quaint little rutted bucket

Friday, March 26, 2004

poetic.mode = TRUE; romaticist.mode = TRUE;

I was a tad dreamy last night, and looking up the sky last night, looking for the moon. There it was. Sigh. I could only gander in awe and amazement at the beauty of the night sky, albeit without much stars. I could only wish I was in Tagaytay or anywhere out of this urban hell called Manila, I said to myself. The sky is nil without all the fancy constellations and twinkling thingies up there. :)

Things went into mind... such as the thought of her.

Yes, I'm infatuated. I won't deny myself the wonderful feeling of admiring somebody. :) (Or simply put, having a crush.) ::kilig:: (Cut me some slack here! I mean, it's something natural to almost everyone and surely, it's of benefit to one's health. :) «« Gee, what a justification. :)

I was thinking last night if she even bothered to gaze up the sky at night. I was thinking if she even appreciated the sheer-simplistic-yet-strangely-enchanting beauty of nature, such as the rustle of leaves in a breeze, the chirping of birds as the sun breaks the relative silence of dawn, the calming flow of water in a brook or in a stream... those things, no matter how seemingly trivial, is something of profound importance to me.

Coincidence struck again yesterday. I found one of my Post-it note stubs at our other home, and saw a snippet of poetry I wrote, perhaps back in the second term, when I was still starry-eyed over ******. Here goes...

(While I'm good at prose, I'm really not that good in poetry, so pardon my bad tastes. :)

Am I looking up the same moon as you are right now,
Or am I holding on to a futile daydream?
Questions run the back of my head
At a loss over my future and what's ahead.

(and I continue from the original snippet... teeheeh. pabigyan... on the spot toh! :)

Why is it that I couldn't speak my mind,
Or rather my heart?
Of the things I sorely long to share and to proclaim
A gradually burning, slowly dying flame.

Frustrated, confused, obfuscated
I could only speak my thoughts to an inexistent you.
This feeling continues on unabated
But alas, it goes on undue.

Should I hold back
Or take the chance to do something that I lack?
Should I wait
Or miss out on a wondrous feeling that is likely given by fate?

I dunno, and I don't care
But then again, I don't know how I'll fare
If I don't do it,
Then I'll forever be the culprit

Of a misgiving that I should have acted upon.

(ayoko na! end of poetic snippet. this has tortured me long enough! :)

Take care, everybody! :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

And the leap of faith finally comes through...

Ralph to myself: That's it. I'm getting out of this hell hole called comsci. No, I don't need more money, you insensitive clod. Just lookie here. More money doesn't necessarily mean that you would be better off in the future. I mean, who cares about having gobs of money when you can't have a job you and I know I'll enjoy?

Cynical Ralph: Get over it, you arse. You're just scapegoating in your failure to come up with a satisfactory machine project.

Real optimist Ralph: Aww, shuddup. I don't want to please people anymore. I'm so freaking sick and tired of it, I figure it's nigh time I do something I know I have real passion for. And don't get me started me with the friends thing... this is my life, and I'm here to take control of it. There's not one thing you can do about it. Yes, i'm shifting, thank you, and there's no single thing you can do about it!

Cynical Ralph: Are you really sure with that? I mean, education and literature isn't exactly the 'in' thing right now. And programming is cool, if you just have patience and perseverance.

Real optimist Ralph: To hell with the cool factor. I want to do something that I believe I could make a difference in. I just can't see myself hunched over a desk from 8am to 5pm. That just plain sucks. I hate cubicles. If a career is going to resign me to a job that mostly involves programming, then to hell with it. I'm plain leaving. I don't want to work in an environment that is restricting.

Cynical Ralph: Whatever suits you, my friend.

So there you go. An insight into how a typical thought in my mind goes through the thinking process. And yes, shifting is now 75%. Remaining in CS is down to a paltry one-quarter or so.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

ROTC day today. Nothing much to post about, really. Tiring, hell yeah, so after I went home, I got myself on the floor and slept. Literally on the floor, as I find my bed too hot without turning on airconditioning.

