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.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Mom and Bianx are in Batangas right now. I pretty much woke up at 6:30 am to bring them to Alabang to meet up with their companions.

In the meantime, today I attended John's aerobics/Pilates class and did the grocery shopping all by myself.

I never quite thought that grocery shopping could actually be tough. I had a list in hand while I was browsing SM Bicutan's supermarket, true, but the unfamiliar layout of the place and my own unfamiliarity with the task kinda took me longer to get it over with. Sure, I accompany my mom when she shops for groceries pretty often, but this time I was alone.

List in hand, I was even making a running tally of the prices of the things I plopped into my pushcart. When I saw things that weren't in the list but I wanted anyway, I listed them down on a different column with their prices. That's a little better than what my mom usually does, I guess.

When I arrived at the counter to pay for my load, I was a bit surprised to see that the final figure was a bit cheaper than what I'd haphazardly computed, but I was happy it was pretty close.

I oughta do the grocery shopping more often. By myself. It's a mighty good way of teaching myself how to keep track of expenditure.

Lsat week, Mom was complaining about the increasing frequency of my visits to the gas stations. Couldn't be helped I guess, since three times a week I've been driving to school, driving to Villamor AFB, driving back to school to fetch Bianx and Bong and driving back home. As fuel-efficient as my D15B7 engine is, such frequency of trips will need gas.

So this week, with a full tank of gasoline, I tried something else. Instead of going to Villamor AFB on Wednesdays, I'd go to Robinsons Place Ermita instead and play Dance Maniax 2nd Mix. That way I'm still exercising and I use much less fuel for the trip.

I left for RP after the Parokya ni Edgar concert, and to my surprise Helene was there in the arcade as well, with a likeable chap I was introduced to, Richard. It seems they'd seen me playing DM2, and Helene wanted a go at it too (and she was pretty good at that).

Nice meeting you two. :D

So...how's my fuel consumption?

After a typical school week and a few side trips (going to Avon's Taft office and bringing Mom and Bianx to Hillsborough) tallying up to 180 km, my tank's still a bit over half full. Considering how much harder I drive and how judiciously I blip my Honda's throttle for frequent downshifts, that's a respectable result.

I might still be doing 9 km/L. That's certainly nothing to complain about.

I'm exercising harder than ever, but I'm actually gaining weight. Yikes.

I wonder what's wrong with me.

I came clean with Denise this Friday. I told her everything---how I was so bitterly jealous---and apologized for being such an ass. I was surprised that she had still asked me about what I had to apologize for...does that mean I wasn't as much of as ass as I thought I was? Maybe so.

But when "being an ass" involves taking it to the highways...ehhh, maybe that's just my head working overtime.

With MARKSAM out of the way, I figured it's about time I straighten things out so that I can work on the thesis freely. Having a bone to pick with a fellow thesismate obviously isn't the smartest thing to do, considering Denise, Erica and I are on the same thesis boat for at least 5 more months.

Selling Avon products is probably going to be my way of supporting the thesis production financially, although I still don't know how much I'll be able to raise selling just Avon. Getting a 25% sales commission by default is comparably huge, yeah, but I gotta sell a lot more.

Right now I'm just taking it easy, I guess. I should start on the darned script.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

I miss Cher.

I've been calling her, sending her SMS messages and buzzing her on YM all week, but she hasn't replied. Not even once. I'm more than a little worried about my Leyteña friend. I know it's busy times for her, what with campaign season and everything, but I still worry.

If you read this, Cher, please text or buzz me.

Take care always, my friend.


Had my driver's license renewed today at the LTO remote office close to the Parañaque City Hall. I didn't enroll for LEAP class so I had today free. Bong tagged along.

It didn't take too long. Despite having to wait for the doctor's signature on my medical exam results, the whole procedure didn't take me more than an hour and a half and PhP550. Not too shabby, despite having to come back by the end of June to claim the card itself.

Parokya ni Edgar performed in school the other day at U-break. Man, what an experience. Chito Miranda was game right from the start, mouthing off wisecracks and basically having a grand time---even lying down on the amphitheater's lawn.

