The Diarist

It's been eight years since I tapped the keyboard for my first blog entry. And for what it's worth, I've learned not only from my stories, but from those who got to read mine as well. I became a better person out of this notion that all my failures have to be written, and from this fear, the struggle for harmony would become a conscious undertaking. The blog speaks to me, it watches my every move.

As I write these lines, I chose to cut the umbilical cord that attaches me to my desktop computer. To be in a place where I could grasp my thoughts and put these pulses on the notepad of my mobile phone. Looking at the bleeding sky, I close my eyes and let the breeze caress my dry skin. A succession of dog barks in the distance puncture the chilly night air. While here, at the spot close to the unlit stairwell where a ghostly apparition made its presence felt a few weeks ago,

I try to get drowned in silence.

Solitude and emptiness. The very reason this journal endures. This is my escape from the humdrum of everyday living: To make sense of my narrative and make it the footprint of my personal journey. It doesn't matter now if I get read or my prose still lacks artistic merits. As long as the pursuit of expression is there, and the creation is done with sincerity, then I have accomplished my purpose.

The diarist in me had prevailed.

May these sprawled words, should it ever get beyond the distillery of the final draft, affirm my faith that one weaves words not to be heard, but to share an experience: That a wordsmith never aspires fame, only respect from his readers. And should there come a time when the Souljacker gets tampered by someone's self-serving desire; a puppet with strings of a Capitalist experiment, I do hope to remember why this blog breathes

And dreams of permanence.

It only answers to no one but me. When one writes as if nobody reads, only then will words go on forever.

Adult Summer Reading Contest

When Daddy Took Us Camping
 by Archana Sidhaye
We had a great time at the Adult Summer Reading Creative Writing Workshop on Tuesday.  We created Book Spine Poetry!  Here are a few of our best works.  I am turning this into a contest this summer and everyone is invited to participate!

After Dark by Archana Sidhaye
All you have to do is find some book titles that work together to make a joke, a poem or just a fun saying.  If you want some inspiration, put the words “Book Spine Poetry” in a Google image search and read through all of the results that come up.  But you really can’t realize how fun (and easy) it is until you try it ourself!
Go through the books on your shelf, or on our shelves, and write down all the interesting titles that jump out at you.  Make a note of the call letters or numbers so that when you have your final idea, you can gather the actual books for a photo.  Stack them up in order and snap a photo of your creation by August 15, 2012.  Send it to, with your name, email and age (if under 18) and you will be entered in our contest and your poem will be posted in the library and on our website.  All of the entries submitted will be posted on the library website at  

Summer Memories by Barbara Battles
In our next Creative Writing Workshop on Tuesday, July 10 in Program Room 1A/1B at 2:00 we will start to write our stories or memoirs – recording our thoughts “Between the Covers” of the book of your life!  I heard Michael Phelps this morning describe how he has kept a journal of his experiences on the road to becoming the athlete with the most gold medals in the Olympics.  He said he was not a writer but he has enjoyed putting down his thoughts and impressions.  What a legacy he will have to pass on to his family, and maybe share with the world. And it is never too late to start.  We will discuss some ways to make the task easier, starting with some meditation and then looking at resources that are on the Internet and in books available at the library.  Bring your laptop if you find it easier to type, or bring your favorite writing instrument and make this a pleasurable assignment.  Paper and pens will be available if you don’t bring one. 
Body Parts by Dr. Nose

What (Cupcake) Professionals Know

You can be pretty good at something, but I am convinced that you will never know as much as professionals,.    This was brought home to me this week because 1.)  my bathroom is getting renovated, and 2.) I was baking for the staff birthdays at the Library.

 I am a pretty good baker, but until I read the book The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating by Autumn Carpenter, I didn't realize how little I actually knew.  Many of the problems I have encountered in 33 years of semi-serious cake baking have been solved between the pages of this book.  

At the same time, my husband and I have been picking out fixtures, etc. for our (tiny) master bathroom. As a do-it-yourselfer, you probably wouldn't think about the height of your faucet and the height of the medicine cabinet and lights until you started installing them.  But our bathroom remodeler, Ralph, alerted us to these issues and more right away as we were picking out our fixtures.  You just can't beat a professional for the inside track on all this information.

Red velvet cupcakes with (swirly!) cream cheese frosting.  In the background, Outrageous Brownies from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, and blueberry/cranberry pie.

Have you seen the fabulous looking cupcakes at bakery shops and on TV?  I am fairly handy with a pastry bag, but I did not realize until I read this book, that the generous swirls on top of the cupcakes need to be started with a rosette of frosting in the middle of the cupcake FIRST before you build up the swirls around that cone base.  Otherwise they just look flat and boring!  Yep, this tip was illustrated in Carpenter's book.  

Of course, you can go to YouTube to find this out too.  If you need to brush up on your computer skills, why don't you come to the Library and take some of our computer classes?  Even more conveniently, you can go to our website,, click on Databases, then go to Learning Express, click on Popular Software Tutorials, and find a huge panoply of computer tutorials from basic to advanced on everything from Photoshop, to Excel, PowerPoint and lots more.  

If you are remodeling, we have lots of great books on plumbing, decorating and renovating in our collection.
Consider our library, and its myriad resources on a lot of DIY subjects (including baking!) as a source to keep your mistakes to a minimum.  

And if all else fails: consult a professional!

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Not a Plumber

Twenty Two

Just so you would have an idea of the life I had a few years after I stepped out of the university. The entry was lifted from my old blog. Unedited to preserve the writing style and raw emotions of my twink self.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Fullmetal Dreams
July 1, 2004

I thought I would last a day without worrying or thinking how bleak our future would be. I thought that by encoding my mom's application for a promotion, I would forget our sorry state we're in.

I was wrong... very wrong.

Yesterday, my dad asked me to attend a meeting of the newspaper and dealers association. When they told me the news, I had a hunch about the things those guys would talk about, one of those is the raising of the price of newspapers, particularly tabloids. You see, that business has already been bleeding badly after the newsprint companies decided to raise the price of the paper.

It's time for us to follow suit.

