Monday, January 17, 2011

A (Very Late) Recap of 2010

I know this should have been posted last week at the latest.  I didn’t have the time (i.e. got lazy) to finish it last week.   Anyway, after reviewing my 2006 and 2007 recaps (and wondering why I didn't make recaps for 2008 and 2009 – were they boring years?), got interested on writing one for 2010.  

Enumerating the highlights:

a.) Good news: The traffic of “The Bernel Zone” picked up this year.  One major reason, probably, was the “Top 10” articles which I started in 2010 (note: blog statistics was only activated in June).
Bad news: Adsense cancelled my account when it was on a good pace on nearing $100 – the amount to earn before a check would be sent.  Just like that, it was cancelled because of “illegal clicking activity”.

b.) My celfone of three years got broken in February.  And Ma gave me a China phone as replacement.  As usual, my celfone usage was minimal.  Text sent is probably around 3,000 and text received is around 7,000 (estimation based on texting stats of previous years, when I still had my former phone that can record text stats). 

c.) During this year, I was able to experience bowling again.  Thanks to the new bowling alley in Embarcadero.

d.) In February, I finally finished my On-the-Job-Training (in BIR) – my last course in college.   And after wrapping up some other school requirements and then grabbing my last academic medal (as a dean’s lister), I was finally set-up to graduate.

e.) In April was graduation day.  And, by the grace of God, I graduated cum laude.  I love the cum laude medal most among the medals I got from college.    This was the best thing that happened to me in 2010.

f.) This year, in a reunion among my high school friends, I got drunk for the first time.   Hahaha.  No, I’m not really proud of it.  But it’s definitely a highlight.  I got drunk, not because I was “pressured” to get drunk, but because it was an “experiment.”  Really.   Just to understand the feel of it and why many like to drink booze.  And if there’s going to be a point in my life where I can allow myself to get drunk, that was the most preferable circumstance.  I’m of legal age…  I’m out of college… and, most importantly, the booze is free (I’ll never pay up just to get drunk at all).  How did it go?  I wrote about it a few days after the experience:
Ok. Just this once. For experience’s sake. I downed glass after glass.

Throughout my drinking spree, I kept track of how drunk I was by asking those with me to ask me simple trivia questions for me to answer. When I answered, “Uh… Bzz… Aldrin…” to the “first man to go to space” question instead of “Yuri Gagarin”, I know I was screwed for missing such easy question. 

I was mentally calculating everything.  Forcing my mind to focus.  There was like three of me that night.  First, the one with dreamy outbursts, saying things without actually thinking. Second, the still logical thinking machine which was trying to force the first to calm himself; observing and taking notes of the first’s responses and reacting by “So, this is how getting drunk feels… The dreamy state… The quick tongue” or “Why did I said that? I never thought of saying that” or “The volume of my voice is starting to get loud. Better soften it” or “I still have a part of me which is rational. I will hang on to it, so that I will not do anything stupid” – you get the picture.   My nature of making logical connections, my desire to remain rational and in control, and the oral recitation (if I was not drunk, I will not recite what is going on in my mind, of course, but it keep it there) of these mental notes that I took every step of the way amused and impressed observers. The third personality, which in a way scared me, was a cold third-person observer.  That was very much like a Twilight Zone movie.  At that time, it seems not at all weird.  But it was weird when I thought about it the next day.  Subconsciously, there seemed to be a third me taking independent notes from the second, with an amused (scary) smile on his face while just observing.  In a way, the third was like the second, but I can feel that the second was a part of me (which is actually, how a “waking” non-drunk me semi-normally acts).  This third feels like someone distinct from me.  I am not sure if I imagined or hallucinated an actual doppelganger watching the scene in a third-person view.  But what I know is it felt that this independent personality existed in my mind. (Probably the manifestation of the Devil’s Agent of Drunkenness? Hahaha.)
With this “three-personality” observation, I mentioned it feels like “border-line psychosis”… and that’s one reason I will not get drunk again.  I value my mental-emotional-personality control too much.  Crazy things do happen when getting drunk. 
Wow (just read this again for the first time after writing it more than half-a-year ago).  Aside from this, there’s another thing.  My main defense mechanism is a sort of Repression.  But instead of burying memories into the subconscious, it buries emotions.  I don’t allow emotion to be an uncontrollable variable or as an outcome of a circumstance.  I want emotion to be something controllable or a mere “tool”.  As an epigram of mine goes, “Feelings are irrelevant, they can’t change reality.”  Emotions should fuel you to a result and not be the result.  Thus, if an emotion can’t help you at all, it is illogical to hold on it. That is my philosophy.  However, the Repression defense mechanism’s repressed memories can re-emerge in a future time.  The problem with this is other memories might “re-emerge” that actually did not happen.  Thus, repressed memories are defective.  Real forgotten memories are mixed with the subconscious’ fabricated memories.  Often, you can’t set them apart.  It’s the same with repressed emotions.  I learned that getting drunk can trigger their resurfacing.  But you can never tell the difference between real feelings and illusionary feelings.  Of course, I will not tell you the details of this part of the experience.  Anyway, to continue the documentation, here was my conclusion:
The results of that night’s “experiment”? Nausea and vomiting interrupting my sleep, experiencing the “dreamy” (almost psychedelic?) high that regular alcohol-drinkers love, a lesson learned (there should be a lesson, of course, from the experience, like “Don’t get friggin’ drunk next time! Are you crazy? You nearly lost it!”), appreciating more the logical mental-emotional control God-given talent (“feelings are irrelevant. It can’t change reality.”), and an allergic reaction brought by rashes the next day - which is either brought by too much alcohol or the hellish summer heat, but the former is more probable (now, I can use it as excuse to avoid being drunk the next time. “I’m allergic to alcohol!” Nice.)
As much as I can help it, I don't want to get drunk again.

