Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recent Obsessions

Glee, the new series from Fox. This is the first time in years I am forced to watch something in installments. All the series I am addicted to were bought en bulke but after watching the pilot of Glee I am now one of the idiots waiting for Thursday afternoons when a rip of the episode would appear on Torrent. For the record my favorite is Kurt, and I would like to sleep with Puck.


Glee, the music. Glee would be just another high school cliche series were it not for the amazing amazing music. All the cast can sing, I mean really sing. I have a feeling glee clubs around the world will see a spike in popularity this year because of the show. Glee has become so popular that artists are actually discounting their music so it can be used in the show. In January there will be a Madonna episode -- she gave them their catalog for use. It's on crazy repeat (that's repeat multiplied a thousand times) in my iTunes and iPod Touch.


Cafe World. This is a Facebook game where you run a cafe by whipping up dishes and hiring staff, and decorating it. Yeah, yeah, I used to look down my nose on people who would rush home just to harvest their bananas in Farmville. I have turned into one of them, except that I still won't do farming. I'd rather buy a 75,000 fountain fixture and cook some king crab bisque for my customers. Oh yeah, I have an actor and a rockstar as waiters. You can hire your Facebook friends to be your waiters, but with their clothes on, unfortunately.



Hatchlings. This is another game that I tried but got immediately hooked on. I'm a packrat, therefore the act of collecting things will appeal to me. Throw in the words "special" and "rare" and I'm now zombified in front of the laptop trying to find the damned eggs. I'm so hooked I wrote an article about it. I love their creations.


Friday, November 13, 2009

On High School Reunions

It's been what, 17 years since I marched up the stage on that centric Con Hall (was it Con Hall? I'm confused) we all know. For three years that rectangular space inside the main compound, flanked by old classrooms and a sorry excuse for a canteen, served mainly as a shortcut for me to get from one side to another. Sometimes we congregated in huddles, talking about things most important to high schoolers. On special occassions Con Hall was a dance practice space, or some other special number practice space. I don't remember exactly all the things we used to do there, my classmates and I.

I remember a non-gay beauty pageant they held, the first time in the history of the school, I believe. Straight guys in drag, ramping it up in a makeshift catwalk. It was made more exciting by the fact that the relative "studs" (or those that passed as ones anyway) looked better with make up on. I forget who won, but seeing these boys in sportswear and evening gowns almost made up for the fact that I was actually in the school marching band holding the annoying lyre. I don't know why I joined, in hindsight I must have been taking some mind-altering substance, like kamote. I hate kamote.

School romances, urban legends, first loves borne and instantly killed - these were the fun things that compensated for the lack of a proper school library. I was afraid to enter that room; like a haunted house in a passing peryahan just in time for the town fiesta. I know there are no real ghosts, but just the same I wouldn't take my chances. Well, actually I did enter it that first and only time, to pull out a rotting and dated Encyclopedia Britannica volume to research about Japan. Which was a monumental fail, as I have always hated Social Studies.

We got the grades, moved to some form of higher education, some saw it their fate to get hitched immediately. We left the confines of secondary school's feigned innocence and went out to find our places under the sun. Years pass by, and through some quirks of nature or some bug in the universe's system, from time to time I manage to see some of my classmates and have the occasional drink. It wasn't so often as in my head it was every leap year, save for some really close friends with whom I make it a point to see with semi-regularity.

The other night I saw two of them again, where I was forcibly coerced into confirming attendance to the next reunion. I say forcibly because they asked like fifty million times and I said something like "No", "I'll have to check my schedule," "Maybe", and it's hundred and one variations for the first hundredth time they asked. Then something clicked inside my teeny tiny brain and I said "Possibly", then turned to a full-blown YES (I guess I shouted a little) because it was getting late and they weren't stopping and I still have deadlines to meet.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to attend. Three things keep me: 1) you always hold the reunions in December when the gods of cheap airline fares are on leave and therefore the published rates online are a bitch; 2) if I go in December I would only have to go specially for the reunion, and if I pay that damned bitch amount I would like to have something else to do to maximize my stay but all my family's here and I don't want to spend Christmas and New Year at my grandmother's house where it's always dark; and 3) my Decembers are always hectic.

BUT, and that is a large but, let's see. Maybe I'll consider crossing out "Attended high school reunion" off my To Do list. However, I will not participate in a group singing rendition of "Hotel California". Over my dead toenails.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Loserland

Dear Person Who Gets Annoying When Drunk,

Let me get this out of the way: I am not against drunkenness per se. At it's best it eases along boring nights, or gives you a boost of confidence, or at least just gives people a reason to laugh at corny jokes. Alcohol, like many other legal mind-altering and addictive substances, is best taken in moderation.

But, if you're at the point where you ask me a question sixty five thousand times and you get mad when I don't reply at I don't know, the four hundredth and twenty second time, then I'm outta here. And I don't appreciate being whispered to, or pawed, or my hair stroked. NO. NO. NO.

Yes, we're friends and I really do like you when you're sober, but next time we go out and there's drinking, I'm leaving after your fourth bottle. Seriously. Earlier you dragged me into that hole in the wall place where some middle-aged balding guy who hasn't lost his aspiring rockstar delusions belt Air Supply hits and fuckity fuck, Hotel California. I wanted to spear a fork through my chest, or at least through your chest, because you sang along with feelings.

I was in hell.

I'll see you in two years. Or here's a good idea, let's see each other every leap year only. Until then, I'll communicate with you from another zip code.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

That Which is Always Awesome

The other day we were struggling to write our assignments, but of course who cares about our struggling, we have deadlines to meet. The hardest part about any task is to get started, and to get started on an article you must know the angle you're writing from.

Usually on easier days the angle presents itself in your head almost immediately -- the flow is there, all we have to do is put fingers to keyboard. It's amazing, the way the article writes itself, when I'm just almost an audience to its creation. Letters appear on white space to make up words, and those words make up sentences. Sentences that sometimes take up too much space the problem now is cutting, because duh I don't own the paper.

There is no conscious effort to self-edit, because the hand barely catches up with the mind. That's why I hardly write by hand anymore; aside from my deteriorating penmanship, I can't write as fast as I can type. Which is sad, because handwriting is now considered a dying art.

I have always been envious of people who have great handwriting, regular and seamless strokes of pen on paper. While mine will not be mistaken for a doctor issuing a prescription, it still gives the impression that I'm always in a hurry. And I know handwriting experts would tell me my scribbles tell a lot about my personality, I am not always in a hurry. Seriously. Hurrying stresses me out, and somehow it doubles up the mistakes. That's why I usually sleep on important decisions, because everything looks different in the morning. I will not do the proverbial walk of shame on life-changing judgments.

And this, this is the awesome thing. Fingers to keyboard, no thinking.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lame

Thing is, you should never talk with friends about some things that could have been, because that talking will lead you into believing that things can be different, even if in reality they couldn't be salvaged for a million dollars.

Remember when we used to be friends? Like friends friends. I would tell you things and you would tell me things and I would cry sometimes and you'd tell me everything will be fine. Or the dinners and beers and tocilogs and pita breads. The YM conversations, text messages, and in general just being there.

I miss that.

We don't see each other that much, but when we do, I want to pull you over and ask you what happened. Now every conversation is strained, and we need other people to be there with us because if we're left alone for some reason or another one will eventually leave with a lame excuse.

Which is, yes, lame.

I won't say anything more because anything more would be too much already and as it is I'm trying to keep this as vague as possible. So I won't get shot down.

And this post is lame. Kill me now. Or in a month if I still feel like writing the same shit, I give you license to shoot me. I'll let you know.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This is Just Right for Halloween

The splint/cast was finally taken off today, thank the Lord God. Although not before I had my hand x-rayed to see whether it has healed properly, and seeing a damn right humongous metal plate and three screws living inside my hand made me want to curl up and suck my thumb again. But we have to move on with our lives despite these awful things that happened, so I took the x-ray plates to my doctor and demanded he take off my cast.

At first he wanted to schedule an operating room so he could take out the pin but at the word "operating room" I told him to just stop right there. The last memory I had of the operating room included someone stabbing me in the neck with a giant needle so they could numb my right arm, and it's not something I would recommend to experience if you're just bored with nothing to do. A few tears helped my case, and he agreed he could take it out in his office.

I just want to say at this point that I absolutely love my doctor, he's like the lolo I never had (opening a can of worms here). He's funny and has a lot of stories to tell, distracting me from the pain he's about to inflict on me. He's very straightforward and sometimes encourages my whiny, self-pitying mood whenever he's examining my thumb. He used to be chairman of the Orthopedic department at the Philippine General Hospital, and he still teaches at the UP College of Medicine.