Before going to the meeting, dad asked one of his fellow publishers to tag me along. After all, I'll go there alone representing one of the most read tabloids in the market after the crisis tore us apart.

In just two weeks... such an unexplainable shame.

While travelling, I had an opportunity to have a chit-chat with this young publisher. He was the recent victim of my dad's former business partner and mistress. We talked about business operations, some information about our rival tabloids, and the state of his business at the moment.

I'm not so sure how much of what he said was propaganda and how much is truth, but you know what, having a conversation with him made me so much envy of what he had accomplished in just a few weeks. Perhaps because we have the same wavelength when it comes to operating a newspaper business. It's like talking to someone who understands and appreciate the things you are talking for a very very long time.

Dad and I don't share that kind of affinity. We're always at conflict when it comes to management styles and ideals.

The meeting was a brief but fading glory for me. I was given a seat to represent the company and tell about the things we have to say about the agenda. For a span of twenty seconds, publishers, dealers; big and small listened to what I have to say.

And since I'm still having this amats after speaking in english during my call center interviews several days ago, I can't help but explain my point in accented english...

It was a proud moment for me, yet my heart is bleeding inside. The organizers asked everyone for a contribution for the food we ate. I went there with just 60 bucks in my wallet. But since the company cannot even provide our contribution for the event, I was forced to shed P500 bucks to compensate my dad's additional contribution of P500.

I was humiliated inside, but since our contribution was enclosed in an official letterhead envelope, we seemed to looked ok in front of the other publishers. Add to that, most of the other publishing companies contributed the same amount as we shelled out.

But before I left, another blow hit me. Informing my dad about what had happened at the meeting, he told me that our supplier will not supply us the newsprint for the day. Our Finance Department's constant begging never worked this time. I found out today that we haven't produced even a single copy of the newspaper. One of my most feared scenario is here: we're already in deep shit.

I never bothered to asked them what happened to the company. I know, it would make me very depressed whatever I'll hear about them after what happened yesterday. Dad tried to contact me many times, but I decided not to answer any of his calls. I think it's up to him this time. I'm too distraught to give any of my support.

This evening, I decided to meet Phanks. These past few days, he's one of my source of sanity and support. At least, I already helped him resolved most of his issues before I was the one who broke down.

But no matter how I try to hide my depression, it still shows, leaving me staring into nothingness and phanks had seen me staring into empty space several times this evening.

When I looked at how I made my decisions before this crisis happens, I cannot help but resent on missed opportunities and useless sacrifices. I shouldn't have lent them my 30k last month so that I'll have longer back-up money today. Right now, I don't expect my dad to support us, it's up to me and my mom to run the house from now on. In my estimates, my savings would only last for three weeks. If in three weeks, nobody would still hire me, I would rely heavily on my 9k "salary" from our security agency business. Fortunately, mom is still working so hopefully, we could compensate our 20k monthly household maintainance through our combined income generation.

Until I get a company to hire me, things would be very bleak for the three of us. Dad, for the meantime, would be completely out of the picture since it's an open secret that he maintains another family aside from us. It's up to them to compensate their own.

Before, I get envy when I see some guy, the same age as mine driving a Honda V-Tec or some other customized car... I get envy because I should have driving such toy with my dad's wealth and power. But since he's spending it all to his former mistress and business partner, we were left fending our own.

Now that his former mistress left him to publish a tabloid that would rival our own, financial difficulties made our life uncertain and crippled. Dad maintains a new mistress, only younger and shyer this time.

But things didn't change at all. It's all the same murky water I found when I first started my career in dad's company.

Last year, I was at the same predicament. This is the very same situation we had last year. The only difference is that, this time, I'm already very aware of the responsibilities I'll take over if ever dad cannot handle it anymore. I used to feel somewhat powerful and influencial before these things happened. I used to fixate my life on the management career I'll take over when dad decides to retire from his business. I used to cling on and be happy with savings I gained from my salaries...

But now, now that I feel like we've been stripped off all our perks, now that I feel that everything was almost taken from us... Everything seems like a drama gone wrong. For all we know, we've never done anything to be in this state of karma.

I still don't understand why we have to suffer things such as these.

More Good Flicks You Might Have Missed…

Here are more of my favorites from our collection.  Let me know what you think!

The Kids Are Alright

Starring Annette Bening and Juliane Moore, Mark Ruffalo
Nic and Jules are in a long term, committed, same-sex relationship. Nic, a physician, needs to wield what she believes is control, whereas Jules, under that control, is less self-assured. They have two teen-aged children, Joni, who is Nic's biological child, and Laser, who is Jules' biological child. A big-hearted, sexy and uproariously funny movie that combines comedic surprise with poignant emotional truth. 2010, rated R. Comedy/Drama.

My Week With Marilyn

Starring Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson
In the summer of 1956, 23-year-old Colin Clark, determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that famously united Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. When his diary account was published, one week was missing. This is the story of that week: an idyll in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of work. Based on the diaries of Colin Clark. 2011, rated R. Biography/Drama. (In my opinion, Michelle Williams should have won an oscar for this.)

A Matter of Size

Starring Itzik Cohen, Dvir Benedek
Four overweight friends from the Israeli city of Ramle are fed up with dieting and the dieting club they belong to. A comedy about a 'coming out' of a different kind - overweight people learning to accept themselves. 2009, Not rated. In Hebrew and Japanese with English subtitles. Comedy/Drama.


Jill Eisner
Sr. Librarian


Eclipse Gym 24/7


It's my gym day but my mind tells me not to go. After all, today is my rest day too, the overcast sky might bring some rain and my pockets are getting shallower with each passing day.

Besides, my pecs, biceps and triceps are still recuperating from my last work out.

But when I think of myself five years ago, when beads of sweat dribbled down my face while Coach Blakedaddy tells me to repeat the exercise again after a wrong execution; when I showed up at 4 in the morning to do bench presses because sleep had evaded me; and when I remember all those times I groaned out of pain and intensity of the work out, and write "fail" on my program only to repeat the same exercise (with less pounds and reps) the next time I showed up,

You would realize that it's been a long, humbling journey and there is no turning back.

