened and describing how she was "really scared"
for her life.


This was played to the jury during the murder trial.

PC Cornes is one of five police officers under investigation in
an internal review by Scotland Yard over the handling of the case, for
it emerged during the trial that Banaz had told police on at least four
occasions that her family was plotting to kill her.

Yet, crucially, she declined the police offer of a place at a
refuge, believing no harm would come to her while at home with her
mother.

Mahmod never reported his daughter missing to police after she
suddenly vanished in January 2006. It was left to Rahmat Sulemani to do
that.


When the police first called at the family home on the day she was murdered - January 24 -
Mahmod fobbed them off, saying she was out.


Two days later they classed her as high-risk after the family refused
to report her missing and launched a full-scale investigation.

Bekhal describes the day she was told by police that her
sister's body had been found buried half-naked in a garden - three
months after her death - as the very worst of her life.

"What they did to my sister was devilish, despicable and
disgusting. Can a family's honour be worth more than a life? I can't
bear to think of the way she must have suffered. I had no choice but to
stand up in court and give evidence for her."

Today, Bekhal has no contact with her mother, brother or
sisters. She cannot risk any communication, in case her new whereabouts
under police protection is inadvertently revealed.


More importantly, however, she does not want to put them at risk from the Kurdish community for associating with her.

"I would rather live like this than live in fear," says Bekhal.
"I will never be able to tell people who my father is - not only
because of the risk to my life but because I'm ashamed. He is the one
who has brought dishonour to our family."

Source: The Daily Mail
Click the link to see their pictures.

Other stories related to this article
Thousands of Women Killed for Family "Honor"
Honor Killing
International Campaign Against Honor Killings

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This World Is Going To The Dogs


As I've said before I hate it when people try to dress up their pets, especially their dogs.
And just when I thought I've seen everything when it comes to doggy couture something pops that literally makes me shout "WHAT THE FUCK!!!"

A woman started a company that designs wigs for dogs.
Yes, you read it right! She is making dog wigs.
Why a dog would need or even want a wig is beyond me.
I can't find any logical explanation for it. I just can't!

I do admire this woman for her shrewd business mind.
Now, a part of me wishes I have thought of that.

Anyway, I'm sorry I cannot give you guys more information on this one because I just came across this and hell I did not have the strength to do a search on it because I was laughing way too hard upon looking at the pictures and then being mad because the thought of the dogs being forced to wear such ridiculous things entered my mind.

Poor pooches!!!




Related post: Pants On Poochie


Friday, September 14, 2007

H.S.M Bruhaha

*Contains pictures not safe for work*

The kids I tutor, some of my friends, their kids and siblings absolutely adore High School Musical.
At the height of its popularity, they kept singing the songs, discuss about the film like its the best thing that ever happened after chocolate cake, rave about that dude with the surfer boy looks and profess how they love it!
At times I can't help but think and brace myself that any moment soon, they'd also be breaking out into a song and dance number, jumping on tables and spilling out their deepest, darkest secrets in the cafeteria. Brrrr...

I have seen the film twice. Not by choice but because two little angels wanted me to watch it with them.

With the popularity of the film, the actors in it were instantly catapulted to stardom.
Kids, especially the little girls were so excited about it.
The main cast was composed of Zac Efron who has this boy-next-door appeal and Vanessa Hudgens, the sweet and wholesome girl which most would surely like.
And parents for one were able to breathe a sigh of relief for a while seeing these two on screen, especially Vanessa who has now become one of their precious one's role models.
Hey, at least she's still too far from the Britney Spears/Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan trainwreck that seems to be the new role model of today's generation.

The problem lies in the fact that when kids see these sort of films they can't help but look-up and idolize the actors who played in them.
They think its all true and that these actors are really like the characters they portray, in their real lives.

Then, a bomb is dropped that has devastating effects on these kids psyche. *That's what the parents say*

A sex video or a nudie pic suddenly gets circulated online.

Goody-goody actors have a bad side!

Parents raise hell. The outrage, the disappointment, the horror!!!

How?
Why?
Why?
Why?

Well, they are only human. That's why!
They are not saints. And now they are fully grown, they are exploring other angles of being human.
Being naughty and sexually active is one.

