Padeh

It’s amazing how people can slip into a comfortable conversation after quite a long period of disconnect.

When people grow up and take on the responsibility that comes with independence, there’s the tendency to be separated by priorities. Every once in a while, one craves for those evening sessions of Pusoy and Tong-its. One misses the regular after dinner conversations – sarcastic comments abound. Those phone calls to people requesting them to sing (and amazingly, people obliged). In hindsight, one wonders how they were able to come up with topics to talk about even when they spent quite a lot of time in each other’s company.

It’s great when we do have the time to ask how the others are doing – and really get to ask them. It’s best when we get to have that conversation. We never had photographs. We never had friendship rings or friendship anything. What we had was captured – only through memories. I miss you guys.

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back in the corner

Sometimes one needs to get away from the spaces that mean most to you. When you spend most of the time in that corner, you can’t help but associate it with a lot of things. It just happened that most of the memories you associated it with are the stressful ones. Unpleasant memories are easier to recall. It’s easy to come up with excuses not to stay there.

After quite a while, I find myself back in the corner.

what you get from waiting

“Number 28 water bill,” the teller called on. I looked at the 1.5-by-2-inch-ish crumpled piece of board I held. The numbers 3 and 7  scribbled with a fine permanent marker. One deep breath and I got my notebook and pen. Writing (and somehow thinking) is better than staring at something. Anyway, I’ve already studied all the paintings at the bank in my previous visits.

“At least it’s cool here,” I thought. After enduring a few hours of blackout at the office (meaning, no air conditioning unit and electric fan) and that long walk under the summer sun, I’d definitely appreciate  waiting in an air-conditioned room.

I started writing about the 2009 planner I found as I attempted to clean my corner space at the office. How my entry ended about defeat, control, and negativity is beyond me. Here’s what I wrote.

Letting oneself become upset is a form of defeat. You became upset because you let yourself be. It’s not because of an irritating deed or the heat or your hormones. It’s because you let yourself be affected by these things. They can be anything. They can be everything. If you choose not to let yourself be, you will not be upset, irritated, disappointed, [ …insert all the negative emotions you can think of here].

If you submit yourself to negative emotions – worse let yourself wallow in it, you are accepting defeat. You are accepting that you failed to master your own emotions. You failed to be the master of “you”.

Letting others, any external factor, affect your default positive self is letting them take control over something dear to you – your emotions, your perspective, your self-control. You become angry and irritated because you chose to be that way. Do not blame the heat, lack of tact, or the uncommon sense for that negativity in you.

Wallowing in negative emotion for a short period of time is acceptable. We all need to be in that state every once in a while. But an extended stay in that state is already a waste of time. It’s such an easy thing to do. Be irritated, angry, cranky, and the like. Everyone can do that.

What makes people standout is not how angry or irritated they can be – but how they manage to retain their cool in the most chaotic situations. In these situations, you never remember exactly who lost it and panicked – almost everyone did. But you remember how one or a few individuals managed to stick  to reason and calm. These are the people we look up to.

It so easy to find unpleasant things everywhere. Try looking to positive things and it becomes a challenge. People who find the opportunities in every context, no matter how difficult or complicated it may be, belong to an elite group. They are the few people grounded on reason and positivity.

In every situation, we choose what we want to be. We may change who we opt to be depending on the context. Reasonable and calm in the morning, irritant at noon, or perhaps something in between. We are humans after all, prone to inconsistencies. A “few” would be tolerable. Make that “often” and it’s not anymore.

In every action we take, in every decision we make, it’s good to remember that we do the things we do because that’s what we opted to do. It’s not because of the heat, lack of tact, or the uncommon sense – it’s just you.


Basically, this is me lecturing well… – me?

BOOKSALE Los Baños

BOOKSALE Los Baños remains to be one of my favorite shops. It’s where I get my books. Aside from me being stingy, it’s the search for good previously owned books that I enjoy. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone remains to be my greatest find up to date. I bought it when I was still in college. It cost me 65 Php then.

