Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fear and Loathing in the Sky (or IMbalance)

I don’t know what it is about flying that gets me in a knot of emotions. As the captain announced that our 757 was about to climb to 41 thousand feet, I was surrounded by at least 200 passengers, and there I was sad and welling up because of the absence of satisfaction presently in my life. Sure, I just saw a sad movie; sure, I'm in the middle of a book that talks about The Great Sadness which hit too close to home; sure, I am admittedly tired and have been overworked for the past two months finishing up reports and applications, going through meetings and planning site visits; but why the imbalance though? An analysis of my personal issues was needed to say the very least.

It is serious. I know it is serious enough when I have big self doubt and when I am beginning to hate myself once again, per se. I suppose this instability is brought upon some issues recently that I’ve been ignoring and pushing aside rather than deal with head on . Getting lost in the busyness of work or drowning yourself with activities upon activities will sooner or later catch up with you. In the end, in your most private moments (while crumpled up in physical pain or on a 20-hour plus plane ride, as I found out) you, your being in the center of your universe, will smack you in the face unrestrained with everything it’s got.
I am sad, imbalanced, unhinged, unsatisfied, hurt, disillusioned, disenchanted, disheartened, cynical, broken, jaded and ultimately tired and exhausted about all this. It’s not just one thing, I understand, but the inherent problem in all of this is that it is way too easy to focus on the shortcomings of one's self and blame it on our flaws. I am my own biggest critic and I am brutal.
I need to let go, forget, start over, find vindication, shower, shave, get a haircut, and find balance once again. I must let go of the unhealthy excesses that I’ve surrounded myself with especially the skeletons and the baggage that I have somehow picked up again. I see it now. It is clear, yet I know that it will be difficult to shake these off.
In my analysis of how I should cure myself of this self-loathing and doubt, I found this blog to be part of the unhealthy excess that must be trimmed. In the beginning, it was an avenue for me to share art, science, things of personal interest-simple things. Without planning for it, it became too personal: a window to my innermost self and intimate details. Sure, I built in some defenses, such as my anonymity and the promise from friends not to reveal my identity unless I approved, but who am I really kidding? I am exposed and my feelings and emotions are apparent. I am out there, and right now, I do not especially like myself, or even how I am feeling .

I do not know how to find the balance that I seek at this time, while concurrently maintaining Beachcomber on Saipan. The seemingly quick and simple answer to this is to just cut myself off and stop posting. The reasons for this blog in the beginning no longer seem to be the same anymore: the selfless somehow became selfish.

So, until I am able to find that balance or any viable reason that justifies enough for me to continue posting (or until there truly is ti napu) I cease to BE...

The Beachcomber
Thanks for your friendships. Take care now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Symphony, My Anthem- Roll on, roll on

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be me, and a friend shared the following verse. I want to be many things but this says in a profound way that I should stick with simplicity and this verse points out quite well what I should be aiming for.

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.
-William Henry Channing

I also found a new anthem (after hearing it on the radio and asking Lewie what the title was). I feel that it best describes where I am in life right now although, I suppose most men my age already have families and children, and the satisfaction that comes along with them. But, most of the song still holds true for me:

And I swear that time's a trick
It disappears in oh so quick
Man, I was just sixteen
And now I'm starin' at thirty-six
But I'm still havin' a good time


Man, those lines really get to me. Anyway, I am at yet another crossroad in life where I feel like I should be streamlining a bit. It'll all be clearer soon as to what this means, but right now it is important for your Beachcomber to find his balance in the scheme of the universe.

Roll on, roll on. Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tagged!: If I were a painting I'd be a Dali

Elle of Momentos de Passion tagged me as well a few entries back. I’ll indulge the tiny readership that I have with the following 45 questions about me, even though the answers may give a bit of my identity away as well. I’ll try to be as vague but fair as possible, if you would allow me. Thank you for letting me share:

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
My mother gave me my first name and it is a Chrisian name, one of the 12 Apostles. My father gave me my second name which is the acronym of the name of a protagonist in one of Harold Robbin’s books. There’s quite a contrast between the two if you knew how Robbins wrote his men.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
On the average, men cry about 16.8 times a year. I cry all the time and I am not ashamed, man! Hahaha! I welled up watching Definitely Maybe because I imagined myself having a conversation with my imagined daughter.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Handwriting is a lost art and when I was sixteen, I made it a point to learn to write like a draftsman (all capitals) for everyday, and one of my best friends gave me my first calligraphy books a year later. Thanks, Joey.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
I like whatever’s turkey because that’s about all you can get here (I don’t like the swine), but when I visited Chicago, the roast beef and beef pastrami was a favorite.

5. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?

Not right now- too much drama. Hehehe! I’ll seek the science geek in me eventually.

6. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Sarcasm? No! Never! Hahahaha! My best friend thinks even my straight forward answers are sarcastic. But it’s not true. I’m nice.

7. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes, all three.

8. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
I’ve been in bad wrecks, and being flung about in the air uncontrollably gives me flashbacks. I’d cliff dive though.

9. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Growing up, I liked Frosted Flakes, but now I like Just Right or Muselix. Fiber is your friend. Hehehe!

10. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
No, that’s why they’re all busted, and one of my self-nicknames is “The Destroyer of Shoes.”

11. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Stronger than I’d admit to or maybe even believe.


I had the privilege of seeing Salvador Dali’s Invention of Monsters at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was quite haunting.

12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Rocky Road (It’s called something else if it doesn’t have the marshmallows, Elle). I always go back to the Road but if they don’t have it at the Dipper, I like Death by Chocolate or Green Tea.

13. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Their eyes, but my best friend would argue and say her “big brown eyes”! Hahaha!

14. RED or PINK?
Red is my power color.

15. WHAT IS THE THING THAT YOU LIKE LEAST ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hmmmm? I can’t seem to get my life together right now but I know it’s just self doubt brought upon the standards of the world. So, I suppose it’s the self doubt. Working on it though.

16. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
It’d be unfair to say since the feeling is most likely not mutual.

17. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?
Like, with my own answers or their own answers? I’m confused.

18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Black pants and black shoes albeit muddy from the rain.

19. Early riser or hit the snooze button?
Man, when did I start waking up at 4:30 in the morning? Is that part of aging?

20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Gavin Rossdale’s Love Remains the Same & Dashboard Confessional’s Vindicated are on the playlist at the moment.

21. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, What color would you be?
Some dark hue of blue.

22. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Hmmmm…a woman’s skin and hair, jasmine, raw and worked wood. I don’t know why Finesse does it for me too, but it’s probably because of the French woman in their commercials a few years back.

23. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
IM with Bev and the hotel’s lost & found attendant.

24. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Tammy and Elle both sent this to me. They’re cool as far as I can tell, but honestly we’ve never met.

25. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Tennis, cycling, MMA and boxing. Pacquiao VS De La Hoya, December 6th, baby!

26. HAIR COLOR?
Black (and more and more grey everyday).

27. EYE COLOR?
Dark brown

28. CONTACTS?
Need to get them.

29. FAVORITE FOOD?
Lots. I’m a big fan- The Destroyer of Food (another self-nick).

30. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Most stories within scary movies usually aren’t that good and are predictable, and I am disillusioned by happy endings. Now, Message in a Bottle- THAT, my friend is a more realistic ending!

31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
In a movie theater, Batman- The Dark Knight

32. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Red since I lazily opted for an iron-free shirt today (but I really wanted to wear my white with the stripes that wrinkles too easily).

33. HUGS OR KISSES?
I wish it was both…man, am I not good for both?

34. FAVORITE DESSERT?
I’ll devour any chocolate put forth in front of me; like Galactus ravaging a planet.

35. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Hmmm…never really sent out one of these. I am not sure but I will bet Bev.

36. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
I’ll send this to Greg just to irk him.

37. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
My summer list is a bit heavy that includes Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere (Thank’s boss!), WM. Paul Young’s The Shack, and Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours by Daphne Rose Kingma. Sounds like fun, eh? Oh, curiosity got the best of me (also
Boni’s reports & witty repartees) and I picked up Twilight at the airport Borders too.

38. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
My mouse, silly!

39. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
I don’t have T.V. but the gym had the Democratic Convention on and I watched Chaos Theory on DVD.

40. FAVORITE Sound?
Waves crashing, birds singing, the piano or guitar, a pretty singing voice, fire crackling and laughter.

41. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Beatles (thanks, Dad!). I introduced my 4th grade class to Yesterday and that year it became my gangs anthem (Geez! Isn't that quite a loaded song for a fourth grader?).

42. WHAT IS THE FURTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Miami Beach, FL

43. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
If you mean talent as an inherent natural endowment, then no. I work hard at the things I like to do and with patience and practice I get to do them at a level that I am quite satisfied with. Hahaha! What a nerd answer! (Incidentally, nerd answers are inborn and not learned).

44. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Calamba, Laguna, Philippines (which by the way is Jose Rizal’s hometown).

45. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? Hmmm…Anyone I send this to since I haven’t heard from them in a long time.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Tagged!: I remember

Tamara of the Seaweed, Sand and Sunset tagged me a few blogs away about the 20 oldest memories I have of Saipan. I hope I haven’t offended you, girl, since I am only answering to this now. I’ve been fairly busy and have been off-island a few times. I had to brush off the cobwebs quite a bit and came up with a pretty extensive list here. Thank you for allowing me to share.

1. The first time I met people from Saipan was on Guahan in 1987 while fishing in Agat. It wasn’t a good memory since my dad got into an argument with them for not returning the fishing rods that we lent them while we were packing up to leave. I thought it was mostly my fault though because I forgot to ask for the rods back from them while my dad was packing our stuff up.

2. I grew up on Guahan and my father was in the garment factory business. I vaguely remember labor horror stories he recounted with his drinking buddies especially involving Filipinos, so unfortunately, this was the first albeit biased picture I had of Saipan. On Guahan, there were activists who were basically telling me that as an immigrant I was stealing their land, their jobs and the island’s resources, and it was pretty hard for my teenage mind to comprehend at the time.

3. I infrequently read articles about Governor Froilan Tenorio that regularly included black and white pictures of him with an unfavorable smirk or frown. Unfortunately, this just reinforced the early biased picture in my mind thinking that the people here were mean.

4. When my wife passed away, I was unsure of what I should do with my life next. The nurses I was working with suggested that I go back to school. One of my patients called me over and whispered that there was a school on Saipan that I should consider. A week later, I bought a plane ticket, rented a car and drove to Northern Marianas College, transcripts in hand to meet with my future instructors. It was funny because two of them just came from Guahan and rode the same plane with me to Saipan. They looked over my records, gave me a schedule of classes, and said, “We’ll see you in August!” 2002 was my very first visit to Saipan.

5. On my visit, I also met some people from the SDA Dental and Eye Clinic. I met the brothers Dr. Hardt, and Ernie and Jo Lacorte. They assured me that I will be in good company here. To meet them at the clinic, they said, “Keep heading north on Beach Road and turn right at the tank.” I remember when there were no street signs yet.

6. August came and I became a new Saipan resident that year; I remember it was rainy season. The air was fresh and the island was green. I thought Guam was green, but you are so much closer to nature on Saipan. The sosugi (Acacia auriculiformis) was in golden bloom with a slight fragrance that lingered around NMC campus. New faces abound, and I smiled a lot. I remember talking too much on the first day because of my excitement. I met my classmates, whom I was to see and will be in most of my classes for the next two years. I met Laurina, my best friend on Saipan.

7. I remember finally figuring out that on Saipan, people don’t atan baba you. I was walking to my first Garapan Street Market and met gazes from people expecting to act tough and to give them the stink eye, but instead people said, “Hello” and “Hi.” This was very different from what I knew from Guahan and I finally came to know that people on Saipan are way way friendlier in comparison. The openness and kindness in the hearts of the people here still amazes me to this day.

8. I remember feeling alone on Saipan. I left everyone I knew behind opting to go and get educated and to finally find myself. I had many nights of Solitaire, and walks by myself down the Beach Path and the different parks asking God to take my loneliness away. I remember eating alone in restaurants, watching movies alone, getting lost in the forest alone. I’ve finally become the nomad, wanderer, loner, and the vagabond that I fantasized about in my adolescent years. As I gazed into the sunset or at the direction where my former lives were spent, I missed my family and my friends.
Sunset at Coral Ocean Point

9. I remember phone calls, letters, emails, checks and care packages that kept me connected with people that I loved and cared about that were now separated by time and distance. I remind myself everyday to communicate and stay in touch better but I often fail.

10. I remember falling in love again with the land and the sea. I sought nature out during hikes with my church family, and alone exploring the forest and the sea. Coral Ocean Point was my spot when school became hectic and I needed its cool waters to renew my spirits. I remember how far I felt from everyone I knew on my new adoptive island gazing at the sunsets there.

11. I remember being amazed by bird songs and seeing the different native birds that were now extinct on Guahan. I’d stare minutes at a time at the egigi and the nosa. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me when I saw the metallic green feathers of the totot fly right by me at American Memorial Park. Man, I thought they were all extinct! I also remember asking myself what the heck was a fakpe and why do people at NMC have it on their license plates. I remember commiting a good part of my life here to contribute to the protection of the CNMI's natural resources.

