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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Some stuff I'll miss when I'm working already

After visiting the Job Expo, doing the rounds of the company booths and application forms and deciding to call it a day around noon, I decided to go to Glorietta.

There I decided to have my badminton racket re-strung at Toby’s Sports; I’ve been playing with Aileen and Mabel for a couple Sundays now and I plan on playing regularly again. They said I’d get it back by 3:30. Great, I had a few hours to kill.
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Aware of my need for more exercise (having my present waistline is a total bummer), I decided to expend my free games on Dance Maniax and hone my skills on Initial D—the usual. A couple of young hotshots were on the Initial D machines and they seemed to know their stuff really well. MAMMY and D4 (the guys’ nicks on their game cards) were tearing up Akina’s downhill on back-to-back time trials, applying the exotic techniques I’ve only read about on the Internet (such as “eraser” shifting) to shave the last possible tenth of a second out of their time records.

MAMMY had a school uniform on, and he was unbelievably fast on a heavy R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R—a car not known for agility in the game. D4 ran a GDB Subaru Impreza and he was equally impressive on it as he was on his “D1” card, an AE86 Toyota Trueno. Figuring I could get some practice laps, I got into the other machine and ran my Mazda RX-8 for a few rounds against computer opponents.

MAMMY asked if I wanted to race. Why not, I thought. Predictably, I lost by a huge margin which got smaller (though I’m not sure how much I clawed back by my skill alone), but it was my fault as I screwed up at the start.

I asked MAMMY how he and his friend did the “eraser” technique, and the two of us got into a fairly involved conversation. They were regulars on the game and played almost a year; I’ve played for longer but more irregularly. The two hotshots gave me a few handy tips about how I could extract more speed out of my Mazda as well.

D4/D1 had to split to light a few smokes and we amicably parted ways. It was nice meeting them, knowing that there are genuinely friendly Initial D players still around today. Since they seem to frequent the area, I’m looking forward to seeing them again some time.

While I’m at it I might as well ask them what their real names are...
===

I went back to Toby’s and they told me they didn’t start tensioning the string because they found a crack on the frame of my racket. Taking a closer look it had gone almost all the way through. They offered to continue at my discretion. Since I already paid for the stringing and the labor, I changed my mind and said I might as well get a new racket and have that strung with the strings I already bought.

Fortunately there were a few rackets they were selling at a discount and I got a graphite Slazenger for PhP1,500, complete with towel grip and a gorgeous free badminton bag. The damn thing accepts higher maximum string tension, too; I had mine strung at 22 lbs. I can’t wait to try it out.
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Just a couple hours ago I received belated graduation presents from Tita Vik and Nanay. Thank you so much!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Commencement

It’s strange.

Graduation has come and gone and it wasn’t as nerve-wracking an experience as I feared. If anything it was actually a little anticlimactic.

When it all boiled down to it, graduation was really nothing more than a boring march, boring speeches and watching the boring process of seeing 691 other souls walking up to Bro. Armin Luistro FSC and getting a mock diploma. My friend Martin Bañez’s speech was rather moving though, not least of which because to many eyes he looked like on the edge of tears (when he wasn’t). Adding to the anticlimax was the fact that it was simply another day with my beloved blockmates and friends, although we were all dressed like the obnoxious savants of “Beat the Geeks.”

What’s more, after graduation, I didn’t find myself in an expensive restaurant eating at a buffet. No, no, none of that pompousness—that afternoon I was doing grocery shopping and singing in the choir, and that evening I brought and fetched Bianca to and from Mari’s graduation house party. A very ordinary day indeed it was, one without any extraordinary tension or excitement.

Perhaps it just hasn’t struck me yet, the realization that I will not see these wonderful people who are my batchmates again—at least until we organize block outings or come together in some batch reunion so many years later. Or perhaps it’s just that I am more mature and nonchalant about these things—that yes, there are people whom I simply have to see again indefinitely later, because at this point in time I have to meet even more new faces.

Either way, I’m going back to school tomorrow and the rest of the week—this time as an alumnus looking for a job. I’ve got a job interview tomorrow in Makati too—one I’m not really taking all that seriously, but will be helpful anyway as practice.

Sobering, isn’t it?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Countdown to graduation

Yesterday I felt the first indications of how close our impending graduation was. We were in school to pay for our picture-taking, rent our togas, attend the baccalaureate mass and recognition ceremonies, and rehearse the motions for the commencement exercises on Saturday.