But what was more notable for me was their front act: a band from school called Bloomfield, made up of what I believe were lower-batch Engineering students.

These guys are seriously good.

They specialized in 1950s-1960s rock and roll tunes, playing "La Bamba" and "Twist and Shout" like they wrote them. (Finally, a band my mom would approve of.) Particularly amazing was the drummer; he practically stood out with a 4-minute-long drum solo complete with complicated fills and rolls. Bong and I were astounded by this guy's skill.

Bloomfield...I'll look forward to hearing them play again.

I learned from my medical exam at the LTO that my blood pressure was lower than was usual.

The nurse asked me, "Hindi ka ba nahihilo? Hindi ba sumasakit ang batok mo?" ("Don't you get dizzy? Doesn't your nape hurt?")

I shook my head.

Turns out my blood pressure registered 90/70 mm Hg.

Now I know the gene for hypertension runs in my family, but I never thought I'd have such low BP. Then again, anything above 90/60 is supposedly still normal. The nurse told me to take ferrous sulfate anyway.

This is a hauntingly beautiful song...

Yoru no machi wa shizuka de fukai umi no you
Tsuzuku michi ni tada ATASHI hitori dake
Tooi koe wo tayori ni aruite yuku no
Zutto sagashiteru sotto hikaru aoi hikari

At night, the town is quiet like the deep ocean
All alone on an endless road,
I walk following a distant voice
Always searching for the soft blue light

Nee ATASHI wo mitsukete
Soshite yonde KOKORO de
Donna ni hanareta to shite mo kikoeru kara

Please find me
And call me with your heart
Because I'll hear you no matter how far apart we are

Gin no akari ga tomoru sorezore no heya
Kitto dokoka ni wa iru to negainagara aruku

A silver light shines in every room;
I walk on hoping you're somewhere out there

Nee ANATA wo mitsukete
Soshite nido to wasurezu
Donna ni mune ga itakute mo soba ni iru no

I'll find you
And I'll never again forget you
No matter how much it hurts, I'll stay by your side

Tsunaida te wo
Hanasanai kara

Because I won't
Let go of your hand

ATASHI ga ANATA wo mitsukete
Soshite nido to wasurezu
Donna ni mune ga itakute mo soba ni iru no
Zutto zutto

I'll find you
And I'll never again forget you
No matter how much it hurts, I'll stay by your side
Always... always...

--- "Ningyo Hime," second ending theme to Chobits

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I had to drop MARKSAM. It turns out I still have to take MARKCU1, and to do that, I'd have to pass MARKRES, which I'm taking now.

No matter what arguments our block will present about how the flowchart isn't being followed, we are still subject to it. So, somewhat dejectedly, I went online and dropped MARKSAM right away.

At least it spares me from the obligation to sell PhP20,000 by April.

Progress report: As of yesterday, I sold a smidgen under PhP3,500, and two-thirds of that came from Avon products.

I guess Avon doesn't give a shit about whether I'm enrolled in MARKSAM or not. At least I considered sticking with doing business with them. More or less, any authorization to sell their products won't be affected by my dropping of MARKSAM.

I just feel bad that so many of us made the same mistake, and it left only 7 legitimate students in my former MARKSAM section. That's not enough to maintain the section; it'll have to be dissolved. Those 7 legit students have to go to other MARKSAM sections.

Oh well...MARKSAM, see you in a year's time. By then, I'll be ready.

I think I'm improving in my badminton game. Now I can make proper smashes in a game.

Still have to improve my ball control though. That's something I still lack.

When I think about it, at least I can focus more on making our thesis with MARKSAM out of the way.

Damn. I feel like I'm not a Communication Arts major anymore.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I think I played pretty well this Friday. Played 3 or 4 games and I won two of them.

Friends suggested getting a towel grip on my racket so that it doesn't slip in my right hand, and I think it's working. Didn't stop me from accidentally throwing my racket into the other court while attempting a backhand return, though.

Still have to work on my drop shots...

ANIMAX opened this week and I'm so enjoying it.

