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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

My dad left for golf this morning with another one of his "JM, please read this!" articles. This one was particularly about marketing and how to swoon Juan dela Cruz (i.e. the Filipino everyman), which I thought timely as I had just finished my Marketing intro subject and was moving toward the majors.

This evening at dinner, he gave me a piece of his mind about the article. He told me that marketing was all about common sense, and that people who don't excel in specialist fields like management or accounting usually make it big as marketers. Then he told me that an element of mystery and curiosity must be maintained at all times to keep people interested, and this applied not only to products but also to the opposite sex. In other words he was telling me to be more mysterious, less open and available to others.

As much as I don't like hearing this advice, I think my dad has a point. People usually don't go looking for me because let's face it---I'm as easy to read as a billboard up there on a highway. I'm not in any way mysterious and I always make myself available for others...perhaps even to the point of saturation, where people just get their fill of being with me and get sick of me afterwards.

I guess in this sense, maybe it's my being overly nice that turns people off, and my dad was basically telling me that "nice guys finish last."

You know what? Maybe he's right.

Sigh...
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Or maybe this was another way of telling me that taking up marketing isn't for me?
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My car now has a plethora of scratches all over its dented left rear door. Perhaps this is a sign that I should save enough money to get the City's dents repaired and the whole car repainted.

Where am I going to get all the money for that? I'm struggling to keep what I set aside for new tires as it is. How much harder would it be to save up for dent repair and a paint job? I bet I'd need PhP16,000 for all that.

Must...save...
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If there was one song that best described how I am with women, this might be it.

Beauty queen of only eighteen
She had some trouble with herself
He was always there to help her
She always belonged to someone else

I drove for miles and miles
And wound up at your door
I've had you for so many times
But somehow I want more

I don't mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
She will be loved...

Tap on my window, knock on my door
I want to make you feel beautiful
I know I tend to get so insecure
That doesn't matter anymore

It's not always rainbows and butterflies
It's compromise that moves us along
My heart is full and my door's always open
You can come anytime you want

I don't mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
She will be loved...

I know where you hide, alone in your car
Know all of the things that make you who you are
I know that goodbye means nothing at all
Comes back and begs me to catch her every time she falls...
Yeah...

Tap on my window, knock on my door
I want to make you feel beautiful...


--- Maroon5, "She Will Be Loved"

Monday, December 29, 2003

The sickness that afflicts me every time I go on vacation rears its ugly head again.

Yes, I am bored.

After getting sick of playing Gran Turismo 2, watching Initial D's first season for the umpteenth time, and reading my back issues of Autocar Asean equally as many times, I wound up bored.

So bored, in fact, that I woke up this morning thinking about starting the shooting script for our feature-video thesis. So far I've gotten the intro montage done, I guess, which is just one scene.

Better to have something done than nothing at all, methinks.
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Our house seems to have all these little annoying quirks recently.

Besides the irritating piss-inducing cold of late, we've also been unwitting mosquito fodder. Just this morning I had to walk through a small swarm of them flittering outside our front door. Where are the ever-present lizards when you need them?

There's also this awful canal stench arising from the back. I have no idea why it's there. Let me just say the stench makes the full-on smell of Lysol all the more aromatic.

And have I mentioned the non-stop fart of the chainsaw making chop suey out of this old tree at the church across the street? I have to put up with it every morning these days...

Well, at least we don't get floods...that's always good.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Lately I've done nothing but drinking glass upon glass of water, and pissing it right out almost immediately after. Even now I'm still drinking water out of the green tumbler my grandma gave me---for God knows how many times already. At this rate I won't have any problems making the 64-ounce water requirement several times over.

I wonder why I'm doing this...probably best to think of it as detoxification therapy for all the excesses of the holidays.
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Speaking of holiday excesses, food was a big part of that. (When hasn't it been?) I've gotten my weight back up to the "dreaded" 170 lb. mark, although I got it at a slower rate than I thought.

At least people still think I lost weight...which is no small feat.

