The lumpia vendor on the steps of the UP Law Library

bean-sprout-spring-rolls

I posted a recipe for meatless lumpiang togue (spring rolls with mung bean sprouts) and the memories came flooding in.

When I was a law student, I probably spent more time on the library steps chatting and socializing than I did reading inside the library. That was were we’d sometimes enjoy a snack of lumpiang togue. An ambulant vendor, a woman who couldn’t have been much older than we were, discovered that the library steps was the best place to do her business and we were her willing and eager customers.  Continue reading

Small and white, clean and bright…

A white moth

I can’t remember exactly who it was that told me that moths and butterflies that enter the house are spirits of dead loved ones. Even as a child, I knew it was silly but I repeated the superstition to my own children anyway. Not as something they should take to heart (and they knew that!) but something whimsical — like subconsciously wishing that flowers are fairies that dance in the night (Fantasia) and that unicorns do exist. Continue reading

Efficient caching: Wordfence’s Falcon Engine or W3 Total Cache?

Confession: I used Hyper Cache for many, many years. It did make my (self-hosted) food blog‘s pages load faster but, unfortunately, it couldn’t keep the server load down.

Sad confession: So, I switched to W3 Total Cache which was recommended by most webhosts. It was also the most highly-downloaded WordPress cache plugin. So much for popularity. I had a love-hate relationship with W3 Total Cache all that time that I had it installed. My food blog‘s pages loaded faster without it. The only reason I retained it was because it kept the server load down.

Proud confession: A few hours ago, I discovered Wordfence which is essentially a security suite BUT with a built-in caching feature called Falcon Engine that can be optionally turned on. I opted to turn Falcon Engine on and my, oh, my. My food blog is loading much faster and the server load is stable.

Goodbye forever, W3 Total Cache. I will not miss you at all. Continue reading

Pharma companies have been trying to turn women into Stepford wives

No other way to put it.

… We have been taught to apologize for our tears, to suppress our anger and to fear being called hysterical.

The pharmaceutical industry plays on that fear, targeting women in a barrage of advertising on daytime talk shows and in magazines…

… Sales of antidepressants and antianxiety meds have been booming in the past two decades…

Meanwhile, a lot of branches of the “health” and “fitness” industry with the full support and cooperation of mass media have taught women to feel ashamed of their looks, their size and their age. And, naturally, sales of products to change the color of the skin, etcetera, to lose weight and to maintain youthful looks have been booming too.

Money makes the world go ’round.

Sexual tension in “The Sound of Music”

So early in the morning, I landed on a blog I had never visited before. What caught my attention? The title. “The Secret Sex in The Sound of Music”.

… it’s obvious that Maria and Captain Von Trapp wanted to be non-stop boning from the moment she entered the house.

That may sound crass but taken in context with the whole article, author Meghan O’Keefe does make an interesting point.

But what’s even more interesting is the first (and, so far, the only) comment posted by one Rachael VanPelt:

You are disgusting. So now you have to ad sex to a movie where none exists?? This was once called love and romance. There is nothing sexual in this movie, it is all in your disgusting head.

I think the commenter is confused. Romance is a literary (and, later, film) genre; love does NOT preclude sex.

The problem, really, is that social norms obligate us to create a dichotomy between what is wholesome (romantic love) and what is not (sexual love). We see it in the way literature, TV shows and films are rated. We see it in everyday language when we subconsciously label activities and experiences as either “clean” or “dirty”. And there is that deep-seated guilt when we feel pleasure (though most deny it even to themselves) toward things that don’t fall under the wholesome/clean column.

*Insert deep exasperated sigh here*

Continue reading

Still blogging after all these years

Connie VeneracionThe title isn’t a complaint. No, not at all. More than anything, it’s an affirmation that, after 14 years, I’m still doing what I love to do — write, take photos and combine them to tell stories. That’s what I am essentially — a story-teller. Four years in law school and writing all those case digests taught me how to tell a story in an organized way in prose that is full of life.

What kind of stories do I tell? Not fiction, definitely (although writing a best-selling fiction is in my bucket list). I write about what happens in the kitchen, mostly (you guessed it — I have a very old food blog). I used to write the thoughts and debates that criss-crossed inside my head after reading the newspaper or watching the news (yes, I wrote an op-ed column for a broadsheet for years). And I used to write about family and parenting (so, yes, I used to write a column for a family magazine too).

That’s me.

Why do I have this blog when there’s that highly-trafficked food blog? This blog has the archive of the op-ed column I used to write — more than five years’ worth of politics, law and government. I don’t think I want to discard any of that. When I stopped writing about those headache-inducing topics, this blog languished for a while. I wasn’t sure what to do with it but I retained it anyway. A few days ago, I decided to separate it from my self-hosted blog and move it to WordPress.com. Why? If there’s such a thing as “me time”, this is going to be my “me blog” where I can write about anything that comes to mind and not have to obsess about keyword saturation, SEO and social media shares. Think of it as recapturing the golden age of blogging when it was untainted by that awful invention called paid posts a.k.a. advertorials.

What this blog will be about, what topics will see more focus, I have no idea right now. I think I’ll let it evolve on its own.