about the talking fish

My photo
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.

Monday, December 24, 2001

What an evil, jaded old fart I am. In the spirit of keeping peace with things, I'd just like to greet you all a happy Christmas.
Christmas has been in the air for longer than I've noticed. Tomorrow's already Christmas Day, and yet I feel as if I'm stuck somewhere around December 1st.

Ever since high school came, Christmas for me is without its usual overload of anticipation and sentimentality. Perhaps it's because I've outgrown the entire package of chilly days, ridiculous decorations of Christmas trees and mistletoe (because the Philippines is a tropical country), and the tireless spending, shopping and wrapping of gifts to give. Or perhaps it's simply because I've been too busy to notice the fictitious but grand regalia slowly being put up around me. Or maybe it's because, for a CHRISTIAN celebration, Christmas --- that oxymoronic monstrosity of extravagance disguised as a poor kid's simple birthday --- is held on a PAGAN holiday.

Or because I've become too jaded with the romanticized, idealized vision of Christmas as a universal feast where everyone temporarily forgets their problems in a sumptuous noche buena dinner and a pile of torn gift wrappers. Corollarily, it's because many not-so-lucky people don't celebrate Christmas with the same metropolitan excess of extravagance and luxury. They don't have fiesta ham and chicken pastel for noche buena; instead their meager feast consists of sardines, tuna and rice from relief operations.

Whatever the reason...maybe I don't look at Christmas the same way I used to because I grew up and developed a conscience.

Friday, December 14, 2001

I have a little archive of all these entries in the "Youngblood" column of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I've been interested in what people around my age have had to say about their own complicated lives. I started collecting and retyping these articles around 1999, and the last one I encoded was just the other day's issue.

My collecting these relevant articles is just a reminder to myself that other people out there who are my age share and sometimes have worse problems than I have. They share what I think about idiosyncratic things. In short, "Youngblood" reminds me that I am not alone.

If there's anyone who wants a copy of what I've archived so far, just e-mail me a request.
Finally got a heart-to-heart talk with Erik. I promised him I wouldn't share any details, but I'm just glad we understand each other.
Wow, the second term's practically over. We just finished our three finals exams today. I feel like I can finally rest a bit after all the insanity of the second term.

When I look at my third-term EAF (that's basically my schedule and payment form at La Salle), I can't help but think about how different my subjects seem in comparison with the second. This term, we were practically library rats doing research or looking for readings on the Cold War and international trade. Next term, we're going to be aspiring accountants and algebraic number-crunchers. What a paradigm shift. It's unsettling.

Sunday, December 02, 2001

It was Den's debut later that evening, in a quaint little restaurant called Barbara's in Intramuros. It meant that I had to borrow my dad's trusty old pinstripe blazer again, since I don't have any suits in my closet.

To my surprise, only a few of my blockmates --- Tristan, Erik, Angel, Anna, Leia, Chab and Rachel --- came to the event. I was pretty sure Den invited more of us. I suppose it really didn't matter; we were there for her and that's all that mattered. We were one noisy table, mainly dabbling with Chab's relationship with her boyfriend and what the girls planned to say during their turn at the "18 candles" part. Erik kept his phone company. He was lonely for some reason. I'd rather not get involved; he might just feel worse.

At the debut I finally got to meet Sean, Denise's "infamous" brother (all I knew of him before was based on her squabble stories), and he was responsible for the video presentation that evening. That was my first glimpse of Den's childhood. Knowing her bubbly and naughty personality, I wondered why most of the pictures used in the video never showed her smiling as a kid. Hmmm...

Later on Den's mom made her impromptu speech. Her relationship with Denise reminded me of my own relationship with my mom...but no, my mom and I don't get along that well. I also got to meet some of Den's childhood friends from CSA through Mel...but I don't think I made much of a good impression on them. I was tired by then, and great as the debut was, I despised the "dance" music played by the amateur DJs. (Sorry.)

Midnight came and I had to leave. For something Denise called a haphazardly planned debut, it was fine for the most part. Happy 18th birthday, Denise.
Just had a very busy Saturday.

We had our Field Day for ROTC. That basically means all of us special units joined in six games. I joined in tug-o-war and I was exhausted afterwards. My palms had rope burns. Our unit, the Navigators, placed second overall. Not too bad...

After that I had to fetch my sister and buy my gift for Denise's debut. That included lots of side trips around Glorietta, since Bianca saw a lot of little trinkets she fancied. She was a big help in selecting my gift, actually.