In previous terms we could only wonder how those odd folks walking the halls in semi-formal attire and togas felt, only knowing that we’d have our chance at graduation someday. Now that it was finally our turn to do so, it felt a little bit strange and surreal. My blockmates and friends Monique, Anj and Ces didn’t seem to mind; they were making a lot of noise about our being graduates smack dab in the middle of the amphitheater where everybody could see us. We certainly didn’t feel bashful about getting into our togas in public either.

After all my time in DLSU I finally got acquainted with Anj’s friend Ces, whom we “adopted” into our block of CAM-MMG graduates as she was the only OCM-MMG graduate this term. We were all products of the Communication and Marketing departments after all.

Kate and Ces were recipients of the Honorable Mention award, an honor which eluded at least Tantan and I. Still, they had murmurs of discontent as they got bronze medals and a cheap organizer as a token of recognition, while I had a mug and a bronze-and-green medal as Loyalty awardee (DLS-System’s way of saying “thank you for 18 years of making us richer”). Yeah, something was definitely off in that picture.

Of the batchmates I know personally, Veron Bacani got cum laude, while Mica and my old friend Martin Bañez will graduate magna cum laude. Congratulations to all of you guys!
===

The graduation rehearsal was a paragon of forward planning and good event management, to be honest. It’s as if the Office of the University Registrar and the Office of Career Services got together seamlessly to not only make sure the graduation proceedings go well, but also that we fresh graduates have a crack at job-hunting literally the whole week after we graduate at the Job Expo. They gave us five free tickets to the event too.

They even made sure to include a Request for Documents form in our Graduation Package in case we wanted to obtain transcripts (as I’m sure most of us will), as well as a Graduate Information Sheet so companies can look for us on the OCS’ roster if they’re considering hiring any of us.

It’s the stuff of genius. Mr. Gutierrez, my Events Marketing prof, would have been mighty proud.
===

Ces just started work at Universal Robina Corp last Friday as a brand assistant and it seems like an interesting marketing-related job to gain experience from. While I was asleep this afternoon, she sent me a message (apparently getting my phone number from KD) about whom I should e-mail my resume to.

That was real nice of her. I think I might as well give it a chance. Thanks Ces.
===

My mom was asking me if I wanted to invite anybody to the lunch or dinner after graduation. I don’t really have any plans yet. Whom exactly should I invite anyway, apart from my family?

It would be great if the whole block could get together and have lunch as one long, happy, noisy table, but that might be asking for too much and some of us may have plans of their own.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On the cheap

My first real bit of spending for the year saw me buying a gray fine-tip enamel Gundam Marker for panel lines, a black acrylic Gundam Marker I bought by mistake, a 0.01mm black technical pen, a Creative Modem Blaster internal modem, and a pair of Bench cargo denims—on sale for only PhP400.

Now that I’ve resolved not to buy any more Gunpla for the time being, it’s pleasantly surprising to see all the stuff I can buy with my money.
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It’s not everyday one gets a couple of Benjamin Franklins in an envelope as a gift. Thanks Tita Dani and Tito Bobby.

It’s not everyday one gets an Cross ballpen engraved with your name, too. Thanks Tito Kiko.
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Damn, my body is sore from badminton. That didn’t stop me from hauling the computers around the house and cleaning out all their dust though.
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“Gulong ng Palad” claims it is a soap opera that goes back to basics.

The way I see it, “back to basics” means seeing the same old rich-boy-falls-for-poor-girl plot rehashed to kingdom come. Ewww. And you wonder why I don’t watch local TV.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The smashing choir-boy

This weekend had the Sun Valley Music Ministry practically written all over it.

Last night after mass we rehearsed a bit for the upcoming “concert,” then headed out to SM Bicutan for dinner at Tokyo Tokyo with Aileen, Mabel, Leejay, Jajah and Denz. I was practically interrogated by Jajah over dinner, and I was a bit uncomfortable with it, but I suppose she meant well. We were there long enough to see SM Bicutan close down at a disappointingly early 9 pm, at which point I had trouble looking for an open restroom.