It was not a shocker at all that photos of Vanessa Hudgens naked have now made its way across our computer screens. *I knew it was only a matter of time*

Why do I know all these these? Its all over the NEWS!
I really don't a damn what these two do in their spare time and I do not wish to be informed of it. But since my local tv network thought that it was of utmost importance, it was broadcasted all over. The internet was not so kind too. Every website I visited has had a forum or topic dedicated to it.

I could remember two weeks ago, a lot of Pinoys were elated of the news that Vanessa's mom is also Filipina.
She's got Pinoy blood in her veins and by golly she's making this country proud because she's one of Hollywood's highest paid actors below the age of 20.

Then boom! A week later, scantily clad Vanessa and a nudie Vanessa was smiling shyly at the camera, staring at us on our computer screens.
And a lot of people raised seven levels of Hell because of it.

The following photos are not safe for work.

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

And here's the nudie shot

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

She could have just denied the reports and said it was all a fake but this starlet admitted of taking the said photos. And if that was not stupid enough, she further stated that she had confidence taking them because it was a private matter.

Yeah right! Has this girl not learned anything from all those sex video controversies of other Hollywood starlets?
There is no such thing as a private matter in showbiz.
Sooner or later it would all surface.

She did apologize for her actions, saying it was a mistake.
But before this could be put under wraps other photos of this person have made their way around the net and this time it shows her taking pictures with other girls in "very suggestive ways."

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

Parents, mothers have expressed their disappointment.
Who will their kids look up to now that this person has slowly started showing their "not-so-wholesome" side?

That other girl in the movie has not yet shown any nude photos of herself but hell her boobies have started showing in her photo too. *Though not with her consent this time I'm pretty sure*

http://shadesofgray07.blogspot.com

I do not understand why such a discussion has cropped up because of all this.
Looking at the photos, all the talk is not worth it, second the photos were not at all as bad as I expected, third if you think your child would be distorted because they saw a boob or a shaved twat online then its time to ask yourself who really has a problem.

If you are indeed a concerned parent who looks after and monitors your child, there will be no reason why your children be able to see these.
They are not shown on tv and if they surf the internet just so they could see this, as a concerned parent, I'd bet that you have some parental lock software installed in your computers.

And despite all that, IF your precious angel was still able to get a glimpse of all these. It is your job as a parent to explain to them that a naked person is all but normal.
To pose in front of a camera and take a snapshot naked, was that person's decision.
And though its not really something wrong, please remind them that if ever they would do such a thing and they are still underage you have all the right to beat them black and blue.

And, last but not least...
Your kids should look up to you and think of you as role models first. Not some actress/actor that played a part in some mediocre film.
Be the number one example of how an adult should act and behave.
Don't let the tv be their baby-sitters.
If you raised your child well, images like these would not be an issue.

Maybe she's now sick and tired playing the role of 15-16yr old goody-two shoes nerd chick and is using this as a publicity stunt for her upcoming more juicy roles or porn flicks.
That's Hollywood for you folks.
Either way I don't give a rat's ass what she'll pursue next.
Things just might get interesting if the cast of H.S.M would finally come out of the closets and admit they are all gay.
But then again maybe not.

Now that my rant is through, I'll just sit here and wait for the others to quit bitching about this and move on!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Barong Tagalog Controversy


Filipinos are crying foul when the organizing committee of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Sydney, Australia called the Philippines' male national costume; Barong Tagalog, as a mere peasant's shirt.

Apparently, our national pride took a stabbing as it further stated that the Filipinos were forced by the Spaniards to wear it because of its translucency.
With no pockets and worm untucked, so the Spaniards could see that the wearer was not able to conceal any weapons under the garment.

But, this theory has been questioned by other scholars and historians. They note the absence of a citation to the specific law where the Spaniards supposedly prohibited the natives from tucking in their shirts. Secondly, they note that natives during the Spanish Era wore their shirts tucked at times. A common example cited in support of this argument is Jose Rizal and his contemporaries, who were photographed in Western clothing with their shirts tucked, although the era of the barong predated Rizal's time. Thirdly, the Philippines is a tropical country, and it is common for shirts worn untucked because of the hot climate. Finally, the barong is thought to be either the local adaptation or the precursor to the guayabera, a shirt popular in the Latin American communities. According to those who claim that the barong is the precursor of the guayabera, the guayabera shirt was originally called "Filipina" during the era of Manila Galleon tradeships when it was brought to Mexico from the Philippines.

