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.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 in memoriam

Dear 2006,
Before I drop you into your waiting casket and ditch, let me get the bad news out of the way first: You were a horrible year for driving. I don’t remember having gotten into this many fender-benders in my six years on the road. Truly terrible.

The personalities on the Internet you sent me were none better either. 95% of them had minds closed tighter than rotten pistachioes. To add insult to injury, you even had to take away two of my friends—arguably prematurely.

Fortunately that’s all the bad news I can remember about you. You gave me a renewed interest in novels and music; doused my pointless desire for the chunks of plastic I call “model kits;” returned the best fuel economy I’ve ever had; helped me lose weight and keep fit; finally broke my frustrations as a performer; and landed me a decent job with great co-workers. I have much to thank you for.

You were a kick-ass year. Could you please tell your son 2007 I’m looking forward to a much better time with him?

Raiding Blogthings.com on a whim

DISCLAIMER: Believe the following at your own risk.

How You Life Your Life

You seem to be straight forward, but you keep a lot inside.
You're laid back and chill, but sometimes you care too much about what others think.
You prefer a variety of friends and tend to change friends quickly.
You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.

Your Birthdate: February 11

You may watch someone from afar before you finally decide to make your move.
It takes a long time for you to develop an attraction to someone.
Generally, you prefer to pick who you love. Anyone who tries to rush you is in for some heartache.

Number of True Loves You'll Have: 1

Number of Times You'll Have Your Heart Broken: 1

You are most compatible with people born on the 2nd, 11th, 20th, and 29th of the month.

You Are A Fun Friend

You're the one who keeps your group laughing
And you've always got an idea for something fun to do
The party's not complete without you
And you wouldn't miss it for the world

Your Body Image is 12% Unhealthy, 88% Healthy

You have a great body image. You know that no one looks perfect, and you're happy the way you are.
Also, you don't judge other people on their looks... and it helps them feel better about their own bodies!

You are 73% Aquarius

You Are 60% Grown Up, 40% Kid

You've grown up a good bit, but you still have a way to go before you're emotionally mature.
You have the skills to control your emotions, you just have to use them.

Your Weight is Ideal

Your BMI is 24.6 - a healthy BMI falls between 18.5 and 25

Congratulations, you are the perfect weight for your height.
Even though you may not be entirely happy with your weight, you are healthy.
So gain or lose a few pounds if you want, but don't go too crazy!

Don't agree? Blame the government standards we based this test on!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Rizal Day may have become Saddam Hussein Day...

For the benefit of the non-Filipino folks reading this blog, December 30 is a national holiday in the Philippines due to the celebration of the heroism of Dr. Jose Rizal, national hero. Rizal is a noted pacifist, opposing armed struggle against the Spaniards and exhausting all diplomatic means before conceding to radical measures. Why December 30? This was the day when he was executed by firing squad in 1896.

It is with mild irony, therefore, that a murderous dictator such as Iraq's Saddam Hussein may be given the same national holiday as Rizal's, by dint of his execution by hanging at 6:05 a.m. Baghdad time 210 years later.

I don't see it happening, as will most people, but it makes for irony all the same.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Withdrawal symptoms

2006 for me will be characterized as the year when I practically shunned participating in online forum websites. Some of them are just too slow and heavy on my humble connection to access. I quit one forum (Honda Club of the Philippines) because I felt it was the correct thing to do. Others I've pretty much outgrown, such as Otakuboard, a.k.a. Otaku Fridge. And then, there are others whose "culture" have simply become too much for me to stand.

Once upon a time I thought the Internet was a fantastic place for meeting new people. I've learned my lesson. For someone as reclusive and unsocial as I am, I would rather meet new people offline at this point in time.

And for those fora that drove me away...it's your loss, not mine. I will take my contributions with me and I expressly forbid you to re-post them.

I've been a moderator as well as a participant in fora, and from my experience there are a few lessons to be learned here, people.

  • Praise in public, discipline in private. This is the stuff of countless leadership books.
  • Never belittle your members; you never know what contribution they can give...and take away.
  • Exercise consistency in enforcing the forum rules. Admins and mods should not single out certain people repeatedly, nor should they be continual or intermittent in enforcement.
  • Study why people come into and leave from your forum.
  • RELAX. It's a place where people are supposed to meet, not where you practice how a power-tripping gestapo policeman should act.
  • Monday, December 25, 2006

    Merry Christmas, 2006

    I refuse to go into the usual meaningless babble being passed around in cards and text messages, since I believe the value of Christmas has been degraded by our greed and fixation on material things. For my Christmas message, I look to a suitable source: Bukas Palad's CD "Pasko Na!"

    Ako'y nagtataka sa Paskong kay lamig
    Doon pa nadama init ng pag-ibig
    Sa sanggol at ina puso'y huwag isara
    At sa bawat isa, puso mo'y buksan na

    Pasko na, Pasko na
    Tayo'y magkaisa
    Magsama sa saya ng sanggol at ina!

