Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ear-Breaking Indeed

by Rollie

Saturday was a fun, fun day. I tagged Hesika along to Lomomanila's Ear-Breaking Night (or Afternoon, or Day, whatever) at Red Box in Greenbelt and she witnessed firsthand how crazy lomopeeps can get. After the party most of us crashed Mozzie's gig at Vida de Malate for more crazy. Chucky got molested, but I think he'll be fine after some dry cleaning. Oh yeah, Fifi got sloshed. I like drunk Fifi, she's nasty and she gives away clothes. Somebody else got drunk, but I won't say who.

I still haven't gotten my pictures back from Fuji, but for the meantime here are some great pictures to tide you over:

Rollie. Cary. Kitkat. Francis I.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Live Me Alone

You’re sick of having to share space with your little sister or brother. You don’t like people constantly breathing down your neck, asking you where you’re going, what are you up to, or what’s that thing you’re wearing. Your mother and/or father won’t get off your case, always picking on you, or just feels like it. Whatever your reason is, you just want to get out of your parents’ house. (Note: If you’re a teenager with raging hormones this piece is not for you. Listen to your parents about studying hard and being a good student. This is for adults only.)

You think it’s easy. You think it’s as simple as packing your stuff and walking out the door. Let me tell you now, it’s not. If you come from the so-called “traditional” Filipino family, you might encounter some resistance from the folks. They sometimes confuse the word “independent” with “I want to turn my bedroom into the happiest place on earth”. Stand your ground and explain why you want to live on your own. A white lie would help, like saying you’d be nearer to your office. Saying something like “I want my boyfriend to come over every night without you guys sneaking on us” will not help your case, even if that is the truth.

First things first. Can you afford it? Living at your parents somehow shields you from the stark realities. Even if you share in the household expenses, more likely than not you don’t know where it goes. Living on your own means rent/mortgage, electricity and water bills, gas, parking space and monthly dues; and yes, you have to pay it yourself. If you’re a rich kid who wants to go “independent” by living on a condo unit owned by your parents, you don’t count.

List down possible expenses (including necessary appliances, unless you want to live in the Stone Age) against your monthly income and that should give you an idea if you’re ready. Keep in mind that landlords don’t usually go for promissory notes and “I promise to pay next month, swear to die stick a dirty needle in my eye” kind of lines. You will just have to cough it up month after month after month.

Where would you go? Do you have a place in mind? If you’re the loner type, the kind of person who needs (not wants, and there is a big difference) his personal space, you’re better off living alone. However, if you can tolerate another person’s presence you can get a roommate to share the expenses. Roommates are another matter.

If ever you decide to share living quarters with other people, be prepared to live with their quirks and habits. This can be a little less of a culture shock if you choose your roommates well. Preferably, you should have something in common, and I don’t mean your taste in men (which might be a problem eventually). If you’re a smoker and they’re not, expect hell to break loose sooner or later. If your roommate’s a talker and you prefer to read, one day you might find yourself stuffing a book in his mouth. Go for the people you know quite well, and are open-minded enough that if there are domestic things to be discussed about, they will be levelheaded and reasonable.

If the above things are settled, you can begin your new life. But unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. There will be times when you will accidentally spend your rent money, or splurge on clothes forgetting you don’t have food anymore. Times like these are tests on your self-control, pride and dignity.

Don’t go to your parents for help on the first sign of trouble. Remember, you left their safety net. While parents are parents and will be more than happy to help you out, I’m afraid the next time you do something grown-up they won’t take you seriously. You don’t move out then come home every weekend with your dirty laundry for the maid to wash. That’s not being independent. Although sometimes I go home to my mother’s when I run out of food, I do that very very rarely, and on the pretense that I’m just visiting.

There is also the issue of domestic skills. Your yaya is on your mother’s payroll, not yours. Before moving out, try to familiarize yourself with the following things: broom, rugs, the freaking dustpan, can opener, gas stove (assuming you know how to cook), and how to change a lightbulb. I’m a domestic dork, so I always did take-outs at first. Now, I’m lucky to afford my own yaya who does everything I cannot/will not do. But in the first few years I was on my own. I had a Frequent Customer card at the nearest Lavandera Ko branch, the carinderia owner knows me, and I somehow managed to clean my room. I know how to clean the house, I just don’t want to do it. The lightbulbs will remain a mystery.