Anyway, as usual I got my weekly dose of sunshine and workout this morning. We did some routinary morning niceties (Hahah. I don't really know what they're called. :) followed by another dose of 'dry firing': pre-actual firing exercises designed to help us get the feel of aiming and shooting at a target down a range. Yeah, it was cool, but the AR15/M16 training rifles we use are of the older issue, circa 70s maybe, thus heavee. (Rainier tells me that M16s are nowhere as heavy as rifles based upon solid hardwood, such as the M1 series and the M14; both interestingly, of Springfield descent.) My left arm would twitch badly after several minutes of the rifle resting on it, thus I compensated for it with my rightie. Good enough, but I need contact lenses to aim properly! Spectacles doesn't quite cut it, really. :)

First training day of being batch representative too. Responsibility. Sigh, Ralph. Let's try doing this correctly this time, okie?

I could only wonder: what if I had CWTS (Community Welfare Training Service... or something to that effect. Heeheeh.) instead of this ROTC thingy? I personally feel that knowing myself, I'd feel much better off taking CWTS than ROTC... as I easily have passion for doing things that benefit others. Bah. Never mind.

Currently playing: Mark Bautista's 'Baliw' (Ano, merong may angal?!? To each his own, heheh. Actually his music is reminiscent of Gary Valenciano's early days and musical acts, which I find a fascination for.)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

lovely, love song...
perhaps the perfect song that describes that wonderful feeling one gets whenever we go crazy over somebody... :: kilig ako! :: hahah. :))

Lost In Your Eyes - Nyoy Volante & Mannos (originally popularized by Debbie Gibson)

I get lost, in your eyes
And I feel my spirits rise
And soar like the wind
Is it love that I am in

I get weak in a glance
Isn't this what's called romance
And never would I know
'Cause when I'm lost I can't let go

I don't mind not knowing
what I'm headed for
You can take me to the sky
It's like being lost in heaven
When (I'm/I am) I'm lost in your eyes

I just fell, don't know why
Something's there we can't deny
Well, I'll be found
When I am lost in your eyes

[repeat chorus]

And if I can't find my way
If salvation seems worlds away
Well, I'll be found
When I'm lost in your eyes

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Tulips. Aren't they lovely? :)

printf("\nHello world!\n");

Oh, how I love programming. I worked my arse off until lunchtime today to finish our case study, and after all the frustration, the anger and the confusion, I did manage to do roughly three-fourths of the entire thing. And that's what our group submitted this afternoon.

Here's a couple of things I learned from that experience:

- Never, ever put off work. It bites. Hard. Once it overwhelms you, failure then becomes even more attractive as an option... :(

- Programming is an art, requiring dedication, patience and perseverance. Especially if that logic thingy in your head works slower (me raises hands!) than some hardcore CS kiddies out there, these things become more important than ever before.

- Always assume that one program you created on say, Windows, will not perfectly work on other platforms. Also consider the sheer variety of compilers/development environments out there (i.e. Borland, Microsoft, GNU C, etc.)

- Set aside time. Time management is one crucial thing an IT worker must develop, if he or she is to become successful in this line of work.

- Work becomes more worthwhile with enthusiasm and passion. If you have at least one, then expect your work to be more fulfilling and engaging.

Next up: My machine project.

I made a booboo earlier today. In waving back one of KC's classmates while she was standing (obviously waiting) in front of EGI. What if somebody was behind me and the wave wasn't really intended for me? I would definitely come out of that as a... ehem, presko guy. Blech. :p

On the other hand, if it was indeed for me, then goody. I did what I was expected to do in return.

Sigh. Heh, its a pretty trivial thing, so I really wouldn't mind. Need to get some rest for tomorrow's exams. 4.0, here i come! Yeah! :o))

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Hello folks. :)

To those who've been reading this thing, well, thanks. As much as I would prefer my thoughts to myself, then again, it wouldn't hurt to share, rightie? Good.

