Double Negative

double negative

For starters I am an introvert and minimalist.

I cannot sustain your constant need of hype.

I only have one social media account which I open only twice a month, maximum.

I am terrified and annoyed when I am asked (which I translate as required) to be in a constant chit-chat about fancy, trendy, and funny(?) things that rev up your excitement levels.

What you mean is I am having a good time when you say I am a recluse.

And you ought to say that I am charging when you say I’m in seclusion.

I keep things to a minimum because I cannot juggle things as effectively as you do.

My optimum and balanced self is when I am neither bored nor excited.

I am not a sorry lot; you dont know how kickass awesome inside my head is.

My definition of good time is either being in a tranquil environment in the company of trees and rocks or a heavy metal music in the background with an ice-cold beer.

Silence is my best buddy. He let’s me listen to myself, to nature, to the peace that can only be found in the quiet and unperturbed happy self.

Solitude is where I gain myself and my strength to keep trying to be a better man not only for myself but everyone and everything I can lay my hands, heart, head, and strength on.

 

photo from pinterest.com

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I Saw God In Yesterday’s Rain

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I haven’t seen the rain for quite a long time now. For many times the rain was synonymous to misery and gloom, much like a bad omen. But the rain in that particular afternoon, it was something else. Or should I say Someone…

My wife and I got in touch with our zen selves inspired by the best ecological expert that we both know of – her father.

It’s a different kind of experience, religious even when you choose to see God not only in the grandest display of nature but in the simplest stone that we grouped and piled, the dirt reminiscent of our humble beginnings which soiled our hands, the humble vegetation symbolizing our tender nature and proof of life amidst the strength exhibited by the rocks.

It’s very humbling to be able to play with God’s beautiful creation. And once you develop this kind of reverence for these things in nature, be it great or small, you’ll be able to realize that we’ve almost touched fingers with God – His prints left in the unpolluted, undesecrated rocks, stones and moss and trees.

We toiled the whole day, sweat rushing down our bodies until the fading of the light assured us of the imminent culmination of a wonderful day.

And then it rained.

The soft and cool pitter-patter in the roof, in the leaves, and in the parched soil was but God’s way of showing Himself at the end of the day telling us “well done, well done children” while showering us His blessing and affirmation to where our hands almost touched.

 

photo from decorationarticle.com

Essential Office Skill: Mini-Lawyering

One of the perks of becoming a senior engineer is being able to develop the skill of mini-lawyering to save your ass. By that, I don’t mean covering up an evil scheme or evil plan. Rather, it is documenting your every move such that your decisions are all based on solid ground (validated by calculations, approved by your superiors and confirmed by everyone else such that you will not be incriminated.

I hated the idea before of accounting everything in order to have something to save my ass when judgment day comes. It’s as if you’re waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop, or when the blame game comes and you need to have the ball off of your hands. All too negative trying to deflect that pointing finger of guilt and sin off your face.

Given the right context however, it can actually aid you to become better at what you do. Getting your tracks covered can mean that your decisions are sound and based on the correct reasons and solid ground that can only be altered on grounds of your superiors’ prerogative and not because it’s wrong.

How do you start to learn mini-lawyering?

  • Documentation. We’re more into emails than actual hard copies and what I do is I write all parties involved as possible. Note that documenting a Skype call or a previous verbal conversation is often a life-saver. The bonus is you get good with your technical writing especially if you have someone correcting your grammar and your choice of words.
  • Talk to yourself. This is freaking effective to me. I tell myself a story and consequently get the whole picture or I see a soft spot somewhere like when I’m writing, and my thoughts are laid bare right before me.

So we should all invoke our rights to self-incrimination and be pretty good at this mini-lawyering.

Daddy & Sons: The Blues

Ang bata habang maliit pa, kapag medyo nagkukulit at nakikitaan mo ng hardheadedness (na minsan e jina-justify natin bilang persistence na in a sense e positibo) e cute pa ang dating. Medyo natatawa pa ako sa bunso ko kapag nagpapakita siya ng konting attitude. Tumatawa nalang ako at nililingon si misis para ipakita sa kanya kung anong nagagawa ng batang mana sa matalinong mommy. Oo strong willed at matalino ang mommy nila.

Sumasama nga lang ang loob ko dahil sa reaksyon ko sa kakulitan ng aking 7-year old kuya.  Madalas na namin syang nasasaway at nasisigawan ngayon. Wag dito, wag dyan, tipong ganun. Pero ang hirap na hirap talaga ako e kapag kelangan kong ulit-ulitin ang sinabi ko hanggang itaas ko na ang boses ko dahil parang di nya ako naririnig. Minsan e siguro naririnig nya ako pero baka ayaw lang nyang sumunod. O baka sa dami ng naiisip nyang gawin e nalulunod yung sinasabi ko.

Hindi ako yung palasigaw na ama sa loob ng tahanan. Ayaw ko sa kadahilanang noong ako ang bata ay ayaw ko rin yung nasisigawan ako. At ayaw kong ang weekends na kasama ko ang gang ko at nagpapahinga ay mahahaluan ng negatibong pasigaw-sigaw at galit. Pero minsan ay nakakapikon talaga.