Today I skipped the trip to Hagonoy to sing in the mass. Since no one was going to be home, I thought of tagging along with Aileen and Mabel to SM Bicutan again for lunch and the odd bit of grocery shopping. I picked them up again with Matthew at 1:30pm for badminton at nearby Whackers World, where surprisingly there was also a television set following Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s rematch against Erik “El Terrible” Morales. After badminton and watching Aileen and her son Miggy train, we headed back to Mini Stop for an afternoon snack before going home.

Until I met these guys, I confess I wasn’t the type to hang out in places particularly close to my village. I was always at Makati or Alabang probably because of my mom’s influence, never in Bicutan—probably why I had only a few friends in the village. If anything, I’m thankful to them now that I got to appreciate the suburban charm of that little part of the world closest to home. Besides, Aileen, Mabel and Matthew are really nice to hang around with.
===

I seem to be singing a lot better now too.
===

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has stopped Erik “El Terrible” Morales in the tenth round of their rematch.

While it’s a really big—almost fanatical—deal for most Pinoys I know, I’m simply happy he won. There’s much to be said about stopping someone as durable and as long-limbed as Morales is. Minutes after watching the replay of the bout, I can say Manny absolutely owned the ring.

Looks like Manny did practice a lot more than his vocal chords after all.
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Auntie Carole just arrived this morning at 2:10am, and she was game enough to head on to Hagonoy around 9 hours later and to Baguio for 3 days at a supposed 6am ETD tomorrow morning.
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It’s nice finally being able to play badminton again. I didn’t notice how much I missed playing, smashing and sweating it out until now. I really do hope I keep playing for a good long while.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

On the soapbox today...

Like many Filipinos nowadays, I don’t like how our country is progressing and I’m tired of it.

I’m sick of all the politicking. It’s so blatantly obvious that many of our politicians are interested in advancing their own interests, not those of the electorate that put their hallowed asses up there in the first place. Pressing issues like education and reforming the electoral system are pooh-poohed in favor of foreign debt servicing (which isn’t a bad thing), looking for kickbacks and the endless bickering on political matters (which are).

Solutions are presented left and right, such as Constitutional or Charter change to allow for a parliamentary or federal system, and the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. While I’m no fan of Arroyo’s, I’m against ousting her. That said, the Charter change proposed by her and her partymates is not a solution to any of the Philippines’ political ills. I can’t believe how these politicians don’t see this. Seeing how fractured and disunited the major players of the political landscape are, having a prime minister in this country beholden to a finicky Parliament will be the day political instability rules the roost permanently. While the federal system sounds good on paper, with the volume of our national debt it’s just silly even thinking about it.

The solutions being offered by our present politicians are half-hearted at best because they stink of the political ambitions and power-grabbing we Filipinos have become so sick of. What we need to change is blatantly obvious but ignored.

We need to change our electoral system, and make sure that voting is as straightforward as it gets. There ought to be no vote-buying, vote padding and shaving (dagdag-bawas) and certainly none of the election-related violence. We had such huge chances to reform this but we failed so many times.

We need to put more money into the educational system. Our politicians should stop treating it as a haven or excuse for liquidating corruption. Just how greedy or stupid can they be to short-circuit the nation’s only real chance of improvement?

We need to change they way we do social welfare. I’m not immune to this but I’ve been responsible for my fair share of doleouts to the poor. It’s easy to do doleouts, true, but that’s a short-sighted solution at best. It’s better to teach men how to fish instead of giving them fish all the time—more than simple skill, empowerment is the name of the game. Besides, just how many of us feel empowered? Precisely. It’s this empowerment that will also address another of our long-standing social ills, abject poverty.

The last things we need are more half-hearted solutions, more politicians wasting even more of our time bickering to high heaven, and more People Power revolutions.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jaded, sober, keeling over

I might have finally become jaded with my hobby...at least by a little.

Model making is expensive, that I already know. The high expense of priming, painting, sanding and bonding all of these plastic parts is obvious; however I haven’t even painted most of the kits I have. Rather, I’m put off by the expense of the kits themselves not being commensurate to the satisfaction I’d expected.

Many of my bigger 1/100 Gunpla models are startlingly imperfect considering how much I shell out for them. For all the engineering greatness of the MG Zeta Gundam ver.2.0 kit, for instance, it hasn’t stopped me from breaking its left middle finger made of ABS plastic. The Gundam Astray Red Frame isn’t as posable as its joints and construction promise it would be. The MG Strike Rouge has disappointingly weak legs and feet, while the MG Zeta Plus A1’s crotch-leg plates have inexorably come loose.