When he was about to operate on me, he and the anesthesiologist (also a funny lolo) tag-teamed me with funny jokes while I was lying down on the cold steel table. I was shivering out of fear and my teeth was chattering, which is a normal reaction when people are about to use sharp things on you. They sedated me, which calmed me a bit, but not enough. By the time I heard them say "scalpel" I told them I changed my mind and I have to pee.

I thought they were going to allow me to stand up and walk out of that sterile room, but no, they brought me a bedpan. I know, so wrong. They also gave me more of that sedating drug. By that time I know the anesthesiologist was beginning to agree with me when I begged him to just knock me out. Several times during the procedure I wailed that I can feel them slicing my hand, or why are they using me as a table for their drills and stuff (seriously, they place it on top of me), or are they done because I'm bored. I also asked for an iPod in the middle of it all, but they said it wasn't allowed. Boo.

After the operation, they wheeled me to the recovery room, and I don't know the protocol for these rooms, but surely people who require recovery also requires silence? The nurses stationed here have no respect for people who just want to rest after being poked and drilled and stitched up. They were shouting at one another, or at least talking in mega-decibels. I was still heavily sedated and trying to sleep but can't, then I couldn't help it anymore. I called one of the nurses and asked her in a very slurry voice why is everybody shouting. She didn't reply, but she at least shut up.

Oh by the way, this is at the Manila Doctors Hospital. Loud as they are, they're still waaaay better than that sorry excuse for a hospital called Chinese General. That's where I was brought right after the accident, when I was a bleeding mess. Thanks for cleaning me up, Chinese Gen. But I still have a few bones (pun intended) to pick with you.

First, I was conscious and alert so there was no reason not to ask me about my medical history. You remembered to ask me how I will pay but not my blood type, allergies, or if I was pregnant. Not that I am, but isn't that standard operating procedure? You gave me shots without informing me what those shots are for, until I asked.

Second, your emergency doctors' professional judgment astounds me. I looked like a Saw movie survivor that night, my face bearing most of the bruises and wounds, not to mention my broken thumb, stitched head and numerous aches all over, yet all you can give me is Ponstan 500mg. Mefenamic fucking acid. Every 6 hours. Are you. FREAKING. KIDDING ME. Whereas when I transferred to Manila Doctors they gave me intravenous painkillers every 6 hours. Did I not look like I was in enough pain that night?

Speaking of my thumb, when you x-rayed it and interpreted it, you told me all I need is a cast. But you didn't have any ortho doctors available, but there will be one two days later. My hand was swelling like a balloon already at that time. And by the way, if I hadn't insisted that the x-ray guys do my hand it wouldn't be discovered that it was broken. Again, when I transferred to Manila Doctors, it was discovered that I fractured my thumb in FIVE places. Five. A cast won't do the job.

Fourth, you gave me the clearance that I can go home. We couldn't believe it. I was in terrible pain, I had a broken thumb, and my nose was still bleeding but you said I can go home. But not without the checklist you gave my sister, that list that said if I experience any one of them I should hurry my ass back to the ER. When my sister said that I might not be stable enough, you said "eh di dahan dahan lang po." Should I vomit blood on your shoes now, before you could take me seriously?

Fifth, gross unprofessionalism. My sister went to ask where's the resident doctor, and you blatantly tell her "Tulog po." And making no move to call her, or let her know a patient needs her. I'm sorry, did we disturb your slumber that night? Some of the other doctors wore slippers inside the ER too. Slippers. Like it was their living room. And it seemed all they do is laugh and joke around loudly. Sure it's not a criminal offense. But I still remember that guy you sent home because he was "OK", then 15 minutes later they return and the guy was dead.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Day I Met a Drunk Driver

For the past three weeks, I have been going on my everyday life with only one hand – or to be technical about it, 9 fingers. My right thumb and part of my arm and hand is still in a splint, and therefore I cannot get it wet. The trait of having opposable thumbs that separates humans from other mammals is taken away from me, albeit only temporarily.

It takes an hour for me to bathe properly and another 30 minutes to dress myself. Meals are an absolute effort as I can only eat with one hand, and complicated food is out of the question. While dining out the other night, a friend peeled a shrimp for me and cut it to pieces. I wanted to cry at the table.

One Saturday night after a violin lesson I was walking to where the cabs were. I was at the sidewalk of a one-way street, when suddenly all I can see was the ground spinning so fast my brain hardly had time to register that I was rolling on the asphalt, only stopping when my head hit the bumper of a parked jeepney.

I sat up immediately, disoriented while I looked for my things. People on the street went to me, with everyone talking all at once how some speeding and swerving car hit me. I checked myself and found that I was bleeding – on my head, face, and nose. Then an old man came up to me. “Are you the one who hit me?” I asked him point blank, still in disbelief that I was almost roadkill. “Yes”, he said feebly. “Are you drunk?” “Slightly.” He reeked of alcohol.

The next few minutes where I was taken to the emergency room where they dressed my wounds, gave me shots, and x-rayed me were all a blur. I remember calling my family and friends who lived nearby, because fortunately I was conscious and alert enough to keep my things with me. I was lucky I didn’t have a concussion.

But “lucky” is relative. I had to suffer insane pain due to the wounds on my face, like if someone would press a hot iron on your cheeks. White hot, searing, and throbbing pain. Yes, it was that bad. I also had stitches on my head, and countless bruises and lacerations on my body. One giant bruise on my hip had all the colors of the rainbows at one point. I looked like a horror movie. Most of all, my thumb is fractured; and the surgeon had to put screws, a metal plate, and a pin inside my hand so I can regain normal function of my thumb.

While confined at the hospital, I can only drink through a straw because I couldn’t chew my food properly. My mother had to bathe me, her grown child, because I couldn’t do it on my own. I had to sign my name on documents with a thumbprint of my left hand, because I’m right-handed and it was just my misfortune for my dominant hand to be injured.

But the biggest hurdle for me is trying not to panic when I see open roads with motorists. I’m afraid to walk on the streets, even more to cross them. I don’t trust stoplights anymore, and I can’t be alone on a street. Physical and psychological damages I would never have were it not for someone who had too much to drink and still decided to drive home.

Alcohol is a depressant, that’s why people often drink to “relax”. The “relaxing” effect we perceive is actually a decrease in sensation. Vision, hearing and other senses are affected too, together with muscle coordination. That’s why when people are drunk they slur and stumble. Now put a complicated machinery (such as a car) in the hands of someone not in total control of their abilities, and someone is bound to get hurt.

In their 2009 publication Global Status Report on Road Safety, the World Health Organization reports that in 2006, 51% of Metro Manila’s total fatalities caused by road traffic are pedestrians. The law on drink driving is also vague, as there is no set limit for blood alcohol content for offending drivers. Although there is a seatbelt law, only half of the drivers do remember to put theirs on. These data are only derived from reported cases.

It is also predicted that by 2020, road traffic injuries would be the third leading cause of deaths worldwide. But it doesn’t have to come to that, because the factors leading to road accidents are actually preventable. The first one is driving under the influence of alcohol, followed by seatbelt use, and road and vehicle design.

Thankfully, I am alive and will be fine. I will have a four-inch scar on my hand to remind me forever (and my family and friends) never to drink and drive. But others are not so fortunate, too many lives have ended all too soon in the hands of drivers who drank too much and sped the way home.

Meanwhile, I have to learn to trust the universe again, a universe where I can cross the road safely without fearing for my life.

The 911

- Try not to panic. Your full attention is required.
- Always bring an ID with you wherever you go, preferably with a contact number of a family or friend that can be reached if something bad happens.
- Arrange for an emergency contact person, and let them know they are yours before putting their name in that identification.
- In addition to the ID, keep a summary of your medical history in your wallet that contains basic facts such as your blood type, allergies to food and medicine if any, and any other relevant information you might think is important, such as current medications you’re taking or recent operations. The contact number of the family doctor might also be helpful.
- Never let cellphones run out of charge and/or credits. It might save your life.
- Two words: speed dial. In case of an emergency, you won’t have to find their names in the phonebook, wasting precious seconds.
- Always let someone know where you’re going. This way if you don’t come back, they will know where to start looking.
- There is a saying, “Trust God but lock your car.” Be responsible, alert and conscious while on the road. You can’t be sure about the others but at least do your part.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

September - 499, Me - 0

September is finally over, but not without it whooping me in the ass while delivering a mean karate chop to my jugular vein. Before that I got bitch slapped and was called mean names.

