Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I feel awful.

I've been ringing up a third of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines--yes, we have an ECC here-- in the vain hope that tewnty of their number sign up for a workshop that's only about three weeks away.

The few calls that make it past the company's front desk are routed to and intercepted by secretaries who are paid to say "No, he isn't here." To be fair, most of them have (graciously or rudely) offered to take the faxed or emailed invitation to their bosses to look at. Nobody wants to set up a meeting with my supervisor, and nobody wants to go to a damn workshop-- even if the facilitators are Japan-based master trainer Elizabeth Matsui and Johnson & Johnson product development and management alumnus and corporate guru Beth MacDonald.

Never mind that those three days will involve exciting, fun-filled, intensely interactive training activities designed to further sharpen your already formidable motivational skills and increase your company's productivity by increasing your rapport with virtually anyone working under you.

Never mind that you will be rubbing shoulders with other leaders in business or the academe like yourself at the spacious, comfortable and well-stocked Asian Institute of Management Conference Center in the beating heart of Philippine commerce, Makati City.

Nooo. The latest applications of Neuro. Linguistic. Programming. in a motivational setting don't interest them at all. Mind control does not interest the disciples of big business!

Naaw. The money and time they're spending in Boracay or in Hong Kong are far too important to splurge on something as trivial as profitable and effective guided self-development that actually affects your students or your employees.


But I'm griping. And it's not fair of me to pick on them so.

If I were in their shoes, I'd be hard pressed myself to respond to the obvious benefits of this workshop called Masterful Manipula-- er, Masterful Facilitation.(1) I'd want to go home to my wife or my mistress and bang her (pick your meaning) silly. I'd want to go on that well-deserved Christmas leave and not worry about conferences, seminars or what have you until after the new year is well underway.


I'm in need of a leave myself. I'm retooling my damn spiel and preparing to charge into making those phone calls tomorrow. Maybe then I won't be stuttering so much.

C'est la vie.

(1)Masterful Facilitation conducted by Elizabeth Matsui and Beth MacDonald. Workshop starts Jan 14th and ends on the 16th. In case none of the members of our local ECC express interest in ths thing, you can call these numbers or stop by the address for more details.

PSI-Asia (The Center for Leadership)
14th Floor 6780 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines
tel nos. 813-1188 813-1189 813-1173

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Somebody Spiked the Turkey

Mom had complained of flu-like symptoms, and when these persisted even after a couple of days, she agreed to be taken to the hospital. Not just any hospital. Just the one government hospital specializing in hearts-- black or red, broken or otherwise. When we were finally assured that she had a room and a bed and that she was unlikely to go the way of Da King, I promptly left for Sampaloc to pick up the barongs Mom was s'posed to pay for.

But that's got nothing to do with the turkey.

Ian had invited me to his Christmas soiree (happening on the same night my mother was inconvenienced with having to go to a hospital) some weeks before. And because I loved the man and the food he so generously served, (yes, the infamous turkey) I went. After the family had secured for Mom a place to lie down and be treated for the ravages of stress.

I slapped samples from various meat dishes, potatoes, rice and gravy on my plate, proceeding to pick at the stuff while talking to Nikka and Ian's friend S. I was noting to myself how great Nikka looked and that S. had lost weight and was looking splendid in her strangely zippered top when I felt a strange, lucid lassitude. Everyone blamed it on how full we all were, probably riding high on carbohydrates and light beer.

And we jokingly laid the most blame on the turkey and Ian's custom ice cream. The fact that there wasn't any left by the time I arrived is testament to how good the ice cream is.

I was wallowing in the strange sense of well-being, looking for D____ actually, in between looking at the women and looking for anyone from my old alma mater. All the while, Swamp and hubby Adam were regaling a small audience with tales of China, France, Italy, devolving English and computer-aided art. I was listening, of course, but I was too... high ...to chime in except for the nodding, the "yes"-ing and the lit eyes tracking the speaker (when they weren't trying to track the women).

Ian would tell me later that there really is some sort of natural chemical in turkey meat, something that made you want to sleep off the rest of Thanksgiving. Or Hannukah. Or whatever occasion demanded the consumption of turkey.

But we never could get why I was affected by it so much... my own body chemistry, perhaps?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

No sooner do I make my plans than these are broken, lost to the winds of unforseen circumstance, inaction and the consequent rationalizations that come with knowing you had a duty and you didn't follow through. Well, not entirely-- I was able to get myself that keyboard I so needed so I could interact with my laptop without fear of electrocution.

Meantime, I'm progressing in my Tai Chi lessons-- I finally know more about why I have to contort myself into all sorts of uncomfortable positions than I ever did three years ago. My teacher is pleased, I'm pleased myself, and I'm very eager to get my ass to Los Banos and compare notes with Homer. . .