Strange, really...when I tell people I lost weight, they tell me I gained it. When I do gain a little weight people think I lost it. There's no winning people over I guess...
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I am disappointed with a lot of the new anime that's out nowadays. It seems anime has reduced itself into a convenient vehicle for introducing and selling stupid, useless toys to kids.

I suppose this trend started with "Let's and Go Mini 4WD," although I don't consider Mini-4WD car racing as totally useless. Let's face it, this is a good way to teach kids physics. I remember back in my last year of high school that our Physics teachers had an experiment for us that involved tuning Mini-4WD race cars, and it was a pretty good way of teaching us about gear ratios, acceleration, speed and other physics stuff. Besides, it's a good (but hideously expensive) hobby for any would-be armchair mechanics.

This "anime-to-sell-useless-toys" trend began in all honesty with "Beyblade." Seriously. The whole series is about competing with other players using fancy-shmancy high-speed tops. If that were the case kids could've just gotten a cheap, conventional wooden top and gotten on with it, as "beyblades" are (again) expensive. Besides there's no element of skill involved with so-called "beyblading." It's all a function of luck---and perhaps how quickly one can launch one's beyblade. Zero brain power involved, unlike Mini-4WD racing. And have I mentioned how easily these plastic beyblades can break? There goes your PhP1000...compare that expense to getting a wooden top.

And this morning I tuned in to a local TV channel only to watch "Super Yo-yo." Cripes. It's about doing tricks with fancy-shmancy yo-yos. I suppose this is the culprit of all those kids I see in the local malls playing with yo-yos with abandon.

The premise of the contests in the anime is pretty stupid: contestants come into this virtual-reality world, where they navigate and race in courses with virtual hoverboards, a la "Back to the Future." The way these players boost their speed is by performing yo-yo tricks. The faster and the wilder the trick performed, the more speed they get. I don't know about you guys but this sounds inane.

Granted, at least there's some element of physical skill involved in manipulating a yo-yo and doing tricks with it. God knows I never learned how to do any yo-yo tricks. But my point is that there are better things for anime to present to people than these stupid toy fads. It goes against my original brief of anime being something thought-provoking.

Maybe I should just switch off the TV and look for some other series with more "meat" into them...
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Speaking of "Super Yo-yo," the main protagonist's name is Shunichi.

At least I'm pretty sure now that my alias "Shunichi" is a proper Japanese name, after nigh-on 5 or 6 years. Now if I only knew how to write it in kanji and what the name really means...

Friday, December 26, 2003

These painful-to-wear Aiwa earphones apparently broke down on me as well. The left earpiece isn't working anymore.

I feel like I've been ripped off.

Next time, remind me never to get earphones and to spring for headphones instead. And never to get anything from Philips.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
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God knows I'm not that religious, but I find it kinda disturbing that some of us seem to forget that this is a birthday party we're celebrating today. It's not just anyone's birthday---it's Jesus Christ's. We seem to be forgetting that in these materialistic times. I bet he ain't feeling too good having his birthday being used as some excuse for partying excess.

Here's a little question for all of us: Isn't he invited to his own party?
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Christmas Day was mostly good news for me and those people that count in my life.
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Cher managed to make it to her hometown in Leyte safe and sound, despite the recent landslides and choppy weather. First thing I did was call her on her cellphone when the clock struck twelve, and I was relieved everything was going well.
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A lot of my friends took to their cell phones and texted me their greetings, most of them doing so "before the networks get all clogged up." As much as I wanted to reply to them, I'm not exactly rich in cellphone load. Thanks anyway though.
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We were at Inang's in Caloocan having our annual media noche buena (midnight feast), and my uncles and aunts felt like going for a few rounds of high-stakes bingo after a long 'drought'. Either that, or drink a few glasses of red wine or Black Velvet.

This was the first time I served chauffeur duty both ways at night. Was rather impressed at my own smooth, speedy homebound progress at 2:30 am running down a pretty deserted EDSA. My speedo needle was constantly pinned at 60-80 km/h and no untoward incidents happened, save for this stupid clump of balloons a bunch of partying loonies tossed on the road while riding on a pick-up's bed. Instead of swerving to the left, I just ran the balloons over.

