Friday, January 28, 2011

The Philosophy of Roller Coaster riding with Nadal

The highs and lows, they make the ride worthwile.

I like surprises, the plotted twists in a drama series and anything out of the ordinary that makes me wonder or doubt.  When everything is always calm, predictable and constant it leaves me bored and cold.

Perfection is what I've always aim for but that doesn't mean I don't push myself way too hard. I'm not afraid to crash and burn as long as I know that what I am doing is life changing, thus what is the point for setting goals if it's too achievable?

Reaching from point A to B to start with is fine but afterwards one would feel that reaching point C from B has become mediocre because it has been done before. Probably aiming to reach point G would take a grueling effort, but its worth the shot even if you don't reach that far because along the way you learn from mistakes and become tougher to dwell in difficult situations. 

For me, becoming the best in anything means you have to take risks. It's always inevitable to fail in life because without it you will never appreciate the sweetness that victory brings.

Roller coaster rides are designed to have high and low points so that the adrenalin rush remains pounding all the way through the ride.

If the ride goes in a linear fashion and way too close on the ground- where you feel safe and comfortable, there's no sense in riding it- better yet, sleep and conquer your fears while dreaming, it would be more exciting and be a better learning experience. 

Nadal, wiping the tears away on the side court.
This week so far was a hell of a roller coaster ride in the perspective of my favourite Rafael Nadal.  Of all contenders in the Australian Open he's got the biggest motivation to win the title. 4th Grand Slam in row would put him in Tennis history along with Rod Laver.

Losing a match with an injury that was only acquired in just the early minutes first set is totally devastating.  The hamstring injury was not the sole reason why he lost in three straight sets.  David Ferrer despite being no. 7 was rock solid and amazing that even if Rafa (being the no.1 player) was healthy,  it would have been a very gritty close fight. 

With that loss, I cannot help but feel sad as if the world has been torn into pieces and thrown in the fire. I was mourning, trying to fathom how can I lift my spirits then I thought carefully about what Rafa said after the match: 
"Last year I had a fantastic year. This year the year just start. Last year in the beginning I had problems, too, and finally was the best season of my career. I think is almost impossible to repeat that. But remain a lot, and remain a lot to have hopefully really good moments, and at the same time, too, really negative moments."

"So this is one of bad ones, one of negative moments. That’s part of the sport. I think I am very, very lucky sportsman about what happened in my career. And I have to accept the fantastic moments that I had during a lot of years with the same calm that when I have problems. And if I am ready to accept both things with I think let’s say everything the same, I going to be able to come back and play my best tennis another time."  

 Rafa remains humble in accepting his defeat and says it is just part of any sports career. He remains even grateful for what he has achieved so far and did not see this defeat as the end of his dream. For last year, he had faced a similar problem as early as January but afer that everything went boom- boom- boom: 3 grand slams in a row. 

He knows that the physical, emotional and mental conditions are never going to be perfect for anyone to win all the time-  just the same that he knows how to keep his foot on the ground. 

After every successful battle, his hard work never stops from there. For him life goes on, being on top is continuous work, not just a result of overnight success. 

His staying power will be there for a long time because accepts everything, good or bad, just the same- that his accomplishments never gets stuck in his head where others would have been so over confident; and that this deafeated moment will not hinder him from rising up again where others would have chosen to quit or sulk all the time.  

This is why I love Rafael Nadal. 

On the court he is fierce, bold and agressive. He always play to win, make shots that are seemingly impossible and pound the ball with enormous strength.

Its like watching a matador run for his life in a bull fight. Passion and excitement is the flavour he brings on the court, that even a non tennis fan like me converted got to the tennis bandwagon last year.

There's nothing wrong in playing with so much gusto, although I must say, with the way he plays I'm also worried that he will attract injuries along the way. Not all bodies, as we all know, are perfectly designed to suit agressive play. Good thing he keeps coping with the one he has.

He's taking accountability and not using it as a primary excuse for his losses.  I like that he is stubborn- willing to move in top speed mentally, even if at times his body does not follow through. 

He risks with everything he's got not withstanding the toll on his body. But unlike ordinary folks, he's not afraid to play even if the chances of losing is close to 90% and  that's the courage I've seen in his match vs. Ferrer. He didn't quit even if he knows he will lose from the time his thigh muscle was injured.

