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.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Preparing for April

I made the 32.5-kilometer drive to Frisco once again this morning. My Kenwood head unit is back, after a week and PhP1,100 of repairs, and its CD player finally works like a charm. I was rocking along to The Darkness, Feeder, David Bowie and Garbage along the horrendous traffic of EDSA southbound.

Tita Vik invited me to lunch at their place, as my dad, Tito Kiko and my grandma were going to Baliwag on their usual weekend jaunt. Around the time I got her text message I was crawling just a few minutes away from White Plains, so that was a nifty bit of perfect timing. Grandma's kare-kare is deelish.

Off I went braving the traffic yet again, this time on C5 southbound. My next stop was Glorietta to buy gifts for my folks. While I scouted for and bought them, I eventually ended up buying myself a little gift for myself: a pair of white and red Puma Fluxion sneakers. They're similar to the Speed Cats I have from a couple years ago, in that they're motorsport-inspired. This time I made sure I'd fit these babies properly before buying, and accordingly I got them in the 9.5 size to fit my larger left foot.

By the way, did I mention the Jazz returned 13 km/L on its last fillup? Despite the traffic and the aggravations of slow drivers I'm slowly recouping my fuel economy.

To blog or not to blog...

After the delays, Tita Vik's planned birthday trip to Sagada finally pushed through this week, and she came back just the other day. She got to use her new "toy"---her Canon EOS 30D---quite liberally and realized maybe she shouldn't be slaving away as a writer. In an epiphany that came after days of trekking and shooting photos, she told me maybe she should try being a photographer instead.

I told her why not combine the two and make a travel blog? If enough people go and visit, she might even make money off it.

The thing is, she and I are similar in not really promoting our published stuff. Sure, I post links to my reviews in MAHQ and Anime Otaku Fridge but it's not like I tell or text-message all my friends about what I've published, and we're the same in that respect.

There's also the issue of plagiarism. I'm no stranger to that either as I know someone ripped whole chunks off my and my ex's blogs and passed it off as her own life story a few years ago.

Well, there goes that idea...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Now that's not something you see everyday.

On my way to work, driving along C5, I was close to passing the Shell gas station when I noticed something odd on the opposite oncoming lane. I saw this white Mitsubishi L300 van teetering on its two left wheels.

Despite my speed and direction, I was around long enough to watch it finally tip over and land on its side. All along, all I could say was a singsong "Oh my God," as I saw the cars behind it hit the brakes before I drove past the whole scene.

I don't even understand how the thing could have tipped over. L300s are underpowered, heavy and slow. My only logical guess is the driver yanked at the steering wheel so hard that instead of straightening it out, it rolled over.

Scary stuff, indeed. Let's leave the unusual Russel Swift driving tactics to...erm, Russel Swift.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Little bits of good news...

We have DSL now, which is a pretty good thing. I do notice some strange things happening with its installation, however. I had to restart to get the connection going a few times, and for a while my computer won't even shut down properly. There's also this strange error message that displays a countdown timer to shutdown, but when it does hit zero nothing happens. Weird. I never encountered these when I was still on dialup.

I called up the Kenwood service center this afternoon and my head unit seems to have been repaired already. That's great news for my ears, which are starved of my CD collection. It's not exactly easy driving around with headphones and an MP3 player round your neck, either.

There's hope for my Jazz yet. Despite being stuck in traffic for most of the week and a few high-strung moments, I'm now almost at 400 km with 1/8 of a tank to go. That should return 12 km/L at the very least.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chasing the sun once again!

Our summer outing is almost at hand. Currently the date is set for April 21-22, this time up north at Club Morocco in Subic.

It's still a month off, but I'm pretty excited already.

Instead of going with the bus as I did last year, my colleague Donald and I will be riding the Jazz to its first long drive with me at the helm. By then I hope to either have the Kenwood head unit fixed and spinning CDs, or the Sony Xplod USB head unit I like installed in its stead. It'd be nice to see just how efficient the Jazz is on an extended cruise, too. Besides, it's been four years since the last time I drove solo for the long haul.

There's just one sore spot about this year's outing and it's the lack of a "battle of the bands" competition. That was what I looked forward to last year, and while I probably humiliated myself trying to ape Bamboo's stage presence while singing Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning," there's nothing like performing for an audience. Unfortunately even if there was a battle of the bands, our best guitarist Mark has already resigned, so we don't really have anyone to take up the lead guitar.

