Jerome's incomprehensible but improving...
Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Things and People

What is the difference between liking and loving something? Liking and loving someone? A rather tame example would be, I can say I like eating salmon sushi, and I love reading sci-fi books. So if you offered me some I would be say thank you and gladly accept it. Though if I had to order it in a Japanese restaurant, I'd balk at the price and get something relatively cheap like katsudon or eggplant tempura or whatever. On the other hand I would actually spend the same amount on sci-fi books.

So is it a matter of degree? Like I spend more than 5 hours a day or splurge more than 500 pesos on something then I can consider I love it? I guess, as with a lot of things that concern our selves, there's really no sharp distinction between the two. There is a difference in attitude though, which is why I think love is a choice. What I like, I tend to be passive about it, so I enjoy it when circumstances bring what I like close to me. Though if I have to make serious decisions for it, like sacrificing my time which I could spend for friends or improving my career, or well-earned money, then that could be something else. Something you love must be important to you.

I guess, though, that seriousness and importance is not enough. Money matters are always serious. I've made some serious long-term investments with the bulk of my savings. I also got myself life insurance. However, once I've made those serious choices, I don't like to think about them too much. It's important but not that kind of important. These choices seem to be driven more by necessity and security rather than a real choice about my life. I am not likely to say that I love eating 3 meals a day. But some do -- 4, 5, 6... Why? Why can we say that these people love eating while others just do it to live? Is it not important to all of us to eat?

One difference I think is that we feel that we really make a conscious choice when we choose what or whom we love. So most people can't say they love breathing or getting their daily meals. But then, financial decisions are also very conscious choices. The same applies to career moves. Given the importance, and conscious decision-making involved in these, I would still be at least slightly bothered if somebody said I loved money, or I loved making a career.

The difference is that with something I love, I live and breathe in its presence in my life. I am constantly confronted with choices for it in my daily living. Even when those choices are not really apparent, because something I love shapes how I view things. (It shapes my world view in a positive way, of course. Going negative, that would be a discussion on dislike and hate.) I see them in matters big or small. If I loved money, I guess part of the obsession would be doing major investments with my assets, as well as penny-pinching on expenses and ledgering them. I love computers and programming. I can say this because I see it in everyday things. Like when I commute to work -- how do you program those MRT magnetic cards? Or like when I consider buying a handheld device to organize contacts and schedules, whenever I think I'm forgetting things. I program in my "free time" -- a significant sign because "free time" is time that one usually sets aside for really "living" and not doing something like attending meetings, doing the dishes and paying the bills.

In my case I think I am letting go of this concept of "free time" because it means that you don't enjoy what you are doing when you're not "free". Like when I spent my vacation helping my brother Mark program in embedded Visual C++, I didn't really feel like losing any free time at all! I did what I liked -- loved? -- doing.

I feel like I'm splitting hairs with words. Granted, I do have that tendency. I like -- love? -- linguistics and so sometimes I feel self-conscious about the fact. But also, I am now rather uneasy with discussing loving things. I am getting the impression that loving things and loving people are different. Which is why I'm a bit hesitant with saying I "love" things, even with my examples. Loving material things really sounds...err, materialistic. I can accept loving things that you do better (sports, parties, computer gaming). But with what I've said so far, I feel that doesn't really suffice for describing loving people. So I should focus on that. Besides, we're suffering everyday from banalities about love in rehashed song lyrics and soap opera plots. If I'm not going to go much further than such generic statements I shouldn't waste my brain cells writing this for myself (or anyone who happens to be reading this.) I'll just borrow the professionally written stuff and watch the advertisements to support their sponsors. Speaking of rehashing, I shouldn't digress into the importance of discussing life-important things by going beyond generalities and entering my own perspective. That's a given.

On Family

Not that the previous, "generalized" thoughts are a waste. I think these are still important reflections on what love is for me, for things as well as people. For instance, what I said reminds me that a good sign of my love for my family is keeping them in mind in whatever I do, large or small. During their birthdays, and Christmas, as well as when I get home late and fail to tell them I won't be having dinner, and keeping my temper when I don't agree with them or I feel I'm being disturbed (I do have a habit of getting annoyed when I'm interrupted.) The fact is I say I've shown love for my family by doing even those little things such as helping my Dad check his email even when I'm busy working. I take action, and am willing to sacrifice other things which may seem important for me for whom I love.

Is it just about doing things for people? Like, "Ah, I will bring home something for dessert, donuts probably." Or, "OK, Ate, I'll help you find your marketing pictures." Or, "I insist, I'll pay for lunch this time." How about if I sacrifice my time, or career, or money...all for love of family! I often encounter the stereotypical story of rich parents both working to provide for their children only to discover (usually too late) that their kids did not feel loved because they did not spend much time with them. Sometimes I think if I've really spent enough time with my sisters and brother. Our family has always been kind of busy. At one time, we were maintaining 3 households, one in Quezon City, one in Manila, and the house in Para?aque. Though I think there is such a thing as "quality time" with us. We do get to discuss what we've done during the week during Sundays, the usual "family day" when we happen to get together on Sunday lunch and my sister is not off at work or my parents are not off playing mahjongg with friends, etc. Seems to me that time alone is not the important thing; you can sit together the whole day being unfeeling to each other. On the other hand, quality time is a concept that can be easily abused as an excuse for very short family get-togethers where nothing really happens, so I know we should watch out for that.

