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.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Consumed, prohibited, celebrated

As much as I love spirited driving, the bitter reality of high fuel cost is undeniable. It’s especially clear now that I’m paying for my own gasoline.

I’ve started tracking my gasoline consumption three full tanks ago. Now that’s not a very good indicator of when I started, but it’s a good way to drive my point home. As always, I used regular 93-octane fuel and topped off the tank just up to the point where the pump automatically quits. I always made it a point to gas up at night.

Our old standing goal was to make a full tank last two weeks. In my college days that was just about as frugal as I could get, and I rarely ever nudged past 9.5 km/L. Ever since I started working though, I’m getting it up to levels I never dreamed of achieving. It started at 10.5 km/L, which is pretty good, but obtainable on good days. The next tank extended the range to 10.83 km/L and that was a pretty pleasant surprise.

Now imagine my mild delight when I computed my fuel economy after tonight’s fillup. I had managed an astonishing 11.24 km/L! In all my years of driving my Honda, I’d reached that figure just once. I still manage a few trips to the redline to get my oil pump working, and I don’t shirk from some engine braking to help slow down my car, but now I realize I’ve become a far smoother driver than I had ever been. I’m less severe on the brakes and I’m more conscious of taking easy overtaking opportunities.

Let’s put all the fuel economy figures as fuel consumption figures, like the Europeans do:
9.5 km/L = 10.52 L/100 km
10.5 km/L = 9.52 L/100 km
10.83 km/L = 9.23 L/100 km
11.24 km/L = 8.90 L/100 km

What this basically means is over the past six or so weeks, I’m clearly using up less fuel to go a fixed distance. At least I’m doing something right.

I bought my issue of Top Gear Philippines rather late this month. I was surprised to see my name in the Letters section, stating that I had aced their May automotive quiz along with four others.


Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything.

Oh well.

The first thing I did when I got to the office yesterday was head back downstairs to buy a few things from the grocery. Over the past three days I’ve had a bum gut which I suspect was from the drinking water at the office.

By coincidence Carla was on her way there too.

Three weeks ago I would have said hi and made small talk. But the thing is, I didn’t think there was any point in making myself known to her any more.

It’s true, I have a pretty lousy sex life. I don’t even have any recent practice with relationships. But even I know when I should stop trying. Women in present commitments are off-limits.

A pleasant surprise came my way when I received a text message from Leia.

Apparently our marketing thesis on theater had been given a special commendation award from DLSU’s Cultural Arts Office. A recognition ceremony is scheduled on August 11 at 6:30pm.

Unfortunately I’m usually not off work until 7. I’d love to go, though. Maybe I can ask Jenny for some time off?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Crikey, it's fetal attraction...

What is it with me always falling for women that are taken?

The worst example yet came at work. I should have seen all the warning signs: the baby photos, the obvious age difference, the apathy toward me. Still, my wandering eyes kept trying to look for her, all the while putting up a stoic act to hide my attraction.

For crying out loud, it took a good long close-up glance at the previously innocuous bulge on her torso to realize she is most definitely taken and way out of my league.

I scare myself. Am I that desperate?

I so badly want to sing with a band and rock my heart, lungs and soul out in front of an appreciative crowd. I am just so, so jealous of my officemates who are able to do just that and get the approval of everyone else.

Unfortunately the last time I tried doing that in Batangas, most people just thought I had too much to drink. I now wonder if I had entertained the crowd at all, or if I had entertained them in all the wrong ways.

My guile and passion in doing the things I love is undeniable. It’s the public acceptance of that passion that needs work.

The first flush of youth was upon you when our eyes first met
And I knew that to you and into your life I had to get
I felt light-headed at the touch of this stranger's hand
An assault my defenses systematically failed to withstand

'Cos you came at a time
When the pursuit of one true love in which to fall
Was the be-all and end-all

Love is only a feeling (drifting away)
When I'm in your arms I start believing (it's here to stay)
But love is only a feeling

The state of elation that this unison of hearts achieved
I had seen, I had touched, I had tasted and I truly believed

That the light of my life
Would tear a hole right through each cloud that scudded by
Just to beam on you and I

Love is only a feeling (drifting away)
When I'm in your arms I start believing (it's here to stay)
But love is only a feeling
Anyway, anyway...

Love is only a feeling (drifting away)
And we've got to stop ourselves believing (it's here to stay)
'Cos love is only a feeling

— The Darkness, “Love is Only a Feeling”

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Two weeks of disappointment

As it turns out, Carla already has a boyfriend.