(Read more about the Barong Tagalog here...)

"It’s very important that the clarification be made. I’m not sure about the origin personally but at the moment it’s is practically the people in high society and government, this national costume is being used by heads of state," said Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, himself a delegate to the summit.

(link to the news article...)

Barong

=================================================

Well, the damage has been done.
Once again, an idiotic person in charge or in power opened their mouth, said something they hardly know a thing about without at least reading a little about the subject, made a comment without thinking of the consequences of what his words may have impact on.

I am not surprised not the least...

The only thing that pisses me off is the completely hypocrisy of the people who are "supposedly" raising hellfire about this, trying to defend national pride.

Local politicians hardly wear the Barong Tagalog, damn it!
Look at our congress and senate, they always wear those 3 piece Americanas and suits.
Men working in high positions don't wear it either.
It is a common joke that the only ones wearing the Barong Tagalog are their bodyguards and drivers.

If you ask an ordinary pinoy teenager about what they think of the Barong Tagalog as a garment.
They would say its "baduy!". *Tagalog slang for corny*
Not worthy of being worn as a shirt of status or symbol, fit only for those rare occasions like weddings, funerals, baptisms. Where if you are rich you would probably be sporting a suit, but since you can't afford it the simple Barong will do.

Hypocrite bastards!

Whether we admit it or not, we pinoys know that the Barong Tagalog did start off as A PEASANT SHIRT. It is a peasant's shirt!
And the people who have no idea what a barong tagalog is and reads this article would forever link it to a peasant's shirt. If this is considered damaging to our country's national costume's image, then there is nothing now that we could do. The news is already out there.

The best we could possibly do is spin it off to our advantage.

Though, it did start off as a peasant's shirt, once a sign of one's low status in society, it rose above the ranks to become a symbol of equality. Inspiring and reminding its wearers to rise above the rest and never forget about their origin.

Barong Tagalog

The wordings may need to be changed a little but you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tag And This Time I'm It!

It has been a slow week for me. I have not updated this blog much and the creative juices in my brain seems to have all dried up, leaving me uninspired.
Though there are a ton of things I want to discuss, finding the right words to get it all down to writing is quite hard.
So, as always I have left this blog for a minute, waiting for the time 'til I can come up with something I think that is worthwhile and good to share.

I have been tagged by this little game bloggers do these days.
Hey, I don't know who started this all *must be another bored-to-death soul*.
But the concept is good.
It gives me something to be occupied at the present time.

Here's how it goes...
  • Rule 1: Without changing the first word, after each letter of the alphabet, write a sentence that captures you/your essence.
  • Rule 2: Tag as many people as you want, but do tag at least one. This is an eye opening experience and can express to those who read it, things about you that they did not really understand before.
  • Rule 3: List who you are tagging.
So, let's begin shall we?

*A* Accept me for who I am and do not try to change or impose anything on me.
*B* Break not the heart that loves you.
*C* Create something or anything. It could be a great way to unwind.
*D* Decide NOW what you want to do with your life and waste no time in achieving it.
*E* Explore every possible angle and option in whatever it is you decide to do.
*F*Forgive those who have hurt you. *IF you achieve this, kindly let me know how you did it.*
*G* Grow and be an example to others.
*H* Hope is the only thing at times that keeps us going in this life.
*I* Ignore the naysayers. They are not worth your time.
*J* Journey is long, but its not always about the destination but how you got there that counts.
*K* Know yourself first and the rest will follow easily.
*L* Love is a mystery unsolved. Its everything one could think of and more.
*M*Manage everything well. Do not think you'll be exempted from life's troubles.
*N*Notice your loved ones and don't take them for granted.
*O* Open your heart and mind. There are many sides to a story.
*P* Play and have fun. Its not always about winning for as long as you enjoyed yourself.
*Q* Question and try to reason. Its the way to develop a sharp mind.
*R* Relax and unwind. A well-rested body and spirit can do much more.
*S* Share anything that you think would be worthwhile and spread the knowledge.
*T* Try to see things from another person's light. Be open-minded.
*U* Use things and opportunities given to you wisely.
*V* Values and beliefs, these are the things that would determine what kind of person you are.
*W* Work hard. If you wish to achieve your dreams and goals in life.
*X* X-rays are primarily used for radiography and crystallography.
*Y * Yield To life's certain inalienable truths
*Z* Zoom in and see the details that you might have missed. You might see a different picture this time.

