Friday, February 24, 2012

Significant Figures ep. 08- Paying the Price of Beauty





Monthly membership fee sa gym- 85,00 euros

Investment sa mga “gym stuff” (shoes, towels, gadgets, etc.)- almost 120,00 euros

Duration of my membership sa gym- 365 days = 1 year

How many times do I intend to go to gym- at least 3 times a week

Number of people who believes in me that I can make it- 2

Number of people who laughs at me because they don’t believe me- EVERYONE ELSE

Days left before I officially start- 5 days (I can’t believe it, 5 days na lang talaga?!)

Level of excitement- 100%

Level of inexplicable anxiety- 100%

Level of stress whenever I go over my budget for my gym, debts and other stuff- 100%


Hindi lang kasi taba ang nawawala, pati datung nababawasan din. Hehehe…

But then, no pain, no gain. Pain is temporary, glory is forever! Health is still priceless!

Aja!

afatpenguin.tumblr.com

Ben & Jerry's: Peace, Love and Ice Cream


One of the many international franchises that are slowly creeping into the culinary world and culture of the “Slow Food” nation of Italy is the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop, an American (as usual) franchise who challenged Italy’s all natural and indigenous gelato industry.

The company actually had the guts to challenge the healthy and natural and locally made world-famous gelato (by the way, they said that there’s a big difference between gelato and ice cream. I’ll discuss that later on).

My take on this issue is: whatever! Who the hell cares!

I do think that Italian gelato is still better than ice cream in terms of quality in production, health and even the uncontested natural characteristic. But the thing is Ben & Jerry’s added creativity and introduced new flavours not conceived by artisans of gelato.

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Ship is in Piazza del Duomo 6/R, Florence.
www.florence-journal.com

The company started in 1963 when two guys, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, found themselves suffering under the oppression of boredom during their P.E. class in a school in Long Island, New York. They soon found out that they both hated sports and they share the same passion for ice cream. They soon produced ice cream from fresh milk and added delicious chunks of sweets, cakes, and other delicacies, and the rest is history.

Their ice cream is good and delicious, creative, interesting and exciting. They also have baked euphoria (waffles), hippy hippy shakes, brownies and other cakes. You can also make your own sundae by choosing which ice cream you want and which chunks, candies and syrup to put on your sundae. The place is well done and very affable.

They claim that their products all came from naturally raised cows and naturally produced fresh milk.

Unfortunately the prices are quite expensive compared to the gelato shops. A regular cup costs 4 euros and a large one costs 6 euros. But I think those prices are reasonable for something as good as a cup of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

One negative feedback is the limited number of flavours available. Here in Florence, I think they only have 16 flavours to choose from, unlike Festival del Gelato, they have more than 30 flavours.

But then, who really cares? It is something new, a simple curiosity wouldn’t kill. Why not try the most interesting (for now) ice cream in town?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Virgin and I'm Active


This is so far one of the best achievements I’ve made this year- SIGNING UP TO A GYM. Weeh!
According to my Life Resolution 2012 section 2- “I will formulate a very convincing reason to push myself to go to the gym, get 6-freak-pack abs, and be a man-whore employee of Abercrombie and Fitch in Milan.


