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Burning clues.

She never expected to see him last night, in fact she never expected to see him ever again. She was relieved she was all dressed up and pretty, something that probably surprised him, but at least it fell under the category of a "pleasant surprise." It was the ideal meeting of exes: boy looks surreptitiously miserable, girl is having fun in her red heels. The only problem was it was him who had a five-foot-seven glamazon of a woman whose mile-long legs wrapped themselves possessively around his at they sat in the bar.

It was a bit awkward. But at least they were both mature enough to greet each other and say hi. Oh, you know, with all the pleasantries they can go without but had to say to prove who was more over it. The usual. His date left to get themselves drinks, giving her time to approach him somehow. And then the longest five seconds of silence in her life.

"So, I finally got to see Jeff Buckley live," she says to break the tension.

She remembered how she used to gush about Jeff Buckley back in college, almost always quoting his songs and writing down the lyrics on the margins of her Finance textbooks when she was bored in class. She didn't know exactly why she had to mention it; maybe it was her chance to tell him she's having a grand time without him, or maybe it was her subconscious final attempt at making him remember how much of herself she shared with him during their one-year-and-a-half whirlwind romance. Somehow, she was still justifying what happened -- perhaps it could've gone another way.

Maybe an inside joke would do it. It would cement what it was they had. If there were still numerous little things no one else knew that they could laugh about, then maybe there was still hope at continuing where they left off. Somehow inside her head, it was still him and her, just waiting for something to happen and set the fire burning again. Unfortunately she was under the impression that it was some 90s singer that would do the trick.

"Jeff who?"

She smiled. His date came back and he introduced them to each other. She excused herself and found her way to the other side of the dance floor, looking for her friends. Maybe he didn't hear her. The music was too loud at the bar anyway. But a huge part of her wanted to stop justifying him -- he didn't recognize Jeff Buckley. Even after all the times she loaded her CDs and mixtapes on the stereo, even after she insisted they dance to his songs on her sister's wedding. He never remembered.

She drove home later that night with her CD blaring on her speakers. Sometimes it's the best feeling in the world when a song just perfectly reflects what you're feeling; how its words encapsulate what you cannot say. But sometimes it can be the worst, knowing that the sad soul he's singing of is no one else but you.

Well, maybe it's just because I didn't know you at all.



Finger exercises.

There's no greater feeling than shopping (with your mom (at Forever 21 (on sale (!!!))))

x > Shopping + mom @ F21(sale)

Non c'è la sensazione più maggiore di shopping con tua madre a PerSempre 21 in saldo.


My birthday gift to myself..

took me 5 stressful months to get. But it was definitely worth it! The rewards of my endless ranting, intense cramming, and sleeplessness (sometimes by choice) is sweeeeeeeet.

Of course, that also makes my euphoric Forever21 trip today ten times more satisfying!

Hello, 19. Let's make fetch happen :))


The Pancake Story.

I will always remember what my former CL111 prof and one of the Philippines' most accomplished writers, Dr. Butch Dalisay, said in our class. Storytelling is an integral part of our lives, no matter how seemingly unimportant these stories may be, "because it is in sharing these stories that we make sense of them." It need not be in the form of writing, even just the simple gossip session with a friend is a way of conveying a tale -- something deemed worthy enough to be shared with someone else.

My mom and I share this little secret storytelling game on the days leading up to my birthday. She would look at the date and tell me what she was doing on the same day in 1991. As a kid who grew up sleeping only after bedtime stories have been read, these anecdotes were not only the countdown to my birthday, but an entire narrative much bigger than all the fairy-tales combined: it was about me. I always looked forward to hearing about what my mom was feeling, what my dad kept telling her, what the food tasted like -- just everything about the week before I was born. But of course, the big climax would come on the 26th. I've heard the story 18 times before (and tomorrow would be the 19th) but it never gets old. Somehow, it will always feel like the first time.

