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.

Friday, May 31, 2002

This afternoon I collected what was due me from the old guy who crashed into my bumper. Trouble was, though, he paid just PhP2,000, which wasn't the amount I had in mind (PhP4,000 was more like it). Good thing Papa knew of a repair shop that was willing to charge PhP1,500 for the damage.

I'm still green with these things. I still have zero street smarts.

This term, we have this subject called PETWODA. It's supposed to stand for Physical Education 2: (Ballroom) Dancing, but somehow we got something so weird that we wonder how it managed to fit into the PE program in the first place. We got "Social Recreation." In short, we were going to plan parties. Uh-huh. Strange things happen in college, indeed.

There's this guy on television whom Bianca claims to have seen on almost every major game show. I wonder how much money this crazy guy's won already. "Why don't you join in game shows yourselves?" Papa told us. "With the money they offer you could buy a car...and you wouldn't have to run after a PhP2,000 debtor!" It seems like a good idea, since I know a lot of trivia, but maybe there's truth to the adage "easy come, easy go."

I've been dreaming of owning a garage full of the best Japanese cars, the inevitable result of being immersed with car magazines these past five months and a healthy chunk of my summer spent on Gran Turismo 2. I lust after rally machines (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII, Subaru Impreza WRX), hot hatches (Honda EP3 Civic Type R), supercars (Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R, Toyota Supra RZ, Nissan S15 Silvia) and the ridiculously small k-cars (Mitsubishi Pajero Mini Turbo, Subaru Vivio RX-R and the cute Honda Beat convertible). It's a shame most of these cars are unavailable here in the Philippines, save for the PhP2.1 million Impreza WRX and the gray-market Lancer Evo VII (I was lucky enough to see a red one parked along a Buendia car seller).

Then again, I'm not really stuck with the worst car on the planet. When I think about it, my little runabout -- a second-hand blue 1999 Honda City 1.5 -- is actually a go-kart with four short doors, seating for four and a trunk, which is pretty practical. That little steering wheel makes cornering the car a joy. The tricky spring-loaded clutch takes getting used to, though, and so does that stick shift, which sometimes refuses to go into reverse. The low hood gives the best visibility of any car I've tried; you can even see the dust on the road with it. The non-VTEC engine doesn't accelerate the quickest but has good grunt (Autocar Asean Edition claims 103 horsepower), and it's brought me to a top speed of 145 km/h along the Skyway, which I am ill-advised to surpass since cops might flag me down this time. Economy's great too, since it's kept a consistent 9 km/L in city traffic (it really is a CITY car).

Not minding the dents and the scratches from the crash, I think my City's a good car for a bargain price -- PhP325,000. I could drool for the performance and practicality mix of the 215 hp EP3 Civic Type R, but I'm just happy I have my blue car.

Monday, May 27, 2002

While on the way to school I got into an accident. Was driving through a clear intersection along Estrada St. when someone suddenly hung a left turn and hit my left rear bumper. Shocking, but I was okay. The Honda's still okay, but it now has a lot of long white scratches and a shallow dimple in the sheet metal.

When we pulled over to the side to talk matters over, I even stepped on dog shit while getting out of the car. Yuck. When I got to school I immediately used rocks to scrape it off and used a janitor's mop and alcogel to clean my left shoe. (Thank God for alcogel...it's being sold in sachets in DLSU.)

The culprit was an old guy from nearby Malate. Claims he was distracted by a nearby noisy ambulance which passed him by. Didn't see me coming through. Wasn't too angry with him though, because he was quick to admit that it was his fault.

I just hope he stays true to his word.

Friday, May 24, 2002

This feels like one of those days when I'm invariably feeling stupid or tactless. Nothing I say or do comes out quite right. Perhaps it's just because I'm actually a little nervous of how things will be when class starts.

There are those things which are extraordinary the first few times one sees, hears or experiences them. All too soon however, familiarity begins to set in and robs us of all that is remarkable about those things, leaving them mundane and overplayed. I just can't seem to get through that trap. I guess this is my curse. I'm just too bland and boring.

