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.

Monday, January 24, 2005

ORIENT3 ended last Saturday.

All of us were primped in our business clothes, neckties and suits. All of us submitted our two-page-or-longer resumes. All of us were frightened at the thought of having to face a job interview.

Somehow I left the room feeling a little scared and unprepared, as if what I am right now isn't enough to satisfy future employers despite my having a degree in De La Salle University - Manila. It's going to be tough having to deal with the pressures of the real world after spending 18 years in school.

I envy those people who can make clear-cut goals for themselves, like Angiela for example. This early she's decided on quitting her present post at Philamlife---this after only around a year being employed there, and with the kind of salary she has! But she's very headstrong. She figures she wants to move on and experience all the professions her accountancy career can take her---even if it means getting a lower salary. Listening to her talk over tea and coffee at Starbucks, I felt she wanted to do so much within the span of the next eight years.

I don't know. I probably made the mistake of thinking that I'd be young forever, or that I wouldn't have to live on my own. The world is changing so rapidly and so I really need to keep up, be competitive, make the most of the next few years. I'll be 22 in less than a month. It's about time I got started getting serious about my life and stopped being so nearsighted about things.

After ORIENT3 I quickly headed over to Kart Trak to join the HCP EB, even if I was late. Turns out my arrival was just around a half hour before Juno and the others decided to adjourn.

Because the Tropang SX8 City won the prize at the Christmas Party for Tropa of the Month, we decided to squander the PhP5,000 prize money on karting and dinner. Eight of us trooped over to the nearby go-kart racetrack in the CCP complex.

I have to say my friends were really good kart racers. Patrick Chua, especially, was driving and drifting his kart through the corners like a bat out of hell. He drove impeccably in both heats he ran.

As for me I decided to drive conservatively as the CCP track was a lot more technical than the Enchanted Kingdom one. There are technically no straightaways here; most of the time you'll find yourself fighting the g-forces, leaning your body into the turns, heaving the little steering wheel to point the kart in the direction you want. Manhandling the steering wheel feels like lifting weights---do it too often and you'll soon tire out. I did well enough to improve by around two seconds on my second heat, but I always kept clear of potential overtakers and I still came dead last.

After the kart races we accelerated over to Shell Macapagal to eat dinner at Yellow Cab Pizza. There we discussed the minutiae of our lives and our passion for fast cars. It was rather nice having the SX8 barkada around to hang out with, and I wish I could do this more often.

This afternoon while waiting for Bianca to finish her class, I scooted over to Robinsons Place Manila to burn money on Initial D ver.3.

Despite having only a crappy non-turbo S14Q Nissan Silvia as my primary car, I finally managed to conquer Irohazaka and Akina-Snow within an hour! I was grinning ear to ear from the achievement. If this was what I could do with a humble S14Q, what more could I accomplish if I got my blue AP1 Honda S2000 back?

Akina-Snow was especially surprising. I thought it would be hard, but I beat Miki's ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four 4WD in just two tries. Reflective of driving on the snow itself, the steering wheel lightens almost ridiculously, meaning there's less effort in turning and there's less of a distinction between making a good drift through the corners or ending up rubbing the guard rails. The secret is to keep everything smooth and predictable.

As for finally defeating Kai Kogashiwara's SW20 Toyota MR2 G-Limited in Irohazaka, I essentially saw through his "corner-jumping" technique and applied it on my own S14Q. HAH! Turns out it was nothing special after all. Pretty efficient technique though.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Attended the ATIFTAP E-Trade Bridge Program workshop at Oakwood, Makati last Friday for my subjects MARKNAL and MARKPRO. I had originally intended to stay just for an hour when sleepy old me arrived in business attire at 9:30 am.

I got so interested that I ended up skipping one of my classes.

When I came along, the workshop was in the middle of some sort of integrative activity about everything that had been discussed in the previous day. Because I had been absent and uninformed, I was sitting there uncomfortably trying to grasp the subject matter for a good hour.

My mates at the table were all nice men and women though. Most of them were working for financial institutions, the government or small-enterprise businessmen. We were eventually made into a group to discuss the importance of e-trade in the Philippines and if it was enough to convince the government to get involved.

Met Roberto CastaƱeda there, too. His name might not ring a bell, but he's the proprietor of the only winery in the world that makes mango and coffee wine. I was impressed at how passionate he was about the whole discussion yet was jovial enough to crack jokes. He felt that e-trade was indeed necessary in these times because it can empower SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to become "Smarter, Mightier Enterprises."