Last part of the game is the tagging another blogger to participate.
I can't think of another blogger to tag but, I did send the invite to Jei. Now, if only that Padawan Valentino would have a teensy time to spare updating his blog...

Thank you Ankit for sharing the fun and game.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

10 Benefits Of Drinking Tea

When I was a kid, I was over-weight!
Tipping the scales at almost 175lbs, it wasn't an easy life for a fat 12 year old to say the least.

I noticed I had difficulty breathing and was often short of breath.
A check-up to my cardiologist changed my life.
Because of my weight and fat, my heart was starting to have further problems.
He told me gently that if I don't want to have further problems, I needed to lose all that weight.
His advise was for me to minimize my intake of sweets and junk foods. As it would help me shed the unwanted pounds.

When I got home, I decided right then and there to stop eating junk foods and other unhealthy stuffs completely!
In less than two months my weight dropped 20lbs and this is without exercise.

Another thing I did was start drinking tea. Green tea to be exact.
Then, a friend who just came from Taiwan gave me a whole bag of loose leaf green tea.
I did not like tea before. My kiddy taste buds craved for sweets and anything carbonated.
But taking up the tea-drinking habit changed everything.

A friend said that I somehow influenced him to start drinking tea. hmmmm... Well, buddy you made the right choice *not just by drinking tea but also by listening to me lol But as promised here's the article I read or more like an ad in this female magazine I once read, giving 10 reasons why tea is good for the body. Happy drinking and weight loss!

Wow! Can Tea Really Do That!?!
10 Things You Outta Know About Tea


Drinking a hot cup of tea is more than just one of those thirst-quenching activities. Tea leaves function in many ways. Your fortune can even be told using tea leaves. That may be true! At least, when it comes to health, tea definitely assures you of a bright future. Here are ten reasons why tea fits health to a T.

1) TEA FIGHTS FREE RADICALS
Tea’s high level of anti-oxidants called polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins wage war on so-called “free radicals” in the body and prevent them from harming your healthy cells.

2) TEA KEEPS YOUR HEART HEALTHY
Lower the risk of heart disease by drinking tea. It improves the function of endothelia, the inner lining of all blood cells such as the arteries and veins.

3) TEA UPS YOUR IMMUNITY
Whenever you feel a cold coming on, do yourself a favor and reach out for that cup of tea. An amino acid in tea called theanine activates cells involved in the body’s first line of defense, reducing the risk of infection.

4) TEA IS AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
Here’s good news for arthritis patients and people with injuries. Catechins in tea may be prophylactic for arthritis and bone injuries by reducing the swelling and allowing cartilage breakdowns.

5) TEA HELPS FIGHT THE BIG C!
One of the best cancer fighters you can put in your body is tea. Its antioxidant properties keep cells healthy and inhibit an enzyme which cancer cells need in order to grow.

6) TEA MAKES BONES HEALTHY
Bag healthy bones! A substance in tea called flavonoids help build strong bones and increase bone mineral densities.

7) TEA MAKES TEETH STRONG
Perfect smiles are not merely the work of toothpaste. Tea contains fluoride which benefits your teeth by killing bacteria and controlling bad breath and plaque formation.

8) TEA HAS THAT KICK!
Tea has been shown to increase alertness and improve concentration. When the heart and respiratory system are stimulated by caffeine, it brings more oxygen to the brains.

9) TEA KEEPS YOU SLIM
If you are dying to shed off unwanted pounds, tea just might do the trick. It helps burn fat and calories and increases your body’s metabolism. Can keeping trim be any easier?

