Search and You Shall Find in My World

31 December 2007


30 December 2007

New Year Drinking Madness

For the 39 years of my existence, I have been drunk most of the 24 years. With or without reason, drunkenness has been a family affair since time immemorial. Most folks in my hometown would say that being a Dolotina is synonymous with drunks.

Well, I have seen my uncles and relatives die of liver cirrhosis. Some would be ashamed of that fact but I am proud of my uncles because they have stood their ground when all that matters were gone. Now a brother is following that same path my uncles have tread. Lessons learned. But not for us.

And while the rest stay sober this new year to avoid the hangover, we welcome it with much gusto. Our cheers to that.


By the way, while we get drunk and enjoy the New Year, here is a friendly reminder from The New York Times. Better read this before you will become one of us.

The Hangover That Lasts

Published: December 29, 2007 - The New York Times

NEW Year’s Eve tends to be the day of the year with the most binge drinking (based on drunken driving fatalities), followed closely by Super Bowl Sunday. Likewise, colleges have come to expect that the most alcohol-filled day of their students’ lives is their 21st birthday. So, some words of caution for those who continue to binge and even for those who have stopped: just as the news is not so great for former cigarette smokers, there is equally bad news for recovering binge-drinkers who have achieved a sobriety that has lasted years. The more we have binged — and the younger we have started to binge — the more we experience significant, though often subtle, effects on the brain and cognition.

Much of the evidence for the impact of frequent binge-drinking comes from some simple but elegant studies done on lab rats by Fulton T. Crews and his former student Jennifer Obernier. Dr. Crews, the director of the University of North Carolina Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, and Dr. Obernier have shown that after a longstanding abstinence following heavy binge-drinking, adult rats can learn effectively — but they cannot relearn.

When put into a tub of water and forced to continue swimming until they find a platform on which to stand, the sober former binge-drinking rats and the normal control rats (who had never been exposed to alcohol) learned how to find the platform equally well. But when the experimenters abruptly moved the platform, the two groups of rats had remarkably different performances. The rats without previous exposure to alcohol, after some brief circling, were able to find the new location. The former binge-drinking rats, however, were unable to find the new platform; they became confused and kept circling the site of the old platform.

This circling occurs, Dr. Crews says, because the former binge-drinking rats continued to show neurotoxicity in the hippocampus long after (in rat years) becoming sober. On a microscopic level, Dr. Crews has shown that heavy binge-drinking in rats diminishes the genesis of nerve cells, shrinks the development of the branchlike connections between brain cells and contributes to neuronal cell death. The binges activate an inflammatory response in rat brains rather than a pure regrowth of normal neuronal cells. Even after longstanding sobriety this inflammatory response translates into a tendency to stay the course, a diminished capacity for relearning and maladaptive decision-making.

Studies have also shown that binge drinking clearly damages the adolescent brain more than the adult brain. The forebrain — specifically the orbitofrontal cortex, which uses associative information to envision future outcomes — can be significantly damaged by binge drinking. Indeed, heavy drinking in early or middle adolescence, with this consequent cortical damage, can lead to diminished control over cravings for alcohol and to poor decision-making. One can easily fail to recognize the ultimate consequences of one’s actions.

Does the research on rats have relevance for the more complex brains and behavior of humans? We have come to think so. Dr. Crews has shown that the cingulate cortex in the human brain shows signs of neuroinflammation after repeated alcohol binges, similar to that in rats. Sidney Cohen, one of the clearest thinkers and researchers on the effects of alcohol and drugs on humans (now deceased, he was at one time the director of the drug abuse division at the National Institute of Mental Health), pointed out that we are programmed as a species for accelerated learning in adolescence and young adulthood. This heightened capacity is the reason we go into apprenticeships or on to college and graduate school in these crucial years.

As Dr. Cohen noted, we not only learn specific skills during these years, with our brains having developed more fully, we also learn in a more subtle way how to deal with ambiguity. Ambiguity comes into play when the goalposts are moved. Can we change course? Can we deal with this ambiguity and with nuances?

The one piece of good news is that exercise has been shown to stimulate the regrowth and development of normal neural tissue in former alcohol-drinking mice. In fact, this neurogenesis was greater in the exercising former drinking mice than that induced by exercise in the control group that had never been exposed to alcohol.

So, some possible resolutions for the New Year:

Stop after one or two drinks. Studies of the Mediterranean diet have shown that one or two drinks on a consistent basis leads to a longer life than pure teetotaling.

If you must binge, start at age 40, not at age 16 — and always have someone else drive. Just as youth is wasted on the young, so perhaps is alcohol.

If you have binged excessively when younger, follow it up with some regular exercise. Get those brain cells regenerated.

As Shakespeare once pointed out without the benefit of studies on lab rats, “O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!”

Paul Steinberg is a psychiatrist.

Artwork from

Trying Hard

I'm jealous because I claim to be a graphic artist yet I can't make things in my Adobe Photoshop the way graphic artists do, no matter how I do it. So amatuerish.

I am not a computer wizard. I am a lizard. I did not graduate from a computer course. In fact, when I was still in school, there was no computer subject around. My, we were so behind.

