about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Have you guys made any friends over the Internet? I know I have.

I once wrote a letter for Electronic Gaming Monthly about women gamers not being given enough credit. I think it appeared in August 2000. Unexpectedly, I began to receive all these e-mail letters from people I hardly knew --- mostly Americans. Almost all of them thought that I was female. Looking back, I bet they were looking for an easy girl just because I happened to write to EGM.

One of them was different though --- one of them was an actual game girl from Cincinnati. Let's just call her Sarah.

We began writing each other over the course of months about anything at all --- what games we wanted, what we were doing over the summer, what we were busy with, how things were with her boyfriend. Looking back, I still have to ask myself what she thought of little old Filipino me. Eventually we "moved on to better things" --- the last letter I sent her was dated this June. Never got a reply from her since.

The Internet is quite a bad place for getting to know total strangers. I know there are all these common-interest sites --- you know, those like PinoyExchange or MSN Chat where you get to meet people who happen to be in the same college as you are, or those who you agree with on trivial things such as shades or shoes --- designed to bring all us strangers together. But they can only go so far as to initiate contact. Both parties have to be mutually interested in keeping tabs with each other.

It's funny how something that brings people together isn't working as well as it should.
I feel mighty fine. I can repeat my seven laps of jogging after all. Why don't I exercise more? It's about time I felt really good about myself.
DLSU won the UAAP championship for the fourth time. But I gotta say that Ateneo rookie, LA Tenorio, frightened the shit out of me. He was too damn good. If only the Archers guarded his reverse lay-up more...Ateneo wouldn't have had such a runaway lead.

What am I blabbering about? The only thing that matters is that we won. Go for Five, Archers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

In thirty minutes the historic battle between Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University commences in a winner-take-all match. Can't wait...although I have to watch at home, seeing that Araneta Coliseum tickets sold like hot pandesal. Oh well. :(
Someone named King replied to my decidedly anti-Ateneo post a couple of days back. Yeah, I have to admit that what I posted on this site wasn't really nice (and not all Ateneo people are actually bastards like I said so).

But even then...I take a lot of pride in my school. Hehehe. Animo La Salle.

Peace, dude. It's nice knowing that school pride is still alive after all...
It's only been a couple of months since I was granted permission to drive myself to school, but so far I've gotten to this conclusion: I live to drive. I love driving. Give me any car with a stick shift and I'll rev it along the highway.

Heheheh. To think I haven't watched "The Fast and the Furious" yet. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2001

I've always wanted a way to know how many people actually read my honest not-so-spiritual outpourings online. So I decided to leave you guys a way to comment on what I've been blabbering about. Just click on the ( Comments ) button next to each post. Thanks. I'm hoping to hear from all of you soon enough.
We were at my grandma's house at Caloocan this afternoon, just as we go there every couple of weeks. A cousin of mine just gave birth to her new daughter a couple of weeks back and this was the first time I saw the new family member.

Whenever I look at kids and babies, I am amazed at how darned cute they are. I try cheering them up to no avail. I've never been good around kids... A bigger concern of mine, though, is that at my age I am fully capable of having sex with a woman and (accidentally) giving her a baby. Yet I don't have the slightest idea of how to raise my own children, let alone be a good uncle/older cousin to my juvenile delinquent relatives.

Maybe that's a big reason why I haven't courted any girls and wooed them into having painful unprotected sex with me. Call me a sex-starved loser, but at least give my brains and sensibility some credit.
I've gotten really sick of Internet ads --- especially those which pop out of nowhere just when you visit a site. Suddenly a conflagration of consoles and new windows interrupts your browsing experience.

Even though I absolutely love advertising (it's what I plan to have as my job), I hate using the Internet as a medium. It's so intrusive. I prefer good old radio, television and print ads. There's actually a challenge to keep your audience's attention especially to print ads. Radio ads here in the Philippines have gotten very good as of late. TV ads are a mixed bag.
I receive a lot of spam e-mail from my friends and blockmates --- often those which have been forwarded so many times that the forwarded-to lists are longer than the messages themselves. Some of them, especially those that come with cool Flash attachments, are gems I keep on my overloaded 4GB hard drive. Most of them, however, are trivial things I dispose of right away, despite the warnings of my having "bad luck" if I delete them into oblivion.