10) TEA KEEPS YOU HYDRATED
We all know the drill: An adult should consume 8 to 11 cups of liquid a day. Squeeze in 2 to 3 cups of tea daily to help satisfy your body’s daily water requirements.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Blood Moon Rising

Last August 29, 2007 was very memorable for me.
Not only did my mom reach "Golden Girl" status by turning into the big Five-0, a rare event also took place. A total lunar eclipse happened. But it wasn't like most lunar eclipses.
The moon this time indeed looked like a big round pizza pie smothered in tomato sauce. It was red!

The weather wasn't so favorable at the start of the eclipse.
It was partly cloudy here in Cebu and we were not able to set-up camp at one of the mountains.
We didn't have any special instruments aiding us in watching this wonder, left only with our naked eyes we prayed for good weather.
I was hoping fervently for the pesky clouds to part so that I could witness it.
Enduring all sorts of insect bites in the chilly early evening air.

Finally the clouds gave way and I was squealing like a piglet for everyone to come out and see!
They have all gone inside to watch tv or do other things thinking that the weather would be crappy the rest of the night.

Then we saw it. After looking up a few minutes, slowly having stiff necks.
They all went inside and started to watch tv again. Saying it was "Okay" "So that's how it looks, beautiful!" and that's about it.
I, on the other hand, dashed inside and took out my camera and started snapping pictures.
Wishing to preserve a part of it.

I don't have a high-end digital camera. I just used a Kodak C330 for taking these photos.
The resolution is crap! But this is the best I could do with the equipment that is at my disposal.
Still, even with the crappy resolution, I would share my pictures. I'm generous like that.
And I was kind of proud of myself for taking said photos. I rarely take photos.















This last one is not actually mine, I saw it online.
Had the weather been favorable and if I had better equipment, the pictures would have looked something like this.


I was just chuckling on the inside when I heard the old folks' tales, explanations and superstitious beliefs about the total lunar eclipse.

Some did not permit the children, especially the very young ones from going out past 6:00pm.
Pregnant women were also forbidden to step outside the house much more look at the moon at the time it happened.

They still view the eclipse as a bad omen.
It has something to do with a giant fish-like creature swallowing the moon that time.
Pregnant women were not allowed to look at it, as it may have adverse effects on the unborn baby.

Still, it was fun listening to these folktales.
For those who were too chicken to step out and look.
Well, there is always a next time.
Since lunar eclipses happen at least twice a year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sleep Deprived

There are times when I find it really hard to sleep.
I don't know if subconsciously I am avoiding it.
Sometimes I could stay up for days. I've been up three consecutive days without getting any shut eyes.
It was a horrendous experience but sleep just eludes me.
My mind seems restless and troubled.
Yet, whenever I try to sleep, I just can't!
I lie there staring up at the ceiling and thoughts just flood my mind.
Fuck it! I know what you are all thinking and NO I'M NOT ON ANY DRUGS/LIQUOR!
I just had to make it clear.

Days errr nights like these I spend it on polishing my writing.
I try to jot down the thoughts that crowd my head, yet every time I pick up my pen and start, the thoughts that were once there suddenly just vanish in thin air and I'm left with a void, a blank. Nothing comes out!
It sucks!

But last night was different, hell I couldn't sleep again so I was back in my old cycle.
This time, I partially won the battle. I was able to write something down.
It's still is not quite finished. But I decided to put it in here anyway.
Love it or hate it. This blog is just all about me baby!

(Read more...)

I couldn't come up with a title, so suggestions are also welcome.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Changing Times?


*Don't even think about it bub! That person is only 15 years old! So kindly get your hand out of your pants lol*

I have said before that kids today are growing up at such a rapid rate, sometimes you tend to think they all skipped that part of growing up and immediately moved on to being adults.
Looks-wise probably this is most true.

I was once again reminded of this when I chanced upon this blog entry.
My sympathies goes out to this dude, its alright, I don't think you are a dirty old man.
With how kids dress today and look sometimes it can't be helped that they would attract sexual attention from older people. *Though this is not reason for older people to act on their desires*

I have also heard of so many stories of men being imprisoned, labeled as sex offenders for dating a minor because they lied about their age. *This excludes the DateLine NBC's To Catch A Predator category* where they knew, were informed at the beginning that the other person is supposed to be underage and still continued with their perverted desires.