Thanks to this channel I finally get to watch some of the best anime. GTO and Chobits are currently my favorites. Both are commendably funny for being unapologetically honest...such leaves me laughing like a fool every night. Plus, I get to watch 2 episodes of each every weekday.

The only problem's that it can interfere with me doing my homework...

Most of those scabs that dotted my face this week have fallen off. Thank goodness.

I hate acne and the inconvenience it represents.

Gong xi fa cai!

I confess to not being very fond of tikoy (that staple of Chinese New Year's), but when Mom got home with strawberry flavored tikoy from Eng Bee Tin, I couldn't resist trying.

It's good! Too bad it's such a rich food...

My mom's been urging me to limit my computer use, as one of her employees got seriously sick. Something with the guy's blood and how radiation from long-term exposure to his computer made it toxic.

Seriously...does she think staring at a computer is all I do? Does she not know I do all sorts of things besides using a computer?

I appreciate her concern for my health, but I am disappointed with how she thinks of me.

Monday, January 19, 2004

After training for quite some time, my badminton game still sucks. Basically I'm too tense in a game to actually apply anything I've learned from training, and that includes ball control and legwork.

Sigh...must train more.

My face hurts. It looks like someone took a pen-sized firebrand and poked it at my face at random. No thanks to the facial I got this afternoon.

What was supposed to be a 20-minute session lasted more than double that. And God knows I hate the masochism I have to subject myself to in the name of looking presentable. Tell me, who wants a dermatologist systematically pressing the shit out of their pimples?

Imagine my reaction when the derma told me to come back in two weeks to have another facial cleaning session.


I'm so looking forward to it.


Saturday, January 17, 2004

My head hurts, my nose is stuffed up and I feel sleepy.


Sometimes I just wonder what would become of me if I used my head less and my emotions more. Ever since I was six years old, I've felt I've become a puppet to my conscience---one that unfortunately works on overtime too often.

Just wondering about it makes the beast in me tingle with excitement.

Is this an effect of watching "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers?"

Man, I remind myself of Gollum. Yikes. Seriously, yikes.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I came pretty close to getting killed this morning.

While crossing the street to school on the pedestrian crossing, an oncoming red bus didn't seem to give any regard to my safety, much more other pedestrians. Bong told me I was one foot away from being roadkill.

Such a shame I was too shocked to remember taking note of the fool's plate number.

My body hurts. No doubt a result from all the badminton I played yesterday, as well as my new morning jogging habit on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I haven't felt so depleted of energy in a long while.

I wonder how I'd fare in training tomorrow...that is, if I do train. Amazingly my allowance this week ran out on me without me making any significant purchases. Well okay, so I owed Ailyn PhP200 for last Friday's training and I paid for it this Monday. But other than that I was pretty stingy.

Hmmm. I'm saving nothing so far. Damn.

I got a subject in Salesmanship (MARKSAM) this term...which has me and my classmates selling stuff. Our quota's pegged at PhP20,000.

Yikes. I've never been great at persuading people, let alone selling anything to people. A PhP20,000 quota scares me, quite frankly.

At least I'm getting an early start though: I've found two buyers for the "magic wallet" I'm using now, at Villamor AFB. The wallet pretty much snaps folded bills into place with nothing more than folding motion and elastic thread, but it's a novel and convenient way of bringing bills. Only downside's that there's no provision for coins.

Anna was cheering me up, telling me I could do it. I sure damn hope so.

At least our MARKSAM prof, Mr. Carlos Maglutac, seems like a likeable guy. He's big, fat and nocturnal (he works in a call center and teaches our afternoon class without a wink of sleep for 18 hours plus), and he's the jolly type who knows how to make us laugh.

He says he can teach us to persuade people into doing what we want them to do. I always wanted that sort of ability. Bring it on.

Mao gave me an idea. Just thought of resurrecting an old poem I wrote four years ago.

