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, March 31, 2004

Spent the night at Jensy's in Caloocan, which my parents didn't really approve of (it's in Caloocan) but let me do so anyway. We had to wrack our brains figuring out how to use SPSS to help us analyze our data for our Marketing Research survey.

Let me just say SPSS isn't the most user-friendly program around. It pretends to be as ubiquitous as Microsoft Excel, but it takes many a glance at its Student Assistant videos to get a hang of its many functions.

The five of us---KD, Jensy, Anna, Tantan and I---were crammed in Jensy's room, tallying results, playing music (through her awesomely powerful Altec Lansing speakers), laughing our heads off. It was fun, despite being pressured by time.

I was the one who hit the sack the earliest; at around 11:30 pm I succumbed to my exhaustion. Apparently I was embarrassing myself while I was asleep by snoring. I really wish I could do something about it...but it looks like I'm a born snorer. I was up the earliest as well; I had to be given that I still had an 8:00 class today.
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More to come later.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Transparent to all
Porous, permeable
Why must I be so?
Any action brewing in my head
Before its realization
Instantly predicated by disdain
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After all these years, I wish I had more of a spine.

I wish I always had the guts to tell people the truth about how I perceive them. I wish I always had enough confidence in myself to stand up for myself and my thoughts despite the jeers that inevitably come. I wish I could reach out and tell the special people in my life that I love them just the way they are, without coming off as insincere or sarcastic.

Yes, I am a wimp...and goddamnit, I wish I weren't.
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I got started on our thesis film's storyboard just last Saturday night. So far I've been trying my best to draw with details, like I usually do, yet draw in the shots I had in mind with speed.

I'm not so sure if what I'm doing works, but so far I've done 5 scenes out of 25. If the cells weren't so small, and if I had more talent and/or time on my hands (I'm poor at drawing backgrounds), I could probably envision my storyboard as some sort of long comic strip.

I remember watching some behind-the-scenes specials for The Matrix and I was flabbergasted at how detailed the storyboards were. It was as if some top-flight comic book pencillers and inkers got to work on the blank cells and presented the movie's scenes almost exactly like we all saw them on the silver screen.

I sure can't come close to doing anything that marvelous!
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I guess I have to be honest: I'm pretty bad at keeping secrets to myself. It's not that I tattle on others (I almost never tell on other people's secrets). It's just that the things I keep hidden from others are the ones that tend to eat at me inside like some proverbial can of worms. Most of these worms I keep within are all about myself.

There are times I wish I could just open up to friends and let it all out, in the hope that I might feel better afterwards. I guess I just got my hopes up too high though. I'm discovering the painful reality that in college, everyone has his/her own little world, where he/she is the center of it and everyone else is simply an actor playing some sort of part to his/her advantage. Sad but true.

I guess there's not much I can do to cure my eternal habit of talking to myself, then. Melancholic, I am.
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I admire how you think, how creative you are, how magically your spirit conjures up its ideas. I admire your refreshing taste in fashion. I admire your sense of humor and how amiable you are. I admire how calm and unruffled you are by the challenges you meet everyday.

Yet you do not want to be admired. You view it as a sickness. You desire and long to be undesirable...yet you are doomed not to be so.

If admiring you is a disease, I am afraid it might be one I may not recover from.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Managed to dig up info from my fellow SX8ers about how I can repair my car's ills...at a smaller cash outlay than I thought. Now it's probably just a matter of saving up the money, which I should get to work on.

After finishing that thesis.
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Reminder to self: The start of the local campaign season brings with it unbelievable traffic.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing this morning, strapped inside my car. Cars were at a standstill or crawling at a snail's pace all along the South Luzon Expressway. This had to happen when I had a quiz in MATHAN1 I couldn't afford to miss.

Obviously someone wasn't doing their job properly...

I was practically wailing helplessly behind the wheel, regretting my non-use of the Skyway.

Just so you know I arrived 20 minutes late...and by some act of God I managed to finish the test. Can't say my answers were all bulletproof though. I do wonder how on earth I'm going to pass MATHAN1?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I don't know about you guys but personally I don't like the way us Filipinos have to constantly shout to the world that one of us made it big somewhere.

