March 30, 2005

1/2 a day in New York

1/2 a day in New York, I figured out that New York is like Philadelphia but more (except Philly is cleaner and not as crowded). I'm a bit more comfortable now using the subway and walking in New York and finding my way.

the day started with using a train and a subway...I didn't exactly looked at the subway map to figure it out, I just asked people...of course I didn't just go up to a stranger, I was selective (I had to make sure the stranger is not totally a stranger-- you know the strange kind of stranger). One time I asked a person who wasn't from New York, she was from another country...I finally asked subway employers: a police man and a ticket salesperson...the Grand Central Terminal was huge and pretty...I only glimpse its interior because my cousins and I were in a bit of a frazzle, we were trying to get to the Empire State Building...the ticket lady told us to take the 6th and to stop at 33rd Street...

Our "handy dandy map" was very useful, we used it to locate our first destination:the Empire State Building (in the past I've always mistaken the Chrysler Building for the Empire). Originally I wanted to go up the Empire but the long line outside of it dissuaded me from going.

We ate lunch and walked to Rockefeller Center around 48-50th street. On the way, we stopped by the New York Public Library ( the famous one, where the day after tomorrow was shot, also spiderman, also Thirteen Going on 30)...the inside was so cool...all the way to the third floor, there was this great ceiling painting (de sotto en su style) and tall mural paintings in the Rotunda...it was so beautiful.

We were going to ice skate in Rockefeller but it was too much and crowded. But on the way to the rink, there was this cute expensive french store that sold french "paraphenilia"...it was called "Librarie de France."

Right across this place was the awe-inspiring gothic St. Patrick's cathedral. The skeletal frames reminded me of "Chartres". I went inside, and the ribbon-like and spidery rib vaults that ran parallel to the nave were simply exquisite. I was literally transported away from America to Europe.

After this, rather than using our all-day subway pass, we took advantage of the fair weather and walked to Central Park. On our way there we saw performers dancing. We were greeted by the smell of horse manures and the sight of art works on sidewalks as we approach central park.

We went ice skating in Wollman Trump Skating Rink, it was beautiful, not as crowded, large and inexpensive. The view--wow---the manhattan skyline with the famous "Plaza" towering over vein-like trees like fingers groping for the soaring sky-rocket scrapers...with pavement of scattered diamonds...

We had dinner at TGIF Fridays' in Times Square, and what would a day in New York be like without watching a Broadway--an off-broadway musical in Dodgers Stage/ Stage 5, 303 50th West between 8th and 9th Avenue. My cousin and I watched:

The Musical of Musicals: the Musical
This was a hilarious show. This musical parodied great musicals of the past by the masters: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sodheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Kander and Ebb. It had one plot, told in my different musical styles: the universal plot of "trying to pay rent and living."

One could interpret this theme of paying rent several ways. Singer-song writer Dido wrote "if life was for rent and [one] did not learn how to buy [then one] deserved nothing more than [one would] get, cos nothing [one had] was truly one's own." Dido demonstrated the importance of making choices and the consequences that would follow. Or one could just simply enjoy a study of different musical styles and theater. It' was a bit tongue-in cheek, but still hilarious.

The stage was small, similar to Reeves Theater, and there were only 4 members in the cast, and voices (dufferent accents) and an upright piano. The costumes were plain and modern not "so over the top." The sceneries was depicted with background lighting and voice-over narration.

It was at its funniest when I understood the puns and allusions, but even those who weren't aware of the different musical plots would still have a laugh because of its random order and juxtapositon. 4.5 out of the five musical styles, I was able to catch the allusions of; it was great! They said that imitation was the greatest sign of flattery. The Musical of Musicals: the Musical "ripped" off from the great musicals of the past in an innovative way. The whole show was more of a celebration of Musicals rather than a mockery of theater. The Musical of Musicals: the Musicals was awesome! Go WATCH IT!


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What would a day or even a night in New York without coffee--Starbucks Coffee.

My cousin asked "Aren't they close already?"

"Of course not, this is the city that doesn't sleep, I answered, there's a starbucks at least at the end of every block..."

