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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I finally got the model kit of my recent dreams...in a slightly different form. Instead of getting the 1/100 MG Aile Strike, I got the 1/100 MG Strike Rouge. Basically the same thing, only the Rouge is colored pink and red and is piloted by Orb's princess Cagalli Yula Atha.
MG vs HG

While I was at Great Toys getting the Z Gundam 6-DVD set, I had noticed the Strike Rouge on the high shelf. The saleslady told me there were still no MG Aile Strike kits. I figured why not get this one instead? Besides, I already had an HG Aile Strike.

I took it home and opened the box. I was amazed at just how many parts were there to cut off and complete. There were 9 main runners of parts, not including the ones for the beam saber blades, the ones for the 1/20 figure of Cagalli, and the huge runner for all the polycaps. I got to work cutting and filing down the parts...and it took me 9 hours of solid work to finish, including the Aile Striker flight pack and the linear-catapult display base. Was it a challenge for me or what!

This early on though I will note some potential problems. The MG kits are best considered true models and not toys. This is evidenced by just how heavy the finished Strike Rouge model is---owing to all that added plastic in its internal frame---and its rather poor foot stability while standing up, compared to its smaller HG cousin. Equipping the Aile Striker makes things rather complicated too---it makes an inherently unstable model back-heavy. I suppose those floppy hinged feet are the primary reason why the display base was thrown in. The base has an adjustable arm that plugs into a slot in the Strike Rouge's crotch area for in-flight poses.

As a project and as a whole however, this kit is stupendous. It certainly met 90% of my expectations. I'll be looking forward to making at least one more MG model in the near future.

Since I mentioned Z Gundam, I might as well talk about it. I watched all 50 episodes in a semi-marathon and watched all the events of UC 0087 fly by me.
zeta wave rider 4
zeta + hyper mega launcher 4

Let me get one thing straight: the subtitling on these DVDs frustrated me. A Taiwanese company did the Chinese and English subs on these DVDs, so I suppose they concentrated their efforts on their Chinese audience. On the first DVD a frustrating number of instances can be seen where the subs were nonexistent. Fortunately things do get better, but some later episodes and even the final DVD have "bastardized" names. Camille Bidan turns into "Jiameiyou" while the ship Guwadan turns into "GuFada." The English itself used on these episodes also gets turned into an irritating mishmash which would probably make better sense when spoken in Mandarin. Really irritating. I paid PhP2400 for this?! Where's the consistency in good subtitling?

As for Z Gundam itself it's pretty good. I've read reports that this series was very dark---they were not kidding. As early as the first episodes Camille's parents get killed right in front of his eyes. The writers take every opportunity to convince us that the Titans government of the Earth is atrocious and worth hating, yet in the trademark Gundam way, the AEUG rebels aren't really that heroic either. I'll shut up about the rather shocking ending.

The animation surprisingly doesn't take a very big leap from the quality of 0079, however, and that might be a pain to watch for newer viewers used to the slickness of Gundam Wing and Gundam SEED.

I admit I didn't enjoy this one as much as I would have, simply because of that subtitling. If the subs worked however, I feel I would prefer the original 0079 over Z Gundam. Zeta seems a bit too serious and fast-paced. Up to now I think I had lost track of the progression of the plot simply because every episode is packed with action and new plot directions. It's as if 50 episodes were not enough to contain its story. Still good though.

A 9.0 quake in Indonesia recently triggered a major tsunami that affected the coastlines of 8 Asian countries and killed thousands of people. Damn.

I've been thinking about how the Philippines would survive one. I bet if one had hit Manila, we'd be an instant bowl of seawater that won't drain away. You can't really predict when a tsunami's going to hit; besides if you could, what would you be able to do within 15 minutes? Where would you go? Panic's surely going to set in.

Makes me wonder how vulnerable we actually are to nature. As long as we reside on earth, we are hapless subjects to its tantrums (earthquakes) and acne (volcanoes).

Saturday, December 25, 2004


Looks like that trip to Puerto Galera isn't pushing through. No one's contacted me about it yet. Gotta assume I'm staying put.

Oh well. At least I can look forward to my coming Z Gundam DVDs. I'll finally be able to buy that crazy MG Aile Strike Gundam model kit too...once I can find a kit lying around somewhere.

Speaking of model kits, Bianx gave me two 1/144 FG kits: a Mobile DINN and a Zaku Warrior from Gundam SEED Destiny. Finished both in less than two hours. I'm now uploading their pictures.

One popular joke flying around these days:

"In this season of joyous excess, please remember: Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator."

The excesses of the season are sure getting to me. Be careful out there, guys. Drink plenty of tea and eat lots of fiber. It's for your own good. :D

Thursday, December 23, 2004

In a strange twist I actually went back to lifting weights after years of not even touching my dad's barbells set. I don't really know what came over me. I suppose it's just that I'm kinda sick of not being able to do anything to address my weight gain from my previous relationship, and great sport as it is, badminton won't do much on its own.

My sister and I went shopping yesterday...basically a last-ditch effort to buy gifts and to buy some stuff my mom forgot to ask me to buy the last time I went to the supermarket.

This was another opportunity to go down to Goldcrest and look for Great Toys. I was surprised to see a mom there talking with the sales lady. She seemed to be one of the regular customers, seeing how she actually knew most of the merchandise very well. Pretty cool.

After she made her exit, I inquired the friendly saleslady about the recent deliveries of the MG Aile Strike Gundam I had wanted so badly. Unfortunately all two of the shipment received had already been reserved (damn!). Oh well. I suppose that can wait. Besides I already did buy an HGUC Zeta Gundam kit. I decided to lay down some money for reserving the Z Gundam DVD box set for 30 days instead.

If that MG Aile Strike doesn't materialize by the time I have enough money to spring for an MG kit once more, I'll just get an MG Wing Gundam ver. Ka instead.

While having lunch at Taketori and waiting for more course cards to come, my friends hatched plans to go to Puerto Galera in Mindoro island right after the Christmas weekend. I was game. I really wanted to spend time with my blockmates far removed from the requirements and stresses of school work. Besides I wanted to make up for not going to Tara's house party last week.

I hope those plans push through. It'd sure beat staying at home bored to death.

I'm beginning to regret ever having joined Gundam Board.

The moderators there simply shove their opinions down everybody else's throat. It's an insult to other people's intelligence, really. From now on I'm only going there to check up on the model-making section.

MechaPinoy meanwhile is okay...it's just that the forum seems so lifeless. Often I'm the only one who's online at any given time. Sigh.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Today was a good day.

I passed ECONTRI, garnering a 1.5. Better than I hoped for, although all my classmates got 2.5s and up. I guess I have no right to complain.

All my 3 marketing major subjects got me a 3.5. Add to that the 1.5 from PROJCO2 (Comm Arts thesis) and the 2.0 from PARTCOR and I get a 2.68 term GPA. I used to obsess about getting at least a 3.0 GPA, but this reminds me that I'm just human and I'm probably becoming a little more well-rounded as a person. And that grades are ultimately just numbers.

Went to Great Toys in Goldcrest today, on the advice of new acquaintances at MechaPinoy.com, and looked around their more exotic merchandise.

They're selling the PG Strike Gundam for PhP7,900---cheaper than I thought for a Perfect Grade kit. Also on sale was the MG Wing Gundam ver. Ka, for PhP2,350. Not bad! Some saving up over the coming months will certainly get me closer to owning that glorious MG kit---and I'm no Gundam Wing fan either. Hajime Katoki's restyling of the Wing Gundam is just so gorgeous.

Still no MG Aile Strike though.

Their "Kidou Senshi (Mobile Suit) Z Gundam" DVD box set is also cheaper than in other shops; I was quoted PhP2,400 for the whole TV series on DVD---almost half the price at Comic Alley in SM Megamall. I'd like to get one of these for Christmas. *hint hint nudge nudge*

While I was in the vicinity I paid off my outstanding debt portion to Aaron, our thesis video editor at Lightbox Multimedia at Cityland Pasong Tamo Tower. Nice guy, that Aaron. Really helpful. When I have video editing needs he's the first guy I'll be looking for.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

My japanese name is 松尾 Matsuo (tail of a pine tree) 雄大 Masahiro (big hero).
Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Friday, December 17, 2004

I'm generally not too happy these days.

Aside from thesis defense being graded so ridiculously low, I also stand the big chance of flunking ECONTRI. This I realized within the two hours of the final exam last Wednesday. I couldn't get a straight answer for most of the questions---most embarrassing of which was a 20-item enumeration part about market structures' advantages and disadvantages that I could have simply copied onto my formula sheet. Because I failed to do that, I lost out on a major opportunity to make up.

My test grades aren't that good, my project grade is questionable. The only assurance I have now is the automatic 12% from never being absent and submitting the project ahead of time. I doubt that's enough though.

Four years of not flunking anything and now this. Sigh.

In the afternoon I went to Glorietta to watch the DLSU Pops Orchestra concert, hoping to take pictures. Blunder number 2: I brought the wrong lens. I had forgotten to bring my usual 55mm Micro-Nikkor and left home with the 20mm wide-angle Nikkor instead. This meant taking pictures with my camera was hard, as I had to get very close to the stage to get any half-decent shots. I should have just brought my heavy 70-210mm Vivitar, but perhaps that would have been too heavy for shooting hand-held pictures. I would need a tripod; I would also need approval from the Glorietta administration.

The concert was fine though. Pops jammed along to recording artists such as Nina, Jed Maddela, Divo Bayer and Sheryn Regis. The latter was my pick of the night: she had a great voice and even though some of her songs fouled up, she carried her mistakes in stride and carried on, even poking fun at herself. Now that's good showmanship.

Note I said "fine," not "great." The concert was plagued with a lot of errors: some from the recording artists, others from our own vocalists, still others from a confused Rhythms section. That can be blamed from lack of practice and bad timing as the concert happens smack dab in the middle of finals week. It was okay though. Mr. Aniceto from PARI still had good words about us, and people still trooped to the Glorietta activity center in droves, so I guess despite the foul-ups it was a successful concert nonetheless.