While this probably won’t turn me off from the hobby altogether, I guess this is a welcome wake-up call from the power of Bandai’s marketing machine. Couldn’t have come at a better time, really.

Maybe I should seriously consider selling some of them off.
===

Edith told me that I was too much of a perfectionist, and indirectly I could sense she thought I was being too hard on myself.

I gave it some thought. Apparently, all my life I have had trouble grasping this concept of “being human”—people cannot be expected to totally avoid making mistakes, nor can they be expected to fulfill their roles to the letter all the time. If foul-ups happen, we should just laugh them off.

This is one of those cases where I am pretty sure my biggest enemy is myself. I don’t know what happened to my psyche growing up, but I developed the mindset that people should be at their best 100% of the time; conversely I should be too. As a result I had put tremendous pressure on myself and on others, and I didn’t even know it. I treat mistakes harshly, and if they’re mine I take them to heart; I am uncomfortable letting my bad experiences slide.

Looking at myself now, I wonder how I became such a self-loathing neurotic. I wonder how I could bring myself to be otherwise. It’s sickening how I’m this tightly coiled spring all the time, especially in times when I simply don’t need to be high-strung.

One of my favorite movies, “EDtv,” has this ending song lyric:
If you wanna be somebody else, change your mind.

It’s a lot easier said than done. Knowing what my problem is is only half the battle.
===

One of those things that keeps me high-strung: clocks and watches.

Growing up as a kid I couldn’t imagine life without wearing a watch. To be honest, though, I feel nowadays they’re nothing more but invisible fetters. And the stupid thing is, I can’t help but look at them. I can’t break myself out of the shackles of time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

burn in hell, bitch!

Thanks to one of Bianca’s friends, I was able to watch the first season of “Project Runway” on DVD. From the title, you can tell this reality show is focused around fashion. Twelve fashion designers take on challenges, which revolve around designing, creating and modeling an outfit based on the theme for each episode. It’s a lot like “Iron Chef America,” only here both the designer and their selected model are up for elimination with the judges’ decision. Three finalists from the original twelve get to create their own fall-season collection for the Olympus Fashion Week, where one will ultimately be judged the winner.

Okay, fashion to me is normally the kind of high-budget nonsensical folly I merely tolerate but never really try to understand. However I found this show rather interesting—enough to sustain my interest in it to stay up until 5am watching the episodes in a marathon. In those hours I spent in front of the TV, I gained at least a little understanding of what designers and the fashion world look for. Yes, they do look for wearable and flattering outfits, not simply nonsensical avant-garde clothing mishmash that looks good on the runway but is pretty ridiculous everywhere else.

“Project Runway” also highlighted the lengths some people would go to just to win, and the pressure can get so elevated it’s no longer entertaining. This was personified in Wendy Pepper, the “longshot” of the final three designers—she was the most unlikely to succeed, as she was a 40-year-old mother with inconsistent results, coming close to elimination so many times.

What she obviously lacked in talent, she made up for with sheer tenacity.

A slowly but surely warping Wendy literally fought off every one of her rivals, backstabbing them, humiliating them and throwing her weight into the judging to make sure she wouldn’t be eliminated. The woman obviously has no taste—or one that is incompatible with what the show was looking for. So many of her competitors had a lot more talent than her, but got eliminated. Age isn’t a factor either: heavy favorite Kara Soun was just three years her junior but had overwhelming amounts of creativity and fashion sense. It’s horrible watching Wendy survive all that way and in my opinion it is just correct that she should not win “Project Runway.”

I am so glad one of my favorite contestants won, a real character whom I didn’t expect win at first but bowled me over with his lovable personality and unique fashion sense. Jay McCarroll absolutely deserved it.
===

Ten things I currently hate

1. Wendy Pepper of “Project Runway.”

2. Infocom Warpspeed and its eternally busy dialup number. And I thought PLDT owned this?!

3. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and its misguided “urban renewal projects.”

