The General November 2006 Archive

The General November 2006 Archive

November 9, 2006 Diary 0

November 5, 2006

I make no secret of my preoccupation with and interest in Philippine Idol. I made it a habit to watch the show from Day 1, where thousands of hopefuls flocked to different parts of the country to join auditions. I cheered for Armarie Cruz, the power singer from Zamboanga. I cheered for Mau Marcelo, a diva from Luzon. I was counting on these two girls to make it to the finals. I was hoping for them to be the top 2, so that I could have a Philippine Idol show worth watching, worth waiting for every week.

Armarie was voted out last week. Damn, I thought — that’s one singer out, and one good one left. I hoped — prayed — that Armarie’s supporters would rally behind Mau.

True, Mau is still in the competition, but can we have better judges who don’t focus so much on looks, or give useless advice?

Take this spiel from Regine Tolentino as she sized up Mau after her Dance Week performance. “You are making fun of yourself, and that doesn’t make you look confident. You have to be a diva, so you have to be really serious.”

EXCUSE ME? When, in God’s green earth, did making fun of oneself ever amount to a lack of confidence? Doesn’t confidence also entail the ability of anyone to poke fun at himself or herself without caring what other people think? Isn’t that what confidence is all about? Doing what you know and think is right, without thinking of what other people might think about you?

I am so SICK and TIRED of people thinking that a sense of humor equals a lack of confidence. I am SO SICK AND TIRED OF BEING TOLD THAT SPEAKING OR PERFORMING WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR DOES NOT A GOOD OR CONFIDENT SPEAKER MAKE.


Everything in this world needs a sense of humor, no matter how serious. Speak in utter seriousness, and you lose your audience. Anyone who can hold an audience in his or her thrall does so because THAT PERSON IS CONFIDENT, and CONFIDENCE is INFECTIOUS.

Confidence is all about doing what you want, and not batting an eyelash.

And that, Regine Tolentino, is what confidence is. It is not about being serious. I have serious friends who are quiet and staid only because they are afraid to speak out in society. On the other hand, I have friends who can make fun of themselves, and be self-deprecatory, because they know that jokes are only that. JOKES. They are meant to dispel tension, and make people associate easily with you.

Regine Tolentino, GO BACK TO SCHOOL!

A diva is not a confident person. Why do we use the word “diva” derogatively? Because a diva is someone who holds her chin too high, makes herself appear serious and superior, and makes everyone else’s life miserable. Take Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. There – those are your divas. Mariah Carey has an attitude problem, and is often heard to whine about her body. Whitney Houston takes drugs and is often heard to mumble and talk insensibly. DO THEY LOOK LIKE CONFIDENT PEOPLE TO YOU?

Divas are NOT confident. Divas, by the meaning of the word, are INSECURE. An insecure person does not laugh at himself or herself, because an insecure person does not even want to be reminded about his or her weaknesses.

Regine Tolentino, please, spare us and be quiet. Mau is confident because she has a voice. Mau laughs at herself because you know what? She doesn’t care about what people like you have to say. Mau laughs at herself and makes jokes, BECAUSE SHE IS CONFIDENT.

Now shut up, Regine, and don’t divest your insecurities on anyone. Just because you don’t have a sense of humor, you don’t have to label anyone without it as lacking confidence. A sense of humor shows confidence. A GREAT sense of humor shows GREAT confidence.

And you, Regine? What do you have? YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR. And yes, you are pathetic. So be quiet unless you want to make an even BIGGER fool of yourself.

Leave us alone, Regine. We of the big senses of humor, we of the League of the Confident — leave us alone and go tend to your own insecurities. We don’t need an idiot like you to tell us what to think.

And everyone out there who can poke fun at himself or herself, and can have a sense of humor no matter what the situation, don’t listen to Regine. She still needs to build up her confidence, too. She needs our prayers and pity. Poor woman.

And Mau? Keep going. I’m still voting for you every week.

Updated When Possible, November 2006

Date: November 3, 2006
State: Tired
Word Count: 24,000 words
Remarks: Drained due to very heavy, very emotionally charged scene. Need rest, sleep, food, and more words tomorrow. Must also top GRE with 800 for Math, 800 for Verbal, and 6.0 for each of the two essays. Very ambitious.

Current Music: So-called “Bigti Songs.” (Super mega-heartbreak songs, leading to listener imagining singer telling listener na mag bigti ka na!)

Current Song: End of the Road by Boyz2Men (Hahahaha, baduy, langya)

Current Game: Text Twist

Current Wallpaper: Picture of carved apostles above church door, in Montserrat, Spain.

Current Line of Thinking: Must complete cast of Taming of the Light. Ciaran Hinds would make good Cyriacus.

Current Regret: Being too tired to write novel, and being too tired to do other things, like answer emails.

Current Worry: That I’ve offended somebody, because he isn’t texting me.

Current Preoccupation of Other Self: GRE. Must excel. Must get top scores.