They look old and mature too so I can't really blame these guys for believing their lies.

What sort of punishment would be appropriate for a minor who does something like this or would it be okay to let them off the hook because they are kids?

As kids we already know what the difference between good and bad is.
When we did something wrong like tell fibs, most of the time our parents had some sort of punishment ready for us so we be discouraged in doing it again.
So, I ask in these instances where the minor had the full knowledge of what they were doing and still did it anyway, what should be done?

I always shout bullshit when some people say they would acquit the kids of all the blame because they did not know what it is they were doing!


related articles: Kiddie Skanks or Idiotic Parents?

Monday, August 13, 2007

An Insight Part I (The Early Years)

At such a tender age, I already knew how it was like to suffer. To be different.
I was born it seems just a normal, healthy baby. Yet, as I grew, different illnesses would come up.
Draining my strength, my family's, our finances, everything.
Knowing later, that most if not all of them were manifestations of Marfan's Syndrome.
A rare congenital disorder that affects the connective tissues.
Yet despite these troubles, my parents made sure that even with our problems, we would get to have the best of what they could give.

My brother and I were sent to one of the top schools in our city.
When it came to material possessions, we had the things we wanted and needed.
We were loved, pampered and cared for.
I had all the love and security a child could want and need.
But the world outside my little sanctuary of a home proved to be a more different thing.

The first manifestation of this disease ever observed in me were my flat, bow-legged feet.
I had to wear shoes that double as braces, orthopedic shoes, but I hated it.
Another alternative was to wear my shoes inverted. Putting the left shoe on the right and the right to the left. Of course people thought I just made a mistake. Sometimes well-meaning strangers would even come up to me and put on my shoes for me, the right way.
I always had to explain in my own childish reasoning that its what my mama taught me.
And explain about my feet and all that. They just smile and say "Oh, I see!" and off they go.
One gets used to those kinds of little annoyances, sometimes I say people are not so bad after all.
With perseverance, a few fights on putting on those bloody shoes, wearing inverted shoes, bearing all humiliation, that problem was eventually corrected.

The second problem that came up was my eyesight.
I couldn't see clearly. I had to bring the pictures so close to my face, I almost had to kiss it.
My brother kept asking me if I couldn't see. My mother heard him and became distressed.
I was starting out kindergarten then.
One time, the teacher asked me to answer something on the board. I couldn't!
My mom observed that I kept taking two steps forward until I was already so close to the board, then I answered.

After that incident, she decided to take me to an opthalmologist.
Every doctor she went to, gave the same findings. It wasn't good at all. My lens were dislocated, I was nearsighted. My vision was fluctuating and blurred.
The doctor said I may need eye surgery as the only means of me being able to at least see.
My mother did not consent to the idea. I was still three years old! Yet, already considered medically blind.

Then an international team of eye specialists visited the Philippines.
My doctor recommended me to be checked, since I was a rare case.
Thanks to Project Orbis they gave me hope. They did not recommend surgery for I was too young. They advised me to take some vitamins and I could remember these eye drops were given too.
My eyesight was improving. By age of five I was able to have glasses.
I was ecstatic! I could see! But my glasses were so thick the eye grade so high that literally I looked like a frog with bulging eyes whenever I put them on.

Before I reached the age of five, I was also hit with another rare disease, life-threatening this time. I almost died. It was called Kawasaki's disease.
At that time my doctors didn't know what it was, they thought it was a severe case of amebiasis. They did all sorts of lab tests, they almost had to cut me open just to figure out what the matter was. It got so bad that some relatives even thought that it had a supernatural cause. Faith healers were brought in as an act of desperation.
Then, one doctor found the answer. I spent thirteen days in that hospital.
Soon, it proved to be a sort of pattern. Whenever I'd be hospitalized I always seem to spend thirteen days in confinement.

By the time I was nine, it was discovered that I had scoliosis.
The discovery was made accidentally.
I feel off a chair and had fractured my right arm. When they took x-rays on my arm the doctor saw a little curvature of the spin so he suggested that another round of x-rays be taken to confirm his suspicion.
When he had the x-rays, he was shocked that the curvature was already so severe, being more than fifty degrees, it formed an S shape.
Surgery was again suggested. Which again my parents did not consent to.
Besides, the cost was staggering! At that time they told my parents it might cost about half a million pesos. We didn't have that much!
So I had to wear Milwaukee braces to help stop the deformation of the spine and to correct it.
This was the start of my nightmares.

