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The Blinding Idiot

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When it's over, there's still Sugar Ray. [09 Apr 2010|10:57am]
[ mood | content ]

After flunking a 4-unit major, falling under probationary status (and getting this close to getting kicked out of the School of Economics), falling from magna cum laude to cum laude standing, hating, loving, and then hating Business Economics some more, it's over!

I still graduate cum laude standing with an uno for my thesis. Most people think that people who graduate college with good grades are the good, nerdy ones who never fail anything and never do badly. I did. I think that's what makes me even better.

My thesis adviser told that he wanted me to continue on with Economics and hinted that his friend wanted a new graduate student to mentor in the University of Hawaii. I'm crossing my fingers. I hope he doesn't forget that.

And oh boy, when I get back from Singapore, I immediately start work. My nerves are killing me!

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I'M CURED. [26 Feb 2010|03:13am]
[ mood | unmanageably giggly ]

Not that anyone would care or understand BUT I've gotten over my STATA ineptitude and brain wave drought! I finally kicked the blooming program in its virtual nuts!!! It's three in the bloody morning and I was supposed to be done making my thesis presentation two hours ago but my brain won't stop until I cleaned out the model thoroughly. At least now I'm about 90% sure my logit regression is homoskedastic, linear, unbiased, and has an almost perfect goodness-of-fit thanks to Hosmer-Lemeshow!

Because of this, I'm going to celebrate by pouring on some GRE and LSAT reviewers (just because the tips there are pretty interesting!) and then I'm going to drown myself in mind-numbing alcohol. Teehee.

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Ang aking "Panatang Makabayan." [09 Feb 2010|11:30pm]
[ mood | stupid ]

You know what's painful? My Filipino balarila. It's absolutely HORRENDOUS.

I tried sending Anton a text message in profound Tagalog tantamount to a Sulating Pormal. After about writing down five words, I realized my vocabulary was not only limited but also confused. I couldn't remember what "inaasam" meant -- I thought it was some sour description for a thing. I didn't know the difference between "malugid" and "malugod," and I couldn't actually construct proper sentences anymore.

Come to think of it, it's quite inevitable to end up more or less inept in a language you've practically abandoned for five years. After my traumatic experience back in senior year (with a Filipino teacher-slash-malefactor), I would avoid any Filipino class in UP if I could. The closest I've taken to a Filipino class was Panpil 17 (Philippine pop culture) and the Tagalog we used was mostly bastardized, enough for me to understand the vernacular.

It's all fine and dandy that I use the English language more when learning. Most books I study anyway are best explained and written in English. However, it still is a bit depressing that while I have quite a remarkable aptitude for learning languages, I also have a remarkable rate of brain deceleration.

God knows I can't remember 80% of my Filipino talasalitaan anymore from high school. It'll probably be almost completely erased from my head in about two years time. YIKES. It's time to turn over a new leaf! Or maybe I should say "panahon na para bumaliktad ng dahon magbago." (Euh! Espece d'idiote!)

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Like a piece of old (yummy) cheese. [03 Dec 2009|11:19pm]
[ mood | pensive ]

My brain is FRIED. Not that I'm really complaining about James -- he can be a helpful, conversational thesis partner -- but after writing about 9 out of the 11 pages of our related literature, I think I deserve a rest next week from the literature revision. The only problem is, writing an intense paper for me is like a cheese. It ripens better as it gets moldier over time. And so every day that goes by that I think about our thesis, the more things I want to put in it and the more I itch to write lengthier parts.

I feel sick in the head.

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Mental scuffle. [31 Aug 2009|09:52pm]
[ mood | depressed ]

I would just like to say that I was on a week-long high and now I'm crashing. It feels like I'm in two daunting situations at once: I'm at the end of the road AND I'm facing a five-way diversion.