This summer outing also officially marks my first year at work, give or take four days. It's had its ups and downs, but my colleagues at the Internet Channels team have been a big part of my life so far, both in and out of the office. Although I don't plan on spending my life in the IT industry, I don't mind staying a couple more years as long as it's with my teammates.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crap. Obsolescence is going places it shouldn't.

It's been a year since I got the Sony CD-Mavica MVC-CD500 digicam as a graduation present from Auntie Carole and Uncle Butch, and, as my Multiply page will attest, it's seen regular use over the past year. It's actually a pretty good camera: full manual exposure control, decent fixed lens, MPEG-1 short-length video capability and a proper flash hot shoe on a 5-megapixel camera are all hard to beat. Unfortunately this early on I see signs that I won't be able to use it for much longer.

You see, the CD Mavica relies on 8cm (3.5-inch) CD-Rs and CD-RWs to record its images, not on solid-state memory cards like most other digital cameras since 2005. As such, it is limited to a maximum of 156MB per CD, and is also subject to the traditional bugbears of optical media such as long read/write time.

When I got the CD Mavica, I got around 20 CD-Rs and one CD-RW along with it. Since then I've been able to buy two more CD-RWs because I like the rewritability of the medium.

Now, the only way to truly erase content on a CD-RW is via formatting it, ergo wiping the whole CD clean. I found out the hard way just a few minutes ago that formatting can also sometimes render a CD-RW totally useless, like it did to two of my CD-RWs. Nowadays CD-RWs that small are ridiculously hard to find, as most discs that size are now DVD-Rs or DVD-RWs, so buying new ones isn't much of an option. (The ones I bought before I probably just got lucky with.)

Still with me are the 8cm CD-Rs that came with my camera, although I did use a few of them for non-Mavica purposes. That leaves me with 15 blank CD-Rs, and nowadays it's increasingly hard to find them in that size, too.

In a nutshell, I have three problems with the CD Mavica.

  1. Increasingly hard-to-find storage media.
  2. Lack of repair support here...as it's really a US model.
  3. Destroyed CD-RW media due to formatting.

All these basically point to one thing: I'll have to replace it sooner rather than later if I plan to continue being an amateur photographer like I am now. After hearing Tita Vik's news of her getting a brand-new Canon EOS 30D digital SLR for something like PhP60,000, I'm beginning to wonder if getting one of those will be a viable option for myself in the future...

That's the thing I despised with the arrival of digital cameras, particularly digital SLRs. With the Nikon FM, I was confident that as long as there is film, I could use it and not be subject to the obsession with obsolescence the technology world has. Now that film is on the wane and I've succumbed to the lure of digital photography, I'm subject to the same ridiculously short time limits that dictate "your equipment is obsolete" all too soon.

At least Nikon made sure my existing lenses will be future-proof...so if I'm ever in the market for a digital SLR it'll probably be a Nikon for me. I'm suddenly a little jealous of Adrian's Nikon D50...

Of trains, mental replay and having only one chance.

I used to dread the concept of us having only one chance at things, from dating a girl to taking exams to nailing the perfect moment for overtaking. I always wanted to have some insurance despite my risky decisions. I always wanted what poker players call an "out," in case I screw up or make mistakes.

Whenever things didn't go so well, I would instantly go into mental replay. I leaf through the moments in my head, carrying the all-pervading question: What should I have done back there? Maybe I shouldn't have given her the flowers this early. Maybe I shouldn't have been that cocky, attempting an overtake on the right side when I was already out of road. Maybe I should have said something else and lied better. Maybe I shouldn't have forgotten my ex's birthday. I suppose you all know the feeling.

For the most part I'm still the same guy, especially when it comes to relating with people I want to be with. I'm still slaving away with my perfectionist tendencies. However, recently I've realized that I've been abusing mental replay too often on things and people that aren't worth the time of a second thought. As Neysa told me a while ago at mass, "Get over it."

The thing is, I now know, one chance really is enough for most people. They will come and go in our lives, touching us along their merry way, and they can either stay with us for the ride through our lives or decide to get off early and change trains.

Many will no doubt leave not-so-positive impressions on us. They will leave scars, footprints, even splash puddles of rainwater on our faces before they decide they're through pulling our collective leg and taking us for a ride. That, or we decide we've finally had enough bullshit and it's just too much effort to continue keeping up an acceptable facade. At which point, we decide to stop and cut our losses. Why bend over and act like a martyr?