Because I arrived early, prior to the concert I spent my time looking around. My first stop was Lil's Futaba in Park Square 1, where I saw the same old Gundam model kits being sold (I swear, this shop really has the slowest inventory turnover of any I've been in). Even saw a very old MS-14 Gelgoog kit---straight from the 1980s I believe.

Looked through the Tamiya car model kits and found a couple of old WRC ones: the Lancer Evo VII WRC and the GC8 Impreza WRC. I might spring for those next time when I've built up my workbench materials.

Having done research on paints, panel lines and other preparation tips for plastic model kits, I decided to take a look at their paint shelf. They didn't have primer on sale, although they did have a full selection of acrylic paints. No good as I don't have an airbrush, and I didn't have any idea of where to look for one. I also saw some Gundam Markers, both for panel lines and painting. The paint ones were being sold in groups of 6 at PhP750 each. The thin ones for panel lines I read weren't so good.

I decided to buy an X-Acto knife instead. This little pen-shaped knife is extremely sharp and is ideal for removing "flash" (excess plastic bumps from the trees/sprues/grids that carry the parts of plastic models). The knife cost me PhP210, and replacement blades were PhP150 for 6. Not bad. Besides it's the coolest looking knife I own---it looks like a freaking surgeon's scalpel.

Decided to look for something to test this knife on.

My next stop was Toy Kingdom at SM Makati. This place has changed considerably. In the 1980s it was a straightforward department store for the longest time, but after its recent gentrification (wow, that's a retail marketing term!) it's become a real mall with 4 floors, a basement and an annex to the Ayala MRT station. Not half bad!

Took me a while to look for the Gundam model kit display, only to stupidly miss out on the big RX-78 Gundam standee. (*smacks hand on forehead*) Frustratingly there was still no sign of the MG Aile Strike Gundam, anywhere. More Gundam SEED MSV kits were available though (Dreadnaught Gundam, 105Dagger + Gunbarrel), and the Big Scale 1/60 Freedom Gundam kit was on sale too. Probably not worth the price of PhP4,000, as the newly released MG 1/100 version has a lot more detail and a proper internal mechanical skeleton at PhP700 less. But hey, there's no PG 1/60 Freedom yet, so if you really have to have a 1/60 Freedom...

This was the first place where I saw the 1/400 White Base spaceship model from the original series, Gundam 0079. The box itself is HUGE and very heavy, and you can probably guess the price was HUGE as well (PhP9,000). But I imagine it'll be a blast for serious plastic model-makers, particularly the bigger fans of Gundam 0079.

Toy Kingdom branches seem to carry a huge selection of MG 1/100 kits. Of course the much-maligned MG Zeta Gundam model was there, still at PhP2,200. I swear I'm going to get one of these MGs, even if I have to buy an RGM-79C Space GM kit or an MG-1.5 RX-78-2 Gundam kit to start off cheap. Don't have the money yet though.

I was about to give up the hunt but I decided to look at the HG kits just for curiosity's sake. I saw the HGUC 1/144 Zeta Gundam kit and immediately became curious. I had heard good reviews about this kit---at least it was deemed better than its infamous MG brother, especially with its transformation to the famous Wave Rider (WR) jet mode, where the MG version flopped around incessantly. After the concert I went back to the store and bought it for PhP1,100.

I finished constructing the kit after two days. I used the X-Acto knife liberally for this kit, removing plastic flash and filing the remaining little bumps down with my steel nail file, and that took much of the time of making the HGUC Zeta. The result of all this flash removal and sanding was a cleaner-looking and more realistic model. That X-Acto knife is never going to leave my side.

Here's the thing: Bandai actually did away with the transformation ability with the HGUC Zeta kit. You construct the Zeta Gundam mobile suit and its weapons first, then you construct a "secondary frame" which becomes key to WR mode. You then remove the upper torso/chest, wing binders, rear and side skirt armor and legs and connect them all to the WR secondary frame---with the shield, of course. Technically speaking, you're pillaging parts from the mobile suit and putting them all on the WR frame. The end result however is a solid, wiggle-free Wave Rider, which people say is worth it. At least it's not as flawed as the MG version, where the mobile suit itself is floppy due to all the transformation mechanisms.

The HGUC Zeta is surprisingly restricted in its movement, having been used to the HG Gundam SEED line. Because of this general unyielding nature, it actually feels a lot older than the SEED kits I have, despite the HGUC line being a recent re-issue of the Universal Century model kit line. Personally I think the true knee joints are too stiff to bend properly, and the legs and feet make the kit a bit harder to pose. I've taken to bending the "false" knees instead for poses as they're a lot easier to manipulate. The high-heel feet are too small in my opinion, and look like they've been designed with looks and not vertical stability as a priority.

The rest of the kit is quite good though. Shoulder armor allows some sideward arm movement because it's articulated at appropriate points---a plus in my book. Arms are standard HG fare: 90 degrees of forearm movement. Zeta's head itself seems huge compared to the heads of the SEED kits I own (Strike, Duel, Aegis) but it's proportional to the rest of the model.

The weapons are this kit's party piece: both the beam rifle and hyper mega launcher (that's really what it's called) are HUGE and have extending/retracting barrels, supposedly true to the Z Gundam anime where their barrels retract in Zeta's compact WR form. There's a third hand with an attached unpainted beam saber, its rather large hilt being held by fixed fingers. The "hand grenade" launchers are supplied but they don't open; they're essentially added bulk you can attach to the Zeta's forearms.

The hyper mega launcher is really something special. I suspect this is where Gundam Wing's famous colony-destroying Buster Rifle got its inspiration. It's taller than the Zeta itself even when retracted. It has three grips (two on the sides and a standard one below with the trigger) and all have swinging covers. The upper side of this huge weapon has slots for the WR mode's landing gear. Basically this means the Wave Rider has to have the hyper mega launcher attached to its underside for "landed" stationary poses. The surprising thing is that despite its size, the weapon is very light and the Zeta has no trouble carrying it in its arms in a pose, once you work out the idiosyncrasy of fitting the hands over the grips.

I just took pictures of the HGUC Zeta this afternoon to finish off the roll of film I used for the Glorietta concert. I'll be uploading them soon enough.

If you want a fully transformable, solid all-around Zeta Gundam, you'll have to spend PhP11,000 or so on a 1/60 Perfect Grade kit, and I'm not willing to spend that much. I have seen pictures of a finished PG Zeta, however, and it is AWESOME.

Some Italian dude made his two years ago and he detailed the procedure on this site (just look for the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam link). He dedicated 8 or so pages to the Zeta and its construction, even featuring sequential photos of its transformation to Wave Rider mode (see page 5 of his Zeta Gundam pages). This was where I finally understood how the Zeta "crunched up on itself" as a plane. The finished kit is simply remarkable.

Right now it's the stuff my dreams are made of. I can't imagine how I'll be able to piece it together though. All I've worked with are rather simple and small 1/144 HG kits. Oh well, if there's a will, there's a way.

Tonight I'm supposed to be at a party at Tara's house: basically a reunion of sorts and a simple affair to celebrate the end of the school year. I noticed we were basically seeing each other in school everyday without talking about much except school work.

Yet I'm at home. I don't know. I've been feeling I probably don't deserve to party especially as my ECONTRI fate is unknown. I also owe my body a huge debt, being out of energy and sleeping late all the time. At the time I was considering asking for my dad's permission, I actually napped out and lost my chance as I woke up pretty before dinner.

Oh well. There will be other times. I'm particularly looking forward to watching "Ocean's Twelve" early next year with the gang when it premieres January 6. I miss them terribly and I just want to be with them without the hassles of school.

I've pretty much had it with school anyway. Let's just say I feel discouraged and have lost all self-confidence in academic matters. At least my marketing major subjects look steady.

Fernando Poe Jr. died recently from a stroke that left him in a permanent coma.

Frankly I don't care whether he lives or dies. I just don't want to see that overplayed postmortem tribute to him all over the evening news. My goodness. There are more pressing matters than that---that's why news is called NEWS. Why does his funeral have to hog the WHOLE HOUR of the primetime news?

KC de Venecia, Congress Speaker Jose de Venecia's youngest daughter, died last night. She got burned alive in her own house because of faulty Christmas lights setting fire to the place and wrecking the whole second floor of their house.

I'll pray for her soul. I know how the de Venecias feel: I myself spotted our own Christmas tree ablaze from faulty Christmas lights.

Tip for all of you reading this: Don't put Christmas lights at all. You'll save on electricity and save the possibility of making yourselves your own unintentional arsonists.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The three of us felt like idiots waiting to be slaughtered by the panelists. It wasn't a great feeling. Pretty much the entire movie was blasted to bits---plotline, character development, production design, technical problems. And the worst part about it was that I agreed with all the comments. (But damn, those plotline comments hurt. I practically conjured it all in one magical night. Perhaps it wasn't so magical after all.)

Ours was an ameteurish movie at best, done in a campus that was expecting excellence. Up to now I have a bitter taste in my mouth, my heart regurgitating regret about not having had more creative control over production. Sigh.

Oh well. I guess this just means I'm not cut out for moviemaking. I am just semi-glad that it's over. I can bid farewell to all these finicky teachers, boring lessons, rejections upon countless proposal rejections.

I'm just semi-glad I'm finished with AB Communication Arts.

I'm grateful to all the people who helped us finish "Uninvited."

Shout-outs go to Geraldine Tan, Mrs. Grace Tan, Reggie Curley, the Batac and Melendres families, Aaron David and everyone at Lightbox Multimedia, my sister and all her friends, Dr. Mike Rapatan, LC24, LR31, Mom, Dad and all my friends for believing in me.

I hope I did you proud.