4. The sickening traffic along Aurora Boulevard.

5. My monitor, which shows me everything in a twitchy blue tinge.

6. My 56K modem, which works no faster than 19.8K.

7. Peter Chung’s 1995 MTV animated series “Aeon Flux.” What was the point of it all?!

8. Unemployment. Rather obvious, this.

9. The overeager ants in my house.

10. My noisy next-door neighbors. Turn your goddamn stereo down!
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Ten things I currently like

1. The Sun Valley Music Ministry.

2. PLDT Vibe post-paid. Expensive and slow, but a good stopgap when in between prepaid Internet cards.

3. Sleep. Believe it or not, I actually like sleeping more now.

4. Driving...now that I don’t get to do enough of it.

5. A good Dance Maniax workout with no one to make fun of me. Five games or longer.

6. Austin Scarlett, Kara Soun and Jay McCarroll of “Project Runway.” Likable, they seem. Talented, they are.

7. Ely Buendia’s jingle “Watcha Lukin 4?” for Aileen’s pet project, the Mobile Yellow Pages.

8. Junk food. Yes, yes, I should be eating healthier, I know.

9. Talking to my Leyteña “fwend” Cher again over YM after so long.

10. SM Megamall and its cheap Initial D ver.3 machines. Play more.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"Nazakenaii...!"

For all the experience, talent and skill I have, I found out that I can still lose my self-confidence with disturbing ease. That sliver of self-loathing and doubt lurks at the back of my head, always ready to strike, debilitating me, reducing me to the sniveling 12-year-old with low self-esteem I was.

Only this time, I am stuck in a twentysomething’s body and the world will accordingly be less accommodating. The world will not show compassion for my self-pity, nor wait for me to regain my self-confidence.

Yes, I am afraid, nervous and unsure.
===

Am I such a droolin' fool
That all I ever think of is you?
And am I such a ludicrous girl
To make you the center of my world?

Springtime has come and gone again
When my phone rings, I'm hoping it's you
Although I shouldn't want it to

Because you, you are my greatest flaw
And I'm so ashamed to say
I'll do it again everyday
You, you are my greatest flaw
I know that I am smart;
Can somebody tell my heart?

I want to see you, then I don't
I'll drag you to the feelings, I won't
And when I do you're wasting my time
Trashing what is left of my spine

Summer is playing its greatest hit
Every Friday I hope that we meet
Although I shouldn't wish for it

Because you, you are my greatest flaw
And I'm so ashamed to say
I'll do it again everyday
You, you are my greatest flaw
I know that I am smart;
Will somebody tell my heart?

Didn't I tell you so?
Didn't you even know?
Didn't I tell you so?
Yes I know, know, know,
You're my greatest flaw because you...

And I know that I am smart;
Will somebody tell my, somebody tell my heart?
You, you are my greatest flaw;
I'm so ashamed to say
I'll do it again everyday
You, you are my greatest flaw
I know that I am smart;
Will somebody tell my heart?
Somebody tell my heart...

—D’Sound, “My Greatest Flaw”

Saturday, January 14, 2006

You Are 20 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Yawn

It is with slight disappointment that I learn our block trip to Zambales is postponed indefinitely. Apparently not enough of us are free tomorrow, or on any other weekend within the month. Sigh.

This means I rot at home again...doubtless to the glee of my mother.

I am bored, very bored.
===

Within the sickening morass of call center and sales positions I see in my Jobstreet e-mails and classified ads, I’m surprised there are actually people out there who are looking for writers and graphic artists—precisely the kind of work I wouldn’t mind taking up. It was all a matter of knowing where to look, and PinoyExchange was pretty helpful.

Still, I was foolish enough to consider scheduling an interview with some customer service or technical support company—precisely the kind of work I want to avoid. Oh well. I might as well go to the interview and just see how I do.
===

I wonder how true it is that I will get mail and called for job offers immediately after my graduation? It’s just two weeks away.
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In the sea of useless tests out there, this one is worth taking. I got this from Dana.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"No Ordinary Morning"

If there was nothing that I could say
Turned your back and you just walked away
Leaves me numb inside I think of you
Together is all I knew

We moved too fast but I had no signs
I would try to turn the hands of time
I look to you for the reason why
The love we had passed me by

And as the sun would set you would rise
Fall from the sky into paradise
Is there no light in your heart for me
You've closed your eyes you don't longer see

There were no lies between me and you
You said nothing of what you knew
But there was still something in your eyes
Left me helpless and paralysed