So, doing favors and chores, and spending time per se is probably not complete to describe how I show love for my family. It has something to do with communicating with them. Not just mundane things like sports scores or the latest movie, but with more engaging life matters. I sometimes I get the feeling that we still have to work on this element of family "togetherness". I manage to ask my parents when I have financial concerns. My sisters with some career issues such as r�sum� writing. My brother with philosophical stuff. How about mushy stuff? I can't imagine really telling any of them. I know though that my brother gave them a midnight call during a mini-crisis of sorts concerning his girlfriend.

Are we dysfunctional? Probably not. My view is that, well, there are several ways families work out. I know some families are really close-knit, they really consult each other on just about all matters, from what car to get to decisions to get cable TV. I guess the danger here (I'm guessing really, our family tends to avoid this since we're not this type of family) is that the family can get dominating sometimes. During these crises it must be hard to know who's right. It's often family wisdom vs. individual choice. As that well-known PLDT commercial goes with "suportahan ta ka," sometimes the family is not "in unity" and you may not necessarily agree on another's choice, but what is important is respect. At the risk of raising suspicions of corporate sponsorship with consecutive PLDT endorsements, I'd like to say that communication is important. It's how each member in the family can be there for each other, though sometimes it can get quite argumentative and personal. I sometimes tend to be irritable when contradicted, but when I receive advice from my parents, to take care of these papers or not scratch my head for dandruff, even though I am momentarily irked by some suggestions, I appreciate most of their advice in the end. Communication, in big matters or small, is a solid way of my being there for the family and vice versa, and can be more meaningful than just choosing to bring home this or that kind of pasalubong.. Even being hit with a belt when I was a kid was a good form of communicating, and was quite the most effective means at the time, I have to agree.

Some families tend to have rather independent individuals. Sometimes you prefer to get support from friends on some matters (more about this when I talk about friends, probably. As in our case, we really don't talk much to each other I think. My parents have said that they were "hands-off" with raising us. But I see in my family that when we really need help, we get the help we need, whether it's about financial issues (not really a major thing with us, it's just money after all) or with more personal matters. I guess my parents' way was their way of being there, by not being there all the time, giving us space to find out things on our own which they felt was better. (On a side note, my Dad says he never told his parents he already was dating. I guess he's pretty consistent with the principle...) So that is our way of communicating. Communication that helps us grow is important and a family that has love gives that. To be honest I wanted to talk about communication because I feel this is the thing to improve in our case.

So what is different between talking between friends and family? I guess that depends, because I know some families are quite liberal nowadays, with parents being treated like friends, first-name basis and all. In my case, though, I guess with my family you really have more trust in telling them certain things that you're afraid to tell friends because it's so secret. Also usually friends are of the same age group, and so my parents should be my best source of advice about marriage and raising kids and other matters I'd expect to encounter way, way ahead in the future. And you grow up with them for quite some time! How do I get to ask about where I grew up, my home province (Nueva Ecija) and how I picked up certain habits that run in my family, if not from them? Who's going to help me arrange for the regular rites of passage in life, such as baptism, first communion, marriage, etc. but them?

To be short, loving my family is about being there for each other, on big or small things, not just in doing favors and such but communicating about matters that will help us understand some things better, by talking or other actions. And there are some things that I do only with my family! Helping in all these sorts of things is how I love them, and I should constantly remind myself so.

On Friends

I am not sure if friendship is love. This is again quibbling on dictionary entries. Though I think that to truly understand romantic love, I must understand friendship.

I shouldn't go through Nichomachean Ethics again. It's plain that I relate to people in different levels.


On "Liking" Someone

To discuss romantic love, this really should be discussed.


On My Significant Other


On Marriage


Monday, August 25, 2003

Think very much the same! While programming on embedded VC++

We saw the word "debugger" -- "Bugger..."

We saw the word "extern" -- "Hindi siya intern... (not an intern)", being both dormers from high school

We heard "If you say so..." -- and we thought of Droopy Dog saying it.

Will log additional instances as they are instantiated... =)

Now I know where the "I for one welcome our new *** overlords" quote comes from!

"Ladies and gentlemen, uh, we've just lost the picture, but what we've seen speaks for itself. The Corvair spacecraft has apparently been taken over- 'conquered' if you will- by a master race of giant space ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive Earthman or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves." -- Kent Brockman

From Slashdot discussion on Gnumeric:

Reading and writing the macros. Unlike xls, the vba streams have no public documentation as far as I know. The anti-virus folk appear to have some under various NDAs but I have not seen enough to get a good handle on things...

Must inquire from AV... =)

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