Before I go on, I’m not going to discuss anything about sex or my sexual preferences or anything. And if you guessed it right, I just became an official member of the Virgin Active gym here in Florence.
If you knew me, you would never believe it when I say that I’m going to gym because I’m that type of person who willingly submits to the cravings of his stomach and is easily enslaved by his own microscopic taste buds.
But here I am biding my time before I officially start working out and do lots and lots and lots of exercises.
What/who pushed me into this madness?
Two of the high-ranking superiors at work. Let’s call them Madam and Manang. They’re not that bad. They can be a real nightmare at work but once you know them, you’d realise that they’re humans too.
They asked me to accompany them to the gym to ask for information and such and such. I conceded. After meeting the club manager and after some squabbling with these two women, we were handed three one-year contracts, instead of two.
So, with much bitterness and reluctance, I signed the paper and committed myself to a one year of agony.
The bickering, the haggling and all the brouhaha of that conversation were simply the tip of the iceberg. Underneath, I have been pondering certain thoughts about this episode in my life.
  1. Struggle for power and survival- just think, you, that nameless dog at work, working out with two powerful women, offering yourself as their loyal chauffeur after gym. There’s this chance that you get better treatment at work AND get my contract renewed this year. Who wouldn’t grab the opportunity to win the favour of those who might hold you as you walk on that thin thread of hope? Hehehe…
  2. The desire to get out of my current job- I work at a fast-food restaurant, where you are required to work as quickly and precisely as you can (though I’m one of the slowest sloth-employees because I really don’t give a damn), while the multi-national company drains out all the energy from you, sucking every bit of your soul until you suddenly realize that your life is already running at the slowest pace with hindered progress in all of its aspects because your life simply revolves around it. I want to change scenery. And once I have those abs, and monstrous biceps, I can transfer to Milan and work as one of those men-whores in Abercrombie store (hehehe, just being envious and bitter…). 
  3. Boost up my self-esteem- My friends never believe me when I say that I’m very insecure of myself and that I need to boost up my self-esteem. Although I can be an arrogant prick sometimes, I need to love myself. And just to clarify that, I mean loving oneself in the philosophical sense,
  4. The genuine desire to be healthy- and probably this is the only thought I pondered which really made sense. I come from a family of people who are twins with heart-related problems, diabetes, high-blood pressure, voracious stomach, super enhanced taste buds, and abnormally refined appetite just for anything that is considered food. Few of my ancestors and contemporaries have died of natural causes. My great-grandmother is still alive and she’s a living example of what my future would be if I don’t take a decisive step to salvage my future. Working out is not really for aesthetic purposes. I just want to live longer.
  5. And finally, get laid and imprint a lasting impression to girls (and boys) of their intimate encounter with a sexy god. Hahahaha! Egotistical me! Just kidding. I’m not lascivious or anything. Just like everyone else, I want to look good… and be able to fit my ass in those skinny jeans they make here in Europe!

To be honest, I’m quite excited. After seeing the equipment and the courses they are offering, I have to say that my reluctance is partly diminished.
It’s actually too early to say if I’m gonna like this. Sigh, all this desire to achieve good health and beauty. I remember a line in the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha”- “Agony and beauty for us live side by side.” You cannot achieve beauty if you don’t suffer for it (a message to the ugly ducklings and naturally born ogres like me). No guts no glory. No ID, no entry. Weh!

http://afatpenguin.tumblr.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three down!


A-   Auster, Paul- Oracle Night
B-    Barnes, Julian- Sense of an Ending
C-    Cornwell, Patricia- Post Mortem
D-   Dennis, Patrick- Auntie Mame
E-    Eugenides, Jeffrey- The Middlesex
F-    Follett, Ken- The Pillars of the Earth
G-   Grisham, John- The Last Juror
H-   Hagedorn, Jessica- Dream Jungle
I-     Isherwood, Christopher- A Single Man
J-     Jin, Ha- In the Pond
K-   Kelman, Stephen- Pigeon English
L-    Lewis, C.S.- The Screwtape Letters
M- Murakami, Haruki- South of the Border, West of the Sun
N-   Nin, Anais- Henry and June
O-   Okakura, Kakuzo- The Book of Tea
P-    Patchett, Ann- Bel Canto
Q-   Quinn, Jay- The Beloved Son
R-   Rounding, Virginia- Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power
S-    Simoni, Marcello- Il Mercante dei Libri Maledetti- ok
T-   Tolkien, J.R.R.- The Hobbit- ok
U-   Updike, John- The Centaur
V-   Vonnegut, Kurt- The Cat’s Cradle
W- Waugh, Evelyn- The Brideshead Revisited
X-   Xiaolong, Qiu- Death of a Red Heroine
Y-   Yates, Alexander- Moondogs
Z- Zola, Emile- The Belly of Paris


Currently reading- South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gayuma ng Pag-ibig ng Walang Hanggan

The world needs love. I think it’s about time that I must disclose the secret recipe of the love potion forged within the labyrinthine passages of the unknown underground Florentine city.


Isang gayuma na kung saan tinitiyak na pagiisahin ang dalawang tao magpakailanman. Kung gusto mo na ikaw lang ang maging lalaki/babae sa buhay ng iyong minamahal, at kung ayaw mong lumayo siya sa iyo at mapapunta sa iba, ito ang love potion na para sa iyo, ang ultimate a gayuma.