So today, I am set to return to the gym. And maybe get to nod at some of those nameless familiar faces, not to get their attention but to recognize that both of you have struggled - going three-times-a-week to do weightlifting inside the power cages; poring over the same exercise program the gym provides and updates - for free; and staying long enough to appreciate that the system really works.

But more than seeing other people, I will return - maybe today, or probably tomorrow in pursuit of perfection: To indulge this craving to lift those Olympic bars and heavy iron plates. For the work out and the gym has not only become a routine. After all these years of pumping, sweating and swinging - for an hour, twice or thrice a week, I have to say that the activity that keeps me fit and confident has now become my lifestyle.


This Week at SBPL I Discovered ... The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

This week I watched all three movies based on Swedish author Stieg Larsson's trilogy, beginning with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009).  The first book was published in 2005.  The book's success and that of the two that quickly followed prompted the 2009 Swedish film trilogy featuring each of them : The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  All three of these films feature Swedish actress Noomi Rapace in the title role of Lisbeth Salander.  Ms. Rapace is  currently making her Hollywood debut in the sci-fi thriller Prometheus, by the way.

I had already seen the 2011 Hollywood version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara and I had already read the first book of the trilogy but not the next two.  I liked both.  The story is by no means for children or even teens - it is strictly R-rated for sexuality and violence.  I did not find the graphic nature of the film gratuitous, but did found it intense and suspenseful, relevent to the nature of the story.  The plot focuses on the victory of good over evil, victim over fiend.  But, I won't say more so not to give away any surprises. 

The Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was different in some (not very important) ways from the story told in the book or of the book's Hollywood interpretation, but yes, there were differences.  I thought both versions were equally good, in terms of the story as well as the acting.  There are no American movie versions for the next two books, but I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen in the near future.  I did enjoy the Swedish movies.  I watched the first with subtitles and the next two dubbed in English.  The dubbed versions were not at all "bad" or distracting in any way.

My reason for writing this post is not to review the film so much - though I recommend it highly for grownups who enjoy international adventure/intrigue and the kind of justice found on television shows such as Law & Order.  My purpose is to let you know that you can rent this gripping movie trilogy for just $3 ($1 for each movie borrowed) thanks to the South Brunswick Public Library movie collection.  Don't forget we also carry the print and audiobook versions as well.

All I needed to do was to go to my Library account online, locate the titles in the online catalog and then reserve each of them with a click here and there.  You can also just walk in and check the shelves in-person.  Before I knew it I had some excellent films waiting for pick-up for very little cost.  It's really that simple.  If you have any trouble just call for assistance at 732-329-4000, ext. 7286.  Movie rentals are $1 per film for a one-week loan period!

By Rosemary Gohd, SBPL PR/Marketing


The mini-reunion was set ahead of time. But me and my college friends ran out of steam before the meet-up finally pushed through. Say it's because of pressing matters at home - and in my case - at work. But at the last minute, my superior offered a reprieve.

At 8:00 in the evening, I was able to leave the office. The destination is at Conspiracy Bar. I was there to see the last of the send-off gigs of a folk artist, whose songs only few have ever heard.

Her name is Cynthia Alexander and because of a Yahoo article circulated last month, everyone who know her came; to see her perform for the last time before she packs her things and plant her roots in sunless lands where musicians like her thrive and grow. 

She was already revered long before we crawled out of the university and out of our ephemeral dreams. I remember, the mere mention of her name would instantly hurl you to the pantheon of eccentrics - they, who have set themselves apart and lived in their own mind-temples in the Faculty of thinkers.

I was never a hardcore. That I can honestly admit. I just know her music and was able to absorb it. Knowing her was my way of reaching out; to have a place in the realm of the literati. After all, I used to be an apprentice of letters. Her prose have been nurturing my spirit.

Legends trailed her rise to fame. My sister said she's married to a Scottish royalty and in that part of the world, she was a duchess. Another story, which I heard from someone is that she's a Babaylan who turned into a musician. Whatever is true, there is one thing I know. Cynthia Alexander is a highly-respected artist. Her name brought her to many cities around the world - to perform in cultural events.

As for me, I only saw her once - when she showed up at her brother's gig in 70's Bistro many years ago. Mom brought me there to see Joey Ayala perform. It was her surprise birthday present. And Cynthia was there too, bowing her head before smiling, while being acknowledged by her icon-brother.

Guests were already spilling over Visayas Avenue when I arrived for the encore. Even the gates of Conspiracy were barred as the open courtyard where the musician is set to perform can no longer accommodate guests.

"Pasensya na po, intayin muna natin may lumabas" Those who have remained outside patiently waited in line as people from within flee the searing heat.

"Puwede po ba pumasok, kasama po nila kami?" Preference was apparently given to those who have already reserved a seat.

I was able to get in by telling the organizer that I'm a blogger. Said I was there to cover the event when my real reason was indulgence. For 200 pesos I got an ink stamp on my right wrist. It was less than fifty since they ran out of beer stamps.

I was told beforehand that the gig will be packed - to the brim. And it is for this reason many of my friends chose to back out rather than brave the crowd. When I got there, the turn out was simply phenomenal. Around five hundred people were able to fit inside an ancestral home turned into a classy watering hole.

Cynthia Alexander went up the stage at close to midnight. She was two hours behind schedule. But her absence was covered by no-name acoustic musicians, whose artistry yearns to serenade the restless and sweat-drenched.

Draped in her sweetest smile, Cynthia's lilting but potent words put a spell on everyone's hearts. She tells the reasons behind her celebrated exodus. That it is time to share her music, and let her songs become part of the greater human experience. "I just can't leave without saying goodbye," She said while strumming her guitar. "I will return someday. But for now, allow me to do a little soul searching."

The feverish condition at the open-air pub didn't stop the music from touching the audience. The elfin performer sat on a chair as close friends and long-time followers surrounded the stage. Behind her was an assembly of artists extracting harmonies with their musical instruments. While many of the songs were unfamiliar to me, the fusion of sounds and haunting lullabies were a breath of fresh air in a musical landscape dominated by pop acts.