After everything is done, though, there will be people who will remain. They're the people who are worth the potential for regret, the effort of mental replay. They're the ones we should be taking care of, because they chose to be with us even in spite of our screw-ups and bad habits.

In short, they're the only ones who will be worth giving a second chance to.

To everyone who was willing to give me a second chance, thanks. To everyone who didn't spoil their first chance with me, many thanks also.

Unfortunately, I now have to get stingy with the people I'll be willing to give that all-important second chance to. I've been hurt too many times and it's tiresome being this lenient, and I've been worrying and regretting about worthless ghosts all this time.

Quote of the moment:

"There was a time, way back in college that I seriously tried to fit in. I realized it can only go either 1. you give it up eventually because it's so fucking tiring, or 2. you succeed and forget who you truly are and get lost in the process...I'd rather be rejected for what I am than accepted for what I'm not."

--- Hedwig de Leon

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wanted: music while driving.

I made the jaunt this morning to the official Kenwood service center in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City. I went there to have the Jazz's car stereo checked, especially due to its inability to read any CDs.

I left home at 9 a.m. and got there at 10:30. The Saturday morning traffic was unbelievable in some parts, particularly the Sta. Mesa leg I drove through. All through the 34-kilometer trip to the shop, I drove with the audio head unit off, as a preparation for the amount of time I won't have it.

As it turns out I have to leave the stereo with them for a week. That means for that amount of time, there's a gaping hole in my dashboard where my stereo used to be. Peering into it yields a glimpse of what's on the passenger side of the engine firewall: part of the wiring loom, the ducts for external air for the aircon, and the chassis crossmembers that keep the dashboard where it is.

For one week I don't have anything to distract me from the idiocy of other drivers either. Sure, I've had nothing but smooth jazz to listen to for almost two months, but it's better than twiddling thumbs in traffic.

Figuring out how to dismantle the Jazz's dashboard to gain access to the head unit itself was a learning experience for me and the technicians, though. It was more so for them than myself, because due to the awkward location of the screws, they ended up losing one of them in the innards of the dashboard. It took another dismantling to locate it.

Driving again with nothing but the thrum of the engine and the whine of the aircon blower as background music, my next stop was Glorietta in Makati. Sony happened to have a summer promo going on for all its stuff and I once again laid eyes on that CDX-GT460US Xplod head unit I wanted, the cheapest model with aux-in (Ipod) and USB connections up front.

"Cheapest" unfortunately translates to PhP10,000. Oh well. If repairing the Kenwood unit isn't worth it I might as well save up for that one.

Invasion of the English!

This week was a pretty busy one because we had visitors from the UK, Paul Hepplestall and Mehret Habteab, and we took them out for three days. I guess it's a good break from all the project-related work that hasn't been going our way so far, and I only hope Paul and Mehret enjoyed themselves while they were with us.

Day 1 was lunch out at the Hard Rock Cafe. Next up was videoke night at Red Box in Greenbelt, and finally there was dinner and bowling at SM Megamall. Mehret was game for the singing, while Paul was a competitive fellow who liked shooting pool. Do click the links for pictures.

Over the course of the week I became less intimidated of them. Despite their accents, stature and Paul's expressions of disappointment thinly veiled with humor, they're genuinely helpful folks who are willing to share a piece of their mind when we needed help.

As of this writing, Paul has already left for Radbroke Hall because of urgent problems with our current project, while Mehret is staying until Monday afternoon, after which she'll be on holiday in Dubai for a week. It was good meeting them.

I'll stay stock, thanks.

After almost a year of being separated from anyone from the Honda Club of the Philippines, an old friend texted me about a little get-together of the SX8 Piranhas, my erstwhile troupe, down at BF Paranaque. Since I was looking for a distraction I said I'd come along.

Most of them came late, and I slowly realized that the HCP of yore that I once enjoyed was now gone. In the SX8 group alone I could count the truly memorable acquaintances and friends on the palm of my hand. Such is proof that people just come and go, I guess. It was nice seeing Bing, Martin and the new guys, though.