Anyway, things have been busy as a bee's colony lately. Lots of things to do, a ton of requirements to finish and submit. Gee, the term's almost over. Goodie. Oh, by the way, i'm junking my plans to take anmath1 for summer. Sir Joey figured it out for me: I would be shooting myself in the foot if I did that, essentially adding another 3.0 units to my failure accumulation. ;)

On the other hand, the decision whether to shift or not is leaning towards 'shift' already. Maybe I'll slug it out for a term or two with ComSci, and then do it: jump ship to say, education or something related to writing/literature. Or even psychology. I dunno. I'll get my grades up to snuff first before making the final decision.

My MP's looking snappier than ever, thank you, but I'm still lagging behind schedule. Sigh. As much as I dislike programming, I have to do this.

I'm actually practicing things written on Leil Lowndes' book, "How to Make Anyone Like You" on a number of people I'm interested in meeting. So far, it actually seems to work. We'll see if indeed they truly work.

Dad gave me a thousand bucks to spend today, aside from my weekly allowance. He said purchase something for myself. Weird. He never actually did that before. (I was only limited to favors then, but dang, now he's giving me moolah? :) He said it was for the 'rush' work that I did on two of his recent estimates. Cool. So, being the enterprising guy that I am, I decided to go out today and get some CDs.

First up: Harry Connick Jr.'s 'Only You' album.

If you thought Michael Buble should've been with The Rat Pack, then Harry Connick Jr. should even come ahead of Buble in the singing department. That is because Connick's performances even bear more resemblance to the common style and flair The Rat Pack once had back in their heyday.

This album is swing-contemporary jazz kind of music, so if you dig Buble's or Sinatra’s crooning, Connick should also satisfy your taste equally well.

Some of the songs are admittedly revivals, but most of them have been rendered in Connick's own unique and definitive style, bringing much-needed life and a sense of freshness to them easily. (Perhaps the only exception to this is his rendition of 'For Once in My Life', which has been spoilt by obnoxious bass in the accompanying background. And oh, the cliche-ish things he does in that song too. :)

While the album may shun a few listeners away when you first hear it, this album grows on you as you listen to it, much like how other works similar to this do. You may not like it at first, but listening to it repeatedly makes one appreciate both obvious and miniscule details that this album has.

Being the carrier single of this album, Connick's 'Only You' is definitely a class act. Just by listening to the song evokes images of the fifties, along with all the quaint, smoke-filled cafes and brimmed hats of that era. The album is very mellifluous, unlike Buble's debut album, which alternates between several distinct genres of the same period. Most of the songs included in the album follow the 'romantic jazz crooner' style that is reminiscent of a retro Sinatra. His talent should be no surprise then to those who know Connick, being somebody truly raised in the traditions of jazz music, as he is a native of New Orleans, a city which jazz literally built.

Overall, if you like Sinatra and looking to rediscover the almost-distinctive style that his voice evokes, Harry Connick Jr.'s 'Only You' is a top pick. 9/10. Recommended, especially to contemporary jazz aficionados.

- Wonderful crooning voice from a man reminiscent of the classic Sinatra.
- Revival acts put the songs themselves and Connick’s distinct panache under the spotlight. Good exposure, as it opens up new listeners to distinctive classics such as ‘Only You’, ‘More’ and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’.
- Exquisite album.

- Sometimes, Connick’s style goes overboard on some tracks, ruining the old-fashioned appeal of the songs themselves.
- Costs PhP 425. Still lower than CDs in the US, but still somewhat expensive for my taste.

Norah Jones' homey appeal shines even more this time around

Norah Jones distinctive singing style comes alive again in her second album, aptly titled ‘Feels Like Home.’

While critics continue to deride Ms. Jones’ singing, it’s the accessibility of her music that makes her popular with a significant variety of people. Even if her music doesn’t bring anything new to the table this time around, it’s perhaps the simple fact that she does what she’s extremely good at—singing wonderfully simple yet lovely songs, makes us love her even more.

