Instant lasting relief

I only have one belt. You might call it stupid, but it is what it is.

For some reason I remember clearly the moments when I bought that belt. Perhaps it's because I had the whole day mapped out. I'd be going to a meeting - or was it an event? - in Makati, so I'd pass by Landmark in the morning and get myself a leather belt. I'd be driving anyway, so I don't have to worry a lot about my pants dropping more often than they should. (The day my old belt broke was way worse: Shalla and I were in Kuala Lumpur, on the day we had to fly back to Manila via Singapore. Three countries, two flights, one train ride, roughly twelve hours, and my pants are falling.) After getting myself a reversible, and having an extra hole punched, I put it around my waist and wore it for the rest of the day. Nobody has to know.

Sure, it's still stupid, perhaps. Why don't I buy another belt so I don't have to go through all this again? Well, for one, belts tend to be utilities rather than fashion statements. But, sure, I've dreamed of having one of those knitted belts. I may have considered buying one, but never went out of my way to look for them at stores. And besides, I can be really insecure about how I look, how I dress, and a belt wouldn't exactly go a long way to solve that. Shirts, yes. Jackets, yes. Belts? They're there to keep my pants from falling. I have more pressing things to worry about.

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Into the void

I've probably said this before, but it must be said again: this whole "I'm here if you want to talk" thing is bullshit. It's utter bullshit.

Granted, here I am, needing to talk to someone, and I haven't exactly approached anybody, whatever that means these days. But my thought process right now goes along the lines of "I'm just disturbing" and "they have far more important things to do than listen to me ramble". Those thoughts pop up in between me staring at this laptop for the past five hours, getting absolutely nothing done.

Well, in those five hours - and counting - I've inadvertently tried to compose my thoughts. Think of it like me talking to myself. I'm trying to articulate what I feel - to myself. I'm trying to figure out why I've been in this funk for the past month - to myself. Occasionally I'll think of telling all this to someone, and then I won't. Again, I must be disturbing. There really are far more important things to do that listen to me ramble - to listen to anyone ramble.

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Long service leave

Zan Rowe is on long service leave.

Okay, let me explain a couple of things.

Long service leave is an Australian thing. Think of it as vacation leave, but on top of your vacation leave, and one you can only get when you've worked for a particular company for a certain period of time. Usually, this means three months off, paid in full, on top of your other leaves, if you've been with the same company for ten years. It's something no other country seems to have - but then again, Australia was a British colony, and the Brits who worked there wanted to go back home, too.

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It takes a million neckties to hold us back

Now, I can be a lazy person. On most occasions when I feel compelled to wear a coat jacket over my long-sleeved top - think industry events, business forums, whether as a spectator or, very rarely, as a speaker - I don't wear a necktie. I can get away with it, and I long have, because not everybody does, too.

There are downsides to this, of course. One, this means I take longer to wear a necktie when I do have to, and that's because I have to relearn it all over again. It's not that painful - once you've done it a few times, it'll all come back - but that means I'm never happy with how I wear mine. Almost always I still see a bit of shirt where my tie should be. Does that even make sense? I doubt. But you do have the thinking that the necktie should be tight enough to hide that bit of your shirt under your collar. After four tries I end up looking slightly sloppy - or really sloppy, if you're unforgiving, and this being the corporate world, sort of, that can make or break your chances, even if you don't intend to avail them.

That also means I can never call myself sharp-dressed. All right, so that adjective is really vague. What does "dressing sharp" mean? When I hear that, I think custom-tailored everything, and looking crisp - what does "dressing crisp" mean? - all throughout, meaning you don't get ruffled whatever you do. Good luck with that. Even in days when I'm not particularly restless, it will look like I've gone through the wringer halfway through the engagement.

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Dear Maestro Ryan

Dear Maestro Ryan,

Let me begin by congratulating you for being honored with the Ramon Magsaysay Award this year. In these times when fan-driven frenzy drives what's popular and what isn't, it's easy to forget all of the things you, and your contemporaries, have done to push all of Filipino music forward, not just in the 1970s and 1980s, but even up to now. I think it's a really good reminder.

When you received your award earlier today, you expressed your sadness that "there is no Filipino music out there". Now, here, sir, I'm not sure if I agree with that.

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