First, it was friends getting sick.
Then, I had to go to some funerals.
Then I thought I was going to die.
Some projects haven't paid me yet.
I was getting broke.
Then, some drunk driver hit me and they had to put a metal plate in my hand so I can still function. I'll tell you all about that later because it's not as important as the next one, which brings us to...
ONDOY happened.

It began as a very rainy Friday night, the same day I got discharged from the hospital. Everyone thought it was just progressing to a very rainy Saturday, which was good because people love to sleep late on weekends. I woke up at 1:30pm to a very dark and ominous sky, like the heavens have opened and I had to quickly find a partner so I can be allowed in the ark.

Which wasn't so far out.

When we tuned in to the news channel all I kept seeing was flood waters all around Manila, and in Facebook a lot of people were trapped inside their homes, flooded in. It got worse as night fell -- some friends and relatives are in their rooftops, with no food and drink. Electricity was cut off, and monitoring situations was the priority as cellphones ran out of charges, the network was clogged, and all you can do was wait by the phone in case it rings.

Sunday was horrible, although the rains stopped the death count was just beginning. Videos upon videos of the floods were shown, how people lost their homes and loved ones, horror stories of how they went without food and water for almost 24 hours with little children and elderly included. It was heartbreaking.

If there is a silver lining to all of this, it's how the country rose as one to help those who needed it. Relief operations were started immediately, and people came in droves to donate relief goods and volunteer their help. There were a lot of relief centers that it was hard keeping up with where to go and what to do. College kids came out to volunteer, instead of sleeping at home because there are no classes.

It's a very fine moment for the country, but not for its government.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council was late and short. The president came out only to look irritable as if her sleep was bothered. The presidential son and congressman was caught buying liquor as Katipunan was being flooded. A presidentiable gave out relief goods, but with his name on every packaged meal. Fuckers all around. Why can't they be the ones flooded inside their mansions, to drown in their own irrelevancy? They are of absolutely no use.

The private sectors were more effective in mobilizing the aid, compared to the NDCC people who held a meeting three days after they were needed. And then, as if everything is not enough, you read somewhere that the P800-million emergency fund was all spent. On what? The president's travels. She's small, but she's deadly. I wonder if she can still taste the P1 million dinner they had, while watching how the people cram in double capacity in the public schools, with no beddings, no food, no drink, and no home to go to.

There's no doubt over that lavafront property in hell with her name on it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nine Hours with Kimmy Dora

Last Sunday the Manila airports were freaking out because of a power loss/radar shutdown/potential airport horror movie, and I was freaking out because we were flying back on Monday morning. I couldn't stress enough to the GMA Network people the importance of getting back on time the next day because I had a shoot and interview. I absolutely cannot miss that interview, even if I have to beg them to put me in a different airline. Thankfully the airport guys straightened up that mess on time because I was in Manila by 11am. I went to my sister's house to dump my bags and went straight to the studio.

Of course I got lost, and only found the right place because I saw our subject entering it. Who is the subject, you may wonder. Why, it's Kimmy Dora.



Now running on its third week (it opened on September 2), people just can't stop talking about the movie. It's about the twin heiresses Kimmy and Dora Go Dong Hae, who are different as night and day and played by Eugene Domingo. Kimmy is a right old bitch but brilliant at buying out companies and making the Go Dong Hae empire bigger. Dora is, well, not so right in the head. But what she lacks in IQ points she makes up for having a big heart. Dingdong Dantes nerdified himself in this movie, and quite effectively. Never once did he steal the spotlight from Eugene. Anyway, just watch it. Or at least the trailer.



Anywaaaay. So I saw Eugene enter the studio and I paused to take a deep breath because I didn't want to be all stuttery and nervous when I introduce myself. Pam still wasn't there because she had to pull out hats for the shoot. I know, I ignore presidential candidates and even roll my eyes at them but I'm starstruck with Eugene. Priorities, people.

We proceeded with the shoot and do you know what a shoot entails? Makeup. Then hair. Then clothes. Then more clothes until we find the right one. Then the actual taking of pictures. Then repeat the whole process until layouts are done. In between makeup and hair we all had lunch (Jollibee chicken barbecue rocks, try it try it try it) and the interview. She was so fun we wanted to keep her. She wasn't hard to bring out, one question from us generates three paragraphs of answers. Listening to the recording, about 30% of it were laughter, mostly mine and Pam's. She just cracks us up.

She was even generous enough to offer us Chris Martinez, the writer for Kimmy Dora. I don't know how to say this but, for me meeting him was a big deal. I loved him since Last Order sa Penguin, his one-act play that won a Palanca award. I've read all his works and watched the movies he wrote since Bridal Shower. He is the one-liner man. Some of the dialogues he wrote that is forever stuck in my brain.

"For one million pesos, anong kakainin mo, ubeng lasang tae o taeng lasang ube?"
"Ano daw pangalan? Jobert? Parang pangalan ng taxi."
"Ang askal crineate para magbantay ng house. Is this a house?"

Chris arrived in time for dinner, just when we were wrapping up the shoot. Over kebabs, ox brain, and keema, the real life Kimmy and Dora (except they don't want to kill each other) bantered in front of us, and with us. They told us secrets and trivia, and told us about their friendship that go way back.

We spent nine hours with them, nine fun and crazy hours. When I woke up the next day I thought I just dreamt it all, "Did I really hung out with Kimmy Dora and Chris Martinez?" It was that crazy, and until now that the pages had been closed we still can't get over Kimmy Droga. We even watched the movie again. Weird, it was funnier the second time around.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer Super Exclusive will be out on Saturday. Grab a copy. Meanwhile, some photos from the shoot.

Me and Pam standing in for lights check.


Prepping hair and make up


Jill in action


Reviewing the shots with Jill


Group picture!


With Kimmy Dora and Chris Martinez


I love my job.

Sorry!

I haven't gotten around to opening this blog o'mine for the past few days, and when I did there were comments and I was in the process of hitting the Approve button when something short-circuited in my brain that controls my motor skills and before you know it I accidentally clicked the Reject! button. I don't know how to undo it so for the commenters affected I am so sorry. I've read it though, and Claire, yuh-huh. And I Wei, I've read your Multiply entry. I'm flattered that you got inspired.

Next time I promise never to miss my meds again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Spell Crazy With a K

Hello. I'm back from all the tree-planting goodness of the weekend. I was up at 6am and now it's 1am. I'm now feeling the delicious pull of unconsciousness.

But before I finally slam dunk my way to REM, I would just like to say that today has been a great and crazy day. Almost nothing went wrong, everyone had a great time, and I laughed like an idiot for the most parts of the conversation that took nine hours.

I am just so thrilled and giddy to be in their presence. Either that or the Jollibee chicken barbecue, the pizza, the keema, the ox brain, or the Nutella crepe are creating a dangerous chemical reaction in my brain. I'm going for the first theory.

Till tomorrow, bitches.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Problem

I have a flight in four hours, and I need to be out of the house in about...90 more minutes. And I haven't slept yet. Can't say I didn't try; I lay down in bed and hugged my sherpa blanket (it's a really thick furry one I bought at a home sale) and waited for unconsciousness. DID NOT HAPPEN.

I was feeling tired and yawning endlessly when I made contact with the pillow, so I thought I'd get at least four hours of shut eye before I get up like a bad drunk, hitting myself on every furniture on the way to the bathroom and grunting like a caveman. Nope, no shut eye. I tried every position imaginable (insert dirty joke here, here, and here) and I tried rubbing some Vicks on my temples but still no sleep.

If I'm supposed to last until 10 in the evening today, all I can hope for is sleep during the ride to the airport, while waiting for boarding, and on the plane. In short, anytime I'm in a sitting position. I hope they don't dub me as the Narcoleptic Girl.

I'm going to Cebu and I will make up for the lack of sleep by buying CNT lechon and Sunburst chicken skin. After making sure the trees are planted of course. And never make someone who hasn't slept yet write anything and expect it to make sense. I'll make sense on Sunday.

I totally feel like this right now. Me and Joaquin playing around with Photobooth.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Today's Lesson in Geography

It's freaking five in the morning and I can't sleep. My body clock is screwed up. No, it's smashed on the floor with its guts springing out. Either that or I live in Podgorica, Montenegro. Ha! I bet you don't know where that is. I didn't either, I looked up World Clock and that was most interesting city I saw. I had to google the country which is also known as Crna Gora and their website says it is a most interesting place. Sometimes you have to judge by the name.

I seriously thought that it's a new country somewhere in Central Asia or Africa, one of those newly liberated ones that keep throwing us off track. I'm just so glad I'm not in high school anymore. Turns out it's in Europe and is one of the oldest states. It "lies on the Balkan Peninsula at the very heart of Europe".

