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A conversation late last night / early this morning with Big Boy and LR over ice cream, cheese rings and coke brought about this nugget of wisdom / crap:

"Between love and hate, hate is easier. The very nature of love requires reciprocation and no matter how much you shower love on anyone, it never guarantees that it will be returned. Hate, one the other hand, does not require equal feelings. It is quite possible, and very easy, to hate someone who does not hate you back. And yes, when you heap hate on someone, it's entirely possible that they would learn to hate you right back -- but that hardly matters as hate does not require to be returned."

(Sleep deprivation x the time of the day or night) + (weirdoks) + (sugar) = random pieces of brilliance.

Or statements I feel will bite me in the ass at some point.

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coordinates: changi airport
state of mind: impatient
background noise: people waiting to board planes

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[Written at the Johannesburg airport, back-dated in Singapore]

7 years ago, on this very day, Velma was lost to us. Violently. In a way that ruined the face that she spent more than 6 decades maintaining and keeping young. The face that I loved. That I still love.

The face that looks exactly like the one in the mirror.

The same chinky eyes. The same forehead -- with barely noticeable widow's peaks and birth marks (though hers was a clover-shaped one and mine is a tiny bump on the left side). The same brow shape (though hers was slightly over-plucked). The same skin hue and tint. The same bored expressions when our faces are relaxed. And when I smile, my eyes disappear very much the same way hers used to do when she smiled. And yes, my frown is very much like hers, too (though hers was usually accompanied by scathing words, and mine generally come with sarcasm).

When I was young, Velma and I both rejected our resemblance. She didn't particularly think that I was pretty so for her it meant that there was no way that we looked alike. She (and the rest of my family) used to say that I looked like Charles Bronson -- which I thought was insulting because he had an overly-crinkled face and he had facial hair!

But then again, at that time, between looking like my mother and Charles Bronson, I preferred the latter.

She was, after all, some kind of socialite who needed (heck, demanded) people to take care of her. She always looked so glammed up and delicate. Which meant that for the longest time, the only way I could relate to her was from the standpoint of over-protectiveness. I took care of her. When the Manipulative Bastard betrayed her, I moved into her room because she was not used to sleeping alone and I worried that she would forego sleep for crying. Whenever I would see her face fall and remember just exactly what the Manipulative Bastard did to her, I would start a tickle war to literally snap her out of it. When she began to pick up the pieces of her life and went into grad school, I helped write her papers. I reacted violently to anyone who tried to hurt her.

No, I was nothing like my mother. And I was fine with that. I think that that allowed me to see and love her for what she really was. To relate to her as being more than my mother but as as woman who was spoiled but hilarious, cold but generous, beautiful but imperfect, naive but strong, vain but charming as hell. I think I was always aware of Velma's contradictions. For sure, I always loved them.

I knew her well. More than any daughter who only saw her mother. More than any child who only wanted a motherly-figure. She was Velma first and foremost. Everything else, including being a mother, was secondary. And I love her for that.

I'm in my 30's now. In the last few years, even before Velma died, my resemblance to my mother grew. My face has aged and sharpened, looking more like hers than Charles Bronson's. The bored expression that was constantly on her face is now more constant in mine.

But more importantly, I have realised that I inherited more than her face. I have her contradictions, too. I am beginning to accept that I have her flaws: vanity, insensitivity, self-involvement, perfectionism. But I know that I also have what was good about her: generousity, strength, sense of humour, charm.

But I am also well aware of where I differ from her. The parts of me that are all my own.

I wish that I could speak to Velma about this. For sure, had she been present, we would have had disagreements about our similarities and differences. I would have probably hurt her feelings (as I have in the past) with my assessment of her contradictions. She would have probably hurt mine, as well. But I know for sure that we would have ended that conversation as friends. The two of us always did manage to patch things up and never let hurt feelings fester.

In my head, there's a growing list of conversations I would like to have had with Velma. Conversations I know she would have enjoyed and loved.

This is one of them.

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coordinates: johannesburg airport
state of mind: sad sad

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It took a couple of Michio Kaku videos on youtube, a full night's rest, ranting to MS, JM, JK, SS, NP and other women, breakfast and a couple of ciggy breaks to finally calm down after watching "The Labyrinth of the Butterfly" last night. I was prepared for it because The Turtle told me about two years ago that the play (and the book that it was based on) totally dissed Michio Kaku.