Hindi ito biro. Totoo ito.


http://thesmickle.com/love-potion-number-9/
Ang mga sumusunod ay mga sangkap at instructions na dapat gawin para sa gayuma.

  1. Tubig mula sa ilog ng Arno. Ang ilog na ito ay naging saksi sa mga nagbabagang romansa mula sa kasaysayan hanggang sa musika sa Italya. Ngunit kung taga Pilipinas ka o ibang bansa, ayon sa mga kuru-kuro, sapat na ang tubig sa pinakamalapit na ilog sa inyo. Para sa mga taga Pilipinas, piliting makasalok ng tubig sa Pasig. Ito ang basic element.
  2. Ilagay sa isang baso ang tubig, at kapag bilog ang buwan, magpunta sa gitna ng isang tulay at bulungan ito ng 100 beses. Ibulong ang pangalan ng minamahal at sundan ng, “magsasama tayo magpakailanman”. Ito ang magical element.
  3. Kumuha ng balahibo ng pusa, preferably, pusang itim. Ang velvet features kasi niya ang magdadala ng element of sensuality. Ihalo ito sa dinasalang tubig.
  4. Isang daga. Putulin ang mga paa, kunin ang atay at intestines at dikdikin ang lahat ng ito hanggang maging isang malambot at uniform na mixture. Ihalo ito sa tubig.
  5. Isang feather ng kalapati at ipot nito. Ihalo ito sa potion. Ito ay isang symbolical element. On the wings of love, sabi nga nila diba?
  6. Buntot ng butiki. Siguraduhing buo ito at isama sa potion.
  7. And last but not the least ang pinakapaboritong pabango ng iyong iniibig.

Gawin mo ang lahat para mapainom mo ang isang basong gayuma na ito. Siguraduhin muli na bilog ang buwan upang mapatodo ang bias nito. Huwag ito basta basta ihahalo sa pagkain o anumang inumin. Maaari din itong iturok sa kanyang blood vessels.
Ano ang mangyayari.
Dahil sa mabisa at makapangyarihan ang gayumang ito, unti-unting magkakasakit ang minamahal mo at manghihina. Within 36 hours madedetect nila na may typhoid siya, o may bacteria, o intoxicated na siya dahil sa food poisoning.
Mamamatay ang minamahal mo. Hinding hindi na siya mapapapunta sa kamay ng ibang lalaki/babae.
At dahil sa pinairal mo ang iyong ka-engotan dahil nanampalataya ka ng buong puso sa blog na ito, tuluyan ka nang masisiraan ng bait at magpapakatiwakal ka.
At dahil diyan, magsasama na kayo ng iyong minamahal sa kabilang buhay, magpakailanman.
Love forever, finally.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sense of What?



The Sense of an Ending is the first book I read this 2012. And guess what, after reading the thin book, and went through it again the second time, I still don’t get it.

I’m sorry. I admit that I’m a dumb person and that individuals like me must refrain from buying this kind of book.

I apologise to the entire community of bibliojunkies and to Julian Barnes. I really don’t get it.

However, I learned how to write a venomous, bitter, and heart-lasing letter to the exes, in case you get really pissed off.

http://deborahjs.wordpress.com
I’m not part of this Valentine’s crap. 

Anne-bisyosa Talaga


Mula sa entablado nagnining-ning ang dakilang kagandahan ng all-time favourite actress na si Anne Curtis Smith. No other woman indeed… will make musicians and authentic music-lovers cringe in embarrassment, and horror, as the white lady butchered every note of Adele’s song, “Someone Like You”.



I think it is only in the Philippines where movie stars are required to become dancers and singers as well. They actually have the pretension of being considered “music artists”.

Philippines is not just a country of thousands of islands. It is also an archipelago republic of music talents. Charice and Arnel Pineda are some of the finest examples of world-class performers. We also have Leah Salonga, Monique Wilson, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, and Sharon Cuneta. Of course we have young talents such as Sarah Geronimo and Christian Bautista. We have Ryan Cayabyab and Gary Granada.

There’s also one music artist who was promoted by DJ Mo Twister- Johnoy Danao, my sister’s crush (Mr. Danao, if you’re reading this, could you please serenade my sister this coming Valentine’s Day?, hehehehehe…). This guy is VERY talented.

And after chanting the names of these musicians in a nobena-like manner, we come to this particular ambitious person ANNE CURTIS SMITH.