Curiosity would kill a cat but mine brought me to new discoveries. I poked and experimented on the computer. Lately I am trying hard to be a graphic artist.

This is a product of an experimentation with Photoshop.

My New Year Wish

I wish I could spend my New Year with my family. Sadly, I don't have enough funds to travel and be with them. Instead, I am stuck in this hot and dark room with only a computer to talk to.

Last Christmas I went and stayed home and enjoyed their company despite the very limited time (and funds). There is no substitute for family. Really.

But I am glad friends come from time to time to comfort me. They are angels in disguise.

Photo courtesy of Busta’s Blog


29 December 2007

Damn MMFF!

I wanted to go to the movies today. The house is hot, noisy, dirty and smells like somebody's kitchen. I need to go somewhere cool and relaxing.

After walking around Colon-Carbon area, friend and I went to E-Mall to see what was showing. Puro MMFF entries lang, sabi nya.

What's MMFF? Male Male Female Female, the friend joked.

Well- I am not really a Pinoy movie fan. So I smirked. Haven't seen Pinoy movies in the big screen since the idiotic Christopher-Vilma movie way way back then. That idiotic movie grabbed almost all of the awards. I am sort of traumatized since then by these movies. Then last year, the MMFF awarded Enteng Kabisote the Best Picture(?). It was the end of the world.

Anyways I suggested we go to Ayala Center or SM City. The friend told me all movie-houses in the country are showing only MMFF entries.

Damn! I wish I could sing American Pie today.

Photo from

28 December 2007

My Little Experience at Little Nonki

Japanese food almost always excites me because freshness in the preparation is always a priority. And Japanese people are keen on protecting their names when it comes to quality and service. Imagine your sashimi when served too late. Or your sushi.

When the owner of the printing press I used to hang around invited me to lunch at Little Nonki at SM City Cebu, I readily accepted. I haven’t been there, although I always pass by that restaurant.

The place is austere as I assume Japanese restaurants are. A little bit cramped. Maybe that was why they are naming the restaurant Little Nonki. The requisite plates on the tables are made out of plastic. Hmmmm. Am I expecting too much?

The comfort room (I usually go there first to see if they are really comfortable) is cluttered with tissues and not quite clean but not smelly though. That would pass.

I ordered Special Donburi. My hosts ordered the bento boxes. When our orders came, we hungrily devoured them of course. But wait. The complimentary miso soup is quite salty. Okay that would pass. I attacked the generous serving of donburi which was also salty. Let me check- are Japanese food really that salty? Or my taste has gone awry?

I asked the luncheon host why she was not eating the soup and some of the food in the bento box. She told me they were salty too. Well-

I am glad I ordered a cold kalamansi juice. It was refreshing and its sourness quickly downed my donburi to where it should belong- my hungry stomach.

We went out after the meal with that frying smell evident in claustrophobic restaurants sticking in our shirts.

Generalization- Nonki is a nice place.



We Filipinos are hypocrites. Or should I say SOME of us are hypocrites, with special exception to priests who consider nudity as art and not fornication. We don't want to see nude figures for the fear of sin. Again, because of the influence of the Church whose flock are dirty-minded. We even tell our children to close their eyes when people are kissing in our TVs. We see sex (copulation) even if a nude person is alone in the photograph. Isn't that too much of creativity? Or should I say because we don't actually practice what we preach?

But a website that features his nude collection was a welcoming relief despite the nudity content in his subject. (Should the Church now imposed censorship?) Jeff Bark's works should now be a study of Art in essence rather than bigotry amongst Filipinos or church people.

These are some of his works.

More of his works can be found at

Tattoo: Showing Your Real Self

Most of us cringe at the sight of a tattoo however small. We usually see tattoos as dirty, painful and worst- an act of defiance.

Well- all of the above seems to be true. Tattoos can be dirty if you choose a tattooist who do it without the basic hygiene required by the trade. Hepatitis, HIV and other diseases can be passed on through used needles. GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) still applies on our choices. If you are cheap, then you deserve it.

Tattoos are truly painful. So going to the tattooist is a test of will and perseverance. Having a tattoo is only for the manly, I should say hahahaha. I laughed at someone who wanted to have a very small tattoo but he wanted an anesthetic injected on him.

Some sectors of the populace also treat tattoos as abomination! Why would you change what God has given you, they would ask. That is of course sooooo medieval! If you die ugly, that is your fault. Familiar? The idea may have come from relatives who came back from prisons, so tattoos became stigmas.

My love for tattoos ( I am a collector of two both in my biceps) may have its roots with my readings in younger days. I used to dream of meeting real Indians with tattoos. Historically too, Visayans were called Pintados because of the tattoos they sport when the invaders landed in our country.

Tattoos are tests of manhood, a rite of passage. This is true to almost all tribes. Maori-Samoan tattoos are extremely ritualistic and expensive.

