Monday, March 13, 2006


the girl in the white dress

Last night, we went shopping for Sage's graduation attire. The requirement was a long white dress and matching shoes. I didn't think that the dress would be an issue with me - and as for shoes, well, she had outgrown her older white pair so no problem. However, when I fished through the children's section of the Robinsons Galleria department store, I almost fainted.

The price tag of the dress: P1,245. For a dress my daughter will wear only once. Briefly, I considered either a) telling the school that Sage would be out of town/sick during graduation and to just send us the certificate; or b) having my daughter show up wearing one of her gazillion Disney Princess full ensembles (with crown) and see if they'll prevent her from marching.

As I agonized over the harsh reality of the unforgiving price tag, Nikki and Vin and Sage were tooting through the surrounding racks.

"Family," I said tersely. "I have found the little girl's dress and we will simply have to forego dinner for the rest of the month."

"Dad," the little girl said. "We found my dress too!"

"We will buy you this dress and you will wear it everyday until it falls apart," I told Sage grimly.

"No," said Sage's evercalm mother. "Let's get her this one."

Nikki handed me a pretty white dress that shone like snow in sunlight. Trembling, I looked at the price tag. And, as is par for course for my experiences in these things, it was cheaper. Way cheaper.

"This is a wonderful dress," I exclaimed a bit too loudly. "We shall buy this dress."

The next round of purchases involved Sage's shoes. Naturally, I pounced on the first nifty-looking pair I found, looked at the price tag and retreated into devastated shock. Nikki naturally found a reasonably-priced pair.

The lesson: I suck at shopping for stuff for Sage, falling prey to point-of-sale tactical placements. Thank goodness my wife is there.

potty mouth

I had a blast delivering my speech at the Murder by Design event held last Saturday at 70s Bistro. The speaker right before me ran out of time midway through his speech so I was very conscious of completing my talk within my allocated time.

As a result, I breezed through my flash notes, talked a mile a minute, dipped into a few amusing digressions and finished my thing in record time. I think I did okay.

The funny thing is what ultimately became my somewhat-extemporaneous core statement: "If you are in the design business and you have no clients, then you have no projects, which means you have no billings, which means you no money. If you have no money, you're shit."

Yes, that's me at the height of my eloquence. Hahaha. I shudder at being quoted:

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"Kung wala kang pera, shit ka!"

- Dean Francis Alfar
Partner, Kestrel IMC

But I meant it in the context of having a business - since the point of having a business is generating income.

Thanks to Berger and the Philweavers for having me over, and to Paolo and my Kestrel crew for their support. And it was great seeing a familair face or two in the audience.


With the first invitational Acquire tournament set for the weekend, my friends and I who plan on competing are getting lots and lots of practice games in. You don't know how much. It's crazy, it's absurd, it's fun.

Within our league, I've managed to reclaim my number 2 rank (thwarting the menace of my own wife), right behind the league leader, Kate. Unlike games like Magic or Settlers of Catan where I can verbalize and rationalize my strategies, in Acquire I clearly am doing something right but I don't know exactly what. Which is both good and bad. I'll be relieved to have the tourney over and done with - regardless of how I ultimate perform - just so I reclaim my life and devote time to other all-consuming leisure pursuits (like Traders of Genoa).

no one escapes neil gaiman's contest

At a meeting last week, I was talking with a client after possible new projects involving content development.

CLIENT: I like your stories. Especially the Kite one.

ME: Wow. You read it?

CLIENT: I have your book.

ME: Wow. Thanks.

CLIENT: So, do you expect to win the Neil Gaiman contest?

(stunned silence)

I lit a cigarette and explained that:

1. It is a competition and everyone who participated and submitted entries is there because they want to win.

2. When I enter a competition, I do so with the intention of winning and that I'd be lying if I said otherwise.

3. The word "expect" is too strong a term. It implies that I believe that the contest has already been won - by me. That line of reasoning is patently absurd.

At this point, all entries are equal (and equally blind - there is no indicator of authorship attached to the stories that the judges will review). None of us know who the judges are, or at least I don't. We don't know the judging process and what the Filipino judges - who could possibly screen entries before giving them to Gaiman - are looking for. I could possibly fail in the initial screening if my story doesn't tickle the judges, in the same manner that all other entries can be deemed unowrthy.

Anything can happen. So how can I expect anything? In the place of expectation, I have a carefully managed measure of hope.

And a very Filipino sense of bahala na.


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