Dug up something from Pam's blog. I bet this information's going to be a real find for people who hate me. Here goes.

three things that scare you:
the sight of internal organs
the thought that maybe life has no purpose

three things that make you laugh:
Jay Leno
hearing other people laughing -- it's contagious

three things you love:

three things you hate:
making others angry

three things you don't understand:
Filipinos' irritating traits and their persistence

three things on your desk:
sketch pad
mechanical pencil
my very old boombox

right now you are:
seriously bored
longing to be bugged by a friend
a little drowsy

three facts about you:
I'm esoteric (thanks to JM IbaƱez for that one)
I'm shy around new people
I brood

three things you plan to do before you die:
formally learn how to play drums
keep my future wife happy
buy and drive a Subaru Impreza WRX...but that's worth PhP2.1 million :(

three things you can do:
operate a 1977 Nikon FM manual camera -- at least it's a bit unique
do magazine layouts

three things you can't do:
stay motivated for long
keep a cool head

three famous people you want to meet:
Michael Schumacher -- I want to beat his face to a pulp
Zhang Zi Yi, just for kicks
the guys of Hoobastank

top 3 songs you currently like:
Lamb's "Gorecki" -- original and remix
Hoobastank's "To Be With You"
The Dawn's "Talaga Naman"

top 3 things that turn you on about your sex of choice:

top 3 movies you watch all the time:
"Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?" -- easily my fave Filipino movie
"The Hunt for Red October"

top 3 things you say the most:
"easy lang"

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Adjustment was a total bitch yesterday due to that island-wide blackout. Woke up at 5 am to get to school only to stand in line for seven hours waiting for a server which had not enough power for its client PCs to begin with.

At least I don't have to return tomorrow and try my luck once again. My parents seem to be okay with my sked. They've pitched in with fetching Bianx, swapping with me every week. Wow, they cut me some slack this time...

Having my right wisdom tooth pulled next Saturday. Just when school starts, I have to deal with all the hassle and bleeding of my damn wisdom tooth. Bad, bad timing.

Monday, May 20, 2002

To prevent hurting anyone's feelings with my random outbursts of anger, frustration and inferiority, I guess I'll just go to sleep.
Was finally able to talk to my best friend Paolo "Kwapaw" Lacdao, after what seemed to be an eternity apart from each other. College does that I guess, even if you study in the same university.

I say the guy has his busy summer better than I have. Yes, he has work and he's the sports editor of The Lasallian (which they're planning to turn into a magazine in 3 years), but the important thing is that he has fun, he actually meets people and he enjoys what he does. Heck, the guy's had a new girlfriend. Me? Kwapaw put it best: "You're still alone?"

Listening to his tales makes me somehow apprehensive. Listening to him makes me suddenly hungry for the presence of tangible friends, no matter how inadequate they might seem, not just those I meet online and never otherwise. I feel like I somehow wasted my summer -- all that short respite away from school. I feel upset. I know I can't just blame it on numerous failed plans to go to South Pasadena, to watch the Spider-Man premiere, etc. I simply don't have the drive and initiative I should've had, most especially while I'm on vacation.

It's the fucking most critical time of the year and yet I have no drive. Everyone my age is celebrating life while I'm stuck in this fishbowl. Why?! Goddamned fucking why?!

I'm going to DLSU to have my freaking schedule adjusted once and for all. Suddenly that last week from school seems so far away. Forget the promises my friends made with me, invitations to do things before my vacation was up. It's practically up, goddamn it. Where the hell were you?

I guess Panjee Tapales-Lopez was right after all. I gotta grow up. Naivete is just making me a disillusioned idealist. Fear is making me a prisoner of failure. I feel like throwing away the computer and my cell phone in frustration, but I can't. They're not exactly mine to throw away.

I feel so helpless.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

I've been burning my cell phone's text credits these past couple of weeks, but I don't mind very much. I've kept company with new people along the way and I'm glad my phone isn't just for emergencies anymore.