In spite of all the seeming hurdles, being on your own can be great. You will learn how to budget, keep house, and be in charge of your own fiefdom. You call the shots. You decide who can enter your premises and who can’t. You can decorate your apartment any way you want. You can help the economy by generating employment with the yaya thing. You run your own life, which is the point of being a grown up.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oven-Roasted and Marinated

Some photos from Hesika's fisheye.

Multicolored Sky

Someday I'd like to fly a plane. BSB, 15 July 2007.
I'm just up to here with work and school stuff that I don't have anything to say. I'm busy but bored.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Friday's Feast I'm Gonna Die Soon

I'm making this an excuse to bitch about my life right this moment when I'm six feet under papers.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest) how much do you enjoy watching sports on television?
-1. Fuck boxing, I hate it. Tennis I enjoy because of the hot sweaty men in shorts. Basketball I will never get. Golf is a sleep catalyst. World Cup - Beckham.

If you could completely memorize any one work of fiction, which one would you pick?
Dante Alighieri's (?) The Divine Comedy and J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. I will be full of doom (Abandon hope...) and sarcastic whenever I want to.

What is your favorite breakfast food?
Tapsilog, or anything with sinangag and fried egg. And pancakes. Frosties. Lots of coffee. But usually it's just coffee and cigs. To quote Mother Hen, how pedestrian.

Main Course
Name something fun you can do for less than $10.00.
Sleeping is fun, and it doesn't cost anything. I would like to sleep please. Or I can take the 450 bucks (so sad about the dollar) and head out to marathon watch three movies. Maybe two, the rest of money will go to popcorn and iced tea.

How long does it usually take you to fall asleep?
Depends on what I did during the day. Sometimes I lie awake for hours, but most nights I lose consciousness the moment my head makes contact with the pillow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who Said What

Colorful conversations pepper my world. Only one of these came from me, guess which one. Winner will receive ten pieces of the most amazing crinkles this side of the metro.

1. Anong relihiyon naman ang sinalihan mo ngayon at bawal yata sa inyo na maggupit ng kuko sa paa?

2. Minsan nga, gusto ko na syang sabihan ng “Kung hindi mo rin lang ako hahalikan tigilan mo kakabulong sa kin dahil pag di ako nakapagpigil gagahasain na lang kita.”

3. Ay bading pala sya. Kala ko Korean.

4. Pag BFF na natin sya, turuan natin syang gumarutay.

5. Ang lahat ng bagay sa mundo ay umiikot sa kagandahan ko.

6. Kaibiganin mo dali, tapos aawayin ko.

7. Ayokong magpakulot no, magmumukha akong vagina.

8. (In reply to “Hindi ako marunong magbasa ng nota.”) Humawak, marunong ka?

9. Tiningnan ka nya mula split ends hanggang ingrown.

10. Harry Potter in Chinese is Hali Pota. Haliparot na, pota pa.

UPDATE: I will not announce who won, he/she will just receive the prize. May kahihiyan pa rin naman ako.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Da Gels in BSB

15 July 2007, Yayasan Mall, BSB.


She sat across from me on the table, smoking her Winston Lights and talking animatedly. She’s stroking her hair from time to time while leafing through her English-Filipino dictionary. She said someone named Boy gave it to her; it was a disgrace that she can’t speak Tagalog, having a Filipino father. She looks Chinese but her last name is Alejandro.

Suddenly she asks me how old I am, and I ask her to guess. Her limit was 26, maybe she can’t imagine anybody ever being older than that. She’s bantering with the man beside her, telling him about her day. Then the man grabs her wrist and shows it to me. It had scars.

“I tried to kill myself two years ago because of a boyfriend. I spent two nights in jail. The government charged me with attempted murder. It was stupid, I know. I’ve learned since then not to fall in love, to use men to provide me the things I need. When the policeman asked me if my bandaged wrist hurts, I said no, but my heart does.”

She goes to bars fully dressed up, orders one drink and waits for men to pay for it. Then she leaves. It’s all a game, she says. They just want one thing, and if you know how to get around without them ever getting it, it can be fun.

She has different people to pay for different things – rent, food, cigarettes, internet money. Looking at her she looks happy, but somehow it’s all superficial. She’s still the girl who tried to end her life because her heart was broken.

Executive Summary of the Last Five Days

Day 1: Baggage strewn over airport arrival area while getting a cab. Someone surprises me by picking me up at the airport. Sweet.