I also realize my interest in car modification has waned significantly, and that's really a big part of what HCP is all about. The cost just isn't worth it. While the turbocharged project Jazz 1.3 from an old issue of Top Gear Philippines caught my attention, the truth is that car had a lot of work done to handle the added power. It got new 16" rubber and tires, a trick Koni suspension and better brake pads to complement the turbo's output boost and all its ancillaries, in the hope of making it a more rounded car. Let's face it, though: factor all of those in and it's not exactly what you'd call cheap, especially if you want quality work. I appreciate the lengths people go to for performance, but I can't see myself being part of that.

Perhaps I'll stop at decent 15" rims and rubber.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What happened to my camera?

It's been roughly ten months since I last got to use my dad's old Nikon FM SLR. Ever since Uncle Butch and Auntie Carole gave me that Sony CD Mavica digicam as a belated graduation present, I've mothballed the FM.

Tonight I decided to exercise its internal mechanisms a little. Nothing could prepare me for what my cabinet had in store for me, though.

I was shocked to see blue-green stuff that looked like dried-up toothpaste building on the nooks and crannies of the FM's controls. It certainly looked like either mold or some kind of fungus, which I don't understand because I packed the camera in with packets of dessicant. The bottom had a white powder to it, and some parts of the lower lens mount had become chipped. Apparently this was the result of corrosion damage. The lens-release button had become very hard to push in, and when I did, it wouldn't pop back out on release.

I felt sorry for the FM. I took out the smallest screwdriver from my Swiss Army knife and tried popping open some screws, but I realized a cleanup job should be left to the professionals along Hidalgo St. in Quiapo. Mechanically the internals are fine; the shutter still works, the film still advances as it should, the meter is as reactive as it's ever been and the lens apertures close down upon shutter release.

It's just the shock of the corrosion and mold/mildew that got me. That was just not supposed to happen with all the dessicant I packed in.

Monday, March 19, 2007

"Balang araw..."

Balang araw, makikita mo ring

Wala nang ibang magnanais makinig

Sa iyong saloobin, sa iyong mithiin,

Sa lahat ng nais mo sanang sabihin

Balang araw, darating din ang panahon

Kung saan luluwag nang husto

Ang kaba sa puso mong nakatago

Ako'y nagpapakatanga

Bawat minuto, bawat oras

Dahil sa walang-sawang paghanga

Sa lahat ng bagay na iyong winawaldas

Kailan kaya darating ang araw

Na tayo'y magbabaliktad ng landas?

Titigan mo ng may galak ang aking tsinelas

Ngitian ng marikit ang simpleng kilos ko

Pansinin kaya kita

O kaya'y tuluyang ibale-wala?

Balang araw, malalaman mo rin

Halaga ng taong gustong maging saksi

Sa kagandahan ng iyong kapayakan,

Sa simpleng kasiyahan na nabuhay ka

Hiling ko na lang sana'ng

Magsalita na si Bathala

At isulat niya sa mga bituin

Na ako'y matutunan mo ring mahalin

Balang araw...


I haven't written anything like this in a while. The whole time I was writing it, a poignant melody was playing in my head, the likes of which you can listen to from Sugar Free. It'd be nice if this could become a song, but I guess I'm not quite there yet as a songwriter.

Large barge

I had to get behind the wheel of my dad’s Trooper before leaving home this morning to put it back in the garage. The drive was less than two minutes long, but it told me enough to realize I am never going to enjoy driving SUVs.

Just turning the tiller was a big effort in itself. Twirling the steering wheel doesn’t offer the same tactile feeling and response as doing the same in any car. You will be stymied, I’m sure, by how much muscle you have to exert in applying lock, only to realize that steering at full lock means you rotate at the same rate as an iceberg.

I was glad I just had to slot it into the straight garage below, not up the tricky curved ramp to our doorway. I would have put in some serious dents if I did.

The appeal of big hulking SUVs is completely lost on me. They’re too heavy, too thirsty and too unwieldy. If I had to have one, I’d pick a three-door RAV4 around the city, or a Mitsubishi Pajero Mini Turbo VR-II or Suzuki Jimny if I wanted a real rock-crawler.

But nothing will persuade me out of my love for pocket rockets.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sneaking out

The DLSU Pops Orchestra's Saturday gala concert ended at 10 p.m., but I didn't go home just yet. I navigated my way through EDSA and White Plains to Tita Vik's house to bring her my little gift, a copy of Bill Dare's hilarious novel Natural Selection.

I barreled along C5 at a fast enough clip to get to Petron Bicutan for a fillup and make it home before midnight.