    Ako'y nagagalak sa sabsabang payak
    Doon pa nadama dangal ng Haring Anak
    Sa sanggol at ina puso'y huwag isara
    At sa bawat isa puso mo'y buksan na

    Pasko na, Pasko na
    Tayo'y magkaisa
    Magsama sa saya ng sanggol at ina!

    - Bukas Palad, "Pasko Na!" (1987/1999)

    I greet all those who read this blog a Merry Christmas.

    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    24 people I'd like to thank

  • Chris Gabriel and Eca Balagso, for teaching me the value of my life and the lives of those I consider my friends. May God rest your souls.

  • The Cybergate First Friday Mass Choir, especially to Agnes Gorrieza and Tony Derramas Jr., for providing me a constructive release when work gets to my nerves and teaching me to become a better singer.

  • The Philippine Air Force Badminton Club regulars, for keeping me engaged in my four months of bumhood.

  • Chris Guanche of MAHQ.net, for publishing my mecha reviews.

  • The Sun Valley Music Ministry, for the company and the nights out.

  • Edith Cao-Agosto, SVMM choirmaster, for being patient with teaching me the songs and recording the notes I need to practice.

  • Aileen Apolo, for relating with me so well. Let's go to Ruins again sometime!

  • Accenture, for hiring me and assigning me to the best project and team, ever. I doubt I have a long future in IT, but so far so good.

  • Barclays' Virtual Channels team, for the memories, camaraderie, and making my transition from college to work practically seamless. I do NOT want to get rolled-off.

  • Paolo Jaucian, for being my resident "big brother" at Barclays since day one.

  • Dionie Lim, for making me realize how people with a similar temperament as I do don't have to be doomed to it. I'm sorry for the times I was overly critical of you.

  • Mark Molina, for making me sing my heart out in front of my coworkers and popping my stage fright cherry. And for all the jamming sessions. Music is our medicine.

  • My college blockmates, LC24, for making all efforts to stay together despite conflicting schedules and diaspora.

  • Paolo Cruz and Gracey Dacumos, for being my patient badminton doubles partners and putting up with me.

  • Flo Hernando, for teaching me SP and all the support.

  • Mel Mejia, for her own way of rebuking me when I do things out of process. And for the free food.

  • Anton Guidotti Jr., for the crazy stories, the laughs, the approachability, the tips, the nitpicking/criticism of my work, and the lovely CDs.

  • The Itchyworms, for a stellar CD. "Noon Time Show" rules.

  • Urbandub, for consistently breaking the mold and delivering rock music that defies the local/foreign divide.

  • Haruki Murakami, for the novels that are equal parts fulfilling, disappointing, erotic, enlightening and interesting.

  • Bill Dare. You, sir, make British comedy proud.

  • My dad, for the new watch and having enough trust in me to come home at the time I say so. Now how about a key for the front door?

  • My mom, for the new monitor (hurrah!) and all the sumptuous food you cook.

  • The Lord Jesus Christ, for every day I live, and every chance I have to try and make you proud.
  • Friday, December 22, 2006

    22 questions I'd like answers to this Christmas

    Why do most of the girls I find attractive just so inconveniently happen to be smokers?

    Is it really true that nice guys finish last?

    Am I really as immature as I am led to believe?

    Why do I have to suffer the nasty repercussions of developing a spine and asserting myself, when everyone else gets away with cheating and highway robbery?

    Why does it seem that people have largely forgotten the “Christ” in “Christmas?”

    Why is Gunpla and mecha modelmaking still attractive to me despite the ridiculous costs?

    Why on earth did it take me 22 years to realize my frustrations/dreams of being a performer? That was simply too long.

    What was the point of me attending seventh grade, other than delaying me by a year?

    What is it with bars that is so attractive to people of my generation? You go to these cramped, smoky, noisy places to hang out and get smashed, which makes you a easier target for kidnappers or thieves…not exactly a safe state to be in Metro Manila streets at 3 am.

    Am I really just a born misfit, a square peg trying in vain to fit in all manner of round holes?

    Why do we lie to kids, always telling them in fairy tales that there’s a “happily ever after” when we adults know damn well there isn’t?

    I’m supposed to be recovered from my flu from last month, so why am I still sweating bullets and feeling weak from time to time?

    Why can’t ex-lovers become good friends?

    Why can’t good friends become lovers?

    Given the Suzuki Swift has good looks, why did Suzuki give the local version a squishy suspension and an automatic gearbox?

    Is there really no such thing as a badly built car any more?

    Why is the Sony PlayStation 3 so fucking expensive? At current prices, you can buy three used Toyota 4A-GE engines for the price of one PS3…

    With Blogger’s Google-powered upgrade, does this mean their Blogger for Word add-on won’t work anymore?

    Why did we ever have to develop egos?

    When should I get married and have kids?

    Why am I a born insomniac?

