04 February 2017

Once Every Generation

On my way home from USA to the Philippines, I did my best to elude sleep so as to correct my body clock thus eventually evading jetlag. I ate the free Hershey's and Kitkat chocolates offered every now and then by the attendants, and used the entertainment provided. In those long hours, I listened to the audiobook of Ashlee Vance's biography about Elon Musk. I've first known of Musk when he guest starred in one of the episodes of my favorite Big Bang Theory. Wolowitz was happy to eat off of the left over while washing the dishes all because it was with Musk that he did his charity deed. Right after, I Googled who Musk is. Then began my obsession about the enigma that is Musk.

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Top: ARKIPELAGO | Shorts: Topshop| Knitted cardigan: Charlotte Ruse | Gold shoes: Steve Madden | Bag: Goyard St Louis 

For Holy Week 2016, I was able to pester my parents into allowing me and my brother Gian (our youngest brother Gio was in USA then) to accompany both our paternal and maternal Grandmoms in the cruise. We flew to Shanghai, China a day earlier than the sailing of Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas then flew out of China a day after our embarkation from the ship. It's been a very enriching one-week trip filled with experiences, relaxation, and food indulgence. I absolutely love going on cruises. It always feels like I'm in a different world where food is never ending and the activities are non-stop. It's the ultimate dream bum life: to just wake up, eat in any of the numerous restaurants (so numerous that you won't even have to repeat a restaurant), select any activity from the day's list of activities, shop in the Galeria, swim in any of the pools whether indoor or outdoor, attend art auctions, wall climb, try the iFly, party in the roofdeck, ask for the free champagne, wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages that I didn't have the chance to try although I made sure not to repeat any beverage I've already tried, watch theater productions, select books to read from the Library, or just veg out in the cabin while lazily sipping your choice of beverage.

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Back to Musk. He iterated on a point that I've always been asking: how come greatness only happens once in every generation? During the time of our national hero, Jose Rizal, a lot of Filipinos stepped up and claimed the title of a hero. Years later, new batch of heroes emerged. This time, they were the forerunners of various industries. I’ve watched the 4-episode documentary on History Channel entitled The Men Who Built America, which was very timely because I was still in College then and my Professor in Political Science asked the class something that has to do with Ford and Vanderbilt. Having watched the series, I was able to answer. I digress. These men, who supposedly have built America to the Superpower that it is now, also lived in the same time. So then it makes one ponder, does a generation produce greatness because the time demanded for it or simply because a lot of the men of the time are inherently remarkable?

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With the vast history of mankind, I guess we could all agree that Greatness  or Innovation springs forth because it’s been necessary for the change to happen. The world demanded that its inhabitants cope up. Then again, what propels the world to move forward? Isn’t it mankind who dictates that change should happen? Isn’t mankind supposed to ensure that progress is consistently present?

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This has been among the foundations on which Musk’s brilliance stands. There’s a part in the Audio Book where the author mentioned another scientist who’s been asking why there hasn’t been a big change in the field of Technology in recent years. After Gates and Jobs, what has happened between mid-2000 to now? How come no one’s stepping up with ideas that can move us closer to the flying cars that the past generations have envisioned 2010s to be like? What has happened to the esteemed Silicon Valley whose residents have been well-lauded for their contributions? Enter Musk. I’m in awe of people like him. People who start questioning their sanity because they think differently from everyone else. No, really. How come everyone I’ve met so far is either trying to fit in or desperately trying to be seemingly different when they’re just another echo? (I’m in the 2nd group, unfortunately but oh well) How come I haven’t met anyone who can actually change a thing or two about the norm?

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Musk is different because he sees problems where the rest of us would think is fully functioning as is. He finds solutions in problems that we don’t even know exist. That’s the trick, I guess, in weeding out Innovators from simple-minded people like you and me: seeing beneath what exists. Perhaps in a couple of years, another hero would rise up. She will be taunted as crazy, and she would perhaps think she actually is for quite some time, yet hopefully, she’ll be the next Innovator to take the next big leap.

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25 January 2017

"It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time."

"...That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”

I had a pre-birthday celebration last 5 January 2017 in Olive Garden in Virginia which was sponsored by my very generous Tito (who had no choice as I made a declaration that I’ll treat everybody only to a salad party). I love steak and it’s thanks to him that I got to enjoy a plate of medium-rare steak with  lobster ravioli on top of the salad hehehe
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Coat: Atmosphere | Fleece turtleneck: Uniqlo | Pants and necklace: Zara | Wallet used as bag: Kenneth Cole Reaction | Pumps: Christian Louboutin Victorina Flame

I’ve turned another year older, and I’ve now entered the onset of mid-twenties so I guess somehow, without meaning to, things have changed. I’m still selfish, but only around 77% compared the staggering 100% of High Schooler me. I’m still impulsive but I already know the difference between what I’ll need for only 3 months as opposed to what can benefit me in a longer period. I still hold grudges but I’m mostly indifferent now. I still shop but no longer uncontrollably. These days, I set limit and actually follow through. I still get stressed in work but no longer too stressed that I let it stay in my mind for days. I’m still generally immature but at least now I know that there’s no point in trying to find logic in a mistake I’ve done. Then again, there’s still the part of me, a big chunk, that greatly embraces happiness brought by material objects (like say, the pumps I’m wearing in this set) hehehehe

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Perhaps it's the Ego that predominantly does the talking these days that's why anything that I do work-wise, I can't rest without having my superior acknowledge that I've done something good. It's instant validation that I'm seeking for - a concept that's been the topic of discussion between my good friend and I. Charge it to us being young ambitious girls who are on the cusp of becoming adults, that the only sign of success we accept is constant validation from our respective bosses. They say we should find validation from within ourselves but at the stage where I'm currently at, to hell with those overbearing individualistic supposedly present voices from within. I need to hear that I'm good at what I'm doing from the person who knows the standard of good in the industry, and that's not me. Hahahaha. I only have a few more years to be understandably insecure, lost, shallow, and unfailingly pessimistic so until I can somehow say I'm stable, please by hook or by crook, let me be.

