about the talking fish

My photo
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, July 25, 2005

I gave painting a second try, this time with Nippon Paint's Pylox aerosol lacquers. For starters I bought two spraycans, Family White and Oxford Blue.

I started off by spray-painting the other wing from the 1/144 DINN kit (Bianca's Christmas gift to me), effectively coating a lavender plastic part white. Using spraycan tips and techniques learned from Jake of MechaPinoy (what I fondly call the "wisik-wisik" technique), I was amazed at how well the job turned out. The white coat was even, and despite my fingerprints marring one of the still-wet coats, I simply sprayed over it later, without incident and evidence of what could have been a major boo-boo.

Having had enough practice on the DINN, I decided to rebuild one of my old kits, a 1/144 HG Duel Gundam Assautshroud Angiela gave me as a present. This time I did it properly, in preparation for the painting aspect.

After ripping the model apart with a small chisel, I applied plastic cement to the parts, bonded them and sanded off the visible excess with water and 600-grit sandpaper to make sure I had zero seam lines (or at least very inconspicuous ones). That way I'd have a solid-looking kit after everything is done and it'd look a lot less plasticky. I removed the old panel lines I made with a black signpen, literally scraping them off with a used #11 X-Acto knife blade. I even shaved the antennae with an X-Acto knife to make it thinner and more pointed, more like an MG kit's antennae.

It's been a rainy week so finding an ideal day for painting outdoors was rather hard. Pylox spray lacquer has toxic fumes that need to be ventilated well away from my lungs. Once I did, I got around to starting the painting. I managed to paint the torso white and the shield Oxford blue before I had to go somewhere. It, I suppose, was a bit too bright for the dark blue armor pieces on the Duel Gundam, but it will do the job.

Before I continue, though, I think I'll need to invest in a face mask with activated charcoal filters to avoid ingesting toxic lacquer thinner fumes.

I found out I probably didn't do as well in the SALETAX midterms as I'd hoped. Sigh. Managed to bag an 83 in the first quiz though. Still, that midterm's a very heavy indication of my future: it's 25% of the final grade. Crap.

Took the Procter & Gamble pre-employment test the other Friday. It was a tricky test but wasn't that hard. The biggest enemy I had was the lack of time. I managed to finish with only 2 minutes to spare.

Even better, I managed to pass.

My transcript, resume and application forms are now at the Office of Career Services in school. By next week I'll find out what I have to do afterwards. I sure hope this is favorable.

I'm inviting everyone to go watch the DLSU Pops Orchestra in its concert "Spotlight: The Repeat" on Wednesday, 1:00-2:30 pm at the Teresa Yuchengco Theater, De La Salle University. Tickets are PhP75 apiece and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Urged on by my acquaintances in MechaPinoy and the GundamOfficial User Forums, I finally decided to begin painting my Gundam model kits.

I still had a lot of questions to ask the more experienced model makers, and I felt like I was asking the same things over and over. Handbrush or spraycans? (An airbrush is out of the question because of financial reasons.) Acrylic, lacquer or enamel paint? Tamiya, Citadel, Pylox or Gunze Sangyo? One solid coat or a lot of thin ones? How much is the ratio of thinner to paint? How long does said paint take to dry or cure? Do I use primer or not? Do I sand the plastic, wash it with soap, do both or none?

Last Saturday I finally decided on handbrushing enamel paints on one of my simplest kits, a 1/144 AMF-101 DINN from Gundam SEED---so simple it doesn't even have elbow and knee joints. I went to Lils Futaba to buy 10cc Tamiya enamel bottles (gloss purple, flat white and thinner) and a #3 Tamiya brush. Damage: about PhP350 with the mixing palette.

It was disastrous.

I hated how the thinner always ended up on my fingers in an oily mess whenever I tried transferring it to the palette. I hated how painting the lavender plastic wings white was a huge chore. I tried painting a thin coat, it barely colored anything white; I tried painting a thick coat, I could see very clear brushmarks (a no-no). I hated cleaning up afterward in my frustration, almost making a purple mess out of the bathroom sink while I emptied my palette.