Yeah, he takes us on roller coaster rides but beneath that strong persona lies a calm and humble soul with a wisdom that speaks volumes, that even his less than perfect English is enough to make his point across. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rafael Nadal, My Inspiration

Nadal, the new ass body of Armani
Artists create art from inspiration.

And although I am not an artist I seek for inspiration from the world that is above and around me.

The only difference that I have from a painter or a photographer is that I don't imitate on a canvass or capture through the lens the beauty that is in front of me. Rather, I look in depth, seek what makes them amazing and try to learn from them.  

Rafael Nadal was one of those few people that made my jaw draw drop when I first saw him playing on hard court.

He possesses an intensity so engaging to watch. If he was playing against me I would be intimidated by this graceful court mover but at the same time admire him too for making me play my best or worse.  

A year ago I did not at all fancy tennis, but when I saw him damage his opponent, I cannot help but root for this Spaniard Stallion who refuses to give up. It's like I had an epiphany. After seeing Rafael Nadal's short stint in the Australian Open 2010, I had a sudden spark of interest in tennis. My friends and I tried playing it on court occasionally. 

Playing is fun but quite a struggle for an inexperienced body that I have. The important thing is I was able to built that respect for professional tennis players after trying it out for myself. 

 2nd round last January 20 at the  Australian Open
If not for Rafael Nadal tennis would forever look like a dry sport, to my eyes.I believe that it is the great players that bring the life and passion out of any sport. Remove the players and the court is cold and flat, very one dimensional. 

The world's no. 1 tennis player is here on Australian soil with hopes still alive of winning a 4 straight grandslam. 

He has everything at stake but he remains a humble soul. I find it amazing that his demeanor changes everytime he steps outside the court and talks about his success.

Fierce on the court but very poised out of it. He doesn't boast about how good he is, instead he is generous on praises he gives to his defeated opponents. For Nadal, every match is like the last one, he plays as if he has everything to lose. He is always in the moment, never missing a beat. 

However, sometimes I worry that he gives too much and it may have a drawback on him.

But I was wrong, he is a firing machine that never runs out of bullets. Yesterday in the 4th round against Marin Cilic, Rafael Nadal chased a ball so near to the net that seems so impossible to recover but he hit it suavely back to the opponent's side and outwitted Cilic.That was just in the first set and yet he dived for the ball as much as he could.

            Every ball is an opportunity
Physicality is his strongest asset but more than that, his mentality is also in best shape. 

Nothing can bring him down for that long, even if down by 4 games last Saturday with a match against Bernard Tomic, Rafael Nadal used his frustration to climb back and win that set. 

His mind never rests on his record breaking successes. He goes on, play, analyse his mistakes and works on them to overcome his weaknesses and improve his game. 

There is no secret to Rafael Nadal's success, you can easily see why he is one of the best sportsman to date, he always stays hungry and that's what I want to apply in my life. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Golden Globe Glamour

What do we get out from award shows? 

For me it’s like I am star gazing. I know this is not Project Runaway or America’s Next Top Model just because these ridiculously beautiful stars strut on the red carpet and judged on who or what they are wearing. 

For the most part I am just curious on seeing ‘stars wear themselves’ and not impersonate a character’s fashion sense in the movies. There are lots of people that work, from personal trainers to makeup artists just to make them look beautiful and glamorous, and so seeing the finished product is fascinating. 

O-k-a-y it is an awards show for filmakers and actors and not for designers and stylists.  Who cares? We can't watch all the movies right now to criticise, so for the meantime I want to feast my eyes on what's eating up the Golden Globe red carpet.

For the fun part,here are the things I've learned so far:

1. If you have it,  flaunt it. 

Tacky Berry. If you have a knock out body like Harry Berry there’s no need cover up yourself, or the need to find the best jewellery or hair extensions. Her arms, legs and cleavage are enough to make men drool and women get jealous.


Red Hot. Either you love it or you hate it. I just love the boldness this dress brings which is the opposite of what January Jones is commonly mistaken for, the ice queen. Might look like she came from Vagas but this girl is on fire.