It gets me to wonder: What has happened to e-mail nowadays? People say it's the most popular and most widely used Internet service, and I understand how cool it is to send a remote friend a simple/not-so-simple message, with an attached file or two, in seconds. But seriously, I detest having to use e-mail only to forward and receive countless pieces of trash. I use e-mail mainly to have my projects printed somewhere else, write my friends letters, meet new people on PinoyExchange.com and send anime reviews to Animetric.com. I forward only the spam I find really interesting, and even then I do so only occasionally.

I have owned a total of four e-mail addresses my entire life. Two of those I enrolled to personally. One came with my high school, De La Salle Zobel (it's expired now I think), and the other one came with my enrollment into DLSU (which I never use).

Just a call to e-mail addicts: Please limit your spam. Most of the time it ISN'T funny.

Friday, October 12, 2001

ANIMO LA SALLE!

These three words are the most popular cheer of my school. To many, it's the unbridled proof of the show of school pride, as droves of people pour into the Araneta Coliseum through scraped cars, overpriced tickets and whatnot to support the De La Salle men's basketball team in the UAAP games. But upon entering college, I begin to realize that those three words mean nothing but shit. They're not really cheering for the school's greater glory. They're cheering because they want a break!

Unlike many students of De La Salle University, I was also a student of De La Salle Zobel back in grade school and high school. Hence, the words "Animo La Salle" and "school pride" actually mean something to me. When our team wins in the UAAP games, I'm not jubilant simply because the administrators of DLSU promised to suspend classes the next day. I watch the games and I cheer for my team because I want my school to do its best under pressure. I want DLSU to beat the living crap out of those arrogant Ateneo bastards.

It's actually sad getting to college seeing that school pride isn't as important as it was back in my childhood. Perhaps I'm simply a jaded idealist. I guess I forgot that in college, grades and a cumulative GPA are the bottom line...
This week seems so fast. I feel like it's still Wednesday when it's actually Friday right now. Maybe that's the effect of studying in great old DLSU.
Hello and good day to those who stumble upon reading this page. I feel strangely happy for some reason. And no, it's not because I drove some inane individuals out of my life forever...I'm actually a compassionate person...

Thursday, October 11, 2001

Okay...violent mode OFF...

Sigh...What do I want in a woman? What do I want in a prospective girlfriend?

Right now I honestly still don't know. One thing hasn't changed though: I am still helpless and raring to date "impossible" girls. They're all too beautiful not to be taken.
I'm thinking about moving out of my house as soon as possible, i.e. the instant I get out of college with my degrees in Communication Arts and Marketing Management. I feel like taking a long-deserved break from my parents' narrow-minded inanity.

I'm an evil son, ain't I? Au contrare, my friends. I've been as fucking obedient as I could be. Now cut me some slack!
I betcha my parents wouldn't call it anything special. God damnit, appreciate me for once!
At Physical Education (PE) class today, I managed to run 7 laps around the Sports Center oval in 6 minutes flat. I was supposed to finish in 8 minutes. Pretty good for someone who doesn't jog nor exercise that much. I felt elated. I felt invincible. But my lungs felt like burnt rope afterward.

I think I wanna do it again. :)
For those who read this and think this is simply a smattering of lies: Let me tell you that every one of my thoughts posted on this page is based on real-life experiences.

So yes, my parents are as bad as I write about them. It's not simply my rebellious nature...my parents really are the craziest a person can get. Simply forgetting to say "Thank you" after you've done so countless times before is subject to a full berating.

"Don't you appreciate that you have a car to drive and that you get free parking...?!" Why was it that when I helped clean the car last Saturday, you never even bothered to say "Thank you" to me then? It's a simple instance of forgetting...why can't you simply let it go LIKE I DID?

My parents have this eye for criticizing EVERYTHING I do "wrong." Nothing I do is ever right or satisfactory to them. Not even the fact that I got on the freaking Dean's List on my first term in college.