There’s also Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. I remember buying this book because the author’s name had a ring to it. I may have read or heard about him before. Plus the price was less than a hundred pesos considering that its original Fullybooked price was 382 Php. I also unearthed the Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood. It cost 40 Php. The novel was definitely better than the movie. Sometimes it takes months, even years, for me to realize a major find.

I’m no book expert. I usually buy books based on the title, book cover, price, summary, and how the author’s name sounds – in that order. I only get to research about the authors after purchasing their books – if I liked it. Of course, I’ve had my share of books that makes one wonder how come they were even published. So far, I’ve purchase more books that I kept than threw away.

From Mills & Boons (the really old ones), to novels, to management/design books, I found them all at Booksale. It’s the best way to kill time, both the search for good books and the reading part.

Today, I got three books for 85 Php namely, Joseph Andrews and Shamela by Henry Fielding (20 Php), Safe Harbor by Luanne Rice (45 Php), and Candy Everybody Wants by John Kilmer-Purcell.

These would keep me busy for the week. Even for me, three books for 85 Php is already an achievement. Plus they threw back issues of Time and Newsweek 😀

a good day

I wish every day could be like today.

It’s not the blackout on campus or the extreme heat  on a summer or the still-closed-salon that I’d want to encounter on a daily basis. It’s my outlook, my mood, my everything for today.

I did not complain or got irritated. I did not complain. I found time to write. I settled my water bill. Today feels so light.

I still have the same deadlines, same loans (yeah, that’s plural) to settle, same everything but one – perspective.

I’ve read and I’ve heard a lot of time times that what one gets or encounters depend on how one views things. A blackout, for example can be a hindrance for finishing one’s work or it can be time for settling bills or a visit to the bookshop. A long line can be a waste of time waiting or it can be more time for writing, simply a moment to think.

I have complained about a lot of bad days – and I do mean a lot. I just wanted to write this down as a reminder to my future self that a bad day is bad because I viewed things negatively. Today, I can say I’m leaning on the positive side of things. It is not a situation I commonly find myself in and I really value this context I’m in right now.

Perhaps bad days happen so we can appreciate better days. Today is a good day 😀

Review: Shakey’s (SM Dasmariñas)

Friday: Around 8pm: May 21, 2010

After four days spent eating home-cooked meals (no complaints there), we thought it would be nice to indulge on a Friday night. There was this craving for Shakey’s mojos so we opted to dine at SM Dasmariñas, which required more hours of walk from the GT Express Terminal conveniently located near Robinson’s. The four of us, dragging our four-day luggages, conjured images of crispy chicken, and mojos (and have I mentioned mojos?) as we made our way to SM.

Baggages checked, more than a few minutes walk, and minutes of waiting for a table and we’re finally seated comfortably at Shakey’s SM Dasmariñas.

Quality of food, service, amenities, Decor/restaurant layout – these are the things we usually take note of. It’s default in any dining experience – for this group at least. Positive and negative comments: it’s basically a discussion on “Am I getting my money’s worth?”

We arrived at Shakey’s SM Dasmariñas around 8pm. The place was busy and there was another group waiting for a table. There were a small number of free tables which makes one wonder why the staff lets its customers waste time waiting.

Kuya Sherwin had to identify a free table and request for a member of the staff to prepare it for our group. Ideally, there is a staff member waiting at the entrance of the restaurant ready to lead customers in their tables ASAP. People go to restaurants because they are hungry – and they want to be fed immediately.

Waiters were quick to take our orders which is good. The place has a wash area and a comfort room – a major plus.

The house blend iced tea was served and was found bland. It was too diluted (as diluted as the hand soap in the wash area). We did share the bland house iced tea comment to the staff. To set things in context, two Shakey’s patrons both said that the iced tea was bland. It was lacking in its “tea-ness”. Although, the quality of the house blend iced tea improved (during the last refill).