Happy birthday, Hedwig!

"Years have gone by since you've been gone..."

Through the magic that is Friendster, I finally managed to reconnect with my friend Mitzi after such a long, long time. Back in high school she was the closest I had to a girlfriend, and through the years I constantly wondered how graduating from high school and college would change us.

It turns out I won't have the answer to that question yet. She's currently in Texas taking up her MBA at the University of Texas - Pan American, and she's in a relationship of her own. Hmmm...okay. Why am I not surprised about that last bit?

Still, I'm grateful she sent me a message. It's been a largely frustrating affair trying to reach her over the last five years or so. She says she'll be here in December...that's still a long way off, but I'd be glad to catch up with her on old times.

Dynamics vs. cost

The more I make use of the Jazz's dynamic abilities, the thirstier it seems to get.

After my third fillup I made 11.762 km/L. While that figure still eclipses anything I managed with the City and my hard-charging driving style, it's still rather disappointing because I know how much more parsimonious the Jazz can be---I did make 14 km/L before. That's undisputable evidence that driving style does contribute a lot to the ultimate fuel efficiency of a car.

While the Jazz has no problem with being hustled, perhaps I'm pushing the little car a bit too hard. This might be an indication that I should be savoring the car's low-end torque more, not its top-end urge.

By the way, true to form, that tuneup cost me a pretty penny. The final bill at Honda Makati amounted to PhP6,600, done with fully-synthetic oil, eight spark plugs (the price of i-DSI) and an engine detailing job. This didn't include the cost of a new rear center seatbelt buckle, though (it's PhP850 or so), as the advisor told me there was two weeks of lead time for them to get the parts. Fair enough, I guess, as it's an unusual item to replace.

The upside of this is I think I'll get to keep my car's warranty for its final year within the period without having to go back to Honda for servicing.


The DLSU Pops Orchestra's concert last night was awesome. This time around they indulged in a slew of different medleys, a little music from celebrated video games (the Super Mario Bros. Medley and "Aerith's Theme" from Final Fantasy VII, one of my favorite RPGs), lesser-known songs (Chantal Kreviazuk's "Time"), hyperactive dance music (Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat") and a suprisingly lean ballad lineup.

A number of familiar faces have graduated like me, but they were replaced with an equally capable lineup of instrumentalists and vocalists who are more than capable of kicking ass on the concert stage.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Waiting, trying, failing...and more waiting.

I guess I'm still looking for the one I can be stupidly happy with.

It's been a very long time since I've had a girlfriend, and I guess I'm not getting any younger by staying single. I realize though, that maybe my motivation was wrong. Why am I getting pressured into getting into another relationship? Maybe it's the sight of my coworkers getting married at such an early age.

No one can accuse me of not trying hard enough, but I am getting tired of waiting, trying, failing. Then again, relationships can get so screwed up and I know this from my own experience as well as that of others.

Yet...I want to feel needed. I want to be as open as I can be, and I want someone who could be as open with me as well. I haven't gotten over the craving of skin-on-skin contact either. Right now, though, I guess I'll just have to soldier on through each day without the things I want.

All I wanted was a girl that could make me feel all those things again. Good Lord, surely this isn't too hard?

Or is this what being "mature" is all about?

Thinking aloud, rambling aloud

For once, I don't know what to write about. What do I ramble about today?

I guess I could talk about my plans for the weekend. Since the Jazz is actually 4,000 km overdue for a tuneup, I'll probably waste my Saturday morning and afternoon waiting for that to finish. I suppose Honda Makati's high cost for sloppy service won't change any time soon, but I figure the Jazz still needs it as it's two years old and still within warranty period. Maybe I could spring for a replacement buckle/anchor for the rear center seatbelt...the one the previous owner crushed out of commission.

After that...I hope to make it in time for the DLSU Pops Orchestra's major concert in the evening. I want to see how they're doing. I hear Rachel and the gang might be coming over as well, so who knows? It might turn out to be one of those little reunions.

Sunday marks the beginning of the 2007 Formula 1 season, beginning as usual with the Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park, Melbourne. This marks the ninth year I've been following this sport. I haven't been informed over its off-season because it's boring to listen to tales of winter testing. However, I can't deny that the first season without Michael Schumacher should be interesting to watch, especially as things seem to have been thrown in the air and let fall where they may this time around.