Now, if you have any clue about me (or had at least traveled with me twice, or asked me about my favourite things in life), you would know that I would lose an arm to be Michio Kaku. And that I absolutely love his work.  I owe this man for bringing physics back to me, who has made me feel less of a Failed Physicist-Wannabe. This man is one of a handful of theoretical physicists who have de-mystified phsyics and quantum mechanics for regular human beings. He is one of the few scientists who actually take a stand against nuclear weapons and war. He is one of the even fewer physicists who write about women physicists and the lack of such women in the world of physics. This is a man who may not necessarily be gender-sensitive or feminist, but is not a sexist.

This is how I've always perceived Michio Kaku, so I was absolutely gutted when last night's play painted him as a sexist loser who designed "Molly" the highly-sexualised female robot straight out of sexist geek fantasy. First things first, Kaku is a theoretical physicist. His life's work is the M-Theory (one of the major strands of the Theory of Everything, whom he also calls "The Mother of All Theories"). He is not an applied physics person. I can't imagine him building a robot at all. I've heard about photos of him and the robot he invented, Molly, who was a mechanical Angelina Jolie of sorts. I have never seen that photo of Molly.

Secondly, here's a clarification of how Kaku wrote about Molly the robot: 2020 Vision (the 4th article on the page). I have to rely on the internet for actual quotes at the moment, I don't have my bookshelf with me (I haven't had it in over a month, in fact). I have read Kaku writing about Molly before, but she had never struck me as a highly-sexualised mechanic representation of the dirtiest male fantasies (of a subservient woman with big tits). It's been a while since I revisited "Visions", Kaku's book around the future of science and tech where he talks about Molly, but I've always thought that Molly was kind of like the voice in your head that reminds you of things and makes your life easier and safer. Not necessarily the sex-bot that was acted out in last night's play. I think our own discomfort at male girl-robot fantasies were assigned to last night's Molly, which resulted in Kaku being totally villified. Which is unfair.

Lastly, I've been thinking about last night's Molly and some of the points that were raised about a year ago when I was doing a gender evaluation training for a software localisation project.

So Nepal, 2007. We were talking about the fact that in text-to-speech software (which was particularly useful for illiterate communities), the male voice was much easier to use. It has to do with the differences in the decibel and frequency ranges of women's and men's voices. According to the geeks, in Asia, we did not have the skills and capacity to work with a female voice in text-to-speech software (the skills are available in the US, they said). This results in the absence of (literally) female voices in software that is localised in Asia.

We, the gender advocates in that meeting, said that it was important for women users (especially those who were dealing with their own fears of tech) to be able to hear voices in their software that they can relate to. Simply put, there must be a way to have female voices in the localised text-to-speech software.

So back to Cape Town 2008. If the premise is that having female voices in technology is empowering to women, why then do we have a problem with female-looking /-sounding robots? Wouldn't such an entity be empowering to women as well? Wouldn't such a creature be something that we can relate to as women (as opposed to a male robot)?

Or is the problem we have with Molly the fact that she was presented as a thing that did household work? That she had big boobs last night? That she was highly-sexualised?

Or is the problem because Michio Kaku is male and he was represented as having created her? Is this a problem even if nothing of Kaku's work point to his sexism?

Would Molly and Michio have been saved from ridicule and mockery if they had switched sexes?

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coordinates: cape town
state of mind: grumpy grumpy
background noise: people buzzing at the FTX Hub

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Grabbed off pa3k12 over at multiply because I'm killing time and self-involved.

1. Do you like cheese?
Yes. All sorts but the gorgonzola the best.

2. Are you a chain smoker?
Trying not to be -- well, has not been for the last three weeks.

3. Your favorite song?
Toss up between "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones and "Life on Mars" by David Bowie.

4. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Yes. Because the past year has only brought more medical complications.

5. What do you think of hotdogs?
Indifferent towards them unless they're smothered in chili.

6. Favorite Christmas song?
I don't like Christmas songs.

7. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Tea.

8. Can you do push ups?
I'd like to think so, yes.

9. Favorite superhero?
Gosh. To me, that's just like asking a parent who their favourite kid is (or asking Imelda Marcos what her favourite pair of shoes is)... So, toss up among: Batman, Domino, Buffy, Molly from Neuromancer, The Phoenix, Spider-man, Daredevil, Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoor, Jenny Quantum, Doctor Manhattan, Hellboy... I could go on all day.

