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.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mumblings on a heavy Friday

All week long I’ve been ridiculously happy.

It was Celine’s birthday the other day. Birthdays being the joyous occasions they are, they’re a pretty good excuse for the normally boisterous Virtual Channels team to be even louder than usual. This day was something special, though. Out came the birthday cake, the bouquet of flowers, the guitar and the singers for our dearest “Prime Minister.”

It wasn’t until nightfall that the celebration really went under way, though. Cel had invited us all to a birthday party—at McDonald’s. A children’s party at that, complete with the Grimace mascot doing his thing. Not that it really made much of a difference: we were all game enough to join in the games, dance like lunatics when ordered and laugh our asses off. It’s funny, actually, how I used to dread the thought of going to children’s parties when I was three years shy of entering my teens. Now, I didn’t care, and neither did my co-workers.

I’ll post pictures soon enough; when my home connection isn’t so temperamental, I hope.

Thursdays are normally my low point of the week. I wake up at 6 am with not enough shut-eye, take a cold shower, skip breakfast and drive to my office before 7 so I can hit the gym for my 90-minute workout. You can imagine how pooped I become even before I start work at 9 every Thursday.

Somehow this Thursday was a lot more invigorating, though. Breakfast was a hearty bowl of congee, served hot with jokes and laughter from my teammates. Work didn’t seem as tedious as in other days (such as today). I had even put in a little more work with my weights. There was this inexplicable feeling of rightness about this Thursday, even though at best it’s like a weekend-long party: it’s major fun when you’re in it but also a bit of a relief when over.

I’d hit a low point today though. My body’s basically tired, feeling the burn from the added exercise I’d put in. My eyes are tired and droopy from the unsatisfied hunger for sleep. It’s still happy days, though.

Taking advantage of the long weekend, Cel, Mylou, Mao R., Anton and some others planned on going to Baguio for a vacation. Personally I’m rather sick of the place, but with them in tow I know it’s going to be fun for sure. They’re probably on their way there now. Unfortunately I opted out, figuring this would be a good opportunity to have a mechanic look at my car’s suspension.

To my chagrin, the shop in Cubao I’d heard much good news about was going to be closed on holiday Monday, so I’m going there tomorrow morning for an estimate.

Now the car is still technically my mom’s, but since I’m the one driving it and paying for its fuel, I might as well call it my own in terms of maintenance and repair—including the decisions for such. My mother doesn’t seem to understand this though.

I’ve already saved up for the potential expense as I was expecting the money to come out of my pocket, and I already had a couple places in mind for the repairs. But here she was, almost insisting that I bring it to the Honda dealership—which is really quite the foolish option. From my erstwhile participation in HCP, Honda charges a ridiculous fee for mostly substandard work. I love their cars, but it’s the servicing I’m still highly skeptical about.

She also pooh-poohed the pictures and videos I took of Cel’s party. There I was, proud to show off my friends having fun, but she gave a hiss and skulked away. Goodness. Now she wonders why I don’t make her a bigger part of my life.

Sigh. I have one simple request: some trust and respect from my mom.

Some much-deserved leeway to do the things I deem important would be right up my alley too. I can’t even move an inch without parental approval—and I’m 23 years old already.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

LC24 in da (Three)house!

LC24 in da (Three)house
Originally uploaded by bluepiranha.
...And so this is what happened after we left from DLSU last night.

Rachel and Leia frequently made mention of a "Threehouse" since last year, but Tantan and I never knew what it was, exactly. As it turns out, Threehouse is a beerhouse and grillery, with no air-conditioning but pretty damn good food, and it had been under my nose all along. It's in Dian St. in Makati, midway between Zobel Roxas St. and Gil Puyat Ave.

To add to the bewilderment, Threehouse has an actual tree inside it. Apparently this is where our Marketing professors hung out every Thursday night, and last night it was all ours.