The air chilled, temperatures dropping in the 30s, White Chocolate Mocha warming up my hands and my taste buds; I walked through Times Square, capital of insomaniac city. People bustling to and fro, garish lights and billboard spectacles, the aroma of pizza and chinese food fused together in the air, princess walking around getting photographed in her cinderalla blue ball gown, stretch limos gliding through, I was ready to sleep.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:33 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

5 hours stuck in traffic

in the middle of the night, while snow builds up in slushies, gas trickles to the point of nothingness, patience running empty, truck lights glaring with a threat to run over you inside your car...what do you do?

PRAY

during these five hours I had time to reflect, i guess the "past" caught up with me...all throughout lent, I hadn't actually gave time for reflection...so I reflected who Jesus was, my relationship with him and God...

My faith(meaning)/religious philosophy, et cetera et cetera, et cetera was defined:

"At one-ment" rather than "atonement"(Jesus accomplished our salvation as result there's a choice between heaven, hell or purgatory
At one-ment, I understood this as God having foreknowledge not predestined, God is loving, he just wants to be reunited with his creation..."so one way or another he's going to get ya!" In my theology class, my classmate argued the paradox found in this---concerning freewill--- having choices...if God knows, does that mean we don't have choices, how can we have choices if no matter what we do, we'll end up with God (what if we don't want to?), my fellow traveller argued that freewill was man's own construction so it was not God's...so whether freewill's artificial or not it's in man to know without being bounded...

A bit of Boethius
here's an analogy that helped me to understand:
God is an Artist, an artist plans to paint, first he picks a subject, plans its composition, chooses color schemes, etc., draws a sketchy "impression", then paints it, along the ways he mixes the colors on the canvas rather than applying a pre-made paint, the way he mixes the colors may differ each time whether he added too much tint or tone or totally in balance....maybe later, he decided to change medium...basically the subject was chosen but the end product differed depending on circumstances and choices made along the way--->this showed foreknowledge and at the same time "choices"...
the other part is "man seeks good, happiness is good, God is good, therefore as man seeks good, he finds happiness in God...

the big bang theory as explained to me by Mr. Black
in God's constant quest to know everything (because being omniscient is God's nature), he exploded and became universe and everything in it--->this is why it is justifiable to say that God is in Nature and in all of us...in being with us, he get's a chance to see what life is like being a SHU student who is either a she or a he,, he knows what's it like to be a tree striked by lightning or the lightning striking a tree, he knows what it's like to be born, to die, to be murder, to sing, to dance, to sleep, to dream, to be happy, to be sad, to be depressed, to commit suicide, to be the revolving planet, the moon, the sun center of universe etc. etc.
Since God chose somehow "scattered himself" in the end, he would want to be united with himself sort of like to gather himself and collect the data sort of like a satellite that circles a planet for several years and returns back to earth so the humans could see the "picture"

Nature (Nothing is accident ---> too detailed and specific to be happenstance)
i don't think human existance is meaningless, i don't think it's an accident either, if one were to look at nature (the balance) the intricacy of plant life and ecosystems, the human body with everything playing a part etc. etc. etc., it's just way too much to be a "splatter"...chose to find meaning...

Man's nature to create (part of design)
From the above, it is evident that man is made in the image of God, it is in our nature to reflect our creator...we achieve this by choosing to create/procreate and to want to know...

Life's a mystery...maybe this is our human side and purpose to try to know (because it's in our divine nature like God trying to figure it out), i'll try to figure out myself, my dreams my faith my meaning, my family and friends (relationships/connections), my purpose before I try to figure out life beyond or maybe just to think is life beyond this world...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:23 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

a bit of "curry" adds variety/spice to life

Authentic Indian food added to my worldly appetite database...

after the Dante-esque road trip, Neha and I were welcomed with open arms by Neha's energetic and entertainingly humorous mother...what better way to celebrate hopefully the last breath of Winter until the next cold winter with food--spicy Indian food to warm up the soul.