Before we parted ways we had a little chat and he seemed to have taken a liking to me. He left me a calling card and invited me to a free tour of his winery in Imus, Cavite.

I was certainly rather unfortunate that I didn't get to taste his wines there at the venue, when the bottles were right in the middle of the meeting room. Also it's somewhat depressing to hear that local spirits stores would not carry his product, just offering the foreign wines instead. Sigh.

Finally got to watch "The Incredibles" and it was good. Very good. Pixar seems to make pretty good animated movies targeted to kids that are appealing even to adults. That's a feat.

Also finally managed to watch the first fansubbed episodes of "Gundam SEED Destiny."

Right off the bat I can clearly say that if SEED was a retelling of the original "Mobile Suit Gundam," SEED-D is "Z Gundam" retold for the 21st century. So many events and elements in this latest series have their parallels to that 1985 anime. Hmmmm. This will get interesting, I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I don't like the way I'm behaving lately.

I've mouthed off in a rage all too often only to feel really bad about it the next moment. Maybe some anger management is in order?

Perhaps I also owe my sister some credit. She's acted as my conscience.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

This term I enrolled in ORIENT3. It's basically a career counseling course, taking up three whole Saturdays...but that's it for the entire term.

The big surprise was that this time I finally got acquainted with my longtime crush, Angela Navarro. After four years of nothing but the mutual cold shoulder, we finally meet properly. In the limited time I had with her, I found her really cool and feisty and more than just a pixie-like face. She definitely has a knack for going her own way, and Anj really is as nice as people say she is.

Today's ORIENT3 session started out slow but ended pretty well. Sir Ennan, our facilitator, wasn't much of an articulative and interesting guy, but I could see he was being earnest and sincere with his work. I was with Kwapaw and Alrey Villagracia (an acquaintance from my ROTC Navigator days) the whole time and I had quite a bit of fun. I'm looking forward to the next two Saturdays.

Every time I go to the grocery with my folks and we go to the meat section, I can't help but watch in awe at the butcher workers skilfully running chunks of pork and beef through huge electric meat saws...with only their bare hands. It's a small miracle I've never seen any of them cut up their fingers or hands with the high-speed cutting tool. The very thought of it is rather revolting, to be honest.

I for one wouldn't be able to stand working in that situation. Knowing how easily distracted I am, I'd probably end up cutting my own arm off. I have respect for these newfangled butchers and their amazing sense of focus.

My fingers go all limp just thinking about it. Shucks. I should change the subject.

On a brighter note...HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHER!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A belated Happy New Year to everyone!

New Year's was certainly amazing.

We were at White Plains, as usual, swigging wine, eating cold cuts and watching the fireworks as they drowned out the starlight. My cousins Bea, Martin and Carlo (damn he's tall!) pretty much enjoyed the spectacle, and I found myself admiring how fancy these firecrackers have gotten. Lots of skyrockets flew with a main explosion, then their fragments exploded further into clusters of sparks. Very very cool.

Bianx celebrated her birthday on the 2nd. Still rather hard to believe that she's 20 already. Just as hard to believe is that I'll be 22 in a month's time.

We spent the afternoon looking around in Landmark and picking out my mom's present for her. She eventually got a new Philips VCD boombox, with a copy of "Gothika" thrown in. Not bad. I just hope the thing doesn't break down as easily as my various pairs of Philips ear/headphones did.

The other day I spent with Paolo and Dinggoy. We paid tuition first thing in the morning. This was the first time I was able to apply my tuition discount from my participation in Pops as I submitted all the requirements. I was frankly surprised to get a 22.8% reduction in tuition. That's PhP6,000 saved! I bet my dad's proud of me; he's...just not telling me about it.

By noontime we were at Glorietta 4, just walking around, burning money on games of Initial D ver.3 and Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, where Pao and I share ownership of a tricked-out Lancer Evo VI. We moved on to girl-watching as well...and this was probably the first time I saw guys getting all "kilig" over a girl. Maybe I just wasn't paying too much attention to Carlo Trillo's new girlfriend, but Dinggoy and Pao were gobsmacked by the sight of her. They swear she's the complete package. Me, I just kept silent. Afternoon was rather fun though.

School's starting again tomorrow...it's going to be another term of madness. I really hope this one's a lot smoother than the two previous terms. Might as well enjoy the final ones I'll have in DLSU, right?