Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Kind of Food for Thought

I love music. I mean, who doesn't listen to music? If there were such people, they'd have to be pretty boring (aside from those who are deaf, of course.)

Songs are things that I can be sure of. After a day where nothing is predictable, it comforts me to put on a set of earphones and be sure that I'll be hearing the lyrics that I know. I just can't get enough of music, especially the kinds that take me to places. Some songs are not just simple melodies to me - they're a state of mind.

Amazingly, I listen to just about anything. I know some people like to stick to a genre but it's just not for me. Why just have the appetizer when you have a main course and a dessert? Thats how I look at it. Its understandable that one might choose to remain loyal to a certain type of music, I just like being loyal to music in general. Who likes labels, anyway? Ok, some people do, but not I.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stooges to Each Others Comedy

I'm very proud to say that I had a very productive day today - for my standards, at least. I woke up at 7:00 in the morning to go to church. Read the previous sentence very well. At the very start of the day, I did 2 things that I never EVER do willingly - I believe I've earned bragging rights for that.

No, I'm not lying. A few of my friends at the hostel where I live invited me to go to church, and so we did. It's amazing to see what you could accomplish when you've got a good plan and some willpower (2 things which I always seem to be running low on.)

Anyway, what I want to write about on this post is not about church, it's about something that I just realized about my hostel friends - three of them, to be more specific.

Lee, Lopez, and Robert.

First, Lee. In my perspective, he's the crazy one. He's easy to get along with and he's good company, especially if you're looking for laughs. The kind of laughs that take you over the edge of sanity. I'll tell you honestly, he can make a joke about anything and it'll be funny (anything).

Now, if the word 'badass' ever chose to live as a human being, I'm pretty sure it would take on a form in the image of Lopez. He's a real down to earth guy who knows who he is and shows confidence in himself. He's definitely the cool guy - and he's very blunt about it.

Last but not least; Robert. The wise one. He keeps a sense of maturity while still being able to be a versatile companion. He's got some Filipino blood and it's nice to feel a little bit of home when I'm spending time with him. He even speaks to me in Tagalog sometimes.

Believe me when I say that if you spend too much time with any one of these three, it won't be long until you get ticked off somehow - it takes a lot of patience to let them grow on you. But if you put them together, you'll feel your troubles wash away from your mind. It's like some sort of short term drug that keeps you from having a meltdown from stress. I swear, it's like a movie, where each person plays their own role to perfection. I'm really glad that I have these guys as my friends - and I fear the day that they no longer need to be college, which is the only reason I even met them.

Everything changes, everything moves on. I know that day will come, but for now, I don't care about it. It's too big of a problem to keep worrying about, so I just won't. Not now.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

To Sleep, or Not to Sleep.

Today, I woke up twice. The first time was more of an involuntary reflex wherein my body told me to wake up for classes. Then I realized it was Saturday so without missing a beat, I sunk back to sleep. Now the good thing about the weekend is you can get all the sleep you want, and I love my sleep. The problem is that I hate waking up and realizing that half of my day was spent unconsciously in bed. Well, nobody can have everything :/

I have this ideal sleeping pattern that I just wish I could enter. It would be awesome if I could fall asleep the moment I chose, but thats not what I'm able to do. Sleeping time for me is when I've spent past 15 hours awake. I love my sleep, I just wish I knew how to control my sleeping habits. I lay down in bed and try to keep my eyes shut but then I keep thinking about all the stuff I could be doing. Owning a laptop is one of my biggest distractions - not to mention all the games I have in it.

Being a bit of an insomniac, I follow the 20 minute rule - which states that if I don't fall asleep within 20 minutes, I get up and do something else that might help me sleep like some light reading or anything of those likes. The problem is that I don't do light reading. I do really strenuous activities with hopes that I exhaust myself to sleep. I listen to music but then the lyrics just intrigue me which leads to some really groovy thoughts that keep me awake. Theres also the occasional cigarette, which really doesn't do me good in any way.

When all is said and done, I don't really know what I should do to fall asleep. I wish I did. I'll probably figure it out sometime in the future and think 'Wow, I should have thought of that years ago.'

Friday, January 22, 2010

Malaise with Malays

I'll admit it, I do have a self control problem. Most of the time, I'm avoiding things that I should do on purpose - even when I know what the consequences are.