Considering that I just awoke from a catnap at 1:30 am, I think I'm all set for long-distance night driving.
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Got just a few gifts this year, but that's no different from last year. No biggie.

Most important would be the aggregate PhP7,000 I got from my grandparents and other relatives, not to mention the PhP2,000 my dad gave me for spending on a new badminton racket (and I won't touch it for anything else). I'm thinking of spending on 4 new tires for my blue City, now that I've got PhP9,000 of savings all in all. I am NOT comfortable with my parents' theory that replacing just one tire will do the trick. Rubber ages even when not used.

According to some PEXers I've asked, good 185/65R14 88H Turanza rubber from Bridgestone would set me back PhP1,800 apiece. If my hunch is right, the new tires should solve the shaking that plagues my car whenever I approach 120 km/h on the Skyway. Even so, I'm thinking of saving at least PhP2,000 more come the start of the term. The extra dough's just for contingencies---say, my suspension and steering components might be to blame for the shake and not just the tires. I am, however, pretty convinced that replacing my OEM rubber will do the trick---and that's due for replacement anyway.

Got some new clothes: a black shirt and boxers from Auntie Be, one more pair of beach shorts from my mom (they had to be from Bench again, heheheh!) and this splendid pair of dark brown cargo pants from Tita Vik. Bagged a sealed drink tumbler from Nanay, a hairgel-and-bodyspray kit from Tito Joey...that's pretty much it for non-monetary gifts.

And Cher also told me that my copy of her publication The Freeman, where my little badminton article got published, was also coming to me via the mail---with something thrown in.
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Gave myself a couple of gifts too, although I'm regretting buying myself my new pair of Aiwa earphones. They're shaped in such a way as that wearing them's similar to wearing spectacles onto your ears. My beef is that their rigid plastic mounts bruise my earlobes after a while. Otherwise the sound quality's good and they're actually identical to a pair Sony sells for PhP300 more. That sounds like shooting myself in the leg, being this painful to wear.

The other gift was a cassette of Maroon5's album "Songs About Jane." Great music---and they have surprising variety in their music for a rock band. All 12 songs are about relationships.
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Last night I finally got a taste of Yellow Cab's notoriously good pizza.

For Christmas Eve dinner my mom ordered an 18" "New York's Finest" pizza. What struck me was that it tasted quite different from what we were used to. The condiments that came with the pizza were certainly interesting. No hot sauce, ketchup or all that gubbins---the packets that we got read "crushed chili pepper." Sprinkling it on the pizza made a good pie taste distinctively GREAT.

Just a shame I had to burn my tongue very badly when I tried eating the leftover slice for breakfast this morning. Apparently I forgot to take note that I reheated the damn thing to uncomfortably hot levels.
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I have one qualm about tonight: the Christmas evening mass.

The Passionist Youth Ministry was hosting this one and frankly I was disappointed, most especially with their choir. I swear, I was singing better than those 8 or so voices combined---and I'm only an 'occasional' baritone, and by the time they sang "O Night Divine" for the communion service I was singing even louder than they were.

I'm no catechist or involved parishioner or anything...but come on, this is a Christmas mass and the choir sounds like it's singing for the Black Saturday Vigil. Ain't anyone in there happy that it's Christ's birthday today? They ought to be the first ones who sound the part!

Ridiculous...
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Oh well, that ends it for me. Merry Christmas again to everyone. Happy birthday God!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Our phone line was out for a good five days or so. I missed being online.

I suppose that's the effect of hogging the phone line 5 hours at a time on unlimited Internet usage.

That ought to be one of my New Year's resolutions...
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Haven't been able to blog for a while because of the sheer amount of stuff I had to do. Most of it was for our FILMMAN final project movie, a retelling of Denise's VIDPROD final project short film "Hallucinations." It didn't help that I also succumbed to colds, cough and even a slight fever, although I'm more or less recuperating now.

