Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Calculator and I

Auditors and accountants have a very personal, intimate relationship with their calculators.

For most of my professional life, I had endured being laughed at, teased, made fun of, by non-accounting/auditing friends, who find my lugging around my ancient table calculator at all times, a source of never ending amusement. I don't mind. Few things came between me and my calculator (one of which is coffee, but that's for another blog), but for the most part, we're inseparable. I simply feel naked without it.

But perhaps what's even more unusual, is that it has to be the calculator. I have only changed calculators once in the past ten years, and it was with so much grief because I couldn't find my original, large numbered calculator. When I finally found it again (the original, large numbered calculator, or OLNC for short), I nearly sagged with relief. Far from retiring it, I had even used for a couple more years, even though its batteries have long died and it only relied on its solar power. With reluctance, I had put it in a "home" when the numbers are no longer discernible. The "home" was our little shelf in our condo where useful things reside: scissors, tape, clips etc. There, my battered, ten year old calculator would stay to be called only during special circumstances wherein I would have to calculate something at home (hey, it happens).

I write this blog now, because I have just been introduced to a nifty, far more advanced, and expensive looking calculator: the HP 171BLL Financial Calculator. It comes with its own leather case, and 300 page manual. It has buttons that are alien to me like "Print" and "Input" and "Math" (like, isn't the whole point of calculating is to do math?). Its packaging boasts of 28K user memory, 250 easy-to-use functions, a solve application nd RPN and algebraic entry. Browsing through its manual, I find that it can perform cash flows and mortgages without you having to put in an equation.

But despite all its cool functions, I feel disconnected.

I find myself longing for my battered, solar/batter operated calculator whose most advanced function was that it could back space. And yet, if I were a fantasy character and the calculator was a sword, there would be no question that I should be happy to obtain something so cool, it has its own name. But I'm not.

Maybe I'm just getting old and the barrage of information is too much for me to process. Or maybe I really just have difficulty moving out of my comfort zone. Or maybe, irrational or not, I just find it a sort of betrayal to the relationship I have had with my good, old calculator who has been a sort of friend, sort of security blanket, sort of good luck charm over the years.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Forbidden Kingdom

For those who are thinking of watching it: don't.

Enough said.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That's it, I'm now a Cookie

Right from the moment I had seen and heard David Archuleta sing Waiting For the World To Change for his American Idol auditions, I had been a fan. And at the beginning of the formal competitions, it had seemed like there was no one who could come close to him in terms of charisma both on and off stage, having mass appeal to all ages and genders alike.

And then, Eleanor Rigby happened, and I began to have grudging respect (and reluctant crush) on David Cook. Still, he was my number 2, and deep inside, despite his Billy Jeans and Little Sparrows, I had kept rooting primarily for David A.

Today, things changed.

For one thing, he came out in the unkempt-tie-and-vest look which I adore. And then he sang something so sweet and pop and maraiah and made it dark and sexy and manly. And then, they kept panning the camera over his brother (who had brain cancer or something and had only been able to attend this particular performance of his). And then, David Cook cried.

And now, I'm a true, blue cookie. Go David C!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Word Recall: Parfait

It's funny how certain mundane words have the power to bring back memories of ages past. I mean, I can understand how scent does that to you, or how names and places can rouse nostalgia, but more interesting to me are the ordinary words that spark some long unused brain cell into remembering the past.

Recently, I had encountered one particular, seemingly innocuous word: parfait. There I was, just browsing casually at some menu, when I saw the word parfait and on cue, time slowed down, camera moved closer as I found myself drawn into a flashback.

Back in high school (god, that's been like over a decade ago), parfait meant lazy, hot afternoons after school wherein my best friend and I would cross the street to go to a small store that served what was then, in my limited estimation, the best parfait in the world. I remember small, inconsequential details of those times: the dark, chocolate brown color of Gate 4 (the nearest gate to the store); the hushed rustle of trees that seemed to mumble greetings as we passed; the glare of the afternoon sun that, for some reason, seemed to be more unbearable outside school premises; the high pitched clinks of smell bells as we entered; the 45 peso price tag to our ice-cold luxury (that was expensive back then, but my best friend and I would have gladly skipped lunch for this indulgence).

And of course, since I was already there, it was so easy to get lost in the myriad of memories of high school. From the parfait shop, I remembered we'd hop to the small school supplies store that sold, among other wonderful things, magnificent greeting cards. I, and a lot of girls my age (or should I say, the girls I hung out with), had a thing for greeting cards then. And we'd hungrily scour over the various kinds of greeting cards, collecting those we can afford, salivating over the ones we couldn't (after all, in the battle of parfait vs. greeting cards, parfait always won). There were small greeting cards with beautiful little sentimental notes; large ones with extremely cute pictures of babies and dogs and butterflies; medium sized ones that played music-box melodies; odd shaped ones that had funny anecdotes and witty (or sarcastic) little bylines. After our little tour of the school supplies shop, we'd go back to school, sit down on the concrete floor right beside St. Cecilia's auditorium, and talk, or sing, or read. I didn't know it then, but in retrospect, I was happy.

Nowadays, though conceivably, I can afford to buy parfait on a more regular basis, I don't anymore. I've lost some of my sweet tooth as I grew older, and the parfait, with its whip cream and chocolate syrup seems too much for my adult sensibilities. As for the greeting cards, they've also sadly lost their appeal. I hardly even pay attention anymore to the greeting cards I personally receive, feeling somehow that their messages are trite, overly sentimental, saccharine sweet.

Oh, how things have changed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sleepless in Manila

Besides the heat, which, for some weird reason I can't get used to yet (meaning outside, its way too hot, inside my office, its way too cold), I've been dealing with a lot of issues with the pregnancy that has whiners like me (yep, I admit it, I'm a certified whiner) complaining and grumbling for most of the day. I do, however, try to limit my whining when the sun is out, simply because I know that while my husband is great, even he will probably throttle me if I keep piling on him my discomforts after he had gone through a hard day with work and traffic. As much as possible, in fact, I try to be nice at night, saving all my good humor for the time when I can wind down with my husband and cuddle up to him to sleep.

However, lately, its becoming difficult. For one thing, I haven't had much sleep. What, with my additional weight (I can't seem to position my arms and belly in a way that I'll be comfortable anymore when I sleep), the creeping back pain (which starts out small, but starts to gnaw on your nerves after awhile), the toothache (according to the dentist, this is the baby stealing calcium from me, since I'm off calcium supplements temporarily), my allergies (the extreme itchiness that I am unfortunately cursed with) and, more recently, my colds which has given me grief over such a simple thing as breathing, its not wonder I can't sleep at night.

The sad part of it is that I keep my husband awake too. Every time I toss and turn, I jostle him awake, so that he too, has to share in my tragedy.

The only thing good so far is that my baby kicks a lot now. While its not always a pleasant experience (try getting a few more minutes of sleep when someone is kicking you [furiously] from inside clamoring for food), it is a reminder of what truly matters at the end of the day.

Now, if only that reminder could get me some better sleep....