This concert is nothing but a mere mockery and insult to singers and musicians who worked hard for their career, and the faceless myriad of music artists struggling and investing in their talent and hard work.

And here’s Anne Curtis Smith- a big joke in the world of music. She barely became a decent actress. Her beauty has eclipsed her inability to act in the past. Finally she can establish herself as an accomplished actress.

Anne, please, do us a favour, stop acting like a singer. Go to the Senate and enter politics. Madaming drama din dun. Besides, Philippine politics is becoming a big joke. Why not join something where you can actually be of use? Entertain us!

But never mind, Anne. Never mind. We’ll definitely find someone BETTER than you.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Macarthur, Tae, Drugs


Pakyu. Kesa naman sa inyo, maliliit, lightweight. Kahit ilang beses buhusan ng tubig sa inidoro, bumabalik. I shall return!”

Maliliit na tae.

“I shall return”, yan ang pangako ni Macarthur,  at nagbalik nga siya. Si Noel, Cyrus, Voltron, Jim- mga maliliit na tae ng lipunan. At kapag nai-flush mo ang toilet, pramis, they shall return.



Makulit at nakakatawa ang mga naisulat na libro ni Bob Ong bago lumabas ang Macarthur, kaya maninibago ka at magugulat kapag binasa mo ito. Whether we like it or not, bumanat ng madamdaming nobela ang idol natin.

Tungkol ito sa isang barkadahan- iba’t ibang personality at character, ngunit may common denominator sila- kahirapan at drugs. Ang bawat isang character ay may kanya-kanyang kwento. Sa hirap at ginhawa, magkakasama ang buong barkada. Nagtutulungan at nagbibigay ng suporta sa isa’t-isa. Dahilan na rin sa kakulangan ng pagkalinga ng sariling pamilya o kakulangan mismo ng pamilya kaya sila mas nagiging at home sa company ng isa’t-isa at sa presensya ng bawal na gamot.

Sa aklat na ito, ipinakita ng may akda ang usual na the-adik-boy-next-door at ang usual the-poorer-adik-boy-next-door, sa persona ng apat nating bida (kung bida ba ang maitatawag sa apat na ito).

Minsan maiinis ka sa mga pinaggagawa nila, madalas, maaawa ka.

Eye-opener kasi ang libro ni Bob Ong, at least para sa akin. Aminado akong matapobre ako, kahit hindi ako mayaman o ma-pera. Sanctimonious. Yan ang perfect adjective para sa akin. I always view the poor kids of our town as bad influence to others at mga salot sa lipunan.

Minsan may ganon akong attitude. Pero salamat sa Diyos, binago niya ako, at unti-unti pa rin niya ako binabago.

Sa prosesong ito, naging instrumental din ang libro ni Bob Ong.

He showed beyond the masks of the criminal the humanity of these four guys. Tulad din natin sila- may mga pangarap, may mga nais marating at mapuntahan, umiibig, nasasaktan, nangangailangan ng pang-unawa at pagmamahal. Ngunit hindi natin katulad, wala minsan silang mapagkakapitan ng saklolo mula sa kahirapan at sa mga exploiters, at walang nagnais magligtas sa kanila sa bawal na gamot.

Hindi niya hinihikayat na husgahan ang mga gumagamit ng bawal na gamot. Hindi ko rin matiyak kung pakay ba niya na kaawaan mo sila. Pero isang bagay ang malinaw, nais ni Bob Ong na unawain natin ang kalagayan nila. And let me tell you this, pinaluha ako ng librong ito. Ewan ko nga ba. Lately medyo nagiging drama queen yata ako. Boh! Hahaha!

As usual, despite it’s simplicity, the novel is thought-provoking. Maraming magsasabi na ang mga sinulat niya ay “too mediocre” o “for the second-class people”. Ang mahalaga ay hindi ang depth ng words o style, kundi ang naging epekto nito sa mambabasa at ang pakay nito.

Naniniwala ako na, willingly or unwillingly, may naging magandang pakay si Bob Ong sa aklat na ito at magsisilbing magandang aral ito sa lahat ng tao, anuman ang kanyang katayuan sa buhay, dahil ito ay kwento ng katotohan na nangyayari sa kapwa nating Pilipino at ng mga pangyayari sa ating pamayanan.