You could give a million reasons change the world and change the time
Could not give me the secrets of your heart and of your mind
In the darkness that surrounds me now there is no piece of mind
Your careless words undo me, leave the thought of us behind
You could give a million reasons change the world and change the time
Could not give me the secrets of your heart and of your mind
In the darkness that surrounds you now there is no piece of mind
Your careless words undo me, leave the thought of us behind

If there was nothing that I could say
Turned your back and you just walked away
Leaves me numb inside I think of you
Together is all I knew

We moved too fast but I had no signs
I would try to turn the hands of time
I look to you for the reason why
The love we had passed me by

And as the sun would set you would rise
Fall from the sky into paradise
Is there no light in your heart for me
You've closed your eyes you don't longer see

There were no lies between me and you
You said nothing of what you knew
But there was still something in your eyes
Left me helpless and paralysed

— Chicane and Maire Brennan, “No Ordinary Morning”

Monday, January 09, 2006

Trust...or the lack of it.

This is nuts.

Just because she’s not comfortable with my driving, my mom has no trust in me doing so from here to Zambales and back.

Bullshit. I know my limits. I know when I should be full-throttle and when I should feather it. But the way she talks to me is insulting. I feel like a kid! It’s as if I’d never driven to Tagaytay for Beia’s wedding two years ago.

Trust will never develop until you give it a chance to grow.

Belly blues

All this partying and excess has taken a toll on my body and it’s not funny. My belly’s grown and I’m having difficulty wearing my pants. It’s about time I worked this off.

After a couple weeks away from the machine, I plan on returning to my regular exercise habit of Dance Maniax at SM Bicutan. Nothing fancy, just four or five games in succession at Wild difficulty and 1.5x speed, just the way I usually do it. Of course, “fancy” is a relative term, and my playing style might be fancier than most, as I use my whole body to play Dance Maniax where others use purely their arms, their legs coming into play just as a third limb on a few songs.

I’m not impressed by people who play the familiar songs at 2.0x, 2.5x or even 3x speed, but use only their hands. What I’m after is the total body workout, not to show off the difficulty of keeping up.

It felt good getting back on the machine this afternoon. Unlike lifting weights, which I don’t really enjoy, I can see myself playing Dance Maniax over and over, kicking, punching, jumping, shaking my hips and waving my arms to the beat. I could say the same for badminton, but the trouble with that game is you need four to play a doubles match (and I suck at singles). Then again, Aileen did try to invite me to play with them at nearby Whackers World yesterday. Given how bored I was with the house party, I should have gone with her, at least to shake off the rust from my legs.
===

After the five-game workout, I dried off, changed shirts and spent my last PhP500 SM gift check. Nothing big: just a pair of relatively cheap Panasonic headphones and a 48-CD wallet, which I direly needed to rid my room of some clutter. From the looks of things, I’ll be needing another one of those.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

House parties

The Sun Valley Music Ministry had its post-Christmas party last night at Jaja’s place—the first occasion I would be seeing these guys outside of church. They were a relaxed bunch of noisy and happy people, and they weren’t as square as I thought, which helped me get comfortable with them. If anything I was the quietest of the group by a long shot.

I got to talk with Aileen and she told me about her career and a potential opening at her present company. It seemed like an interesting job given what I had going for me, and I told her I would be interested. I echoed her sentiments about sales jobs: I’d rather not be there.

Received a couple free pieces of pottery from Monser’s business; the striped blue mug was nice. I had a bit too much alcohol—given my weak resistance to it, I was tipsy until the time I got home and slept. It’s surprising how dry and alcoholic Philippine mango wine is.

Overall it was really enjoyable. I’d love to hang out with these people more often. Which reminds me, I have to sing with them again a little later.
===

A little later than that, we’ll be having the Geronimo clan over at our house instead of at Caloocan. Yeesh. It’ll be pandemonium here I guess.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Success: to labor or not to labor?

Fourteen hours of manual labor, cutting, sanding and snap-fitting almost 400 parts, was what it took to build my MG Zeta Gundam ver.2.0.

Yes, it was my most expensive kit ever. Yes, it hurt my fingers fiddling with tough ABS plastic parts. And yes, I lost sleep on the damn thing, working from 1 pm to 4 am, stopping only for dinner and progress photos—and I worked two more hours on the weapons when I woke up.

It was all worth it.