I guess that's why I have friends in the first place...I sorely need to be appreciated. With them, at least, I can take comfort in the fact that I am actually worth something. That my life is actually worth living.
A little hello goes out to my blockmate Zerissa Yulo. Thanks for keeping me company (and amusing me in conversation) during that horrible traffic jam this evening.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

I feel strangely drained of things I want to type. Oh well. Maybe it's because I felt a little better today, now that most of my tension is gone.
That's okay, I get to drive myself to school four school days out of six, anyway. Who cares if I'm actually driving my mom's car?
I just read this week's issue of 2bu! in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. They featured cars and teenage driving this week. I could only drool after my two dream superminis, the Nissan Verita and the Toyota Echo/Yaris.

Is it getting so blatantly obvious that I'm a car freak? Heheheh...

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

I should ease off on Internet usage. I've eaten half my family's allotted hours in just 9 days. Bad.
I got so spooked that when a blockmate of mine called for an assignment I could only answer him with a series of "uh-huhs."

I am scared of my parents. They are the sort of people I can never answer back to, even though I and others in my home know that they are very wrong. I am scared especially of my father. He will never, at any circumstances, accept his own mistakes. He will never back down from arguments even though he has nothing valid to retort further. And, given the chance of getting in a tight spot, he will not hesitate to resort to force.

I am scared of myself. Given enough agitation and a hot enough head, I can actually be my father's spawn. I inherited his temper and his arrogant self-righteousness. One thing prevents me from fully following his example however: my fear for the people I call my friends.

I don't know if it's any justification, but this is the reason why I opted to be a doormat, used and abused by other people. I wanted to contain my rash, impulsive character. Sadly, it's only leading me to self-destruction---and worse, I'm getting people I care about into my messes. I'm still getting tantrums and episodes of anger badly hidden by my silent, serious frowning face.
It's weird how cheesy music can calm my frayed nerves. I'm forced into listening to these 1980s ballads and I strangely feel better. WEIRD.

Or maybe it's because I'm typing my chemistry lab report in a PC rental store. Oh well...
I'm inviting other (REAL) friends who read this to post here too. Give me an e-mail at sakurai@edsamail.com.ph if you're interested.
I feel really angry. Just as I praised my blockmates the other day, I quickly realize how a lot of them are actually users.

Is it really my fault that I get into situations with users all my life? To think that I've been into similar situations so many times before...you'd think I'd already learned my lessons way back in high school. Am I so naive that I don't realize that people only befriend me as a convenient power tool until it's too damned late? Why can't I simply lash out and yell out how idiotic people around me are?

Maybe I'm simply masochistic. Or maybe (God forbid) I'm simply too darn nice for my own good.

Monday, October 08, 2001

Gee, I sure do post fast. I'm surprising myself.
Some shout-outs going to Pam Pastor and Paolo "Kwapaw" Lacdao. Thanks.

Also, my great blockmates in LC24. I would've posted a link to our block webpage here, but it's a members-only MSN Community page, and I don't control access to it (someone else does), so tough luck...
This term we have a subject called International Studies (INSTUDI for short). It's one of those subjects where a professor can solely either keep students' attention or lose it forever.

Since I have this knack for history, I initially thought that this subject would be okay. It's not a prerequisite, but since I'm in the College of Liberal Arts I have no choice but to slug it out this term. It turns out I'm beginning to hate INSTUDI. Who in his/her right mind would stand a professor who assigns readings every meeting and DOESN'T discuss any of the said readings in class? Our prof doesn't teach. She merely squeezes what we have read from her sources whenever she meets with us.

College has been an eye-opener for me, that's for sure. I now realize that there are college professors which are such a total waste of time that they simply guess your final grade. To think that I could've learned about these so-called "educators" in high school...
I've always been curious of how real boyfriend-girlfriend relationships work. Especially so because I've never been in one before. Wondering about relationships can only take me so far though.

I remember a conversation I had with my blockmate Leika San Juan. Our Anthropology professor was listening to other blockmates of mine reporting on different theoretical orientations of anthropology...stuff which doesn't stoke my fancy. It so happened we were seated next to each other. In time we talked about a lot of things. The conversation casually shifted to that of Leika asking, "May girlfriend ka na ba?"

I said no. "Never."

She was incredulous and bewildered, as if I wasn't normal. I raised my eyebrows. "Uh, what's so wrong with that?"

She simply couldn't believe that a guy like me had never been into a relationship before. True, I'd had crushes on so many girls, but a relationship? Never.