10.Secret weapon to get the opposite sex?
Pay them? I don't know these things!!!

11. Whats one trait you hate about yourself?
The lack of control and the need to have it.

12. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment
I hope the Internet here doesn't flake out.
It's cold.
The sage and pumpkin ravioli looks yummy.

13. Name 3 things you bought yesterday?
Breakfast. A bottle of water. The services of a porter at the train station.

14.Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
Black tea with milk. Water. And water.

15. Favorite places?
My room. Anywhere where Lucia is. Anywhere where I can have internet access and smoke. The internet. Anywhere where I can play pool and smoke.

16. What color of shirt are you wearing?
Grey.

17. Can you whistle?

Yes.

18. Favorite color/s?
Anything but brown and yellow.

19. Would you like to be a pirate?
No, I like my hygienic practices, thank you very much.

20.  What songs do you sing in the shower?
The cheesy ones.

21. Favorite girl's name?
Emily

22.  Favorite boy's name?
Joaquin

23.  What's in your pocket right now?
Cigs, lighter, two silver rings, some sand from the beach.

24. Last thing that made you laugh?
See last post.

25. Worst injury you've ever had?
Does a ripped out brow ring count?

26. Do you love where you live?
Generally, yes.

27.How many computers do you have in your house?
One. Mine.

28.Does someone have a crush on you?
I should hope so.

29.What is your favorite bar?
Bar of soap? Or anywhere with a pool table that allows smoking.

30.What is your favorite candy?
Toffee mints.

31.What were you doing 12 AM last night?
Dreaming about my niece telling me that apartheid was a good thing and how horrified I was.

32.What is the first thing you thought of when u woke up?
Where the heck am I?

Tagging: tin, marby, leng, kris, gen, paolo m, big boy... Everyone!

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coordinates: jenny's house, muizenberg
state of mind: calm calm
background noise: dinner being prepared

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Tali, the 6-year-old I was hanging out with in Johannesburg taught me this Barney song:
"I hate you, you
Let's go out and kill Barney,
With a baseball bat and a 4 x 4,
No more purple dinosaur."

(sung to the tune of that irritating Barney song)

This is possibly one of the most disturbing songs I've learned from a child. And that's saying plenty because I know a lot of special (read: weird, highly-intelligent, funny) kids.

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coordinates: kalk bay, cape town
state of mind: sleepy sleepy
background noise: kalk bay sounds

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Tagged by maragtas.

1. What worries you?
      Lately, everything. But mostly the phone ringing.

2. Are you confused as to what lies ahead?
      You mean, there's more? Fuck.

3.  Is there anything that made you unhappy recently?
      The better question is, what has not made me unhappy recently.

4. What did you last cry over?
    The crapiness of the latest Bleach episodes.

5. Have you ever dated someone?
    That's all I've seemed to do lately.

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?
    Neither. Loving the fact that you're alone is best.

7. If the person you like doesn't accept you, would you continue to wait for them to change their feelings?
    No. Ano sya sineswerte?

8. If the person you like is secretly attached, what would you do?
    "Wishing and hoping and praying..." Or however that song goes.

9.  What do you want most in life?
      Right now, a bakery in Batanes.

10. What's the most important thing you look for in a significant other?
       Funny.

11. Have you ever had your heart broken?
       Did the Grand Hitad ever exist?

12.  Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?
       Single and rich. Anyone who chooses the latter is an idiot.

13.  Do you like someone right now?
       Trying very hard not to.

14. Do they like you too?
       I'd pay good money to know the answer to that... No wait! I'm trying not to like anyone... so I don't care!

15. If you fall in love with two persons simultaneously, who would you pick?
       The taller one.

16. What type of friends do you like?
       The ones I have now, thank you very much.

17. If you played a prank on someone, and she/he fell for the trick, what would you do?
       Document it and gloat for life.

18.  If you were betrayed by someone, what would you say to that person?
        Humanda ka sa akin.

19. If the person tagging you likes/loves you, what will you do/say?
      Awww. Lagot ka kay Marby!

20. What do you think of the person who tagged you?
      One of the funniest, funnest people in the world. One of the weirdest, too. Peace, pao!
Tagging: jhybeturtle , binsoup , fairlycloudy on LJ. Tagging: Tin, Leng, Dang, Patrick on Multiply.