[Serenade In Your Sleep]

You don’t know me, but I know you well
If I wrote your memoirs, like pancakes they’d sell
With every day, we often see each other
It’s just that with me, you never dared to bother

I know you’re so sick of capricious men
Who see you as a pretty face and nothing much else
And grow tired of you after all the wedding bells
I must confess though: I’ve been one of them

At this point in time I know I could’ve done a lot
Just to prove to you I’m worthy of your heart
I could’ve swooned you like so many men
Yet I remain aloof, seemingly indifferent

We won’t ever get acquainted, I know that by now
Perhaps it’s for the best, but I’m having my doubts
My friends tell me, all I can do is keep
You in my heart, serenading you while you sleep

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Played a number of games of badminton today...and I lost all of them. Apparently my defense is nonexistent, as I hardly do any sideways movement on the court.

Must train...

My friend Mao's got a new blog now. I must say I admire the way she writes...most especially her poetry.

Methinks she should seriously consider joining the Malate Literary Folio. I mean, she can write poetry and take great B&W pictures---what more can MLF ask for?

I'm not feeling like much of a writing mood right now. Let's just say I don't want to see some people right now. I might as well bury myself in the Japanese novels I borrowed and the badminton training I have to do.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

After almost a month away from badminton, I got to train again at Villamor and I finally got to buy a new racket, too. I now have a silver graphite Kawasaki Control 370 with blue Yonex strings, and it's usefully lighter than my old aluminum Wilson Aggressor 120. I didn't get to use it yet though, as it was being tensioned while I was training.

Now if I had tennis or badminton shoes to go with 'em...

I got someone new to train me.

Coach Rey was having lunch so he had Bart coach me yesterday. Apparently he was from the national team before, and he'd been training to get back in after a year's absence.

Let's just say that one month of inactivity, coupled with Bart's strenuous training drills, left me panting, weak and dizzy afterwards. This just showed me that there's still more to badminton training than what I've had with Coach Rey so far...and that my footwork still sucks.

Coach did tell me I could cope with Bart's training regimen if I regularly showed up at the courts. Hmmm...I wonder how long it'd take me to do so.

Mao, Zeri and I were talking after calculus class about the very near future. We all wanted to do so many things and buy so much stuff. Unfortunately time and money were not on our side, especially since the next 5 months or so will see us slaving over our theses.

I'd sure love to attend that 2-day Hollywood Film School seminar on the 24th, like the two girls do, but I'm wondering if it's worth the PhP4,000. As of now I have at least PhP7,000 on hand, and some more money in a vault, but I don't know whether to spend it on new tires, our upcoming feature video thesis or whatever else desirable creeps into my gray matter.

One thing I'm sure of is that I'll have to forego at least one of those major expenses, and it can't be thesis.

Times like these, I wish for a part-time job. But that'll have to wait until summer 2005. For now I have no choice but to bite the bullet and save up PhP500 a week.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

These past two days of school opening have been filled with very tight driving situations.

Yesterday, when I drove back to school to bring Bianca, I had to park my Honda in one of the tightest spots I've ever been in. The usual parking lot at Leon Guinto St. was already full, save for one pretty cramped corner boxed in by cars and a concrete wall.

I came to within millimeters of scraping a green EK Civic's left front bumper time and again, trying to maneuver my City into the spot. Finally managed to wedge my car in with sufficient space to disembark. All the while I was maneuvering, I didn't realize I was still quite a ways from scraping my car against the concrete wall.

Extracting the car from the lot was pretty tight too, albeit with much less effort. This time I was a smidgen away from getting fresh new dents from an AUV's bumper.

The experience convinced me that I was pretty good with parking, and I could probably do the old car-driving Lasallites justice back in those days when parking was scarce. But I'd really rather not do that again.

The second tight situation happened on my way home today in Mom's Pregio van. I'd been tailing an old gray Mercedes-Benz 250TD station wagon who happened to be going the same way I was. The Merc had an AAK sticker on his back window, which meant the driver was probably a karateka.

At the foot of the Buendia flyover, the Merc was attempting to move to the left lane avoiding the traffic going to the Skyway. I flashed my lights signaling that I was going through, but he ignored me and crawled to the left anyway, without signaling the lane change. Had I not braked and let him through, I might have hit his D-pillar.