At sa huli, basag ang moments namin kapag may ganun kaming eksena. Ngayon ko lang naiintindihan yung sinasabi noon ng namayapa ko ng tatay na ‘Malaki ka na, dapat di ka na napapagalitan.’

Nagbibinata na sya at ayaw kong mapariwara si kuya. Gusto kong maging masunurin sya in a correct way. Gusto kong nag-iisip sya ng kapakanan nya na hindi naaagrabyado ang iba. Gusto kong matutunan nyang protektahan ang sarili nya. Gusto kong maging masaya kami at hindi galit ang mamagitan sa amin.

Siguro ang dami kong maling ginagawa kaya di namin makuha yung rhythm namin. Baka dapat may ma-establish kaming routine? Baka dapat mas maging pasensyoso pa ako?

Some Goodbyes In The Workplace

My design manager  called a meeting earlier to have some catch up. In my mind, it was the usual chit chat to know the whereabouts and whatabouts of everyone for planning of resources.

When we started the meeting, he told us that he’d be gone for good from the company on the 25th of January to be able to focus to rearing his family.

There was this unexplainable sadness that came over after he told us that.

I might have matured a bit now because I didn’t utter “good riddance” at the back of my mind. We’ve had arguments. Like he said, he wants the role of being the devil’s advocate and thus he wants to stir everyone’s thinking and yet couldn’t suggest tangible technical steps to achieve it. I can’t blame him though. You cant really give a systematic advice on how to achieve something without you knowing the in and out of the process.

In design engineering, you really need to know EXACTLY how are you going to execute a process be it a design investigation or starting a new project. Vague instructions are but confusing and annoying. Numbers don’t lie and it takes definite, tangible, and exact steps to attain a desired solution. But then again I am not taking it against him.

For countless instances when I’m very much focused on the micro and there’s a problem in the project, he helped me through his macro mind, decisions that are management in nature and not very technical.

There were times when he comes over to talk about something else outside of work, perhaps to build rapport. And there was also a time when we talked in the office in front of the google map in his pc regarding his whereabouts in Australia for more than an hour.

But yeah goodbyes in the workplace are but normal part of the natural process. Sadness that comes along with it is also normal by the way. It may be so since you shared arguments, overtime hours, laughter, misunderstanding, exchanged technical and non-technical know-hows and whatnot which created personal encounters and memories to each and everyone be it between colleagues, boss to subordinate. or subordinate to bosses.

You get used to it until it feels comfortable, where there was once a resistance, it’s now a comfort zone. That is until “goodbyes” tell us to keep moving, but this time with different circumstances and different people…

Our Very Own Japanese Zen Garden

Aside from Nihongo, I had been aiming to be more Japanized by means of Japanese art, and that is building my very own Japanese Zen garden.

I am a fan of meditating in silence and being one with nature and a firm believer that God manifests himself in nature and that we’ll only be able to commune with Him in silence and in peace. My theological standpoint is Christian, I concede however that Zen Buddhism perfectly captured the concept of the oneness of God and Nature which is translated through their art.

This leads me to the insane conclusion that there are traces of Japanese blood in me, that is in deep appreciation of nature in its grandeur and simplicity both at the same time.

When the humble Zen garden took shape, I felt this profound peace from within like I am finally hearing God’s silent whispers for the first time. And when I am walking along them, there is this sense of oneness from within. It becomes clear that we’re not really two separate entities. They are me and I am them.

As I took pictures with my phone I realized that it was difficult capturing them in the same striking way that they appear to me. My wife told me that photography is more than skill. Rather, it is an art which requires a high degree of artistry. Ok writing can be my art (at least for me) but photography isn’t my thing. But I took their pictures anyway even if they won’t make it to National Geography’s list and even in noob photographers’ shortlist.

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And in the other corner,

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Luckily, we have a creek in the vicinity and it was me who hauled the white rocks and the other rocks, sack by heavy sack for an estimated distance of a couple hundred meters. It was tiring but it was all worth it.

And I also figured, you won’t be able to understand and appreciate in depth the profoundness of this experience with the simplest displays of nature if you have not reached a considerable degree of enlightenment. I don’t claim to be as enlightened as Buddha was. I am far from him and I don’t even aspire to be like him. There is just this wonderful sense of peace in realizing and discovering God in nature and vice versa, including the lessons He wants to teach us about simplicity and love becomes more apparent. And that nature and people are not really separate entities. We are one.

Wishing you the same sense of peace and calm this 2018 and beyond.

 

P.S. Special thanks goes to my wife for transforming it from the concept I had in mind to making it a reality. We often talk how we get comfortable and compatible with each other’s “boringness” and the same gusto with nature which makes it more grand because I can share the peace with someone who totally understands.

Own What You Learn

This is for all the information hoarders out there.

For every query comes an answer. It’s THAT easy especially today in this digital age.

We are bombarded with a lot of information, in the internet alone for example. If we can only process information like machines, we would have been masters of EVERYTHING in no time.

But then there’s the rub: we’re better than machines.