while waiting for my Uncle to pick me up in Southington CT, Neha's mother constantly fed me, Neha and the other guests...I was surprised that I became full just eating Indian vegetarian dishes...

to start off, I had this crispy pastry-liked chip that looked like a giant crunchy nacho chip, then I ate homemade lemon cake...

for lunch, I had rice (not the short white rice but long fragrant rice similar to jasmine rice) with this medium spicy "gourd" vegetable that looked like chicken, the texture, and its thickness made this gourd passable for chicken. I had an additional "gorban/gorbaz" beans that was high medium spicy--the spice made it taste like meat--to mitigate the hotness, I was advised to add some homemade yogurt (not the sweet kind but the kind that looked and tasted similar to sour creme)

2 hours later, I had an early dinner, I had the same thing with several new dishes added...I ate this "protein delicacy" that had a texture and size similar to hashbrowns (this was one of my personal favorite) marinated in homemade yogurt, I had okra, and this really high high spicy "green sauce" and this bread that was called something like "pati or putti", the taste and texture was similar to a greek pita bread...

What would the day be like without dessert and entertainment---we ate Indian-style rice pudding ( yellowish with added almond) and I saw first hand the one woman act show of Neha's mom, she was so funny, it was fun how she incorporated audience participation in her live show....

It was a fun and relaxing night filled with laughter....in spite of me not being able to speak Indian, I was still able to somehow understand the conversation through hand motions and the mannerisms displayed, I did catch on with the english words that inevitably escaped--the difficulties of immigrants and how time passed by...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2005

A "Dante-esque" Road trip

We left SHU at 1 p.m. in the afternoon, the biggest problem we thought we were going to have was finding a place to meet my uncle. BOY WERE WE WRONG!

It was a very cloudy day. I thought it was just one of those March days ushering early April showers. The pitter-pattering of rain gathered into puddles, and in spite of gloom trickling slowly into a storm, the thought of "singin in the rain" was tip-toe tapping in my head.

We were passing through rolling brown meadows, where remnants of snow dotted the fields like pepper on mash potatoes. We imagined the light green buds, which would soon burgeon, draped the skeletal reddish-brown trees in sprightly spring suits. The wind shield wipers swayed staccato-style as water swirled off to the side painting a Van Gaugh landscape.

Everything was fine, and then I saw inky black clouds looming over the mountains. Rain turned into ice, then ice to snow, then snow to really big blossoming snowflakes of bitter blue Winter. He blew his last breathe (hopefullY), exhaling enmities for hours.

Our oxen-metallic chariot rammed through his slippery stooges and biting bootlickers. He was expiring slowly. He became desperate. With his last breathe, his stooges successfully "jack-knifed" a doubled-length dragon: the dragon that accompanied him to Hades.

The river flow had stopped to mourn the loss of such a magnificent creature. For five centuries, we trudged, inch by inch trying to escape the misery. I prayed and sang to the beat of my head banging against the cushioned head rest. We finally got through and saw the onslaught of odious Old Man Winter.

Crucified rusty horses stood like lawn ornaments. Dead donkey carts were flipped over by the way side. Shrines of snowmen were erected throughout, reminding us of his cruelty.

One hour had passed the new day at Midnight of the sixth century. We found solace in God. Ensconsed in his eternal care, we rested on the seventh day.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)

March 14, 2005

dream 107

yellow moon,
eclipse-like
rugged mountain brownish-reddish iced with snow on the rough edges
in a highway, there's signs going to Moscow

i'm in a "philippine" tricycle _ my aunt is driving, behind her is Elbert pointing the direction, then Ate Lheng (sitting sideways) me at the end, inside the "travel along" cubicle I assumed were the Katigbak kids

there were aliens who looked like humans, but you can tell they were different, they wore gloves---> they were wearing saint patrick hats and their ring finger print was green---> one of them decided to rob a bank

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:13 AM | Comments (2)

March 13, 2005

spring break and yummy food...

foody, yummy, tummy, and DALI...

...while a typical college student, who had money, would immediately pack his suitcase for the sunny southern States, I went back home in Philadelphia, where the weather undulated from old man's winter one day to soothing spring of Ceres the next day. From Friday, March 4 to Saturday, March 12, I spent spring break in Philly with friends and family.

