Wednesday, November 29, 2006

To My Dear Pablo

I do not want to touch

His things

It is almost like I hear

The voice of my grandmother:

“Much too precious for you,


With your soft

Young hands

So bare

So small—

Unbearably clumsy


Do not touch!

You might break it

With your ignorance

Are you sure you understand?


Sure enough

Try as I could

I could not touch it


It was set high on a shelf—

Amongst old wine bottles and

Foreign drinking glasses


though I knew it was just there

Where a child’s curious eyes would not reach


How much I wanted to think

That I would have understood

That it all would somehow grow on me

And cause me to see the world

In profound and lively ways


But I could not touch it

With all my ignorance

My clumsiness

I just –

Could not bear to


This was my poem dedicated to Neruda, as a requirement in today's Poetry Appreciation class.  I made this around 9:45 in the morning, finished it 45 minutes later, and submitted it to Sir Don at 12:35.  


The response to my poem was encouraging.  Oh yeah, Sir Don was all praises for it.  Although I think he might have read too much into it.  Even I was amazed my simple poem could take on such dimensions.  I just made that poem as an excuse not to make a more difficult research paper.  He however, saw a poem on a person who couldn't discuss Neruda because she has not experienced passion and love.  He even called me the next Emily Dickinson too.  Hmm, who is this Emily?  Must read her.  The poem's still with him, and he's thinking of giving it to Sir Mac for possible publication in Dagmay.  Could this be the start of my poetic career?  Wooh, scary.


Okay, that's the end of one hurdle.  Now I have to worry about my Feature Writing project--which is, to interview a famous personality in the city and write a feature article on him or her.  Man I hate interviewing people!  It's a shy person's worst nightmare!!!  Anyway, whatever--I realize that I just have to suck it all in and do this article--or else I won't graduate.  I'm thinking of interviewing Mr. Celso Gempesaw of the Traffic Management Center, or maybe April Dayap (I think she's some sort of a junior councilor or something), or maybe the head of CENRO...  Hmm, hmm, so many choices.  Good: problem's halfway solved.


As usual, I rode a Maa-Agdao jeepney for the trip back home.  The schoolgirl in front of me was eating sliced green mangoes; it just reminded me of the time I sat beside two women eating green mangoes with bagoong.  Inside a small, cramped Multicab-of-a-jeepney, mind you.  The stench nearly drove me to tears--no kidding.  Anyway, it was a good thing the girl was eating her mangoes with vinegar; at least the stench wasn't as overpowering.  Why am I writing about her, you ask?  Well, actually it's because of what she did after deciding that the mangoes were too sour for her taste.  She just threw it right out the window and onto the street!!!  


I really, really, really hate people who have no regard for the cleanliness of their surroundings!!!  Disgusting individuals!  What are their schools teaching them anyway?  Oooh...that incident really worked me up.  I indirectly chastised her for her misdemeanor by throwing a shocked glance at the pieces of mango lying by the road--and then raising my eyebrows at her (ala Tita Celia Rodriquez).  


Oh, but of course, my fellow Ateneans will not be spared from my tirade.  You'd be surprised at the number of complete savages making their way into the school.  Just consider these tell-tale signs of uncouth-ness in campus:

  • the mess of C2 bottles, Yakisoba containers, turon wrapper, empty sachets of Muncher, Ding Dong, at the numerous tables at the Finster building

  • neatly folded candy wrappers skillfully crammed into any available crevice on desks inside classrooms and at the library

  • clumps of tissue paper smeared with lipstick stains, foundation, or--God forbid--snot, beneath the 'vanity mirrors' at the Women's comfort room 

Ugh, all savages I tell you.  These students make me sick; acting as if the janitors should be indebted to them for giving them work to do. 


I don't want to talk about trash anymore.  I'll stop now.

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The effect of "not thinking"

Got a 68 for our quiz in Philosophy103 this afternoon.  At first I was devastated; I don't think I've ever received anything close to a 70 before.  Oh wait, I take it back; just last week I received a 65 in Business Writing class for forgetting to sign in my business letter.  But Philosophy is something else.  I thought I winged that quiz; in fact, I was the last person to finish my essay since I was making such a career out of it.  But instead, I find out that my essay is no better than the rest of my second year classmates who also got 68's, 65's, and 60's.