I know it's a risk exposing my identity and personality to practical strangers, but somehow I haven't been struck by the misfortune of blending in bad company. The whole experience has made me a little more adventurous and sociable, even only through electronic means. Even though Panjee Tapales-Lopez wrote in last week's Philippine Star that the only tangible relationships are those founded on trust and personal acquaintance (and consequently not those founded in the one-dimensional field of e-mail or text), I've been lucky enough to meet people online and off --- and somehow make a good friendship, or at least a functional acquaintance.

A Cynthia Alexander song somehow came to mind while I was thinking about this:
I have seen/ I have been to places far and deep/ in my mind/ Only to find/ Comfort in your strangeness...

I've been talking to friends and blockmates (they shall remain anonymous -- I respect their privacy) who've had philandering fathers that can't quite keep their commitment to their original families. Some of these fathers are staying with other women; others have another family to tend, not leaving the original family what is due them; still others even have many families with which they have sired children with. Listening to their stories makes my own problems with my dad feel miniscule and mundane.

People say that there are more women than men in this world. My dad used to tell me it was two girls to one guy (that was back in his day, thirty years ago). In college alone, there are only 6 of us guys in my block of 42. Maybe it's denying the doctrine of nature for us males (I hear it's to have as much sex and sire as many children as possible), but I don't see the point of leaving families, children, spouses and other such commitments behind.

Maybe it's the effect of all these women's lib/feminism movements and "girl power" statements, but sometimes I don't see the point of being male at all. We're lazy, lethargic, lying creatures. Most of us don't know how to swallow our own pride, myself included. Most of all, it seems the sole biological purpose of our existence is to impregnate women. Hearing all these stories about philandering fathers and incestuous uncles makes me wonder so. We don't even do a good job of rearing children -- almost universally it's the moms who get that credit, unless the dads are single parents.

Don't even get me started on how humans are supposed to perpetuate without men -- human cloning's almost around the corner. I watched the anime VanDread a couple of months ago, and it explored the idea of men and women living in separate worlds in the future. Baby boys were essentially cloned and mixed up in machines, while women had families consisting of parents ('Homme,' the egg donor, and 'Femme,' the pregnant mom). After watching the scenario, I would say the women were better off.

I know my line of thinking right now's rather sexist (actually, it's sexist in reverse -- Webster's says sexism favors men), but this is just what I've been thinking. You guys don't even have to agree with me.

Thanks so much Pam. Good luck on your gig tomorrow.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Just when I finally felt like blogging, the power trips on my computer and deletes the post I was typing ten minutes ago. Damn. Have to start over.

Quoted from Blogger's news page:
U.S. News: "One vote here in favor of the blogging revolution. Bloggers (from the words 'Web log') write online diaries and commentaries. The best bloggers weigh in on social and political issues, report nuggets of information that the national media miss or suppress, and provide links to other bloggers with something sharp to say."

When I set up this blog back in October of last year, I never intended it to be nerve-wracking and all so serious. I never intended my blog to be the best, much less the most famous. I believe I've posted only one thought-provoking and intellectual post here, and that was back in January. Had I possessed greater proficiency with HTML and all its idiosyncratic protocols, I would've learned to do so much with my plain-vanilla blog. Had I learned to put up a Web counter to know just how many people visit this little page regularly, I won't be surprised if I return just a mundane number of hits. Just how many people know me anyway, as myself or as my online alter-ego?

I'm happy with my blog just as it is. Granted, if Web page layout were as easy as using Adobe PageMaker or InDesign, I would've relied less on Blogspot's templates and created my own very slick-but-static page. (Then again, there's that Java and Flash/Shockwave bullshit I have to contend with. Not willing to learn that anymore.) But I'm cool.

This page has been something meaningful to me and to my closest friends. It soothes me from my unhealthy constant hunger for attention. People I've never even met in person have written to me about my less-than-rational thoughts, some criticizing, some praising, some simply forgetting that my page possesses a certain Blogspot URL. The dearest people to me actually know what I'm doing because of it.

Okay, enough about that. I'll shut up.

Pam texted me just as my mom's friends were over for a little lunch party here.