I've finished watching season 2 of House. While House and Cameron's relationship was on the back burner this time, a whole other smattering of dramatic events have happened. My favorite episode has to be the "Euphoria" two-parter, where I broke into tears when a dying Foreman regretted his greed and apologized to Cameron in a poignant scene. He even trusted her enough to name her as his medical proxy over his dad.

Unfortunately, the season 3 DVDs I got run only until episode 6---nowhere near complete. I guess I'll have to find another distraction for now. Maybe I should finish watching Turn-A Gundam instead?

Had I not moved from the ensconced but lonely cubicle I was assigned to a few months ago, I doubt I would get to know my team leads any better. I realize the move was actually a good thing for me. I'm a little more inspired these days because despite their responsibilities, I got to know my superiors a lot better. Paolo J., Chielou, Jenny, Tri and Cel are interesting people in themselves who know how to have fun and have a good laugh every hour.

Slowly I've also realized they have problems of their own, and lately I've been fortunate enough to have some of them share their pain with me. Despite age and career level differences, I found that we're not really all that different.

I'm a little sleepy now...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A few practical lessons

C5 is a glorious piece of road for spirited driving, but it absolutely sucks at 9 p.m.

You just can't rush forgiveness.

There are people who will hate your guts no matter what you do. Don't give them that satisfaction.

Never throw used tissue in the toilet...unless you want to see toilet water and shit coming after you.

Just because motorcyclists run on two wheels doesn't give them the right to cut in line or be excused assholes on the streets.

When you change into a free lane on a highway and all the other lanes are blocked with slowpokes, you should commit into a decisive passing maneuver. Otherwise you end up becoming a mobile obstacle for drivers behind you. If you can't commit, don't. It's simple lane courtesy.

Everyone's broken in one way or another.

Taken by themselves, friendship is a lot better than love. So make sure your lover is also your best friend.

Sex is overrated, especially as depicted in the media. Don't think with your 'nads.

Always pay attention to how much fuel you have left, and err on the side of caution. In Germany, the polizei arrest drivers who run out of gas on their autobahns. Running out of gas is a huge pain on modern fuel-injected engines.

Shit happens. It's how you take it that matters.

The first rule of leadership: Everything is your fault.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Withdrawal is over

After unceremoniously pushing me away in my time of need, you think you can come back into my life with just a snap of your fingers.

Well, you said it yourself. You do not have the energy to have me as your best friend. You do not have the capacity to accommodate me. You are scared of me becoming too close. Yet you have the audacity to go poking at my gut so casually as if nothing happened between the two of us. Don't you think that's just strange? Don't you think that kind of behavior is conducive to the kind of attention you so abhor?

What if I told you I don't have the will to welcome you just yet? What if I flatly refuse to let you treat me that namby-pamby way you do? Would you resort to calling me "childish" once again? What other labels will you be so willing to staple on my forehead? Hey, as far as I know I'm just being stoic. I'm not the one who's name-calling.

I still have to thank you for being the bitter pill I had to swallow. Don't expect me to go looking for the same medication, though. The withdrawal symptoms aren't worth it.

Quote of the moment:

"Mistakes are as serious as the results they cause!"

- Dr. Gregory House, House, season 2 episode 8

Sunday, March 11, 2007


It's been a while since I posted one of these. I figure it's about time I did so once again. You wouldn't want to see me go on another one of my disgruntled-with-the-world posts again now would you?

The same old disclaimer applies. Believe the following at your own risk. :)

You Are Miami

Sexy and beautiful, you turn heads wherever you go.
A little spicy and a little exotic, you're fully aware of your unique appeal.
Totally high energy, you keep the party going early into the morning.

Famous Miami residents: Anna Kournikova, OJ Simpson, Enrique Iglesias

Your Kissing Purity Score: 71% Pure

For you, kissing isn't a casual thing

Lip to lip action makes your heart sing

You Are A Romantic Realist

You tend to be grounded when it comes to romance.
Sure, you can fall hard... but only for someone you've gotten to know.
And once you're in love, you can be a total romantic goofball...
But you'd never admit it to your friends!

You Are Olde English

Drinking is more than a hobby for you. It's your favorite drug.
When you drink, you want to get wasted. As quickly and cheaply as possible.
Looking back on your best times drinking... well, you don't remember them at all.
You may be a few brain cells short, but you still can chug a 40!