At that time, Leika had broken up with her boyfriend. She talked about how deceptive relationships could be. It's the usual thing that every high school guy or girl wants. I think she admitted to getting into a relationship simply because everyone else was doing it. At first it was nice, conveniently having someone to watch over and be mindful of her. Slowly, however, things turned sour. (I'd rather not get into the details.) The last thing that she told me on the subject was to avoid relationships, at least for now. They're not worth the trouble.

I'm eighteen years old, turning nineteen in February. Leika is currently sixteen and she's had one failed relationship. At first I was embarrassed, making my way into college without even having a girl to call my lover. After our conversation, though, I feel sort of...lucky.
Just an observation: I gotta wonder what it is with women nowadays. I don't have any idea why they feel so empowered to bitch around and act upon their periods. I don't think it's solely because of this whole "women's lib" and feminism thing though.

While on the subject, I also have to wonder what it is with men nowadays. They're so weak! They'd do almost anything to give in to women's whims. It's as if the world's suddenly turned around and dictated: If it were not for men's sperm cells, there wouldn't be a need for men at all.

I noticed this all by watching TV sitcoms, movies and college people. Women tend to forget that men are humans too. Men tend to forget that they deserve a break.

Okay, violent mode OFF...
It's weird. Just when everything seems to be happy and all, this thing called loneliness suddenly strikes behind your back and leaves you miserable.

I've tried understanding why "loneliness attacks" keep coming at me every so often...I've been doing this "studying" for about five years. After five years I still don't understand why it does. True, I seem to be a very well-off chap, compared to the beggars which pester us DLSU students every day along Taft Avenue. But I still feel kind of lonely. Why, damnit, why?

Lately I've been trying to be careful about how I act around my friends. They tend to misinterpret what I feel for something else. There's gotta be somewhere out there who'd understand how I feel though...

Sunday, October 07, 2001

I have to leave you guys now...my sister has to use the computer...
I cleaned our cars' engines with my mom and dad today. I never thought cleaning engines would be such hard work...and then I suddenly realized that all that was needed was to let the detergent do its job for a few minutes. Just hose the grease afterwards, and repeat when the grime's still there...thank God for Joy detergent...

We bought a second-hand 1999 Honda City just this weekend. It was bought to replace our aging 1992 Toyota Corolla, which has been through a lot of things. The Corolla's the car I drive most often, since it's only recently that I got my driver's license (but I've been driving long before that).

It's rather hard to think of saying farewell to this neat car. It's old and it shows it. The suspension's gone low because of tired coil springs; sometimes the chassis scrapes through the pavement going over humps. The clutch's beginning to slip through the gears---sometimes power doesn't go to the wheels ASAP. The air conditioner's been temperamental sometimes. But overall, my mom and I still love the car and hate the thought of letting it go. It's a great car with gobs of power when you need it...and it drives really well...hmmm...

We supposedly cleaned and washed the Corolla to make a good impression on potential buyers. I didn't expect, however, that the car would be making an impression on me. Sigh...
Ever since I came to De La Salle University last June, the beggars in and around the University Mall (UM) and the Vito Cruz LRT station have been a regular sight. They lie on the station stairs, tap on the glass windows of the Taft branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and wander around Taft Avenue, waiting to salvage any monetary amount of kindness extended to them.

I know I should empathize with these poor fellows and hand them some cash, but I usually don't. I hate the fact that once you give them your loose change, they'll be expecting you to do the same thing whenever you're around. It's irritating. For many of these people, there's no clear demarcation between generosity and extortion. I still feel that I should do something for them however. I guess that's guilt acting inside of me then...
[...kssshhhhht, kshhhhhht...He....llo, hello...mike test, mike...test...]

Am I on air? Oh, really? Uh, um...okay.

Welcome to my crazy little world. I've wanted to do something like this for the longest time. I was just being cautious because I thought maybe this wasn't a guy thing to do, but screw what other people think; I'm in college anyway...

Perhaps an introduction is in order. I am Juan Miguel de Leon, a male college student. People call me JM for short, and I am an active member of the PinoyExchange forums (I log on as shun_sakurai). That's basically all anyone has to know about me. In time I suppose people will know more about who I am, how I think and why I even decided to be here.

So thanks for being my first ever audience.