Normally people avoid texting me unless it's something they need or have to tell me, so my cell phone is usually extraneous and just there for emergency purposes. As time passed, though, we were talking about a lot of things -- watching the Karate Kid over Coyote Ugly, her appointment with her orthodontist, my hyperacidic stomach remedied by green tea, and how Matt LeBlanc used to be a personal obsession. Before I knew it, we'd spent twelve intermittent hours texting each other...and that is a personal first.

All summer long, I've been chasing my high school and college friends for just a little uninterrupted chat on the phone, and I've largely been either left out cold or on the wrong trail(s)/phone number(s). I wonder how much more boring my summer might have turned out if I hadn't had Pam as my friend. Thanks a lot, Ate. It really means a lot. Given the chance, I would really hug you.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Bianca enrolled into DLSU two days ago. The whole process didn't take too long (thank God), apart from waiting for the tuition fee receipts. Impressive, considering so many people enrolled into the College of Liberal Arts.

However I think her schedule's ridiculous. She starts classes at 7 am and leaves by 11:40 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I have classes starting at 2 pm ending at 6 pm on the same days. Blech. Since I'm driving Bianca to school, there's a big problem. At least our Tuesday/Thursday schedules are in sync.

I've been thinking of coming to school early and exercising while waiting for my classes to start, but that's very impractical and exhausting. By the time I attend my classes I may as well be asleep in my class armchair. I'm now thinking of adjusting my MWF schedule to suit Bianca's.

Nothing's final yet though. Still have two more weeks until adjustment period. I just hope there are enough slots for morning classes.

I haven't been able to thank you properly, but I'm absolutely grateful to you, Ate Pam. I know I usually ramble on about the most mundane things (especially now that it's the boring summer season), but thanks for bothering to reply to me. Means a lot.

Friday, May 03, 2002

I remember joining my classmate's FlipBlogs webring for Filipino bloggers. When I initially registered it required all members to update their blogs at least once every week...hmmm...looks like I'm out of there...

But seriously, there are reasons why I haven't updated my little journal as of late. Most prominent would be the FTP space I'd be wasting just telling the whole world that I'm a bored bum on my summer vacation, doing nothing but check my e-mail and play video games. Repeat ad nauseam.

When that Otakuboard EB happened, I seriously thought things would be looking up for this bored imp. I was actually getting out of my suburban residence. Looks like my affair with Otakuboard was rather short-lived too. Two days after the EB, OB's host found our board very resource-heavy and had no choice but to drop us. Good thing one of the members had a spare ezBoard, billed as the temporary OB.

Since then, I feel things have been going downhill. Bea, the OB administrator, has had the worst luck, having a virus wipe out her hard disk and around 10% of important OB site files. The temporary OB isn't as active as the original, to add to the "downhill" nature of things. Gello was planning a Spider-Man movie EB later this month, but it seems a lot of people can't go.

Oh well. Back to my couch and my PlayStation. :(

Speaking of my PlayStation, I believe I've played the snot out of most of my games. The games I haven't played yet, I dread playing. Seems I've had my fill of video games for a while...until I get new ones at least...heheheh. Whatever. I'm just bored! I wanna go somewhere!

Yesterday I drove Bianca to my pulmonologist to have her X-rays taken. DLSU needed it for her enrollment. Rather bored herself, she suggested that we go shopping at Robinsons Place in Ermita, not far from school.

Lots of hang-ups on the way there. Initially I forgot my charging cell phone, so upon leaving the village we turned back for it. Then we turned back on a traffic-laden Service Road to change cars, since my Honda City wasn't permitted that day due to traffic reduction. Was rather averse to taking the big white Kia Pregio van, because I didn't drive it often and I felt like I'd bump into something or someone every five minutes.

Anyway, Robinsons Place was okay, but I'd rather make sure that I always drive my sister there. Ermita isn't exactly the safest part of Manila. Managed to buy blue Girbaud sneakers for PhP900 -- an absolute steal, considering most stores had them for PhP1,500 to PhP2,500. Bianx bought a leather belt and a leather Girbaud bag. I really wish I was out more often. I wouldn't even mind the traffic...whoops. I'd rather not say things I don't mean...heheheh.