Same thing happened on the on-ramp to the Magallanes flyover, still without him signalling and ignoring my headlight flashes. With the Merc effectively crowding my lane, this time I inched as close as I could get to the left-side gutter and sped through. Watching my right mirror, I avoided swapping gray Merc paint by a couple of inches, but the Merc driver was blowing his horn in protest.

Funny how he didn't realize that it was mainly his fault and he did the crowding maneuver to me twice.

Approaching the 3-lane off-ramp to Magallanes, I was behind a slow-moving light truck. The Merc flanked me on the left and tried to crowd into me AGAIN. He was trying to make me crash into the passing AE101 Corolla on the right lane, or the cement barriers on the right side. At this point I was pretty pissed at this wagon-driving asshole.

The AE101 went by, freeing up the right lane with a comfortable gap. I then made my move, moving the Pregio's tiller to the right and flooring the gas. Following the AE101, I overtook the light truck, returned to the middle lane and powered through clear of the maniacal Merc.

The Merc driver might have kicked the gut out of me out of the car, but when strapped to a steering wheel and pedals, I'm sorry to say that I am a better and more alert driver.

I will repeat my mantra: "Overtake decisively and responsibly."

Denise now has a boyfriend. The two of them were an item since the day after Christmas, and they were the last thing I saw before I went on home.

Honestly I was...shocked. Maybe it was pretty stupid of me to think so, but I always thought she'd be single and she wouldn't delve into a relationship anytime soon. Probably cheeky of me to say this but I thought she and I would end up together. At least now I can say "BLARGH! WRONG!" to that thought.

Right now I don't quite know how to feel---happy, sad, jealous, cheated or whatnot. At least I managed to act civilly in front of them. I know the latter two emotions I don't have any right to feel, but I can't help it.

Then again, in the back of my mind I knew she wouldn't stay single. Denise just knows too many guys.

To think she was pretty much the only person I was looking forward to talking to after the holiday break.


Pam wrote about attracting the wrong kinds of men. I wonder if I was the "fuckwit" in her life. Honestly, the realization hurt and I want to make it up to her somehow, immature as I may be.

Trying to mend my friendship with her is like talking to a wall, methinks. I know my attempts at it have been somewhat feeble at best, but I know it's pretty much all I can do when she's remained as civil but cold as she is toward me.

Guess I'll just have to swallow that bitter pill called futility.

Sigh...I don't know what it is with women. The more I try to win their attention, love and respect, the more they seem to run scared from me. What the fuck am I doing wrong?

What an overwhelmingly sad realization.

I might as well profess my undying love to automobiles.

By the way, happy birthday Cher!

Friday, January 02, 2004

Big news today on my sister's birthday involves the coming elections, since today the candidates rush to the Commission on Elections to file their Certificates of Candidacy for the elections in May.

I bet Cher's already filed hers as well, for councilor in her hometown. Whatever happens, I hope she comes through the campaigning and election happy and well.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

A very happy New Year to one and all!

Yesterday saw me pretty much out of the house. Went with my mom to get my second chemical peel and buy some gifts for her clients in Makati. At that point Paolo texted me about his plan to go to Glorietta 4 as well, so I got my mom's consent and stayed behind to meet up with him.

While waiting for him I decided to take another whack at the Initial D ver.2 arcade game, which I had avoided playing all these months because of the prohibitively high price (PhP30 per race!) and the fact that these assholes just hogged the machines to themselves. Now that Timezone had an additional 2 cabinets...people still hogged the machines. Grrr.

Anyway it was lunch time and no one seemed to be touching the machines at that moment, so I decided to try my luck with "my car": my mildly modified yellow Honda S2000 roadster, after not touching it for so long. Needless to say, by the time Paolo got there, I had already spent PhP250 just on that game, bought at least 5 mods for the S2000, and cleared two of the game's six mountain passes (which I'm pretty proud of).

What can I say about Initial D ver.2?

