Friday, friday!

I like Fridays.  It’s the day before a two-day haitus to the work week.  And this weekend is even more special because we’re off next week.

We’re going on vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia with the grandmothers in tow.  It’s our third visit to Busch Garden country, and it’s a place we’ve always enjoyed.  I’m getting my postcards ready, I have my stamps.. of course we’re sending home postcards again.

We’ll be getting our supplies and packing tomorrow.  Can’t wait to get on the road..

It’s a short day for me today because the boss was kind enough to allow me to leave after lunch this Friday.  That was awfully sweet of him.  I’m speechless. 

 

Oliver Stone's "THE WORLD TRADE CENTER"

Oliver Stone’s latest film had its world premier here in New York today, and I gather the reaction of New Yorkers in general is mixed about this movie.  There is some ambivalence about the whole topic of 9/11 because it remains fresh.  Still, some feel it’s about time we “reminded” people about what happened because many seem to have forgotten what that day was all about.

I was a few blocks away on Wall Street from the World Trade Center that fateful day.  I was late for work and was emerging from the 2 train stop of Wall Street after the first plane hit.  I overheard a man animatedly talking on the phone about “a fire in the World Trade Center” and I looked towards it but could only see what seemed to be an inordinately high volume of paper flying from way up high.

I walked to my office which was the last building nearest the water and FDR Drive.  I was at my desk by the time the second plane hit. I heard a loud explosion and thought nothing of it, until I got a call from Manila and I went to CNN.com.  My boss, the CFO, was in the conference room watching TV.  I got through to Alan who told me he witnessed the second plane charging into the second tower as his express bus was negotiating the last portion of the highway leading to the tunnel.  They had been turned around as part of New York City’s emergency plan in such instances where all egress and ingress into the city is cut down to essential personnel only.

I got calls from relatives in California, my sister was visiting and was home at that time.  My family back home was worried and panicking because there were two of us here.  They did not know I was THAT near to Ground Zero but were relieved to hear we were fine.  Thanks to technology, I know Manila viewed the whole thing in real time.

I did not see the buildings crash but I saw the rolling smoke caused by the collapse, rendering zero visibility outside my 19th floor window.  I couldn’t see the building across the street.  Being asthmatic, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get out of the building with air that bad.

I was afraid but I felt safe being inside the building.  Alan had no way of getting to me, and I wanted to go home.  At the back of my head, I kept thinking about the possibility that this was not the only attack — that there might be some other weapon of mass destruction that the crashing of the planes might bring upon New York.  After lunch, the office was split into groups and we walked home.

I remember walking blocks and blocks with the rest of Manhattan.. the immediate area near Wall Street was littered with dead pigeons who must have been overwhelmed by the soot.  People walked quietly.  I didn’t get on a subway until 14th street, more than an hour after I started walking.  I took a subway to Main Street where Alan picked me up in a car.

The events of 9/11 were life-changing for the world, but it was an emotional event for those within the borders of the United States.  Friends and family from California felt the pain and fear as strongly as we did here in New York.  I still feel a heaviness when I think about it now. 

I saw the cavity of the two towers clear up as if a construction site clip was being viewed in reverse.  Eventually, the scent of burnt rubber and plastic disappeared, and the cavity got cleared up to what it is now.  People have not forgotten.

In the face of new threats, New Yorkers are not undaunted.  We feel fear creeping into our hearts and minds, still, but after that life-changing experience, we have learned to face the continuing threat of renewed terror as a fact of life.  It can happen anywhere, in another country, it can happen back home in Manila.  We just hope and pray it won’t.

Yes, Alan and I look forward to watching THE WORLD TRADE CENTER.  As Alan says, for him, it’s a form of closure.  For me, it’s a way of remembering.

Blogging for two years now

I was looking at my archives on the sidebar and realized that I started blogging in August 2004.  Before that I tried to maintain an online journal on my personal website.  (It’s still up but badly in need of updating.)  The online journal I started way back in 2000 and had no feedback function.  So I basically just typed away.  It was good in that I didn’t have to bother with the smart alecky know-it-alls who, thankfully, have disappeared into oblivion — thanks to all your support when I vented about my freedom of speech here in my little corner of the blogsphere.  But I much prefer to write here in this format where people can leave comments and keep me from talking myself to death.

One thing I’ve learned is that I have to keep the conversation going if I am to continue to grow.  Otherwise, I will end up stagnating if I get stuck listening to my own voice.  Fe, my bestfriend, imbibed in me the desire to acknowledge that I learn something new everyday.

And come to think of it, we do.  We just don’t acknowledge it.  And yet when we do, verbally at that (by telling ourselves “I learned something new today.”), we verbalize that something in us has grown. 

I have learned a lot from the people who have graced my blog by their presence, be it by reading silently and then dropping me a line, or by honoring me by including me among their list of blogs they read.  I treasure the blog conversations I so often write about.  (Keep them coming!)

I have learned, too, that there are those who dare to judge because they have the power to hit their keyboards and then click on their mouse without regard for what they wrote or what they are reacting to.  Even on the web, they prowl as they do in the real world. 

These are everyday lessons the Pinay New Yorker continues to learn as I celebrate my second year of blogging.  As I said above, keep it coming!

Picking up on my reading

I guess the book just started slow.  I’ve been reading MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA for the past 24 hours and I’ve actually read more than I did all this time it’s been sitting on my office desk.  From the looks of it, I will finish the book by the weekend.  (Still haven’t found my copy of BLINK.)

The fact that I watched the movie first has helped me to visualize the characters, seeing them acting out what I have been reading. As it is, I have found some discrepancies between what was portrayed in the movie and what I’m reading.  I guess the Director would call that artistic license.  I have learned not to expect the film to be faithful to the book.  I have seen that authors have their own rules about how their works are brought to life onscreen.

For example, John Grisham’s works onscreen are abbreviated versions of the written work but are essentially faithful to what he wrote.  I have read all that he has written including A PAINTED HOUSE and SKIPPING CHRISTMAS, two works which deviated from his usual genre, and I have watched most of his works brought to life on the giant screen.  I cannot wait to see either THE TESTAMENT or THE PARTNER made into a film, though, because these are two stories that I think have so much drama in them they would make for a good movie.  THE BROKER, like THE DA VINCI CODE, inspires one to go visit Italy based on his travelogue of a novel.

Tom Clancy, on the otherhand, allows the film maker to loosely base the movie on his scripts and gives them quite a leeway to deviate from what he had written.  So I’ve learned not to expect the movie to turn out the way the book did whenever I watch a movie based on one of his works.  Timelines can change, and characters can be a complete departure from how they are depicted in writing.  My favorite movie based on his work is CLEAR & PRESENT DANGER — which, if I remember right, was more or less faithful to the original book.  I would love to see DEBT OF HONOR, SUM OF ALL FEARS & EXECUTIVE DECISION brought to the wide screen.  But back to my reading list — I have been dying to see the release of the sequel to TEETH OF THE TIGER which ended waiting for a Book 2.

Two of my top favorite writers.. now let me get back to Sayuri and Mameha.

isulong seoph