The Moscow Bridge at Podgorica. From visualrian.com


If you ever find yourself in Montenegro, what should you do? First, freak out and find out how you got there. Backtrack to your last memory -- did you ride a plane, teleport, or traveled by chimney? Was it against your will? Do you have your passport with you? Once that's sorted out and you were not kidnapped or anything (not that I'm insinuating that kidnappers would automatically fly you out there, or that Montenegro is a kidnapper's haven, not at all), might as well enjoy your stay.

If it's summer, hit the beach. Montenegro has countless beaches and rivers and lakes where you could spread your Spongebob beach towel and absorb some UVA and UVB rays. The Budva Riviera is where it's at, just ask your friendly Montenegrin to sketch you a map going there. In winter, enjoy the other side of Montenegro: the slippery slopes of white powder. Go skiing or snowboarding or whatever icy sport you want. The mountains will be covered in plenty of snow for your liking.

The Budva Riviera by Sveti Stefan courtesy of astakos.com


How to get there: Ever since Lufthansa stopped operating in the Philippines, the most direct route I can recommend is Manila-Hong Kong-London-Podgorica, or substitute Hong Kong with Singapore. You can also go the budget airline route of Clark-Kuala Lumpur-London-Podgorica via Air Asia (Clark to London leg only). The seats are a bitch but what the hell, it's less than half the price. And they don't serve food, you either buy or bring your own.

If you have a Schengen visa, you can enter Montenegro hassle-free. If you don't, well, it's P3,500 if you apply at the German Embassy. I think it's more expensive at the French Embassy. Call for details, because I'm not sure.

Links (because I know you're just a teeny tiny bit interested in going):

Visit Montenegro
Air Asia
German Embassy
French Embassy
and the one that started this whole entry, which was so different in my head and I was totally going for something else entirely, The World Clock.

UPDATE: (This is why you have to read everything before writing anything.) The Republic of Montenegro was made an Independent State on May 2005. It was admitted to the United Nations on 28 June 2006. So I was right, the country, technically, is new-ish. The Republic just turned three!

P.S.: See what insomnia can do? They should make me a goodwill ambassador or something. OR GIVE ME A FREE TRIP. You know, something.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In a New York State of Mind

"Let's meet at 11pm. Dress up."

My knee-jerk reaction to this was: are you freaking kidding me? My second instinct was: no shit, it's raining and I'm not putting on a dress and heels and make up to get splashed on. Then I was outvoted.

So at ten in the evening I put on the simplest dress I have, some old high-heeled strappy sandals, and my ukay-ukay 30-peso trench coat. When I got in the cab I realized it was the first time I wore the coat, because usually it's not that cold to warrant the thick brown fabric. But then again, it's raining and it's night, so I guess it's ok.

Walking to the restaurant through the parking lot, in my trench coat and all, made me feel I'm in New York on a cold autumn night. Except I would be wearing high boots and not some strappy number that will probably encourage frostbite. Yes, I've been watching Sex and the City again for the past week. Before that, Friends. It has been my dream to live in Manhattan even for a year, just to see what it's like.

I know it's damn expensive and people are sarcastic (hi, have you met me?) and rude, I think it's a city that you could never be indifferent with. You either love it or hate it, and there are no in-betweens. Of course the TV shows glam it up so much that poverty seems romantic and there are loads and loads of beautiful men and women swarming the streets.

I know I'm being immature but if someday that dream comes true and it's nothing like Friends or Sex and the City I will hunt down the writers and kill them.

Times Square on LCA. Photo by Pammy.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Cryogenic Bacterial Fermentation of Milk, with Fruit

Lately I've been jumping on the fro-yo (that's frozen yogurt for you) bandwagon. When before I can't tolerate the taste of yogurt, now it's become a major food group. It's the latest food fad, if you haven't noticed yet the mushrooming of different fro-yo places everywhere, much like what hot pandesal, lechon manok, pearl drinks, and boxed rice and noodles did before.

Fro-yo is supposedly fat-free, and only 90 calories per serving. That which I desperately want to believe, because if they're lying then I'm doomed. One time I got a large cup of strawberry fro-yo at Yohgurt Froz at Morato and was eating it alone I texted Pam, "Totoo bang di nakakataba to? Kahit may cheesecake?" Talk about negating your points.

I'm on a testing phase -- I try to taste all brands whenever I see one. So far my top three, in no particular order, are Yohgurt Froz, Red Mango, and White Hat. Usually I have more than one topping, varying on the nuts and cereals but always consistent on mango. I never put choco balls or Oreos or sprinkles, I feel like I'm dishonoring the fat-free-ness of it but I just couldn't help myself on the New York cheesecake chunks. They are so divine. Anyway, they only put like four tiny squares on my cup. It's not like there was a whole slice of it there. Although, it's not a bad idea.

My most unforgettable fro-yo cup was the Yohgurt Froz strawberry flavor with cheesecake bits, Triple Berry cereal, and walnuts. I ate it so fast I got a tummyache. On Monday I tried White Hat for the first time, spooning it into my mouth just as people were having gory deaths in Final Destination 4 (don't watch it, it's crap). Good thing we didn't fork out 350 bucks to watch it in 3D.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Life, and Then Some

For the past week I have been on an introspective mode, you have no idea how much. Bad news after bad news kept hitting me and my friends within a ten-mile radius. Some gave us a major scare, and some, will change us forever. It was so bad for a few days that on some nights I wasn't able to sleep, only stared at the ceiling clutching a piece of paper and a printout.

I used to think I was invincible, that bad things happen, sure, but never to me and the people I love. All those things -- the war, the sickness, the crimes -- were so far away. One Thursday afternoon found me wandering aimlessly inside Megamall, entering stores but not seeing anything, going up escalators with no particular place in mind. I felt I was detached from everything and was just floating midair. Eventually I stopped and entered a coffee shop, sat alone at the secluded smoking section and cried.

I didn't bawl, I just stared at the notebook I got out for writing, and the tears just fell. I was scared. I wasn't ready and I wasn't equipped and I can't handle talking to anyone about it because I will bawl and that would be breaking my personal rule of Not Crying Visibly in Public Places Even If I Am Being Shredded to Bits Inside. So I didn't.

That night all coherent thoughts have left my brain and replaced by a single irrational statement, "It wouldn't matter anyway because we're all maggot food". I went to a hospital to visit a dengue-ridden friend, and although I disliked hospitals, I still went (with other friends) and kept him company. Not only do I hate the hospital scent, by going there I felt like I was being given a preview and I didn't want to think about it.

Alone in my room, I still didn't bawl. I don't know if it was from a prevailing virus, or from the stress of the day, but my temperature was high enough to warrant a BioFlu tablet. My mortality was being challenged and I am just not ready. I played a lot of would-be situations in my head, all of them tragic and sad and made me wish it wasn't all happening.

Thank God it was nothing. But on that small window of time between the finding out and the big relief, I realized how much I am loved. I appreciate all the thoughtful words and the assurances that it would all be just fine. I am fine, and there are no words to even begin to describe how thankful I am.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Did You Do in School, Looked Pretty?



I can forgive the unnecessary H, she's from Pampanga. But the rest, oh dear god from heavens above.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Hope This Won't Be a House MD Episode

After I had lunch with John Lloyd, I went to visit my friends at my previous office. This building is the center of all paranoia in the city -- because they have the money for the equipment they use it well. Before you get through to the person you're there for, you have passed an average of two x-ray machines, a validation of your existence by the receptionist, and a medical clearance. The nurses took my temperature and it read 37.6C, very very slightly above normal temperature.

They grilled me like I did something wrong. Do I have a cold? No. Do I have cough? No. Did I travel outside the country in the past two weeks? I wish. Why are my eyes red? I haven't slept yet. I managed to convince them I don't have AH1N1. Even if I did I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'd worry if I contracted dengue though.

Now I'm sitting at a kid-free Starbucks and I feel coooooold. Like it comes from inside me, but strangely my eyes are hot. I'm still blaming the three-hour sleep for that, it was so hot inside my room I can't sleep straight. But still, you know, I'm not totally writing off the chance that viruses have defeated me once again.

Fever fries the brain and I have no more brain cells to spare. The top secret project is on full speed ahead and I cannot be the cause of delay. So go away virus, go away. You're not wanted here. Just like some people.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Because I Still Can't Tell You About the Top Secret Project

Today's blog post is brought to you by Impatience and Boredom. It's 7:30 in the evening and I'm just having my first meal of the day. For a moment I thought I was going to faint but then I quickly shoveled some food in my mouth. In this case food was a Jamaican patty (original) and roasted vegetable soup (cup) from Cafe Mediterrranean (the soup, not the patty).