It was the afternoon of the 25th and my mom just came home from her appointment. The baby was expected around the 1st or 2nd of November but because of the All Saints'/Souls' Day holiday, her doctor joked that she should hold it in until about the 3rd because he would be on leave. She was relieved that the baby was well and she never forgot to pass by the Church every afternoon before going home to say thanks, but a part of her was also anxious because the weight was getting too much. Nonetheless, she and my dad were very excited. So for dinner that night, he decided to treat her out at Pancake House. Feeling an immeasurable amount of anticipation and a gratuitous amount of hunger, my mom ordered almost everything on the menu: milkshakes, tacos, potatoes, ice cream, and of course, pancakes topped with a generous serving of whipped cream and maple syrup. A few hours later, my mom would feel her tummy rumbling and regretted eating too much earlier that night. But the stomachache she thought was answerable by a trip to the toilet ended up bringing her to the hospital on the morning of October 26, 1991.

In short, I was mistaken for poop.

I write this with an unwarranted sense of nostalgia -- I don't even remember this happening of course. That my mother chooses to remember these literally painful times in her life and gives them a comedic turn of events is beyond me, but perhaps it is because in sharing these with me we cement the bond we share long after the umbilical cord has been cut. Perhaps it in this story that she subconsciously tells me how much she is loved by my dad, bringing her to the restaurant and allowing her to eat all the pancakes she can eat, and consequently, how he will also do the same thing for me at any time (that is, to let me stuff my face with pancakes when I want to.)

Our entire lives are a culmination of small, little stories; sometimes independent of one another, sometimes irrefutably intertwined; sometimes long and extends for a period of time, sometimes brief and instantaneous; but almost usually it is not just the scenario that matters but also the way we tell them. There will always be stories told more often than others because they hold more meaning to us, and it's amazing how no matter how many times they've been repeated, they never stop being special.

That night will go down history as My Birthday but for me, it will always be the night of my dad's epic Pancake House treat and my mom's epic pooping. It's a story I was never quite actually a part of but I liked identifying myself with it. Somehow, I was there at Pancake House that night, I took part in that meal too. In fact, I was the beneficiary of that gobble-fest. I was so blissed out by all the food I ate that I just could not wait to get out already. I was an explosive thing waiting to happen.

If that's not an awesome story to define me and make sense of who I am, then I don't know what is. (Let's just forget the part that my mom thought I was poop.)

Here's to more stories for the years to come :)


Creative nonfiction.

One of my most favorite subjects this sem was Nonfiction (CL115). It's the literature prerequisite for one of the CW genres I've chosen to pursue, Creative Nonfiction (CW140 and CW141) It was exciting for me not only because it did not require too much output from us but because we got into so many discussions about the definitions of nonfiction and particularly the essay. We discussed two anthologies, Creative Nonfiction: A Reader by Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo and The Lost Origins of the Essay by John D'Agata. The first one was more spot-on in terms of its objectives because it presented us with works by Filipino authors of essays that we know of today. They all followed the archetypal standard of beginning-middle-end, all were paragraphs put together, and all of them had some sort of conclusion in the end. Our discussions on that one were mostly on the objectivity on some of the essays and the labels Hidalgo used on them in the Table of Contents (she divided the entire book into Reportage, Feature Essays, Travel Essays, etc) Most of the questions revolved around how effective the labels were or how fair the authors were in executing their goals as they write their piece. They were rather typical discussions in a nonfiction class, I believe.

And then we moved on to The Lost Origins and everything was just shattered completely. The first impression the title would have on you would be a presentation of a history of the genre, and that is what it is initially. We were given the first kinds of "nonfiction" that began as a list of financial activities during the ancient times -- mostly for commerce and practicality rather than art. But as we moved along the centuries, we were presented by odd hallucinations, typography, imagined stories, and even poetry. That's when lines started getting blurred and big questions begged to be asked: What is creative nonfiction? Isn't it supposed to be true? Are you telling us what we learned in high school about the essay is wrong? The definitions have been overturned making it difficult to grasp what it truly is. (And consequently, making it difficult for us to come up with our own.)