I've had my fill of hearing left and right that some Fil-Am made it to "American Idol," or some Fil-Am's a second-rate actor or comedian, or what have you. The term "Fil-American" is misleading. How sure are we that this "child of the Philippines" is more Filipino and less American than we think he/she is?

I know Pinoys need an ego boost every now and then, just to prove to ourselves that "yes, the Filipino can." I wish however that the Filipinos we glamorize have a more substantial contribution to the world, rather than just being some flash-in-the-pan starstruck celebrity.

I also wish that we didn't need Fil-Ams to glorify our race. I want Filipinos to do us honor so we can prove to Pinoy-bashing foreigners that we're more than just Spanish-influenced misfits in the cultural tapestry that is Asia.

While I'm on the subject I'm pretty much amazed that some Pinoys are planning to be the first national team to climb Mt. Everest. True, it's a been-there-done-that kind of thing, but it's marvelous nonetheless (considering we're tropical rugrats that don't have the high-hemoglobin benefit of the native Sherpas). Godspeed to you.
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I want to hold on to my SX8 Honda City, but things seem to pile up against its favor. My mom's considering ditching it and getting a new car.

Honda Makati told me about replacing the steering column, although frankly I think I was being fooled by them overenthusiastic service advisors looking for a profit. The loud knocking noise from the steering over rough terrain has gone away, being a simple isolated incident. However, the car needs new rubber on its alloys soon enough. I would love to see the various dents on the car's bodywork gone as well. And if that weren't enough, my shocks might even need replacing---my ride height seems too high especially at the back.

If I'm going to calculate the costs it'd break down to this.
Tires: PhP1,750 per tire X 4 = PhP7,000
Dent removal/painting: PhP3,000 (estimate)
Paraut shock absorbers: PhP2,500 X 4 = PhP10,000

Total PhP20,000 (estimate)

Where am I going to get that sort of money? All the meager income I get from selling Avon products goes to my thesis, and even then I'm forced to cover up for my debts because my customers don't seem to be paying as early as I'd like them to.

Mom's complained time and again about the prohibitively high price of maintenance for my little blue runabout. I can probably bring the car for periodic maintenance away from Honda Makati and its sky-high costs. For a simple oil change or tuneup I should just bring it to our friendly Caltex lube bay. I'll probably just bring it in to Honda Makati for any major checkups that will come after 20,000 km.

So many things seem to be wrong with my car...yet I love the damn thing. I have the feeling that looking after my car might be the death of me and my bank account.
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Thought I'd indulge in some poetry of my own. Bear in mind I'm no Robert Burns.
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I didn't notice
You were filling a void
A void I thought I'd
Plugged up for good
And I am scared
For letting you into me
Might just be the biggest
Blunder of all

Emotions
Fleeting bundles of humanity
I thought I'd best do without
Yet I am victim to them too:
Human
Not perfect
Not infallible
Pitiable and weak
Subject to the wiles and whims
Of hormones and genetics

Circumstance
You and I are to part
Yes, soon enough
How much sand do I
Still have in your hourglass?
Shall I evict you from myself
Or should I hold on
I do not know

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Someone seems to have hacked into my e-mail account.

For some reason I've been getting undelivered-mail notices from people I never even bother sending mail to, for the simple reason that I don't know them. Worse, I seem to have sent them malicious mail with virus-laden attachments without my knowing.

Changed my password just to be sure.
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I had a pretty intense night's sleep when I woke up today. I had three or four powerful dreams, all exploring my fears. These felt so real. It was as if I was really in them, although they fell short of being totally "lucid dreams" because for some reason I couldn't be in control of the situations I was placed in.

Olive just had to be in one of them---and it had to be the one that sticks in my mind the most. Yuck.