Then came the mojos that the group craved. We were disappointed. The potatoes were fried in a temperature below the ideal. The oil just wasn’t hot enough. The mojos usually has a layer of batter which becomes a slightly crispy coating when fried in the right temperature. What was served to our table wasn’t mojos – it was a pile of tasteless, limp slices of potatoes soaked in cooking oil with a very thin batter. This was not similar to the Shakey’s mojos served in other Shakey’s restaurants and we’d never believe that’s the way it’s supposed to be cooked.

While waiting for the rest of the order to come, the waitress approached our table with our supposed “change”. We explained we haven’t paid for the bill yet – we haven’t even started eating (which I think was quite obvious). She then left and went back to the cashier. A “thank-you-for-your-honesty” would  have been nice. Not required, but it would have been nice. Even an apologetic smile will do. But nope, we got none of that.

The fries were in better condition. The classic spaghetti and the chicken was great.

Then came the request for ice. I requested for ice and I got a glass with few ice cubes. Wouldn’t it be better if the waiter had asked rest of the occupants of the table if they also wanted ice? And perhaps bring us a mini bucket of ice?  I again requested ice from the waitress assigned to the table. She seemed to have forgotten about it. We had to follow it up with another member of the staff after a long wait. The follow-up resulted to at last – a small bucket (half-filled) with ice.

When it was time to pay the bill, Kuya Sherwin gave his credit card. The waiter requested that he pay in cash. Here’s the good part. We can’t use the credit card because the cashier made the mistake of processing our receipt. The waiter explained that since it has been punched in, it would be better that we paid in cash.

Point number 1: You always find the most convenient method of payment for your customers – and let you customers choose the method of payment they want to use. Their convenience is priority.

Point number 2: You are not to cause any inconvenience to your customers because of an error made by the staff. Deal with it.

Point number 3: Perhaps you could have been nicer? The idea we got was we needed to pay in cash because your cashier made a mistake. The least you could have done was offer an apology and politely request if we can pay in cash – and least thank us when we did decide to pay in cash.

It would be great if you are more aware of the needs of your customers by constantly checking the tables. It’s not limited to refilling bottomless drinks. It takes a while before we get your attention and even a loooonger time to get what we requested for (of course we have to follow it up).

Yes, perhaps the shop had a busy day and the staff are tired – but that’s no excuse. I’m not claiming this happens all the time but it’s what we experienced – and we know this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Been to other better performing Shakey’s branches so there’s a basis for comparison.

Customers go to restaurants expecting the quality service and food  promised – wherever the branch is, whatever the time.

Ratings

  • 1 -excellent (worth recommending) 😀
  • 2 -good (not crazy about it but it’s above average) 🙂
  • 3 -average (so-so, okay) 😐
  • 4 -tolerable (below average but I can still take it) 😦
  • 5-poor (disaster) 😡

Shakey’s SM Dasmariñas

  1. Quality of food: 4 😦
  2. Service: 4 😦
  3. Amenities: 2 🙂
  4. Decor/restaurant layout: 2 🙂

Overall Rating: 😐

Translation: I’m not excited to go back but I’d probably give it another try – not in the immediate future. And hopefully they’ll serve real mojos.

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The manager personally came to Los Baños (all the way from Dasmariñas), about three hours commute, to inquire about what happened. We greatly appreciate the effort.  He was apologetic. He explained that he was not on duty the night we dined but it was his responsibility to make sure it does not happen again. I do think that if he were present that night, he would have handled things better.

the daily habit (…ideally)

I’ve been attempting free some thoughts and add an entry here. By “attempt”, I mean staring at the monitor and trying to choose a topic I could complain about, something to share. I wasn’t productive with entries this week – and it’s not because I lack inspiration or time. I can come up with excuses but it would just be a waste of time. All excuses cited, there’s still no entry posted.

I promised myself I would write regularly – and I was aiming for a daily account. It didn’t really work out. I could adjust the dates but that would be cheating – it does sound tempting 😀

Perhaps it’s the idea that I need to or must or should do something. Or maybe I’m just not taking it seriously. The daily blog remains a dream for me. It’s something I’ve been hoping to maintain for a looooong time. I’ll add that to the list of things I need to work on 😀