I was supposed to go learn more about diving today, but I overslept. I set the alarm for 11:00 am and it did go off but fuckity fuck I did not hit Snooze -- I turned it off instead. So when I finally woke with a start it was 1:15pm and I would still be late even if I managed to get to the venue in the blink of an eye. So now my diving instructor is not talking to me and is probably mad. I am really really sorry.

Now I sit here alone waiting for Fifi, while listening to two gay guys at the next table bashing everyone they know. For the record I don't really know for sure if they're gay, it's just that they frequently touch each other's hair, face, arms, and legs. Sometimes for emphasis one of them would pinch the other's cheek. I'm thinking it's more of a crime to assume that they're straight. I'm imagining my straight guy friends trying to pinch another straight guy's cheek. I'm almost a hundred percent sure that the other guy would say "Duuuuude!" while trying to shield his face and be absolutely horrifiesd. Then he would proceed to avoid the pincher for the rest of his life. Strange creatures, boys.

Cut to three hours later and I'm having some Red Mango froyo with mangoes and Banana Nut Crunch. Totally cooled me down, because I was about to go on fire with that strawberry daiquiri we downed at National Sports Grill. We waited for our movie to start (Time Traveler's Wife) which just about bored me, if it weren't for the constant screen presence of Eric Bana's naked body. Rachel McAdams' dimples just cannot compete.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

With Rhyme and Reason

What day is it?

Sorry, I've been so out of everything I just remembered I had a blog. So. What should I write at this ungodly hour after inhaling a cheeseburger and a pain reliever? I don't really know. I just updated my iPod and revamped the whole content, which to tell you the truth, made me want to hurl whenever I forced myself to listen to a playlist named Morning Show.

Morning Show, I remembered, was named such because the songs there woke me up when played at nearly full volume. I deliberately chose songs with deep bass lines so when I turned it up it felt like someone was clubbing my brain FROM THE INSIDE. I played it everyday from the cab to the train to the short walk to my cubicle, back when I still considered the 15th and 30th as the highlights of my life. As a result I always had a minor headache by the time Lotus Notes opened, which was usually remedied by coffee from the vending machine and two sticks of Marlboro Lights.

After that morning routine I would gaze at my Inbox and contemplate on the subjects of the unread mails. I would edit them in my head, but never in real life because basically my opinion was like Santa Claus at that point, in that I desperately wanted to believe it's there but no one has ever seen it so it's classified as an urban legend. I would still be half-awake after an hour of trying to organize all thoughts and stray papers -- I was never a morning person, ever.

So going back to this overhauling of Red the iPod, I dumped a lot of whole albums in there, from artists I would never have discovered had I not been friends with my friends now. I seriously don't know if I would have heard of Lily Allen and KT Tunstall had I stayed where I was. I would still be stuck listening to Top 40 hits and 96.3 WRock, never venturing out of what was familiar. And I'm so glad I did.

Now I can't stand showbands anymore, those bands who endlessly (but very good nevertheless) play covers of Earth, Wind and Fire hits and some VST & Co. medleys, but will brave traffic to listen to Mozzie, Kaze, Sando, and Techy Romantics. Indie music rocks!

Kaze just released their EP No Reason, and Techy Romantics will release their album soon. Let me know if you want to get a copy. Seriously, these bands deserve more airplay than that fucktard song "Updated Version of Me" I keep hearing when I'm in cabs. Upon googling that unfortunate line, I discover that it's by KC Concepcion, and from what I've read the demo single sung by one Iris Matunog is way better than KC's version.

This is Marionette by Kaze at Imeem, my favorite cut from the EP, and Shut It from Mozzie (they released their EP last year). I hope OPM and indie music grows more, there are a lot of undiscovered talented people out there who deserves to be heard than that acoustic version of Single Ladies they keep blaring at record stores. YUCK.

(Trivia: the person in the middle is our violin teacher with the never ending patience.)



No Reason by Kaze. Picture stolen from Fifi. Borrow, Fi.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gaga Was Here

Lady Gaga is so amazing. Araneta Coliseum was actually full, and during the concert everybody was dancing and singing along. It was a religious experience, but I'm not the High Priest or anything. I'm just so stoked that her first song was Paparazzi, my favorite in the album. I'm pooped after the concert and the after-concert food. Zzzzzz.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Get Them Away From Me

This is the third time in three days that a kid actually walked up to me inside Starbucks, while I'm on my laptop doing things I do on a laptop.

Last Saturday at Starbucks Shangri-la Mall, I was chatting with Giff over YM and making a joke about phone sex, like if you had a phone where should you put it, then Giff says probably in the usual place but not if you have a Nokia E71 because that's not really right but then again what's right about putting an electronic gadget in an orifice ha ha, when this little boy (who looked like he just learned how to read) stationed himself over my left shoulder and. read. my. messages. ALOUD.

I was still in the middle of being completely mortified when he came to the part of Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. The next line he would have read was something that would probably require therapy to get off his tiny little brain. I shooed him off, and closed the MacBook. Daggummit.

The next day at Starbucks Megastrip the lighted apple attracted a little girl. She got off her chair from the next table and walked over to ours, her grubby little hands on her hips, and demanded what's going on. I was Plurking at the time, but I made extra special effort to glower at her. She was an extremely annoying kid with her bowl haircut and privileged attitude.

And now I'm sitting here at Starbucks Technohub in the cornermost table just minding my own business, when another little boy in camo pants entered the coffee shop and made a beeline for my table. Becoming all too familiar with this scenario, I looked at him while he looked at a Word document trying to find "a number five". I asked him what's up and where are his parents, slacking off? He went away immediately. I didn't actually say the slacking off part but I don't want kids around my laptop. Especially kids I don't know. Look what happened the last time Joaquin appreciated my MacBook.

Now the same kid is pressing his face on the other side of the glass pane beside me, the better he can have a look at my screen. What's wrong with these little people, I wouldn't know.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Verbal Diarrhea and Drunk Bowling

I am lifting my self-imposed moratorium on blogging in honor of President Aquino's death. The media's insistence on replacing it with Arroyo by the way, might have been a Freudian slip on a national scale. I'm sorry (not really) if the people want you dead, GMA, but you really have brought this all upon yourself. And then you're not satisfied with that and you top it all off by splurging $20,000 for a dinner for your 27-member entourage at Le Cirque in New York. Did you really need to order five-hundred-dollar a bottle champagnes? Hey look, we're a FUCKING THIRD WORLD COUNTRY and you don't even blink before stuffing your mouth with caviar and foie gras. We're stumbling and fumbling and you get an entry in Page Six of the New York Post. My only consolation is that you look HORRIBLE in that mug.

I shouldn't be spewing venom before dawn because I wouldn't be able to sleep. But Saturday is a good day, even if I woke up before 9am (I know!). I don't know why, maybe because I just stayed home all day Friday, but is not technically the case because I finally got to lie down in bed at 7am on Friday morning. After office, Pam, Giff and I went to Whistlestop and ate disgusting amounts of food (try the salpicao, honey bourbon chicken, adobong manok sa gata, and beef tapa) and ordered one of each in their dessert selection. Too bad mango panna cotta wasn't available, my happiness level wasn't filled to the brim. We talked and ate and talked and ate till the sun came up and we remembered it was still a weekday so we'd have to beat rush hour traffic.

Anyway. Saturday was great, I got a lot of Muji loot, thank you very much. Before that I also got a Muji hardbound notebook (thanks Ole!), and now they're all sitting beside me looking pretty. I hope Muji puts up a store here. Muji is a Japanese brand that provides everything from stationery to beauty products to clothes and kitchen equipment. They promote minimalist designs and no frills. I love their office accessories. Check a Muji store soon, and you'll know what I mean. I'll post pics if I can, because this fucktard connection is testing my nonexistent patience.

I had shabu shabu at 4pm and not more than an hour later I had pizza and pasta on my plate. I seriously was going to burst but thankfully did not. I didn't want my friends sweeping my innards off the floor on a weekend. No wonder Fifi sang a lullaby to my stomach.

Then the Alkies, complete for the first time in 365 years, went drunk cosmic bowling. Can't decide whether to go bowling or go clubbing? Go drunk cosmic bowling! With blinking lights and beer, who cares if the ball goes to the gutter? (Giff actually did, but we ignored him.) Eastwood offers it in the cinema floor, with dart rooms and billiard tables too if you don't want to lug around those godawful heavy spheres of the hottest neon colors. If you forget to wear or bring socks, they sell it too, so no excuse not to go and humiliate yourself. I did.