Why must Philosophy always bite *ss? 

Before handing us our pitiful scores, Atty. Solis delivered a litany on how NOT to answer a quiz in philosophy.  Adda yadda yadda, "one-paragraph essays aren't enough to answer a philosophical question," blah blah blah "long answers pain my eyes"--bottom line is,there's just no pleasing the gods that are Philosophy instructors--like they're always finding potholes in your answers, taking every opportunity to ask "Why is this?" "What does this mean?" "How can you say so?"...sheesh.  Anyway, after that, Atty. Nice said something that caused me to stop cursing my crappy score.  Quoting Fr. Michael Moga (his former Philo prof and author of "Why are We Not Thinking?"), Atty. Nice asked us: "Will you be happy if I gave you a 95 instead?".  Of course the usual answer would be "Heck yes!  I'd take a 95 over,say, 68 any day!  A 68 in your transcript is just like a zit on the verge of eruption--it's disgusting to look at and calls a lot of attention to itself!"      

...I can't remember what he said next.  Whatever that was, it made me feel better about my 68.  Well, it didn't really make me feel better--it just made me realize that maybe I did deserve this score.  I think Atty. Solis' point was that sometimes we need to get crappy scores to knock us off our comfort zones.  And when we are rocked from our comfort zones, we can then "think"!  And this "thinking" will then allow us to better ourselves! 

Okay enough about that, it's making my head hurt.  Right now I must compose a reflection paper on any of Pablo Neruda's poems. 



Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Saw Claire in church earlier this afternoon. She passed by in front of me twice: first, at the start of mass (although I noted she was late), then, as she and her family left (right after communion). I was itching to call out to her, but in the end I decided against it for the following reasons:

1.) She was with her family. This means if I call her attention, I will have to greet her mother and her father--and perhaps even her brother--out of formality and courtesy. That alone is a massive obstacle for me.

2.) The venue just wasn't conducive for "friend-greeting." I mean c'mon, we were in church; I just can't slap someone on the back and say "HOY!!!" while everyone's praying. And don't go telling me that I can always greet someone with a subdued "Huy..."-- I just don't function that way.

3.) I couldn't think of anything to say. Things might get awkward fast if I just say "HOY!!!" and follow it up with nothing. And also--again--Claire was with her family. Their presence will just serve to heighten the awkwardness.

So, in the end, I just let Claire pass by. I did send her an SMS after mass, but she hasn't sent a reply as of this typing. Claire you discourteous girl.

After mass we proceeded to an uncle's house in Toril for a fiesta--to celebrate Christ the King, I think. I spent ten minutes eating, and the remaining three hours were spent waiting on my father who was there drinking and socializing. Damn how I hate parties/fiestas/social functions, specially ones where you don't know enough people to have a good enough time. Fortunately, my brother was with me, and so we both stewed in OP-ness.

I'm always uncomfortable coming to this certain uncle's parties. Their huge house with the spacious driveway, the landscaped front yard, the pedigreed dog (I don't know the breed but dad calls it the "Hush Puppies" mascot), the chandeliers, and the three sala sets--seeing it always makes me feel so poor and un-'cultured'. Like it's always screaming: "Look at this!!! See how we're so much better than you." But anyway, that's just me--my uncle's not really evil or anything. (He is a lawyer though. Hehe.)

And I guess my father feels the same way, too. He didn't really hang around much with my uncle and his Rotary Club-slash-golf buddies at their table with the overflowing Johnny Walker's. Instead, he drank with my uncle's brother-in-law, who also wasn't part of my uncle's golf-Rotary circle. That's one thing my father and I have in common: we're both very masa.

So we went home around 9 in the evening. Before that, we heard that someone had been stabbed dead somewhere in the subdivision. I hope he's not another one of those 'My Way' casualties.

In the car, on the way home, my mom and dad talked about the 'days of the movement' (my rough translation of "kapanahunan sa kalihukan," as my dad put it). You see, the relative my dad was talking to earlier--his policeman-dad was gunned down by rebels during those "days."

Here's how their conversation went on, as I remembered it:

Ma: Ang papa ni Gatsi, gipusil man to no?

Me:(looking out the window but listening intently)

Pa: Oo...Kuan to... tong panahon sa kalihukan.

