last night I woke up from a dream and couldn’t breathe and get back to sleep – had to sit-up to facilitate the airflow.  I think I experienced what I can only describe it as my first “panic” attack – it felt similar to one of my claustrophobic bouts. Maybe I’m just “slow’ but after nearly a decade after my unnamed ABI, it was my first dream that I could remember where I was “disabled”.  Maybe it was acceptance or realisation. Or (seeing as it’s been really cold lately) I only do half of my daily exercises.  Or the news feature on assisted dying and how close Victoria is to passing draft legislation.  Regardless of what brought it about, my family is better off with my pension, so I better continue to suck it up. I’m really tired – I just need my “second wind”.


power up

April 19, 2017

had a recurring “nightmare” last night about people seeking any shelter they could find.  What’s weird is that I have a different dream each time I get up from bed but for some reason it just continued where it left off.  I thought I was not really bothered by the threat of nuclear winter but it looks like subconsciously I am.   This just illustrates how, often, control is not in one’s own hands.  Like my mum used to say:  you’re ok but other people might be “crazy”.

back to the future

October 21, 2015

Marty McFly is supposed to come back today. While this is just a movie, there are few things we can take from this.

Sure, most futurists would think it foolish to specify a date but a target is often necessary to achieve most things. Not everything will come to fruition as evidenced by the movie but it is important that we strive for our goals. Making things explicit comes back to accountability. It announces our intent and helps track our progress – it tells everyone and, more importantly, ourselves if we are meeting the schedule. A timetable is one of the conventional requisite yardsticks for measuring “success.”

Most people do not provide a reasonable timeframe. Deadlines need to be realistic and achievable. Estimates need to be based on experience – our own or from a trusted source.

Sure, certain things matter and are important but we should learn not to take our endeavours too seriously.

i knew you were trouble

December 8, 2013

we lost a great man in Nelson Mandela. Our generation did not live in Gandhi nor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s time – Tata Madiba was our example of peaceful resistance.  That we lost him is sad – what saddens me more is that there is not enough like him.

Rolihlahla is the name his father gave him and is isiXhosa and colloquially means “troublemaker.” Until 2008, he was even branded a terrorist. Maybe he caused headaches to the Apartheid establishment but because you have always done something does not make it right.   Forget tradition, he had right on his side.  I think Australia was right to lead the boycott – they had witnessed first-hand the adverse effects on the Indigenous people.

He was given the English name of Nelson by his teacher – for reasons were not certain of.  It reminds me of how in my “old” country you used to not be able to be baptized unless you had a “Christian” given name or how the Spanish had “forced” us to adapt last names that sounded like theirs.  Why are people so afraid of the “other”?

My favourite quote of his is:

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

I think we should all endeavour to be the best that we can be.

what dreams may come

August 22, 2013

a former computing student of mine has a gig in America as a back-up singer to Lea Salonga – she has one of the  best voices I’ve ever heard.  It just goes to show you: it’s shouldn’t be about what the family thinks is best but rather about what the child actually wants.  Admittedly, it’s hard for any parent seeing their child struggle but they need to learn to be supportive and respect the child’s happiness.  Sometimes the best of intentions have unintended consequences.

It’ not always just about what they’re good at or what’s expected of them but truly what they’re interested in.  As a case in point, my son is strong in maths but he seems to us more inclined to the arts.  Anyway, it’s early days and his proclivities may still change – we just need to expose him to different things so that he can make an “informed” decision when the time comes.  They say if you enjoy what you do, you never  work a day in your life – I think you subconsciously put more effort in to what you do.  Not everyone is “lucky” enough to know what they want to be when they grow up.

I think my neurologist might be on to something with his “modified” gap year where his kids need to be gainfully employed for at least half of the time. If I were to “consider” it, there would be some mods.  I think 3 months should be spent in industry while at least 3 months should be involved with the community.  They should travel overseas to broaden the mind for some “informal” learning.  While there, they must partly support themselves and try to learn the local language or dialect. Ideally they should live in 2 countries:  one with a developed and another with a developing economy so that they can see the differences for themselves in everyday life. During the course of the year, they can take different topics online for free so that they can “better” determine which direction they want to take next.

I hope I don’t eat my words when the time comes – people and minds can change =)

nature and nurture

July 22, 2013

we realised last night that our son leaves the balat for last – saving the “best” until the end.  We found it amusing that he’s like me, his aunt, and his cousin. Like my dad says: “genes.”

There’s a debate whether where you come from (nature) or what you’re exposed to (nurture) is more influential.  Ultimately for most  parents, they just do their best.  You’re not simply a “slave” to your genes (those “tiny letters” are very influential though) but the decisions you make are just as important.  What you inherited from your parents is a starting point and not the final conclusion (as some believe).  You can build on what you have and be conscious about certain things.  While it’s true that a fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, with some “luck” and effort you can “hack” your life.

My son is more into the arts (although he doesn’t struggle with maths.)  My wife and I have a bachelors and masters from La Salle in computing- she even got her doctorate.  That said, I did pass architecture at UP but chose computer science instead; and my father-in-law was both an architect and civil engineer.  I’m also interested in design and currently taking a Ph.D. in another field.  In an interdiciplinary work environment, I think our proclivity for science is a boon for him rather than the bane it was once.  I don’t expect him to be a doctor, lawyer,or engineer but whatever he’s passionate about.

sweet dreams

January 7, 2013

I never gave any thought to what I wanted or liked up until recently – I guess that’s how I was brought up and trained.

What I want to do is tied with food. My mom was a good cook and my sister was a fantastic baker – that’s probably the reason why I’ve got a “sweet tooth”. I used to cook myself and I guess it didn’t help that I had a developed sense of taste and smell – sometimes I found it a curse because I had a hard time enjoying the food.

I’m looking forward to catching up with family and friends but I can’t deny that I’m a bit excited about dining at Zumbo, Billy Kwong, and Black at Sydney.

My wishes are to eat at these restaurant by these “super chefs”:

1.  Tetsuya’s by Tetsuya Wakuda (Sydney)

2.  Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal (London)

3.  El Bulli by Ferran Adria (Barcelona).

I’m not a “snob” when it comes to food – I enjoy my “peasant” food as well.  It’s just “high-end” restaurants often have the facility to accommodate me.  If it’s one thing living in Australia has reinforced, you can’t help like what you like – forget tradition and popularity.

They say you are either a beer or coffee lover.  I’m more of the latter.  I can’t stand instant or bad coffee.  Given a choice, I prefer:

1.  Dopio Risttreto over Dopio Espresso

2.  Latte over Cappucino

3.  Mocha over Macchiato

I don’t drink anymore with meals – partaking of beer with the aid of a straw makes one  easily drunk.  What I like is the following:

1.  Stella Artois (Belgium)

2.  San Mig Light (Philippines)

Guiness (Ireland)

There’s something about bottles or draught – I don’t enjoy cans at all.

I like ice cream but love gelato.  In fact, I proposed to my wife in front of Casa Del Gelato at Lygon Street in Melbourne.  It’s been open for over 30 years and there’s people even during the winter.

We (my wife and I) are both fans of “good” tiramisu – we order it when it’s on the menu.  Counter-intuitively, we like the one at Gelatisimo in Adelaide.