We wrapped it up with beer, ice cream, salpicao, garlic mushrooms and chocolate cake at Jack's Loft, while pretending it was 2007 until the lights and the bill came on, signaling that they're closing for the night. Or day. I don't know. I'm still awake, aren't I?

I'm done now. Tomorrow is another day. Or later. Whatever, I'm rambling.

Monday, August 03, 2009

For Everything Will Come to an End

She stepped up, did her best, and was always a lady. Former President Cory Aquino is uniting the nation up until the end. Right now I'm watching as two-star generals arrange her coffin in front of the altar at the Manila Cathedral. It's just too sad.

She was one of the most beloved presidents, and she was never power-hungry. I can't possibly add anymore to everything that's been said about her, but nevertheless I'm crying with the rest of the country.

Rest in peace, Madam President.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Back On Air

Apologies for being inaccessible for a few days. There was a glitch in the system and now it's fixed. Will post more once coherent and well-rested. I've just been from a wild-rockin' party and now I'm full of deep-fried goodness that is somehow requisite for a hangover-free morning.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Observing the Non-Code

If noise were radiation and I'm an instrument measuring radiation (what are they called anyway?) the noise level here at Krispy Kreme is reaching red alert status. This is the level of radiation that produce three-headed fishes and birds with one leg. The toxicity level is making me want to scream, scream so loud just to prevent myself from throwing up.

It doesn't help that there are three very giggly girls beside me, but at least they already stopped a while ago. But they're still jumping up and down on their seats for some reason, and because we're essentially sitting on the same long bench I want to thump them. This is a busy branch and quite small, so the comings and goings are expected to be heavy. However. And I'm saying this not only because he didn't stop talking ever since he got here. There is an old man yakking continuously on his cellphone, in a very shrill voice unbecoming of old people. It wasn't loud per se, but his voice carries up and above every other voice in the restaurant.

From the conversation, he's conducting some shady business in the province that (i) he wants to avoid getting the requisite papers, (ii) he doesn't want to pay taxes, and (iii) he's willing to dole out cash to the right people just so they can start right away.

God, if you're conducting illegal stuff don't do it in public, with a very loud speaking voice at that. Don't you bad guys have a code of conduct or something? They really should kick him out of their underground organization.

My Snuffleapagus

It's so hard to react when to the rest of the world there's nothing to react to. There's a party inside me but I had to keep a straight face because let's face it, no one would believe it anyway. Sometimes I wish it was indeed the product of my imagination, so I can feel justified not telling people. But I'm not even sure I want the world to know.

Maybe not.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Textbook Bitchery

Going by my definition, I therefore conclude that my poor country's president is an effing Orphan. Now, who will volunteer to kick her into the frozen pond, so that once and for all she would just shut the fuck up and stop inventing things and feeding us major bullshit. I would, but I doubt she'd go near me. Why is the president's seat such a loser magnet?

I know I said I don't touch politics and religion, but it's more than a source of annoyance now. It's like the country has a raging tumor on the forehead, but everyone goes around pretending it's not there because it's rude to stare. You know what, let's all remove it without anesthesia.

I wanted to totally ignore the SONA (State of Nation whatever) but everyone's at it on Plurk and Facebook. Someone said she's dressed like a pastillas, and that her french fry bodice covered up the boob job. I wasn't able to take a peek as I was busy learning (in my head) how to steam milk properly so I can make a good cappuccino.

But they didn't let me touch the scoop-like thing that goes into the machine thing to make coffee. I wonder why.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Giant Bugs Underwater

They had an all-consuming desire to take over the world, and it was all good and fine, until one of them got her mask fogged and forgot how to defog them.

Then she panicked and they panicked and they all swallowed extremely chlorinated pool water and they all got their gills confiscated.

Hot New Site

Stoked - Slang. [stokt]. adjective. to be completely and intensely enthusiastic, exhilarated, or excited about something.

I agreed to share my travel stories with these guys a long time ago, and I kept procrastinating about it until last night when I drank Dark Mocha Coffee Jelly Frappuccino (why do name their products that long?) at 11 pm and couldn't sleep. Might as well make use of the time, so I tinkered a bit. Now it's 7 am and I'm stoked about sleeping.

In the future, the website will be a one-stop shop for every hobby and activity you can think of. For now it mostly contains information about diving and class schedules, and also my travel articles. Yes, he is my diving instructor. The one who bullied me into swimming 300 meters and taking off my mask underwater. He also surfs, wakeboards, plays underwater hockey, and will soon be a full-fledged water creature with gills and scales probably. He jumped out of a plane. He also climbs walls and rocks. For fun. Yeah, I don't know why either.

I want to suggest a page about being stoked on sleeping and lying around and DVD marathons, but I'm guessing they wouldn't take it kindly.

Please spread the word, Stoked.ph.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I Shall Be Afraid of Esthers

Orphan - a movie about some deluded bitch who thinks that people who say I love you mean it the way she wanted it to mean, or that once she removes all obstacles to her love, that beloved will love her back. She's also never heard of the idiom "the past catches up with you" and "digital na ang karma".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tick Tocking my Time

Quick, quick post.

I'm now back from all the busy lying around time and the tediousness of growing my hair, while reading a book on a lounge chair facing the sea. We ate and slept until late (or just me) and ate and walked and swam and watched dogs pee on sand castles and played frisbee until it broke in two. Not kidding about the frisbee breaking. But, as it was free and therefore not of Olympic standards, we weren't so offended.

I managed to finish two books, exhaust my playlist, and eat food like you wouldn't believe. I managed to get predictably drunk by our last night. I suck at playing cards, and I suck at drinking, therefore I SHOULD not play card drinking games. Right? You would think I'd realize that, but still I kept telling myself it was a game of chances and what are the chances I'd lose like, 70 percent of the games played? By the time I was kneeling inside the bathroom waiting for the next wave of nausea, I concluded it was a very big probability. Fuck rum and Coke.

I'm posting pictures as soon as I can (meaning no definite timeline), but if you're in Boracay check out Sea Wind at Station 1. Best buffet ever, and nice villas. And they have the most amazing stretch of white sand at the island, it's the best venue for Boracay weddings.

Now I just have to face some responsibilities so I can keep on calling myself a responsible adult. Tally-ho!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Professional Packers Wanted

Greetings!

Are you an organized individual who loves to travel? But can't? For some reason or another? Do you love to envision things or plan ahead?

This is your chance to apply those organizational skills and a taste for traveling without actually leaving the metro! I am looking for a professional luggage packer who will come to my house whenever I have a trip, sort through the mess that is my room, and plan my outfits depending on the location and duration of the trip.

You should be able to distinguish what kind of lotion I should bring, or which sunglasses, and the variety of portable entertainment to pack to keep my ADD self happy and distracted. You should also have a sixth sense about how much the packed luggage weighs, because I don't want to pay extra.

For your services I will bring home a magnet especially for you. For those interested, drop an anvil through my head. Maybe I'll snap out of it.

I hate packing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WiFi Kills the Buzz

Here we all are gathered in a table with beers and drinks, a band is playing, and people are having a merry good time. Except their version of a good time is talking and laughing and watching the band. Our table is having a good time because there's wifi. We're all online and huddled on each of our phones, checking emails, Facebooking, Plurking, and now, blogging.

What is up with the world? Here we are, face to face, but unfortunately everybody's a techie and have wifi-enabled phones and now we choose to message each other on Plurk even if it makes perfect sense to just talk like normal people.

The Internet is sypposed to enhance relationships, maybe complement it, and now it's become the way people live. It's inevitable in some ways, the way the Internet had become so integrated in our lives and almost all aspects of it, but real, live people in the flesh trumps avatars anytime.

Excuse me while I go talk to my friends.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pain, Pain, Pain

"My ear hurts."
"My sprained foot still hurts."
"I have a cramp."
"I swallowed some pool water."
"The chlorine stings when I open my eyes."
"I'm tired."
"My mouth is dry."
"My hair is not tied back."
"The air tastes like rust."
"I can't swim that far."
"The fins hurt."
"I can't take off my booties."
"I'm scared of falling."
"This tank is heavy."
"I can't do that."
"I will drown and I will die."

Then the boys I was with at the pool proceeded to just grant my wish and drown me, but didn't succeed. But karma is now digital (read: fast) so now I have swimmer's ear. It's hurting more significantly now than it did two hours ago, and I'm thinking it's time to visit the doctor. And I still have the ghost of the sprained foot and the memory of the cramp when I walk a certain way. And my back hurts from all the swimming around with the tank and I have a bruise on my nose from being squished by the mask. Whine whine whine. I know you want to slap me right now, because if I were in your place I would, too.