Ma: Grabe jud tong panahuna to ba. 'Asta si Papa gud, murag dili pud mahimutang ato. (note: my lolo's also a policeman.)... Apil man si Pepe ato diba?

Me:(I don't know who this Pepe is. One thing's for sure--he used to be a policeman, and he used to be alive.)

Pa: Oo.

Ma: Sa Magallanes man to siya gi-tira ato diba?

Pa: O. Gapili-pili lang to siya ug pan sa Magallanes. Gi-posisyonan dayon ug tulo. Gipusil sa ulo...patay.

Me:(imagining Sunny Point Bakeshop in Magallanes...)

Pa: Kahinumdum pa ka atong sa PLDT?

Ma: Ah, O...

Pa: Katong sa Bankerohan pud. Padulong pa ko'g trabaho ato. Nag-kape lang tong duha ato...

Ma: ...Human gibaril la'g kalit. Pilit dayon ang utok sa bungbong ato...

Me:(appreciating mama's penchant for imagery)

Ma: ...Grabe jud to, mga tulo ka pulis jud to kada-adlaw ba. Makaingon jud ka ato sa una, "Mahurot na man siguro ang mga pulis ani..."

Pa: Kakita ka sa City Hall sa una? Ang flag ato...dili jud...half-mast jud to pirminte adlaw-adlaw. Naa ma'y pulis pirme ihaya.


After (and while) hearing my mom and dad's conversation, I felt uneasy--somewhat like a combination of nostalgia, pity(for the fallen policemen) and anger(for the rebels/activists). Maybe it was because I was thinking of my late grandfather while they were talking. The thought of kindly old men being shot down with bullets just saddened me. Anyway, it made me think of the relativity of it all. Leftist groups/communist sympathizers are foaming at the mouth over "political killings" when their hands are not free of blood either.

Ah whatever--the bottom-line is I just don't like leftists and activists--period. But I'm not saying "Kill 'em all!" I just don't like noise of any kind, that's all--thank you.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Requiem for a Stress-filled Week