g.) Both North Korea and Iran (and to some extent *cough* *cough* *cough* China  *cough* *cough* *cough*) continue to be douchebags this year.  Especially North Korea.

h.) It was an election year this year.  And it was my first time to vote.  And I got my first encounter with this:
Anyway, I really did my homework before I choose who to vote for president.  I didn’t want to vote without thinking at all and just go with the popular.  Though my candidate did not win, I support P-Noy and wish him well in leading the country.  God put him to be in charge and I should submit to authority (because, ultimately, all authority comes from God and all leaders are put in position by God).

i.) In May, my band was invited to play in the Ice Music Festival held in Embarcadero.  On August 29 (I can still remember the date because it was my father’s birthday), our church held a concert at Albay Park.  And on December 10, we were invited to play in the second One Heart concert.  These three gigs were all blessed opportunities to perform for the Maestro, which I love doing.       

j.) Lakers won back-to-back!  Oh, what joy I got from that when it happened!  Beating the Celtics in an epic and grueling Game 7 to earn the championship.  I love that game (my favorite game of the year).  Of course, I expect them to win again this year.  Though they are still not at their best form (so far) this season (just good enough to be number 2 in the West), I am expecting that when the playoffs comes, they will be on the roll.  This year, we also had LeBron James’ “The Decision” where he became the NBA’s lead villain overnight.   LeBron joined D-Wade and Bosh to form a so-called “Three Kings” (now, the “Heatles”) superteam in Miami.  But I am not worried about the Heat (even though they had beaten the Lakers in their Christmas meeting).  I am more concerned of the Celtics.  But I have faith in my team, that they can beat whoever faces them in June.  Go Lakers! Threepeat!  

k.) It was my “debut” this year.  Hahaha.  
Anyway, turning 21 means I am no longer a “borderline” adult/teen.  20 years old is still “twenteen.”  Now, I am definitely 100% young adult.  I’m still wondering if I can handle it (I miss the teenage license of being reckless and carefree. Hahaha).  21 already and I am still not sure what to do for the rest of my life.  But I do pray for God’s direction.  Starting when I turned 21, I continually pray (up till now): that whatever God wills for my life, he would put that desire in my heart, so that God’s will and my desire would be in sync.

l.) Spain won the World Cup… breaking the pattern of winners in history:

m.) I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman since I was in high school.  But it was only this year that I got to buy some of his books.

n.) I also went job hunting this year (after graduating).  My first ever job interview was for Rapu-Rapu Minerals, Inc.  A friend of mine (working there) told me about a job vacancy (administrative assistant) there.  So, I applied.  On the day of my interview, I went to the site via motor boat.  It was a three-hour ride.  Pretty tiring.  I did not get the job.  Let’s just say, the company couldn't give me what I wanted, and I couldn't give them what they wanted.  Nonetheless, I had a great time there.  It was just like an overnight vacation.  My friend toured me around the mining site.  I got free and delicious lunch and dinner.  And my room accommodation was great.   The rooms for visitors and regular employees were all filled to capacity already (at least four persons occupy one room), so I was housed in, probably, the quarters for executives or special visitors.  I had nobody sharing the room with me.  It had a personal CR, a table, a piece of art (!), a lavatory, and a TV with cable.  And it was roomy.  It was fun staying at that quarters.  Again, it was like a vacation.  I had to wake up the next day at 3 am because the motor boat to take me back to Legazpi goes at 4 am.  Great experience.  Some pics...

o.) My Hawk Gear backpack, which I had since when I was in Grade 3, finally got broken.  It was too old already that the cloth was already weak and tore easily.  From elementary to college, I had used it.  And now it's finally time to say goodbye.  Thanks for all those years, faithful backpack.

p.) I miss this cat...
She was energetic and naughty.  She would do funny things like annoy my other cat (which is already old and serious) or enthusiastically "swim" on our home's tiled floor.  She also would usually wake me up every morning (jumping on my bed).  Then one day this year, she disappeared.  My theory is that a biology or nursing major student kidnapped her to be dissected in a school project.  She's a gentle and trusting creature that she probably didn't realize the danger when, one day, a stranger in white took her.  I hope her ghost will haunt that student's conscience.
q.) ESPN tied-up with Marvel Comics to make these awesome comicbook-themed art of NBA teams.
Pretty cool, eh?

r.) In a single week, the Philippines was hit by a “meyjer, meyjer” 1-2 punch.

s.) Pac-Man continued to dominate and give the country pride.  (While Mayweather continued to make excuses.)

t.) Had fun hanging out with church friends throughout the year.

u.) My favorite place for food this year was "Binalot".
I like the concept of "binalot" (wrapped) Filipino food in banana leaves and paper.  And the amount of rice is always enough.  I never order extra rice when eating here.  Had eaten several times there, with family or with friends.   

v.) Went to Lucena again after three years.   

x.) December was full of fun activities in our church.  We went caroling in which instead of asking for presents or Christmas favors, we did the giving instead.  Our church had its 23rd anniversary (and I get to dance again… after a year.  The last time I did was during the 22nd anniversary).  We had a fun Christmas party.  And before the year ended, we went swimming in San Mateo Hot Spring Resort (in Sorsogon). 
y.) I got three wallets for Christmas gifts – and I haven’t used the wallets I received last year yet!

z.) I spent my New Year’s Eve at the annual reunion of the Jimenez clan.

So those were my highlights of 2010 (I hope I haven’t forgotten anything).  Expecting for great things this 2011. 

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