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Archive for August, 2010

Missing Link

The internationally renowned brand Liz Claiborne has been suffering losses for a considerable time now. One of the greatest blows to the brand was when Macy’s, its strongest retail partner, virtually dropped the brand from its 300 stores after a partnership of 30 years.

This morning, after checking my Facebook account, then my WordPress blog, then the blogs on my blog roll, I’ve noticed that I have been dropped from a blogger’s blogroll.

I consider the guy a star in the bloggers’ world. I have been reading him even before I started my own blog. There was no thinking twice in including him in my blog roster. When he informed me that he would be adding me up, I was elated! I told him it was an honor! Honor na na mareplyan ka, mas honor pa na ma add ka sa blog list nya!

Since he is in my list, I get to check his blog every time I get to check my other favorite sites. Parang ritual na yan eh. I smile every time I read my blog’s name at the right side of his page with my latest post under it. This morning, I expected to see

Stepfordboy
Metamorphosis
Posted 9 hours ago

But I did not see my post. I expanded the list and looked for my entry, but it is not there anymore. I believe I was taken out of the list.

Blogs are supposed to be complete, honest representations of one’s thoughts, especially, if it is held in anonymity. You can say what you really feel without having people judging you for uttering words which would otherwise seem impolite.

And to be honest, I was hurt.

The accountant in me is saying that the only reason I was hurt is due to the big hits I would lose with my account’s disgraceful exit in a star’s blog. What is the point of writing if no one else reads it? Yes, I believe, half of my hits come from his referral, but that is not the real reason why I was hurt.

I mentioned in previous blogs (got to learn how to use hyperlinks here) that I never look for friends. If you are meant to be friends, then you will be, no need to go to the ends of the earth to meet new friends. But I consider the guy my mentor, a friend to a certain stretch.

His blog is filled with honesty, sometimes annoyingly true, but plain honesty. I believe it is possible to have friends in the blog world since blogs are true representations of themselves. Read the blog, get to know the person.

I read his blog, and I got to know him through his words. I know he is a nice person under the entire superhuman persona.

But the mentor dropped me off his list. It was never his responsibility to keep me there. Perhaps my posts weren’t exciting enough. Having him in my roll doesn’t ensure my inclusion in his.

Perhaps it was a system glitch. Perhaps I am still in the list. Or perhaps my account did not meet the qualifications.

I may never know the reason why. But that wouldn’t stop me from writing. I still have the half numbers of hits to keep interested in my posts.

Hit or no hit, stepfordboy will continue to write. To share. To inspire.

But at the end of the day, behind the knight’s armor, I am but a small boy, na medaling masaktan…

And I hate it when it happens…

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Metamorphosis

We will be having a party this Saturday at home – for my nephew’s baptismal and my favorite cousin’s 8th birthday. My mom has been preparing for this for months now, buying the needed additional wares one by one and deliberating on the menu.

As part of the preparation, James and I moved the big potted plants around the garage to have some space for the additional tables and chairs for the party. Then I noticed that several leaves of my beautiful heart-shaped leaf gabi had been torn. I suspect that a caterpillar ate the leaves and I was right. With the use of a tingting, James carefully got the caterpillar and placed it on the leaf of a banana plant in a vacant lot beside our home.

I am afraid of caterpillars as once I saw a classmate suffer from allergic reactions to its hair when he tried to collect it for a science project. Valuing my skin, I dare not touch any caterpillar.

But these awful-looking creatures would soon turn into beautiful butterflies. Like some people I know. Or once knew. They started out really awful – spoiled brats with big attitude. Like caterpillars, they devoured money and other persons’ happiness. Now, they’re no longer the bratinellos and bratinellas but they turned out to be mature, kind individuals.

In my case, it is the reverse. I was born very beautiful, cherubic if I may say so. My skin was milky white, my curly locks were golden, my eyelashes very long, my stare very affectionate, yearning. Then the cherub grew to be a falcon. The same milky white skin gave way to thinner built, the golden locks turned deep brown and got straightened (for reasons I do not know), the long eyelashes now outline the sharp eyes that has long cut the throats of annoying people who deserve this falcon’s glare.

But that is just superficial. I used to be very kind. Very timid. Very shy. I was the butt of jokes and I accepted and forgave all pranks against me. Until one day, I got out of the cocoon, with fangs and claws, moving swiftly to strike the person who has the guts to go against me. Words and intelligence became my power. My thoughts moved from the innocent longing for sweet things to hunger for revenge.