Oh well. I need a hug. :(

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Trying to get on my high horse. [15 Jul 2009|01:57pm]
[ mood | depressed ]

I hate not having enough distractions to stop me from checking my phone every five minutes hoping you'd text and say sorry and that you made a big mistake.

But then, John Mayer's knocking some sense into me. When my loneliness is through, I'm gonna find another you.

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Bursting bubble. [12 Jul 2009|11:36pm]
[ mood | depressed ]

I hate relationships. They always make you feel so intoxicated. It's like you can't live without the other. And once it's over, all you've left is a mess of things and no one but yourself.

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Note to the fickle: [23 Jun 2009|04:05am]
[ mood | decided ]

My dad used to tell me not to get Architecture because the industry had no money and was hard. My mother showed minimal support whenever I'd pop up an illustration in high school. I believed them, that it was all hard, and that I wasn't good enough to survive it. It's funny, I grew up in a home full of artistically-inclined people. Everyone is just good at drawing, writing, and in music. Everyone knows how to play at least two musical instruments. At home, it's easy to find out that you're good, but not easy enough to find out you're good enough (or probably great enough) to say, "I can make something nice from a crayon than most of you."

Screw it, dad. I know you take pride in knowing I'm good in math or that I'm in a business-related course, but this isn't what I want. So here's to my final stretch of Business Economics and disappointing college -- I've decided that after this, I'm going to enjoy myself. After all, I'm working for the rest of my useful life. I can't waste it on something I don't like.

P.S. (and on a side note): I find it annoying how people get all their colors wrong. I have a pair of GAP shorts that are more dark blue than black. My sister insists that it's black but if you put it beside a neutral black, it's clearly blue. Anton has these brown comforters that everyone in his family insisted was gray. It's brown, gardemmet. It's a desaturated brown, thus having a grayish tint. It's still brown. I'm starting to think people are only mildly color sensitive and need to be taught the color wheel again.

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I like sniffing around. [03 Jun 2009|09:56pm]
[ mood | happy ]

I'm extremely surprised that I've suddenly taken a liking to Bath and Body's Warm Vanilla Sugar. When I was a kid, my cousin used to wear this offensive vanilla perfume all over her body that I ended up trying not to breathe when she was around. I grew up hating the smell because of her. Even my sister couldn't stand it. But recently, I went as far as purchasing the body mist after my moisturizing hand wash ran out.

The one scent that I'm really desperate to find is cherry. I love cherry. I love anything that smells like cherry. I'm so tempted to buy the cherry-scented car air freshener you see in hardware stores just because I like it way too much. I wish I could find a perfume that smells like cherry.

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Unbleached. [29 May 2009|12:51am]
[ mood | happy ]

I never knew doing book illustrations could be this tedious. Unlike last year's commission, this one's complete with a story line. I have to worry about its layout in the book and sometimes end up increasing the number of pages to illustrate. It's fun, only, my bed's stained with color pigments. I hope Anton gets a really good grade for his thesis and I do hope that the UP Philosophy Department decides to publish it.

Just a thought, this summer's caused my room's wooden floor to be stained with murky and dirty pigments. My room now permanently smells like oil paint and I can't seem to get the lingering smell of linseed oil out unlike turpentine fumes. I'll miss these worries once school starts. Somehow, I can't imagine how my sem will go without the usual friends that I have lunch with or a tambayan to sleep in. I don't even have any extra-curricular activity this sem anymore. It feels lonely already just thinking about it.

I wonder... should I get that internship? They want someone with fine arts/graphic design AND marketing skills. I couldn't have found a better niche in the corporate world. If not, I'll be taking a workshop on woodworks. I'll be on my way to making sculptures and furniture soon!

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See you at the crossroads, said the Bone Thugs. [13 May 2009|02:16am]
[ mood | contemplative ]

It's been almost six years ago since I first started writing on this journal. Looking back, it surprises me how much my perspective (even style of writing and choice of topics) back then seemed to be so similar to my sixteen year old sister's. I never really thought about what I wrote or how juvenile I sounded. I just went rambling about my love interests, classes, and extra-curricular activities in some whimsical sort of manner. Even the entries that claim boredom didn't seem too boring, looking back.