"The tufuga is a great chief and tattooing is a very expensive affair, attended with great ceremony. To the Samoan man, it is the crucial event in a lifetime, from which all other happenings are dated. Until he is tattooed, no matter how old he may be, the Samoan man is still considered and treated as a boy... Tattooing is the beautification of the body by a race who, without metals, without clay, express their feelings for beauty in the perfection of their own glorious bodies. Deeper than that, however, is its spring in a common human need, the need for struggle and for some test of endurance, some supreme mark of individual worth and proof of the quality of the man... What is it that can keep alive the spirit of man but his own respect for what he is - the God that is within him? And so it is that tattooing stands for valor and courage and all those qualities in which man takes pride."

When I have the money, I would get another tattoo I can afford.

Quote on Samoan tattooing is from
Photo from


Rest In Peace Ms Bhutto

Charismatic, striking and a canny political operator, Benazir Bhutto, 54, was reared in the violent and turbulent world of Pakistani politics and became the country’s and the Muslim world’s first female prime leader.

A deeply polarizing figure, the “daughter of Pakistan” was twice elected prime minister and twice expelled from office in a swirl of corruption charges that propelled her into self-imposed exile in London for much of the past decade. She returned home this fall, billing herself as a bulwark against Islamic extremism and a tribune of democracy.

She was killed on Thursday in a combined shooting and bombing attack at a rally in Rawalpindi, one of a series of open events she attended in spite of a failed assassination attempt the day she returned to Pakistan in October and of repeated warnings.

Published December 28, 2007 The New York Times
Photo by T. Mughal/European Pressphoto Agency


27 December 2007

Shocking Ads

This is a cool way to be noticed. Sex sells.

Kill Bill Volume 6

We say No to Guns during the New Year!
And yet here we are giving toy guns to our children...

And she tried to SHOOT me!

The Travelers

Tired, the travelers
They walk and walk
They never stop.
No matter how
They trod on mud
There is not one
Of muddied sand
Of muddied banks
Time has become tortured hush
So fast, so incredibly fast
No space is left
For wailing
For weeping
For unloving
Even languid feelings
Should be cast to die
By the wayside where
The wayfarer casts
Innocent shadows on
The lonely roads
The lonely roads
They may not see again.

-Celeste Zeta Montalban

24 December 2007

Coming Home

I don't usually come home on holidays. Holidays in my hometown meant cold nights, masses and drunk relatives. Having my Christmas in Batuan would mean toxic but not meaningful holiday.

But lately, the younger generations of the family thought of innovative ways to enjoy the season. They made it a time for family reunions. Instead of sulking in the room after the mass at Christmas, we now have a reason to celebrate more. Gifts are exchanged. Food shared with all family members.

I used to eat the cold spaghetti alone but not anymore. I used to pour the red wine myself and drink it all by myself. But not anymore.

One good reason: A family that drinks together, stays together.

Home by Daughtry

I'm staring out into the night,
Trying to hide the pain.
I'm going to the place where love
And feeling good don't ever cost a thing.
And the pain you feel's a different kind of pain.

I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old
So I'm going home.
Well I'm going home.

The miles are getting longer, it seems,
The closer I get to you.
I've not always been the best man or friend for you.
But your love, remains true.
And I don't know why.
You always seem to give me another try.

So I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,

And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old.

Be careful what you wish for,
'Cause you just might get it all.
You just might get it all,
And then some you don't want.
Be careful what you wish for,
'Cause you just might get it all.
You just might get it all, yeah.

Oh, well I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old.
I said these places and these faces are getting old.
So I'm going home.
I'm going home.

20 December 2007

Di Na Ako Virgin

When it comes to Binalot I mean.

The other day a friend of mine treated me to dinner at Binalot in SM City Cebu. I've heard so much about the binalot (Tagalog for something wrapped; in this case food, which is the usual thing to do in the provinces, almost always lunch) experience in Manila.

Well- it reminded me when I was still in the elementary when I always insisted that I brought my baon with me. Mother, as mothers always do, would not agree with it (bringing the baon wrapped in banana leaves) because I would be spending my lunch break at the creek. But sometimes my Ma would allow me to. Cooked rice, viand of fish or meat and some bagoong and egg. This is how Binalot came about, I think.

Aside from the superfluous pictures on their menu (the itlog maalat is only in small piece, nakakabitin; the kamatis is over-riped and not sliced; the rice is overcooked), the binalot is quite okay and much, much better than the food served at Dimsum Break. Sumptuous I say.

Other than sumptuous, the Binalot choices is affordable and light to the pocket. Prices ranged from 39 to 55 pesos. Surely I will come back to taste the other choices posted on their menu (Tapa Rap Sarap, Bistek Walastik, Sisig Na Makisig, etc).


18 December 2007

Isn't THAT Cool?

Guys in Germany will surely pray for more rain and will no longer recite Rain rain go away... This Playboy Ad will show a revelation of interest of some sort when rained upon.

Isn't that cool?

Photo from

16 December 2007

Here's the News

A Different Art Form

No, I actually mean a different brush form. Or, no, a different stroking. I mean...

Hey, I can understand if some artists use pubic hair as brush for their paintings. But a penis? C'mon.

Tim Patch aka Pricasso just do that. Yes. Painting your face using his penis. So that all of you would know, he did George Bush's portrait.

Isn't that great news? Your penis has now a new use.

But I would try that. Hmmm. Maybe next time.