The melodic resonance of the violin, the keyboard and the tabla lured one's unaccustomed ears, that entering a state of trance almost seemed like an organic reflex. I was standing on a monobloc chair with the beastly Iwata fan blowing cold wind against my back. And while being soaked in music, I closed my eyes and swayed my head. There were only a few of us who knows the lyrics but  "The Weather Report." never sounded this good when words flow from the artist herself.

Cynthia Alexander belonged to her fans for almost two hours. And in that span of time, she sang "Daisy Chains," "Walk Down The Road," and the feel-good "Knowing There Is Only Now." These are some of the songs I got acquainted during my exile. At the middle of her performance, she even offered a bottle of beer to all her listeners. But her audience, already spellbound by her voice chose to remain in their places rather than get a Red Horse at the bar counter.

In that evening of solitary pursuits, (I was supposed to attend a reunion with another set of friends) I picked up a few gems which I would carry on for life. As I have somewhat known, a true artist is seldom recognized. But her works are embraced across generations of souls - finding spiritual connection with her creations. As the night wore on, the gig became more of a jam. I won't be surprised to learn that someone was able to pen a prose - even poetry since an audience already did an interpretative dance in one of the acts.

It was a night of reconnection - with me - getting in touch with my old bohemian self. Assured, that no matter what lives I dwell, I would always remain faithful to my roots. And as I leave the gig, calling back the sprawled memories of a time I chose not to forget, I recognize my presence; that I was there to see Cynthia Alexander, not only to celebrate her music.

But to say thank you, and see you in another time.*

* The Lakota people of Native America has no word for goodbye.

Feeling Crabby

Only ONE crab cake?  Ok, this must be the lunch platter!
One of the easiest things to make, and make wonderfully well, is a good crab cake.  There are soooo many recipes out there, for various iterations of crab cakes, but after four consecutive Fridays of making crab cakes from different recipes, our family all agreed:  the simplest recipes are the best.

The flavor of crab is so subtle and sweet, that adding a lot of herbs and spices just seems to obscure the taste, rather than enhance it.  And when you’re spending anywhere from $20 to $26 a pound (Costco prices), you want to actually taste the crab meat.  Those prices are for the lump and the jumbo lump, which is what you want for crab cakes.   Don’t even bother with the unrefrigerated crab meat that is sold next to the canned tuna – it won’t be the same.  That kind is ok for crab dip, but you really want the fresh crab for a great crab cake.

This is the time of year when going out to a good seafood restaurant at the shore seems like a great idea.  But why go out when you can forgo the traffic and make a great crab dinner for five for the price of just one entrĂ©e?  (OK, so you won't be able to take a walk on the beach...)  Best option – throw these together in the morning before work – it’s easy as pie – and then let rest, covered in the fridge.  Get home, heat up your skillet, arrange some lettuce and good tomatoes on a plate and say goodbye take-out pizza, hello gourmet dinner!

Where are the best crab cakes to be had?  In Maryland, of course – so one of the best recipes comes from the book, Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields.  The recipe is  Faidley’s World Famous Crab Cakes, from Faidley’s restaurant in Baltimore where they have been making renowned crab cakes since 1886. 

Adapted from Faidley’s World Famous Crab Cakes
1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
1 cup crushed saltines
½ cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Vegetable oil, for frying
On a large sheet pan, spread out the lightly drained crab meat.  Sprinkle the crushed saltines over the top.  Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl.  Distribute over the top of the crab meat and crackers.  Fold together lightly.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Use a large ice cream scoop to portion out 10 or 11 crab cakes.  Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge from 1 to 12 hours.
Heat about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of oil in a heavy frying pan over medium high heat.  Saute half the crab cakes for about 4 minutes per side until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining crab cakes.  Serve hot with fresh lemon slices.

Another, even more basic, but equally delicious, recipe comes from, of all places, the radio.

Joan Hamburg’s Crab Cakes from WOR 710 radio
1 lb. lump crab meat (this time, not jumbo)
8 saltines, crushed
3 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Lightly mix together crab and saltines.  Mix the mayo and mustard in a small bowl.  Fold into the crab mixture.  Form into 6 – 8 large crab cakes or 10 smaller ones.  Chill in fridge 1 – 12 hours.  Saute in butter and olive oil in batches until golden brown on each side.

So go to the beach or not, but have some authentic Maryland crab cakes this summer – and take out some cookbooks and/or beach reads from our Library today.

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Crabby Person

The Dalai Lama Speaks

Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them.

Before & After: Remodeling in Roosevelt

The summer is (pun totally intended) heating up and as it goes, this is looking to be a busy one around these parts. We’ve been working on projects all around the five boroughs, remodeling kitchens, replacing roofsand installing patios in some backyards. And then there’s this job, in Roosevelt, where we got to transform a bathroom from low end to luxury with new fixtures, retiling and some tear down. We opened up the shower to include a bar and a seat, put in a new sink, faucet and cabinet, a custom-made radiator cover, and a new toilet. The lighting is also new, giving a far more comforting ambiance, along with the new tiles. It turned out about as good as I could’ve hoped.  




"What's Mia Patro?"

Ang text mo sa akin isang madaling araw. Madali lang naman sagutin ang iyong tanong. Kahit na magnose-bleed ka pa sa aking reply. Pero sa pagkakataong iyon, pinili ko ang bumalik sa pagtulog - this time - ng may ngiti sa aking labi. 

I remember how it all started. Sa isang gay dating website yun. Pinagtatawanan natin yung isang thread founder dahil sa kanyang press-release na isa siyang "str8." I told you the qualities of a very straight-acting person, and it takes one to know one. Ramdam ko ang angas mo. Dagdagan mo pa ng hirit na isa kang dakilang tomador. Natapos ang gabi na nagkapalitan tayo ng number. All we need is to meet up and have a drink kung magkakaroon ng pagkakataon. 