At least I got to work with Parasite Eve's hottie Aya Brea in that one. She was ball-breakingly stern in my dream, but man, she's a babe! Too bad she had to turn on me and bust my ass...
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Got an e-mail from an alleged Filipino-bashing radio personality based in the US. Personally I could really care less about what he said about us being filthy, dirty, uncultured and Third World. So what? I don't really give a shit what he thinks. These race-bashing idiots are simply afraid and too closed-minded.
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I had a pretty hectic Saturday. That afternoon I was around for Honda Club's March EB, and I got to watch a bit of the "Honda Excites" event.

Managed to watch the burnout competition, which featured various tuned EK Civics trying to smoke their front tires and leave as much rubber as possible on the asphalt. Some of the competitors' friends were even physically pulling the car by the window frames to avoid it from running off prematurely. That event was a total waste of motor oil (to get the tires slipping and smoking) and tires, possibly even engines...but man, did it draw a crowd or what!

Apparently I'd won the early bird award for arriving earliest among the non-officers in the club. Got a red cap and mug from Cisco Systems and a blue umbrella from HP. Cool.

I even managed to climb aboard Lyndon's mildly modified red EF Civic hatch (the SX8 City's grandpa) to grab a bite or two at Brothers Burger. He nailed the throttle until it hit the redline on the first two gears...and man, what a noise! My stock SX8 feels and sounds mild by comparison.

That evening I got to watch the DLSU Pops Orchestra's annual major concert, this time at the CCP. Pops was pretty much great, apart from a couple of noticeable fauxes pases.

The fly in the ointment was the technical personnel. So many times the vocalists were belting their throats out to the audience...only not to be heard because their mikes were off and the spotlights were wandering off somewhere else. These sorts of mistakes were irritating and definitely not worthy of a performance at the CCP.
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Along the way home at around 10:30pm, I took the Skyway to hasten my arrival time at home. I was cruising at a steady 90-100 km/h (legal limit) when a white Nissan Patrol SUV zoomed past while we were nearing the toll plaza. Apparently no one was enforcing the speed limit at this late hour.

When I passed the toll plaza, I sunk my right foot into the floorboard, redlining the engine through the first two gears. The acceleration slingshot me past the Patrol. I then performed a quick shift to top gear to a relaxed cruise, speedo needle pinned at 100 km/h.

Around a minute later I saw the Patrol accelerating again, trying to catch up with me, definitely going faster than legal. Fully convinced no one was going to point a radar gun at me, I blipped the throttle, cranked the shifter to third, dropped the clutch and rocketed my way to 140 km/h---just to prove that this idiot ran indecent speed on the wrong kind of fuel and on the wrong vehicle.

The SUV never even came close. By the time we both exited via the Bicutan off-ramp, I was too far out of reach.

I do these things on a stock D15B7 engine with no VTEC...I wonder what more I can do had I possessed the budget to modify the car?

Pipe dreams, I guess. Not until I take 6 months on a good-paying job.

I'm just happy I got to test how the car now feels at serious speed once again, after keeping to the legal limit for a long while. The high-speed shaking is still there, still kicking in at around 125 km/h or so, but the other SX8ers of HCP experience this too so I guess I'm not alone. They tell me it should go away the faster I go, but I'm not too sure I'd want to do that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Battle Gear 2 definitely got the better of me and my wallet today.

I was hooked up to the driving cabinet at Robinsons Place Manila for so many games on end. It's not even funny how much I've spent on the game, considering it's a lot cheaper per game than Initial D ver.2 or ver.3.

But thanks to all the practice, I can now say I've somewhat mastered the downhill mountain pass, Course 4, on all three classes. Managed to record ghosts of my best runs on each class. Class-C was with the EK9 Honda Civic Type R, Class-B was on the FC3S Mazda RX-7 and Class-A was on the NA2 Honda NSX. I've gotten the gist of how to drift these awesome JDM street stars around the tight, sequential corners.

Still have to do so in real life though.
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I'm running out of steam. I want this term to be over immediately.

I still have to finalize the thesis script and make a damn storyboard though (so we can go shoot in the summertime). Not to mention there's also the MARKRES research plan and computations to do. And that crappy report on "Vanilla Sky" for LITELEC.