I read about swimmer's ear online and found out that sometimes it paralyzes half the face. Ok, I'm exaggerating, and that's what I get from reading about my symptoms online which all but sentenced me to death, but I think I would choose paralyzed over ear discharge. That's a big fat NO. I'd rather drop cold liquid inside my ear for a week. But then again we're going to Boracay for the weekend and crap piled upon crap, does that mean I can't swim?

Fortunately, I am bringing books. Behold, my reading pile.


Should keep me occupied for four days. Bottoms up: Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, - Do It Yourself, - Rodrick Rules, - The Last Straw by Kinney, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Cohn and Levithan, Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by Garner, Air Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, and Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.

Some of them I've read, some of them I'm reading again. Perfect for lounging beside the pool, and I hope THERE WILL BE NO RAIN YOU PMS-ing WEATHER.

Monday, July 13, 2009

This is How You Signal for Are-You-Freaking-Kidding-Me

I finally gave in and took the diving class, which I somekinda started last Valentine's Day. It's an open water diving certification course, so I can enjoy underwater scenes when I go to places. Imagine the things I would have seen if only I dived then -- Coron, Balicasag, Apo Island, Bahura, Puerto Galera, and a lot more.

Yesterday we had a pool session so I can learn the skills. I was outnumbered; two instructors for one student. I don't want to say they bullied me into some of it, but yeah, they sort of did. They made me swim 300m, tow a tired diver, take off my mask underwater, and they turned off my air source without warning.

But the hardest thing for me was to swim upwards without inhaling, only exhaling for 30 seconds. This is for when... I don't remember. I'll check the book (which I haven't entirely read) and the video (which I haven't seen). I have smoker's lungs and there is only so much air it can hold. I know, I know.

I really have to learn how to tread water because this is getting ridiculous. The only reason I can't participate in some water sports even if I wanted to, is because I can't tread. Well, actually I can, for two seconds. One of the exercises was to float for 10 minutes, and even though I can float, the paranoia of drifting to the deep end of the pool paralyzes me with fear. I kept shouting at my instructors to push me back to the edge, please. And can they please dive for my lost hair band.

There's also a lot of hand signals to remember, like OK, up, down, not OK, dead, can I breathe your air, cramps, can we please go down that way, and how much air do you have. The answer to that last signal is not a shrug.

We spent more than five hours soaking in the pool, and when I came out I was shriveled like a prune. Until now I reek of chlorine and all I want to do is lie in a bathtub full of moisturizer with only my eyes and nostrils left uncovered. Now I can't wait for the graduation dive.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Skeletons in the Closet

I have a lot of stuff. A real lot that spills off the table, drawers, closet and storage bins. My closet won't even close properly, so I might have to call it slightly-open. Did you see the joke I made there? Did you see? Slightly-open as opposed to close-t? Eh.

When I quit my day job I planned to do a spring cleaning of sorts because I'm fast running out of space. My room is not that big, and with the wardrobe and table and TV I really don't have much room to pace. Not that I pace. When I first moved into the apartment I had shelves installed on a wall to keep my paper -- files, folders, books -- and CDs and DVDs, and other odds and ends that I just kept piling.

Years pass by and I'm afraid to look up. I'm afraid one day the bolts would just give up and the stuff would just bury me alive. I always lock my door and nobody knows when I come and go so if that accident happens it might be days before my corpse is discovered, rotting, with my Regine Velasquez CD beside me.

But then life picked up and I'm always off to some place, and when I'd get back from trips I would rather loll on the bed and look up Wikipedia entries for various body parts. The unlimited Internet connection also didn't help.

I'm hoping to still do that spring cleaning, but I have a problem with big tasks. I don't break it up into smaller tasks, as logic would dictate, rather I like to attack the big mess in one go. I do that because I have a short attention span, and I like to keep my momentum. Well,this task is my Goliath, and as David I am that thin, sickly boy who can get blown off when someone sneezes, and has zero hand-eye coordination that I couldn't even hold my slingshot properly.

But I know I would have to do it soon, because I can't find things anymore. I have half-unpacked suitcases and books piled up high on the table. Old eyeglass cases are still there, expired cold medicines, and I think I see old sandals from 2005. It's my own personal junkyard.

Before I start, I would need more stackable storage bins that are actually drawers, garbage bags, filing boxes, and Bridget. I'm thinking I can bribe him with food and films. Hmmm. Anyone knows where I can get those stackable drawers that are relatively cheap? I don't like multicolored ones, just plain white and semi-transparent. And now I have the perfect excuse to get a Dymo Label Blaster.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Crap

Paris Michael Jackson gets on the mic for a few seconds and manages to bring the house down. I hope she and her siblings grow up normally.

Amazing service. Amazing amazing. I don't care what the others say. With John Mayer playing Human Nature, and Brooke's speech, and Jermaine singing. Amazing. Michael Jackson deserves all of those and more.

To one of the greatest entertainers the world has ever known.

I'm Sorry But Please STFU

As i sit here trying to formulate the ten commandments with this white goo on my nose (it's supposed to remove whiteheads, let's see), I realize this is what happens when people continue to procrastinate about seemingly unimportant errands until they really, really need it.

I was too lazy to go to the hardware store to buy cable wires, because my existing ones kept falling off. And now, I am forced to suffer Ces Drilon and Gary V. butting in on the live feed from Staples Center in Los Angeles. Earlier I kept reading articles about Michael Jackson and clips on YouTube. I don't know if this is hormones, but I genuinely feel sad about his death. Reading the ex-Manila Hotel PR's account of her interaction with MJ back in 1996, I actually cried.

So what if he died of drug overdose? I don't really care. I believe famous people are somewhat robbed of a life. They get so much when it comes to material things and public adoration, but most of them misses out on the little things that life is made of. Their relationships are fleeting, their children are usually screwed up as adults, and they almost have no real friends to speak of. When a star falls down, everybody leaves. It's a fact of life.

I felt sad for MJ, that he didn't really experience how it was to be loved. Everything was fake, or a setup. (Stupid ABSCBN, the tribute is starting and Ces is still interviewing Gary V. Fuckity fuck.) It didn't help that his own parents are also screwed up, especially his father. Recently, we have personally experienced child abuse, and believe me when I say witnessing it made me feel I can really kill a person. Like actually kill. Dead and not breathing kind of killing.

He was called Peter Pan -- he didn't want to grow up. He so desperately wanted to be a child, because his father's physical and emotional abuse and the subsequent fame never let him have one. It's so sad, really. He had given the world his self in his music, and the world ridiculed him in return. Farewell, Michael. I agree with Madonna -- Long Live the King!

UPDATE: Watching it now on CNN Live on Facebook instead. Can't stand ABSCBN's captions.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Rainy Day on a Weird Monday

You can plan and plan and plan, but there are days when nothing goes according to schedule. I was supposed to hang out with my artista friend Ian the Bitch on her tapings but she was called for naught.

Because I was up and ready anyway, I had lunch with a friend to catch up on things. I was thinking maybe I can hang around the mall to get errands done like pick up a lightbulb (yes, I still light my room with a desklamp), cable wires for the cable TV, new batteries for my two dead watches, and some others. Then the stupid rain came and killed all hopes of that happening, because as soon as the skies darkened a humongous traffic jam happened almost instantly. It's like there was a switch I didn't know of.

My day is now seeing some semblance of productivity -- there's a shoot at Intramuros in a few hours and thank the L0rd God I was able to get me a photographer.

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In other news, our country's president had a boob job. Isn't she a delight?

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I saw Transformers and now I have a beard. Pure testosterone from Michael Bay. When the robots fight all I see are scraps of metal -- I don't know where Megatron ends and the Decepticon begins. And I almost cried when they destroyed the pyramids.

Megan Fox is a hoot. Who poses like that on a motorcycle in the middle of a talyer? Good thing she looks like a bimbo, because she is a bimbo.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Big Ass Burger


We just ate this badass burger earlier, and I'm still burping pickles and sesame seeds. I hadn't even finished my slice. Dubbed as the Big Bun Burger, it's available for P850++ at Bar One, Holiday Inn Galleria.

Not bad if divided among eight people.

Earlier in the evening I attended the opening of Heavy Mental, an art exhibit of Joey de Leon (the actor/comedian/TV host) and Igan d'Bayan (the writer) at the Crucible Gallery in Megamall. Because of the showbiz factor, there were a handful of showbiz personalities in attendance, and that means a lot of gawkers. I hate gawkers.