You Should Drive a Saturn Sky

You're sleek and smooth, and you need a car to match your hot persona.
Besides, sometimes you want your top up - and sometimes you want it down.

Your Hair Should Be Purple

Intense, thoughtful, and unconventional.
You're always philosophizing and inspiring others with your insights.

Your Mind is PG-13 Rated

Your mind is definitely a little dirty. You're naughty, but not trashy.
You don't shy away from a dirty joke, and you're clearly not a prude.

You Should Weigh 166

If you weigh less than this, you either have a fast metabolism or are about to gain weight.
If you weigh more than this, you may be losing a few pounds soon!

You Are A Guilty Ex

You weren't the greatest to your ex, and you admit it.
And now your remorse is keeping you up at night...
While feeling a little remorse is good, your guilt is preventing you from moving on

You Are 48% Bipolar

You're a bit moody, and at times, your moods can be a bit extreme.
It's up to you to decide if you're simply dramatic... or slightly bipolar.

You Get Enough Sleep

Although sometimes it make not feel like it on Monday morning...
You are getting enough sleep.
Want to sleep better? Try wearing socks to bed and turning your clock to where you can't see it.

People Envy Your Generosity

You're a giving soul, and you'd do almost anything for those you love. And they'd do anything for you!
People may envy how giving you are, but more than anything, they envy those you open your heart to.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Thank you, Denise

After all that's been said and done on this blog, Denise and I are really very, very good friends. That I can now say with the utmost conviction.

I tried calling her last Sunday on her cellphone, and I asked her if she wanted to have dinner sometime this week. She agreed, so I made plans to get off work early tonight.

Braving the Friday night traffic, I swung by her Makati office and picked her up. It was so great seeing her again after so long. We proceeded to the Old Spaghetti House along Valero St. and in seconds we were talking like the long lost friends we were.

Like me, she's also in IT now, having quit from her old job at a major medical goods manufacturer, and like me she's also enjoying the company of her coworkers. We shared stories about supertyphoon Milenyo, homey houses and personal lives over eggplant parmigiana and spaghetti aglio olio.

It felt so refreshing to be as open as I could be with someone who already knew me very well. There was none of the frustrating repression I felt for the last couple of weeks. Here she was instead, laughing along with me, unafraid of being misunderstood because we knew we wouldn't be. We were mired in traffic when we left for her house, but we kept chatting and singing away to jazz songs.

After so many years, it was tonight that I finally realized had we ended up together in college, we wouldn't have agreed to see each other like this post-graduation. I realized just how valuable our friendship is to her and how she wanted to keep it this way, without undue stress.

I missed Denise a lot, and she missed me as well. I am so glad and grateful we had this chance to reconnect.

We should do this again, Den. If you need me, you know where to find me.

Anticipation vs. reality

Last night I got into a late-night chat with Trish, one of my friends from the Zobel days. The topic inevitably turned towards love.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when she told me she'd had a boyfriend in college, but I was still caught unprepared. More surprising than that fact, though, was that she could relate with my present situation.

She told me it was so hard to be with someone who communicates better via mediums than face-to-face. Very true, I nodded. And it's a sad fact that sometimes the thought of being with someone is more tantalizing than the reality.

On many a lonely night before drifting to sleep, I wondered about these things. I was slowly discovering how hard I actually had things going for me. The gift of good conversation is very, very important for me, because I know beauty will fade away. Yet here I am, trying to get close to someone whom I find truly attractive, whom I am intimidated with because of her unflinching silence, whom I have extreme difficulty just easing an honest laugh out of. Many times I feel like I fell into some very elaborate trap hook, line and sinker.

Disappointment persisted in my head, although I try my best not to succumb to it until I get to the point where I can actually test these statements. I wonder how long I can suspend it, though...or if it was worth suspending in the first place.

I am confused. I don't know what to do. Should I stay or should I go? I feel as empty as I was when I started. Something is different this time though. I've slowly begun the process of acceptance.

All I can do is keep trying.

Quote of the moment:

Dr. James Wilson: "You can't control your emotions."

Dr. Allison Cameron: "Only your actions."

- House, season 2 episode 6

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Staying inside the 'house'

I've been silent for a while on this blog. I sort of figured you hundred-something guys who view this blog every week might be sick of me moping my sorry ass off, so perhaps I should give you a break from me.