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There's this side of me that says I should stop worrying about the future, that I should just do what I'm already doing for an indefinite period, that there's no hurry since I have the rest of my life to figure out what it is that I would want to do. Then again, there's an even bigger part that says I've to hustle because no one else would bear my cross for me. If I let someone else stir the wheel for me, I might end up blaming that someone if I don't reach the destination that I foresee for myself.

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I think it was sometime in the last quarter of 2016 when I chanced upon this short story about the Velveteen Rabbit. Lately, I've passed on my novels in favor of short stories that hold symbolism and metaphors that can rival those of what a novel tried to tell in its thousands of pages. Asimov's The Last Question is still on top of the most thought-provoking short story I've read but Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit is a close runner up. (Yeah yeah, I know. Technically it's not a short story but anything that can be finished in around 20 or less minutes is considered a short story to me). It's about a toy rabbit that wants to become real. The story somehow reminded me of Toy Story and The Little Prince. Oh well. Too much existential dilemma does no one any good. So until the next post.

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Here's to a fun 2017!

16 January 2017

Welcome to New York

For the sake of easier comprehension, let's categorize the 3 families into Valles of US, Valles of Australia, and Valle - Peraltas of the Philippines. The last 2 families drove to New York to supposedly attend the famous Ball Drop in time for the New Year Celebration however, as later on proven, New York is not suitable for kids. Which makes me wonder how Kevin had so much fun all by himself. I digress. Prior to the trip, I've been most excited to visit New York. Suffice to say, I've had the most fun in there as it was only in New York that all my usual selfish reasoning and babbles had the chance to come alive (hehehehe I particularly indulged my selfish side when my parents ordered my brothers to accompany me in Saks Fifth Avenue). Just kidding. My Mom didn't fall short in reminding me that the main purpose of the entire trip has been to "build memories with the Valles".
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Trench coat: Atmosphere | Top: borrowed jacket | White pants: Stradivarius | Boots: from department store in US | Bag: Balenciaga

I've always loved the energy in New York. Kind locals to tourists? Forget it. Everyone seems to always be chasing after something. That pedestrian light that goes on and off? It's just there to serve as 'guidance' so it is generally up to you when you'll cross the street (very much like in the Philippines). Respectful private drivers? "Get out of my way beep beep" (another very much like the Philippines). 'It's orderly in the US' ideology? Oh come on, don't fool me. Pet-friendly? The only animals I see there are rodents the size of a cat. Still want to go there? YES, BY A HUNDREDFOLD!

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My aunts think that New York is the fulfillment of the illusory American Dream, depicted by movies and songs as this 'concrete jungle where dreams are made of' when in fact, it's nothing but a hype. For me, though, New York IS among those places I'd want to go back to over and over again. Everywhere I looked amazed me: the Christmas display of Saks and Macy's, the cold winter breeze, the seemingly 'uprooted' trees due to the season, the different languages that fill one's ears, the high taxes added to every purchase no matter where you shop, the long walks, the dreadful traffic, the yellow cab driver who demanded for "Christmas tip" on top of the meter, the snobbish sales associates who would look at you from head to toe and reluctantly give you your size so when you actually buy the pair without asking for its price they seem surprised and eventually treat you as though you're their best friend, the equally snobbish other shopper whom you saw looked at you with judgmental eyes and was equally surprised when she heard you ask for the designer pair using its actual name and evenly more surprised when you whipped out your wallet and handed payment for the pair she knew costed a lot, the once rude sales associate from the other brand which you initially visited who gave you the once over and decided you're not worth her time so she chose to talk to the next customer who walked in the shop only to give you the second glance when you returned to the shop with the paperbag containing the recent purchase which is a statement on its own and so she left another customer in favor of you, the entrepreneurial guy who sold "dope candies for adults" beside his van painted with different flavors of his "doped" lollies despite knowing that drugs are not legal in the state, and lastly, the Rockefeller Center which clearly failed to serve as the perfect background for my Kevin-McAllister-in-New-York-dreams as the tourists littering the area just wouldn't stop pushing.

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Just the same, New York is known to be the place where you can be whoever you wish to be if you only have the guts to do so. Say what you want about NYC but it still holds my complete devotion captive. Whereas others see its snobbishness as a con, I consider it among NYC's best characteristics. See, that's the thing about New York. You can judge whatever and whomever you want to judge and still end up being proven wrong.

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On a side note, I bought the pair of boots I'm wearing in this set with this design from King Ranch Saddle Shop as inspiration:

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The title's from Taylor Swift's 1989 album, which I was able to completely listen to
for the 1st time on the plane ride from Manila to Washington Dulles. Also,
Taylor's billboards are all over Times Square so it's fitting that her song's
been made the title
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