While there are those gifted with extreme information management, the majority (me included) have a lot of difficulty sinking the much-needed information in the gray matter in between the ears in no time especially during crunch time when your very breathing depends on what the brain can retain.

And despite the availability of every answer possible, we wonder why we never actually learn them. Take for example the topics in structural engineering. The internet is teeming with reliable resources, scholarly articles and whatnot from the structural engineering community. That would have made every structural engineer in the world a master. But despite that, many are still struggling even on the most basic concepts. Why?

Obviously, there are a lot of reasons why. But if you’re dying to learn your craft and wondering what you might be doing wrong, be it structural engineering or otherwise, then you might want to read these.

The Law of Use and Disuse

You have it but you don’t need it at the moment, you will lose it. The operative word here is the need “at the moment”. This had been the natural law of survival and evolution so it is inherent and natural to everything in existence.

Not Owning What You Learn

This is the most important lesson to learn.

Facts and figures mean nothing at all if you don’t own them. Until you give them an entirely different meaning for yourself, it is going to be meaningless. There is a universal definition of things but there are different ways to rephrase them such that they mean the same thing but defined differently and in such a way that it is uniquely just for you. So not until you own it can you take possession of it. Makes sense right?

These frames of mind transcend the common belief that the competition is outside of ourselves. The war is in fact right within ourselves.

So always remember, we can only retain just as much information. What we don’t use, we’ll naturally lose so don’t sweat it because that’s how the natural world works.

And lastly, own what you learn and rephrase it in your own words. Ponder upon it, find ways how it is related to things, watch and feel how it resonates with you and your soul. Yep, that’s the only way of committing things to long term memory by making it one with you.

No Strings Attached

We claim to have given something, and yet we still feel as miserable.

The question is, have we really given freely?

I caught myself not one time while opening a technical blog of mine. A lady who we call Baby Dimples secretly used to like my every post until such time that she stopped liking at all. I felt frustrated, cheated even that I don’t get to see that red dot on top of that bell telling me that someone just so happened to have followed or liked my posts.

I created that blog to give freely my technical know-hows and experiences but I figured I was also expecting something in return such as a like from Baby Dimples, a follow click from other bloggers and a comment saying ‘good job’. And of course I felt frustrated falling short of my expectations.

My intent was to give a gift, but turns out I was playing yoyo wanting what went off my hands to return to me eventually. And when it didn’t return I felt as if the world has wronged me big time. I was not giving at all, I was bartering.

Giving should then be like giving an eagle to the wind. No strings attached, no expectations that it will go back, not even a thank you from someone for your kindness by letting it go.

What you gave may never come back at all. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you gave freely, really free, a part very near and very dear to you that you cannot help but smile and be at peace as you see it go. Now that’s true giving.

Bakit kaya parang lahat ng kasalanan e meron sa Recto?

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Mula sa mga:

  • Namemeke ng ID at mga papeles;
  • Karera ng kabayo sa tv malapit sa Recto station ng LRT line 2;
  • Night (at kahit tanghaling tapat) clubs na madalas akong salubungin sabay alok ng ‘sir maraming bago ngayon’ habang ako’y naglakakad;
  • Mga sinehan na ang titulo ng mga palabas e Malikot, Kasalo, Mainit, at Masikip. Sya ring mga sinehan na kahit nasa bangketa ka naglalakad e maaamoy mo yung kakaibang amoy galing sa loob;
  • Mga nagbebenta ng vibrators at kakaibang mga singsing at mga gamot na chung chang na may kabayo na picture sa labas ng kahon;
  • Mga nakasandal sa daanan sa labas ng Isetan na naga-alok ng relo na gsm;
  • Mga naga-alok ng cell phone na gsm din na aakalain mong mga pick up artist na naghahanap ng makakana

Pero kahit ganun sa Recto ay marami akong mga magagandang ala-ala nung bago pa ako maging inhinyero gaya kapag natapos ang review e gagala kami sa Recto. Kahit walang pera at gutom e ayos lang busog naman ang mata. Kapag kelangan ng gamit sa kusina, sa Recto ang takbuhan. Hamper, batya, at palanggana? Meron sa Recto nyan!

At maski nga yung kopya ng broadsheet na naging patunay na ako’y isa ng ganap na civil engineer e sa isang madaling araw sa Recto ko nabili. At kahit ngayon na mahigit isang dekada na ang nakakaraan mula ng maging surot ako ng Recto ay andun parin yung nostalgic na pakiramdam tuwing nagagawi ako doon.

Samut-saring mga alaala sa lugar na samut-sari din ang meron. Sadyang di ka tunay na taong Maynila kung di mo alam sa Recto.

 

 

 

Mula ang larawan sa behance.net

The Older, The Funnier

I just realized that the more senior you are in an organization, the funnier you become.

It’s because your subordinates most of the time laugh at your jokes. Albeit, they may be doing so either just to show respect or they’re too timid to tell you right in your face to ‘go fuck yourself’ and that your jokes suck.

I want to fully believe that I’m really getting funnier as I am getting older but I’m having my doubts…