It also didn't help that Tantan and I didn't get to edit "Hallucinations" because of Gabriel's computer refusing to work with Tantan's SDRAM chips and the video-capture card we borrowed. By the time I had left Gabriel's at 6pm, Tantan was still tinkering with how to make the computer work.

He spent the next day borrowing a computer and editing the film till the wee hours of the morning. Poor guy. I'm planning to treat him somewhere when we get together after Christmas break.

Looks like all the effort was worth it though, because Miss Mai and our other classmates liked the final effort.

Got pretty good grades too, at least enough to keep me in the Dean's List again. Officially my GPA's now at 3.045. Stellar grades in Economics 2, Statistics 101 and Film Management pulled my GPA upwards. I got a 4.0 in FILMMAN, for crying out loud. I suppose Miss Mai's just kind.

Nicole texted me about her grade as she couldn't get her course card personally. She was thanking me about getting a 3.5 in Economics 2 as well.

I just got kind of pissed with our Statistics prof because we waited an hour and a half in J111 for her damn course cards and she never showed up.

And that wraps up my 8th term in DLSU. I got at least 6 more to go.
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Watched a fair number of movies lately...I seem to have been on a movie binge.

Most intriguing was one of Miss Mai's stash, a French film called "Ma Vie en Rose" ("My Life in Pink"). It's the story of a typical French family in a conservative neighborhood save for one of their sons, Ludovic, who at the early age of 7 realizes that he's different from most other boys. In short, he's feminine and gay. Ludovic's 'extreme' preferences and orientation causes headaches for everyone and proves to be the biggest test for the family.

Truth be told I was intrigued by the entire film, but I wouldn't really know how I would react if one of my future sons turned out to be gay. I should say I'm pretty sheltered from a lot of life's realities and I am afraid I might not be sufficiently prepared for many challenges.

I guess I'll just have to look to the Eraserheads' song "Hey Jay" for inspiration on the subject...
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Bianca gave me one of Initial D's audio CDs as an early Christmas present: Super Eurobeat presents Initial D Super Euro-Best. I've been listening to the green CD for days on end, even playing Gran Turismo 2 on my PlayStation with the VCD player hooked up to the mono-audio jack, so I could drive my virtual cars to the thumping Super-Eurobeat soundtrack.

Not exactly what I was looking for, but it's a great compilation of remixes and tracks from the 3 volumes of the Initial D Super-Eurobeat D Selection. I'm happy anyway.

Am just wishing I had a CD player in my car...or if I could slap the CD on a cassette tape.
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Cher's excited about the coming Christmas celebrations.

Describing the atmosphere in the office she picks the words "Happy Chaos."

Quote of the year, my friends. Seriously. :D

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Yesterday was a free day, so I didn't do much but YM with Cher, attend mass and work out after dinner.
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Our little aerobics gang wanted to set two extra Monday-evening workouts because John, our instructor, was going to be out for a week or so come 3 days before Christmas, and everyone was amenable to setting it at 7:30pm.

Everyone but the Homeowners Association, that is.

The HA is responsible for taking care of the open-air Pergola where we hold our usual workouts on Saturday mornings. Last Saturday we tried arranging for the Monday evening sessions, so we wanted to reserve the place and ask for electricity and lighting. It looked like a done deal, but for some reason, the president of the HA, Mrs. Sugay, didn't want to give us the power and lighting at the last minute unless we pay the guard his overtime pay. This smells like a kickback scheme.

Anyway we made do with power from the guardhouse, channeled through 3 extra-long extension cords, for the sound system. Interior lighting was out of the question, so someone produced a compact-fluorescent desk lamp which fortunately gave enough light to work with. John borrowed a couple of my photo-alkaline AAs to power his portable CD player.

The session went pretty well and the colder temperature was a welcome boon. After getting used to seeing small spiders "floating" in mid-air in front of your face, it's pretty much okay.

After we parted ways and I took another shower, I looked outside and saw the Pergola lit up. I got jilted. Why was the Pergola lit up now? Who's using it?

Apparently someone who had "close ties" with the HA was using the place for rehearsal...and the lights were free of charge.

