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, July 31, 2004

Cher was actually in Manila for three days this week; she took the flight home on Thursday. They were here for some sort of convention on audit.

This was our opportunity to catch up on each other and the things we'd missed in the past 4 months or so. We haven't exactly kept in touch as frequently as we'd have liked and while it took us a bit of fumbling around to start off, we basically talked until midnight.

Take care, fwend. *HUGS*

Friday was the day everything seemed to click into place.

Honda's Jazz demo car arrived in school, to coincide with the "Jazz Up Your Life" jazz recital of the DLSU Pops Orchestra. Sadly no test-drives were allowed, but it's nice to see my current favorite car just inches in front of me. It was in my favorite color too (a shade they call "Vivid Blue").

Then it was the recital proper come nighttime.

Being part of the backstage crew, I was given a wireless mike and made to blurt out the sponsorship spiels. I did that pretty well, but when time came to start the recital with the Philippine national anthem, I made a bit of a booboo addressing the audience with "Good morning...er, good afternoon...er..." when it was already 6:30 pm. Heheheheh. I could hear them laughing. At least they were listening.

Pops busted out their great tunes as front act, but what really did me in was the UP Jazz Quartet, our main act of the evening. Man, they were a talented bunch. Classical guitar, bass, jazz drums and keyboards. Very very good. I especially paid attention to the drummer; it was interesting how he used different types of sticks to obtain all these effects from the usual snare drums, toms and cymbals. Most fascinating was this "stick" that was actually more of a miniature wire broom, and could be used to "caress" the snare drum's head.

Overall it was a great day...apart from my little brush and getaway from the traffic police on the way home. But that remains a secret. I'm not trying that again though.

Watched this show "Get Real" on Channel NewsAsia, a Singaporean cable news channel, and the one I saw was about Filipino maids in Singapore.

Host Diane Ser tried to project both sides (employers and maids) of the picture and I think it's pretty good. The whole show actually reminded me of Dr. Doy del Mundo's documentary film "Maid in Singapore," which we were able to watch while enrolled in our video production class.

It's sort of sad that some maids chose to break the trust of their employers---say, by inviting their boyfriends over to their employers' domiciles without permission. When the hapless employers come home, they get to see said boyfriends in compromising positions. It's also quite sad that while "work-permit holders" may marry in Singapore, if they are caught pregnant, their permits will be revoked and a ban placed on them for life.

Still I guess that's how things work in Singapore. If we Filipinos want to earn what we can there, we have to follow the rules.

Interesting though is how some maids have effectively adopted the badly broken "Singlish" of the Singaporean Chinese...

Speaking of Singlish, I'm having a hoot reading the Singlish dictionary at Talking Cock.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Funny how some mishaps can be avoided just by not deciding to do something or go somewhere.

All day I had planned to go to SM Bicutan on the way home to see if I could get an issue of Autocar Asean. Getting off the Skyway, I had already prepared to make a U-turn toward the mall, but I stopped because I waited for the traffic on the other lane to clear. Then I felt an infuriating thud on my rear.

Turns out a white MGE taxi braked into my right rear bumper and left a palm-sized dent. So I did the usual: check for the license, get the driver's contact info, and we were (un)fortunate (you'll see why) to have a traffic enforcer come along and sketch the accident site. The problem was that this officer took his time doing a sketch that I frankly could've done in less than a minute, and it wasn't helping things as our position already compromised the traffic on both Doña Soledad Ave. and the Skyway off-ramp.

Then IT happened.

While we were finishing up and preparing to separate the vehicles, I heard another thud on my car. This time the offending party was a police dispatch truck, and it left a black palm-size scrape on my right front bumper. I just snapped. I yelled at the offending police cruiser all vitriol and bad temper spewing out of me (to my surprise I didn't cuss).