Why, I even beat Dalong.net to the punch, typing up a review of this kit literally the day I finished building it and posting it on MechaPinoy.net. I gave it 97 points; it deserves it as the best, most stable Zeta Gundam model kit ever at this price point. To beat it, you’d have to spend a lot more money on a Perfect Grade kit—enough to buy four of these new MGs.

You can tell I’m very enthusiastic about my hobby. Sigh. Like Shiro said, if only we could do Gunpla as work...
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Last night Rachel invited me to attend this business opportunity overview thing at the Asian Institute of Management conference center. Along came Mao and Rachel’s parents.

I won’t say much, I will say that it’ll be better if people went to the orientation themselves and decided accordingly. Right now I’m unemployed, and I haven’t even had a job yet, so I don’t know how hard it is to earn my own money. This business opportunity promised a “pipeline” of wealth and success, and all I had to do was build mine.

I left the venue a bit apprehensive. This was something my parents didn’t approve of; they told me I had better things to do with my time. Frankly, it sounded too good to be true anyway—and these sorts of things usually are. Maybe I should experience bringing buckets for now.

Perhaps some other time, then.
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It was nice seeing you again. It was just my good luck working when we crossed paths again, I guess.

Maybe it’s about time I decided that I should take the credit of seeing you again and not leave it up to Lady Luck.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Reading.

Most of the reading I do is centered on my magazine collection—old issues of Autocar and Top Gear Philippines. Autocar I am particularly taken to reading because the ASEAN version which used to be sold here has all but gone from the newsstands, although I frequent their UK website. I guess you can say that re-reading has become a pastime for me.

I’m not in the habit of reading the newspapers because frankly much of what’s written there just goes over my head. My dad had other plans though.

Now that I had more free time, he said over dinner, I should read the business news. I should be listening to what the two dailies we subscribe to say about why the stock market and the peso exchange rate acted in a certain way. BusinessWorld and the Philippine STAR would have slightly different opinions, and over time I should observe which one was right. After a while of following the news, I should be able to make my own opinions. I suppose it’ll come in handy later on, when I have enough money to gamble on the stock market.

It’s just as well, I guess. Blokes like me who don’t have money ought to learn from those to make and handle gigantic wads of cash, the likes of which I can only imagine. Times like these, I think I should be brushing up on my old FINAMA1 and FINAMA2 lessons.
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Some proof I’ve been reading: The Philippine peso is touted as the best-performing currency in Asia and the fifth best-performing in the world in 2005, according to BusinessWorld.

The STAR meanwhile reported that our humble peso now trades at 52.80 to a US dollar.
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I am glad I have friends who truly do read my blog and appreciate what they read on it. Although they don’t make their presence felt via comments (which I’d welcome), they’re there.

Speaking of blogs...I’m not much of a bloghopper myself. Judging from the blogs I’ve linked to, however, I should really be spending more time reading them. A lot of my friends have good, insightful musings that are worth reading.
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Despite my unbelief in the usual annual craziness the fortune-tellers and feng shui “experts” spout every New Year, there was one of them who had timely advice: clean out your rooms.

This was supposedly to improve the flow of chi in the house. Whatever, man.

In the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, I set about cleaning my room anyway. I knew for a fact that I had so many shirts I no longer wore, and pants that I had long since outgrown. I guess I kept them in the vain hope that I would fit in them again someday. Well, it’s about time I accepted reality and gave them out to people who would put them to better use than I.

In the perpetual fire hazard that is my bookshelf, I cleared out the little scraps of paper that had become inconsequential to me as they were part of the more mundane elements of school life. My pink plush microfiber towel was put to good use cleaning up the dirt and dust that had built up in my room. With the volume of dust in there, it’s surprising I’ve never had an asthma attack.

It felt good afterwards. Now all I need are CD organizers and probably a glass display shelf for my models (so they keep from attracting dust mite shit). I’ll probably have to toss some old magazines out, but they can wait.
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Man. It’s not even my birthday yet but I’m so damn excited about finally bringing that MG Zeta Gundam ver.2.0 kit home. C’mon, Santa, I’ve been a good boy.

Dalong.net had just posted 150dpi scans of the assembly manual (well, this is a first), and while they took considerably more time to download, they were greatly detailed at high zoom levels. Shame they didn’t have finished photos and a final review/rating for the kit, though.

At the rate they’re going, I just might finish the build, write and publish my own review first.