Yaman rin lang na marami akong oras kaya pinaunlakan ko ang iyong imbitasyong makipag-inuman. "I'm wearing elephant pants with glitters." Sabi ko. "Naka pink-shirt ako kaya kung hindi mo trip ay umuwi ka na." Biro ko pa. Alam ko naman na anuman ang sabihin ko, hindi ka maniniwala. If I'm not mistaken, narinig mo na ang boses ko sa phone. Walang makakalimot sa amin na iyon ang iyong paraan upang i-screen ang mga taong hangad mong kitain.

And I would remember the Red Horse. Peste yun! Naka-anim yata tayo habang makulimlim sa labas, ang lansangan ay puno ng mga estudyante, at sa loob naman ng billiard bar kung saan mo ako dinala ay puno ng mga frat boys na kulang na lang ay magrambulan dahil lang natabig ng isa ang bote ng beer sa kabilang billiard table. Ganunpaman, hanep lang ang turning point sa buhay ko nung hapong iyon.

Sapagkat sa katanghalian ng aking paghahanap, isa ikaw sa una kong natagpuan.

Mabilis ang paglipas ng mga taon. Na-impress ako ng sobra - sa mga pinakita mo sa akin kaya pinili kong sundan ka saan ka man mapadpad. Napasama ako sa Encanto dahil sa iyo at doon ay naging kabilang tayo sa isang grupong ituturing nating pamilya pagdating ng panahon. Hindi man tayo mag-usap madalas, alam ko na nandiyan ka lang. Magkatampuhan man kayo ng isa sa mga kasama natin, nawa'y malaman mo sana na sa mga oras na iyon, wala sa plano ko ang tumalikod sa iyo. 

Alam ko rin naman hindi mo kami tatalikuran.

And my belief proved me right. With just a three-worded text, andami mong pinarealize sa akin. Pinatunayan mo na ang pagkakaibigan ay hindi nasusukat sa dalas ng inyong pag-uusap, pagkikita, o kaya naman ay pagsasaliksik sa mga buhay-buhay. It's about the memories. Yung pagsasamahan. At habang iniisip ko ang blog na ito, isa lang ang tumatak sa akin.

Habangbuhay kita magiging tropa.

And I went back to where it all started. Yung unang meet-up natin. Yung mga hinayupak na Red Horse. Yung iniwan mo ako bigla para mag banyo at napilitan akong kantahin yung "Wherever You Will Go" kahit tumba na ako sa kalasingan. Alam mong hanggang ngayon, yun pa rin ang alam kong kantahin sa tuwing nagvi-videoke tayo. Yung pinakilala mo ako sa mga tropa mong lesbyana - at sa una at huling pagkakataon, nakapasok ako sa mga lumang dormitory malapit sa Letran. At higit sa lahat, may isang distinction ka na kaunting-kaunti lang ang nakalampas. I won't go into details, but so you would know, bilang lang sa daliri ang binalikan ko't ginawang kaibigan.

I won't reply to your text. But to answer your question, Mia Patro means My Father in Esperanto. Duguin na ang ilong mo, pero tiyak ko, sanay ka na sa mga ka-weirdohan ko. At para malaman mo na hinding-hindi ako nakakalimot - sa lungkot, saya, sa mga kuwentong nakakarating sa akin, sa mga harutan natin kapag nagkakatabi tayo sa upuan tuwing may inuman sa Timog, sa mga bagay-bagay na pinalampas ko dahil kaibigan kita,

Papa Tagay.

Some friendships outlive the place, where bonds were planted and first grew roots.

Tween Scavenger Hunt for 2012 SR Program!

This summer is Tween time!

South Brunswick's fourth to seventh graders are eligible to join our Tween Summer Reading program! When you sign up, check out the square barcode on your reading log. You can scan that code to begin our exclusive Tween Digital Scavenger Hunt that will run throughout the summer!

To scan the code on an Android smartphone, download the free Google Goggles app through the Google Play store (link). To scan the code on an iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad, download the free Google Search app through the iTunes app store (link). Once installed, just open the app, hold the device up to the QR code, and follow the link!

If you don't have a smartphone or Apple device, you can still participate! Just follow the link underneath the QR code by typing the case-sensitive link into any web browser and following that to the next clue, code and link!

There are plenty of clues to keep you active and searching throughout the summer! When you reach the end of the Scavenger Hunt, you'll find a link to a form you can fill out to enter for a chance to spin our prize wheel!

In fact, if you're already in the middle of the scavenger hunt, scan the QR code below (or go to for your next clue!

For your next clue, go to


I was in the living room when I saw a plush bear in one of the shelves. The bear was familiar, even if its tiny head hides away from plain sight. The soft toy was small, enough to snugly fit inside my hand. It was left there for some reasons, dusting, neglected, almost done for after faithfully guarding the crib of its once infant owner. 

At first, I didn't pay the toy much attention as I was trying to renew those hindered family ties because of the project. But when I realized that it was Baby Lenin's. And that it was bound to "go missing" should it remain there, I instinctively shoved the bear until it fell into my bag. Might as well adopt the little fella until someone finds it, takes it back, and perhaps put it in its rightful place.

Inside the children's cabinet.


I lost my house keys last week. 

My guess is that I dropped it while commuting to work. Another hunch is that it got lost at the gym's locker room while changing into my workout gear. Whatever my suspicions, the keys won't be coming back. 

A duplicate is needed.

So when my mom handed over the new key, the first thing I did was to look for a key chain to complement it. I could have picked the souvenirs - one of those 'chains bought as pasalubong from another country. But my eyes were fixed on that plush monkey dangling from its hook. Without thinking twice, I took the key chain, slid my replacement key into the circular lock, and dropped the anointed monkey where it now belongs: 

Inside my bag.


When I ask myself the reason for including those plush toys among my personal effects, I honestly find myself lost for words. It must have been for comic relief - something to remind me to smile on the road. It must have been for its cuteness - something which leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling on damp nights like while writing these last few paragraphs inside a moving jeep.

Whatever the reason, it must have been something profound. Sublime. All I know is that after putting the monkey and the bear at the helm of my bag, it feels like carrying a part of my childhood wherever my feet go.

*for some reasons, I forgot to give names to the new lords of my bag. weird.