November 3, 2006

(Tagged by Xtine)

Name ten things that you want to do/accomplish before you die.
Afterwards, pick 5 people to do the same.

1. I will get my PhD

2. I will marry the husband I have been praying for

3. We will have a family

4. I will get mommy and daddy that villa in Rome/Prague/Florence/Munich

5. I will be a critically-acclaimed, best-selling author

6. I will star in a Hollywood film

7. I will put up a school for indigent, deserving students

8. I will finish writing The Guild

9. I will master speaking and writing Spanish, Italian, and German

10. I will receive the sacrament of Extreme Unction (because I cannot die without Last Rites)

post-script: I remember I already took this Tag years ago. One of my students actually said: “Ma’am, your number 1 task should be ‘Will finally get my first kiss.'” Hahaha! Walang ‘yang studyante na yun. Asan na kaya ang mokong na yun?



No, it wasn’t just the remaining tooth, or the protruding bone, or the infected jaw, or the calcular deposits.

It was a potential root canal two teeth away from the removed wisdom teeth. This should have been no surprise: it was due to the decayed tooth that I first found out that I had impacted wisdom teeth; and it is due to the impacted wisdom teeth that the tooth was cracked and, consequently, decayed in the first place. So, with the source of pain finally tracked down, it was time for my favorite anesthesia once again.

Drill went the drill, out went the cracked pasta, and in went some new stuff, destined to plug a hole that was one snap away from the tooth’s root. Shudder-worthy stuff, it was, as that meant I was also one snap away from getting a root canal.

Months later, at the end of July, Inez is waiting for the final go-signal to have a go-happy relationship again with her favorite hobby of the year: mouth operations. In a few weeks, it’s to the dentist’s chair once again for the right side’s exposure to the world, and for the last two wisdom teeth to go.

In the meantime, Inez is the Mistress of Mefenamic Acid, the Princess of Ponstan, the Temptress under Tramadol.


May the insanity end soon.

Or maybe not. It sure is fun to be crazier, eh Inez?

Yup yup!

So now, it’s October. Headaches, Ponstans, and migraines later, we’re ready for an appointment. Come October 20, the right side wisdom teeth will go. Prior to their removal, Inez went through fever, sinusitis, and intense love for Tramadol.

Sorry, did I write that?

Anyway, let the fun begin.

So here’s the thing. I quit my job because I was anticipating a totally bloody operation, with all the bone dust smashing against my dentist’s face, my teeth shards not nearly pulverized by the dental drill and clogging the suction machine, and blood just spurting out everywhere. Like, you know, a really bad movie with some lurid depiction of an operation gone the Hell way.

Well, like, you know, it didn’t happen.

Or it kind of, like, did.

The special thing about this current Wisdom Teeth Chronicle, Part Due is the fact that one week hasn’t gone by since the operation, and I’m on painkillers and antibiotics. That means my brain isn’t exactly working in the best way, and it’s like, high.

You know, like that James Blunt song. So, you know, this is going to be crazier than usual, and one day, when I read this, I’m going to think: was I even thinking? And then I’m going to hug Jesse Spencer, because he’ll be my husband by then, and we’ll have like, ten kids, and we’ll be like, happy.



So, where was I? Oh yes, the operation. Now I quit because I thought the operation would be Hell on Earth, plus a smattering of Purgatory. Mom and I planned the entire post-op strategy out too: I would drink Ensure because I wouldn’t be able to open my mouth; I would eat soup and never go the “I want Pizza and I don’t care if it’s been only three days!” route again; and I would have oodles of vitamins to prep myself up. There was to be, after all, gallons of spilled blood and pounds of extracted bone.

Plus, anticipated recovery time was a month, as Dr. Landrito was expecting the operation to be complicated. Lower tooth, after all, was underneath lots of jawbone, and upper tooth had some part stuck in sinus cavity. So, this operation was going to have A: Blood and B: Episodes of Drowning, oh, and C: Bone Powder.

I expected the worst, on that Friday, as I took the MRT to McCafe Quezon Av. I had to draw, write, do anything, as long as I could get my hands to do something. I didn’t want to admit I was nervous, but I was: I mean, something could definitely go wrong. I kept on thinking about that horror story I heard from Dr. Domingo, about the dentist who left an intern to do a wisdom tooth extraction, only to come back to find his patient in a coma.

Ah – hahahaha.


So anyway, another thing I did was wash my hands, and as Dr. Landrito has such a pretty office, I rushed off to the bathroom and, lovely, espied a bottle of Olive Oil soap. So Italian, so comforting, so nice on hands. Relaxing, it was, as I left the real world behind and sat in the dentist’s chair for what I hoped would be the last time.

Let’s do that recipe thingy again, shall we?

Step 1: Mentholate Thy Mouth. I had to gargle with something that tasted like OraHex, only my root canal was pounding and telling me to stop. I had to fight not to grimace, stupid root canal. Stop it, root canal! STOP IT!