2. Wear your best accessory.

Bring your best man. The only thing I love about this dress is the colour (emerald green) and her accessory of the night- Brad Pitt. This is just so matronly and I am not surprised if this came from Barbara Walter's closet. Angelina's frame is so tiny and seems fragile, and probably underneath the long sleeves are skeletons she's hiding?

A rose among the thorns.This is my favourite among the pale coloured gowns that night because there are two focal points: her baby bump and the rose holding it all together. Natalie Portman's face is a classic, the makeup compliments it perfectly. 

3. Let it shine!  

 The Prom Queen. Olivia Wilde's expression says it all, happy as can be. Who wouldn't be when you're sparkly ball gown with golen shoes to match it. By the way where did her crown go?

Best on my list. Anne Hathaway's long sleeved gown is quite similar with Angelina Jolie's Emerald piece but this one came with a bit of revealing surprise. Shoulder pads with glitz can go retro but this one is an exception.

Shiny. Shimmery. Splendid. Amber Riley of Glee maybe singing to that tune in her head as she walked down the red carpet.

4. Never use the curtain! 

Blast from the (ugh) past. I don't know what this dress is made for but certainly it's not for the glam red carpet. Probably she was shooting a horror film in 18th century. Oh yeah, it is couture but I don't care-  it looks hideous!

 What-a-drag! Who stole Sandra Bullock's spark? I love her personality but this dress drags her inner bulb to light. The bangs are edgy but it doesn't suit the outdated look. 

Vintage can add Age. The paleness of this dress is very haunting and sucked the life out of Scarlett Johansson. She looks less than a bombshell that she used to be.  Perhaps she's fishing for motherly roles? Hope not.

5. Monochromatic is cool. 

Pretty in Pink. Claire Danes has just the right amount of sweetness. A little more sugar would have been a oversweetened cupcake like what Lea Michele wore. 

 Sleek Chic. This is a trendy dress and  I haven’t seen something like this before. Emma Stone's hair is new too- platinum blonde. The dress is not a sore to the eyes and the longer I look at it the more I adore it. This is a statement piece and I wonder if the trend now going minimalistic? 

6. Black is beautiful and still a classic.

The Black Widow. I'm not used to seeing Eva Longoria in full black and without her accessory on the red carpet- Tony Parker. She looks elegant and makes me not think she's still crying over that jerk.


Holy Moly Kelly. Black but not boring- looks like a thunder of fabulosity hit her in the right spot creating this elgant number.  

7.  Wear the right dress for the right occassion. 

Summer Fling. I'm expecting a lot from Heidi Klum because she's the host of Project Runway and howcome she comes up with this carefree (I'm going shopping, etc ) look which makes me assume that she just got off from a cruise in Caribbean! 

All-around-cloth. You can find it hanging on the window or on top of the table. The form is unflattering in so many ways. Michelle Williams looks more pregnant than Natalie Portman in this maternity gown made from the 60's.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Floods in Queensland

Monday, the 10th of January started like an ordinary day.

The grass is wet, the weather is cool: a perfect time to grab a cup of coffee.Here in the country, cloudy days seem to be the perfect time to gaze upon the window and look at the pastures of never ending green.

Noon came and the sun is still behind those angry clouds. 

It rained so hard. 

For a few hours it remained that way. It was the perfect recipe for a flood I suppose, but I never suspected anything tragic to happen.

However in my mind was the Toowoomba CBD: I just sent an application to one of the offices there. I was wondering if perhaps during those times someone was browsing through my cover letter- only to realise that those were in fact the times where the ‘inland tsunami’ hit the city streets! 

I somewhat knew it was coming.

It is raining all summer; we had a very wet Christmas. There was flooding mostly here in southern Queensland, but not the kind that’s deadly and turbulent: capable to take lives, homes and dreams.

I know what it’s like to have ones house inundated by flood water. It happened to us- twice at our home that’s nearby a creek in Manila.

The aftermath was chaotic:  mud and rubbish from I don’t know where, scattered around the neighbourhood. Inside our house there was foul smell loitering for several days even if we washed our floors and walls mightily.