‘Feels Like Home’ starts off easy with ‘Sunrise’, a country-themed song that runs for around three minutes. It’s a great tune, setting the pace for the rest of the songs in the album as most of the tracks in the album are slow, jazz-flavored country songs. While that may admittedly alienate a few of established Norah Jones fans out there, in fact, this album presents her musical tastes more accurately than her debut album, ‘Come Away With Me’, as most of the songs this time are her personal picks.

Of all the tracks in the album, the only track that ticked me off was ‘Creepin’ In’, which actually forced me to click on the forward/next button as I find it unpleasant. You may or may not like the album, but like what many says, “To each his own”, some may find what this album offers nice or bad. In the end, it’s all a matter of personal taste.

Like her first album, this one also seemingly needs a certain detachment to the things around you to appreciate things fully. The music literally grows on you, with you the listener appreciating her work only after a couple of hours listening to it.

Personally, I find “Feels Like Home” an improvement over what we’ve seen thus far from Miss Jones in her first album, “Come Away With Me”. While some may miss the jazz singer in her, the offerings of this album more than adequately make up for that.

In the end, another excellent addition to my burgeoning collection of albums. 9/10. Recommended.

- Norah Jones, baby! Lovely, lovely singing voice.
- Somewhat an improvement over her earlier works. A sign of good things to come from this lady.
- Overall, a nice easy listening album. Perfect for those slow afternoons or for unwinding after a long day’s work. Or when you’re stuck in Manila’s horrendous traffic. :)

- Country-themed. That may mean well to some, but some may find it equally disappointing. (I’m personally neutral about it.)
- A track or two may not jive well with some listeners.

In the end, I’m not disappointed with my two picks for this week, Norah Jones’ ‘Feels Like Home’ and Harry Connick Jr.’s ‘Only You.’ Both equally appeal to my musical tastes and, for now, has a special place in my heart, joining the ranks of other equally-good acts.

Friday, March 05, 2004

I miss *******. I was so close to actually striking up a conversation with her yesterday, after our midterms in jprizal. Oh well.

You know, whenever I have these little admiration thingies (or what people commonly refer to as 'crushes') it kinda leaves me in awe and wonder, "What exactly do I find admirable in them?" Even KC, a fellow ct2003 classmate of mine in that class, also asked me the same question. Gee, KC, I dunno. ;)

Perhaps its that adage "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" thingy doing its stuff. What one might find interesting and appealing may not exactly have the same level of those to another. Think about Mother Nature playing her little tricks on us. :)

I am quite afraid to lose the chance to even get to know her. I mean, the term is just four weeks away from ending, and here I am, still contemplating on when and how to make my move. She really is somebody that I think will be worth my while (and one of a kind too!), and I'm afraid to lose out on my chance to get close to her. Sheesh, Ralph, risk. Don't you just hate them? (The risk, I mean. :)

Whenever I think of it, anxiety comes over me. It's just that all of those doubts and fears come to life and utterly disable me, making me feel incompetent and worthless. Gosh, this is bad. I really think that Sir Joey was indeed right in taking risks. After all, no gains can be made without taking some amount of risk, right? This is *so* true in business.

I guess I just have to either take the risk, or lose out on her entirely, without even knowing how she'll respond or even think of me as an individual.

Sigh. Dilemmas, dilemmas. :-$

Sorry for the relative lack of updates recently. (Gee, its been more than a week already. Hmm… :) Midterm week just passed, and I really had other priorities than updating people over things going on in my insignificant speck of biological existence we sometimes refer to as life. ;) Also, I don’t really post much about my life (like other bloggers do), as it’s something that I still consider privy. Most of the time, posting on my blog are my daily musings on anything under the sun, so if what you’re after is the nitty-gritty of my life, then you might never find it here. I post some details, but most of them are too vague to make much sense. :D

But for today, I make an exception. Here’s the blurb.

//counseling is king

after some hesitation in going to CCD (Center for Counseling and Development, if you so may know), _that_ letter from the Vice-Dean sure gave me a reason to go. After all, my intentions were, to clear up those thoughts I have been having over this whole college-is-comsci thing.