Day 2: Get up after 3 hours of sleep and suffer 2 hours of nonstop yakking by fellow passengers. Risked life for 20 minutes on board a very small boat. Went to Another Botanical Garden and hit the swings. Arrived at Muara, picked up by ex-officemate.

Day 3: Said hi to the Sultan. Went to amusement park but it was closed. Got engaged. Went around the Venice of the East and got terrible sunburn. Spent the rest of the day eating.

Day 4: Suffered the shittiest day ever due to extreme stupidity. Did some shopping at the duty free land. Ate KFC for dinner. Did some things I will not forget for a long time. Went to bed at 4am.

Day 5: Home sweet home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ten Million Things and I'm Still at One

I'm going away again for a few days, just to take a break from all the madness that's called School and all the things that goes with it, like you know, Paper. Or Writing. And definitely Reading.

I've just been out on a fun dinner where, for dessert, I got to taste half the selections (exaggerating here) of gelato at Pagliacci. So when I finally decided on Nutella I couldn't finish it. I'm crashing from my carb and sugar rush, and all I want to do is go home and plop on my cool bed. But my empty suitcase will be staring disdainfully at me by the time I enter my room, so I have to put things in it.

I don't like packing for trips, but not as much as I hate unpacking. I hope I remember to take everything (like my e-ticket and passport), and again half of my baggage would be for the assorted gadgets and cameras and the chargers that will one day choke me to death. And there's the life and death decision making - do I take Hershey or Pumbaa? Maybe I'll take Pumbaa, Hershey went the last time. But Pumbaa is a little unstable, I think; or maybe anybody would freak a little if they had their tongue hanging out the whole time.

I also have lots to do for work, just finishing stuff so when I get back they won't want to crucify me. Expect pictures and tales of our stupidity in foreign places when I get back.

Meanwhile, here's a picture that has absolutely nothing to do with the entry. Taken at Crescent Island (I invented the name) in Panglao, Bohol, April 2007.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tales from the Dark Side

I wrote this entry about 2 years ago; I didn’t post it because I was afraid people would judge me; the afterlife is a topic perceived very differently across religions and cultures. But now I don’t care, I’m not one to analyze something and put a label on it, especially something like this.

When I’m writing and I’m on a roll, I don’t like to be disturbed. My train of thought gets cut off, and it’s hard to get it back. It was hard to get from the start, and once the ideas start flowing it’s a small, sparkling window of opportunity to get these reaction papers done in time.

That’s why I snapped at you, you who called me at four in the morning just to ask “Gising ka pa?” It’s a stupid moronic question, and if you ask me why I swear I’ll bonk you on the head with your encyclopedia set AND I’ll tell your mother you didn’t actually graduate from college. Next time you call me at ungodly hours you better be lying on a ditch somewhere. Unless you actually know for a fact that I’m still up and about, don’t call me just to tell me that your latest obsession hasn’t called yet after your date two nights ago. Yes, we’re still friends and yes, thank you, I’m a bitch.

So after I snapped at this friend (who probably knows people that carry on conversations while in deep slumber) I tried to go back to my serious writing blah blah, when another distraction came.

I thought the gift/curse was gone; I haven’t had any encounters since SQ. Very very few things scare me. I was clacking away at my stupid old keyboard, hitting the A key especially hard. At first I thought it was my shadow falling on the stacks of paper on my right. But I remembered that shadows fall OPPOSITE the light source, and my sister’s Pooh lamp was in front of me. Then the creepy crawly feeling I always get when they’re around, even if I don’t see them.

I knew she was waiting for me to turn around and look at her, but I didn’t. I can’t. My neck was a solid mass with no joints. I closed my eyes and willed her to go away, and because I was scared she’d touch me or actually go within my line of sight. She didn’t need to, I can see her in my mind.

She had blood on her, which I really hate seeing. I think she fell from a building or hit by something, because the left side of her face was uhm, squished. I asked her to please go away, I’m busy can she please visit other people instead please please please. She told me she’s looking for her children; she hasn’t seen them for a while. I said I don’t know her children, and oh by the way, you’re dead now if you don’t know yet.

She just said “Ah…kaya pala.” Then she was gone, just like that.