I have PARTCOR finals later at 6pm. As much as I'd like to watch the other groups do their defense, a part of me strongly opposes. I haven't really studied all that much and I'm sure I'll need the legal knowledge, as my PARTCOR grades aren't really that high. Borderline acceptable, if I were an accounting student (which I'm glad I'm not).

"Ignorance of the law excuses no one."

Now I REALLY want to spoil myself.

I want a Master-Grade 1/100 Aile Strike Gundam model kit...NOW.

That's the one with the fancy fully articulated internal mobile frame, the sickening detail on all the parts, the fancy full-jointed fingers, the Hajime Katoki-style appearance.

I want to paint it properly and add all the little panel lines with a 0.001 mm pen, before I get out my Swiss Army knife and cut and smooth all the parts from the plastic sprues. When I'm finished I want to mount the Strike on its linear catapult/display stand and pose it for all the world to see.

This kit will keep me busy for hours, maybe even days. I just want to get rid of my frustration by literally doing something constructive. This is probably better than having to contend with a noisy selfish girlfriend...and I'm glad I don't have one right now.

My main problem is money...I'm having second thoughts on blowing the PhP2,700 needed just for the kit. Sigh. I'm pretty damn close to broke.

But cripes I want one of these so bad.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Christmas is just around the corner. Shucks. Haven't finished my shopping yet.

Thesis defense---erm, the premiere screening of "Uninvited"---is at 10:20 am tomorrow morning. Damn, I am nervous. I still can't imagine how I'd be able to answer the panel's questions (which there will surely be a lot of).

Wish us luck, guys.

Because of this damn thesis I haven't been able to study Partnership and Corporation Law. Our final exam's at 6pm, tomorrow as well.

One notable occurrence: Dups delos Reyes wrote me a couple emails regarding my humble "sales career." Sent him a pretty long reply.

In all honesty, this was the last thing I expected to appear in my mailbox. A welcome surprise though.

I feel like a vegetable. I'll write again tomorrow.

I hope.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Things might just actually work.

Everything is due on Friday, fucking December 10. That's tomorrow. But it seems I'm on my way to finishing 80% of it. We've shown Bro. --- I mean, Dr. Mike our rough cut thesis film and have gotten his consent for defense; I've finished most of the ECONTRI take-home quiz; Nicole and I have finished 99% of the ECONTRI paper (which I have to print tomorrow); I've finished my contribution to the MARKOST retail plan...I'm actually wary of feeling too relaxed as I think some more bullshit will crop up.

Now the only thing I have to get started on is a 10-page MARKOST position paper that I haven't even started. This is going to take a long while.


More to the point I'm grateful to Dr. Mike for allowing us to defend. We're actually going to be able to graduate!

Monday, December 06, 2004

I'm not happy with the way some things are turning out lately.

First and foremost is thesis. It was a shock for us to realize that we needed to have an original soundtrack for the film---meaning the songs should not be composed by mainstream artists. There go our song ideas. We're trying to work around it now. Later this afternoon we'll be editing our film professionally at a former batchmate's.

Also I'm a bit jittery at how Bro. Mike is going to approve us for defense. We haven't been able to show him a rough cut of our finished work yet and I guess he's justified in not letting us defend on Monday the 13th, if ever that happens. Sigh.

Nicole and I have made some progress in our ECONTRI final project but as it turns out our computation and data are woefully incomplete so far. Because of the latest crop of storms trashing the country we haven't been able to meet up a second time to finish it.

MARKOST is also another bugbear. By the end of the week I'm supposed to submit and defend a position paper on Philippine global brands and how they're faring. Plus we also have a final paper too, regarding a store we'd bring into the new mall Market! Market!.

The only consolation is that I got finals only for PARTCOR and ECONTRI. Sigh. I wonder how I'm going to get through this term in one piece.

We had our pre-Christmas concerts at Shangri-la Plaza mall on two separate weekends and they've been pretty good so far. Next stop for Pops is the Glorietta Activity Center on December 15, 3 pm. We'll be rubbing shoulders with established recording artists there as this concert's being sponsored by the Philippine Association of the Recording Industry (PARI) against music piracy. The concert series is titled, appropriately enough, "NO FAKES!"

The jitters are rushing through me.

The Freedom Gundam is being offered in an MG model now, and I saw one being sold in Comic Alley in SM Megamall last Saturday. PhP3,250.

I don't know about you but that's broken through my psychological price barrier. I was thinking about getting the Freedom instead of the Aile Strike in hopes that they'd have the same price (PhP2,700) because I already have an HG 1/144 Aile Strike. Oh well.

In my model-browsing weekend adventure I came across some Perfect Grade models as well. A PG Wing Zero Custom costs PhP9,500. A PG Gundam Mk.II Titans version costs PhP10,000. A PG GP01/Fb Zephyranthes costs an eye-popping PhP14,000. Great goodness.

Intriguing finds galore at Toy Kingdom Megamall. Lots of older MG models there including the notoriously flawed MG Zeta Gundam, priced rather cheap at PhP2,200. Lots of MSV HG 1/144 kits from Gundam SEED too. Most intriguing was the Astray Gold Frame Gold Mecha Version 1/100 kit, selling for PhP2,800 in an unassumingly small gold-colored box.

Right then I was really ready to buy the MG Aile Strike kit if I saw one. As I didn't find one in Shangri-la or Megamall, I think that was a blessing in disguise.

I'm plagued with a persistent cough that doesn't want to go away. The phlegm sometimes just doesn't get out of my throat and I keep coughing and coughing to no avail. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

After fretting over my own procrastination, I had jittery nerves today before I made my sales presentation for the Honda Jazz as part of MARKSAM requirements. It got to the point that I had trouble focusing on studying for my PARTCOR quiz. I must have browsed through the same 3 chapters of Charles Futrell's book for God-knows-how-many times, never mustering the time to actually rehearse the damn thing.

It's a good thing we asked Mr. Maglutac to be the second group to present.

That got me enough time to rehearse and prepare. Catcat in particular was pretty dogged in her questions and objections and she got me prepped on how to address them within the presentation. I can even say that after going through her, getting Mr. Maglutac sold on the car was pretty easy in comparison. (Thanks a lot Catcat!)

Mr. Maglutac was rather pleased with how I did but did mention that I kinda balked on "asking for the business," instead going through with the presentation. Perhaps that part I owe from just being plain ignorant on how car sales are actually made. It just left my nervous mind that car salespeople go through getting a purchase order and having the customer sign it---THAT's how a sale is made. Hahaha!

At least he was pleased enough to give me a 92. Not bad for a procrastinated presentation! It did help that I'm basically a car-loving guy.

Now I feel pretty damn good. In all honesty I thought personal selling would be hard, but just by following a few simple rules of common sense, I can actually get people to do what I want them to. As Mr. Maglutac says, that's real power.

And I damn like it. If this feeling is how it's like to have power over people, I'm hooked.

Just like that, a creative salesman is born...WOOHOO!

My sis and a few of her friends got together to put up a stall for the Zonta Claus bazaar at the Cuenca Community Center in Ayala Alabang Village. They sold a lot of different stuff there. I remember the man-hours she put in making all those earrings she sold.

It's just a shame that the powers that be didn't coordinate with their plan and literally rained on their parade. The rains drove would-be customers away from Cuenca, hence leading to lackluster sales. Bianx did turn a small profit though.

These young entrepreneurs have plans of getting another spot at another cheap bazaar soon enough. I wish them well the next time.

I visited Market! Market! again recently, just to look for a Christmas gift idea I had in mind for my mom. I was disappointed that the item I sought wasn't there, but I was pleased that this time around more retailers had opened their doors.

Particularly interesting were SuperBench, the Metro department store/supermarket, and new hobby shops at the Technology Market!, where I found...yep, more Bandai Gundam model kits on sale. Particularly interesting was the HG 1/144 Providence Gundam worth PhP1200, which I haven't been able to find anywhere else.

They also carried some MG1.5 1/100 RX-78-2 Gundam model kits, which were priced cheaper than I thought (PhP1800). Found a similar MG kit of the RGM-79 GM type C at Robinsons Place Manila for the same price. Pretty darn cheap for MG kits! Probably because these were from the original Gundam 0079 series which isn't quite as popular as "flavor of the month" Gundam SEED yet. (The magnificent MG 1/100 Aile Strike Gundam I'm looking at STILL costs PhP2700...)

On the other hand this site's already accepting pre-orders for Gundam SEED Destiny model kits, particularly the HG 1/144 Force Impulse Gundam and HG 1/144 Zaku Warrior. I haven't even seen this sequel series yet.


In related news...Gundam SEED is airing again on Cartoon Network's Toonami primetime block. Caught episode 4 of 50 tonight.

Might as well watch it again and relive the drama. I can get to see that bad-ass Aegis Gundam fighting again too. Heheheh.

I just can't run away from some people I guess.

No matter how much I try to get rid of them, they've grown too attached to me for me to stop caring about them. I suppose a little re-framing is in order, but I just can't bring myself to forget my friend Denise. We just click too damn well to hate each other.

I'm a lot less angry now.

Here's to finishing our thesis!

Might as well get this in.

Citroen C4 TV ad

It's a 4.7MB download but it's the most entertaining 31 seconds I've had lately.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Not too much for me to write today but I do have something to share.

This is what I've been doing in my free time.

Enjoy! Feel free to drop any comments.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Thought of scanning in some of my recent work. Might as well show it.

I finally have a decent photo host in Flickr.com by the way.

Duel Gundam Assaultshroud in ambient light

Duel and Aile Strike in saber battle

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I'm beginning to notice a disturbing trend when it comes to my being an HCP moderator.

I think it's best to sum this up in one statement: I might as well stop attending officers' meetings and give up my moderator post if my colleagues have this mentality that I'm just a kid with nothing better to do.

Besides liking what I do doesn't make me a kid. I'm 21 for crying out loud.

Just this once I'm disabling comments for this particular post.