Kenneth and I went together last Wednesday during University break to the 3rd floor of the SPS Building to get somebody to hear us out. I must admit, it tons easier to go inside than when I was alone. Nevertheless, we did go in, and somebody (who we figured to be a counselor) asked us what in the world were we doing there. No, seriously, she asked us who we’re looking for. In my preppy, best tender voice, I replied, “ugh… counselor po.” (followed by a genteel smile and sheepish grin. Smarta** Ralph. Hahah. :))

After filling out some forms, Kenneth proceeded to go first and go home, and I was left in CCD, as a certain guy (who’ll turn out to be the counselor I will be consulting later on) approached me and told me to go his office whenever I felt ready. At that point, there was part-excitement, part-fear, with some butterflies fluttering inside my tummy. ;) Sigh. I should’ve done this weeks ago.

Nevertheless, I introduced myself to Mr. Jose Alejo, one my college’s counselors. He was pretty nice, and our conversation went for like an hour or so. Actually, it was what he says an ‘intake’ interview, where a counselor assesses the individual who seeks help and or guidance his/her needs.

Finally talking to somebody lifted a lot of weight on my shoulders. I did feel a heck of a lot better after having that session with Mr. Alejo, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing him again next week. While he did give me an assignment, (heeheeh. I’d love to call it my action plan. :) it wasn’t all too bad, as I know it’ll help me.

You know, all these made me realize one thing: that I’m turning away from that carefree, almost-indifferent attitude I had towards things back in high school, and back onto the well-beaten path of doing things. I guess it doesn’t hurt to go back to doing what everyone else does, but maybe… just maybe, I could live the high life again, once I get over this study thingy.

On second thought, maybe not. :))

//risk: our word for the day

The intake interview was pretty interesting in itself. While I was contemplating the things we were discussing, like my obvious doubts over a career in IT, I also did mention a number of things about myself. Including my relative coyness compared to other people of my age.

Sir Joey stated it was all about taking the risk, especially, with ugh, females. Risk. Pretty scary word indeed. I can feel the butterflies start fluttering again in my tummy whenever I recall it. :)

What in the world did I tell him anyway? Well, to start off, that I grew up in an environment with only the same gender as my peers, and that I was teetering on being anti-social sometime back in my high school days. I’ve already been adjusting since third year, and college seems to accelerate the entire changing-me thingy. That I find it easier to talk with people of the same gender than of the opposite ones. Pretty expected from somebody who has not even much of a clue about how the world of females work.

I also did tell him that, ugh, sometimes, I get intimidated by the people I meet. I also admitted that despite the pretensions of self-confidence on my part, it was just hard to maintain a degree or a level of self-esteem and belief in one’s self at times, thus, the intimidation, especially in social functions. While my relative ‘reservedness’ is an advantage, it can be a disadvantage too, seeing how awkward I could get in social events. Nevertheless, he says we’ll be both looking into it.

But for starters, he says that I could start with my blockmates and classmates, say by greeting them. That is risk in itself, albeit little. Well, Mr. Alejo, I’ve been doing that already. Self-effort works, methinks. ;)

In all, a score another step in the right direction for me. :)

//a caveat over counselors

A warning: Counselors seem to have the ability to read the subconscious aspects of a person just by looking at his/her handwriting, behavior and lots of other spooky little things. I was pretty surprised when he started dropping clues on my personality, which coincided with what I did know about myself. Gee, if these people know people just by observing things about them, count me out! Seriously though, I guess it has to do with their profession as counselors/psychologists.

While counseling might be perceived as for those who aren’t normal or experiencing problems, the reality is (by looking at the CCD’s logs) there are lots of people who go there for consultation. Does that mean that a lot are abnormal/depressed/problematic? I don’t think so, because reason doesn’t necessarily say so. As the counselors say themselves, a good number of undergrads go for consultation over some issue, no matter how trivial or significant these are, and the counselors are more than happy to help them resolve those.

And so this ends my mumblings over my counseling. Go out and smell the roses, as life can be too short for that. :)