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coordinates: dining table, my place
state of mind: anxious anxious
background noise: lucia's conversations

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One of the things I am very sure that I learned from Velma was how to matte lipstick. I was about 9 years old, and matte lipsticks were not so readily available then -- especially because the 1980's was all about glossy lips.

It's simple, she said. First, you apply lip balm, then you put on a thick layer of regular lipstick (in that instance, she was using some fire engine red lipstick). Then you take a sheet of tissue paper and blot your lips on it by putting the tissue in between your lips. Then you dust some powder on your lips. Then apply the lipstick again and blot your lips one more time.
This trick was designed to not only create a matte lip but to make sure that your lipstick stays on, she said.

And then she made me do as she instructed. I had no idea why she was teaching me all this, and I really would have preferred to mix lipstick and powder on a petri-dish in my makeshift "Lab" to put the concoction under my microscope than to see how a matte lip would look on me. And I think she saw that look on my face that told her that I thought nothing more of her than some ex-debutante / beauty queen / cheerleader type. So she put me in my place by telling me that I needed to learn how to matte my lips because my lips were too big to go glossy, and that I would be grateful for the knowledge she was giving me when I grew up.

Who could argue with that, right? So I ignored the jibe about the size of my lips and applied my first matte lip.

I have often wondered in the decades following that incident what made her get up from her bed and lead (read: command) me to her dresser for an impromptu make-up session. It's not like I was some girly-girl who would have bugged her for such Beauty Wisdom. Or maybe it was because I wasn't a girly-girl so she probably reckoned that she should volunteer the wisdom because I was too busy dreaming of white lab coats and robots to ask her -- or to even know the value of such questions.

Or perhaps it was simply unacceptable to her that one of her daughters would go on existing without knowing how to properly create a matte lip. That's a very Velma thing to think.

Velma may have forced her make-up and beauty tips on me at a young age. But she was the one who also bought me a toy Gatling Gun, a Spider-man arm and Swiss Army knives. She may have tried to raise me as the perfect corporate wife but she also never stopped me from taking Judo lessons. She may have stopped talking to me for a week after I came home with my first tattoo, but she was also the one who proudly brandished my daggered arm to her friends at work.

And I do think that all my contradictions, the inconsistencies that make me unique, I got that from her. Because I do know how to create a matte lip but I also know how to tell a Gatling Gun apart from a Hauser. Because she allowed me to learn both. To be both.

It's Mother's Day today. One of the few days in a year where I allow myself to miss her. So today, I will wallow in my memories of Velma. That's my way of celebrating today with her.

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I've finally decided which Szymborska lines to commit to. There were too many to choose from. But her Travel Elegy just spoke to me last week, for some reason. So here goes:



And for those of you not fluent in Tattoo, it says:
Everything is mine but just on loan,
Nothing for the memory to hold,
Though mine for as long as I look.


It's there to remind of everywhere I've been,  everyone I've known and every time I felt like the world was mine.

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coordinates: my bedroom
background noise: KN typing over at skype

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So a late night conversation with the Monkey Master. I was waxing (almost) lyrical about peanut butter and why it's one of the best things in the world. So the following (paraphrased) conversation ensues:

Monkey Master: We didn't have peanut butter when I was growing up.
c5: How tragic!
Monkey Master: The Communists deprived us of peanut butter. All peanut butter was horded in capitalist societies and we had none.
c5: I reckon you didn't grow peanuts locally.
Monkey Master: Yes. But we had walnuts and peas.
c5: Please don't tell me you had Pea Butter.
Monkey Master: No, we ate burned plastic imported from the West, spread on bread.
c5: That must have stuck to your teeth like a bitch.
Monkey King: We particularly liked those that came from the Philippines, they sometimes had a few atoms of peanut butter left in them.

It was at that point that I almost fell off my chair laughing. Hahahaha.

This may be the funniest conversation I will have this week. It would not be easy to top.

Tags: ,
coordinates: home. the dining table, specifically
state of mind: full stuffed with peanut butter
background noise: Annie Lennox -- Dark Road

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Tagged by maragtas.

My current desktop:



A couch in Singapore.

Tagging: jhybeturtle, fairlycloudy eclair and binsoup :-)

Tags: , ,
coordinates: on a couch in Singapore
state of mind: awake awake
background noise: tv sounds

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