Man, I don't even want to think of doing these...all I want to do is get rested and exhaust myself again playing badminton.
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I guess I'm just down on motivation to go finish the two or so years left in my college life. I don't know. Every new term just seems to feel like the last one.

I guess people can say I'm bored.
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And this is not goodbye, she said
It is just time for me to rest my head
She does not walk, she runs instead
Down these jagged streets and into my bed

When I was
Fumbling through your dresser drawer
Forgot what I was looking for
To try to guide me in the right direction
Making use of all this time
Keeping everything inside
Close my eyes and listen to you crying

I'm lifting you up, I'm letting you down
I'll dance until dawn, I'm fooling around
I'm not giving up, I'm making your love
This city's made us crazy and we must get out


--- Maroon5, "Must Get Out"

Saturday, March 13, 2004

I suppose I've written too much about badminton and too little about my life these days. I suppose it's because I've beem voluntarily keeping myself busy so as not to think about any other things that might ruin my days.
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I've been single for a year or so. Most of that time was spent simply trying to get over my first relationship and burying its ghosts completely, moving on with my life. Somehow though, I feel I won't be convinced I've moved on until I get into another relationship.

Therein lies my current state of mind.

For some reason I don't feel the compulsion to go out and meet pretty girls like I used to. I see them all the time (it can't be helped, I study in the College of Liberal Arts), but I don't feel as mystified by their beauty and charm this time around. It's not simply because I'm naturally very shy and don't know jack about courting women, either. I just feel that there are better things to do than entangle myself in a relationship right now.

Granted, I miss all the emotion and the openness I used to enjoy with my ex. There are a lot of things I think of everyday that I don't divulge even on this blog. Maybe it's self-censorship, maybe it's my fear of getting rejected or thought of as weirder than I already am. But I have to agree with Lin Kong's decision in Ha Jin's novel "Waiting": if I had to choose between having burning love and peace of mind, I'd definitely take the latter.

Cher also warned me about the dangers of getting into another relationship. She told me it was actually quite good that Denise and I didn't end up together as I might just end up comparing her with my ex, because in her opinion, at that time I wasn't as finished with my previous relationship as I ought to have been. No one deserves that kind of treatment.

This is me being very honest: I'm as lustful for women and sex as the next heterosexual guy. I submit to my desires every now and then (think of that statement what you may). I'm still even idealistic enough to believe that someday, somewhere, a woman will come along in my life that will be just so right for me.

Right now though, involvement with women is the least of my priorities.
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I remember feeling a bit of resentment towards Ms. Milette Zamora, the Marketing Dept.'s vice-chairperson, when she angrily stormed into our MARKSAM class last January and told us illegitimate students to drop the class immediately.

After her three-day seminar on Art in Advertising though, I hold her in very high esteem. Her lecture was, quite frankly, awesome. She really did know her advertising well. Ms. Zamora basically took the predominant elements and treatments from the 10 or so major art eras and studied how they got applied in modern advertisements---art including layout, architecture, catchphrases and music. She knows how to make people laugh, too. And have I mentioned she plays the meanest classical guitar I've ever seen?

I look forward to having her as my professor for MARKAD1.
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Mao wrote in her blog that she, along with a lot of other people, wants to see people with passion for what they do.

I wonder...it's these very same people who risk a whole lot, really. For every bloke that gets noticed for the passion he puts into what he loves doing, there are at least 10 others who don't get the recognition they deserve. Unfortunately these 10 go the route of the also-rans, never to get any proper compensation.

Sad, but this is the reality of the world. Some people will never really know.
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Paolo and Bong were inviting me to go somewhere today, but judging from their silence, they seem to have taken it back. I'm pretty much resting at home today.

Not a bit too shabby, too: I need my energy for tomorrow's tourney.

Friday, March 12, 2004

My heels hurt. Methinks they're asking for new badminton shoes faster than I can earn the money to buy them.

Then again, if you played for 6 hours, your feet would complain too.
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While checking my e-mail, I was sent the schedule of games and the final player list for the DLSZ Alumni Association badminton tourney on Sunday.