Golden White-eye or canario perched on my neighbor's orange tree.

12. I remember finding my first slingstone with Laurina as we jogged down Beach Road. I kept making her laugh with my disbelief and excitement. That was the first time I felt a real connection with the ancient Chamorros and I told myself that I will do what I can to learn and to do what I can to preserve the knowledge of the past.

13. I remember how the kids at church appreciated their new “uncle”. I remember Kayla who always wanted to sit with me. All of the kids are growing up now, many into their teen years and I am glad to still have that connection with them. We’ve spent a lot of bible lessons, potlucks, hikes, bowling, etc. Man, I need to do more with them before they all grow up and I become too “uncool” to hang out with.

14. I remember Thanksgivings and Christmases with Maycocks and the Paez’. I’ve been uncelebratory and opted to being a loner for too long now to finally realize that spending these holidays with them were some of the best times I’ve had.

15. I remember taking care of very sick people and their families. I saw the flaws in the way people took care of themselves and saw direct results of smoking, second-hand smoking, eating too much, eating the wrong things, chewing betel nut/tobacco, not exercising, taking drugs, not taking prescribed drugs, not using condoms, not getting check ups, not getting their kids checked up, drinking and worshiping the culture that is drinking, drunk driving, and so on. I remember the inevitable deaths of some of the people that I took care of.

16. I remember the first SMs I met on Saipan: Danny, Yeneer, Jill, Amanda, and Winnelle. We had some good times learning about and exploring our new island home.

17. I still think it’s hard to make guy friends on Saipan because most of their times are taken up by their spouses, girlfriends and kids. There was one time that I thought I had the beginnings of a good guy-based group with John, Pete, Greg, Tim, Jeremy, Scott, and Rich. Then somehow one by one they either left, moved or just got busy with their own schedules.

18. Then there were the women who touched my life during my first few years on Saipan. But, we won’t get into that today. It’s too early in the morning.

19. I remember my red Ford Explorer and how she took me everywhere and how big of a problem she was to maintain in good running condition. We had our times though.

20. Lastly, good people. Lots of good people come and go on Saipan and they all make this the special place that it is.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Saturday, August 30, 2008

7792: 2 lbs later

In this installment of the Beachcomber on Saipan, I will share with you some of the foods and the company that I partook in during my visit to our nation's capital. I am sure most of you have seen pictures of the monuments so I decided to give you something different about D.C. I thought of this idea a bit late, so I won't be able to share most of what I ate with you since there are no solid documentations other than the memories of my appetite fulfilled.

While travelling, you better throw out the window the diet that you're were in while you were at home. There was simply no way that I could have continue eating six small meals a day when breakfast, lunch and even dinner at times were provided for you by your generous hosts. Even hitting the gym everyday at the hotel could not compete with the additional calories that was added to my temporary diet and I found myself gaining a steady 2 lbs. through out the whole week. But, at any rate, it is only once in a while that we get to celebrate good food and the company that goes along with it. So, thank you for allowing me to share!

Most of the meals that were provide for us included a healthy serving of salad such as this one that included spinach, cheese, strawberries and thick Italian dressing.
In addition, the luncheons usually included exquisite desserts like these chocolate cakes that were surprisingly light. They were garnished with strawberries, blue and blackberries which is a definite plus for me since a small container of these summer delights on Saipan will cost you close to $7.00.
Only in D.C. will you see butter in the shape of the Capitol. Patriotic. Cute!
The day's lunch included the company of some of the best people that I know: Jessica from Guahan, Johnny from the Federated State of Micronesia (Pohnpei State) and Bernie, also from Guahan.
Churreria Madrid, a Spanish restaurant that I recommend. The food was muy delicioso!

