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, November 30, 2007

Mechanical temptation beckons...

According to HCP acquaintance and SpeedLab shop owner Ferman Lao, the GD-series Honda Jazz is currently one of the hottest cars for tuning and modification enthusiasts. Since one of these "hamsters" now serves as my daily runabout, it's become pretty hard to ignore the lure of all the performance parts on sale.

From full coilover suspension kits and upsized brake rotors to turbo installations and custom exhaust headers, the list of possibilities is endless. I've said before that my Jazz's stock L13A3 twin-spark engine is short of about 30 BHP to be truly fun; SpeedLab's turbo kit promises a mouth-watering gain of 40-60 BHP. The price is equally tear-inducing though: installing the kit costs PhP135,000 all in, labor and tuning included.

The increased pace is tempting, but I'm inclined to take the minor engine-breathing upgrades instead and take a long hard look at the suspension and brake options. TEIN's Super Street Damper set starts at PhP57,500, while their more unique Basic Compact/Wagon coilover set is PhP60,000. Gulp. An aftermarket suspension has more value than a turbo, however, as TEIN's units are much more robustly constructed. The stock springs and dampers in comparison have generated a few complaints from other Jazz owners after a few years of local road use.

After avoiding car clubs like the plague for a couple of years, I think I've rediscovered how to make myself bankrupt. Now that I'm earning money, I'm taking a long hard look at keeping the Jazz for a long time and letting the tuning bug finally bite me.

When will sleep come?

Funny enough, hours after writing my previous blog post about recovering from the flu and praising the value of sleep, I was tossing and turning in bed trying desperately to get my daily requirement of it. No matter how dark my room was or how long I closed my eyes, my mind simply remained too wound-up and active hours after I took to bed.

The next day I woke up feeling dull and insipid. Driving to the office proved tiring again, and once there I could barely stay productive.

Insomnia, delayed sleep phase disorder or whatever you might call it, I've definitely got it. It's a transient case, but it's gotten more frequent these days and it stinks.

I'm considering buying some sleeping pills to help my poor sleep habits.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Much to look forward to...after rest

Overtime, lousy sleep and my colleagues' illnesses have finally done me in. Last Wednesday, while getting ready to take the morning shower, I felt horrible and feverish. I had a bad cough, a massive headache and none of my energy.

That set off a whole week off work. Most of the flu symptoms were gone by Friday, but my heavy, dizzy head absolutely refused to cooperate. A thirty-minute spell in front of the computer to check my email left me drained and dizzy.

Consequently, in those five days of sick leave I rediscovered the value of sleep. Oh, how I neglected that most despised of my physical needs. I slept abnormally frequently, especially in the afternoons. This is payback for the long nights and incessant hotel insomnia of my last project, I reckon. I don't enjoy sleep, but I had a lot of it and it did me a world of good. I gained weight, swilled my pills, lay in bed watching new cable channels and slept like a bum.

When I mustered the will to report back to work this morning, I was still quite weak. My eyes spun in their sockets after the morning drive to Mandaluyong and my forehead glistened with the sick pall of cold sweat. As the day went by, I gradually gained back my strength. While waiting my turn at the toll booth intersection tonight, close to home, I felt grateful to feel...normal.
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I recovered just in time. This was almost a repeat of last year, when I got sick on the day of the Accenture Badminton Club (ABC) Cup tournament. I'm grateful I recovered with three days to go before this year's tourney.
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My plane tickets to Leyte have just been booked. This takes the honor of my first-ever credit card transaction, and I did the booking and purchase online too. To my chagrin, the ticket price has gone up from last month, but I don't mind.

I'll be greeting my "best fwend" a happy happy birthday in person, after four years. I'm certainly looking forward to it, Cher.
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Joy's also made our coffee date when she visits from the UK. The 16th of December it is.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tired...

On a whim I left Pam a message on Friendster. Then I visited her blog. She hasn't updated it in a while due to the whims of Multiply, but what I see is enough to tell me she's got a whole lot going on in her life---most of which is stuff she enjoys.