If you're from HCP, you're reading this post and have something to say, better keep it to yourself. I'm in no mood to listen, especially now that I know I'm not being taken seriously either.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Mike Llorin of GrupoToyota just died a useless and tragic death.

According to what I've heard on HCP, two non-HCP Civics were street-racing along Congressional Ave. One of them happened to cut into a green Pajero's path. The owner of the Pajero got off at a place (a gas station I think) where Mike and his fellows were hanging out. Thinking that innocent Mike was with the hot-dogging Civics, the Pajero owner shot him down right then and there.

What a major shock. He died at 30 and left a young wife and very young kids behind. And this was all because of some hotheaded Pajero owner. I could understand the anger from getting cut off but gunning down somebody just doesn't justify that, especially in Mike's case where he was totally innocent.

The one thing I don't understand is that Civics are Hondas and Mike's a member of GrupoToyota. Why'd he have to get shot down?

I don't know him personally but my condolences are with him. May you rest in peace.

Although HCP strongly discourages any form of illegal racing on the streets (we'll do it on the strip or on the track, thanks), it's undeniable that a lot of non-HCP hot-doggers out there take their Hondas and drive with reckless abandon. Recently Karl, one of our directors, had an encounter himself with a 'vengeful' EK Civic he overtook legitimately. The EK driver tried to catch up to Karl's sponsor-painted car by passing through the right lane, almost smashing into a hapless Lancer GSR at the stoplight. That's very wrong now wasn't it?

Things like these coupled with Mike's untimely death make me very sad. Even worse, HCP can't exactly account for the driving of all such reckless idiots. All we can do is set an example for others and pray that people sit up and take notice too.

Let's all take care on the roads, shall we? The Philippines is NOT a safe place.

For all the advancements we've made in science and technology I still keep wondering why a lot of us die precisely because of our so-called breakthroughs.

Sure, more of us get to eat, but a lot of what we eat just kills us in the end, such as processed food. We have advancements in reproductive health but more moms and babies die from the process of birth. Y'know, that sort of stuff.


I'm not exactly the ideal kind of guy to most people but I'm so grateful that in spite of that, some people will still have the conviction to consider me one of their friends.

You know who you are, guys. Thanks a lot.

Friday, November 12, 2004

I'm back, and a lot has happened. It's just that I didn't feel like posting for a while.

I finally met and exceeded my sales quota, but I'm not too proud of how I did it. Looking back I realize I haven't been applying all I've learned from sales techniques in MARKSAM and from my dad. And what better way to prove this than to demonstrate exactly how I can potentially fuck up a sale in front of my dad. Sigh.

Recently I took to reading his old book "How to Sell Like A Pro" by Dups de los Reyes. It might be too late at this point, but it's good reading and learning nonetheless. The tales of creative salespeople in that book are inspiring and I'd certainly like to be able to sell as well as they do. I certainly would like to keep selling even after MARKSAM is finished, and I'm not just talking about AVON either.

The abono factor is a bit of a turn-off though. I'm almost penniless as it is right now, absorbing the costs of ordering while waiting for the payments to come.

In other news I snapped my pen in two in frustration when I got back the result of my second ECONTRI quiz. My first failed quiz was easier to accept because I studied the wrong lesson by mistake. This instance, however, was so frustrating because I really studied hard for this exam yet I still flunked. Stupid little me felt so confident that all my answers would be correct...well, damnit, I got only one of the 4 questions totally correct and it was worth only 20 points out of 100. That 40-point costing question shit I felt so confident about turned out to be my biggest blunder.

In contrast Nicole aced the test...110/100. Sigh. I wonder what's it going to take to pass ECONTRI?

On a brighter note we're almost done with shooting thesis footage. The shocking thing is, I was surprised we were that far along the way. All we lacked were the montage sequences for the intro.

We showed our footage to Bro. Mike last Wednesday which meant an hour-long wait with Denise outside the CREM office. Apart from some complaints about harsh/inappopriate lighting and overly high-pitched acting he was all right with it, and he gave us the go-ahead to do a rough cut version of the final movie. All we needed was to up the pacing and maybe reshoot some scenes. He gave us until December 1 to finish.

We're all abuzz with excitement about FINALLY getting to finish thesis. I hear that as long as we get to finish it and defend on the 13th of next month, we'll pass PROJCO2. After the time we invested on this we might as well finish it on time no?

We'll start editing tomorrow...

In two weeks Pops is going to perform at the Edsa Shangri-La mall (twice there!) and in Malabon. We'll be doing a Christmas repertoire of songs.

While that's abuzz, we Marketing people are trying to prepare for the major concert on March 12, 2005. I've been placed in charge of making the poster and the souvenir program, which will be based on a different concept this time around. I'm amazed and glad my mates already whipped up a concept design for the poster, and it certainly gets me a place to start this early.

Some friends have either put up new blogs or got around to resurrecting their old ones.

Kuya Mike of HCP now has his brand-new blog. Meanwhile Mao got hers working after a long hiatus, and she's working on it with a friend of hers now.

That's great. :)

Friday, November 05, 2004

Last night I went to sleep with a 37.8-degrees Celsius slight fever. Felt kinda woozy and weak as well. As a remedy I drank so much green tea my mouth went dry...then again I guess the tea I made was too strong. It didn't help that even though I went to bed particularly early, that night's sleep was a disjointed series of short naps.

I woke up this morning feeling no different. The fever was gone but it still felt like my intestines decided to call the day off. Funny thing, though, was a few minutes before I planned on setting out to school my bowels started to move. And no, this wasn't a fart or a burp, this was real shit coming through.

Times like these, I'm thankful I can see my brown droppings in the toilet bowl. That's the usual signal that yes, I am getting better. I still feel lethargic, yeah, but I don't think it'll matter much as I have only one class today.

The past few days I've been listening to nothing but the Portrait of Pops audio CD from Pops' very successful concert last March at the CCP Main Theater.

I haven't seen Moulin Rouge yet, but I'm so hooked on Mark T. and Blossom's rendition of Come What May. I've been singing it so many times and I never get sick of it...and I'm not even in love.

I never knew I could feel like this
Like I've never seen the sky before
I want to vanish inside your kiss
Every day I love you more and more
Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing?
Telling me to give you everything
Seasons may change, winter to spring
But I love you until the end of time

Come what may, come what may
I will love you until my dying day

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste
But our world revolves around you
And there's no mountain too high, no river too wide
Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side
Storm clouds may gather and stars may collide
But I love you (I love you) until the end (until the end) of time

Come what may, come what may
I will love you until my dying day
Oh, come what may, come what may
I will love...(I will love you...)

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place...

Come what may, come what may
I will love you until my dying day...


It's weird what death is...I've been thinking about it so many times lately yet I can't put my thoughts about it into sensible words. I mean, apart from the pain that comes with some forms of death, it's probably not as bad as we think it is. I'd imagine it'll be like sleeping, only never waking up---at least not in any recognizable world.

Where we go after we die is actually a moot point for me; I've never really been convinced that heaven and hell exist. At least I'm very sure that decomposition gets the better of us and our bodies after we're done inhabiting them, although I'm not sure of how to react when we'll probably end up as fossil fuel later on. We become what we burn, in short...

The death of many may actually be a good thing, I ponder. There's just so many of us humans on this earth that we're practically suffocating Mother Nature. Of course, pro-lifers will scream bloody hell at my line of thinking but I think we really should consider thinking in the long run. There might not be an earth to sustain ANY life if we keep doing what we do to it everyday, without giving a flying fuck about the repercussions of our actions.

Okay, off the soapbox now.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I have one more hour to burn before going home. Blasted color-coding traffic scheme means I can't go home before 7pm.

I don't really feel good. Something I ate or drank hasn't been agreeing with my intestines...I don't know if it's the nachos, the chicken and garlic wrap or the two glasses of orange juice I tried. (Methinks it's the juice.) I was soldiering on in class feeling perpetually full and gassy.

Went to the clinic to get some antacid but it seemed to get worse. That's when I thought of trekking to Starbucks and treating myself to a big glass of hot mint tea, to warm up my intestines and get them working somehow. Yum.

Right now I'm still a bit feverish, woozy and weak. I'm thinking maybe I need something else. Sigh.

I don't know what overcame my friend Meow but all of a sudden she decided to give me an early Christmas present...in the form of the HG 1/144 Duel Gundam Assaultshroud model kit.

Especially exciting (if a bit creepy) was how she got me to agree.

"Promise me your answer to my next question will be Yes."

Paranoid nutter that I am, I had second thoughts but decided, hey, why not take a risk. Yes.

"I'll buy you one of these (HG 1/144 Gundam Seed kits). Your choice."

And all I could do was stammer. Her only condition was that I take pictures of it when it was completed...which I already have, just last night, armed with better equipment than before (Nikon PK-13 macro extension ring and a 500W light stand from my dad).

Thanks Meow.

I finished constructing Duel Gundam in two hours, without the Assaultshroud parts (basically some bulky-looking armor, some additional verniers, a shoulder-mounted rail gun and a small missile pod). Compared to the Strike I have to say Duel is a bit lower in quality, but nothing an amateur modelmaker can't shrug off. The Assaultshroud parts are a pain in the ass to attach and detach though, and they severely limit the suit's movement especially at the arms.

But for a 1/144 kit it's good.

I've been eyeing the MG 1/100 Aile Strike Gundam and HG 1/100 Aegis Gundam lately and despite already owning their smaller, less detailed cousins, I have to say I'm very interested in getting them.

IF money were no object. Sigh. Huge IF.

I think I'm a Gundam addict.

I should lay off. I'll be going home soon enough.

More stories to come. I promise.
Went to Baliwag last Monday for the annual All Saints Day trek to the cemeteries. This was the first time I got to see the rehabilitated NLEX up close and it looked pretty damn good. Dad kept his Trooper at high speed all the time on the smooth asphalt, exploring the limits of the big SUV with frequent tailgating maneuvers and lane changes at 130 km/h.