Back in the Philippines, I was generally a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy who didn't care about priorities or financial budgeting. I did what I wanted, knowing that other people were doing that kind of stuff for me. Now that I'm in college (let alone, another country) I've come to realize that taking care of yourself means more than just eating right and getting proper exercise. Everything I need to do is now under my responsibility. I used to let my laundry pile up, now I take care of it after the first 3-4 items. I used to throw my stuff on the floor after use, now I just make sure to put everything where it should be before my bed turns into a jungle. Learning to live by myself is really enlightening. Not only am I studying at college, I'm also gaining experience that I can apply to my life right here and now.

Learning while learning to live. It's a pain, but I like it in many ways. I'm a bit of a glutton for troubles - I believe so because trouble seems to favor me. It's not the trouble that I find appealing, its the challenge of overcoming it. I do believe that a bit of suffering hardens you, keeps you strong, keeps you fighting - keeps you willing. Yes, it is tiring. Yes, it is brutal - but it is satisfying once accomplished. For me, happiness is overcoming your worries so I keep that in mind and use it as fuel to drive me.

What I find comforting is the fact that everyone at the hostel where I live is going through the same discomforts as me. I guess I must be doing something right - I'm still alive, after all. Seeing that I'm doing just as badly as everyone else gives me a sense of security - it tells me that things CAN get better if choose to make it better. Living with people who know how to procrastinate as much as I do isn't really a productive environment but we all know that when you gotta do it, you gotta do it. I'm not saying they're bad influences, they're nice guys who are just trying to make it through college life - like everyone else. They're a lot of help too. I've learned so much from them and I'm thankful that I got to know them. I try to get all the help that I can - you don't need to make life hard because life is hard enough on it's own.

Life will kill you if you don't live.

It's a real treat when you find your capabilities and figure out how to stretch them to places much further. When I discovered my limits, it was very liberating - strange, huh?

What I enjoy the most is lying on my bed at the end of the day, thinking 'Wow, I didn't know I could do that much...'

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Equals Three

I'm a very big Youtube fanatic, and I try to find as much entertainment in it as I can. I browse mostly for funny stuff, but there are other videos too. I actually learned a lot of things from Youtube. Sure, they're not really useful things, and most of them probably won't apply to my life, but it's a bliss to experience a *Youtube Loop.

-note: a 'Youtube Loop' is when you plan to watch one video, then you realize you've spent 2 hours watching other videos.

I've watched many great people make history on Youtube, but I'd like to mention a specific one that really gives me a serious case of the *LULZ.

-note: LULZ is an internet slang term for laughs.

Ray William Johnson (a.k.a. RWJ) is a Youtube celebrity with roughly 650,000 subscribers. I like to say that his show, which goes by the name of Equals Three with the logo of =3, is a simple yet satisfying series of videos that are purely meant for having a good laugh. Basically, the show is about videos on the internet that go viral, meaning people who watch it pass it on to friends, and they pass it on to their friends, and they pass it on the their families, and accomplish nothing but a good 10 second laugh. RWJ's witty remarks and vulgar choice of vocabulary make it all the more funnier.

Each episode is linked together by a 'question of the day' submitted by a fan, for which RWJ chooses the top 5 best answers to and posts them on the next video. This makes his videos get 40-50k comments each, merely because the fans want their username posted on the next video.

Here is a sample video which is one of my personal favorites.

If that didn't make you laugh, even just a little bit, I guess you have no soul. Nah, I kid you,
everybody has different types of humor. But seriously.

You should go check out his Youtube channel, I'm sure you won't regret getting in a Youtube Loop
with his videos :)

It's Sad But It Doesn't Have To Be

I played my acoustic guitar in the total darkness. A beautiful rhythm of plucking and strumming put together in a manner that would put Jeff Buckley to shame. A single beam of light shines down on me, alone on the stage, and as the song comes to an end, I hear the crowd cheer. They cheer and cheer, and cheer even more. The applause, the voices and the whistles blended together into a sound that I recognized. A familiar noise that made my stomach drop and my eyes flutter open.

'I knew it.' I mumbled to myself. The noise was my phone emitting an annoying chirping sound - tricking me into thinking it was a crowd of pleased fans, as I dreamed a dream that was not even in my range of interest. I didn't know how to play guitar. I didn't want to be a musician in particular. Hell, I can't even do so much as walk by the stage without getting a case of sweaty pits and shivering knees.

'Get up,' I told myself. 'Get up! You're gonna miss classes.'

It was the first day of my second semester and I wasn't planning on letting my ever so dominant procrastination skills ruin everything at the very beginning. I made a great effort to rise from my bed (Probably more effort than I give in a week) and switched my phone alarm off. It was an annoying chirp, but it does the job.