The two halves of my collegiate life have now been officially recognized by the University. My transcript has finally been updated to the satisfaction of all who have a stake in the contents. After ten long freaking years in college and three years in limbo, I can finally, finally kiss the stigma of not finishing goodbye.

Yes, Mrs. R., despite all the protestations of your ilk (my mom included), your son's friend is NOT "sayang." Boy that felt good.


As with most Dex Lira victories, this one is partial. I am neither proud of my transcript nor am I completely out of the long dark tunnel yet. But I see the light at the end of such tunnels, and it is only a matter of time before I cross the threshold into the warm sunshine and the smell of fresh-cut grass.

Too, there is the matter of furthering my education and turning the morass into something profitable. I have a working transcript. Now I have to find a correspondence school to show it to.

My mother nagged me last year into taking that entrance examination (I passed) at the Philippine _______ University-- for an education course that would require little more than a semester's work. (The reward would have been an actual license, recognized by everyone who was under the power of the Philippine Government, to teach little kids.) I could not proceed with that option because records of my college life were fragmented. I might still face an impediment if the reevaluation of my records shows that they do not pass muster.

I have to plan my life again, make revisions: activities I wish I didn't have to do. Events are so fluid and seeking to control these to the smallest detail can literally get tiring. But having a plan is better than not having one, even if the main part of the plan involves playing a lot of things by ear.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Masta Plann

While lying on the bed of Procrustes, one remembers the many other things one has been putting off. Suddenly these take upon themselves a newfound urgency.

1. Upgrade the laptop.
I've been meaning to install Windows XP into this sucker since the day I installed the new Windows XPerience in the family PC. Evil Bill (Gates) has definitely topped himself since the introduction of Windows '95--everything else in between being treated as glorified patches leading to the near-seamless joy that is Windows XP.

Makes me all a-quiver with anticipation.

Here's the rub: Honey took the aged Compaq's DVD writer with her, and is halfway to grafting the thing to her new-purchased secondhand IBM. I will have to get very creative and very careful, if I am to install Windows XP into what may be a marginally compatible platform. I want to be able to undo all the changes I've got planned for my trusty blogging companion in case the planned XP installation doesn't take properly. After all, the heart of my laptop's central nervous system is a Pentium III that registers as a Pentium II.

While I'm at it, I should get one of those USB splitters-- I know, they're not called splitters, but their function is pretty much the same. I only have one USB port for three devices, two of which have to be connected to the laptop for all the time the thing is running.

I am assuming that the built-in LCD monitor cannot be repaired unless I shell out a heinous amount of money to pay for it, or buy a new laptop entirely (maybe a Powerbook).

In the unlikely event that money falls like manna from the sky into my waiting lap, there is the matter of paying Kervin what I owe him as well as buying a new battery. The laptop's utility is cut in half if it can't be used far, far away from an electrical outlet.

I'll also be needing some wire and alligator clips. A new keyboard too-- something small, portable, durable and shielded to allow me to keep my distance from the laptop's main body. I'm actually sensing a nasty buildup of static electricity from this thing. The only things keeping me from getting toasty-warm from this thing are the old battery and the ambient humidity of Philippine climes.

2. Finish my CD portfolio.
I need a working scanner and a viable plan for this one. I've been crippled since Happy Ron took his scanner back. I've got to collect my "floating" (read: scattered) artwork and sift through them all so I can pick what deserves to be in there.

Then I have to organize the artwork according to how I want to package myself and what I can do. To that end, I need other incidentals-- like new calling cards, shamelessly self-promotional flyers and identity cards I can leave with surly guards. I also need to polish my Photoshop and Freehand skills and learn the workings of more new software. Joy.

3. Compile my poems and put them in a codex.

4. Finish The Damned Comic Book.
And prove to certain people that I am worthy of their respect. How I'm going to put this on paper is still a mystery, being right up there with publishing my poetry compilation and inviting all my old flames to the launch (Angelica will, of course, never find the time to attend, as she never made it to any of my poetry readings-- when they were still permitted-- at Powerbooks Makati).

At any rate, I can still post the thing online, probably in one of my blogs or on that dratted DeviantArt account I signed up for but can't seem to contribute to.

5. Write new poems and stories and continue old ones; make new art.
Self-explanatory, this. I can't grow if I don't practice. To that end I have to buy more equipment--better equipment-- and reference materials. Lots of job-hungry young Turks out there to compete with. I cannot afford to be left behind, lest I become old and obsolete-- a nasty prospect any way one looks at it. So much the better to be the irreverent old bastard who can continually surprise his young apprentice.

6. Finally design me grand aunt's market stall signage.
She hasn't nagged me, which is all the more reason to finally put that concept I've been playing with on paper. If I can make one more person smile before meeting the grim reaper, I can consider my time on this planet well spent.

7. Pimp myself to art hounds more aggressively.