Let's just say I didn't find it good or easy at first, having been so accustomed to an older game, Scud Race, that also emphasized drift driving. But that one has proper race courses with wide roads, so comparatively it's easier to drive in and perform big drifts. In contrast, Initial D ver.2 features 6 mountain passes as its courses---all very narrow and with increasing degrees of complexity, in keeping with the anime.

I found that while drifting is Initial D's focus, simply driving normally in the arcade game without bumping into the speed-robbing barriers was tough enough in itself. Good driving in most of the harder roads necessitated a few practice runs in Time Attack mode. Since weather and night driving also factor in the game, as well as the fact that the passes can be run either downhill or uphill...let's just say I'll have to be pretty fucking rich just to practice driving in all the game's possible race events.

Oh, and did I mention the setup of the driving cabinets was right-hand-drive? This made driving tougher, as I'm not very used to having the shifter on my left hand. I swear, every time I negotiated Akina's hairpin curves, my right hand never let go of the larger-than-expected steering wheel, despite my wrist already being twisted a great deal. As a result my right thumb now feels rather stiff from holding the wheel so oddly and twirling it so suddenly.

The key rule in Initial D ver.2 is to drive as fast as possible, but to avoid bumping or rubbing into anything so as not to rub off essential speed. To do that, you'll have to practice a lot, learn how to slow down properly before turns (engine braking and foot-braking helps a LOT)...and get used to the idiosyncrasies of RHD driving. FORGET PERFORMING DRIFTS, unless you're driving in Myogi or Usui. You'll be drifting if you drive well anyway...and if you fuck up trying a drift in, say, Akagi or Irohazaka, you'll lose a LOT of essential speed.

As I was saying, Paolo came along and we played even more games. All in all I spent PhP350 on that game, and I was lucky to get to play PhP100 free from Paolo's mom.

Paolo just got his own Initial D car card, and he chose to get a silver Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R. He seems to have enough points as he's managed to get a fancy exhaust and alloy rims on his 4WD supercar by now, and he's adjusting to the game pretty well. He told me the game wasn't the cheap cash-in he thought it would be.

I managed to pick up a left card as well...also an S2000 on it, and it looks like it hasn't been used.

At least now we got a good reason to go to Glorietta 4 now...although this means more saving to do. Blech. I'll never have enough money.

On the way to the parking lot I spotted Pam going down the escalators. Once Pao and I were outside the mall, I decided to give her a call and greet her a Happy New Year. She seemed fine and I was glad she and her grandma enjoyed the food for the gods I gave her.

Was nice seeing her again.

On the way home we got to ride in what seems to be their third Pajero. This newest one seemed like an automatic JDM 3-door from 1995-96, converted to left-hand-drive with surplus LHD dashboard parts. The conversion looked pretty good, apart from a deep scuff on the new right-hand dashboard, and the whole car felt like my dad's old RAV4 enlarged in all the right places. Paolo's dad got on the Skyway and gunned the 2.8L diesel lump to 140 km/h.

Damn...all their cars are diesel Pajeros! How cool!

Went to Nanay's in White Plains for the annual New Year's media noche buena. This being one of the few occasions that I drink, I pretty much took advantage of it.

I had three glasses of red wine, a glass of champagne and a Mule...and I was all red and tipsy afterwards. Damn, I am an alcoholic wimp. I suppose it doesn't matter much, since I'll probably end up being the designated driver for my friends if we ever go on a bar trip or whatever.

I'll admit it, I love driving too much to give a shit about getting tipsy or drunk. Besides, alcohol'll just screw up my driving skills. I feel there's more to life than drinking cocktails.

This year was pretty quiet in terms of fireworks...seems people have learned better. They seem to have resorted to some other form of thrill though. The TV had us witnessing some gay revelers in Binondo gyrating in front of the TV cameras, while some others got humiliated on national TV being dead drunk. Still, this New Year's seemed a bit different, a little more reserved. I can't really tell why or how.

Ah, it doesn't matter. It's 2004. I'll try to make the most out of it.

By the way, it's my sister's birthday a few seconds from now. Happy birthday Bianx!