The truck stopped and the police driver got off in an arrogant swagger. He was civil enough to ask what could be done about the damage, but he was obviously impatient and had the look that said "you're worthless" on his face. They were supposedly on red alert (God knows particularly what that was for) and they couldn't wait so he decided to run my bumper and leave a souvenir.

Before I did anything I'd regret later, I told the errant cop to get out of there.

While following the traffic cop's motorbike in heavy Bicutan evening traffic, I heard another thud from the inside. The errant taxi driver which was tailing me got off and told me my rear bumper "healed" the dent itself, so all it left was a white paint scrape half the length of my forearm. I inspected it again and he was right. We decided to lay off the police report in exchange for paying me PhP200 to foot the bill for touch-up paint. An agreeable amicable settlement for me and my parents (who are in Baguio right now), so all we had to do was to get our licenses back from the traffic management office.

I'm cool with the taxi driver now; he seemed like a good man who was unfortunate enough to passenger two lost souls who didn't know how to go to Pasay and mistook the Skyway for a route going there.

My beef is with the police. I understand they have their own reasons for red alert but couldn't they have been a little more considerate as drivers? We were already going to separate our cars and hie off to the traffic office. That could've taken just a minute. Worse, they acted as if they had every right to bash into my car. Red alert or not, that's still a quasi-delict.

Sigh...if only I decided to go straight home.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Was at the Asian Strategic Marketing Convention at the PICC the other day as a required event for MARKCU1. I thought it would be boring, but it was actually pretty interesting.
We had some great speakers. One of them was Pacita Juan, one of the entrepreneurial seven founders of the Figaro coffee shop chain. She talked with passion about focusing on something which one loves, and it just so happened that hers involved coffee. She and her friends loved it so much that they made a business out of it and it's still thriving. She told us that we should look for business partners not because of the cash they can contribute, but because of their talents and specialization. We should take care of our franchisees, she adds, and we should also love the business enough to do all the hard menial work.
Then there was Roland Benzon of Chikka, a solutions provider for cellular phone networks. Kinky voice and innuendo aside (this guy is hilarious and ought to be a voice talent for an animated movie), he pointed out that simply having the best technology won't necessarily win you customers right away. How to get culture to work for you is crucial. In our case Chikka managed to get a hold of how the Philippines became the SMS capital of the world, studied it and applied marketing plans based on that.
And then Philippine Marketing Association president Jos Ortega of BBDO Guerrero Ortega (an ad agency) showed us parts of the Gunn Report DVD, basically a compilation of the 100 best advertisements in a given year. The Chiclets and Axe ads were absolute hoots and they were really well made.
Quite an enriching experience despite the cheesy music and atmosphere. I don't regret going there despite getting into so many near-accidents along the way.

On impulse I went into the Honda Makati showroom and test-drove the GD1 Jazz last Tuesday as I didn't have any class that day.

To be perfectly honest I felt as if I didn't spend all that much time with the likeable little car. All the test-drive allowed me was one trip around some boring village roads around the dealership which were totally unrepresentative of what the car would typically face in the hands of its owner. Because of the brevity of the test I couldn't see for myself how good the acceleration of the car was.

Steering felt a bit weird because of the electric assistance (instead of hydraulic on my car and most others) but it's accurate enough for me to attempt parking the Jazz backwards. Clutch and brake pedals were too close and the fluid-type clutch itself was mushy and a bit hard to judge. However the gearbox is slick and the engine is torquey enough to forgive mistakes in upshifting (how unlike a Honda engine). It won't beat my D15B-powered SX8 City, but for a car that'll make 15-20 km/L, it's very good.

I just wish I had at least two more trips to confirm how it gets going under full acceleration.

This month's HCP EB was something special.

President Juno Ongteco managed to get hold of the local distributor of Johnnie Walker Black Label and arranged for a short course on Scotch whiskey appreciation after the EB proper. Basically that meant we got free drinks (5 varieties of Scotch whiskey per head!) and free food courtesy of the bar East of St. Louis at the Fort.