Yesterday, when I picked Marla up from ballet, I decided to pass by Anton's place to give him my illustrations for his thesis/children's book. As Anton was telling us about his brother and his break up with his now ex-girlfriend, who apparently was "over-protective" and "possessive" (words I willingly disregard in my dictionary), my sister butted in, asking, "Oh three month rule, diba?" I couldn't suppress my laughter when I heard it. It was so... highschool, so juvenile, things I would've once believed just about six years ago. Now it just sounds ridiculous, the three month rule. Who the hell would think of giving rules on love and relationships? I've been through enough to know that months don't matter.

My sixteen-year-old self wouldn't have probably known what was in store for me in college, or what I really wanted to do. Sure, I always talked about being in the UN and helping the African people, but it was for some noble, socially-relevant reason that I wanted that. If you asked me what I wanted to do, or what made me happy enough to make me want to do it for the rest of my life, I was clueless. I was at crossroads -- I knew I was good in math, pretty excellent when it came to communications and literature, interested enough in the social sciences. Strangely though, I never really believed that I was good enough in fine arts to merit me a degree in such (which is really funny now because I realized a lot of my sketches and portraits in different mediums actually showed some maturity in composition). I knew I was good at a lot of things, although not exceedingly brilliant, but better than most, and it was hard for me to decide my course. I hadn't had the faintest idea how it would feel like to study only one thing, or one field, and I didn't know which field to commit to.

Back then, I would've talked about my flings, and kilig moments. I searched for those moments here and there. I would've thought that the next boy I met was a prospective boyfriend (not that most actually were really a decent match). I would write down conversations in my real journal at home. I would recount experiences, the good and the bad. Somehow, back then, life wasn't necessarily simple and in black and white. But it surely didn't have the burden of econometrics, picking up siblings here and there, or wondering what job I should take.

Now, I feel like I'm at a crossroad once again, but surely not a simple one or clueless one, and definitely not a fun one, the one that makes you want to pee in your pants. It feels like a life decision now -- should I continue on with the corporate world and work my ass off on something I absolutely hate but pays well OR should I just take up a master's degree in fine arts and end up doing artworks and paintings and designs that surely doesn't pay well but at least makes me extremely happy? I have to bear in mind that if I want to be happy, I have to swallow my pride and accept that my siblings will get higher paychecks and this quite smart brain of mine will be the biggest waste in the family (haha).

Is the paycheck more important than my happiness? Or should I just marry someone rich to be happy? The latter seems appealing, only, a little bit ridiculous and not quite my cup of tea.

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Today, I became a boy. [25 Apr 2009|07:52pm]
[ mood | ecstatic ]

Today, I ended up playing Nazi Zombies, the little games in 2K9, and Left for Dead. I never played any of these boy games or thought they were fun or interesting enough. Strangely, I beat my boyfriend and his teammates' asses in the shoot out thing of 2K9 and I wasn't so bad after all in the other two. Then we played Rockband but for some reason the drums hated me today so I stuck to the mic and guitar instead.

It's funny. It wasn't really because we spent more time with each other today than any other day since the start of the month that I thoroughly enjoyed this day. I think it's the part where I felt like I was part of his world and could understand the things he enjoyed that gave me a good time. There was no couple activity, no movie or date out. Just a lot of him and the things he loved to do. :) I wish I could tell him that we should do this more often but he might think I'm invading even his boy time.

Oh, I haven't changed my mind one bit. I'm bugging him to buy me a Harry Potter game for the PS3. La la la :)

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I'm a little lamb who's lost in the woods. [05 Apr 2009|12:20am]
[ mood | worried ]

Today, I opened the piano and decided to play whatever I could. I realized that there's not much I remember anymore. All my pieces are left unfinished, simply because I forget how to play the ending. So I decided to make tiny bits of composition.