I don't know with you, but this seems pretty unfair.
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YM has this "Doodle" IMVironment where one can use virtual crayons to draw anything on a medium-sized white canvas. Cher and I were playing with it the whole afternoon. I even made three little drawings for her. My best efforts looked like they were taken out of some coloring book, though, but she didn't mind.
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I'm sleepy. Yawn.

I think I better get started on my SOCIETY paper. Procrastination rears its ugly head once again.
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Just for kicks, I tried looking at my old PRINPRO website project, ManileƱo*Online.

I can't believe it's been 10 months since I finished that website. It feels like it's been longer as I don't remember much of my HTML skills. Seeing it again made me smile though. I remember I was pretty comfortable with HTML and I finished the thing before most of my classmates did.

Sure, there are some quirks (some pictures are missing, some pictures that do don't have captions) but overall I'm still mighty impressed.

This one ought to go on my resume.

Monday, December 08, 2003

I will never understand the lure of bazaars on women.

What started out as supposedly a trip to buy decor boxes for my mom's food for the gods holiday giveaways stretched itself to rummaging for clothes and food. My mom and my sis had even more of an excuse because I happened to win an additional PhP1000 to spend only on that day.

As much as I should've been tolerant of it, I was too sleepy to give a damn.
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I'm getting better at heel-and-toe. I use the technique every time I drive wearing my sneakers, and it really makes performing decisive maneuvers and carrying speed smoother and easier.

Great. Now I need to practice on cornering...which I'd need a track day or two for. I might as well factor in the expense of a set of tires and 100+ octane aviation-grade gasoline.

Sigh...that's expensive.
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Cher didn't meet her pare. Yet.

Apparently he had some travel troubles, and the soonest the two of them could meet was the week after Christmas and before New Year's.

It isn't too far off though. Am still praying for the two of them.
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Mike's party went better than I thought.

It kinda helped that I was seated in the corner farthest from the hardcore RO players. I also met up with bubbly Raissa, whom I think is one of Beia's cousins. Unfortunately a lot of the people I was expecting to come weren't there yet by the time I split.

Great food though.

Thanks a lot Mike. Happy birthday again. :D

Saturday, December 06, 2003

The rest of hell week wasn't as hellish as the first couple of days.

It's actually a good thing...after hell week, I actually have a three-day weekend.

Great.
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My MARKET1 final exam was, like I said, disappointingly easy. The second half was a bit harder, but it wasn't anything to be scared of.

Yesterday we got our course cards from the Marketing Department and I bagged a 2.0 final grade for the subject. Managed to bag a 2.5 on the final exam too, so that means I'm accepted into the department and I can go on with my two majors subjects for my Marketing Management degree. That's always good news.

One down, five more course cards to go. All on the 19th.
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All I have to do now to finish my term requirements are to study for finals in Economics 2 and Statistics 101, as well as submit my SOCIETY paper this coming Friday.

That's still sort of a long way off...I can probably kick back and relax for a bit.
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Bong came over yesterday, since he cut his last class, and we basically spent hours in my room starting a new game of Gran Turismo and watching the final race of Initial D.

He told me he'd be over more often come Christmas break.

Not bad by any means...I miss those days when Paolo, Bong and I could just hit the couch and watch TV or play games.
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People are texting me about their concern for the way I drive.

Don't worry, guys. I may drive harder than most people do, and I might practice and use so-called "racing techniques" like heel-and-toe (which many people can use to smoothen their driving with manual cars anyway), but I know my limits.

I vow to reserve any misadventures for future visits on the racetrack, where I'll be running alone and in controlled conditions (i.e. safer than on public roads).

Heck, the only opponents I'd have on a track day would be myself and the stopwatch.
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Then again, it ain't my fault as to why some people voluntarily expose themselves to danger while I'm driving.

God, the things some people do to get attention. On a highway at that. You'd think they'd have a death wish or something.

My advice: get off the fucking left lane and don't cross when the traffic lights are green!
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Cher's meeting her pare this afternoon.

She's had a lot of emotions about it this week---confusion, nervousness, giddiness, and an occasional bout of getting pissed off. But I know she loves the guy.