We had former actor-turned-interior-designer Jaime Garchitorena as host and he taught us a brief history of the Johnnie Walker heritage (JW Black is actually a blend of 40 or so single-malt whiskeys that's 200 years old). He then tuned us in on how to appreciate and taste whiskey. We looked for the "legs" (viscosity), "nose" (smell), character, palate and finish (3 phases of taste) of a brandy using a champagne glass, and noted how different single-malt Scotch whiskeys differ. Some taste heavy and dark like smoke, some taste light as fresh fruit, others taste creamy and delicate while still others taste of rich fruit (we tested each one). Being a 40-some blend, JW Black had a little bit of everything.

I don't drink very often, but it was cool to know all of this information and I didn't realize how much nuances there were to drinking Scotch whiskey. One thing's for sure: no matter how delicate the taste, Scotch whiskey definitely has a strong kick. Even with mere sipping at the 5 champagne glasses in front of me, I was beginning to feel tipsy by the time we finally got to sample and judge JW Black.

After that we got our share of finger foods. Some of us left early, like myself. I just stayed long enough to get the tipsiness out of my head. I certainly wouldn't want to receive a face full of windshield because of driving under the influence of ethanol consumption.

It was a nice drive home, unlike the rest of the damned traffic-ridden week. I took the wet, sweeping Heritage Memorial road out of the Fort and drove at a consistent 80-100 km/h around the gentle bends leading to C5 and to the SLEX.

If only everyday driving was that pleasurable.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Pretty much spend the free day today mostly online. Had a good chat with my new friend Chen from the US. Been particularly looking forward to chatting with her as I hardly get to see her online at the same time I am. She's also one of those people who's not afraid to speak her mind and be true to herself.
Am kinda shocked at seeing some people use
Friendster as a venue to set up sex EBs. My friends at HCP have talked about how some of these individuals will set up a sex EB with whomever sends them cellphone credits.
Imagine if these temptresses were actually men who had no interest in sex whatsoever, and went through the trouble only because of cellphone compulsion. Smells like a good scam to me.

I can't deny it anymore. I seriously have a crush on this girl.
I've had her as classmate for two separate terms already and I still can't muster enough guts to introduce myself properly. Nor to be able to face her. But I seem to be crazy over this girl whom I've noticed since I was a college freshman.
I think it's cool she drives a GD6 City. I think it's cool she's also a Marketing major like I am (she's ahead of me by one term at that). I think she's damn cute and pretty and given the chance she's also pretty smart too.
Now to overcome the hurdle of actually saying HI. Can't be the hardest thing to do now can it?
Shit...when it boils down to it I can still be a very shy high school adolescent.
Am glad Angelo dela Cruz has already been released from his month-long captivity and threat of decapitation. Much ado about the life of one man, yes.
I've read my fair share of opinions regarding the issue, most of them unfavorable. We've even been called "cowards" by what in my opinion are foolish Americans who don't know the whole details of what was going on. My stand here is that whichever decision President Arroyo made would have been a loss anyway.
I'm glad that Mr. dela Cruz is now safe and sound, but I'm also frightened at where our sense of patriotism has gone.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Just when we thought we'd failed in bringing in sponsors for Pops' recitals and concerts, along came a ray of hope.
It was ironic that Rachel took notice of the new GD1 Honda Jazz and its tagline "Jazz up your life!" as I was part of Honda Club myself. She suggested I ring some contacts and ask if they're interested to sponsor us, as coincidentally our first recital on July 30 is also called "Jazz UP Your Life."
I contacted Abbie, our former HCP liaison to HCPI, and inquired who was in charge of marketing nowadays at HCPI, then I called Ms. Rachell Diaz up. 30 minutes after I had sent in the fax, she personally called Rachel herself that yes, they were willing to sponsor us and they would do so in much-needed CASH amounting to PhP20,000.
Rachel was jumping for joy and screaming her heart out. At last! A cash sponsor! At least now I can say our efforts paid off.
Small victories are always cause for celebration, I always say. We've still got a lot of work ahead, though. After all, these two terms are devoted to campus tours, recitals and our Visayan concert tour too.
Dropped by Honda Makati a while ago to scope out the new GD1 Honda Jazz hatchback. What a cute little number! I'd love to have one in my garage.
If only I could do something about that price tag...I'd be spending PhP670,000 for the model I want.
At least I'd be consoled with remarkable fuel efficiency. The Jazz tops my SX8 City 1.5's 9-10 km/L consumption with a trumping figure of 15-20 km/L.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Last Wednesday's COMLAW1 class was unusual to say the least.