Mia Patro

Mugen Sr. In his early thirties

I used to tell my buddies, "ang hirap magpalaki ng tatay..." when you're the one giving me my school allowance. And I really thought I'd be a better manager after you let me run the company for two weeks because you've embarked on a glitzy Eurotrip one summer. I still recall the time you stood between me and the cold bars of a prison cell, because the ex-boyfriend took a leak in one of the side streets of Malate and he was caught by a roving police mobile. One call, and you've saved our assess from getting picked at the "presinto." somewhere in the district. And who would forget the cold treatment I gave you, the bold statement that we're better off with you living with someone else; That we can stand alone, even when the money that ran the house came from your near-empty pockets. Ang angas ko, sa totoo lang. But looking back, all the biting words I said; all the lofty thoughts I had would eventually humble me, after I've had a taste of life.

As your successor.

I cannot remember how long since you've been gone. But there are times before I go to bed, I'd still say the word "dad" and smile.

If you asked me, I just want him out of my life. I want him to leave us alone, since he chose to be with someone else. Tutal, we have learned to live on our own and we don't need him anymore. His mere presence just rattle the peace we have here. Tama na yung ganito. Masaya na ako dito.

Father and Son
Fullmetal Dreams
January 24, 2005

In the deepest reaches of my consciousness, I still miss you being around, looking out and telling me without words.

Everything will be all right.

Major Considerations for an Electric Gate

An electric gate has become a necessity today in many homes where crime is rampant in neighborhoods. But there are many kinds of electric gates with a plethora of gate brands and suppliers. Hence, it can be quite a daunting task for the consumer to decide on the best electric gate for their home.

One of the most important factors of consideration for any electric gate system is the meeting of safety needs. A neighborhood that is besieged with a high crime rate would have many concerned residents clamoring for a gate that would prevent break ins, thefts and robberies at all times of the day or night.

A total safety for the home and its occupants is of utmost importance to ensure that the occupants feel protected within their home compound. Hence, the most essential factor when it comes to choosing the right gates for any home is the gate's functionality which is to ensure the full safety of the home's occupants.

Another factor of choice consideration is the suitability of the gate to the home and the neighborhood. Aestheticism is a very critical factor to many homeowners who want to be complimented on their gate choice.

Since there are many styles, sizes and accessory options for any type of electric gate, the homeowner may have to perform some research on the wide selection of gates that would enhance the beauty of the home. When a home is more aesthetic, its selling price increases naturally.

It is important that the chosen gate type whether in style, form or size requires as little maintenance as possible for the convenience of the homeowners. Today, consumers are a busy bunch that does not want to allocate time over trivial issues in their lives.

Consumers do not mind paying out a higher cost for a good branded electric gate that meets its primary function of safety with little maintenance. Poor quality gates would require a lot of consumer effort in seeking the right gate maintenance technician, inconveniences of time and extra cost expended.

Electric gates that break down often can be very frustrating to the consumers as there is an urgent need to repair the problematic component to make the gate functionality quickly. Noisy gates can be disturbing to the neighborhood while disrupting the peace as well as possibly incurring the displeasure of the neighbors. Hence, the good relationship with the neighbors may be strained.

Are you Looking for an automatic/electric driveway gate contractor? Get professional electric gates repair and installation services with a complete range of quality products. We have a wide range of gate automation and access control products.


Inspiration comes from the darndest places.  Was reading The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn, a book we acquired in March of this year.  It was all about how a trained chef gave a series of free cooking classes to people she spotted at the food store purchasing pre-packaged and highly processed food.

Things I knew but needed to be reminded of by Kathleen Flinn’s book:

1.  Use up your leftovers.   Some suggestions - combine with new things and create pasta toppings, fillings for omelets, add to salads and soups. 

I put this adage to work right away.  Yes, I confess, I shop at Costco, and am sometimes seduced by the low prices on items I don’t normally consume in huge quantities.  Like that giant jar of Kalamata olives that was languishing in my fridge. 

Checking a cookbook I own, I used my food processor to whip up an olive tapenade,  and added a chopped ripe beefsteak tomato, chopped fresh parsley,  a can of drained imported tuna and served this over wagon wheel pasta (plain for my granddaughter), and topped with more whole olives and freshly microplaned Parmesan cheese.  Wonderful!

  1. Use flavor profiles to cook without a recipe.  I do this all the time, but The Kitchen Counter Cooking School contains a “Cheat Sheet” for cuisines from Cajun to Asian with lists of relevant ingredients that you might have forgotten.

  1. Always have fresh garlic, onions, and lemons on hand.  Note to self:  buy lemons.

  1. Pass on your love of cooking to others.  My granddaughter loves to "make" fruit salad (she can cut up soft fruits like bananas and strawberries).  I was cutting up fruit for breakfast one morning and Devon offered to arrange a fruit platter.  She tentatively tried the apricots, and loved them.  Funnily enough, Devon used the apricot pit, and the next day, used the tops of the strawberries in her design.  Don’t stifle creativity!
Devon and Apricot Pit Fruit Plate

  Finally, a quote from Chapter 2:

  1. “You have to give yourself that dream assignment.  No one is going to give it to you.”  Sage advice I’d love to follow and pass on to all my kids.  It's a variation on one I've always loved:  “Create the life you dream of living.”

Lots of people, books, ideas and cooking -   all things I love being surrounded with.  Come and explore all your options at our Library today.

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Lifelong Student


It was one of those nights, when one's body clock keeps a sleeper away from slumber. For me, it's those wretched midnight spells. Unable to repeat the REM after a three hour nap, I woke up, only to say goodnight to Baabaa and went on to finish the last leg of this season's raketship.

Writing the children's article took two hours to put to sleep. And when I'm done, I checked the time and it's already past 4 in the morning. "Time to start my day," I said while shutting down my laptop. No matter how dank and dark it was downstairs, I went to the kitchen to heat some water.

I have to be at the monasterio before sunrise.