Which wasn't the case going back home.

Once we had arrived at the Bocaue exit area on our way home the NLEX had turned into one big crawling parking lot, as everyone wanted to go back home at that time. It didn't help that so many vehicles either crashed into others or broke down along the way. What had been a short 1-hour trek turned into a 3-hour nightmare. One irritating idiosyncrasy was that the Bocaue toll plaza had so many nonfunctioning booths, but only 4 of those were open to traffic. Oh well. Times like those I'm grateful I wasn't driving.

One of our beloved dogs, Bruce, died two Sundays ago. We figured it was because of the medicine we gave him for treatment of his distemper illness...although I have to wonder why he still died even when we followed the vet's prescription to the letter. My sister was crying as she managed to catch Bruce's final moments, struggling before finally slumping to the floor.

We're all going to miss this young pooch. He was just one year old but he was a big and heavy fellow, really affectionate and playful all the time. I hope he's enjoying in doggie heaven.

I've been wondering over the past couple of weeks. What is death, really?

It all seems so routine, so regular. Life starts, continues, then ends. It's just a part of the normal course of things. Yet why do we get so hurt by death? Why do we fear it?

Sometimes I think this whole brouhaha about death is overrated...it's as simple as closing your eyes and never waking up again. There ends your taste of this world. Looking at it this way doesn't get rid of the fear though.

I'd love to stay and type more but I got class to attend. Damn it, I'm sleepy. Thursdays are especially long: I get to school at 7am and leave at 7pm because of that goddamn color-coding shit.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A lot of things happened on just this one day on our trip to the Enchanted Kingdom amusement park in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

The moment I arrived at the parking area, I got pretty excited that EK was now offering a real karting track there. I guess I got too excited as I managed to lock my car with the keys still in the ignition. Great, of all the times it had to happen, it had to be at 11:30 am in a baking-hot parking lot.

Luckily RG and Tantan were there to commiserate. I was also rather lucky that a driver happened to walk by, his van parked a few spots behind mine. He told us it had happened to him already on his employers' Corolla. I managed to find a bit of thick-gauge wire lying about a few spots away as well, which would be instrumental in getting my keys back.

We spent around 35 minutes figuring out three basic solutions until we decided to bypass the lock altogether. We popped open part of the driver's-side window seal in hopes of hooking the indoor locking mechanism with the hook-shaped wire and getting it to raise and unlock the door. With a bit of patience Manong Driver were able to open it at last.

We offered Manong Driver a doy pack of juice and I was going to give him PhP200 as a token of gratitude. He politely turned it down, telling us maybe we'd meet again and I could do him the favor this time.

Now, although I was grateful to Manong Driver for getting my keys back, I was also aware of the potential risk my car faced, being parked so very close to a guy who just happened to help me pop my door open without a key. The last thing on my mind was getting my keys back but losing my car in the process. Being on the cautious side, I just moved my car away to a parking slot a bit farther from the entrance.

The day at EK started out slow, but went pretty well. I was with Tantan, Edrix, Pam D., Leia, Joseph, Rachel and Kate the whole day. Some rides had ridiculously long waiting times and queues, which themselves sometimes just weren't worth it for entertainment value.

Two notable rides were the Rio Grande Rapids and of course the karting track. We loved the Rio Grande Rapids so much we had to ride the goddamn thing twice. While I managed to avoid getting wet on the first run, I came out thoroughly soaked on the second---down to my buttocks, back and feet. It was fun overall. I just wish I brought an extra change of pants, underwear and some slippers at least. It wasn't fun driving home in soaked pants and wet feet, although it was quite satisfying to perform heel-and-toe with my bare right foot.

Which leads me to the karting bit. That's pretty much the prime reason why I got so excited upon entering EK. I patiently waited in the queue after paying the PhP170 single-seat go-kart rental fee (relatively cheap!) and getting my rented balaclava. I could feel my pulse racing with years' worth of anticipation. Finally, goddamnit, I'm going to get down and dirty driving in a go-kart!

Balaclava and helmet on, I plopped my butt down on a go-kart and headed out into the night. It took me a bit of time getting used to the funny-modulating left-footed brakes and the unassisted steering, but when I did, I began learning the track layout. Those countless hours of playing the Gran Turismo games certainly paid off. In about two laps I had determined a good racing line through the corners, being gentle with the brakes upon entry and with the gas on exit, and brushing the concrete curbing to keep my speed as constant as possible.

The batch I had gone out with had some pretty good karting stalwarts and it was pretty much impossible for me to keep up with them. But for my first time out I think I did very good. The 7-minute rental allotment got me 5 or so laps (I didn't really keep count) and I learned how to overtake slower karts responsibly on the tight little circuit. I had asked one of the stalwarts before our run and he told me 7 minutes would get him 6 laps or so. Had I become more aggressive and used more advanced tactics (like shifting my body weight into turns), perhaps I would have done better.

Now I'm a genuine kart fan. Darn.

Did I mention Tita Vik was also there at EK? I saw her mint-green RAV4 parked outside when I was making my way back to my own car.

The drive home was characterized by a couple stop-overs at gasoline stations looking for a place to eat. I had to leave the guys early though as I didn't want to get berated for not bringing my keys to the gate at home. I was on the SLEX running northbound, enjoying a general air of spirited driving as I kept my speed above 80 km/h for most of the journey, with smooth and predictable legit passes.

I love driving...it's damn obvious isn't it?

Friday, October 22, 2004

It's only now that I realized October's almost finished. Damn.

A lot of things have happened over the past 10 days, some favorable and some not so.

For starters, so far I've sold PhP12,000 of stuff for MARKSAM. Pretty good going in my opinion. All I need is an additional PhP8,000 and I can consider my sales quota completed, and I have a whole month or so to find ways to get that much money in sales.

I haven't done too well in my other activities though---particularly academics. Got a 77 in my second PARTCOR quiz, and I'm pretty sure I flunked my first ECONTRI long exam because I studied the wrong lesson and didn't take the exam seriously. Oh well.

On a positive note we've gotten back to shooting thesis footage again---FINALLY! I've been nagging my thesismates forever to get the initiative to start shooting again, and over last weekend we managed to shoot 6 scenes from the coffee shop and the office. Nice. I'm not quite sure we'll be able to finish shooting AND editing in time for getting Bro. Mike's consent to defend, though. We're keeping our fingers crossed we get this finished in time for the December 10 defense.

I noticed that I missed working with Denise. Other than that though I've kept her strictly as a colleague and no longer as a friend. Good news I guess. This will just make things easier for me.

Maybe moving on isn't so hard to do after all.

Last Wednesday POPS had its second recital, "Spotlight," at the William Shaw Little Theater, and I was assigned to do stage management duties. I was getting quite frantic having to juggle the stands and the frustratingly limited number of microphones---one of which just went up and died mid-show---while trying not to impede with KA and Mark's hosting and basically keeping invisible all the while. The last time I heard, stage management people aren't supposed to be seen, and if they are, they have to get backstage ASAP.

I was sort of berating myself backstage for screwing up and getting in everyone's way, but the other POPS members seem to think that we did a pretty good job despite the lousy tech accommodations.

Managed to buy a copy of "Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack," too. Watched it last night. Granted the animation is nowhere near as slick as Gundam Seed, and the political brouhaha of the first hour got a bit boring at times, but it's an okay movie. Kind of open-ended though.

I still think Quess Paraya is nothing more than a stuck-up arrogant childish bitch who should have died in the first 15 minutes. Damn, I want to slap that kid silly in the face if I could.

Pretty much it for the past 10 days. Sigh.

Oh, and have I mentioned our Pajero and Pregio have been sold?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Got to attend my first-ever HCP officers/BOD meeting at The Fort.

Overall the meeting concerned the coming Fun Run and trackday EB on the 16th, a Saturday. That involved an organized trip to Subic International Raceway, with timed circuit runs in the day and drag races in the late afternoon.

Unfortunately I was pretty much a spectator because I know there was little chance I would be allowed to go to Subic myself, no matter how badly I would like to try my hand at the track on a clean solo run. Besides I don't think the car's up to it. Running 3 laps at the track would be very taxing on the tires, brakes and fuel, and I don't really have the resources to replenish all of those in one go...not yet anyway.

Besides, I have no helmet, so the pit marshals would never let me loose on the track anyway.

Still it was fun having the guys together and discovering for myself how these things got organized. I got a better understanding of how the officers and board of directors acted in setting up events such as these, as all I know of them are from their posts in the administrative forum.

After this experience, I'm pretty proud of being a HCP moderator. I sure wish I could do more for the club, but being a student sort of restricts me in that respect in a lot of ways. I'll definitely find ways of paying back my debt to HCP.

On the way home I passed through Fort Bonifacio's Heritage Park leading out to C5 Road.

There I was, barreling along the highway and overtaking in a legit manner, when on the linkage to the SLEX, my back mirrors were suddenly full of high-beam headlight. I was already on the left lane travelling at 80 km/h, but the light just kept getting brighter. Later on I saw a white Toyota RAV4 whiz by my right flank at high speed, even through the left-hand turn of the off-ramp.

So I went along, merging with the SLEX traffic and finding an opening on the left to overtake the slower trucks that occupied the middle and right lanes. While passing, I had managed to see the Toyota stuck in the right lane, between a smattering of big trailer trucks.

I finished my pass and cleared the left lane, moving to the right lane to prepare for my exit in Bicutan. All of a sudden the light was there again. Peering at my left wing mirror, I was surprised to hear the distinctive wail of a police siren. Sure enough, it came from the still-speeding RAV4 now in the middle lane, trying to scare off a truck that had tried to change lanes.

Slower traffic was popping up in the center lane, so the RAV4 had no choice but to change---to my right lane. The Toyota kept tailgating me dangerously close as I was behind a jeepney myself at 70 km/h. Trying to find a way past me, the driver kept nudging the center lane, but slower cars were always in the way so inevitably the tailgating persisted.