Friday. Sweet word. Beautiful.
Woke up at 10:32 a.m. I slept so well I couldn't remember what day it was. Then I remembered: today's a Friday. Sigh. It's all good anyway. Before I went to sleep, I set my mobile to silent so I avoided the mysterious phenomenon of my phone coming to life at 8:30 without my permission. So, I slept around 2:30 a.m., then woke up at 10:30--so that's...eight hours of uninterrupted sleep!!! Nice!!! Haven't sleep that long in weeks!!!
I came to Sir Don's Poetry class half an hour late. That's because I left the house with only 5 minutes left before the start of class. I figured I was better off riding a taxi to cut commuting time by 10 minutes. The irony of it was, I spent so much time waiting for a vacant taxi to come by that I ended up wasting around 15 minutes in the process. Realizing too late that my attempts at finding a taxi were futile, I took a jeepney instead. The time: around 12:40. I was officially already absent from class. Good thing we don't have a beadle, tee-hee.
I must take a few moments to digress. I really can't wait for the day when I'll get to have my own wheels. For months I've been bugging my dad to let me use his Vespa, but to no avail. It's the usual reason: two-wheeled vehicles are dangerous; you're better off driving a car--that way, if you ever get into an accident, you won't end up with a hole in your skull; girls aren't meant for riding scooters("You sexist!"), etc.
Me: So dad, can I use the Revo?
Dad: No.
Me: The pick-up?
Dad: Hell, no.
So I guess that was Dad's not-so-subtle way of telling me that I will have to commute for the rest of my college life.
--End of digression--
So anyway, I came to school huffing and puffing. Came inside the classroom while they were already into their second poem.
After class, I ate, attempted to read The Art of Argumentation and Debate(for next class' quiz), and hung out with Cleng at the gazebo for a while. While Cleng was listening to music from my mobile, I amused myself by watching a couple of laborers dig a shallow trench a few meters from where I was seated. Then suddenly I felt something crawling on my elbow. Out of impulse I swatted it with my palms; that's when I discovered it was one of those huge ants that hung around the trees around the gazebo. But instead of flying off the ant stuck to my finger. By this time I figured the ant must've been pretty pissed and ready to go into attack mode, so I tried to shake it off. However, after one bout of vigorous hand-shaking, I could still feel the tingly end of it's legs on my ring finger--which I mistakenly thought was the ant's jaws ready to pounce on my flesh. So I swatted it with my free hand--I must've squished it before it flew off my hand. After realizing what I just did to a poor, innocent ant, I just felt so bad at the unnecessary violence and injustice I inflicted upon it. If you must know, I have a pretty soft spot for those huge tree-dwelling ants(as opposed to the small red ones so common around the house whose bite is awfully painful--then itchy). I've never been bitten by one, despite the many encounters I've had with them at the gazebo, so I don't think they're that hostile. However, I've seen some sick, sadistic students impale those defenseless creatures using pens and bamboo skewers, and I just can't help but shed a few tears for their senseless deaths. With what I just did this afternoon, I just put myself in the league of those demented 'harmless giant ant'-killers.
As for cockroaches, I have totally different sentiments. The very thought of them...ugh--totally disgusting creatures. Baygon is my best friend.
Anyway, back to the afternoon's events. I met up with Cha at the Jacinto gate shortly after parting with Cleng. I originally intended to just give her the book I'd borrowed from her last semester, since I still had a quiz to study for. Instead, I ended up spending the rest of the activity period with her. We decided to just walk around the campus since every place we went to was swarming with students. I also showed her the 'hidden library' behind the chapel. The rest of the afternoon was spent talking about Donna's retreat, Sir Jess(whom we encountered as we were 'strolling') and how he looked dashing in his light yellow polo, Cha's embarrassing experience during BA day(where she was forced to strut on stage for a costume show), Cha's classmate in Philo104 who supposedly looks like Jun Matsumoto, my classmate in 'some' class who doesn't look like any popular actor I know--but still is 'hot' nevertheless, and a bunch of other stuff that didn't require much brain-flexing. Talking to a friend with just about anything is a nice way to a cap a stressful school week.
I must've gotten too carried away talking to Cha because I totally forgot to study for my Debate class. By the time I came back to my classroom, Atty. Cortado--our teacher--was already on his desk. Whoopsie. I did some quick reading and took the test; finished it and submitted my paper with a couple of blanks on some numbers. I don't think I failed though. And after that, I flagged a jeepney and went home.
Looking back at the days that have passed, I'd say this week just ravaged me with all the early-morning sleeping I did. I'm just glad I endured it without collapsing from exhaustion or getting seriously ill. Yes, I survived this week, and with only a huge zit in the middle of my forehead to show for it. Beat that.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Not an Addict

I can not be very healthy at this moment.  Everything I lay my eyes on moves and floats when it really isn't.  Just right now, I was staring at a blank wall.  Then suddenly I thought I saw it move.  The wall appeared to me like it was a curtain softly billowing--or like a pond rippling.  I know, it's crazy!  

It can only mean that my body is telling me that I should seriously get some sleep.  Oh, anyway, it's a Friday.  

Seriously though, I really should rest.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Oh Sweet Slumber!

Finally finished my Feature Writing homework.  I'm so glad that, this time, it didn't take me until 5:00 am to finish my article!!!  Two hours, oh how precious these two hours are...

Okay, I won't prolong my agony. Good night.



Wednesday, November 22, 2006



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stewing in nothingness

To One Unnamed III

Li Shangyin

Time was long before I met her, but is longer since we parted,
And the east wind has arisen and a hundred flowers are gone,
And the silk-worms of spring will weave until they die
And every night the candles will weep their wicks away.
Mornings in her mirror she sees her hair-cloud changing,
Yet she dares the chill of moonlight with her evening song.
...It is not so very far to her Enchanted Mountain
O blue-birds, be listening!-Bring me what she says!


Calm down, this poem isn't dedicated to anyone special. I just wanted to post this here coz we had a quiz about it earlier during Sir Don's Poetry class. Chinese poems are sooo hard to figure out--their imagery is kinda hard to picture out--like it's swimming in space or something. Anyway, the way I see it, this poem is all about the torment of distance upon lovers--or something. As my answer in the quiz went, the man in poem is "stewing in anguish over the many days, weeks, months--even years--that he and his lover have to spent away from each other." Haha, I don't know where that "stewing" stuff came from, I just wanted to write it to add a dramatic flourish to my answer, and somewhat obscure the truth that I totally have no idea as to the real theme of the poem. Stewing...mmm, reminds me of kare-kare. Anyhoo, apart from that, nothing of notable importance happened today. I hung around the library the rest of the afternoon, waiting for my 5:50 Debate class. Then, at 4:00 or so, someone sent me a text message, informing me that Debate class was cancelled. So I just went home.