It was really nice seeing everyone again, although not enough of us were in attendance. Everyone seems to be doing just fine. We were having a blast talking, eating and drinking (no beer for me though, I had to fetch my sister later that night) and basically reminiscing about the good old days.

Personally I think I left too early. I wanted to spend more time with these guys. Oh well, there'll be other days.

Cheers guys!

The Impressives meet again!

The Impressives, impressed
Originally uploaded by bluepiranha.
I left work two hours early to go back to DLSU after six months or so. Leia, now working for the school, had invited us for the annual Cultural Arts Office (CAO) Awards, where we were going to be honored with a special commendation for our thesis, a study on the perception of college students on Philippine theater.

Well, basically it was an excuse for all of us to have a long-overdue get-together. Leia hugged me when we met up at the William Shaw Little Theater, while Rachel and Tantan arrived just in time to pick up our commendation plaque and CAO Graduate certificates.

That's a picture of us on the stage.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The best place to break a duck is in Hungary

For the uninitiated, the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix held every August at the Hungaroring is notorious for being a dead boring race to watch.

The Hungaroring’s twisty, highly technical nature means it’s a good driver’s circuit, but more often it makes for a processional race with the sole overtaking opportunity provided by the pit stops. It’s just too damn hard to overtake, and wheel-to-wheel racing is what Formula 1 should be about.

So imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV last Sunday and found that it was raining buckets in Hungary. I don’t remember having any rain in this race in the eight years I’ve been watching this sport...

What was normally a dull train of cars had turned into the biggest racing spectacle this season. The rain made the race so difficult to call, and certainly separated the boys from the men. Wet races reward smooth driving and mechanical sympathy.

The corners that were usually overtaking opportunities for the foolhardy became fruitful ones as Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button carved their way through slower drivers. Passing maneuvers went inside and outside, and the cars pulled each other like magnets—a definite rarity in this F1 age where “bad air” from the car in front can cause your own aerodynamics to malfunction.

One by one, though, the names you’d expect to win the race dropped out of contention like flies. Kimi Raikkonen drove unsighted into Vitantonio Liuzzi, destroying his own McLaren. Championship leader Fernando Alonso had a driveshaft failure and a wheel nut thrown off his rear tire. Even Michael Schumacher, noted for being a “rain master,” misread the drying conditions at the end of the race and soldiered on with overheating intermediate tires. His dogged stubbornness to defend his position eventually cost him a broken steering arm after Pedro dela Rosa and Nick Heidfeld overtook him under braking.

However, the day belonged to Jenson Button and the Honda Racing team. Alonso and Schumacher simply took too many risks. Button remained cool and smooth, his car finally cooperating with him despite a blown engine that got him demoted from 4th to 14th at the start. Before Alonso’s disaster, he was within sniffing distance of the Spaniard’s rear wing as he stopped for fuel and dry “slick” tires at just the right moment. All the while, he led Schumacher and Raikkonen, too.

The race stretched to within 6 minutes of the 2-hour F1 race limit due to the slower pace at the start of the wet race. It was simply too good to pass up for anything, even the Sunday night broadcast of “Top Gear.” For the final ten laps, my heart was jumping in my chest. Alonso was out. Schumacher finally got what he deserved for dirty tactics. All that time, Button was alone in the well-fought lead with 30 seconds to Schumacher’s Ferrari rapidly traveling backward.

After 113 race starts, Jenson Button finally won his very first F1 Grand Prix. Honda Racing’s 2006 season has been majorly disappointing after stupendous form in 2005, but this win proves they have it in them to keep fighting at the top echelon of F1.

I never doubted Jenson’s ability. All that pressure for a maiden Formula 1 win must have been hell, but he delivered where and when it counted. It is only fitting he broke his duck in this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix—a marvelous race to watch and will definitely not be forgotten.

“To finish first, you must first finish.”
—Rick Mears, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner


Cel, Jen, Chielou and I were at it again tonight, punching and kicking to the thumping music and following the bark of Sir Edmond’s orders.