Ang happy ending ng kwentong ito ay hindi lamang nasa kamay at imahinasyon ng isang manunulat, ito’y nasa kamay at puso din natin- kung paano natin iaangat sa paghihirap ang kapwa natin, kung paano natin matutulungan ang mga katulad ni Cyrus, Voltron, Jim, at Noel.


Kapeng Arabo: Coffee from OFWs, for OFW's, and by OFW's


Kapeng Arabo has that Bob-Ong-esque flavour and it will definitely reinvigorate your mind. It is about the bittersweet blend of the life of an OFW in an opulent sexually-repressed absurd North-Korea-like Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

www.kapengarabo.blogspot.com

Sino ba talaga ang nakakaunawa sa buhay ng mga OFW’s kundi ang kapwa rin niya, di ba? Minsan kasi akala nila mga nagtatae na tayo sa pera, pero kahit pa man ganun, hindi nila alam kung gaano kahaba na ang ilog ng ating luha at pawis. Exposed minsan tayo sa harassment, ang dignidad natin ay minsan nayuyurakan hindi lang ng mga employer, minsan kahit kapwa naming OFW’s (nako, may kwento ako diyan! Wehehehe…).  

Manny Garcia, author of the book, gave an account of what’s life like in Saudi Arabia- their drama, the quirky lifestyle of Pinoys, the cultural and social perspective, sex and relationships, friendships, and their dreams.

The author, Manny Garcia


Simple, appealing at suabe ang style niya. While some chapters offer very amusing stories and funny incidents, the book’s not simply written for entertainment or to make people laugh.

Garcia is a man with a particular perspective in life. His life experiences allowed him to think outside the box of general culture and society, and dissect concepts and viewpoints in a very sensible manner.

At siyempre, para sa mga political animals tulad ko, he dedicated a chapter about absentee-voting, an issue that is very dear to me, and very close to the hearts of fellow OFW’s. It’s really a big deal for many of us. Well, not really. At least to some of us Filipinos here in Tuscany who worked hard to encourage people to exercise their right and do one of the least duties to the country. His politics really intrigued me.

More than that, the author has that progressive spirit which he encapsulated among the pages of his work. He envisions the possibility of OFW’s to have a real and tangible influence and effect in building the nation. He admonishes readers and fellow OFW’s to set our hearts in returning to the Motherland and have an entrepreneurial objective. His concept is very inspiring, and very ambitious. It’s not easy in practical terms but Manny Garcia got it right, because he applied his belief in his own life.

Entertaining, inspiring, and, like any caffeine fix, it really boosts up your spirit.

A re-fill wouldn’t be optional. You’ll want another cup.

And speaking of re-fill, I’m not sure if he’s still working on the second book, or probably he’s already published it. Maybe I should send him an email.

Special thanks to Alvin, for giving me this book as a gift. Yung regalo ko sayo next time na lang, hehehehe….

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Two Down!


A-   Auster, Paul- Oracle Night
B-    Barnes, Julian- Sense of an Ending
C-    Cornwell, Patricia- Post Mortem
D-   Dennis, Patrick- Auntie Mame
E-    Eugenides, Jeffrey- The Middlesex
F-    Follett, Ken- The Pillars of the Earth
G-   Grisham, John- The Last Juror
H-   Hagedorn, Jessica- Dream Jungle
I-     Isherwood, Christopher- A Single Man
J-     Jin, Ha- In the Pond
K-   Kelman, Stephen- Pigeon English
L-    Lewis, C.S.- The Screwtape Letters
M- Murakami, Haruki- South of the Border, West of the Sun
N-   Nin, Anais- Henry and June
O-   Okakura, Kakuzo- The Book of Tea
P-    Patchett, Ann- Bel Canto
Q-   Quinn, Jay- The Beloved Son
R-   Rounding, Virginia- Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power
S-    Simoni, Marcello- Il Mercante dei Libri Maledetti- ok
T-   Tolkien, J.R.R.- The Hobbit- ok
U-   Updike, John- The Centaur
V-   Vonnegut, Kurt- The Cat’s Cradle
W- Waugh, Evelyn- The Brideshead Revisited
X-   Xiaolong, Qiu- Death of a Red Heroine
Y-   Yates, Alexander- Moondogs
Z- Zola, Emile- The Belly of Paris




24 more to go! 


Currently reading: Catherine the Great by Virgina Rounding...