It was raining when I left the house. Saw the next-door neighbor open her store for early risers inside the compound. The water puddles mirrored the lighted stairwell of a multi-floor apartment. My umbrella held its shade, despite the freezing rain pouring in. It didn't help that I wore a light shirt and a walking shorts going to my destination. The LRT Station, while still empty of human presence was already showing traces of activity. There was a lone teller who gave me the magnetic ticket and the security guards roaming the platform for any soul stupid enough to jump across

and fly. 

Inside the train, laborers and students were already filling the empty seats. Meanwhile I turned my gaze outside, to the distant lights of a waking cityscape.

"Indigo sky. Lovely. This is the reason I love daybreaks." I posted on my Twitter. I've always been a sunset person. The one you'd see staring blankly into space as the sun disappears on the horizon. But there are times I turn my back and crane my neck to the east. It's difficult for a nocturnal person to chase the sunrise, but seeing the world in slumber, about to open its eyes to a new day is a sight worth waiting.

The Santa Clara Church has always been a refuge in times of helplessness. The habit I got from my elders. I go to this place to seek divine intercession. Mom says I should write a letter to the nuns. But I digress. I tell myself,

God knows my reasons.

I used to go here late in the afternoons. To find bliss; to feel the earth moving as the sky swallows the sun. But these past two visits, I show up at sunrise, along with the geriatric flock who attends the morning mass. I skip the Eucharistic celebration because of personal beliefs. But one would find me at the spot where the candles give up their light.

A quiet reflection at the monastery and the hearty breakfast at Jollibee along Katipunan would turn out to be just a stop over. For what the early morning trip really gains to accomplish is to stay up late so I can wake up my partner for his job interview at 10.

What I didn't see in the pattern is that he can simply rouse himself from sleep and refresh his memory about the subject he will about to talk. And that's what he did when I got a text message while chomping my Champ. Unlike the last time we both woke up late for his job interview, this time, he thought of reading his notes before showing up to the human resource representative.

"Uwi ka na..." He said.

"Opo." I answered, before having a bite of the criss-cut fries. The limited offer I learned from an online acquaintance early that morning.

But the truth is, I'm not done yet. Not when I'm fully awake, and has no plans of turning around and sink beneath the growing mass of cars and trucks converging along Katipunan Avenue. Instead, the passage took me to the last remaining trees of Diliman, where daisies bloom on concrete islands and hovels - once homes to humble families - become ruins of a road-widening project.

The sun peeked through the clouds when I reached the great highway. Suburbanites from the north east line the intersection in hopes of finding a bus or an FX that will take them to their destination. The brutality of the chase; of grabbing an empty seat before a fellow passenger does might be too much for an unseasoned commuter. For someone who hardly goes to such ordeal, the dizzying road scene makes him appreciate living accessibly to his workplace.

Most people I've seen that morning have already reached their workplaces and schools when I reached my destination. A place full of life, but often overlooked because of shopping malls looming over the horizon. Though my head was filled with dreams of turning my home into an oases of greens. Learning from the past, the Eden project I had in mind must be approached with baby steps.

And I guess coming from this daybreak trip, I've figured where to start.  

Availability of Automatic Gates in the Market

There is a plethora of automatic gates in the market today to suit the consumers' objectives and pockets. More and more homeowners prefer to install automatic gates for many reasons which include safety, convenience and aestheticism.

There are various types of gates that would suit a home, office or any property and building that requires a high standard of security. A big entrance would probably sport a double automatic gate while a smaller home would look better with single gate automation.

Gates can come in sliding or folding forms. There is a myriad of shapes, styles and designs on gates in the market besides the size, color and materials. There are accompanying options to any good quality automation on gates such as underground or top gate kits, safety edges, swing kits and hardware.

Auto gates can come with intercom systems to facilitate an easy and quick response between caller and hosts. These come with wireless or wired audio kits for the intercom, mono or colored video systems and a multi-way intercom kit.

The wise consumers would make time to browse through the currently extensive range of auto gates in the market. They can consult the professional gate automation experts prior to selecting their preferred gates for their homes or property.

One can choose either the underground or aboveground gate with many brands available in today's market; these brands of auto include CAME, VIDEX, DAITEM, NICE, FAAC, Comelit and ESP. The right or best choice of gates for an automation system depends on various factors which a consumer has to consider.

Factors of consideration
Automated gates can be bulky items where many are made of heavy wrought iron material for security, durability and aestheticism. A good quality automated gate system would function as per the consumers' and manufacturers' specifications and expectations.

Different materials used on would bring on different benefits such as aestheticism, costs and maintenance needs. Different brands of would limit the type of experts in this arena as there may not be the proper technical experts for installation and maintenance. There are different charges of installation, maintenance and service by different suppliers, installers and repair technicians.

Some consumers may be impacted by the cost of an gate which involves installation and accessories. The cost of installation can be hiked up depending on the type and quantity of accessories desired while repairs and replacement costs might deter the consumers from a particular brand of auto gate.

Google Music

Hello. Google Music is a free service that allows you to purchase and store your digital music in the Cloud.  You can then listen to your music on your Android phone, tablet, PC laptop, or desktop.  If you have any of those devices and a Gmail account, go to Google Play which is the Android market.  From Google Play you can download a selection of  free music to your cloud account or purchase music.  The music will be stored in your cloud and ready to play  whenever you want it. 

Another option is to load CDs that you have already purchased into your cloud share via your computer.
To do this download Google Music manager.  Google Music manager will search for music on your PC and automatically upload it to your Google Play Music account.  If you have any questions about how to do this contact Randy at the Information Desk.

Randy Marsola
Network Librarian
South Brunswick Library

A Day in the Life: James from Flash Exterminating

In Brooklyn, these days, it’s not hard to find what you need. There are shops that cater specifically to the art of meatballs and outlets designated merely for rock climbing, and this isn’t even discussing the gourmet dog treat stores and the organic liquor outpost. Still, when you hear about a winery being built on the outer terrain of Williamsburg, an eyebrow is bound to cock. But, as it turns out, that’s exactly what’s happening at The Noble Experiment, a new winery being built not all that far from borough institution Brooklyn Brewery. One of our providers, James of Flash Exterminating, is handling infestation detection, elimination and prevention in the space and was nice enough to let us tag along recently and explain what he was doing for The Noble Experiment.