Because I’m a flood survivor, there are two things I’ve learned so far:

First,  moderate rain  for a couple of days or just few hours of heavy rain- both can cause serious flooding.

And second, a home built near an inland body of water is dangerous.   

I watched the news and saw horror. 
 These are familiar streets. I’ve passed by them. Never did it come to me that such horrendous torrent of water can terrorize the lovely garden city! For a place situated 2,300 feet above sea level this seems close to impossible.

What disturbed me the most and made me realise how tragic this is the fact that lives were lost and people became missing.

Toowoomba always made headlines every time the annual flower festival comes, this time however, I don’t know if this tragic event will overshadow what this city is best known for

The horror train went on without stopping. 

At first, I was relieved that none of the people we knew went missing, or lost a car- just a very few whose house was inundated by flood water.

Soon afterwards, the authorities alerted that the massive pool of water will be making stops at Ipswich and Brisbane: like a train reaching its destination. Soon enough there there was chaos.

I've seen much worse that this but something about everything I've seen, heard and read tells me that this one is not just a story dramatising mother nature's wrath but rather a story showing human nature at its finest.

After water floods have subsided many volunteers, as many as 3,000 from all arond Brisbane to help clean the streets and properties engulfed in mud. Everyone who came brought their best cleaning equipments with sympathy in their hearts.

To them no one is a stranger, everyone's seems like a family. I wish I could have lend a hand too but roads may have been still damaged going to Brisbane.

It has exactly been a week since this tragedy happened. The mess that this flood left is not yet totally cleaned up.Full recovery can take place for months or even years.

There are still unresolved problems like denied  insurance claims for properties, non-stop mortgage payments for damaged houses and missing people.Businesses which premises were wrecked may have to close temporarily and others permanently, which means job losses.

Toowoomba, a 40 minute drive from where I live seems to be pretty much cleaned up compared to other places however when we went to grocery shopping at Coles, the veggie, egg, meat and milk section is so underwhelming. 

The Queensland flooding has been in my thoughts all week long. It came unexpected so here I am drowning in my own thoughts, wondering how  fellow Queenslanders are coping and wondering what's ahead of us.

This is painful but life must go on. Queensland Motorways made that reminder to me just now: an email saying that tolls will be reinstated in Gateway and Logan motorway starting midnight. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Learning Spanish. ¿Por que?

More than words?

 “The more you repeat a material, the more you’ll remember it.”   

This is a borrowed line from my ‘Spanish instructor’ and my imagination just ran wild immediately after reading that line.

I know for sure I am not the only girl in the world who has a fascination for Spanish men. To prove this, I found a facebook group named: Spanish men are HOT

And I couldn’t help myself but agree and click join.  It will be easier if I can learn the language through a face-to –face conversation with a Spanish hearthrob. That would be like hitting 2 birds at one stone. 

But realistically all I have now are resources ample enough to get myself a Drive Time Spanish CD. And the Spanish instructor I earlier quoted comes from this audio material.  

My intent to learn Spanish has nothing to do with practical use. I am neither joining the Amazing Race nor moving to Spain this summer. 

Falling in love with this language is inevitable knowing that my heritage has Spanish influences. 

But putting biases out of the picture, I know I’d still fall in love with a Spanish lullaby the first time I hear it. Beginner and intermediate Spanish has been part of the curriculum back in College. It’s like a blessing and curse. 

No one can force me to study on my own because I was interested like a 7 year old, however the professors were stiff and quick tempered Señoras.

I also had the opportunity to enrol in an intermediate Spanish course in the US under the instruction of a native speaker. He knows better than my previous professors nonetheless but he did not act like he was the King of the hill, patient and kind in fact. 

I got good marks but after I finished the course I did not practice and increase my vocabulary. Time ran its course and my Spanish got brittle. 

Some people think that it’s already too late to learn a language as an adult because our tongues have become unbendable and our minds too stubborn. This is untrue especially for those with an open mind and willing to grasp everything like a sponge. 

The only way of retaining an acquired skill is to apply it consistently. This is the part where I stumbled. 

Learning Spanish or any other language is not the same with learning how to bike, that when you learn once you’re going to remember it forever.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The 7 day itch

Should you always give in to the itch?
 It’s official. The first week of 2011 has passed by.

