Back Surgery Update

In order for my back surgery to proceed, my orthopedist required me to get clearances from A.) my nephrologist - because as per my records I have been shown to be close to having kidney disease because earlier tests showed I only had 30% of my right kidney functioning (90% - 80% would be normal for my age), and B.) a cardiologist, which is normal since one always asks these for advice before any surgery.

To understand why I have a nephrologist, it's apt to go back a bit in my medical history. Back in 2010 I blogged about discovering I had diabetes. I ate healthy and worked out and my blood numbers improved. A year or two I got worse again, then I got back on the wagon and improved again. Yes it's crazy. Continue reading

I Will Be Having Lower Back Surgery

Yesterday I was told that I needed to have spinal surgery to remove a herniated disc that had protruded onto veins in my back. These veins go down my right leg which because of the protrusion makes it painful.

Three weeks ago I tried to lift something too heavy for me and I felt an immediate sharp pain at my lower back. The pain subsided after some rest but there was lingering pain days after. I thought it would go away after more rest.

In the weeks previous to this I was walking briskly and swimming nearly everyday. Then we went on a weekend trip and on the 3 hour drive back the pain was back.

Finally a day or two after that after a trip to the bathroom I tried to take a small jump into my bed like I usually do but this time I felt sharp excruciating pain across my lower back, after which the slightest movement from my legs and hips caused similar pain. I was taken to the hospital via ambulance that evening.

After a lot of pain killers and an MRI the doctor said that the three of the lower discs on my spine were 'dessicated', meaning they were devoid of liquid that allows them to be flexible. This happens naturally as one ages. The middle of the three (L4 - L5) though had ruptured into nearby veins and this was causing the intense pain I felt across my back and right leg.

This video helps explain what's going on:

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Jason Bourne 2016 – 5/10

Tommy Lee Jones is one of those actors who are distractingly great. His greatness actually works against him in that if he's in a movie it is hard to concentrate on it because, hell, you're watching Tommy Lee Jones - an icon of an actor whose length and breadth of work is both voluminous and meaningful. He is a joy to watch and impressive to behold.

I remember realizing this while watching Jason Bourne 2016 because if there's anything Tommy Lee Jones has ever done that may be similar to this movie it would be the 1993 Harrison Ford starrer The Fugitive. The realization of which immediately made me turn wistful, because I really liked that movie, and I even liked the obvious follow up U.S. Marshals with Wesley Snipes taking on the fugitive role, which led me to remember Robert Downey's memorable turn as a really effective bad guy.

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Ma’ Rosa – 9/10

• This movie hits home in more ways than one because it's literally close to home. I recognize the streets of Mandaluyong where I grew up, from Boni Ave., Edsa Crossing, Balagtas and the hellhole which is Welfareville / Addition Hills. Believe it or not it used to have quaint hills and rice paddies until the local government decided to open it up to squatters quickly turning it into the den it is now. So I can't help watch it with remorse and ill feelings mixed in. I kept hoping the camera wouldn't accidentally pan to our old house which I haven't visited or looked at since we left it years ago.

• After watching this, Metro Manila, OTJ and Honor Thy Father (the last two of which are Erik Matti films), and special mention to 2005’s ‘Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros’ there's obviously no shortage of terrific moviemaking and talent. The only problem is after watching any of them I feel like working out to induce endorphins. If you happen to feel depressed you must avoid watching these at all cost. Honor Thy Father in particular may make you want to slash your wrists if you’ve ever been a victim of an MLM scheme. Ma Rosa, with Jaclyn Jose’s long yearning looks at other families who have less than hers but were at least together and free from the trouble they were facing, will probably haunt me for a long time as well. Matti knows how to push my buttons.

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Thoughts On The Pilipinas 2016 Debate

I caught approximately 75% of the debate after searching for the live stream on my phone and getting it to display on the TV (we don't have cable or free tv). I first happened onto what was a GMA7 screen which turned out to be what they show online during a TV commercial break so I thought there was something wrong, which made me go over and try a few times till I finally saw the debate action.

So anyway here's what I remember from it.

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Honor The Father Review

(Contains MANY spoilers!)

My favorite story type involves the 'character turn' (my own term) ie., observing what a character does when faced with overwhelming change. Initially the main character is in a comfortable situation after which tremendous stress is introduced forcing them do something drastic. At that point a story becomes interesting because you watch a transformation. Faced with so much pressure all pretensions are shed and a real person is revealed.

John Lloyd's character Edgar is introduced as skeptical about his father in law's MLM scheme where his wife is active in. He is also not too sure about the Church they go to where the pious Bishop extolls the virtues of cash offerings a little too enthusiastically. Nevertheless he is supportive, preferring to play the role of helpful husband.

The eventual happens and the MLM scheme collapses. They lose everything, their creditors haul their belongings away, and worst of all their child is threatened unless he can produce 6M pesos.

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Trusting The Press

Randy David wrote the other day about how he noticed newspapers treated PNoy's speech. In it he said:

President Aquino’s speech at the annual presidential forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap) last Oct. 27 highlighted many aspects of this strained relationship.

 

In that speech, Mr. Aquino chose to dwell on his observations of media reportage during his presidency. He was candid and critical—a refreshing trait he does not hide regardless of the audience.

 

Interestingly enough, the media ignored his main speech and focused instead on his answers to questions in the open forum. If I had not gone to the government’s official website to check out the text of the President’s speech, I would not have guessed its topic from the news reports.

I remember that myself because the days after the only stories about him were about his love life, or some such triviality. It also reminded me of a similar situation. Continue reading

Bacolod 2015

Post 3 day quick trip to Bacolod! Here are some thoughts.

Food Prices Are Unfair - We had 3 or 4 group meals involving as many as ten people and the bill never reached anywhere what it would in Manila. At Masskara Chicken Inasal our bill only came up to P1.8k, and at Bob's Cafe we didn't even get up to P3k despite everyone having more than their fill. Granted there were a lot of senior citizen cards passed around but it was still amazing. Each time the bill would come I couldn't help feeling like we were getting such a bad deal in Manila where a 'good' meal would be P150 - P300 and one in a similar establishment such as Bobs' would easily fetch P600 - P800. Just check out the prices at Rau-Ram Cafe, which serves absolutely authentic Vietnamese Pho (situated in the middle of nowhere. Truly a foodie - only resto). No wonder Tita Tess eats here everyday. You CANNOT get quality that good for prices that low in Manila.

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Ant Man 7/10

I haven't written a movie review in a while but I thought of making one for Ant Man because it had a mentor element to it and I like mentor movies, and like I said I can't get it out my mind so here I am writing it.

It had to do with Kung Fu Panda 2008 (yes I am referring Kung Fu Panda, I have a point here bear with me). In it, Dustin Hoffman plays Master Shifu, teacher and mentor to Jack Black's Po.

To recount, a flashback informs the audience the origin of the main antagonist Tai Lung. Tai Lung was Master Shifu's main candidate to be Dragon Warrior and was trained his whole life to expect he would be so. Shifu's own Master Oogway however, never allowed it. As a result Tai Lung grew disillusioned and angry, focusing his anger on Shifu for making him expect so much.

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Poem for Ace on his 2nd Birthday

Our little boy is 2
Amongst other colors he can say the word 'blue'
He eats a banana everyday
Once a week he's at his cousins' to play
But today is special, today he turns 2.

Our little boy is 2
We are your parents, we love you
You're so big and smart, you're the best
How did we get so lucky, so blessed
Today is special. Today you turn 2.