Step 2: Lean Back, Lean Back, Lean Back. Down went the dentist’s chair, and out of its braids went my hair. Out of my head went sense, too, as I prepared for the worst. I had Ponstan and two Amoxicillin tablets before the op, by the way, and they were running through my veins. Now all that was missing was the…

Step 3: Ow. Ow. Ow. …anesthesia. Now before I went off to the chair, Dr. Landrito showed me my panoramic x-ray another time, and explained what he would do. He did a recap as he bent over me and began putting Novocaine on my gums. It’s a funny feeling, having topical anesthesia that, you know, doesn’t work when the syringe needle goes smack into the flesh and stays there for, like, FOREVER!

The anesthesia wasn’t working when Dr. Landrito began his initial incisions. I could feel a few of the slices, and he reassured me with, “Sorry, sorry, sorry.” I was hoping the anesthesia would work soon, or we would have Papillion live. Ew.

Step 4: This is a Drill. I felt the pressure, I did, as the gum flaps were sliced, and the bone was exposed. In went the drill — whirr whirr whirr went the drill, echoing high into my sinuses — and — at last, out went the jawbone. Suck suck suck went the suction machine, sometimes catching on my tongue and taking a few taste buds out, I believe.

Tongue was numb, so didn’t quite know what was happening. Anyhow, the tooth was exposed, I suppose, because when the drill hit home again, I felt my lower jaw shaking.

Step 5: And We’re Goin’ Ta Unhinge That Jawbone, Yes Ma’am! This was when the real fun began. Dear dentist did the usual routine. You know: drill, pulverize, try to reach in with pliers and break off a piece of tooth. This time, he was working near the jaw hinge, so every time the tools came in, the jaw was also threatening to jump out of me skull.

Also had mouth so wide open and pulled back and wide beyond belief and/or reason. Ouch, ouch, ouch…drill drill drill…

Did I mention that I started praying the rosary the minute I got into the chair? I think I put in about 15 Hail Mary’s into one decade, as I was losing count while trying to keep my jaw in place.

Step 6: Pull Out! Out went the shards, one by one…bit by little bit. I could taste blood in my mouth as they were removed. I could feel my tongue getting even more numb, and the pressure on my jaw loosening. Soon, I could feel thread…


Step 7: I Will Sew You! My gum flaps were being sewn closed? Really? And the operation only took a bloody, painful 30 minutes? Really? Glory be, I swear!

Step 8: Let’s Do that Again! Anyone well acquainted with me knows that THAT is my favorite byword. So, as the first part was fun, and as we seemed to have luck going our way — LET’S DO THAT AGAIN! So into my hard palate went the needle from the syringe filled with anesthesia…


Step 9: Out of the Sinus, It Shall Come So I was ready, with upper jaw numb, and still sore from the injection. I was ready for the hack-saw-break method. I was praying that it wouldn’t hurt. I was in the third sorrowful mystery when…

The tooth came out whole.

I didn’t know it at that time, but I suddenly felt the thread. Again.

Step 10: Ehhh…That’s It? As I look back on that operation…as I remember looking at the time and gasping at finishing so early…as I remember looking at my jumbo tooth — I say, Thank you to everyone who prayed for me, and Thank you, God, for making sure I was ok.

It really didn’t hurt during the entire process.

Now, however, things are er, painfully different.

I thought that the simple, hour-long operation would spell a quick recovery and return to normal eating habits (i.e., eating like there’s no tomorrow). Sadly, as it’s been nearly a week, I’m still on an oatmeal+soup+Ensure diet. I tried dumplings last Sunday, then felt the blood in my mouth a few hours later. Too early for solid foods, I see. Oh well.


The antibiotics don’t seem to be working either. I’ve had a fever for days, and I feel so tired at other times, all I want to do is sleep. As I’m about to get into bed, however, I remember that I paid $160 for my GRE, so I’m back up, studying as usual.

The painkillers are too mild. They’re very strong, but after a few hours of taking them, I’m off to Ouch Ouch Road again, where every droplet of water stings, where every morsel of food makes the wounds throb. I miss Tramadol.

Did I just say that?


I still have two tablets left, anyway. Hehe.

Wait, no. Must not take Tramadol. Must not take Tramadol. Must be a good girl and study.

Mommy said something very comforting last night. With all these sufferings, I’d probably be rewarded with a super high score on the GRE.

Oh man, she had better be right!


In the meantime, I shall maintain my reticence, exercise my patience, and work. I shall endure the pain. I shall write. I shall study. I shall…

Watch House MD and be, just, like, so happy.

And I shall wait for Saturday. That’s when the stitches come off. That’s when I can eat anything I want! I swear, I am going out to eat shawarma, gyros, canelloni, pizza, ice cream, churros, chocolate, cake, sushi, sashimi, California Maki, dumplings, noodles, lechon, roast chicken, coffee, vanilla milkshake, steak, barbecued pork, more cake, more ice cream, more chocolate…