A stylized map of Spain. Our food came from Galecia which is the northwestern region of the country that also borders Portugal in its southern border. Spain is made up of Autonomous Communities such as Galecia which is constitutionally recognized as individual, separate singular regions with separate nationalities while maintaining indissoluble unity with the nation that is Spain. That's your geo-political lesson for the day!
Oh, oh! Here's Bernie with something to add!
Gustop, Jessica, and Hana: what an excellent group to eat with. We were all so funny as we attempted to order in Spanish in our best Latin accents! Ah ja jay!
The Chief and the Spark plug: Johnny and Bernie. Jessica and Gustop from Palau: great young people to eat with. The conversation topics were entertaining and diverse. What good company these two were!
I call Hanna my Palauan Mamma. It's a good thing she has a big heart for my sophomoric endearments!
Estrella Galicia: Literally Galician star, a Spanish beer. Although I am not an alcohol drinker, I appreciate people who were willing to try different things on the menu. I always shake my head with disappointment when I am with people (either from Guahan or Saipan) who stick with ordering Bud or Miller when there is a whole different drink menu to experience. Live a little, man!
For my side orders or guardiciones I decided on some black beans and yellow rice. I just love colorful foods! Frijoles Negro: I've never had a more flavorful black bean soup. Arroz Amarillo: yellow-saffron rice.
Menestra de Verduras con Carne: a mouth watering tender-beef stew for me. It reminds me of the Filipino Caldereta which is probably influenced by this dish. they both have beef, chilies, potatoes, carrots, and a tomato-based sauce.
Paella Castellana: Hana had some saffron rice concoction with seafood, chicken and Spanish sausage.
Pechuga de Pollo: Johnny had the grilled chicken and it was quite tasty.
Pulpo a la Galega: Galecian style octopus. Bernie kept asking me to try her dish. I think she forgot that I don't eat seafood. Plus, octopi are such smart creatures it's a shame to eat the little smarties.
Mariscada: Jessica had a seafood stew in white wine.
Camarones a la Plancha: Gustop decided on some grilled shrimp in Red Sauce.
For dessert we had some churros. These were thinner and more convoluted than the ones you can get at the Costco on Guahan or Saipan. I had to borrow the menu's picture because we devoured our order in just s few seconds. Definitely worth it!
On our last evening together, we explored a bit of Dupont Circle. This is a great Malaysian restaurant we happened upon. Everything was delish!
If you ever go to Dupont Circle, don't miss out. I should have gone there more often.
Penang Iced Tea with Milk: I don't think I've tasted a more flavorful iced-tea (I had two servings!). Bernie took her tea hot. Yummy none the less!
Roti Canai: For an appetizer this was a great pick- chicken curry dipping sauce and a thin, crispy Indian-style pancake.
Penang BBQ Chicken: This is what I got although I was expecting a totally different BBQ-style dish. Although tasty, it reminded me of sweet & sour chicken.


Penang Clay Pot Noodles: Bernie picked a fancy stew with noodles, shrimps, squid, scallops, veggies and egg gravy all cooked and served in a clay pot.
Penang Char Mee Hoon: Johnny picked a rice vermicelli dish with chicken, tofu, eggs, bean sprouts, and veggies. Tastes kind of like Pad Thai.
One day for lunch, a quick deli-style sandwich was sufficient. This tasty turkey sandwich was a good choice. The restaurant is called Open City and in the evening hours, the windows opened up to connect the inside with the outside tables. It's located at the corner of Calvert Street. I could picture myself sitting at this coffee house daily or grabbing a quick lunch here often. It made me wonder if I should try living in DC for a while. This town is great.
My partner in crime, Johnny. On our first evening in D.C., we attacked some Indian food. The restaurant is called Taste of India just like Saipan's own and is located close to Open City. Chicken tikka dish with roti (flat unleavened bread) and lentil soup. The spices in the heavy sauce was very flavorful.
Let's celebrate good food and excellent company! Lets eat!
Ti napu.
The Beachcomber

Thursday, August 28, 2008

7792: Even though you can't see me

After eating an authentic Spanish meal, my friends and I found this Latin music store. We had a blast the whole time as we tried to speak Español with our best efforts while ordering our meals and asking the store clerks for assistance. I bet my friends and I sounded really ridiculous. I knew it was all worth the effort though when the clerk said, "De nada" after I thanked her. So cute! That does it! I'm taking language lessons!
I've been wanting to expand my appreciation of Latin music, so this was a pretty timely find. I need more suggestions if you have any.I mean, after a while anyone will crave more than just Juanes. I got Mana's new 2008 release Arde el Cielo and an old Alex Ubago, Fantasia o Realidad. I fell in love with Aunque No te Pueda Ver a few years back and decided I needed more from Alex now. I hope you enjoy it too.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

7792: Suzuki Hayabusa




Hayabusa is Japanese for fast chicken. Just kidding. Hayabusa means Peregrine falcon. It's the fastest production street bike out there. One day, my friend. One day.
Ti napu.
The Beachcomber

7792: Dance with me?

video

Something has got to be said...

...about dancing the Electric Slide...

...in the nation's capital...

...with your federal partners.

Gracias por la baila, doctora!

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

7792: Sunrise Haiku


Sunrise some place else
I let go of your embrace
Tired of the sunsets
Ti napu.
The Beachcomber