The MG God Gundam I ordered didn’t arrive...an MG Shining Gundam (the God Gundam’s immediate predecessor) arrived in its stead.

I came in for weekend work, only to find that for 3 of the 4 hours I was there, we all couldn’t do anything due to technical problems.

The cooking class I enrolled in turned out to be mostly a waste of time; I should have stayed longer in the office.

My badminton game is poorer than ever.

My car has developed barely audible but irritating high-pitched squeaks under acceleration, which I suspect has something to do with the suspension or wheel bearings.


I guess it was a good thing, my not pursuing Carla any further. I’m really not ready for a relationship—but then again, who can honestly answer that they are? We wouldn’t have been a good fit, judging from the email we’ve sent each other. Oh well.

I’m not claiming the MG Shining Gundam either. First of all, it’s not what I ordered, so I have every right not to accept it. Second, I know this is an expensive hobby (even though the God and Shining are some of the cheapest MG kits around).

And third...it’s a bit of a price increase over the MG God, but maybe I should be looking at getting an MG Rick Dias instead. I already have the smaller, simpler HGUC version, but the MG is simply amazing.

On the brighter side of things, I’ve coaxed 10.82 km/L on my last tankful of gas, even with a few trips to the redline to get my engine’s oil pumps running and cleaning up gunk.

Now if only I could be as happy with the Honda’s suspension. After years of neglect, I’m planning to finally have it checked and repaired next month, and I know it won’t be cheap.

In the absence of new Gunpla, one thing has kept me sane. It’s the love of music and singing that my officemates, choirmates and I share. I’ve become mister tambourine man at the choir, due to Ate Edith’s recent birth to her fifth son. All those hours we couldn’t do anything productive at the office this morning due to no fault of ours, Paolo Cruz grabbed Mark’s guitar from his desk and looked for chords to play for us to sing along to.

This was one of those songs. It’s really quite a beautiful one, and I understand why Mylou likes it so bad.

Shadows grow so long before my eyes
And they’re moving across the page
Suddenly the day turns into night
Far away from the city
Well, don’t hesitate, ’cause your love won’t wait...

Ooo, baby, I love your way, everyday
Gonna tell you I love your way, everyday
Wanna be with you night and day

Moon appears to shine and light the skies
With the help of some firefly
Wonder how they have the power to shine
I can see them under the pine
But don’t hesitate, ’cause your love won’t wait...

Ooo, baby, I love your way, everyday
Gonna tell you I love your way, everyday
Wanna be with you night and day

But don’t hesitate, ’cause your love won’t wait...

I can see the sunset in your eyes
Brown and grey, and blue besides
Clouds are stalking islands in the sun
Wish I could buy one out of season
But don’t hesitate, ’cause your love won’t wait...

Ooo, baby, I love your way, everyday
Gonna tell you I love your way, everyday
Wanna be with you night and day

— UB40, “Baby I Love Your Way”

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Still frustratingly empty

Perhaps now I can confirm that it’s not the people I’m with who are at fault. My problem has always been myself.

I always thought the next newest set of people I mingled with on a daily basis would provide me with the belonging I so craved. Well, to a certain extent that was true. However it doesn’t mean that they could provide answers to the deeper questions and demons inside me, and after the initial euphoria, the same unquelled addiction for belonging rears its ugly head and leaves me melancholy yet again.

No matter where I go and who I meet, I have always had the same hang-ups. That’s an undisputed fact now.

This song is courtesy of the winners of the BDCN Global Vision song contest in Manila, the Combo-Rats.

I got my first real six-string
Bought it at the five-and-dime
Played it till my fingers bled
It was the summer of ‘69

Me and some guys from school
Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit and Jody got married
I shoulda known we’d never get far
Oh when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Ya – I’d always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life

Ain’t no use in complainin’
When you got a job to do
Spent my evenings down at the drive-in
And that's when I met you

Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me that you’d wait forever
Oh and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

Back in the summer of ‘69

Man we were killin’ time
We were young and restless
We needed to unwind
I guess nothin’ can last forever - forever, no

And now the times are changin’
Look at everything that’s come and gone
Sometimes when I play that old six-string
I think about ya, wonder what went wrong

Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me it would last forever
Oh the way you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

Back in the summer of ‘69

— Bryan Adams, “Summer of ‘69”