And because of the showbiz people, I got my picture taken with Dingdong Dantes, he with the unfortunate name but a face without pores. Seriously, he's like...ceramic. But I don't have a copy yet, remind me to pester that photographer who owes me food pictures from a restaurant review in Boracay.

It's a nice evening. For once.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Dog Ate my Entry

Previously on this blog...

The LC-A 25th Anniversary Party (Philippines) was held in Baguio last June 13, and this is the awesome awesome video courtesy of luisandthepolice. Thanks again Liana and family for hosting the party.




Currently showing:

I'm too lazy to write anything as the free time I've had over the weekend has crept over to Monday, and I'm still catatonic. I just want to read, sleep, eat, and repeat the whole cycle. But of course life's a bitch like that and I'm forced to snap out of it.

I went to a gig of Gab and Friends (known to the public as Parokya ni Edgar) at the 70's Bistro and it was jampacked with people, people who are so starstruck with them they even had their pictures taken with the band WHILE they were playing. I guess it's just another day for them. For the band, I mean. Sometimes I have a hard time reconciling the friend vs. the celebrity when I see them being mugged by fans. One even had his neck autographed. Really.

I think I have to sleep soon because the sun rises early and I can't sleep if it's too hot in the room, and I have a spa appointment (I have waited so long for this). It's summer again -- the weather didn't get the memo that it's already rainy season. Well, fine, sometimes it rains especially when I'm about to leave the house, but not when I need to sleep. I wake up feeling suffocated because of the heat.

This is a weird day, but ended in a high note.

P.S.: Hey you. I take back what I said about the Nike Dunks. I kinda want it now.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nuggets

I am taking an Internet break for a few days, as I've found myself to suddenly have a chunk of free time. I'm spending it with friends and a book. Oh god, a book. Or several. I missed reading so much I've schlepped a buttload of borrowed titles from Pam (she who got to spend ten grand on books).

So, I'm making a playlist, packing my things, and going to a birthday party. I hope I don't just sleep when we get to where we're going. Speaking of playlists, I'm trying to cram my Michael Jackson albums into my overloaded iPod last night, then I went to sleep and when I woke up my Facebook was drowning in "RIP Michael Jackson". I can't believe it. He cannot die. He's beyond being human now. A freak maybe but with a preternatural talent for music that made him an icon (I hate using this word but there's no other word for it) and have been imitated by many, whose dance steps were the foundation for all things Gary V and Justin Timberlake, and a lot more down the years.

(Trivia: MJ's Dirty Diana is Whitney Houston's Queen of the Night. Yes, I have just learned that because I find bliss in ignorance.)

And of course a Charlie's Angel is now an angel. Farrah Fawcett finally said goodbye to the world. She with the shag haircut, the bathingsuit picture, and an incredible smile. I don't know much about Ms. Fawcett as I do about MJ but nevertheless, may both their souls rest in peace. They won't be forgotten, that's for sure. Not when "Man in the Mirror" is on repeat.

I wonder what people would remember me for when I die.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Uhm, No.

I am currently obsessed with watching episodes upon episodes of that reality TV called Jon and Kate Plus 8. Jon and Kate is this couple who, after Kate was diagnosed with infertility, went ahead and had IVF procedure done. First they had twin girls, so yay. They wanted more children so they did IVF again, and oh my god did the universe ever grant their wish. Their second set of multiples was a six-child litter. They wanted value for money and effort and just after two pregnancies, they got eight children.

Watching them with eight kids makes my ovaries fold inward -- I don't know how they do it. I guess being parents they really have no choice, but attention-whores or not, it's a really difficult job. I know kids are wonderful and a blessing from God and all that jazz, but I'd prefer if they were doled one at a time. I mean, I've never been even left alone with either Abby or Joaquin for more than 10 minutes, except when they're asleep. My siblings know I freak out and they joke that would leave both kids in my care for a whole day.

Then you imagine 8 children under the age of 7 all running around screaming and fighting and making a mess. To me that's the equivalent of stuffing your face inside a blender then pressing Purify. Yes, the Gosselin kids are cute, but that's not the point.

I don't know how I would entertain Abby, or God forbid, calm her down when she throws a hissy fit for some trivial thing like her clothes touching her body. I can manage Joaquin for two hours tops, probably, he's easier to entertain like that. The main thing with him is he likes to hit people, get them to say ouch or any kind of sound that says "I am in pain". I made him face a wall once, but I get distracted when he calls me ever so sweetly.

I love them, but thank the Lord Almighty they have parents. I'll just be their Tita Ninang who regularly hands them date money.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cabin Fever

Since arriving from Baguio I hadn't had a chance to get out of the house until today. I camped out at the living room to work, and for four days I did everything on that couch -- work, eat, sleep, smoke, work, sleep -- until I was done. Now that couch has a permanent imprint of my ass and I can't say my roommate is happy about it.

I was going crazy inside the house. I faced my laptop for 16 hours at a time, and only saw my roommate and New Yaya during those four days. My other human interactions were done virtually, i.e. Facebook, Plurk, Twitter, Google Talk, and Yahoo Messenger. I was supposed to go out last night and finally see other human beings but I had to do revisions, then when I was done I was just too tired to go out. 

(Bruce is tired too, he wouldn't turn on this morning. My Sun broadband also wanted to rest, it's soooooo slow I was forced to [gasp] go to an internet cafe to send emails.)

So now I'm out of the house and chose the busiest coffee shop in the entire mall. I love people. Although strangers are not allowed to touch me.

Daddy, Papa, Dada, Father, Itay

One for the Books

By Ruby de Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 21:17:00 06/19/2009

MANILA, Philippines – There is one vivid memory I had of my childhood. I was probably six years old then, and we lived in Tagaytay before it was the tourist trap that it is now. I woke up disoriented, as it was dark inside the house. I remember I was about to cry for attention because I was alone in bed, but then I heard some music.


Read the whole article here, or on Saturday's issue of the Inquirer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Something's Birthday


happy birthday LCA!, originally uploaded by mey0r.

Over the long weekend Lomomanila trooped to Baguio for the 25th Anniversary of the LC-A, the flagship camera of the Lomo movement. It was a fun fun weekend, marred only by my injury, some ghosts, and a little rain.

We ate cake from LC-A plates and drank from LC-A cups, even had Lomo vodka shots in film canisters. For a place in Baguio, try PNKY along Leonard Wood road, it's a quaint place and you'll like the travel theme of the boutique hotel.

The party at VOCAS was awesome too, and another lomowall is up there like last year, but this time 8x10 pictures are mounted. Thanks to Tuesday and Liana for spearheading this event.


Photo by Jonas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When I Drank a Snake's Essence

I am so tired these past couple of days, because a deadline looms at me and threatens to shoot me between the eyes. I fall asleep everywhere - the couch, the dining table, on my laptop. I even fell asleep while Joaquin and I were watching Yo Gabba Gabba. I remember him shouting "Ninang!" a couple of times to wake me, and when that didn't prove effective he threw a bunch of flash cards on my face. I woke up an hour later with a card on my forehead.

I ran out of Berocca (my upper of choice) and resorted to strong cups of coffee every 2 hours but it's wreaking havoc on my stomach acids. The heartburns I suffer from drinking too much caffeine are enough to singe my eyebrows.

I was dozing off on the couch again, with my fingers still on the Delete button, when my ever perky roommate waltzed in asking me about the keys. Somewhere between wakefulness and sleep my brain tried to process it. Keys? What keys? It's tied to a snitch and it's flying and you have to use that broom to catch the keys. Then a little kitten appeared and kicked me on my sprained ankle (which has begun to swell belatedly) and I woke up.

She's asking whether I had the house keys duplicated, and of course I haven't yet and my god I have a deadline and isn't it more important than the house keys? Of course I didn't say all these aloud because she might confiscate my key. I just told her no, not yet. Then she just made conversation while drinking this strange liquid from a bottle with a straw.

"What's that?"
"It's Cobra, an energy drink."
"Can it wake me up?"
"Definitely."

So I sent New Yaya to get me three bottles of the stuff because I'm looking at a straight 24-hour workday. It was cold and urine-colored, then I took a sip.

And it was like drinking bottled hell. If any of you remember Esvimin, that multivitamin syrup in the 80s, the one that my parents made me take every single night and made me think I was swallowing liquified Disgust -- mix it with some carbonated water and you get Cobra.

It woke me up all right. I'm still trying not to throw up, and I think my stomach is also protesting. I am going to the toilet right about now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Ultimate Knockout



Lomomanila in cooperation with Diesel presents a series of lomowalls at all Diesel branches. Ours is up at the Diesel Shangri-La Mall branch. It features people getting knocked out with varied instruments. Me, I chose a rolling pin.