I basically felt like I wasted my money. Ralph of MechaPinoy told me not to take it too hard, that I should try again. I probably will if I have more money to spend. Right now my kits probably are better off as bare polystyrene and ABS. Sigh...

Or maybe I should have saved a little harder for Pylox spraycans. Hmmmm.

Cost of the kits aside, this is an expensive hobby I got into.

Friday, July 15, 2005

That SALETAX midterm wasn't all that tough, but I bet I'm going to have some boo-boos on my answer sheet. It's those little technicalities in the Law of Sales that catch me off-guard.

Took the global test for Procter & Gamble too. In retrospect, 65 minutes was just right for the rather challenging 50-item test they cooked up, and it was a lot less draining than the Accenture pre-employment test. I'm going to find out if I have a future there on Tuesday. I hope.

I didn't have MARKEVE and BUSIPOL today so I made good use of the time by taking the test and going around the Job Expo one last time. Rachel, Tantan, Leia and I---thesismates who call ourselves "The Impressives" after a recurring comment on some of our resumes---asked around for any OJT opportunities for September, our final term, and it's good we picked up a few.

Wilson Lee Flores had a piece on his regular Sunday column about reasons why he isn't willing to migrate, despite his Canadian girlfriend's insinuations.

Most of the stuff he said was true, in hindsight, and I now understand why Uncle Butch and Auntie Carole had felt a little jealous about us. In the Philippines you can live like a virtual king even if you don't have a king's treasury (due to cheap labor). There's real opportunity in developing/underdeveloped countries like ours in terms of business. There's also a greater chance of keeping a job here.

Suffice it to say I'm not as fired up with migrating as I used to be. There's always that money problem getting in the way anyhow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Surprise, surprise.

Received my test results from BUSIPOL and MARKPUB and I was honestly delighted to see that I got 4.0s on both. That grade was the farthest thing from my mind.

Now if only my upcoming midterm for SALETAX gets me a similarly high result...which I doubt!

This week's Job Expo is on its second day and I've managed to reserve myself a slot for Procter and Gamble's employment test on Friday.

I attended the one last February and I think that one was a bit better than this recent event. I guess the timing of the February expo is a little better matched because it's close to graduation season...which doesn't really exist in DLSU.

It looks like it'll take some time before I can get started with painting. I'll have to buy a basic set of brushes, a fine one, a few paints and thinners and a palette.

It just so happens I'll have to use rally-infested Ayala Avenue to get to my usual hobby shop. Damn it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Despite the great results I've had building the Zeta Plus model kit, I decided to dismantle it into sub-assemblies and put it aside in its box. There are more seam lines on the finished model than I'd like, some edges have rough excess plastic "flash" that I'd like to smooth and sand down, and lately I've been contemplating hand-painting my Gundam models---even just an enamel or acrylic wash for detailing the panel lines.

I suppose painting my existing models would be cheaper and keep me busy longer than going out there and buying another Master Grade kit.
I claimed my transcripts of records today in preparation for the Job Expo this week, and I computed for my cumulative grade-point average (CGPA). Am quite proud to say that I mustered a 2.97 in my 4 years' worth of grades so far.

If I work a bit harder this term I might get that CGPA up to 3. Would sure look good on my resume...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

After hearing nothing but hot-headed calls for GMA to resign I heard something this afternoon that was a breath of fresh air in a sea of impulsiveness.

Ramon "RJ" Jacinto, chairman of the Rajah Broadcasting Network which brought us the infamous guerilla radio station "Radyo Bandido" in 1986 and 2001, aired a statement at 4:30 pm this afternoon.