Before reaching ten, it was also found out that I had a heart disease. Still connected to the Marfan's syndrome. My aorta was dilated and I had a leak in my left ventricle. So far, my doctor did not advise yet for me to get surgery for this particular problem. If things get worse, it might reach that point.

Yet, even with all these things plaguing me. I still turned out to be a good individual.
Many thanks to my parents for this.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pants On Poochie


You can call it my pet peeve, an irritant of some sort. Because it really pisses me off when I see people clothe their animals.
Why do people put clothes on their pets? Why???
It is something which I strongly believe is stupid and crazy!
Whenever I see such a sight I can't help but feel sorry for the animal.
This trend was started by an equally stupid person; Paris Hilton. Now, almost everyone is doing it to their pets.

No matter in what angle I try to look at it, I do not find it cute!
Merely just a waste of money. Now, there are hundreds of companies trying to cash in on this ever-growing stupid trend.
There are already companies that cater to pets. They have a line of clothing for dogs and other animals that includes jackets, shirts, pants, accessories and even shoes! for pete's sake!
No self-respecting dog would ever put on a pair of sandals if its up to their choice! *even if god would give them the ability to put on those things themselves*

Don't get me wrong, I am a pet-lover too and I own 3 dogs, 4 puppies and a cat. I love them with all my heart and I pamper them as much as possible, treat them like babies. But I do not put them in clothes because I have not forgotten one thing, THEY ARE ANIMALS! Animals that need not be clothed!



Related post:
This World Is Going To The Dogs

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I Want My Earrings Back!!!

We were out four days ago with my family. It was already two o'clock in the morning when we decided to call it a night. At the last hour we decided to not go home and have an early start with grocery and produce shopping so we headed for the wet market to buy the things needed for the house.
Immediately jumping at the opportunity to go for I rarely go there, only tagging along whenever I wished to before.
I was excited because I was hoping I might pick up a few tips and pointers on how to select vegetables, meats and stuff. Since lately I've been interested in learning how to cook.

It was nearing three o'clock when we got to the place.
Even at that hour there were already a number of people busy with their own shopping.
I was enjoying my self, looking at the fresh produce that just arrived, observing the whole market scene, sharing jokes with my brother and sister-in-law, cool air and shopping.

As I was walking along with my sister-in-law, my brother who was walking a few steps behind us noticed a guy was following us.
He called out our names, making us stop and turn our heads to see what he wanted.
The moment I did, I noticed the guy but didn't think anything of it. I assumed he was just someone who lives near there. He didn't carry anything and looked kind of scruffy.
He kept right on walking and brushed past me.
My brother immediately approached us and told us to be more observant in our surroundings since the market place is also known not only for their produce but also of the many scalawags who 'work' in that area and victimize unsuspecting buyers.

I completely forgot about the guy following us soon after. We kept walking and shopping and looking around when my brother's mother-in-law said we were going to buy some rice.
She headed for this store that sells only rice, we went along with her.
As we waited for her, my sister-in-law and I were busy talking, my brother was peering at the different kinds of rice being displayed and sampling some.
It was an open type of store. Anyone could just pass by without you noticing it.

We were all standing facing the rice being displayed when suddenly I felt someone put their arm around my neck. I thought it was my brother, so I didn't bother looking up immediately.
Then, he moved his hands to my ears and started massaging my earlobes. I wanted to turn my head right then, but he prevented me from doing so. He then whispered that if I exert pressure or scream and cause a scene he would stab me.
My sister-in-law who was standing beside me was unable to move or even speak, she was so nervous it rendered her immobile.
I felt my earrings lock snap and he took them.
He, then slid his hands all the way down to my waist and I thought he was going to check my pockets.
That's when my brother noticed the thief and pushed him away.
When his hold was released I immediately turned and faced the person who robbed me.
My heart was pumping because my brother was about to beat the crap out of this small man and I knew he must have a weapon concealed.
When my brother was about to punch him he pulled a thick, sharp ice pick from his waist and told my brother that if he puts up a fight he'd stab him. My brother didn't move as I was so close to the thief, we were standing face to face.