There were people walking outside our house and I would imagine how they would try to walk as silently as possibly to keep my big crazy rottweiler and my timid labrador from barking and growling at them. So I started first with a fast c♯-d combination, then I ended up playing with the A chord until I finished my short composition.

I realized that I would always be too safe with my compositions. They all were in the range of the sharps, never flats. The funny thing is, I like how the B♭and E♭ chords sound but I'm always too lazy to play on those scales. And I'm addicted to suspended chords, and sometimes, augmented chords.

It's just funny how I feel so limited now with the piano because I stopped my lessons more than four years ago. I've forgotten basic principles and it bugs me that I don't read as fast anymore. It's just like ballet, and debate. I let them go almost completely and practically all at the same time. Now, I really don't have anything except for my pens, pencils, and paintbrushes. Maybe this is why I'm so dead set now that I'm going to study design after finishing Business Economics -- I'm so afraid to let go of the last good thing about me that I have left.

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Why the anti-TOFI campaign ticks me off. [30 Mar 2009|10:47am]
[ mood | infuriated ]

Yesterday morning, I was pondering on what I would've said to the anti-TOFI people in UP if I still had classes in AS or CAL. I never had the chance to take Mrs. Winnie Monsod's life-changing development economics class until this semester. I wish I had taken it earlier but then again, I do think it takes some level of maturity in economics to fully understand the course.

I always remember how the activists in UP would declare how it was of utmost importance that we allocate more funds to tertiary education, especially here in UP. The funny thing about their propaganda is that they talk so much about the importance in UP when they forget that there is still PUP and TUP, and although technically, they aren't the National University, they still are state-owned universities that provide just as good an education as a lot of other universities. But going back, their main argument would be that we should not discriminate against those who could not pay for higher tuition in UP. Once they have established how UP is supposed to be state-owned and for the meritorious, they go on pinpointing that UP is turning conyo, anti-masses, and exclusive. And so I concede, I do wish that we could accommodate as much people as we could in the university because it does bring out so much private marginal benefit, but what does meritocracy have to do with tuition fee? First and foremost, with the adjustment of tuition fee, could they not apply to UP with a state-sponsored scholarship (under the STFAP) if they really are poor? The people who will most often get hit by the tuition fee increase are the middle class because they do not have enough to study in Ateneo or La Salle, neither are they willing to simply study in other colleges or universities. And for people who cannot afford their tuition even with the STFAP bracket, there are so many scholarships available out there. My organization gives out scholarships to deserving people. I do not wish to make a hasty generalization here, but I do wish that sometimes, people who say they cannot afford to study in UP try to look for private scholarships first. It's the same thing I would've done if I were studying abroad.

But more importantly, how dare they demand so much for tertiary education when primary and secondary education clearly lacks quality here in the Philippines. The cohort survival rate from grade one to grade two falls by almost 20% alone. By the end of fourth year high school, more than 50% of the students have dropped out. And if you think that these students who graduated fourth year high school are lucky, think again. Only 7% show mastery of the English language, 2% in Science, and 16% in Math. Trust me, after having to study in a government-owned university, so many people fail Math 11, one of the easiest math classes, a basic Algebra class because by their fourth year in high school, their mastery and coverage of Algebra only reaches the second quarter coverage of my second-year math syllabus. And even after college, only 2-7% of graduate applicants to Information and Communications Technology jobs are accepted. The irony is, most still require three months of in-house training before they become fully productive.

We have an underinvestment in teachers. Only 3.2% of our public expenditure is allocated to education. More than 50% of our teachers are non-majors in the very subject they teach. Back in high school, some of my teachers taught so poorly, especially in English, that even their students displayed greater mastery of the subject than them -- and to think, I studied in a private school. So many studies have shown that by just feeding these children a little, improving leaks in classrooms, or even bettering roads to travel to schools improve enrollment and achievement rates by a large percentage, and yet, what these activists ask for is to direct funds more to the university.