He went straight to the point: the catcalls for GMA's resignation are PREMATURE. The pro-resignation movement is obviously a product of so many power-hungry politicians who want the presidency instantly served to them on a silver platter. Even those who have been professing their unwavering support for the President have done a quick change of heart and are now part of the opposition---how badly does that speak of their integrity? Gloria is no doubt a hardworking president, and she does listen to the recommendations made by her Cabinet members---and now these same Cabinet members resign from their posts and arrogantly tell her to do the same? What a bunch of hyprocrites!

RJ later says, let's give GMA her day in court. If she goes through the impeachment process and is proven guilty of poll fraud, then he has no question about it. But right now we are really better off playing the waiting game.

Thank God someone finally agrees with me.

For all the bullshit flying around on the newspapers and the media nowadays it's very easy to overlook that it's because of GMA's efforts that we are able to reduce our budget deficit even better than our target. The Bureau of Internal Revenue, long a stronghold of corruption, is actually beginning to taking a hardline stance against tax evaders such as politicians, actors and actresses.

What President of recent times can brag about such a feat? She is the Gov. Leonard Wood of our time---sticks out like a sore thumb, but boy does she know how to save and make money for government coffers.

While she may not be the most popular president we don't even have to like her. Let's let her do her job. If we don't like her we can simply cast our vote for somebody else in the next election.

I commend Mr. Jacinto for his sobriety in the entire matter. It takes a different breed of ManileƱo in these times to express something wholly against the prevailing bandwagon sentiment in Metro Manila, pushed by power-hungry politicians greedy for the presidency and leftists who'd combat any administration anyway.
After giving it some thought I came to a realization with regard to my behavior in the past couple of weeks. I guess I've grown jaded.

My zest for life isn't as strong as it used to be. I'm beginning to think and feel that things are developing in a predictable (and therefore boring) order. Day in and day out I seem to be doing the same things without much of a change in the routine.

I know I'm always trying to look for something, but it seems I've always lost sight of what it is. I can't tell whether what I'm looking for is a new friend, a new lover, a new hobby (God forbid!) or a new confidante, or God-knows-what. I know there's stability in consulting and keeping old friends but there are instances where I grow tired of their faces and voices just because they're so damn familiar. I'm looking for whatever it is that can get the spark back into my heart. Right now it seems a relationship would do just the thing, but knowing myself I've been wrong about these things time and time again.

It seems like my only driving force nowadays is music. Ever since that trip to the US I've been listening to more and more jazz and Latin music. Might as well try to save for Anton Ramos' new CD, The Chillout Project Acid Jazz.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

On my way home from the Pops Orchestra's video shoot today, I was speeding along on the South Luzon Expressway as usual. I had wanted to overtake slower traffic in front of me so I changed lanes in my usual throttle-blipping manner and later made use of the clear right lane at 120 km/h.

Out of nowhere I saw a silver EE101 Toyota Corolla tailing me---literally half a foot off my rear bumper. I don't know what possessed this idiot to tail me when he had full knowledge of the speed I was carrying. What if I had braked? He wouldn't have had any advance warning, especially since braking from high speed usually washes off a lot of speed in an instant because of aerodynamic drag, regardless of the pressure on the middle pedal.

Knowing that, I had no other recourse but to up my speed. I'm pretty sure this chasing car has a smaller engine than I had, and I wasn't revving the nuts off my D15B engine to achieve my speed, so I hazarded a guess based on the Corolla's movement---this guy was trying to outrun me with all his engine's spunk. Good thing a traffic jam came along at the C5 offramp and we both slowed down. Even then, this Corolla-driving idiot cut into other cars before settling into the right lane.

Why is it that Pinoy drivers tailgate those that are travelling at illegal speeds? Quite ridiculous really. I'm not trying to race anybody on the streets (I'd rather take it to the circuit), but this asshole's ego convinces him otherwise.

While I admit 150 clicks on my speedo isn't exactly legal either, I do so knowing full well I'm not tailing anybody and that I have a clear patch of asphalt ahead. A car doing 150 km/h on a wide open lane is less of a danger than a car tailgating someone else at 80.