We've gotten accustomed to Atty. Dimayuga coming in a little late, but this time around an ITEO officer was around to conduct the usual teacher/course surveys. After a while my classmates were spouting rumors of Atty. Dimayuga bringing in the Yellow Cab pizzas he promised us in return for the meetings he missed with us. Now I rode along with the deal but I wasn't expecting him to be serious with carrying it out.

Lo and behold, 8 Yellow Cab pizza boxes were being hauled into the classroom. Of course it's taboo to eat inside the classrooms, so we had to keep it hush-hush to avoid any trouble with the Discipline Office. (I wonder if the janitors could tell from all the printed tissue we used and threw away in the trash though.)

So there we were, sharing pizzas, thanking our kind old professor and chomping away. To make a long story short, we didn't have class at all that day. Some of my classmates were already asking if we could enroll into COMLAW2 under him next term, but Atty. Dimayuga caught on early ("...so you can get fed once again right?").

That's gotta be the strangest but most palatable classroom experience I've had, ever.

Had an impromptu jam session with Gabby, Gerby, RL, PJ and JR at the band room a while ago, and this time I got to grab the mike and have a little fun with it. Turns out no one knew the lyrics to that old '70s song "Manila," so JR handed the mike over to me while I belted my lungs out in my trademark gravelly deep voice. Not that that was getting me any seats as Pops Orchestra vocalist, but it was enough for PJ (a vocalist himself) to ask me anyway.

Been fiddling around with the drums a little more too. Can't say I'm good at it yet but there's a little progress now.

Stayed up late last Tuesday to finish "Bandelizing," the Pops Orchestra newsletter. That's gotta be the fastest layout job I've done ever. I managed to finish a small 8-page newsletter in 2 days.

Makes me wonder how wasteful I was with my working time back when I was still layout editor for "Counterpoint" in high school. Took me months to finish a 16-page magazine...bad, JM, bad.

Friday, July 09, 2004

This morning I happened to walk to school with a guy who drove this red Alfa Romeo 155 shod with 17" OZ Superleggera rims. I was curious about his wheels so I decided to pop the question.

Leo was a enthusiastic enough guy and he told me he imported his from Hong Kong. When I asked him about the price, he said it set him back around PhP60,000. He'd been looking for gunmetal gray ones, but they were out of stock so he got silver instead. Leo looked happy with his rims; he was proud to tell me that they were really lightweight and they actually spun in the wet because of their lightness.

He remembered someone posting on the Honda Club Philippines forums about someone seeing an Alfa 155 shod with OZ Superleggera rims...and it said "Screw the car, I just want his rims." I confessed it was me. I did try to ask him how his 155 was to own and drive, just to make up for my mistake. Leo said it was a good car, it's just that it complains when it's not driven.

We split when he had to climb up St. Miguel Hall.

I guess this means I should be more careful of what I say...but I'm glad I met Leo. Likeable chap and he seems to share the same love of things on four wheels as I do.

Unfortunately that rules out getting Superleggeras for my ride, ever. PhP60,000 isn't the kind of money I can snatch from nowhere. I'll probably settle with Rota 5-spokers, if ever I get enough moolah to get my car shod with 15" shoes.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

These past few days have been rather tough. I'm finding it a great challenge to balance studies, Pops and my emotional health these days.