I wanted to write about someone I first met in third grade today, but since it's already late I'll write it some other time. Oooh, who could it be???

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Early Morning musings and Manny

I slept at around 5:00 this morning.  Crazy, crazy, crazy.  The sky was already beginning to gather light, while my mind remained active as ever.  I wasn't scared though; I was accompanied by the voice of a Muslim man chanting over loudspeakers in the distance.  Add to that the hellish collective crowings of a bajillion roosters, some of them just over my neighbor's backyard.  Ooh, If only I had a slingshot...

But it felt nice.  I felt strangely calm and unusually refreshed as I lay on my bed and looked out the window.  So this is how a 'morning person' feels like.  I was so energetic that I felt like I could take a nice walk outside, or even go jogging in the cool, damp air.  If only I could feel like this everytime I wake up in the morning; then perhaps 7:40 classes wouldn't be such a pain in the rear.  I then fell asleep 45-or-so minutes later.

I woke up at exactly 8:32 in the morning, partly due to the morning heat and the sound of my phone's alarm(which totally pisses me off since I still have'nt figured out how to cancel it--which means I'm always shocked to wakefulness at 8:30, whether I want to or not).  All the energy I had a few hours earlier had totally dissipated, and I was left with a throbbing headache and aching, jelly-like muscles.  I didn't want to get out of bed but I had to since it was Sunday morning and my 'generalissimo' of a dad had decreed that we were going to mass early(his reason: so he could return home in time to watch the Pacquiao-Morales fight). 

At least the cold shower partly got rid of the lethargy.  At mass I thought I would sleep all throughout the homily, but--surprisingly--I felt fine; I even sang a few church songs(off-key as usual).  We ate lunch, then went to NCCC to buy groceries.  There I ran into a mirror and saw a zombie staring back at me.  I swear it totally looked like I had smudged the charred remains of a burnt matchstick under my eyes.  Scary.  No wonder some people gave me quizzical stares at the mall.  Grrr. 

Then we went home, just in time to see Manny pummel a visibly thinner Morales at round three.  Erik looked like a lost boy as he sat there on the canvas.  Pooh-pooh.  Anyway, whatever--I still the think boxing is barbaric, savage, animalistic, yuck yuck yuck. 

On the other hand, I just can't help but envy Manny and the P50M+++  that he's going to bring home again.  That amount would probably take me 30 years to earn, if I'm lucky.  Sigh. 

My current LSS: "Laban mo, laban ko, laban natin to..."


Friday, November 17, 2006

On Solitude and being Human

Is solitude such an abnormality?

Why do I ask this? A while ago, at our Division's Culminating program, I was seated at the back with no one beside me. What can I say, I have no close friends in my division--hence, the vacant chairs to my left and to my right. Then this ex-classmate of mine arrives, sees me, and immediately exclaims, "Aww, look at Mel, she's all alone". No, she didn't say that with a mocking tone. She just said it like she had seen a poor abandoned puppy on the side of the road. At that point, I was just ready to weep for myself. Nah, not really. But it did get me to thinking: am I really such a pitiable case just because I have no one to sit beside me? Why do people automatically think I'm lonely just because I'm by myself???

Well, maybe I am lonely. Yes, I confirm that: being by myself sucks. But I just can't help it; I'd rather be alone than be with someone with whom I feel ill-at-ease. That way, I can avoid the awkwardness of having to initiate and sustain conversation. It's very stressful--the way you have to come up with possible topics of common interest, scanning the perimeter for something interesting to talk about, the verbal exchanges that die too soon and end in awkward silences, and the disappointment of enduring a stream of bad jokes.

I have just identified another problem that may point to my lack of a social network. I consider the process of making friends too taxing. Meaning, I hate having to flex a muscle just to get to know someone better. Once I've got someone figured out and come to the conclusion that this person is not worth knowing, I automatically halt all efforts to further our relationship. The thing is, almost everyone I know isn't worth the time of day to me. Ah, it's a chicken-or-egg case; I don't know if my laziness overrides my judgment, or vice versa.