It’s so fast that couldn’t believe I’m saying this right now. Is it time to assess my progress this year? It would be premature, but because I can, I will.  [Insert Evil laugh]

No but seriously, a week’s time is not enough to make something like ‘reading a book’ a hardcore habit- most likely if what you have as a starter is a vintage baby that smells exactly the way it looks. 

This book was worth £0.67 back in 1974 and I bought it for $1 three decades after. I would have wanted to read a non-fiction book that written within the last 5 years but I was already aching to read asap therefore I made the most convenient choice. 

‘The One’, as I would like to call this chosen book-of-the-month, has been sitting right beside my bed and piling up dust these past few months. Guilty as charged, I gave it a chance and picked it up with a just flicker of interest. 

To be honest, I am not really into fiction books but since this book has become one of my favourite movies of all time, hence there is no need for hard selling.

Few days have gone and I am still stuck at the prologue. Wow- that’s new I suppose. Usually, I will read as many pages as I could on the first sitting so I could trick my mind to cooperate. Therefore reading the rest of the chapters in the forthcoming days would be easy breezy.  

As an occasional book reader, it’s no surprise that the root of my falling-in-and-out-of-love with reading is  because of my little attention span.

In order for me to bring forth that passion I try to immerse myself in several pages, find something interesting about it to hang onto, that I may have an assurance that it is worth my time and I wouldn't just quit the next day. 

Nevertheless, I am doing the exact opposite. I don’t know if I should feel good knowing that  my start has been a bit sluggish. Probably this means that I really enjoyed what I read, so I am taking my time while I linger on this feeling of awe caused by my new found literary adventure.

It’s not so hard to figure out where this guilt is coming from. The control freakishness in me wants to scratch the itch so bad.

Giving in would give an instant sooth but it would be for all the wrong reasons. I choose to love slowly but surely. I want a relationship with J.R.R Tolkien, not just a love affair.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Life is a box of chocolates

We enter this world clueless about everything: having no idea who our parents are going to be and what the colour of our skin is.  And once we come out from our mother's womb- that's it; life begins with everybody's permission, but us. 

Some people were born at time of desperation and grief, a time when the world is at war and everyone is on their knees, waiting for rations of food. 

I wonder what it's like for child growing up in a facade where soldiers, trucks and guns were a staggering reality, and not a set of imitation toys that come from a box with G.I Joe in it. 

A childhood clouded in instability and grounded in fear brings out a set of qualities far from those children born with a silver spoon in their mouth: a utensil used by filthy rich parents in creating spoiled brats- spooning caviars and luxurious excesses.    

We are more the same than we think we are not.  

How I express my emotions, what I prefer to eat in the morning or whom I choose to go out with is just a result of life’s concoctions or nature's accident. In the beginning, we barely have any choice; we are forced to accept what we are born with: a protruding forehead, a competitive sibling, or a traditional society. 

A combination of different traits, family background and environmental factors can produce many archetypes: the black sheep, damsel in distress or a knight in shining armour, just to name a popular few. 

Even though no individual is a carbon copy of each other in all aspects, friendships can still blossom even from outside one's circle, because out of the many things to like and dislike, chances are high that there might be somebody out there who also appreciates, for example: the serenading charm of the Backstreet Boys, as you do. 

I think if you strip out all of mankind's inherent and acquired qualities, we are one and the same, just like plants that will nevertheless grow and contribute to the ecosystem may it rooted be in a garden pot or in the rich soil of the Amazon wild.

We experience and interpret life in various degrees. 

History as we know it is accounted by the best of the best. Top notch skills inclined with accuracy and organisation are capitalised to produce a story to be read by future generations- all with the purpose of capturing a valuable point in time. 

His ‘story’ or an author’s point of view- on how man discovered fire, what triggered the 9/11 tragedy, or how Michael Jackson turned white, is more likely a universal fact for having been based on evidences and testimonies that fits like a glove, but I believe that narrations, no matter how agreeable and compelling it seems, will always be just a speck of the truth.

I’m not questioning the reliability of history books and investigative reports. Facts are facts but it will always be subject to human error; and to what degree it has pulled away from what really happened- only God knows. 