Seems as if there isn't a lower class than what I was put in (C1). No matter, I'll play my best anyway. I didn't see any familiar names on the player listing though.

The tourney starts at 8:00am and ends around 5:30pm. That equates to quite a long stay at South Smash.

I can feel my heels protesting already.
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After securing a computer ahead of time and suffering from inexplicable delays in accessing DLSU's website, I finally got to input my schedule for next term.

I got a loaded 4-class MWF sked and a single class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I think it's pretty much ideal for any badminton and thesis work I might have to do.
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I miss Cher. I'm thinking of sending her snail mail after Sunday's tournament. She tells me she's gotten a little impatient with waiting for campaign season to start on the 25th.

Kaya mo yan, friend. :)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

On the subject of badminton shoes: Kawasaki or Mizuno?

Coach Hermes told us he had incoming stocks of Kawasaki badminton shoes at PhP2,500. The brand did seem like a dedicated badminton shoe brand, unlike Yonex and Mizuno which also made volleyball shoes. I do remember Bart wearing Kawasakis too...maybe I should opt for them instead?

Sigh...before that happens though I gotta save up some more.
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I have seen the light. I've seen how expensive playing Initial D ver.2 can be. I found a game that's just as engaging and is less expensive.

I now play Taito's Battle Gear 2. It has the same RHD driving position, the same twisty mountain road courses (and even some street circuits) and a similar if less numerous complement of great JDM road cars. No saving my progress on a magnetic card though, but that's something I can let go of when I save PhP20 per game and still enjoy the capability of performing true drifts.

I tried practicing on BG2, and I even got my runs on Course 4 saved as ghost car runs for others to beat on Time Attack. Scored the Class-C ghost in an EK9 Honda Civic Type R, while I scored the Class-B ghost run in an AP1 Honda S2000.
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Had leveling for the DLSZ Alumni badminton tourney last Sunday.

I didn't see too many familiar faces, but I did have a great time at South Smash's foot-friendlier Taraflex-on-wood courts. A lot of the players there were really great----good for A and B rank. I was initially ranked B2 myself, but the organizers seemed to take pity on my relative inexperience and put me in C1 instead. Not bad for a first tourney, I guess.

As friendly as Taraflex courts are, I'm not prepared to pay PhP350 per HOUR playing at South Smash. I'll stick to rubber-painted cement at PhP60 the whole day at Villamor AFB, thanks.
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Leveling did leave me largely exhausted the whole week though. Up until today I still feel lethargic and running on very little energy. When I played at Villamor on Monday, I felt as if my body refused to chase shuttlecocks even if I was commanding every muscle to do so.
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Had a seminar for my Literature elective subject today, and it was on F. H. Batacan's detective novel "Smaller and Smaller Circles." It was pretty interesting because the author was female, she wrote the very first Filipino detective novel, and the last thing I expected of it was that it was very bloody and gory.

After the seminar I wanted to buy a copy, but I was scrimping on cash and thought otherwise. PhP120 is cheap for a novel though. Better luck next time.

One unwelcome sight I saw at the seminar was Miss Olive Hernandez though. Apparently she now teaches literature in DLSU. Damn. I did not fancy seeing her again after irreconcilable differences working with her back in Zobel on Counterpoint and the yearbook.

The sooner I finish LITELEC, the better for me.
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Yet again we are subjected to the rigors of setting up our schedules for next term. I'm now taking two "must-pass-or-else-get-horribly-delayed" subjects, MARKCU1 and QUATECH. Am taking COMLAW1, too (commercial law), and add to that my thesis subject PROJCO2, when Denise, Ercx and I are due to defend.

Critical term, the next one is...

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

February passed by so quickly. Damn.
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I last wrote about my new Yonex shoes. Turns out they were devils to my tootsies. As they are they don't have much in arch support, so they left me flatfooted after wearing them the whole day just for walking. Also being thin-soled shoes, they have precious little cushioning power. Just warming up before a game left my feet absorbing huge shocks I didn't feel in my old Filas. As a result I didn't last very long in a game.

