Sunday, July 29

Commuter Reading

Every day, I commute an hour to an hour and a half each way. It would have been nice to be able to really read something while in transit, unfortunately, I shift modes of transportation quite often. The longest ride I take is a 14 minute train ride, with perhaps a nine minute wait thrown in. Not exactly the best situation for reading.

MJ Iles, in this essay in The Guardian, agrees that commuter reading only allows you to "snatch at literature": "Though I see other people doing it, I don't think this is the way to read books. Only if I didn't care about a novel - only if I considered it not worth appreciating - would I subject it to such a reading process."

Iles suggests "episodic novels," which are "oddly out of favour nowadays." Short stories would be ideal, if only if they weren't the wrong length--it's either too short that a page is all you have, or too long that you have to stand aside and finish reading it while on the escalator, or hold up the line at the turnstiles. Poetry's also possible, but since I ride early in the morning and my caffeine buzz is still not there, I don't even want to try it.

It's really quite the dilemma, unless you're perfectly happy listening to the radio. Or as Iles suggest, do Sudoku. But since I'm not numbers oriented myself, I might just close my eyes and maybe catch some more shuteye.


FlyLady gives us 5 tips on how to declutter:
Your home is filled with clutter of all shapes and sizes. This is why you are unable to keep it clean. You have too much STUFF. All we ask is that you set a timer and spend 15 minutes a day decluttering. That's it. Anyone can do anything for only 15 minutes, even if you have to break it down into 5 minutes segments. What do you have to lose (besides clutter LOL!)?
This is something that I really need to do. My place is a fire trap. Five minutes a day for 27 days doesn't sound too bad--unless I forget all about it by like, day 5?

Sunday, July 22

Nom de porn

Did a classmate make your high school life suck a lot? Had a falling out with a friend? Then be a porn star and use HER name instead of yours.

You might get sued in the process, but at least you're not the one getting weird IMs from lecherous former batch mates.


1,500 inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center do Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Jail director Byron Garcia believes that music is good for the inmates' well-being, so he had them too YMCA, Radio Gaga and Hail Holy Queen.

Adam Jasper for Viceland magazine has this to say about prisons in the Philippines, at least as run by Byron Garcia: "Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center is different. It is a brand new prison built on the American model, with fingerprint scanners, closed-circuit TV, and orange uniforms. It’s run by Byron F. Garcia, and because he thinks it’s a jewel of a facility, he took me on a tour and let me photograph whatever I wanted."

Seems like this is what you do when bored and have plenty of play/inmates.

Meanwhile, this makes me think really hard about that urban legend which claims that civil servants only have half a brain.

Okay, this is not helping me get any sleep.


Saturday, July 21

Bedtime Teas

I'm down to the last bag of my caffeine free herbal teas, which help me sleep nights. What I'm sipping right now is the last of my Sleepytime tea, a blend of chamomile, spearmint, lemon grass, tilia flowers, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn berries, and rosebuds.

According to the website, this warm cup "creates a lullaby of tender flavor to soothe your senses. This 100% natural, gentle cup of hot tea lets you curl up under a quilt of flavor and quiet the tensions of your world."

The other day, I also drank the last of my Noche, which promises me "happy nights" through its blend of melissa, orange blossoms, chamomile, linden blossom and fennel seeds. It's a different blend from the one above, but a staple of these calming teas seem to be orange blossoms and chamomile. I bought Noche from one of the Spanish booths in the big international tiangge last Christmas. So unless I find a supplier here, I might have to wait for my "happy nights" in the next bazaar.

Sometimes I eat kiwi fruit, which is also effective, but dependent on (a) whether there's some available in the supermarket, or (b) if I actually have enough money to buy them fruits. There was one time that the only kind available was the "golden" one. The usual kiwi is brown and has furry skin. But golden kiwis are less furry and inside it's yellow. Chinabelles also more expensive. Kiwis of any kind are expensive. Gah.

I'm crossing my fingers that when I go the supermarket tomorrow, I'll find either one of these teas, or maybe some kiwi. If desperate, I might resort to the Sandman teas, but if I remember correctly, I didn't have much success with that particular brand.

Saturday, July 14

Get this party started

Dame Shirley Bassey gets the party started.

At 70 years old and with a new studio album, she definitely rocks it better than Pink. The opening scroll reminds me of Madonna c. Bedtime Stories and Immaculate Collection, but better.

It's such a shame that I only discovered Shirley Bassey last year I think, when some friends and I were hanging out in this cafe along the Riverbanks and they were playing this album. The boldest one asked the waiters what it was, he borrowed the CD and promptly ripped it off and copied it to his hard drive. But it's all for a good cause.


Sunday, July 1

Cat Roundup

New research indicates that cats probably domesticated themselves. Why? Because they have no opposable thumbs. Domestic cats may be genetically traced from five wild cats. They were either lured into domesticated by the mice in ancient people's grain storage places or they mated with domesticated cats. All this happened downwards of 160,000 years ago, although some people argue it's most likely 12,000 years ago .

You can read The Washington Post's David Brown's interview with Carlos Driscoll from the University of Oxford here.