    Why do you read my blog? What keeps you going back here? I’d really like to know what goes on in the heads of my handful of readers whenever they visit this place.

    Sunday, December 17, 2006

    Because I can't get enough of my college pals...

    ...We had a night out at Gerry's Grill Makati. Basically we missed each other silly, and Chris' recent passing had reminded us that we should be grabbing each and every opportunity to be together because it may well be our last.

    Photos are here, courtesy of my brand-new Multiply account. Enjoy!

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    Christmas + Murphy's Law = December 15 2006

    Apparently everyone conspired to have their Christmas parties on December 15, 2006. It just so happened to conveniently coincide with a number of things—payday, Christmas, its nature as a Friday.

    Where the fuck is everyone going at this hour? I thought, the moment I came in at 9 a.m., wondering how on earth the cubicles could be empty when we were supposed to finish our shifts in time for the party later that night. Hell, the list of frustrations mentioned above included an almost irrational morning rush to the seventh floor of Cybergate just to claim gift checks, which tied up the already-challenged elevators for a good FOUR HOURS.

    Truth be told, December 15 was not a day to feel all Christmassy. It was one of those days you should bitch about because Murphy’s Law (“whatever can go wrong, will do so”) was in full effect.

    There were notable exceptions to the Law, though.

    After practicing for almost a week now, the Cybergate Choir successfully had its first caroling performance at one of the other Accenture projects at lunch time. It was well worth the effort that Tony, Agnes, Faye, Grace B., Jong, Gae, I and the others put in in terms of rehearsal. We could be a little more polished here and there, but overall it was a wonderful first effort and I’m proud of all of them. Next week we’ll be busy with more caroling performances, all for the benefit of the Albay typhoon/mudslide victims.

    The BDCN Christmas party wasn’t all too shabby either. Our team swept the awards for the presentation (no doubt thanks to Paolo Jaucian’s “Darna” effort), and everyone seemed to have a great time. I’m not as well-informed about the after-party though as I successfully confirmed that cramped, smoky bars are just not my thing.

    Sadly, Murphy’s Law reared its ugly head yet again. When I ended my evening by driving home at 11:30pm, Meralco Ave. and Ortigas Ave. were tied up, I suspect, with the scores of other people with cars who so conveniently had their Christmas parties at the same date, as I mentioned earlier. C5 was situation normal, crazy pedestrians and all, but the real surprise came when I merged from C5 to the SLEX. Good Lord, the traffic was as if it wasn’t midnight but 8pm—it was that bad.

    Murphy’s Law, indeed.

    Monday, December 04, 2006

    "I can't promise that"

    Just before turning in for the night, my friend Trish buzzed me on YM. It had been a while since we last spoke or met. She said she came from Chris’ wake, and from her tone I would say she took it pretty bad. She and Chris were from the same batch in high school and knew each other quite well.

    Her friend Vida texted her about what her friends knew of Chris’ accident. He had been driving along the Alabang overpass at 1:30 am and for some reason knocked one of the lampposts, ending up on the wrong side of the road. Not the type who would call home, his parents knew about it when they drove at the exact same road at 5:30 am going to Greenhills, bewildered that their car was being towed. The doctors operated on him to remove the clot from his head, but he never regained consciousness.

    The infuriating thing about this is, some asshole had the gall to steal Chris’ belongings while he was dying. That’s just so wrong.

    Trish was feeling particularly morbid that night and I told her I wanted to see her again in the future, even when we were both fat and wrinkly. She said she couldn’t promise that, which is true I suppose.

    Death is a chilling concept, and personally I’m afraid of it. There’s no point running away from it, though, because we’re all doomed to die sooner or later. When it’s your time, it’s your time. Instead of being afraid of death, I feel I might as well embrace all the opportunities I have with my friends while we’re both here.

    I’ve lost three friends to death in the last three years. I don’t want to sit idly by and regret not having spent more time with the ones I can still get in touch with.

    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    In memoriam: Chris Gabriel, 1985-2006

    Last week I was unlucky enough to succumb to what seems like a fashionable disease these days: the common cold. Coupled with my hyperactive brain’s reluctance to go to sleep at night, the cold went into overdrive and became a full-blown flu. As such I had to take my first couple days of sick leave.

    I’m feeling a lot better now, but I know I’m not completely out of the woods yet. Although I’ll be able to work next week, I can still feel my head complaining a little. All this meant I had to miss out on the badminton tournament Paolo Cruz and I registered for.

    Still, this doesn’t compare to what a friend of mine had. Bianca informed me this morning that my high school and college friend Chris Gabriel died today from a car accident, which is pretty grave news.

    Chris was a wonderful, jolly fellow. He’s one of the hardest-working souls I’ve ever met. Even though he was always chasing deadlines in the time I was with him he never seemed flustered or pressured. He was always like that, ever since my days in Counterpoint back in high school. It’s really such a shame that he died so young. I’m not sure if he even got employed already.

    Rest in peace, Chris. You will be missed dearly, I am sure.