As limitless beings, we’re always in search of sanity and purpose. We look at another person’s experience to make logical conclusions and subjective interpretations. Neither is right or wrong- except on what we choose to believe. 

We easily make judgments that life is unfair for good natured people living on less than a dollar a day, but who knows- they might actually be more contented and at peace with who they are, than those people with so much money but become slaves to it, thus having suicidal tendencies or end up on rehab centres.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why do I always love the beginning of things?

Starting over, again and again. It does get tiring.

They say that it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at anything. Since it’s the start of the New Year, this promising thought gave me a glimmer of hope! 

It fuelled something in me to finally commit at pursuing my lifelong goals and one of which is to have my own blog.  My first post had long been overdue because I never really prioritised it.

To confess, I am a recovering cluttered mess who easily gets distracted and  forgets what she must prioritise. And so I make it a point that I write my to-do-list someplace where I can always see them. That is from the vast space of my wall, to google docs and down to my 100 leaf notebook.

The incessant need to remind myself that my life is supposed to have goals is because I can easily get lost and be eaten by a thought that says: 
 “You can't do it. Why waste time at something you’re not good at?”

I am one of those people who would candidly describe themselves as a little bit of this and a little bit of that. 

I can act well but not the Meryl Streep calibre, sketch women fashion wear but it’s too one dimensional, or dance gracefully but will not even make the cut off in So You Think You Can Dance. It’s frustrating to know that I didn't pushed myself harder to turn these little talents into cash, passion or as means where I can help people. 

The thing is I heartily enjoy planning and good at getting things started. Writing a list about what I want in my organiser is like daydreaming - only that I can see it in words.  

I also cut pretty pictures from magazines of places I want to go and things I want to have and stick it on my bedroom wall. This gives me an adrenalin rush I used to have as a grade schooler doing her collage project.

The problem is that in the middle of any self imposed project, may it be getting lean in 6 months or reading a book on a regular basis, moments do come where I feel like asking myself- what the hell am I doing? Doubts about everything I have signed into start to creep in because I either get bored, uninspired or feel like I am not progressing and will not go anywhere.  

Being a perfectionist also adds fire to these chicken out moments.  

Frustration with details, sequences or with how I pictured things are supposed to happen usually comes as a VIP guest. 

I am an escape artist that teleports from one thing to another, right before I mess up the current one. When I hit the plateau I find that it’s easier to change directions so I can rethink whether or not something is really worth my time and effort.  However, by changing directions every time I encounter a bump in the road, chances become higher that I will never reach any destination. 

The pay off of being an all rounder or devoting your energy in all directions is that you are never going to master a skill.  The truth that I hate admitting is that the reason why I never get to do anything significant in my life is because I'm afraid to commit mistakes, fail and in return be unloved by people who are expecting a lot from me. 

I have made countless of resolutions all year round because for me every day is a fresh start. However, I have failed to appreciate the essence of waking up every single day with 24 hours at my expense. 

 I couldn’t care less that my happy days on earth is just limited by an expiry date- invisibly marked deep down my skin, which of course can surface anytime, to think accidents happen not only on Friday the 13th. 

The recurring thought in my head goes like: I am in my prime years to even think about what I might be losing, when after all I am still building my ideal life. 

So there lies in me a false sense of hope every time the New Year unfolds because I see a perfect opportunity to redeem myself, when in fact I am just attracted to how ideal the situation seems to be.  

1/1/11 is such a perfect date. It’s like a beginning of everything- going back to square one. Yes, the New Year is promising, much more if we keep our promises as promised! 

Well, starting this blog was one of things I wanted to do, not because I'm narcissistic but I want to organise the chaos in my head and lay them down in less than 700 words. 

Now is one of those rare chances that I have tricked myself. What better way to start the year right than launch a blog. But of all the lousy promises I’ve ever made, I hope this one will prove otherwise. 

This blog is a working project- the one I intend to keep. 

It’s a serious commitment to write on regular basis and make it something more, aside from being readable. I am doing this to save myself and as I go further, let this be a wonderful waste of space especially for people like me who are struggling to channel their weaknesses and eccentricities in a good way.  

Happy New Year!  Let this be a new beginning with a happy ending. Cheers.