Friday, July 08, 2005

On my fifth and final year in college I have learned a timely lesson.

I've learned how to become mean.

I've learned how to assert myself on other people and become selfish. I've learned how to be an asshole to people I don't feel like helping out whom I know will simply use my knowledge for their own ends and do nothing else afterward.

Why should I care about what happens to my friends who do nothing to help themselves? I am their friend, not their slave. I'd like to make that crystal-clear.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Today I was home pretty early, due to having just one class.

After napping out in the afternoon I was surprised to hear my cellphone ringing (it's usually silent)---more so because the number on the screen wasn't a familiar one. Turns out it was a lady from Accenture Philippines telling me that I passed the pre-employment test I took at their Makati office last June 14th, and they wanted me to go there for an interview. Tomorrow morning at 9:30.

Gee, my first job interview...I couldn't go because I had class (Atty. Caoile supposedly gives a little bonus grade for perfect attendance in SALETAX). I told her maybe it would be okay if I rescheduled it for next Tuesday, when I normally have a looser sked. She was accommodating and told me she'd sort something out for me.

All in all I'm happy. Although I wasn't able to fax my other requirements until much, MUCH later (and I still haven't sent in my transcript of records because I seem to have lost my only copy), they're willing to get me for the interview at least. My only concern is that I have one more term to go---and that's on-the-job training and thesis. I wonder if they'll be willing to wait for someone who isn't free to work until January 2006.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Now that I'm in my final academic term in DLSU I just have to wonder where some of our peculiar lingo and culture came from.

One of those weird terms is "p-hole." Whenever I hear or say it I cringe. It's a truncation of the word "pigeonhole," yeah, but I have to wonder why people have to say it as such. "Just leave it in my p-hole" or "It's in my p-hole" is a common instruction of profs, referring to submission of papers or whatnot, but hearing it said brings up thoughts of the scatological kind. Ewwww.

Another thing I find irksome is the "frosh"---the supposed gender-insensitive term for freshmen. Fine, fine, the intention is there. The problem with them is that really, they have the knack of gathering as one flock in the wrong places, usually in high-traffic areas where people walk in a rush. I'm so damn tempted to tell them to get out of the way instead of saying a meek "excuse me." I've even encountered a rude group of "froshies" misuse the damn elevator in the Sports Complex. Not only are they lazy enough not to use their legs in descending just one fucking flight of stairs, they had the gall to hold me up from getting out.

I gave their ringleader a cold, hard stare and as I exited the sliding doors I indignantly yelled, "Frosh na frosh!" That was the most I could do to contain whatever ire was building up in my fist.

I've become confused and divided as to this whole Gloriagate thing recently.

Personally I'm willing to let her stay on as President until 2010 simply for the sake of stability and carrying out her agenda. I am deeply opposed to replacing her with someone else because that doesn't speak well of us as a nation---we'd be a real banana republic at that rate if we kept changing presidents every couple years. However, seeing as public opinion is firmly convinced that she's guilty and has serious character flaws, now I'm at two minds. I guess it means something when the DLSU System itself is now asking for GMA's resignation. It feels like muttering anything in favor of the current administration these days is a losing proposition.

Nothing is clear-cut in politics, I guess. Sigh. It gives me a headache thinking about it.

All's well that ends well, I suppose: After the fiasco of the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis two weeks ago, where only 6 Formula 1 cars ran the race due to Michelin's tire safety problems, the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours was a smooth-sailing event without incident from the Michelin-shod teams.

Even though the lawsuits have been issued I still think this silly fiasco will have its aftershocks felt until the end of the season. Doubtless it tainted the entire 2005 F1 season. Whether real reform and development will be made or a rival GPWC series is hatched, only time can tell.

All that matters frankly is that motor racing fans like me enjoy great races. I guess I should watch the WRC more often now...