I'm turning 19 in a few days. I believe I'm at this point in my life where I'm desperately seeking for confirmation on everything -- I need the definitions. I need the answers. Am I doing it right? Have I done something worth remembering? Where am I going? All these things constantly linger in my thoughts. It's a never-ending cycle of trying to be someone we want to be. We want to define ourselves because it will give us some sort of stable ground as we play the role of being this self everyday. No matter how rebellious we claim ourselves to be, having these lines drawn for us help us establish the sense of identity because around these lines, we can create what we are or are not. Without them, where do we even start?

Our CL115 prof (who is way beyond cool and is very hot, just saying) just sent us back our final projects with her comments. I cringe every time I reread things I've written especially for school because I feel like it's not as candid as say, a blog entry; it's more academic or scholarly than Karla-esque. But as I was skimming down through the lines, I noticed one part she highlighted towards the end:
In drawing the lines we are establishing something that it is, and is not – and maybe that is the point. The essay isn’t something that should just be or not be, perhaps it is both. It is a celebration of the questioning, the searching, the hunt. So let us revel in this pursuit, and surprise ourselves with where it leads us.
It is funny that it made more sense to me now than when I was writing it. It's even funnier that it took Karla-of-a-week-ago to make Karla-of-the-present realize something about myself. I've been having doubts about myself for the last few days or so because 19 sounds so old -- it's my last teen year! It's like by this time I should have at least found the answers to most of my questions. I haven't. And I'm freaking out because maybe I don't deserve to be 19 just yet. (And not just because I've been mistaken as a 14-year-old girl two weeks ago.) I haven't evolved enough to be 19 yet. I'm not even sure if I know what being 18 is -- having a boyfriend? Getting to vote at the elections? Learning how to handle alcohol? Staying up late? It is hard to define.

So what is 19 anyway? How can I be 19? Where does 19 happen?

I don't know. And I'll probably never know (yet). Right now, just one thing is for sure. When happens next Tuesday. Whether I'm ready or not, it's going to be there. So maybe I'll just let the year unfold before me as it defines itself. Maybe I'll find it at home, or in my bed, or in the classroom, or in the car. Maybe I won't. Maybe 19 is about the questions, the search.

Maybe 19 is about the maybes. Let's see.


Goodbye, first sem! Hello, sem break!

This week I submitted one nonfiction anthology, one take home exam, one project/analysis on an American novel in the 19th century, one short story revision, and one final critical paper of a few (no, several) thousand words.

Today, I submitted the last one. And friends, I AM FREEEEEE! Goodbye first semester, you and your sucky schedule, demanding professors, incredibly heavy workload and all the unsurmountable stress you have caused me! I survived you -- no wait, I PWND YOU! Hahaha! This has been my most challenging semester, by far, and I'm very proud to say that I got myself out alive! And in one piece! Now the only thing left to do is wait for your judgment (aka Grades) but other than that, you are history! I am just so happy and relieved that I can finally bid you arrivederci! I can't wait to revel in the freedom! Woooh! What to do first, to sleep or to eat or to spend 24/7 on the Internet? Ahhhh.. the choices, the choices.. I missed being lazy and bored!

(Off-topic: It's almost my birthday and I don't even feel it!)

And now I shall go back and hone my bumming-around skills.



The black and white ivory keys produce sound; the little square ones craft words. With each press, a creation. With each movement, a dynamic. How my hands move about from one side to the next, finding their ways into each other; in a mad jumble, weaving together something whole. The rising action, the crescendo, how it climaxes, then it descends, softens down, hush, hush, rest. Maybe it's not about being one or the other, it's being both. Starting, waiting, moving, stopping, they all come together in the end.

It all comes together in the end.


On battles.