It's all well and good that they're demanding for more public expenditure. But if I were them, I would demand more for these public grade schools and high schools. Only three countries in the world (Nigeria, Morocco, and the Philippines) have less than 12 years of basic education. It's such a shame that the reason why we cannot expand more is because private costs are too high for some families. I honestly think that those who demand more subsidy for universities are selfish. Their private marginal returns exceed that of the social one.

So yes, I am angry at these people and I do wish that some day, I can get the chance to say all these to them. They are wasting so much of the nation's time and resources by cutting classes, trying to be socially relevant by screaming complex but fallible ideas (like when someone from STAND UP said that call centers are only portfolio investments... what a shame), dropping out of college for "the real world," or getting poor grades.

Please, everyone, let's be glad that we ended up in good colleges, and that we're smart enough (or well-endowed) to graduate with good grades and get good jobs.

National Statistics Office, July 2008. Net Enrollment Ratio at Elementary Level (SY 02-03 to SY 06-07).
National Statistics Office, July 2008. Net Enrollment Ratio at Secondary Level (SY 02-03 to SY 06-07).
TIMSS (Trends in Math and Science Survey), 2003.

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Dong-A Memo Liner Stick [27 Mar 2009|10:29pm]
[ mood | happy ]

Gone are the days when I suddenly realize that my yellow highlighter's running out of ink! And since it's finals week, and I have about a three hundred pages of Wooldridge to read, it's just timely that I found this:

Yipee!! I'm so happy la la la :) I also bought a yellow Dong-A Twin Liner, and a tiny orange highlighter for Anton. Yipee!!!
3 comments|post comment

Campaigning for a better future. [09 Mar 2009|11:49pm]
[ mood | extremely worried ]

It's so hard not to be jealous of everyone that looks at your boyfriend when you think he's the most amazing person in the world.

I'm obviously the jealous type. No to boyfriends going to Boracay unsupervised!!!

4 comments|post comment

Doctor, there must be something we can do. [09 Feb 2009|05:58pm]
[ mood | hopeful ]

Last Friday, I hit the door frame so hard that I couldn't write properly for a whole day. Three days later, I noticed my ring finger's knuckle sank and my middle finger's knuckled popped out. It doesn't look as disgusting but if you do take a good look at it, it looks like I lost a knuckle. To top it off, whenever I stretch out my right hand, the bones feel like they're digging in. It's pretty painful actually.

Looking back, I've had so many disgusting injuries. I chopped my left index finger off when I was eleven, sliced my thumb open when I was twelve, stabbed my thigh an inch deep with a craft knife when I was thirteen. And on top of all those, I get so many bruises that I never really know where I get them from anymore. Sometimes, I just remove my jeans and realize I have about ten tiny bruises all over my thighs.

It isn't fun being this clumsy, seriously. You always end up hurting your shoulder or your hip trying to walk through a door. Or if not, you get huge bumps on your forehead for not bending low enough when there's a low branch ahead. I wonder if there's a cure for my clumsiness. It hurts. It really does. Maybe when I'm rich enough, I'll hire a team of experts to sharpen my depth perception so I never have to miscalculate how far away my body is from the post beside me. Seriously, I wouldn't mind paying heaps of money to save any limb on my body in danger of getting cut off.

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Out of body, out of mind. [31 Jan 2009|05:43pm]
[ mood | tired ]

I woke up this morning with my upper body shaking uncontrollably. Crashing after 24 oz. of energy drink and then waking up with a taurine rush is an out-of-body experience. It felt like I had no control of my body whatsoever. My vision was all blurry and shaky that it was like being a foot off the ground. Looking back, it was just WOW. Too bad I couldn't appreciate it a while ago.