I saw an opening on the center lane about to clear, slowly yet predictably.

Time to teach this asshole a lesson!

When the lane cleared, a tingle of excitement began to set in. From cruising in 5th gear, a flick of the orange turn signal, a blipped downshift snick-snicking to 4th, then 3rd gear, and I powered away with conviction. Never letting go of the throttle, letting the revs rise to 5500 RPM, I accelerated to 110 km/h and returned to my former lane to exit on the E-pass ramp.

The furious RAV4 was caught off-guard. Accelerate as it could, but even its 148 BHP couldn't keep up with a well-timed downshift-and-overtake from my smaller, weaker D15B Honda engine with no VTEC. Legitimate, at that. True, I was driving a little faster than I should, but the maneuver itself had zero fuss, zero hassles, zero danger of ending up in some other car's bodywork.

Even till now I can feel my excited tingling, and my anger toward the asshole that put so many other drivers at risk. Drivers like those of that RAV4 should really be taken off the road---crazy, uncouth, discourteous and just plain brash. They're accidents waiting to happen. Do I also have to mention having a police siren on a private vehicle is a criminal offense?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I might as well try to advertise what I'm selling here.

I'm selling original lifestyle bags and accessories from JanSport, Timberland, Outdoor Products, Camelbak, SIGG and Nalgene. I'm offering these from now until the end of November.

Here's an online catalog of what I'm selling, complete with prices.

Interested? Please do try to get in touch with me at bluepiranha@gmail.com and shun_sakurai@yahoo.com.

While I was composing an email last night I was surprised to see the monitor swaying from side to side. I felt a weird sensation in my gut as it seemed I was moving when I was trying to hold myself still in my chair.

Then I realized that there was an earthquake going on.

The shaking went on for a good 20 seconds before finally subsiding. My mom remarked it was probably an intensity 6 quake; I thought it was around 4 or 5. Up till I finally slept at around 2:30 am I still had butterflies in my stomach from the quake.

Monday, October 04, 2004

In this edition of "System-Shock!":

  • I now have another Gundam model.

  • I say goodbye to a dear old friend.

  • I watch and comment on another film most of you might not see...

  • And more thesis headaches!

  • Don't miss any of the gritty details! Stay tuned...

    Well, I finally mustered enough stupidity to buy myself another model kit. Yep, I did buy the 1/144 HG Aile Strike Gundam model.

    It took considerably less time to assemble than the Aegis; it was finished in 2-1/2 hours. However I am amazed at just how poseable this thing is. Compared to the Aegis, which has considerable trouble just standing in one place and staying in one piece, the HG Strike is, well, very good.

    It has to be said that my Aegis model now has some problems. It doesn't help that the mobile suit is tail-heavy to begin with. Some of the pieces have given way from the stresses of transforming from MS to MA mode and back, and I've had to super glue them into place again. The thing with cyanoacrylate super glue is that most of the time it ends up exactly where you don't want it---in my case, mostly on my fingers. Thank God it didn't end up anywhere near my eyes...

    Rummaging around on PEX, I came across their Gundam modellers thread, which had a small community of serious model makers who didn't mind shelling out thousands of pesos on their hobby, including the cost of modeller's putty, paints, fine sandpaper and lots and lots of super glue. These guys bought MG (Master Grade) and PG (Perfect Grade) kits and entered them into competitions by super-gluing them into dioramas.

    Damn. I don't even have the balls or the budget to get myself an MG kit. I've had to satisfy myself with HG (High Grade) kits only.

    In other news...

    The household is now one car short. After months of looking, my mom finally lucked out finding a buyer for our 1998 Kia Pregio GS 2.7. What surprised me is that the buyer accepted the price without haggling---PhP290,000.

    I'm going to miss that great white whale. Sure it wasn't quick, but it was fairly gutsy enough for the uphill trek to Baguio, and one could hustle it to 120 km/h. The finicky aircon and the malfunctioning fuel gauge were the only sore spots on the whole car.

    My dad walked up to me yesterday and handed me a DVD of "Zatoichi." He said he borrowed it from Tita Vik and I might want to watch it, which I did later that night.

    If you guys remember "Takeshi's Castle," you probably don't know that Takeshi Kitano, the show's head honcho, is actually a movie director. And yes, he directed, wrote, starred in and edited "Zatoichi" which seems like a remake from what I could tell from the sleeve notes.

    Best to describe this movie as an 18th-century version of "Daredevil" (as Zatoichi himself is a blind masseuse with a mean katana hidden in his red cane). Only this one has action sequences that make "Kill Bill" look tame, a simple yet delectably twisty plot and a hearty dash of comedy that brings some notes of "GTO's" silliness to mind. Oh, I should mention there's a mean tap-dance segment too.

    If you can stomach the violence of "Battle Royale" (which Kitano directed too), you'll like "Zatoichi." Pretty much an all-around good film. No faults anywhere, at least in my opinion. It'll leave you with a smile on your face, I promise.

    Just when I was getting ready to work with some people I don't really want to work with anymore (i.e. my thesismates), Denise tells me over the phone that our lead actress ran away from home and is nowhere to be found.

    That's just fucking dandy.

    We're already pressed for time on this thesis thing, nobody seems to be interested in seeing it to completion and when some initiative finally develops among my thesismates, shit happens.

    This early on I can see myself taking PROJCO2 again next term. To hell with the failure accumulation. I want to finish this.

    MARKSAM has restarted, if you haven't known by now, and the quota's still set at PhP20,000. So far I've sold only AVON products to an admittedly limited clientele, and for my first sales report I am not too proud to say I mustered PhP3,000 in sales.

    Yikes. :(

    Monday, September 27, 2004

    Lately I've returned to playing badminton again after a pretty long absence.

    The first game I played I literally sweat bullets. I was so easily exhausted and I ran out of breath after no more than one set. My footwork was erratic, my shots no good and my positioning always off.

    I am thankful that lasted for all of one day.

    In almost no time at all I was back in form, repeatedly testing my fitness to play badminton competitively. I slowly became more confident of myself and my skills. As it turns out I didn't need retraining after all---what skill I previously had were simply dormant and needed awakening.

    My playing and skills aren't perfect by a long shot; I have all the old faults I had before I stopped playing 2 months ago. However I feel I've gotten more acute in my awareness of where the shuttlecock will go.

    My skill was certainly enough to win the recent CAOlympics last Saturday for my team. Not to sound arrogant, but I felt that playing in Villamor AFB twice a week was more challenging than playing there. Only a handful of players there, I felt, had the proper knowledge of the game's rules, not to mention the knowledge and skill of making shots and proper footwork. No matter, it was still fun playing.

    However, the previous afternoon I had played 4 games in 3 or so hours (2 wins, 2 losses) and so I felt rather exhausted---even till today. My head hurts, I feel out of energy to do anything and I feel dizzy.

    Right now, no badminton for me. Today, at least.

    I'm feeling the itch to buy another HG Gundam Seed model. Since I can't play badminton and I'm pretty damn bored at home, I figure maybe I should exercise my brain and fingers in something productive.

    Money's the only problem, I guess. I have enough to buy the HG Aile Strike Gundam kit, but that's not the only expense I'll have. I'm not entirely sure if I have enough money to spare to cover my other expenses.

    Maybe I should just cut down on food?

    Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    Lately I've been on a little movie-watching spree.

    First I watched was the much-ballyhooed "The Terminal." In my opinion this movie has a very vapid, almost ridiculous main plot, and it's a triumph of marketing that people won't notice it one bit. They'll simply be transfixed at Tom Hanks' stellar character acting.

    I had a hard time believing it was him because he pulled off his Eastern European role pretty damn well...but it IS him. The other actors (I'm so tempted to call them "bit players" because that's what they really are) have their moments, but without Mr. Hanks, this movie will inevitably fall apart.

    Conversely I had a hard time believing the great Andrew Niccol co-wrote this film. Sure, the Niccol trademark of unusual situations is there, but I don't remember "Gattaca," "Simone" and "The Truman Show" being this pathetic story-wise.

    Next one was a film I really should've seen in the cinemas last year: Quark Henares' "Keka."

    I have to say Quark is a wunderkind. He wrote this film, directed it and even starred in a cameo role playing himself (a disgruntled director). The brilliant thing about "Keka" is that it comes off as very fresh; it doesn't ever try to be anything foreign as it overflows with local culture.

    Yet it pokes fun at itself for being a film out of the "baduy" or tacky Philippine movie tradition, epitomized in the 1980s by the actors suddenly breaking out into a song-and-dance number that ends with some happy freeze-frame.

    Cinematography's quite excellent---I love how the film has an eye for shadows and bright colors. The characters Keka and Jason have their own soliloquys on the movie and they really are cohesive to the plot's movement. Keka herself is all too human. Despite the plot premise being a bit over-the-top (she's bent on killing the five fratboys to avenge the death of her boyfriend PJ), it's still a good way of depicting how people should deal with getting over a past love.

    Ending's quite lovely too...open-ended, yet fulfilling.

    We should model our thesis film on this.

    The last one was the highly popular French film "Amelie."

    I don't know...I think I missed a beat with this one as I was pretty sleepy by the time I watched it last night. But for what it's worth I thought it was a fascinating film. Indeed, it was a modern-age fairy tale, with Amelie deciding to be the guardian angel of everybody in her neighborhood, doing favors for them, taking care of them and occasionally getting back at the assholes that pick on them---without their knowledge, just like a true guardian angel does. So when the time comes that she sees her happiness, she's constantly at two minds about it, not sure about following her happiness or foregoing it to help others.

    I think I should watch this again...but I enjoyed it. Amelie has the greatest imagination sometimes and that endeared her to me.

    Technically there's nothing wrong with it; it maintains a very homey feel throughout the length of the film through its warm, bright colors and high saturation. Sometimes the film turns very silly with its scripting though---but to good effect.