First of all, like what I said in my FB account, I never meant to sensationalize this whole plagiarism thing. But then again, it is a big deal, regardless of what medium the stealing has transpired in: be it a blog, a magazine, a book, etc -- it's always just wrong. While others may find comfort in knowing that it is on some level flattering and dismiss it as just "wala lang", doing that would only make you feel better, but what about the one who did it? They get away with it. The least we can do is let them know what they're doing is wrong. It doesn't mean you're being high and mighty or that you're calling attention to yourself, it just means you're doing something to protect yourself, and to put them in their place.

I fight my battles when I have to, that doesn't make me arrogant. I'd rather stand up for myself than be a doormat.

That being said, academic battles have waged war against me this week. I have five major papers still ahead of me for the remainder of the semester, and I seriously don't know where and how to begin. I've been spending the last few days holed up in the library, either searching for books or trying to write a paper, and while I appreciate the silence and the comfort brought by air-conditioning, the thought that there are still so many things to do is stressing me out even more. I am getting used to all this, it's just the sheer volume of work that needs to be done in such a short amount of time is overwhelming me. I've been asking The Boy-nospace-friend, being the master of calm and cool that he is, to give me tips on handling this, but I guess I really can't help it that I've inherited my mom's worry-wart gene. I know I can finish them eventually, but I just have to worry and freak out first before getting anything done, and well, it's not healthy.

Another thing that's not healthy: me not getting enough sleep! I absolutely hate it that my body is wired a certain way -- it cannot work unless it's late and all the shows on free TV are showing the color bars with the haunting monotonous tone. I've tried tricking myself into sleeping until midnight and then begin working from there, but it doesn't work. I have to reach a state of extreme exhaustion before the adrenaline kicks in and gets all the words flowing. I am doomed. My creative juices are insisting on graveyard shift, and I can do nothing but give in. (I did sleep this afternoon though, and it feels wonderful!)

They say if you can't beat them, join them. Stress and Insomnia, while you're both not companions I'm looking forward to having, if it means having to get my papers done, then, let's be friends. Friends with (academic) benefits.


The aftermath.

It's an unpleasant surprise to suddenly see someone blatantly rip off something you've written based on a genuine emotion or situation. I guess some people will never see it the way I do, and will never understand why it was such a big deal, but I am glad that there are people who do understand where I'm coming from. It is only after all a blog, and you can argue that in the Internet, there are no clear lines to be drawn as to what is bizarre and simply just wrong.

But this blog, more than anything else I own or have, has been a constant, tangible presence in my life that having anyone else take something from it just really crossed the line. At 18, this is probably one of the few things I can truly be proud of, because it's something I've created, put together, and invested an immeasurable amount of time in (hello, 6 years) and so having someone just take my words away from me definitely hit me hard.

This may only be a blog, but it's a collection of so many of my thoughts, ideas, feelings -- it's got so much more of me than anything else I have. This blog isn't just about me entertaining an audience, it's about me finding an outlet for myself. It's personal. And so, I don't believe I'm overreacting on this. It went too far.

I posted an entry here and in my Facebook, I told my friends, and I sent her private messages to let her know what I feel. I didn't fight with her and passed up the opportunity to blatantly point out all her embarrassing grammatical errors in her other non-stolen posts (even if my friends were tempting me to do so, haha!) because I don't believe in stooping down to her shamelessness. Thankfully, she did delete her posts in Tumblr (I eventually found out she had Tumblr and a number of her entries were mine as well) and also her Multiply site. Hopefully, she's realized her mistake.

(Of course, I am forever grateful for my friends, both offline and online, who were there to back me up yesterday, and even today. You all know who you are, and I love you, guys.)

Plagiarism is just plain wrong, that's something we should all know and understand. It's no easy feat creating something out of nothing -- be it a novel, a song, a movie, a painting, a piece of literature. It entails putting a part of you into something and that takes hard work and effort. Being appreciated is certainly something to be grateful for. But more importantly, it's being given credit that also counts.

That being said, Niqui, I will give you credit for making me feel like my thoughts matter not only to myself but to strangers as well. Thank you for making me want to blog more, because if anything, that only means my words can mean as much to others as they do for me. But your being unoriginal? No, thanks. The blogosphere Internet world does not need sad, pathetic copycats like you.