Most college students were basking under the sun, with their toned bodies and killer wash-board abs glistening and glowing with a healthy tan, I was enjoying the food of Philly, stuffing myself silly and moderately of course so not to make my belly like a washer full of loads.

Spring break for me started out with a high and a blast, and as the days progressed it got better and better. I got a ride from my friend Neha. We had a fun mini road trip. She dropped me in Philly on her way to Connecticut. The ride was only 5 hours but it didn't feel like it. It went faster especially while singing "This is the highway that never ends." We stopped to eat for lunch and this was where my week of great food started. I ordered a Burger King Whooper and a Starbuck's White Chocolate hot drink.

The next day, on Saturday after returning from the library, I had an Elios' Pizza, the best ready-made pizza ever.

On Sunday, to celebrate a friend of the family's birthday, we went to Olive Garden. I couldn't decide so I ordered the Tour of Italy. In one plate, there were lasagna, Alfredo Pasta and Parmisan Chicken. To top this, I had an Italian Vanilla creme soda. Later on after dinner, my friends: Lauren Elise Therese McMonigle Kadel (letmk), Jessica Elizabeth "Benett" Nelson (jebn), and Ashley Romano (ar) invited me to Vinny T's. Since I ate dinner already, I just got desserts. I had this very delicious homemade Canoli; it was just perfect, the creme wasn't too sweet and the wafer complemented it with its crispy texture and sprinkled chocolate chips. I shared this "Italian Ice-cream" with Jessie. This Italian Ice-cream was a combination of flavors: Vanilla Rum, Chocolate, Strawberry, and Pistacchio with candied nuts and dried fruits topped with strawberry sauce.

On Monday, I just ate homemade Spaghetti and Lumpia (shanghai eggrolls) and when I met up with my friends: letmk, jebn, and ar in Starbucks, I got a small Caramel Frapuccino (Note- the best size to get in Starbucks is Small, not Grande or Venti because the flavor is just right - not too sweet or bland).

On Wednesday, I went to dinner with my friends letmk, jebn, Kevin Hughes, Mary Ellen McMonigle PhD, and Aunt Margy McMonigle. We went to Shanachies near Ambler PA. I got this new celtic dish. It was a dish with an Atlantic Grilled Salmon with Mango Pineapple chutney served with sidedishes of Garlic fries and fried onions. For dessert, I ate homemade cheesecake, and I tasted a bit of Creme Brulee and this Walnut Chocolate fruitcake-esque dessert from my friends. This was all being digested while I listened to irish folksongs being sung lived.

Indulging my appetite and taste buds wasn't the only thing I did. Thursday was a day of the Arts. In the afternoon, I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Dali exhibit. It was so great. I had to pay $17 (Student) but it was worth it. At first I thought 17 dollars was a lot for a few works, but the exhibit showcased a lot of Dali's work. In fact, I spent at least half of my museum time
in the Dali exhibit alone. Originally I didn't like Dali. I thought he was a snotty artist who exploited the arts for money. I learned that he was spanish, born in May 11 (taurus), he was the forefather of pop art (before Warhol ---> not as good as Dali), had art training and background with the classical, experimented with Pointilism, Impressionism, symbolism, explored the Fruedian theories, reacted to Spanish civil war, World War II, contemporary of 20th Century Modern Artist, was a sceptic about the church/God and later on started to have relationship with God (became "religious"), obsessed with the painting "The Angelus", Mae West's Lips, worked with Walt Disney in a motion film entitled "destino" (which they showed also, and I watched it), very imaginative and 'tormented", friends with Picasso, liked the goddess Venus, and Venus De Milo, experiemented with "nuclear art", holograms, etc, in a nutshell, he is more than what appears, don't let his "lobster-back phones" and curly mustache and other eccentricities deter you away from him. He's an awesome and prolific artist and human being.