Ah, enough about that. Let's just get on with the program(pun intended).

There was nothing memorable about the Humanities Division Day Culminating program--aptly titled, "It's Human's Day(!)". (Gee, how upbeat.) Oh yeah, I think the only time the audience really twitched a facial muscle was during Sir Don's poetry reading. God Sir Don is just so good when it comes to poems in the local language. It makes me so ashamed that I can't complete a single sentence in Cebuano without using "kuan" to fill-in every vernacular term I can't summon. Aside from the poetry reading, there was the usual fare of song and dance, then another round of song, then dance. (How very...Human.) I was yawning all throughout the show. It wasn't that boring; it's just that my body just lacked fuel--carbs, specifically. I was really hungry, and the only reason I stayed was because I was waiting for the free food at the end of the program. Also, I was waiting for the announcement of the winners of the Essay-writing contest, which I had joined. I wasn't really expecting to win; in fact, I thought my entry was pretty crappy, on account of the uninspiring essay question("As a Humanities student, how can I foster Arts & Culture appreciation in the Ateneo community?"). I just threw in a couple of magic words(collaborative effort, share the stage, break stereotypes Humans UNITE(!), fight world hunger, Christian Bale is a god, etc.), and spilled it randomly across the page. Ha! I make it sound like I barely broke a sweat writing that essay. Truth is, I was the last one to finish my piece. Not that I made a career out of it; I'm just no good when it comes to time-pressured activities.

Anyway, when the announcement of the winners finally came, the name for the Essay winner was nowhere to be found. There was a bit of a lull as the emcee looked here and yonder for the elusive name, but it seemed to escape everyone's mind. So the emcee just went ahead and announced the rest of the winners. As for me, I was just relieved that I didn't have to hear the name of a person aside from me being called. See, I was seated beside Pam(my classmate, and the one who appointed me as the class representative to the contest), and she somewhat believed I was a shoo-in for the first place.

After an hour or so, the program finally ended. I was pissed to find out that the complimentary food was reserved only for the faculty. Dammit, they're the ones who get paid, and they're the only ones who get to eat as well?!? A trip to the food court was out of the question, since I only had spare change in my wallet--hmm, that's P14 plus a few cents, minus P8 for my jeepney fare. Oh, the poverty. I scurried out of the hall, determined to buy some filling streetfood, at which point Pam called out to me. She had asked the organizers for the name of the winner, and it turns out that the winner was me. I couldn't really care less at that point. I was pennyless and hungry and all I wanted was someone to hand me the prize money. No such luck.

So I settled for boiled corn. Best boiled corn I've ever tasted in my entire life.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Of Firsts and My Friend Cling

So Cling, here it is: my solution to our "notebook" problem!

It' Blog!!!

Ahh, so corny!!! Anyway, I have nothing more to write. I would've wanted to give a recap of my day, but it was just so boring that I felt, as a friend, I couldn't subject you to such an injustice as having you read through the uneventfulness of it all. The only highlight of the day, I think, was when I was inside the jeepney and I drifted off and had this wild vision of myself riding my dad's scooter(which could pass off as a Yellow Cab delivery bike). So there I was, scooting along, then suddenly this street urchin jumped behind me, attempting to hitchhike without my permission! As a result, I tumbled from the scooter and kissed the pavement. Then the street urchin starts to run, but a traffic aide caught him by his neck. I then proceeded to beat the spirit out of him, while he just grins widely all throughout.

It's weird how, when I'm inside a jeepney, I always imagine the worse thing that could happen to me on the road. In the past, I've also imagined how it was if I was held-up inside a jeepney, how it was if my bag was suddenly snatched by a snatcher, and how it would be like if I was in a SRO jeepney seated beside a sweaty man in a sleeveless shirt. Ugh, gruesome.

I've been spending a lot of time in front of the PC ever since second sem started. I'm afraid it's beginning to take a toll on my health and performance at school. It's just that I can't help but sleep late. So, more often than not, what happens is that I come to school as if I was missing half my spirit. I'm just yawning all throughout the day. This is bad. Must change.

Must go. This should be enough for now.