I really hope the two of them hit it off well offline. I promised her that whatever happens today, I'll have my phone open if she ever decides to call.
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Actually she called me up at midnight, when I went offline and was about to hit the sack. She was nervous and wanted someone to calm her down. I don't exactly know how I did it though. I suppose she was just distracted with how "child-like" I sounded when I laughed, or how quiet I actually was offline, or how I supposedly sounded like Luis Manzano.

Still, she was great to talk to.

Thanks, kindred spirit. Your voice cheers me up.
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Just a final note: Nicole pinched me on the arm in Economics class.

HARD.

I was kinda mumbling about how sleepy I was...and when she did that I woke up from the pain.

Maybe this is her way of telling me I'm one of her friends now...
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Mike invited me to his birthday dinner at Gerry's ATC tonight...that would potentially mean meeting up with all the OB gang.

Strange. I know I detest the possibility of that event being another gathering of friends-cum-Ragnarok Online addicts, but I'm still curious and I want to go.

If I don't like the way things turn out, I could always leave early...
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According to the Spark's purity test I'm 71% pure.

Hmmmmm.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Hayyy...

Today was one of those high-strung days I'd really rather not repeat. But at least it ended on a good note.

Everything I did today was centered on our 4:20pm SOCIETY seminar. I had nothing much else in mind, really. I desperately tried piecing together questions, offered to fetch speaker Fed Makabenta, paid my share for the token gift and so on.
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Fetching Fed nearly cost me my sanity.

I had suggested that I come over to Pacific Star Bldg. and fetch him at 2:30pm to be in time for the 4:20pm seminar. I got there at 2pm. Fed asked me to wait an hour as he wasn't finished with his stuff.

3pm came and Fed told me to wait another 30 minutes. Now this was cutting too close, and my face was protesting without my control, I bet. But he had an urgent meeting to attend to and he was gone before I could refuse.

3:30pm and Fed was nowhere. At this time my groupmates Denise, Mayang, Deney and Kurt were pretty scared of the prospect of impending failure. I myself was pacing around nervously, silently threatening to kick the marble walls so many times in frustration. I don't know how many times I was tempted to bust open the boxes of Santa Porings stashed along the corridors of Level-Up!'s offices and kick them all in a mad game of Poring football. I had no idea how bad the traffic would be going to school, so I was pretty much furious.

If there's two things I hate, they would be waiting and being late.

I was pretty much going insane when Fed finally arrived a few minutes before 4. My god, I was in that office for two freaking hours. Fed was apologetic about the delay. Once I swung around to Makati Avenue, I launched my Honda like the bolt of blue lightning I tout it to be.

6500 RPM before upshifts. That's how furiously I was driving. That's literally pushing to the limit, a smidgen before my engine threatens to blow itself up at 6800+ RPM.

At this point in time I didn't care about Fed's comfort. All I cared about was getting to school in the least amount of time possible.

I even managed to impress myself, performing a PERFECT heel-and-toe downshift to second gear, while rounding the Makati Avenue-Ayala Avenue right-hand corner at 40 km/h. Initial D instantly came to mind. (One of those reasons why I have to go to a track day someday---I found out I can actually drive well in extremis.)

I got to DLSU South Gate at 4:35pm, 15 minutes late.

At least Fed's seminar managed to touch on all our questions and somehow impress Ms. Sibayan. The guy was the perfect speaker for the topic, really. Just a shame that our prof isn't all that updated in computer games and the like.

I brought Fed back to Makati this evening, thankful that at least we have a chance of NOT scoring a zero.
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Hell week...hahh...thank God there are only a few days to go.
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My MARKETI final exam was disappointingly easy. So much so that I didn't bother studying for my Economics 2 quiz, which involved a lot more brains.

I expect the second half of that final exam to be the same. I ain't studying for it, even though it's happening tomorrow.
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Hey, don't feel too bad if we can't go YMing tonight. I really am okay, my friend.

We'll YM next time. I promise.

Thank you. *hugs*