I hope you learned your lesson.
(1) Plagiarism is never cool, and more importantly..
(2) You don't mess with the Bombastarr.


Ripped off.

I cannot believe it. For the first time in such a long time, I decided to check out my Multiply for old times' sake, when I came across this particular blog in the viewing history.

Much to my surprise, most of her entries were taken from my blogs. Her intro/welcome page is very similar to mine. You can compare that to my Multiply homepage and even to my profile page here. Then, one of her headings was also taken from Brighter Than Sunshine, much like the one in my Multiply. And to my biggest surprise (and horror), two of her blog entries were completely, one-hundred percent mine: Ignite and I'm Okay. Compare that with hers.

You can go check it out yourself. She isn't my contact and I was able to view her profile, so I'm sure you can too. I sent her a message on her guestbook and a private one to let her know, but I don't know if she even updates that thing still. But from the looks of it, the last time she checked my Multiply was just last Thursday.

It's just -- unbelievable. I write what I write because they are what I feel during that moment, and all of them are real emotions that only really come out of me as I type them down. It surprises me how it's so easy for some people to just copy/paste something very personal to me and pass them off as their own. Why would they even do that? I appreciate that there are people out there who have told me (offline or online) that they find some of my entries believable, relatable, and enjoyable even, and for that I am very grateful. But I don't feel flattered at all when they use it as it is and claim it as theirs. I feel cheated, honestly.

I know this kind of thing comes along with being a writer -- there will be people who will rip off your words and claim them. But really, people? I'm not anybody, I don't see the point of taking some unknown 18-year-old girl's blog entries. Then again, maybe that's what they think. Because I'm just some random girl, they feel no shame taking what isn't theirs.

Please tell me I'm not exaggerating and that I saw what I saw.

I don't know what to do with this girl, if she ever responds. But I hope whoever gets to read this entry (and compares our blogs) do realize how wrong this is. And I hope she does too. I may not have the power to go as far as taking this to court, but if this is how she believes being creative and original is, I feel sorry for her.


This is a story about a girl named..

I know I may be young, but I’ve got feelings too. And I need to do what I feel like doing. So let me go and just listen.

All you people look at me like I’m a little girl. Well did you ever think it'd be okay for me to step into this world? Always saying little girl don’t step into the club. Well I’m just tryin’ to find out why cause dancing’s what I love.

Say hello to the girl that I am. You're gonna have to see through my perspective. I need to make mistakes just to learn who I am. And I don't wanna be so damn protected. There must be another way. 'Cause I believe in taking chances. But who am I to say what a girl is to do?God, I need some answers. What am I to do with my life? How am I supposed to know what's right? I can't help the way I feel. But my life has been so overprotected.

Everybody's talking all this stuff about me. Why don't they just let me live? I don't need permission, make my own decisions. That's my prerogative. It's the way that I wanna live. It's my prerogative. You can’t tell me what to do.

This, my friends, is what you call Britney Spears wisdom.


Oh hello, October.

I tell everyone
I smile just because
I've got a city love
I found it in Lydia
And I can't remember life before her name
- City Love by John Mayer

October begins with rain. The sky is crying with me as my heart breaks over missing John Mayer's concert tonight at the MOA Concert Grounds. I am filling my room with his music, letting his words numb the pain of me not seeing him tonight. I almost had tickets, but things didn't turn out the way they did and now here I am, half-wishing I was there all muddy and stinky, singing along with him. (The other half of me though refuses to get wet and thanks the heavens for this "blessing.") Seriously. I really, really wanted to watch him perform live.

But then again, tonight I am comforted by the fact that for John Mayer's absence is the presence of that complicated, fleeting emotion which he sings about. Me lying in my bed right now instead of standing under the rain waiting for him doesn't make his songs ring any less true for me. His music will always be there anyway, playing in the background in the iPod inside my head, as we drive off for mojos and sip through iced teas.