Monday, January 02, 2006

the Moonville gang

9:30 am. Half an hour awake and I get a message on my phone.

Paolo was telling me he and Bong were going to school. I could come along and we could go somewhere afterwards. Cool, I said. What time do we leave?

Just like that, we were in my car puttering our way to school for their enrollment and adjustment. It had been a good while since we hung out with each other, and I was sick of rotting away at home.

It didn’t take long to get the school business done, although the school server had a tantrum and that meant we had to wait almost an hour before Paolo could get his receipt. We went to Glorietta without Bong, and by some stroke of luck Jared chanced upon us while we were eating lunch. And so, we headed on to Timezone and threw money away on the games.

We looked around, making side remarks on how ridiculously overpriced Nike is, being brushed off by sellers of expensive watches, looking for alternatives. Then we went to Goldcrest, and there waited the last MG Zeta Gundam ver.2.0 kit, selling for PhP3150. I couldn’t believe my luck; I had to reserve it now. Off I sprinted to the ATM, withdrawing the reservation amount and running back to reserve it for a month. Yay. This will be almost perfect timing as a birthday gift to myself.

We walked around and checked out musical equipment before heading home. At Paolo’s place we were all surprised to see his cousin Tad. It was a small reunion, really.

It’s been a long time since we’ve been friends, Paolo and I, and it all started with my sketches and his PlayStation. Although we don’t hang out as often as we would like, what time we do have together is quality time.

This was a great day, mainly because they were there with me.

Spoken while trying to keep out of a trance

Now that the holidays have ended, I feel the pressure building on me to make something of myself. I am unemployed, after all. Unless I do something I remain a bottomless well of expenses.

Soon it will be time for me to decide for myself if I want to be productive and proactive, or bored, stagnating and on permanent summer vacation. That’s not even a real choice. Still, I am mulling over my chances of getting employed. I dread the chances of landing in a job I do not enjoy.

Until then, I should be like my friend Julie from PETA, always on the lookout for new part-time gigs.
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It’s 2 am in the morning and I want to sing my heart out. I can’t help it. I want to develop myself, to be as good as the singers of Hangad. Unfortunately my choir friends surely must be asleep.

The kudos has heaped on me. They were telling me how amazing it was that I was a fast learner, that I picked up notes quickly, that I had a good voice with volume, that with a little work I could be soloist in a few months.

While I appreciate and am thankful of all the comments, frankly I’d rather not hear them right now. I am new, I am untested, I have little of the confidence of the others (especially the sopranos). There is still so much I need to learn. Edith said I needed to develop vibrato or tremolo, and hoped that I could stay on for a long time—“we really need boys.”

The only thing I don’t like about this so far is that some “active” individuals in my parish whom I detest may think I joined in the choir because of their suggestion so many years ago. I have no love lost for them, and I joined this time simply because this time I truly wanted to. Forcing me into things will usually not work.
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A happy happy birthday to my dear sister, Bianca.
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I feel hollow. Hungry, even. I do not understand. I am yearning for something I cannot identify. The only thing I know for sure is the more I yearn for it, the more it is impinged into my psyche that I can never truly have it.

What is ‘it’ then?

I am sick of nights of half-baked sleep. Now as I type this post, staring into a malfunctioning monitor, I wonder how nice (and how wasteful) it would be to fall into a relaxing trance...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's morn

Everyone is asleep. The smoke and stench of gunpowder has not fully left, although there is less of it now than there was last year. ‘Tis a quiet morning, and I am awake, playing and singing to liturgical music.

I have woken up two hours too early. I will probably take a nap later. I am thinking of how the holidays have wrought their damage to my body. Yet more New Year’s resolutions to lose weight pop into mind—ones that most likely will not follow through. They will not do so precisely because they are New Year’s resolutions. Hahahaha.

For all the food and drink I have consumed just hours earlier, I am appalled that none of it was filling. I had eaten empty calories? Then again, perhaps alcohol had something to do with it. This was the closest I have ever been to getting drunk. Amazing it is how quickly I could consume red wine.

On the drive home at 2:30 am I heard my father singing along—for the first time in my memory. He was singing along to the Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night. It was disjointed, but unmistakable. Was this evidence of some alcohol left in his system?

In two hours’ time I will also be singing, back in the church where I had first sung as a tenor the night before.

Ba-dah, ba da...ba-dah, ba da...badadah ba da...