I told him that we won't fight with him and he should just leave.
My brother wasn't aware the thief already had my earrings and he was just thinking that the guy was a pervert.
The thief then turned to me and asked me for fifty pesos cash! The nerve of the freak!
I had a good look of his face. His eyes were a bit bloody. He looked stoned or high.

I told him I didn't have any money with me. He then eyed my bag.
He said he didn't ask much, just fifty pesos and he'd leave.
I was firm with him. I told him I didn't have any cash with me which was true.
Before we started shopping, I gave the money to my brother's mother-in-law as we left her in-charge of the expenses since she knew more about produce shopping more than we do.

When my brother's mother-in-law saw the guy she thought it was just another beggar hassling us for money. When she asked what was the matter the thief then turned his head.
My brother was about to approach him when he noticed and pulled the ice pick.
He stopped and told the thief to just go away. He was fearful that the thief would attack his mother-in-law next.
The thief faced my brother and asked him for twenty pesos as if they were buddies all this time.
My brother told him that he has nothing to give.
He asked again, but my brother was quite firm.
I don't know what possessed him to just walk away after my brother told him for the second time he didn't have the money.

These all happened without a single person trying to help us.
The clerks in the store's excuse were, they thought the guy was with us because they saw us just talking there.
Then one of the girls who were selling some vegetables then whispered to me that people here don't really exert any intentions of helping since these low-lifes have little gangs and whoever tries to get in their way would be dealt with violence.
So the locals reaction is to just turn their heads and pretend they didn't see anything happen.
Nobody in that crowded marketplace even tried to help.
Thank you so much Filipino helpfulness and sympathy!

When the thief left, my brother asked me if I was okay.
I told him there's nothing he should worry about since I was fine all he was able to take was my earrings.
He was surprised since he didn't notice the guy took my earrings. He thought the guy was just being a pervert.
I tried to dismiss it immediately and not cause any further scene.
Though I was burning inside and wanted to kill that person.
He violated me and the people I love and hold most dear!

I've had those earrings for three years.
It was a pair of silver earrings with stones, not really worth that much if you take into account the market value of the thing.
But, I loved those earrings because they were a gift from my brother which he gave to me when he was still in high school.
He patiently and diligently saved a little of his allowance everyday 'til he was able to buy them and surprise me with it on my birthday.

He turned his head to where they thief went and was about to go after him.
I stopped him and said that even if those earrings were indeed valuable to me, his life was more valuable than them.
I would not let him risk it for a pair of silver earrings which I could always buy.

If that piece of trash wasn't carrying an ice pick even I could beat him black and blue.
In my eyes he was a midget, very short man. I was taller by two inches and I'm only five foot three!

I told them to continue shopping and not think of the incident any further.
I refused to let that scum further ruin my day. I won't give him that victory too.
So we bought other things we needed and walked back to our vehicle where our mom was waiting.
As we walked towards our vehicle, my brother saw a patrol car and hailed it to stop.
He then talked to the police officers on board and told them of the incident.
But the unsympathetic, lazy, good for nothing 'arm of the law' just shrugged and said that its a natural incident especially in those parts of town.
They then said the best thing we could do was go to the police station and report the incident and look at some old mug shots.
My brother then asked IF we could identify the guy would they go out and have a search and arrest him. They then looked at each other and then turned to me, asked what item was stolen. When I told them it was a pair of silver earrings they sort of smiled and said they'll do their best.

"Fuck you!" I said to myself. Right then, I decided to not report it. I'm not going to go through all that hassle and still have nothing done about it.
If the thing is not deemed expensive might as well forget about it even if a CRIME was committed.
Thank you so much Philippine Justice System!

When we got to our vehicle, I immediately told my mom what happened.
She was fuming mad, as any mother would be, but I immediately said we'd just go home.
I needed the rest and I don't want the incident to be brought up again.
I'll just log it here and save it as part of the many misadventures I've had.

I still want my earrings back but I'm just glad we got out of that one without a scratch.