What he said: Henry Miller on materialism

henry“Most of the young men of talent whom I have met in this country give one the impression of being somewhat demented. Why shouldn’t they? They are living amidst spiritual gorillas, living with food and drink maniacs, success-mongers, gadget innovators, publicity hounds. God, if I were a young man today, if I were faced with a world such as we have created, I would blow my brains out.”Henry Miller in The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, his brutal, unabashed take on American capitalism and abject materialism

Imagine reading this in Makati (or in The Fort or Ortigas Center or Eastwood or other such places), at a Starbucks perhaps while waiting for somebody, and looking at the suits and ties around you fiddling with their iPhones and Blackberrys and Samsung whatevers, or hunched over their MacBook Pros, or engaged in passionate talk on topics ranging from social media to Steve Jobs to getting a tan to market analysis, and you realize, Jesus!, Miller’s words are as true today in my country as they were in 1945 America.

And then you wonder if that feeling you have is amazement or disgust.

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Makati with the Raven

Brought my daughter Raven to Makati last Friday to fetch Charmaine and let her enjoy the merry holiday atmosphere. I was surprised that she was all energy and excitement during the ride despite the heavy rush hour traffic that met us in Pasig and along Buendia. It was very unlike the last time we went to Makati. Raven, still unaccustomed to long travels via PUVs, spent that ride in messy distress. Thank god for Bonamine chewables, I didn’t go home reeking of spoiled milk last Friday.

After the meet-and-greet with Charmaine’s office-mates, the four of us — with Ate Layna, Raven’s nanny, in tow — went to the Ayala Triangle to check out the famous light show there. It was fantastic: literally thousands of lights blinking in unison with the Christmas carols booming from big, strategically placed speakers. I wish I can upload the video I took, but my attempts here so far had been epic failures. (For the interested, the video’s on my Facebook.) It’s either WordPress sucks with videos, or I’m just dumb.

So that was December, the Christmas month, starting on the right foot. May the rest of the holiday season be as kick-ass and endearing as that day.

Friday night & Makati lights

As in the previous years, the Christmas lights in the Makati CBD this year do not disappoint, as I found out today when Charmaine and I went to the Ayala Triangle for a stroll after hooking up at Landmark. I like standing beneath those dripping lights. It makes me feel young and small and full of wonder, like staring at the stars on a silent night on top of a tall building. It also makes me feel like the galaxy is falling on my face — an ethereal feeling.

We were supposed to have dinner at Bannaple or any of those opulent restos in the Ayala Triangle area, but they were all filled to bursting with the Friday night crowd and there were even lines of customers outside some of them waiting to get in. When it started to drizzle we decided to go somewhere else. We ended up in Peanut Butter  & Co. inside Paseo Center. I pointed to Charmaine a lady in a tight white miniskirt. We later found out that Ms. Miniskirt was actually a man. It was a good dinner to cap a good night. (PB & Co.’s burger steak ala pobre is better than sex, methinks.) We laughed, burped, went home…

Tomorrow it’s Makati Medical Center for Raven’s monthly checkup, and then a side trip to Araneta Center where, I heard, they’re going to light up the giant Christmas tree. Charmaine set 6 a.m. as call time, so I better quit this now and hit the sack. I don’t want to be Zombie Dad for the day-long activity.