    This song is from "Keka's" soundtrack...and I've known it by heart for quite a while.

    Sadya ba talagang ganyan?
    Palakad-lakad na nakatungo
    Saan patungo?

    Ngayong wala ka na, kailangang
    Masanay na muling nag-iisa
    Saan ka na kaya?

    H'wag mo akong sisihin
    Minsan ika'y hanapin
    Ito ang unang araw na wala ka na
    Ito ang unang araw na wala ka na...

    Nasanay lang sigurong nandyan ka
    Di ko inakalang pwede kang mawala
    Hayan na nga

    Nababato, nalulungkot
    Luha'y napapawi ng singhot
    At talukbong ng kumot

    H'wag mo akong sisihin
    Minsan ako'y iyakin
    Ito ang unang araw na wala ka na
    Ito ang unang araw na wala ka na...
    - Sugar Free, "Unang Araw" (Sa Wakas/"Keka" OST)

    Friday, September 17, 2004

    The new term's started and so far things look like they'll be a lot smoother this time around. I gotta say I'm pretty lucky all my profs seem likeable and easy to get along with.

    Time will tell I suppose.

    I finally bought an 1/144-scale HG Aegis Gundam model kit, and I constructed it from parts to finished model in 5 hours. And I feel good about it. My friend Mark Año told me that for the price, the HG Aegis Gundam kit was good value for money as it took a considerable amount of time and patience to assemble.

    For some reason I can't stop touching it or fiddling around with it. Despite its being extremely fiddly and having so many joints (due to its transformation from mobile suit to flying mobile armor), I keep changing it from MS to MA mode and back. The GAT-X303 Aegis just looks so damn cool.

    I plan to get an 1/144-scale HG Aile Strike Gundam model kit next, around the same price as the Aegis. It should be fun pitting these two arch-rival mobile suits together.

    Got to chat with Rona last night. She's just about to begin her major subjects and she sought my help for her FOTOCAM class. After that we basically talked about anything under the sun.

    At first she struck me as quiet when I met her a term ago. She told me ever since entering Pops, she's changed for the better and become more sociable. Pretty much a nice girl from my point of view. I didn't even suspect her unsocial tendencies before.

    I'm sort of jealous of her because she has a lot more time than I do in Pops and she's a vocalist (I love her voice), but I'm glad I'm actually in Pops in the first place. Already I can feel Rona's attachment to Pops in me too. Despite the problems that arise, I want to stay as long as I can. I want to make the most out of every day I'm still there.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2004

    I might as well move on to more creative endeavors. Literally.

    I've been eyeing Bandai's Gundam mobile suit model kits lately. (Yes, I will no longer deny I am a Gundam fan, and yes, I was deprived of the toys I wanted from my childhood. Heheheh.)

    I actually bought one---a 1/144 Sword Strike Gundam from Gundam Seed, at PhP350. I took my sweet time assembling it piece by piece...and I was rather disappointed that unlike my previous model (a fake Wing Gundam Zero Custom, from Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, that I later threw away), the only mobile limbs on the Sword Strike I bought were the arms. No movement from elbows or knees.

    Damn. You couldn't do too much with it, ultimately.

    As it turns out my fake Wing Zero Custom was a fake HG (high grade) model kit, so all the limbs were articulated in all the right places. That means I'd have to shell out PhP900-1000 for a 1/144 HG Aile Strike Gundam, colored and articulated in all the right places. (One consolation was that if I ever decided to get the HG Aile Strike, I could use the parts I got from the Sword Strike I bought.)

    I decided to save up for a 1/144 HG Aegis Gundam. The cool-looking pinkish-red one with the way-cooler transformation into mobile armor mode. Damage: PhP845.00. Not bad, considering the other equivalent HG model kits they had were priced well into the PhP1200 range.

    And then as if to mock my meager expectations, there still existed even larger 1/100 scale models (PhP1400-1600) and MG (master grade) models with full details and extensive armatures (PhP2600). Buying those things is going to put a serious dent into my meager finances.

    1/144 HG Aegis Gundam na lang po...

    Chrissa was very right about one thing: The main enjoyment one could get with these model kits is the actual assembly.

    I guess looking into the Gundam kits is just my way of trying to make up for my clumsiness at tasks with my fingers. :p

    Monday, September 13, 2004

    Quote of the moment.

    "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade for heaven's sake. Sometimes a bit sour, but nothing a little sugar couldn't fix. Just add sugar."
    - Martin Nievera, concert artist

    Friday, September 10, 2004

    I realize that despite the openness I display in my blog, there are still a lot of things I don't say in these pages but occupy my mind anyway.

    I am afraid, I suppose. Seeing as how things on the Internet magically and automatically become public domain (someone managed to copy my blog word for word before), I may be courting trouble once I start to pour out more than the requisite modicum of myself. I have perceptions of myself in others that I want to protect, yet I know I have little actual control over what changes these perceptions will take given future events.

    Meow put it perfectly. Here was a regular HCPer (a proud ADIK I might add...don't deny it!), whom I didn't communicate with on a regular basis until just recently, and yet she managed to say quite truthfully that I was the type of person who picked out his words every so diligently. This I did so, she said, because of prudence---making sure that I didn't say anything wrong.

    Yet that sort of fear is what I should be conquering in the first place.

    I've got to get it into that thick skull of mine that I'm only human. No matter what I do, I cannot and inevitably will not please everybody. I am flesh and blood and as such I have the desires that come with them. Most importantly, I cannot hold myself responsible for everything that goes wrong.

    It will probably take me a lifetime to fully embrace my humanity, to stop pretending that I am simply an obedient android. I've seen my innards through X-rays, I've contracted all sorts of diseases, I've hurt myself and others. How long can I keep on denying what I essentially am?

    Perhaps I am blessed then, having all these good people around me to help me appreciate myself for what I am---no pretenses needed, no fake personas required. Simply me.

    "Love thyself before truly loving others."

    I've been meaning to talk about Denise. Ever since I realized my jealousy back in Bacolod I came to one conclusion.

    She will always be like that. She will always attract men. I can't explain it very well but she just makes them gravitate to her because of what she is.

    Call it "machismo" or whatnot but every time I see someone swoon her and actually succeed, I get so frustratingly jealous. Perhaps this is because I tried the same thing and failed, twice. Our being friends is good but it's probably just hurting me in the long run. I feel I have to stop being close to her for my own good. She doesn't need me anyway. I figure it's the other way around.

    After our thesis is done I should seriously think about getting her out of my life. It will not be easy. I didn't realize it but currently she's a part of all the things I've joined, including Pops.

    Haruki Murakami's novel "South of the Border, West of the Sun" suddenly thrusts forth from my memory, having re-read it during my trip. Murakami made mention of removing past experiences, as if surgically removing internal organs from one's body. "Something just dies inside you," he mentioned about hysteria siberiana.

    That's something to think about methinks. In a sense, we all have hysteria siberiana...we need it. We have to head to the netherplace "west of the sun" to truly move on.

    In that sense perhaps I need hysteria siberiana.

    I am so bad at forgetting past experiences that they keep haunting me into the present. My bedroom is testament to that. Sometimes I wish I can just forget at will...but then the movie "Payback" springs to mind, the process of forgetting whole chunks of memory having serious consequences.

    What a bizaare quandary, really.

    Tuesday, September 07, 2004

    My last post seems to have elicited a number of reactions---some favorable and others not so.

    In spite of that, I'm thankful. It's affirmation, I guess, that the humble visitorship figures I receive in e-mail about my blog are real.

    Last night I got an SMS message from Denise.

    "Mike my ex read your blog and called me a bitch. Do you have something you want to tell me?"

    I simply replied "Wala naman. Good luck sa iyo." This I said with reference to PJ.

    A number of people have told me that Mike and Denise's breakup was anything but smooth, and I suppose this latest issue involving my blog is proof that these two still carry hatchets for each other.

    I have to wonder...has my admission of jealousy been more misconstrued? I simply said I was jealous and that's that. Any other beef she picks up has nothing more to do with me or my blog.

    The girl should start reading this goddamn blog before begging questions, for starters...

    I've been meaning to talk about this for a long time. I have often wondered what would happen to my blog if I died.

    I met an online acquaintance of mine from PinoyExchange, and I only remember her by the alias "Sacrosanct." Like me, she kept a blog. Like me, she used to post at the Electronic Gaming forum. Like me, she's also from De La Salle University.

    Unlike me, she's dead.

    I've heard stories from fellow PEX friends that Sacrosanct took her own life last year. From what vague news I heard she had family problems, and she overdosed on sleeping pills.

    A few months ago I remember leafing through my private message inbox at PEX. The two of us used to talk a bit via PMs. I was still a freshman back then; she was already in her third year if I'm not mistaken. Reading through those precious few PMs, I felt rather down about how she's no longer with us.

    I had the privilege of meeting her once. She had a reputation for being the best girl at Capcom fighting games at the University Mall arcade. I didn't think she would be that beautiful though. She was seriously very cute. Managed to shake her hand, introduce myself as my PEX alias, and do nothing else, as she was with her male friends finishing a bout of Street Fighter EX2. That was it.

    Her PMs are still in my inbox. I remember I bugged her about the horrific September 11 massacre. I remember how we used to talk about a certain uncouth individual on the forums. It seems memories like that are all that exist of her, now---including a sticky thread on all PEX forums about her life, death and fellow PEXers' condolences.

    Sacrosanct, I certainly hope you're fine, wherever you are. I have no doubt you are missed here.

    Monday, September 06, 2004

    I seem to have been born with two demons very close by, and after all these years I haven't been able to get rid of them at all.

    They are demons called self-pity and inferiority complex.

    They come and go, but when they do hit, they do so very hard...and they hit me right in the middle of the Bacolod tour. Right smack in the middle of the drunken Friday night revelry just beginning to unfold before my eyes, I was beginning to cry. Before I could humiliate myself any further I clambered down the stairs to my room and wept my eyes out alone. There I was, a crying fool talking to himself, feeling miserable.