I lit a candle for her at the Santo NiƱo altar, and surprisingly I wasn’t scared. I forgot to ask her name though, I could have at least offered a mass for her. She was just a mother looking for her children, even in the afterlife.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Case of the Traveling Journal

Have you ever wondered what other people are really like? What do they think about, their deepest darkest secrets?

Now you have a chance to know mine (well not all of my deepest and darkest anyway), and its not by writing your name, address, telephone number and signature on the back of a wrapper and dropping it in boxes at your suking tindahan.

Mother Hen started her own traveling journal inspired by the 1000 Journals Project. I was the second person to write in the journal, and have since passed it on to Pam. I don’t remember if I wrote my real name or just Redjeulle, and this self-portrait which will be my banner someday, once Pok gets around to it.

In this time and age of instant gratification I have been gradually moving backwards. I went back to film – ironic because I just got myself a DSLR around that time. Now I’m starting to write again in my precious Moleskine notebook (darned expensive, that Moleskine). It’s so easy to take pictures and just flip the camera to check the LCD, but the thrill of the unexpected when using film (and developing it) is a different kind of high.

Same thing with handwriting your journal. A blog exists in a virtual world. If somebody pulled the plug on the Internet, it’s all gone; it exists in 1’s and 0’s. A notebook with your notes on it is more personal, more you. It’s your handwriting on that paper, and the way you held the pen to form words is part of yourself. I like observing the evolution of my handwriting in a really long entry. In the beginning the words are uniform in height and in angle, then nearing the end it’s like my left foot wrote it. Rereading it and seeing the chickenscratch at the bottom of the page, what I was doing at the time I wrote it would come back to me.

When someday that journal finds it’s way into your hands, I hope that you will put the same amount of effort we all did in sharing a part of ourselves in those pieces of paper.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rereading The Divine Comedy

Ok. I'd rather be in Bolgia Six than in Bolgia Two. Yuck yuck ech gag eeewww.

As if I don't have enough to do, I picked up my disintegrated copy of The Divine Comedy. Why I have that book, I can't remember, but I know it wasn't for class or anything academic because I took up B.S. Robot Talk in college. Robots don't discuss Dante or Shakespeare or Tolkien.

I haven't read it in its entirety -- I won't pretend, it's an effort to read. But when your brain finally translates the story it really tells in plain Brain English (or whatever language your brain thinks with), it's way fucking interesting than Gretchen or Ruffa on their worst days caught on camera.

Go pick up a copy while I delude myself into thinking that I don't have anything to do.

They Are Without Sticks

Last night, I took a break from forcing my brain to wring out semi-intellectual words to pepper this thing that’s resurrecting The Vein. I went to Mozzie’s gig at The Room Upstairs; they promised an emo set. Their drummer quit so Pammy, Chri and Fifi had to make do. And it was great.

Although at one point Pam was playing more than one instrument (and singing), and Chri used her guitar as a kajon, they still pulled it off. The sisters are great with guitars, and Pam gave us Rachael Yamagata, Regina Spektor, and other songs long forgotten (either in shame or in time). She sang my favorite too, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over, as something to appease her screaming fans.

We called it an early night though, because The Leaders of the Alkies had to get up early to go climb a hill on a beach or something to which we are not invited. Issue. Whatever, were gonna go somewhere anyway where there are no bugs and Giff can have his fill of uh, salt water. And other stuff.

For people who are used to being the only ones left in places that close really really late, and trudging home at the crack of dawn, it was an early night. One thirty in the morning is very early compared to my record time of 7 a.m. It wasn’t a sober night for me, I got tipsy on a glass of white wine, but someone chugged a bottle and a half and went home DRUNK. Again.

I then went back to my boring life as a stupident, but not without this note from Pam:

[photo missing, I forgot to charge my batteries. will post later.]


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Bolgia Six

The best way to tackle a problem is to face it head-on.

Not blog about it.

This is my problem – whenever I’m stuck with writing technical stuff I blog. Because by blogging I can express myself and not worry about whether what I’m writing about is worth shit. Who am I kidding, I blog because I can’t write the technical stuff. Every time I attempt an opening paragraph about the freaking state of mobile payments in the Philippines I get constipation of the brain.

Anyone who’ve ever had writer’s block just when they need to produce pages and pages of coherent thought must have thought about suicide several times. I do. If banging my head to split it open would make me write this whole paper, I’d do it, I swear.