And I'm glad for her.

It is a balmy Saturday afternoon. I just got my 13th-month pay. Technically speaking, I'm more loaded than ever before.

So why am I wasting the day cooped up at home in front of my computer and writing on my blog?

I'm tired of battling the traffic and the weekend drivers and the indecisive morons that populate Manila's streets. I'm tired of spending my hard-earned money on the silliest, most frivolous, even downright hazardous things and experiences. I'm tired of the temptation to think with body organs other than my head.

I am bored, I want to get out and enjoy, I want to finish my almost-done Christmas shopping, I want to drive to the ends of the earth, but I am tired.

Maybe next week...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Casualties of the battle of the sexes

For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong, there is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every woman who is tired of acting dumb, there is a man who is burdened with the constant expectation of “knowing everything.”

For every woman who is tired of being called “an emotional female,” there is a man who is denied the right to weep and to be gentle.

For every woman who is called unfeminine when she competes, there is a man for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity.

For every woman who is tired of being a sex object, there is a man who must worry about his potency.

For every woman who feels “tied down” by her children, there is a man who is denied the full pleasures of shared parenthood.

For every woman who is denied meaningful employment or equal pay, there is a man who must bear full financial responsibility for another human being.

For every woman who was not taught the intricacies of an automobile, there is a man who was not taught the satisfactions of cooking.

For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation, there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier.

- Nancy R. Smith, "For Every Woman"
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I got the poem above from Dr. Joy Barredo, an acquaintance I met by her stumbling across my blog a few months ago. We've been exchanging emails since then, and had things turned out a little differently I might have met her as one of my literature professors in DLSU.

If all goes well, I'll be sipping coffee with her in Alabang by December. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rakenrol muna...

Duda ang aking kasama
At sabay kami sa aming pag-iisa
Meron akong matagal nang hinahanap
At ang takot ko'y di na siya mahagilap

Dumaan na ba siya? Di ko lang napuna?
Ilang gabi pang laman ng isip
Ilang araw pang magtatanong
Kung sino, nasaan, kailan ka ba
Darating at ako ay sagipin
Sa mundong malupit at naiinip?
Sino, nasaan, kailan ka ba?

Walang silbi sa akin ang gabi
At di makatulog sa kahihintay sa iyo
Kung ika'y dumating, kailangang tanggapin
Na baka di ka naman maging akin

Dumaan na ba siya? Di ko lang napuna?
Ilang gabi pang laman ng isip
Ilang araw pang magtatanong
Kung sino, nasaan, kailan ka ba
Darating at ako ay sagipin
Sa mundong malupit at naiinip?
Sino, nasaan, kailan ka ba?

Sino ka man, dumating ka na please
Sino ka man, dumating ka na please
Sino, nasaan, kailan...

Sino, nasaan, kailan ka ba
Darating at ako ay sagipin
Sa mundong malupit at naiinip?
Sino, nasaan, kailan ka ba?

- Sugar Free, "Kailan Ka Ba?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gaining back my faith

I am lonely again. I stood on the precipice of a great chance of finally finding love, after a long time. In the end, I had to throw it all away for doing what I thought was the best thing.

If it was so wise to let go then why does it hurt?

Yet life goes on. I refuse to get more exhausted than I already am. I cannot and will not be mired in this for longer than I have to be. I've learned fairly quickly; I can do it again.

I have to, for my own sake.
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The past six months have been dangerous times, in hindsight. I've been playing with toys I shouldn't even be touching.

When she found out, Denise was genuinely concerned about me and my well-being. She was scared for me. She disapproved of my habit without being patronizing. Had it come from anyone else I would have brushed it clean off.

Now I owe it up to her to keep from committing "bad faith." It has to end, and I need to be seen to. I guess you knew I deserve much better than what I've been giving myself, and for some reason I just forgot my self-worth.