I was born a butterfly. And then I turned to a maggot.

But my plight is far better than some. Born as wriggling maggots, feasting on rotten flesh, only to turn into flies, harboring diseases, instrumental to the non-stop cycle of metamorphosis. The people who was born to inflict pain on others, only to grow worse, and give birth to next generation of tormentors.

But my cycle is not yet complete. After passing the board exams, the less-than-100-pounds frame grew to a normal 150 pounds. Muscles were starting to form. The fangs are slowly but surely being fixed by expensive orthodontic devices. Skin is still milky white with support from the latest creams in the market. The hunger for revenge is slowly being replaced by the hunger to help. To be of relevance to the society.

The nights of plots becomes the nights of prayers. And sometimes, of some good loving.

As the cycle never stops, my transformation shall continue, moving from the cherubic baby I once was, to the harpy villain of my school days, to the graceful maturing towards the late twenties.

Be there when it happens, when I unveil the new me. The new Scott Andrada!

Dumbbells: “Bubuhatin mo ba ako o mage emote ka dyan sa salamin buong araw!”

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Limbo

I used to have lots of friends when I was a lot younger. Or at least I considered them as friends. As a popular kid in school, anyone who’d call my name and smile at me was automatically my friend. Everyone in my class, averaging 40 students, was my friends. I even have friends from all year levels.

As my friends, they got to enjoy certain privileges such as answers to tests, different versions of essays on the same topic, access to my notes and assignments, class excuses for programs of clubs in which I was president, forgiveness from the school director since I was the school’s poster boy of academics.

Then one day, as if waking from a dream, they were no longer there. My friends of almost 200 (and those were of pre-Friendster and pre-Facebook days) dwindled to around 2. It was my 18th birthday and a freshman in college. Back when were still in primary and high schools, I would always be the organizer of birthday surprises – from balloons to dedications in colorful cartolinas to cakes which were the fruits of some measly contribution. I thought it would be special on my 18th birthday. Debut ko kaya yun.

But only two came to my classroom on that day. I though the rest would be at my house, ready to surprise me. But I was the one surprised when I got home, no friend was there. I could hear the sounds of crickets in the night.

On my 18th birthday, I woke up from a dream in which many friends love you. Many friends adore you and support you. I woke up to a reality that says your best friend is yourself.

I went through a struggle. I was like a black hole – my own regrets and self-pity sucked all my being into the void. I managed to forget other people’s birthdates, on who was the crush of who, of what color one likes. I focused my energy on myself and myself alone.

I got to meet many people in college but I was always cautious of my feelings for them. No longer can I just fall in love with the idea of friendship. I was once burned by that love. I was once betrayed by my so-called friends. I was abused so many times.

It took a while before I finally admitted to myself that some of my classmates are my friends. It was a relief to finally see the rainbow after the rain, to see the sky after being entombed in a cave. But the light was too much. I was afraid I was being blinded and would later on fall in a trap disguised as friendship.
But I was wrong. My college friends are still my friends even up to now. I even have friends from The Firm. I got accustomed to the light so much that I can see if someone is trying to get close to me for some reasons other than friendship.

The stench of ulterior motives is so strong; I can smell users from afar, like a wildebeest of rain miles away.

I am now in a new group in The Bank. Some of my friends left for greener pastures, the others remained in the other group. Sometimes, I feel lonely that it seems I am a man of no country. I am no longer part of my old group, but I am having hesitation with my new group.

I was lucky to have met my college and Firm friends but I may not be so lucky now. The stench might just be paranoia, my defense walls are always on red alert, my fangs are always ready to hit the jugular.

But it is tiring to be always on the lookout for predators, for user-friendly people.

But I am happy I still have a good number of friends. Though small, my friends are treasured. And I know they treasure me as well.

I am in paradise when I am with them.

But now I am in limbo. In the middle of the sea, senseless if I should continue the journey or come back to shore. I am on Wednesday mode. I am in a middle dream.

And someone, something, has to kick me out of it. For I know, deep inside, this limbo, is not my home.

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Menagerie

For those of who have read my earlier posts would have known that I am an animal lover. I used to take care of cats when I was a kid. I also had a chance to take care of a goldfish in a fishbowl (but sooner learned that having a fish in a fishbowl without filtration is not very responsible).