The term isn't going too good, academically speaking. I've flunked two straight quizzes in QUATECH even though I have no problem with the lessons themselves. It's just that somehow, somewhere, something always screws with me and my progress in the exams. In the first one it was purely an avoidable mistake; in the second one I'm afraid it wasn't that easy. My other subjects I'd like to think are doing okay, but I can always be wrong. FINAMA1 is a toughie too, but I feel I can understand the lessons now.

My mom went down with the flu the other week and so I had to become errand boy---doing groceries, fetching my dad and my sister, basically not having any free time---precisely when things were becoming pretty hectic, as it's midterms week already and a lot of things are due. Everything happens this week, I like to say.

I also have to admit I haven't been the most effective sponsor-seeker on Pops' marketing committee. I've bungled up a couple of faxes and I basically have to secure enough sponsors or donations in time for the July 30 recital. I have two weeks to make that up. I have to make better use of my contacts.

This term's going to be rocky as far as I can see it.

It also doesn't help that I've been quite cranky these past few days. I just feel like I don't want to take any bullshit from other people. If they can't help, I might as well clam up and do my thing myself---and I'll shove it up their throats that they're useless.

I know that isn't the most pleasant way to behave but I really can't help it. I'm tired, I'm not getting enough things done and my grades suck no matter how hard I try.

I need a breather. Wooooosssahhhhhh...

Friday, July 02, 2004

While going to the band room for residency duty, Joanne and Tintin said hi. It's been a while since I saw these two. Joanne remarked I looked a lot thinner; Tintin agreed.

I didn't remember losing 20 lbs. anytime in recent history, so I raised my eyebrows in surprise, but I thanked them for the compliment anyway.

It took me an entire day to figure out that the reason why I "looked thinner" was because of the haircut I had for the yearbook pictorial.

Speaking of the pictorial, I showed up 30 minutes early but the makeup artists and photographer didn't seem to mind. Aside from the foundation literally being pushed into my face, it went okay and I was pretty pleased with the result.

The gunk took its time to come off my face though. I was in front of the sink for 15 minutes and spent 20 pulls of Kleenex to get it out.

Please do not deny me
The pleasure of feeling
You sliding across my skin
Luxuriating in your warmth
My senses coming alive
In the relative absence
Of sight

Let's just lie down
Next to each other
Naked in bed
Nothing else has to happen
I just want to feel you
Right next to me
Soothing me
Rejuvenating you

We kiss, we caress
Holding in each other's arms
Feeling every breath of you
Stamping your memory
Into every cell of me
Throw away reason
No more secrets no more lies
Do away with all disguise
Just the truth of us
Naked as can be
Nothing else has to happen
All I want to do
Is lie here with you
Until we fade away...

Thursday, July 01, 2004

A longtime crush of mine, I found out, drives an all-new black GD6 Honda City. Yesterday I "lucked out" watching her drive from the Sports Complex parking all the way to Taft Ave. cor. Vito Cruz (not very far, but enough to get an insight due to the traffic).

While I was watching her drive I noticed she was pretty aggressive. I don't know how much force she's putting into her footbrake but her stops seemed pretty sudden. She was pretty hard on the loud pedal too.

Hmmm. If she's trying to avoid or outrun me, she shouldn't do so in the thick of rush-hour traffic. Besides who am I to her? What should she be afraid of? I ain't no stalker.

Dad lent me his Pajero to drive today as the Pregio was still in the shop having the air conditioning serviced.

At first I could hardly feel any of the controls. The steering felt loose and vague, the brakes were hard to judge and the clutch's contact point was tricky to find. It doesn't help that the shifter's kinda far away and the gear ratios are ridiculously close to each other. But I got the hang of driving it after 10 minutes. As long as I don't forget that acceleration and top speed are both poor in the SUV, and I keep safe driving in mind, I won't have any problems.

Parking this beast will be a challenge though. I miss my Honda already.