Last Friday I went around looking for some sort of solution. Personally I was looking for an insole or something by Dr. Scholl to aid the shock absorption. What I found wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it was good all the same. Managed to find a pair of Sof-Sole AIRR insoles which were unfortunately sized for women's shoes, but fit my Yonex boots quite well anyways.

I wore them upon entry into Villamor AFB and I was pleasantly surprised with the improvement. I lasted at least 3 more hours without experiencing much pain in my feet and the shock absorption was working. The price was pretty dear though: those babies cost me PhP665. At least they're US-made and they work, I figured.

When I went back on Monday however, the left insole bunched up crosswise around the middle of my left foot and it felt quite weird, especially since I was in the middle of a game. After losing that one I inspected my shoes and found out the treaded underside of them insoles couldn't stand the strains of badminton footwork, so they simply disintegrated. Some of the gray stuff stuck to my shoe's interior. I just did my best to refit the insole sans some of its slip-resisting undercoating and it worked all right afterwards.

Yonex might be a grand name for badminton products, but now I know from personal experience that their shoes aren't as good as they're touted to be. Adding to the aforementioned comfort issues, a couple of weeks after my purchase the exterior now shows signs of wear and tear.

I'm taking Ate Lyn's advice and buying Mizunos instead for my next pair of badminton shoes. I might have to fork out a little more but judging from other people's good experience, I'd say it's worth it.
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Speaking of badminton I've managed to break my second pair of strings in 3 months. Both were blue Yonex BG66s. I know this type isn't noteworthy for its durability, but I never expected it to dismantle itself simply from wearing itself out on the edge of my racket.

I got light blue Yonex BG65 instead---a durable string (or so it's touted to be). Already I can tell the smash sound is better than what I got from the praised-for-smash-sound BG66. Hmmm...
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Ercx told me about a badminton tourney the De La Salle Zobel Alumni Association were planning to hold. Leveling was set on the 7th, at South Smash in Alabang.

Now I know I'm not that good (my shot placement and defense needs plenty of practice) but I'm interested in this tourney they're planning. I just want to test how good I am against fellow Zobel alumni. I'm pretty much looking forward to it.
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The heat is almost unbearable here. That's pretty much the indicator that summer's here already. I'd kill to be able to lie in a bucket of iced water the whole day.

The gallon jug I bring with me on badminton days doesn't seem to be enough to quench my thirst, too. Just 3 hours after I enter Villamor on a typical Monday or Friday, the water's all gone.

Phew...
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Lately I've been on a gaming spree. After not touching my PlayStation for anything other than Gran Turismo, I suddenly splurged on all these games I decided to play.

I got Tenchu 2, Parasite Eve 2, the original Rockman (a rip-off, actually, but it's dirt cheap so it's okay I guess), Ridge Racer Type 4 and Gundam Battle Assault 2. So far they've satisfied my gaming itch, especially Parasite Eve 2 which was damn hard.

This afternoon Bong and I even tried Need For Speed Underground and Gran Turismo 4: Prologue (i.e. demo version) on the PlayStation 2.

GT4's pretty much spot-on. The steering's still a LOT slower than the original, but now the game forces me to drive more smoothly than I did before and the use of weight shifting is excellent. They even got really tight and tricky tracks for rally mode too. Just a shame there aren't any pace notes to help navigation, unlike the other rally games.

NFS Underground is pretty much the best US-made effort for a driving/racing game. In terms of depth and breadth it's pretty much got the lot (circuit and street racing, sprints, drag races and even a cool drift contest). Graphics are amazing too. I say it gets 8/10 to the desirability of any GT game...which is high praise coming from a GT1 stalwart like me. I personally loved the drift contests.
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Had to say goodbye to Cher for a while this Saturday. She's now in her hometown in Leyte devoting herself full-time to the campaign trail. We had lots of fun while we were on our final YM session though. We exchanged postal addresses and promised each other we'd send snail mail every now and then.

I'm gonna miss my kindred spirit and great friend. I really hope she does well come the May polls.