I could follow the routine better now, and I lasted a little longer before the familiar stitch of exhaustion ferreted into my gut. I guess it’s down to equal parts rationing of energy and better stamina. When I did peter out, I kept marching in place for 20 seconds, then got back to the routine—that helped a lot in preventing even more exhaustion. Jen thought the “100 side kicks” bit was rather ridiculous though. Chielou and I agreed the jumps at the end aggravated the tiredness.

We felt our sides burning from the aerobic workout, but completing the ab routine was actually achievable, albeit with a few breaks.

The stretching that came afterward felt so good. Suddenly all the aching, burning and stitching went away by the time we congratulating ourselves for “surviving” the hour-long routine.

I haven’t been playing badminton with Gracey and Paolo for 3 weeks now. I should be missing it, I guess, but the Tuesday tae-bo habit feels so much better in terms of workout duration. It’s just too hard to break.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Our new weekly regular habit: punching and kicking

After a five-month drought of kits, I finally got myself the Master Grade model kit of the AEUG's grunt mobile suit, the RMS-099 Rick Dias of "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam." The build process took me about 9 hours—I’m not totally sure, I wasn’t that keen on counting the hours. The big fellow’s dinky proportions, rock-solid stability and awesome posability make for a lot of comedic potential. Consider me a very satisfied customer.

lower leg internal
torso/head internal
Rick Dias saber1
Rick Dias bazooka2
Rick Dias bazooka1
slow crapping
Rick Dias bkt-over

Lately I noticed that fewer and fewer people come to read this blog, and that’s just fine I guess. There’s not much I can do, given I don’t have knowledge in active HTML and have mostly text as content.

Mao R. burned me a copy of the New Radicals’ only album, "Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too." I’ve been looking for it for years and it’s no longer sold here. Gregg Alexander’s pithy lyrics and addictive music are sorely missed.

Last Tuesday, instead of lifting weights I hit the gym for the tae-bo workout instead. My team lead Celine was curious if the gym offered any tae-bo classes and I said they did, so I figured I might as well join in. It’s been years since my last tae-bo class with my mom and other villagers with John Quay as our instructor.

So come 6:30, off we went, Jenny, Celine, Chielou and I, down to the fourth floor. We were punching and kicking our guts out to the music until we couldn’t take any more, the stitches of exertion ferreting into our right sides. Unfortunately, the ab workout came next and most of us were too exhausted to continue. Luckily for me I was at least able to follow due to the ab exercises I had every time I pumped iron.

Man, was I tired; I had to skip badminton the next day due to the unfamiliar burning in my thighs and shoulders. But we all enjoyed the exercise and felt good about ourselves, despite Cel’s own confession that she hasn’t had tae-bo for a while. Right now we’re planning on making it our regular weekly habit.

So far I’ve been pretty impressed with how my efforts at the gym are paying off. I’ve managed to lose five pounds, and I don’t recall weighing anywhere below 160 lb. in the last four years. People are starting to take notice too, although they’re quick to point out I still have baby fat on my gut. Oh well.

According to my grandmother, apparently I’ve gotten a lighter complexion too. I never noticed.

I was dancing with your shadow
Slow down memory’s hall
I said, “Wait, have I been seduced and forgotten?”
You said, “Baby, haven’t we all”

Now I don’t like crying
Because it only gets me wet
But I can’t help failing
To remember to forget you
And I know it’s going to be a long time

Now I’m crying like a church on Monday
Praying for these feelings to go away
So do me a favor baby, put down your new god
And love me like Sunday again

I was hiding in your bedroom
When I saw him come inside
I can’t live in his shadow
Is that where I’m dancing until I die?

Now I don’t light candles
Because they make me see the light
That I can’t help failing
To remember to forget you
And I know it’s going to be a long time

Now I’m crying like a church on Monday
Praying for these feelings to go away
So do me a favor baby, put down your new god
And love me like Sunday again

— New Radicals, “Crying Like a Church on Monday”