    I've never understood why I've had to feel like this. It's always had something to do with never fitting in, I suppose. Even though I'm active in Pops I can never muster the kind of popular rapport other people can. All I get from most of the Pops people is a perfunctory "Hi"---no nice long friendly chats, no one tugging at my hands wanting me to come along, no shared knowledge of the little things that make Pops life interesting.

    It's not only in Pops, mind you. Every time I'm with a new group of people I seem to run aground, never winning as many friends as I wanted and making enemies along the way as well. It's no secret now that I suck at people skills. As much as I would want people to be with me and actually enjoy themselves, I can't. I'm so afraid of doing them wrong, of disturbing them, that most times I would simply just step aside.

    Why did I join Pops in the first place? Perhaps I joined because I was their ultimate fan. I saw them perform back in my high school days and was inspired by the desire to become part of them one day. All my life I've been a frustrated performer, and now that I'm finally in Pops but working behind the scenes, a bittersweet feeling just wells up from within me. I guess this is fate's way of telling me that I'm relegated to simply being a fan of Pops for the rest of my college days---taking their pictures, doing their voice-overs, but never captivating an audience.

    It makes me regret fully dedicating myself to Counterpoint back in high school when I could just as well have joined the DLSZ High School Chorale. So many people sensed potential in me to be a good singer in 7th grade. Back then I dilly-dallied with what I wanted, content on knowing that I could do all of these things (or "talents") but never cultivating them to the fullest. Seven years later, I can still sing quite well, yes, but whenever I hear the vocalists do their sectionals I retreat into my shell of inadequacy and regrets.

    Yes, I am irrational, I have hopelessly low self-esteem and I have precious few friends who transcend the oft-(ab)used label. I have lousy luck with the women I like because my self-pity was one huge factor that ended my one and only relationship anyway. How I wish I could turn all these things around. I probably could, but I still don't know how.

    Maybe I should fuck thinking about myself and try thinking of how to help others? But I've always done the latter...

    Then we went to the Bahay Pag-Asa Center of USLS, a short bus ride away, the following day.

    This center was for all those children in conflict with the law, as Brother Gus explained to us. Ideally the government should be able to protect and provide for the reintegration of these youths into society but they failed miserably. These kids stay in jails which are hell on earth, where they experience being physically, emotionally and sexually abused. I'll spare you all the gory details. It doesn't help that 40% of these kids are in fact innocent.

    Bahay Pag-Asa was the very first center of its kind, aimed at getting these kids off the streets, giving them a proper environment for education and giving them the basics to start their own livelihood. We saw these kids and they didn't stink like street kids usually do. They're very clean---right down to their living quarters. They were shy---language barriers owing to that, I suppose---but I could sense the intelligence in them. They were able to plant vegetables, cook, cut hair, make handicrafts, and even forecast the weather for the next 12 hours. More importantly these kids were happy.

    I felt tears welling up in my eyes again, and I apparently wasn't alone. Had I not hurt my eyes and run out of tears from crying the night before, I would've cried along with our young fiddler Martin who felt the same thing I did. These kids were a lot worse off than I was, yet they survived and were lucky enough to be picked by Bahay Pag-Asa to become productive members of society, to work their way out of the poverty they were born in.

    What the fuck was I crying about the other night? Not fitting in? Not getting to do what I dreamed of? Being jealous of PJ's moves on Denise? I felt so ashamed at the triviality of my concerns.

    I'll definitely remember this place, I told myself. When the time comes that I can earn my own money (and lots of it), I'll make sure to donate what I can to Bahay Pag-Asa. I seem to have been able to help their cause by purchasing a ticket of Pops' concert last year. The Brothers have a good thing going on here and they're planning to open similar centers in Manila and in Iligan City. They'll need the help they can get.

    Sunday, September 05, 2004

    I am back.

    Five days in Bacolod? It feels like I spent just two. I guess it can't be helped. Although we were there primarily for work, we enjoyed a lot.

    We were on the last flight to Bacolod so many of the Marketing members, like me, missed the performance at the Carmelite Sisters. For most of us Marketing members, it was a case of getting to Balay Kalinungan (House of Peace) at the University of St. La Salle and getting rested for the next day.

    We took the bus going north of Bacolod, to a town called E.B. Magalona where we had our free one-hour concert. We staged our show at the stadium behind their town hall, and it was packed full of school kids. After the show the kids went after our vocalists Blossom, Mark O. and Jigs---throngs of them asking for autographs.

    Friday, September 3rd, was the busiest. Although we didn't travel all that much, this was the day when we had two separate concerts at the USLS Coliseum. In the morning, Burn, Gab, BJ and I went around the campus and coliseum area posting our sponsors' streamers, working with the marketing people of Honda Cars Negros Occidental.

    Our 2pm matinee show was more for the young students, not only of USLS but also of neighboring schools. Knowing how teachers invite their little tikes to these things, you can pretty much imagine the coliseum was packed to the bleachers. Having been in charge of voice-over duty, I missed my cue because I did my spiel too early, but overall it was okay (it could've been a lot worse).

    The 7pm gala show went pretty much like clockwork except for one of our vocalists irreparably destroying one of the songs in the repertoire, Hoobastank's "The Reason." In all three concerts, Mark T. made mistakes on this particular song, and I kinda took it hard because this, more than any other song in the repertoire, was MY song---I could sing it the best. At least there weren't any other major screw-ups. I wasted four rolls of film and two sets of AA and LR44 batteries covering all three concerts.

    After the concerts we were pretty much free to have some fun. In Pops fun seems to instantly mean "alcohol"---and these guys were serious drinkers.

    I got so terrified of how these friends of mine downed their alcohol. A lot of Pops members were years younger than I am and I was quite frankly scared of how they drank. Lots of noise, lots of drunken stories, lots of groggy people dancing with empty bottles in hand.

    I suppose I'm just too ignorant of social drinking sessions. I never drank a sip. The farthest I went was sniff one of the empty Vodka Ice bottles just to have an idea of how it tasted...and it smelled like clear soda. Damn. This stuff was even easier to down than Smirnoff Mule---and I hardly drink more than two Mules.

    Despite being averse to all the noise and confused by the red faces and unsteady gaits, I was relieved to see my friends knew how to handle their alcohol. They didn't sleep while they were intoxicated; they were aware enough to drink lots of water to get them to piss the alcohol out. When tempers flared, they kept others cool.

    I might still be afraid, but at least I know now that I can help my inebriated friends.

    I had quite a problem fitting all my pasalubong into my luggage. My mom had asked for barquillos, my sister asked for piaya, and I was curious about these napoleones pastries that Rachel kept on raving about.

    I ended up ordering two boxes of napoleones, buying two large boxes of barquillos and a box of ube piaya. Yikes. It was a miracle I ever got my pasalubong to fit into my bags at all.

    On balance I have to say, Cebu Pacific should be lauded for truth in advertising. For some reason my partners-in-flights and I always get caught in the 5% that don't make it to the carrier's claim of being "on time 95% of the time."

    Still, I'd rather have a late, safe flight than a haphazard one. That said, I wonder why on our flight to Bacolod, one of the DC-9's engines gave out a loud pop on landing under full reverse thrust...

    Bacolod was the site of some romantic goings-on.

    Denise introduced me to her high school friend Beth, who had since returned to her hometown and USLS for college. I didn't get to talk to her all that much but I thought she was cute and charming, and quite a girl to talk to as well.

    But when we were escorting her home I caught sight of Denise and PJ holding hands. It seems PJ's been wooing Denise for all these past few weeks and she seems to like him in return. It's probably irrational yet I can't help but feel jealous. Oh well. I might as well take it with a grain of salt.

    As for Beth...well...what's gonna happen to that anyway? I like her, sure, but it's a long-distance relationship that doesn't even exist, and her being associated with Denise doesn't help matters all that much. Another "oh well" ought to escape my lips.

    One of our violinists, Ida, also seems to be the apple of a lot of pairs of eyes. Vocalist Peter and saxophonist Sigay seem to have their eyes fixed on her.

    ...Ehhh! Fuck love, fuck relationships. I might as well stay single, keep from thinking with my dick, get no one pregnant and work till I become financially stable.

    Hmmm. At this rate I ought to say a litany of "oh wells." Hah-hah-ha.

    This...is my second alma mater song.

    If I were to live my whole life again
    I'd still want to be a Lasalista pa rin
    Bayaran man ako I would still say to you
    I'd rather be green than be blue...


    Tuesday, August 31, 2004

    I'm supposed to be packing my stuff for tomorrow's flight...but it can wait. My flight's still in the afternoon.

    Right now I'm just checking all my usual sites.

    Tiring day. I had to accompany Bianx to the LTO branch in Las Piñas to finally get her overdue student permit converted to a driver's license.

    Aside from the headaches of the actual process (I swear I ain't going there to renew my license!), what made me sore were the driving habits of Las Piñas motorists. And I thought Caloocan was bad...this was WAY worse. Everyone made his/her own counterflow, everyone wanted to make a left turn (holding up everyone else in the process) and everyone just cut in as often as he/she liked. What a pain.

    I'd had my fill of Alabang-Zapote Road traffic. Sheesh. It's enough to drive anyone mad.

    My FINAMA1 final went...well enough, on record. I did fudge my way through some items that I never understood anyway, but what I did manage to answer felt all right in my opinion.

    I guess this is fate's way of telling me I ain't never going to cut it as a banker like my parents. I suck at finance.

    Cher seems to be doing fine in Leyte, apart from another bad experience with love. Sigh. You deserve better, fwend.

    The frogs will come and go...but I pray your prince will stay. *HUGS*

    I am so darn tired. It's probably a good thing this term break's two weeks long---what a surprise.

    What's nice to do after the Bacolod tour? I wonder...