If I see you often enough, perhaps you can keep me from bad faith. I can laugh heartily at you and me and forget about looking for love so doggedly, so vainly. I missed you a lot and I realize just how valuable our friendship is and how naturally it comes between us. It's worth making a habit out of.

Thanks so much, Den. I'll see you again soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ten guidelines from God

I got this email from my choir buddy Matthew. I thought I should share it with you guys because it's something I also need to look at from time to time.
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Effective Immediately, please be aware that there are changes YOU need to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. Please, follow these 10 guidelines.

1. QUIT WORRYING:
Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?

2. PUT IT ON THE LIST:
Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all... God. I can take care of anything you put into My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

3. TRUST ME:
Once you've given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list. Problem with finances? Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For My sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

4. LEAVE IT ALONE:
Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do my job.

5. TALK TO ME:
I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget... Please, don't forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! I love YOU! I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend.

6. HAVE FAITH:
I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me; you wouldn't want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

7. SHARE:
You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

8. BE PATIENT:
I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expect to handle something on My to-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.

9. BE KIND:
Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please, know I love each of your differences.

10. LOVE YOURSELF:
As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only -- to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don't ever forget...

Note: I received this from a friend and I have no idea who wrote it, but I was so touched by it, that I had to share it with you. I hope that you will be blessed by it and will share it with others.

Touch someone with your love. Rather than focus upon the thorns of life, smell the roses and count your blessings!

"I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it."

Of hotels, comfort and grace

I've been on overtime for the past month, and out of that, I've spent three weeks at a hotel close to work. This week was the worst yet. I'm dead tired and unable to sleep very well. There was even one day where I was up the whole night, searching in vain for sleep to come.

I'm really burnt out, and I don't think the hotel stay helped this time. I guess I miss my bed too damn much.
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There's this new colleague at work I'm not very comfortable with. Okay, perhaps I'm being a little unfair and I should give her the benefit of the doubt. But I really don't like the way she looks at me and approaches me. Once she literally rubbed me the wrong way---on the shoulder---to borrow my cell phone charger. I could feel my blood run cold. Who exactly is this girl to me and why is she being too friendly? My friend Chielou assumes she has a crush on me---well this is exactly how NOT to make a favorable impression.

Being over-friendly also applies to this other stranger who keeps sending me messages in the hope of making me a so-called textmate. I have no idea of who this party is, other than "it" having introduced "itself" to me as "Trouble." To date I haven't replied to any of "its" messages, but that doesn't seem to have stopped "it" from trying.

Besides, if you were named Trouble, how good do you imagine my odds are of wanting to meet you?
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Regardless of how massively tired I've been this week though, I'm glad I had my friend Grace. We've become much closer over the past few days, and my day hasn't been complete without calling her up or sending her a few messages over SMS. In the insomnia-laced craziness of work, she's kept me on an even keel.

I only hope I've done the same for her.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mushy rush

I just finished watching the anime "REC."

It's the story of Aka, a struggling red-haired seiyuu (voice actress) who aspires to emulate Audrey Hepburn, and Matsumaru, an equally struggling advertising man in a snack food company. Both awkward and shy, their lives intersect when Aka's apartment goes up in flames after their initial date over beer and chicken. Matsumaru offers to take her in...and thus starts the chain of events that becomes their adventure.

It's been a long, long while since an anime made me feel this nice; I haven't felt this mushy rush since "Chobits." In a culture and place like Japan, where work takes precedence over almost everything else, "REC" features just how hard it is to start a successful relationship, let alone maintain one.

The theme is nothing new, as is the story, so what "REC" has going for it is its charm. Aka changes her voice whenever she quotes Audrey Hepburn's movie lines, and Matsumaru's introverted nature gets him in all sorts of trouble. The two characters just work, and "REC's" short run (an episode has two 15-minute chapters) keeps it peppy and fresh, just the right amount of mushy. Despite the brevity, the series covers all the bases.

This was really fun. I'd like to see more of these.