My heart's been palpitating almost every 30 minutes for almost a week now. Only one week left of eight-hours-of-sleep-per-week and I'm free. I.cannot.wait.


I just realized that while I really do not like studying in general, studying econometrics wasn't so bad. It was like last semester when I was studying for mathematical economics. It was actually sort of fun when I had time to sit down and just read my textbook. It fries my brain just the way I like it.

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Begging works sometimes. [21 Jan 2009|02:08am]
[ mood | desperate ]

Dear Powermac Center,

Please please PLEASE give me the new MacBook tomorrow. Please be nice later. Please please please give me the new MacBook. Please call me up later and say, "Ms. Theresa, your 2.4GHz Aluminum body MacBook replacement is available already for you to pick up." PLEASE!!!! I want it so bad. I can't sleep anymore. :( PLEASE!

Love, your ever so loyal Mac customer
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Life goes on to 2009. [31 Dec 2008|08:35pm]
[ mood | thankful ]

On Christmas day, my cousins and I would all stand in front of the entire Rivera clan and talk about what happened to us throughout the year. Each year, I'd always feel like I had to report out of duty and tradition and tell them mundanely about the most important or exciting things that I did or experienced during the year. I remember back in high school, all I could talk about were my achievements in debate and ballet. And then for most of my college years, all I could brag about was that I studied in UP while the rest of my cousins studied in Ateneo. I would just repeat and repeat how I was doing well in school by getting good grades and how I had this and that big dream of being an important person. This year, I actually had something to say. It didn't seem much but it felt great to be able to share it.

This year, I got that important position I never dreamed of or wanted to get. I got my grades back up. In fact, I did way better than I expected last sem. People started telling me how they loved my family, which to me, sounded strange at first. When I was a kid, I would give anything to be in a small family. I hated the fact that I had to share everything. This year, my siblings and I have grown closer. I don't know if they've realized that but it's funny how things just changed. The girls have slumber parties in my room (I think Marla and Katrina just enjoy the fact that they can now trash the room without Becca and me getting mad). A few years back, our rooms were personal spaces never to be trespassed.

I enjoyed the company of friends, but valued even more the time I spent with the ones close to me. I had Mister James who served as my perennial classmate, slave, and college best friend. Then I had my neighbor who was just a phone call away. When I realized I had to move on and let go of the past, it took just a couple of we-hate-her conversations, wine, coffee, and My Blueberry Nights with her to get over the bitterness. I had RAMDAT who gave me just what I needed: a break (and of course, loads and loads of drunken nights). And of course, I also had Anton who stuck with me through thick and thin. I've gotten countless head, foot, back, and leg massages, a whole lot of orange juice (yummmm), chai tea, and hot chocolate, and chocolate cake, ice cream cake, and chocolate chip cookies almost every week just because he loves me so much and is way too nice to me. :P

I went back to Singapore after fourteen years, visited my old home and got hit by a huge wave of nostalgia. For the longest time, I almost felt like my childhood was almost just a dream because everything I could remember was so far away. I couldn't understand why my parents decided to come back here in the Philippines when we could've just stayed in a safer, cleaner city with (well, okay fine) better universities and more opportunities. When I got to live with Uncle Eric's family in their two-storey condo, I realized just how convenient everything is back home and how thankful I am that I have all the space and luxury here.

Most importantly, this year, I found myself again. I know this sounds stupid and cheesy and disgustingly cliche, but I feel happier, stronger, and so much better now than last year. I feel like it's okay to dream again now, to think of big plans for me because somehow, I now know that I do deserve much more than what I got last year and earlier this year. I learned when to give up on a truly lost cause and when to still fight if I think it's worth it.

Three hundred sixty-four days ago, I wrote about my lack of excitement for the year to come. There were so many times this year when I thought I just wanted to give up, to drop out of college, go psycho, tear everything to shreds, and then kill myself. But as much as this year has been very hard on me, I realized that it has also been just as great, much more than what I expected it would be.

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