a roadtrip in the subjunctive mood: wind in your hair, salt on your skin and the indelible scent of the one you’ll never get to make memories with

this is the soundtrack to an imaginary roadtrip: upbeat and summer-appropriate, with just a tinge of wistfulness. there are other downloadables here, in case you want to judge my music taste soundtrip for a bit.


(click on the image to download a .rar of the mixtape)

1. Tourist (RAC)
2. Adventures (Niki Colet)
3. Sol. (Mausi)
4. Holland, 1945 (Neutral Milk Hotel)
5. Camping, 2011 (The Juliens)
6. Eyjafjallajokull Dance (The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die)
7. Silhouette (Latin Skin) (Seahaven)

update Mar 01 2015 12.12PM: i re-uploaded a .rar with a playable Seahaven track

Smile, Sisyphus

Credit: Darrel Perkins, “The Myth of Sisyphus”

“But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.” – Albert Camus

I had to write an uncomfortably personal paper for one of my classes a couple of months back. It involved assuming the stance of a suicidal person, picking a quote from a given list, and explaining whether or not I would kill myself given the quote as context. (It is now exceedingly obvious that said class was Abnormal Psych.) This particular quote resonated with me the most.

The quote came from Camus’ book, A Happy Death (1971). To be honest, I only started reading his works when I saw this particular soundbite. From what I understand, he tackles the problem of absurdism—the conflict within a human being when faced with the stark realization that life has no meaning. I became increasingly interested in Camus’ essay, The Myth of Sisyphus (1955), which centers on the eternal punishment of Sisyphus: He pushes a boulder up a mountain every day, only for it to roll back down again, back to where he started.

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writing to make sense of this week

(typing heavy-handed, with heaving sighs punctuating my trains of thought every other minute.)

yesterday, we talked about the nature of evil in philosophy class. we defined it in terms of a privation relative to a thing that should be whole, rather than a simple absence–it is always relative to something. it makes a thing incomplete. to quote my friend juno’s tweet, “absence: i do not mean that you are not here; rather, that you should be.”

there have been three deaths in my school’s atmosphere over the course a few days. this is not counting a British School of Manila senior’s suicide from last friday, as well as the PNP Fallen 44 from the Maguindanao massacre last month.

i just cried over these people. they were technically strangers to me–i did not know any of them personally. i am clinging to hazy, irrelevant memories of the only time sei and i had a conversation, sitting down at a kythe booth making plushies for the kids. “it’s so relaxing,” she said. “it’s better than going to class.”

for days on end, my reaction has been anger at how it just isn’t fair–which is kind of true, depending on how you look at things. of course it’s “fair”, in terms of the chemistry of things–to wilt, to waste away under conditions intolerable to the human body. but the fact that it’s just another part of reality, our life cycle, makes it all the more saddening.

it’s not fair because of all the promise and potential that hasn’t been realized yet–nakakahinayang talaga. because nobody has the right to decide when another’s life ends. because bad things happen to the most caring and selfless people we know. because people have lost a guiding light, who will live now through his teachings.

it’s not fair because we do not even know the whole truth and we are scared. it’s crazy to think of how fleeting our humanity is.

these people have gone, but they have left a big, gaping hole in so many friends, loved ones and even strangers in their wake. they have passed on, but their stories, what they have made of their lives has shook me to the core. i can only imagine the pain their friends and family are going through right now. they will never be truly gone.

Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out, by Richard Siken

EJ gave me a copy of Crush (2006) for Christmas. Copy-pasted this poem from here.
Every morning the maple leaves.
                               Every morning another chapter where the hero shifts
            from one foot to the other. Every morning the same big
and little words all spelling out desire, all spelling out
                                             You will be alone always and then you will die.
So maybe I wanted to give you something more than a catalog
         of non-definitive acts,
something other than the desperation.
                   Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I couldn’t come to your party.
Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I came to your party
         and seduced you
and left you bruised and ruined, you poor sad thing.
                                                         You want a better story. Who wouldn’t?
A forest, then. Beautiful trees. And a lady singing.
                  Love on the water, love underwater, love, love and so on.
What a sweet lady. Sing lady, sing! Of course, she wakes the dragon.
            Love always wakes the dragon and suddenly
                                                                                               flames everywhere.
I can tell already you think I’m the dragon,
                that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon.
I’m not the princess either.
                           Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down.
I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure,
               I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow
         glass, but that comes later.
                                                            And the part where I push you
flush against the wall and every part of your body rubs against the bricks,
            shut up
I’m getting to it.
                                    For a while I thought I was the dragon.
I guess I can tell you that now. And, for a while, I thought I was
                                                                                                the princess,
cotton candy pink, sitting there in my room, in the tower of the castle,
          young and beautiful and in love and waiting for you with
            but the princess looks into her mirror and only sees the princess,
while I’m out here, slogging through the mud, breathing fire,
                                                               and getting stabbed to death.

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satisficing, gerund/present participle.

  • a decision-making heuristic in which we consider only some options one by one and stop at what is good enough
  • we assume we lower our standards if too many options fall short
  • what i’ve been doing with my blog as of late

Clean Eating Challenge: Only oatmeal

Went through hell and back for Vantage Magazine. I’m reposting it here because I want to add my own photos + a link to its Storify. Check out our site and my co-staffers’ reviews, as well!

[View the story “Rissa x Oatmeal Diet” on Storify]


There’s a particular psych experiment that comes to mind when I look back on my diet. The Stanford Prison Experiment is exactly what it sounds like—a simulation of prison conditions where people played the role of prisoner and prison guard. Although it was set to run for two weeks, it had to be cut short on the sixth day due to how seriously the prison guards took their roles. The prisoners were subjected to hazing and other emotionally scarring acts of cruelty.

What am I getting at with this? You think you are consuming the food, but it will ultimately consume you.

I promise it will all make sense once you read my diet log.


In all its simplicity and fiber-rich goodness, oatmeal has become a household staple. I chose the oatmeal diet because, based on my inability to cook anything that isn’t preceded by the word instant, it was sustainable and realistic.

The plan—which I copped from—is simple enough to follow: I’d have a one half-cup of oatmeal for breakfast, another half-cup of oatmeal for lunch, and any kind of low-calorie dinner.

I aim to eat almost exclusively oatmeal throughout the day; the plan was to constantly think up ways to make the wonder-grain taste at least a little interesting to the palate.

DAY 01: Off to a good start!

The diet is starting off well enough, what with all my determination to get the two weeks over with as soon as possible. Googling for the results fellow fad dieters got, I found a lot of people who were happy with eating oatmeal twice, nay, thrice a day because they liked the warm, satiated feeling it gave them.

I have a plethora of supplies in the kitchen to enhance the flavor (or lack thereof) of what is to be my life-source for the next few weeks; we had cinnamon, yogurt, apple slices, raisins, honey and brown sugar, just to name a few of my favorites.



My first breakfast is a half-cup of plain yogurt mixed with a half-cup of apple-cinnamon oatmeal, paired with my ever-present cup of black coffee. This isn’t a bad way to start the diet at all. It’s a visceral sort of pleasure to have the warm goop slide down one’s digestive tract. Kind of like being hugged from the inside, if that makes any sense.

Seeing as I am a student for most of the week, I’ve also decided to start bringing oatmeal to school. I’ve prepared two small jars, just the right size to hold half-cup servings, of raisin-cinnamon oatmeal. I threw in an apple into the lunchbox, for good measure.


Reactions from seatmates range from curious (“What is that?”) to pitiful (“I’m so sorry for you, your meal looks so sad.”) but with the common denominator of disgust, because oatmeal isn’t the prettiest whole grain there is.

Dinner is what Parokya Ni Edgar would lovingly call tortang talong. I’m going to sleep happy and well fed. Continue reading