January 27, 2012

Happy Voice

In a reunion I attended last year, somebody who used to be very, very close to me said that he feels strange hearing my voice again after almost two decades. He said it sounded different, that it now has a high-pitched timbre.

“Really?”, I asked. But that was all I could mutter.

Days after, our conversation would still bug me. This person used to talk to me every single day for years and he probably does remember how I naturally sounded back then.

Does it sound unnatural now? Or was I faking my voice then? But how could I have sustained a fake voice for years? Can people’s voice really change?

I was grappling with the answers to these questions one day while caught in homeward traffic. Then I got home and my favorite part about this ritual was when I would skip out of our car ahead of my husband and hurry up the porch to open our main door and as it opens, the kids would run to me yelling “Mooommm..”.

And I would say, “Hiiiiiiii, giiiiiirrrrrrllllllsss.” in a shrilly voice. Then we’d kiss and hug.

And then it hit me. My voice did change. It has turned into a mother’s voice. A happy, mommy voice.

January 21, 2012

Birthday Girl

In the industry I work in, celebrating your birthday on your exact birth date is one big bonus. Mine fell on a Saturday so I even had Friday night to welcome it. In the past, I would celebrate the day itself with Jake and friends. This year, I chose to have an exclusive date with Jake at Manila Pen.

The feast begins with a fresh basket of bread, Rockefeller oysters and some cod.

Time for a raspberry sherbet.

For the main course, I had beef tenderloin on a bed of sautéed mushrooms topped with pan-seared duck foie gras, potato galette and truffle jus.

Jake had prime rib with foie gras. We ended the meal with some sweets.

On our way home, we checked which band is playing at 19 East, the bar near our place and were happy to discover that Kamikaze was the featured band for the night.

So we ended the night in a bar with blazing rock music, some semi-nude loco vocalist hopping on top of tables and shelves over isang platitong mani and my favorite beer, SMB.

From fancy to rowdy. A befitting ending to my wonderful day.

January 12, 2012

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Picture credit: thisisawesome.com
I chewed this book in delightful bites page by page. I am a big fan of Steve Jobs and Apple. After reading this book, I am conflicted as to how I shall view Steve Jobs but my admiration for his contribution to the world at large remains.

Walter Isaacson is a brilliant biographer. No wonder Steve Jobs relentlessly pursued him to write this book. The whole bio is a gold mine of lessons on corporate valuation, defying engineering principles, prioritizing great products before profits, innovation and revolution, forcing genius out of everyone, and dreaming impossible dreams.

Picture credit: igadgetreport
Steve Jobs never read the book for he knew that there would be parts of it he would never like. And indeed, from the interviews done with the people who worked with him sprouted tales of Steve Jobs’ dark side. It was this dark side that brought about the very products that help us lead better lives today. He believed that the end justifies the means, a principle that does not sit well with many people.

Steve Jobs supposedly encouraged this because he didn’t want to sound like an “in-house job”. But at the tail end of the last chapter, you will still feel a deep admiration for this man foolish enough to believe that the world can indeed be changed.

I love, love, love this book and despite the unflattering, such-an-ass depiction of Steve Jobs, he remains to be an inspiration. I love the way Walter Isaacson ended this beautiful biography and I would like to think of it as an insinuation of Steve Jobs’ conversion and faith as he dealt with the last days of his life.

After I finished reading his bio, I read again this eulogy given by his sister, Mona Simpson. From the eyes of somebody who loved him dearly, he was a good man. And this is also how I would like to see him.

January 6, 2012

A Year of Being Nico-free

These pictures were taken two years ago for an ad for our company. We were supposed to project our real personalities and the stylist had a field day rocking me out. That is after all, who I am, or at least what the world perceives me to be.

A much-needed prop is the cigarette because I used to be a smoker. Yup, used to. I quit exactly a year ago without the help of an e-cig or a nicotine patch --just will power and a lot of help from real-life and blog friends.

The first five months were difficult as it came with the grumpies, some spells of depression and extra poundage (the last I couldn’t quite shake off). But now I feel so much better, I smell so much better and I think I look better, too.

I used to have a long list of new year’s resolutions. Last year, I decided to make it short but supremely ambitious. It paid off big time and that’s why it deserves to be my first grateful post for the year.

If you haven’t made your new year’s resolutions, it’s never too late to make one. Believe and it shall happen. Cheers, 2012!