Later at night, I watched a play with a friend: MaKristine in her high school. We saw The Sound of Music. This play wasn't a high school play, it was more like a grade school play. The saving grace for this play were the lead singer who played Maria, and the older gentleman, probably the director of the play, who acted as the Nazi General. What went wrong in this play... overacting-- too expressive, a lot of arms swaying, too ""expositiony" rather than facing the other actors while they were talking to each other, they faced the audience, most of the actors butchered Rodgers and Hammerstein's music--there were points when the actors didn't sing at all, they just shouted, they were flat, or too sharp, the transitions from one scene to the next were awkward. The stage was too big for the set. They should have made the stage smaller by either using the curtains more or using lthe lights effectively (there was one scene where the set succeeded, it was a wedding scene and the chapel stained-glass window was cool). Last but not least, some of the scenes were ruined because the actors were "rushing," for example, when Maria and Georg were dancing the traditional Austrian folk dance, the rushings movements did not render the dance graceful and romantic, when Maria and Georg kissed, their kiss didn't show passion (it wasn't convincing, it was more like two shy teenagers kissing hesitantly in a party playing spin the bottle), after the Nazis left the garden, immediately the nuns showed up and within a negative second, the Von Trapp family were off in the mountains (there were more rushing scenes but these stuck in my head), on the good side, the show ended on time, and hopefully they would learn from their mistakes, i still give them kudos for attempting such a large project, and I understand the limited sources they had to work with (inner city catholic high school funds).

On my last full day in Philly, I returned the library books and dvds I borrowed. I also met my friend: letmk in Starbucks. I had a Chantico (this is the latest concoction of starbucks). Chantico, as a sage described, was chocolate on steriods. If you were ever to see an ad. for this, it would describe the Chocolateness of Chantico.

I arrived back in SHU last night, Saturday, March 12, at 9:30 pm, I did laundry and I "feng-shuied" my room. Now, it feels and looks a lot bigger. I guessed my old and narrow room couldn't hold the huge appetite I aqcuired over the break. Ah changes, yummy!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2005

the link in the setonian was broken but now it's fixed but here's the unedited version anyway...

Time, is of the Essence?

The day was Thursday, February 3rd, and I just woke up from my 20 minute power nap. I went to meet Pr. Dardery at 2 o’clock p.m. in Lowe Dining Hall to interview him.
At exactly 1:59 p.m., I arrived in my destination, and I situated myself at the table right across from the entrance. At 2 o’clock, I looked around to see if Pr. Dardery had already arrived. I thought that maybe he was sitting down at a different table. I looked at my watch, and at 2:05 p.m., there was still no sign of him.
I started to become paranoid. What if he thought the interview was at Friday at 2 p.m. instead. To calm myself down, I ate a piece of peach pie. I devoured the delicious pie in less than 3 minutes.
I decided to look for Pr. Dardery. I thought that maybe he went to his office in St. Joes’ or in his classroom in 4th Admin. My searching was futile, and downcast, I returned to the Dining Hall. At 2:30 p.m., I had to face the fact that he might not show up.
At 2:33 p.m., I packed my stuff and got a cup of water before leaving. Coincidentally, I found Pr. Dardery getting a drink also. He approached me and apologized for being late. The traffic was terrible.
Finally at 2:40 p.m., my interview with Pr. Dardery started (See Interview with Egyptian Professor). He mentioned how demanding life in America was in comparison to life in Egypt. Egypt was more ‘relaxing.’ I asked what he meant by this. He spoke about the concept of time, “Watches should not control people, but rather, people should control their watches.”
I commented on this “rushing attitude” he had implied, and he retorted, “People here seem to live in order to work rather than to work in order to live, and in being so concern with time, they easily lose sight of the essence of life, which is human relations.”
45 minutes had passed and at 3:15 p.m. the interview had ended. Later that night at 9 p.m., I went to a Eye Contact Club meeting. At 10 o’clock I watched E.R. with my friends. At 11:34 p.m. I talked to my friend in Philadelphia. The following Saturday afternoon I called my parents, and on Sunday night at 11:56 p.m., I finished writing this article. Time is relative. Don’t get caught up in it!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:46 PM | Comments (1)