In 2009, James and I decided to have a dog-child and we got Mitos, a two-month mini-schnauzer from a breeder in Quezon City. It was February 28. On May 22, he passed away due to complications. I would tell you all about it in a separate post. I was so devastated. Then my brother brought home Samantha, a four-year old Pomeranian who took our hearts away. A month later, my brother’s friend gave us Contessa, a cross between a Maltese and a Japanese Spitz.

Both of our dog-children, Sam and Tessa, are doing very well. But I am thinking of ‘giving birth’ to new children. But of course, we need to do some family planning. But given that money and other resources won’t be of any concern, my dream children are:

Malamute

Papillon

Sun Conure

Giant Gourami

San pa kaya ako matutulog pag ‘ipinanganak’ na silang lahat?

PS Special thanks to www.pluspets.netwww.minifauna.com, www.thelensflare.com, www.petfish.net for the photos

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Bread Crumbs

In several minutes, I’ll be going home. I am supposed to spend some few more hours as my desk is still filled with papers to review and my mailbox with queries and requests for assistance and comments. But my mind and body are not up to it. Not even my eye cream.

I never thought I’d run out of ideas to write about. This blog is not even a year old but I think I just lost the momentum. I hope it won’t be for too long.

I am hoping, someone out there, there, yeah, over there, still wants me to write and still wants to read what I write.

Again, the dark clouds are coming. Not now. Not when I see the latest competition formally beginning. When I am about to step into the arena where gladiators kill, not to win, but to survive.

The dark clouds are closing in and my peacock patronus just ain’t preening its feathers!

The last thing I want to do is to bring the dark cloud myself. I bring sunshine. I bring laughter. I bring joy. But all resources are finite.

The dark clouds are closing in. I am curling up, doing my best to keep my eyes wide open till I get home.

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Lately, I just can’t seem to stop dancing to these tunes…

Stop writing, stop writing, I left my head on the dance floor…

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Tuguegarao – Double Check!

I was born in San Juan and so was my mom. My dad was born in Dumaguete but since I never grew up with him, I never had the chance to go to their province. I was not allowed to join the annual vacation in my uncle’s house in Cainta when I was still a kid because I was so sickly my grandmother wanted me to be beside her all the time.

So every time there is a chance for me to go to any province in the Philippines, I’d grab it. Last weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit, for the second time, the city of Tuguegarao in the Cagayan Valley. We first went there by the invitation of Manay, a former teammate from The Firm and a very good friend. It was her wedding to Attorney in 2008. We took the bus in going to and from their place up north and we spent roughly 20 hours for the trip!

This time, it was their baby’s baptismal and I am to stand as ninong (or ninang) and I was very happy to be invited.

They say that you will not see much in Cagayan as opposed to the more tourist-flocked Boracay or Palawan but I beg to disagree. I come to places not to look for what I want to see but to see what they have to show. To learn more about the place and not be a tourist in my own country (pasok si Susan Calo Medina!).

Last time we were there, we visited the world famous Callao caves. A network of chambers, the Callao caves are famous for the shrine that was built inside the first chamber where natural lighting comes from an opening in the cave’s ceiling! The caves are also famous for the archeological artifacts found there by people from The National Museum which showed that there was an early human settlement inside the caves. Sadly, it rained on that day so we were only able to see as far as the third chamber and I think there are seven.

This time, we spent our precious vacation time (after the baptismal) to visit the miraculous Our Lady of Piat Shrine. They say that people with wishes to go abroad for work or leisure would best pray to the Lady of Piat. I went there, not to pray for anything connected with going abroad but to give thanks for all the blessings I’ve been receiving. Especially, the blessing of having such wonderful friends around me. Some of us belong to different industries already but we still find time to be with each other and bond.

If my friends are worth millions (which I’m sure they more than do), I’ll be a millionaire!

But of course, my trip would not be complete without a gift from James of wooden stuff. We bought wooden bowls with woven edges, wooden fish where you can place a small glass container on its hollow portion, and hotpot placeholders made of pine needles.

We were eyeing the small bangkito made of dao but since we took the plane instead of the bus this time, I might face problems with excess baggage later on.

But what truly set the trip apart from the others was that I was not very tired when we got back to Manila. I had the most northernmost manicure in Tuguegarao and I gained several pounds from non-stop eating of Manay’s mom’s home-cooked meals!

With many places I’ve been to, should I start singing –

I’ve been to Tuguegarao,
But I’ve never been to me!

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