As soon as I got home carrying a bola bola siopao (as an homage to Pok) I opened my laptop. I munched in front of the screen while opening my project files. I had every intention to read at least three reference journals to at least warm up and get me in the groove. The only thing I’ve managed so far is wincing when I saw how many articles I’d have to read, and comparing the deadlines they gave me versus the dates I put in my proposal. That, and blogging.

So far I’ve managed to ignore the first four steps in my schedule, including the ever-tedious interviewing of respondents. I’m trying as hell to catch up (as a futile attempt to get my life back in control, at least in one area), So I want to appeal to my four readers and the Alkies for help.

If you have, in the past or present, ever transferred or received money through cellphones (G-Cash or Smart Padala), banked through your mobiles, used G-Pass in MRT etc., and willing to be interviewed, please email me at redjeulle@yahoo.com or just buzz me in YM (redjeulle).

I’m doing my best not to get busted at this. I need to justify the money I paid for tuition (hi Tivo), I could have bought films instead.

I’m in Bolgia Six.

It's Not the Camera

Galing talaga ni Jill.

Someday, when she's a very hard-to-book and very expensive photographer, I could say marami na kong portraits by Lejano. Vintage nga lang. :-)

I'm Officially Gay

Over the weekend, as a sort of last up-yours to my student life, I went with the Alkies to Malate for the annual Gay Pride celebration. I even wore white, although unintentionally.

It rained for almost three hours while the celebrations were ongoing; “parang ayaw ni Lord” according to Giles. That didn’t stop the people from having fun, although the regular goers noted there were not as many people as before.

We faked our way at the entrance (yeah, the nerve of the organizers to charge an entrance fee as if it was an amusement park of some sort) and snaked through the heavy crowd near the stage where Celine Dion was caterwauling. Being as tall as I am, I couldn’t see things from where we are, so we just went to Bed. (Side story: while we were trying to see the show there was this big, burly guy wearing a sleeveless white shirt beside J. He was the type you’d see drinking on the streets at 3 in the afternoon, or he can be a truck driver. The only thing that gave him away was a sparkling tiara on his head. I wanted to take his picture but I’m afraid he’d swipe me.)

The only decent picture I got of the stage.

The crowd.

The area in front of Bed was literally swarming with people we had to go single file. I saw this magnificent display window on the second floor, and Giff asked me if I wanted to go in. We did, and right at the foot of the stairs on the way to the store there were two guys kissing. I didn’t know how to react – I mean I know it happens but it was my first time to see it live. So I just tucked my hair behind my ear and tried my very best not to look.

Intentionally blurred to keep identities secret. :-)

Inside the store was an assortment of costumes (the angel wings were cute) and some everyday clothes. Of course J had to ask loudly what I was looking for, and the first thing that came to mind was “seven inches”. Freudian slip? Then there was the shelf of goodies, the various selections of sex toys and paraphernalia I’ve only seen in pictures. I pride myself for having done and tried a lot of things but when it comes to sex toys suddenly I’m Maria Clara. We were trying to figure what the heck is that hunk of flesh-colored thingie in a box when Jill called to say Mozzie is now playing and we should get back. That ended my sex shop adventure.

The display window.

I just realized I'm not as worldly as I would like to think.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Living in the Present

There was a time in the past when my blog entries seemed more hip-happening and interesting than my real life. While my old life indeed is more exciting than that of some people (who, when you ask what she did over the weekend, will just stare at you blankly), lately it's been an acid trip.

I can’t still my mind for stretches of time; it’s all filled with things to do and places to go to and people to meet. And I need to still my mind to be able to write, for one. I have so many things going on all at the same time that I need to take a deep breath before I get overwhelmed. The one thing I hate more than hating is being overwhelmed. I can’t be in control of things and life becomes a great big mess of tangled wires and missed deadlines.

I don’t have the luxury of writing for pleasure anymore, of waxing lyrical about mundane and trivial things. Right now I’m biting my nails over this dreadful deadline that’s looming over me. This is the last leg of the stretch and the finish line is within sight, it would be the biggest chickenshit act if I quit the race now. After all, I wanted this.

The late nights ahead will not be inside some bar with Mozzie singing on stage, or with friends in a hotel room making fun of Ruffa’s singing while Alkie Jr. chugs some Frosties with Bailey’s for breakfast. I will probably be pulling all-nighters in a dead-quiet room with only my iBook for company, and a stack of very boring articles beside me for reference. That would be fun times.