Then again there's also another reason why I've been off the Internet for a few days. I finally scored DVDs of House and I've been watching them on a staggered marathon session. By "staggered" I mean I watch a bunch of episodes, sleep, and when I get up early enough I sneak in one episode before I haul my ass out of bed to take a bath and prep myself for work.

I'm hooked.

I literally postponed sleep to see episode 20 of season 1, where House and Cameron go out on their promised date. I was on the bed, smiling like a giddy fool because I wanted to see what happened between them. I am amazed by how they solved their baffling medical mysteries too, but the real stars are the team of doctors that make Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital an interesting place to be in.

Season 1 has been put to bed rather prematurely (it turns out I've seen quite a few episodes on cable already) and I've started on the first few episodes of season 2. So far so good. House is one of the only things I even bother to watch on TV these days that isn't related to sports, and now that Monday nights are for sleeping in early, watching it on cable isn't exactly a very good option.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

"Just a step beyond the rain..."

Today marks the last day of the five-session Choral Singing Workshop, and the last song we rehearsed and learned to sing in four voices was the classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz.

I have a lot to thank our instructors Olynne and Potpot for. I can now sing better than ever before, because I now know what my body has to do before I even put out the onset of my first note, to make certain that my sound is clear and sustained. What's more, I can even say I know how to read notes at sight as well, even in a limited manner. Despite Olynne showing her bitchy side to us on the penultimate session, it was all for a good cause.

I even made a few friends along the way, and they're coming to Cybergate in a few months so there's a big chance I could bump into them again and ask about stuff. Maybe I could invite them to sing for the First Friday masses, too.

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around
Heaven opens a magic lane

When all the clouds darken up the skyway,
There's a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your window pane

To a place behind the sun,
Just a step beyond the rain...

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?

    - The Philippine Madrigal Singers, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"

    The price of smooth jazz

    Today marks the first time I've driven the Jazz in an unexpected shower of evening rain, in March. As much as the rain caught me a little off-guard, I had no choice but to drive through it on my way home.

    The artifical lightness of the Jazz's helm, already giving me nervous tingles in my fingers on dry roads, is more manifest in the wet. That's not to say it doesn't generate grip (because it does); it's just not quite an assuring car to barrel along a wet C5 at high speed as the City was. The hydraulic steering on the old Honda always told you how much grip you have left. It takes a lot more effort to trust the Jazz's abilities in the wet because of the numb electric steering, but when you do, it's capable of driving around anything.

    This time 'round, I don't think I'll be able to replicate my 14.37 km/L economy figure from my last fillup. The raison d'etre of the Jazz is fuel efficiency, but pushing it to redline can shock you with just how thirsty it can suddenly get. Maybe it's because the fuel gauge is twice as big as that of the City's, but the movement of the needle dropping its inevitable way to "E" is a lot more noticeable now. Perhaps there's a reason why it's called the "Jazz:" it ultimately rewards smooth driving.

    My gray hamster needs an oil change soon as it's just hit 24,000 km on the odometer. It also needs a new latch/anchor for the center lap belt at the back, a new floor latch for one of the folding rear seats, and that Sony head unit I had written about earlier. And that's not counting the repairs for the two small spots of rust I found, front and back.

    Yeesh. I have to spend again.

    Thursday, March 01, 2007

    Redemption from myself...came within myself

    The ability to forgive yourself is the most important of all.

    This point I realized when I was tossing and turning in bed last night, the lights turned out, the fluorescent light of the neighbors' empty house penetrating my curtains. I was miserable. I was sick of the heavy burden of guilt and blame I had put on myself, when in Tita Vik's words I had committed no grave sins. I had simply made a few mistakes.

    Contrary to what I was thinking, I never needed permission nor an excuse to do so. I am simply a human being. Sure, people will say I have a lot of growing-up to do...but who doesn't? In the tradition of Jean-Paul Sartre, the only people who can truly say they are mature and cannot grow any longer are all dead, the en-soi beings. I am certainly still alive, still a pour-soi entity.

    In my misery, I cried and wailed in private, for the first time in a long time. Within the loneliness, I was able to find myself again and make peace. What they say is true: the only person we truly have our whole lives is ourselves, and we should be able to live with ourselves if we are to live at all.

    Thank you, Tita Vik. Thank you, Celine. Your words rang so true and clear. Sometimes things can be a lot better if I just disconnected my overactive superego, stopped thinking, and enjoyed living.