'Sigh,' I looked at myself in the mirror 'forget proper sleeping time, let's put aside physical health and make my family proud.'

As best as I could, I shuffled my way to grooming my self while trying to keep up with the tick-tock of the clock.

'8:30,' said the clock. 'Crap.' I should have been in class already.

Anywho, I did much better compared to what it could have been. If I know myself well (which I do), this was actually within the category of "Good Job." Last minute touch ups, don't forget anything, remember everything, and keep it that way.

Classes went by as slowly as molasses, but at the end of the day it felt as though it happened in a flash. I got home from school and did everything as usual.

'Hey how was classes?'
'What did you do?'

I liked one word responses. Rude as they may be, they're simple, elegant, and they get the message across without sugar coating it in a pile of fake enthusiasm. I don't mean to be lazy, it's just that I have those moments that I don't realize that I'm being lazy. Perhaps I'm too lazy to even notice.

'Four more days, and I get the weekend off.' I told myself in the little space I have left in my generally confused mind.

'Tuesday,' Done.
'Wednesday,' Check
'Thursday,' Over with.
'Friday' Awful realization comes to mind.

I had assignments, papers due, group work - you name it, it's there. There was no weekend. I was either in this all the way or out of it. Turns out, it's all in or nothing - actually, it was all in. There was no other option, none without drastic consequences, at least.

After being acquainted with all my classes, I was quickly bombarded with all the school work that had to be done. On the first week. The FIRST. I could only imagine what the next few months (next few LONG months, mind you) would be like. I reassured myself that the first week was always the worst.

'You can do this,' my more determined side told me.
'It's all you,' it kept on going.
'You can beat this,' dude, I sure as hell will try.
'I believe in you!' well, that's nice to know.
'Then let's do it.'

'Then do it, we shall.' *High fives himself*

College is a hassle. Then again, life is a hassle. I'm already doing it so why not enjoy it as best as I can (and try to be happy about it).

"You must believe in yourself when no one else does."

Friday, January 15, 2010

You Live, You Learn.

It was late at night and the rain didn't seem like it was gonna stop anytime soon. Looking out the window, I let the sound of the hard droplets tapping against the roof lead my mind astray - and it wasn't long before I was staring into the darkness that seemed so peaceful.

I shook my head to snap out of that dull and numbing state of mind - it felt good to release your problems for even just a moment and at the same time it made you feel wrong for doing what seemed like a momentary surrender. Everything seemed to be engraved in stone, though. I knew that surrendering wouldn't change anything. There was no stopping my flight to Malaysia.

I knew that I would finish packing that night, so I invited a few of my friends over to keep me company. As soon as the packing was finished, there would have been nothing left to do. Nothing. I dreaded the thought of laying in my bed trying to sleep, like trying to put out a flame with lighter fluid. I knew sleeping was one step away from impossible in a situation of that sort.

We didn't sleep. We played computer games, we went on Facebook, and we browsed Youtube for hours. My friends lifted the heavy feeling that had been enveloping me. I was relieved, even for at least a little while, I felt comfortable. That 'little while' came to an abrupt end when the darkness outside became a very pale, grayish and silent shade of blue. The sun was rising, but the thick clouds still had not ceased to spray the land. We said our farewells, and I couldn't help but to keep smiling. I think I had triggered some sort of defense mechanism programmed in me to prevent me from breaking down. I'll never forget that night.

They left. I stayed. I hated that soon it would be the other way around. I don't remember much about the trip to the airport. I was either asleep or spacing out the entire trip. It turns out that when you're already sleep deprived, staying up for an entire night won't do you any good.

We arrived at the airport and I awoke to a terrible hangover. Me and my friends didn't drink that night, but it felt like a bottle of vodka and a flight of stairs. I was with my mother, my friend, his mother, and three other people that would soon be my schoolmates. Airports are places that you should avoid when you're experiencing post depression stress, just a note. The flight was one of the better things about the trip because it allowed me to sleep peacefully for a good hour and a half. Soon enough, we landed and started getting off board. I felt much better. I felt like I successfully released all the negativity in me. Hey, I was in a new country - why not make a fresh start? Ah, yes. A clean slate sounded very appealing.

This was it. It was an opportunity to re stabilize and keep it that way. I didn't know if I would succeed or how long I could hold up but there was one thing that I was sure of: I wasn't going to stay down anymore.