James was quick to emphasize Flash’s use of eco-friendly pesticides and traps. Amongst them are EcoExempt, a mixture that includes rosemary and mint oil, amongst other facets, that is used to prevent spider infestations. For rodent prevention, he explained his three-step process of sealing off rodent access points and using tracking powder to get rid of any chance of infestation in the space, which has a beautiful backyard space. Both the wooden cabinet areas and the vats were treated with a broad eco-friendly spray, meant to target everything from millipedes to cockroaches, cutting off the chances of any bug issues in the area.

James did a great job but he stressed how extermination and infestation prevention is never a one-shot deal. He has already set-up two return visits, one two weeks from now and another a little over a month from now. We’ll be checking in with more of our providers in the future, seeing what they’re working on in Manhattan and the outer boroughs, and we look forward to seeing how awesome the Noble Experiment at its planned opening later this year. 

Importance Of Electrical Installation And Maintenance

Proper installation and maintenance is very important in both commercial and residential facilities. A faulty wiring that is not immediately given attention can result into a greater danger such as fire and electrocution.

Hiring a qualified or certified electrician is crucial in proper installation and maintenance. Especially in complicated wiring, which may require top level skills, only certified electricians are able to keep the work clean and safe. Listed below are the importance of proper installation and maintenance for your home or business edifice.

Good installation and maintenance is equivalent to safety

A rule of thumb says that the worse it looks, the less likely the installation has been completed by a professional. When wirings are properly installed, wires are basically well tightened up and aligned in proper places. Some high voltage wirings are sealed in insulators to avoid accidents and unexpected electrocution. Professional electricians also follow a certain pattern or design in wiring to reflect good installations. For instance, high-voltage wires are usually hidden behind walls, which serve as their insulators. This keeps the place's surroundings clean and arranged while people that are passing by are safe from potential injuries caused by faulty wiring.

Proper labeling saves money and time

Proper installations require clear labeling on wiring with tags, connection jacks, and other fixtures. Some wires also have different colors to determine their functions. When wires are in proper places, it would be easy for the electrician to determine which wire needs fixtures using color coding. The lesser time the electrician would spend for fixture, the lesser cost you would pay especially if the electrician charges per hour.

Proper maintenance paves the way for efficiency

Proper maintenance can be achieved by doing a regular system audit to check for the simplest fix faults, which may arise into bigger problems. This is very essential especially for quality control whether or not your business edifice is big. For further stage of quality control, proper maintenance can also be used for future installation needs.

During maintenance, listed below are some of the common issues that electricians usually watch out for.

  •     Wiring problems which can be evident through smells of ozone or burning plastic
  •     Damage or scratch marks on the surface of electrical connections
  •     Previous history or constant issue on overheating appliances
  •     Wires submerged on stock water in the basement or ceiling caused by leaking pipes or heavy rains
  •     Flickering plugs or appliances

What It Means To Be Free

Back in the old times, the Philippine Independence Day celebration used to be an event not to be missed. 

It was a tradition. 

Though I was not allowed to go to Luneta to see the parade with my own eyes, I was glued to the television to watch it aired live on PTV 4. The afternoon celebration begins with the sound of drums - as the flag is panned on the TV screen while everyone sings the National Anthem. The military band then marches in full view of the President, his distinguished guests, and high-ranking government officials. They are all perched on the Quirino Grandstand, listless and probably bored for it might have been a better idea to stay home and enjoy the holiday instead. 

The marching band is followed by columns of men and women serving the armed forces. Dressed in their well-pressed uniforms, the soldiers marched in perfect cadence with their bristling guns wedged between their arms and shoulders. They were fun to see. But not as eye-catching as the military hardware passing-in-review to boost the sagging pride of a broken nation. Though we have never boasted a mobile rocket launcher or a battle tank with Caterpillar wheels, the Simba armored carrier and the army trucks towing a 105mm Howitzer are enough. Their mere presence could already stir a nationalistic fervor among the curious audience.    

Those were different times and families really did flock the Luneta to see the parade. And while the uninspired floats from the government agencies were forgivable, the sense of pride is there, among the throngs of people waving the flag, the OPM songs blaring on man-sized speakers and the folk dances of participants mounted on moving trucks.

They say that in more oppressive regimes, failure to attend such patriotic gatherings is considered a capital offense. And so the masses came with their empty stomach to cheer a leader held in power by a military clique. A keen observer would see in their faces the empty smiles, the hollow glee; the tattered soul clothed in fine and colorful dresses. They have no choice but to show up, or their future and their children's future might be at stake.

I was about to write about my gripes with what seem to be a lackluster remembrance of our own freedom this year. Gone are the military parades, the dignitaries sitting at the grandstand, the flag waving masses that are all part of the Independence Day scene. Instead, what we have is a trending topic on Twitter, a picture of the Philippine Flag on someone's Facebook and greeting of "Happy Independence Day," to close friends and loved ones.

One can't help but scratch the surface and see nothing beneath.

But as I ponder inward, never have we been freer to express our thoughts or gripes with our institutions than it is today. A collective voice (echoed by the polling stations and news outlets) can quickly overturn a political decision in favor of the many. We could rally behind a kababayan competing in American Idol, in Las Vegas, or elsewhere around the world while waving our flag. We could name a body of water (because we can't claim its islands as our own) and get away with it.

We could even apply to become a citizen of another country, without giving up our own. 

These are some of the perks we enjoy as free men - even as others continue to doubt if we have ever been free at all. What I do know is that we have a country, run by people of the same color, tongue, culture and laws we ourselves wrote. And while we remember - in our own little, heartfelt ways - how our heroes fought for this land, I would just look back and think of the old times when soldiers paraded in Luneta.

And smile

Perhaps in some distant future, we would celebrate our Independence Day in a manner befitting our proud and noble nation.

Lupang Hinirang


Arnold Arre
Radioactive Sago Project
Rock Ed Philippines | Gang Badoy