Thursday, March 29, 2007

Back from Hibernation

Well, I'm back.

After that bout with a bit of depression, my sister wormed her way into my hermit-like life and kept me on my toes for about a week. We did a whole smorgasbord of stuff, including a whole afternoon of white-water rafting, three cosmopolitans (for her), a lot of conversation, and even more shopping.

It was the shopping that got to me. We went shopping for new items for my digs here at Cagayan de Oro (wherein I got myself a Gaisano mall Suki Card), and plenty of other things that I probably wouldn't need. But she did, so now here I sit with six pillows, a sleeping bag, my old grill pan that I'd lent her, and by tomorrow, a table and chair set.

Life is good sometimes. She's gone back to Manila now, to look for a new job. God knows I'll miss the company.

In other news: a story of mine will be featured in the next issue of Story Philippines, which will go into production after the holy week. Grab yourselves a copy of this truly spectacular (well, maybe not that spectacular) issue when it comes out. And I'd enjoy to hear from readers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Gimme a bloody beer.

I've posted a new pseudo-story over at the old Zeppelin. That should sum up how I'm feeling right now. Yes, it should. Rather well. You can view it here.

There's nothing worse than feeling a complex mix of stress / burnout, inadequacy as a friend, person and writer, to bring a person down. It's worse than sickness, and it breaks you down emotionally and spiritually. It's like having to live with censorship everywhere, living like you always have to explain yourself, and while yeah, life's really like that, it sucks when that realization begins to apply on how your relationship with people you trust, people you believe in, works.

Sometimes, it feels as if living like a box were a good thing. But then, the ghosts begin to take over, and it's usually more frightening than real life. I mean, let's face it, all the worst demons are always inside us.

It's sad, as if you don't have anybody to help you from the outside, or the inside. And you can't call out for help, because everybody's too caught up in their own web of the world to actually really care. I know this. I am guilty. But one can't help but wonder if maybe this can change.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. We'll have to see.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Little Kids

During the weekends, I keep myself occupied by visiting a friend of my sister's who lives in the area. She cooks a mean adobo, lives somewhere in the middle of nowhere and shares a huge lot with her son's family that comes complete with several stinky guard dogs that would probably maul you to pieces if you even tried to walk around the compound without the company of at least one of its occupants. In other words, despite the horrible journey to her place, it's
always been worth it, even if it was just for the thrill. And the food. And yes, the booze.

This old woman has two little granddaughters that, like most children, feed on imagination and that mysterious store of energy that evades grown-ups with the tenacity of a Sunday afternoon. I love hanging out with the two kids because 1.) I love kids who can talk endlessly and 2.) I love women with attitude.

We were lounging around in their garden last Saturday evening, waiting for their lola to bring out the Scrabble set, when the eleven-year old Celine, a smart, pensive, eleven-year-old girl who spends her birthdays malling with friends and eating out at Shakeys, complains that her copy of The Sims was on the fix.

Before I could ask her what the problem was, her younger sister, a mischievous little dervish of eight, blurts out that The Sims was bastus.

(For foreigners, bastus is the local word for pornographic.)

I nearly choked on my beer. It brought me back to when I was around their ages. I was at the swimming pool in my uncle's condominium, and it was quitting time. I enjoyed the water, so I didn't leave without a fight, shouting "Let go of me, you piece of shit!" at my brother, who was lifting me out of the pool. That little episode got me a severe mouth thrashing, not to mention the embarassment of being flogged by your folks in front of cousins your age.
Bastus isn't anything as bad as saying "Shit!" at age ten - at least for most kids my generation - but for an eight-year-old to have any concrete idea of what bastus was set off alarms in my head.

Celine is instantly on the defensive. "It is not," she replies stoutly.

It's hilarious seeing the start of a squabble between two kids; I was not disappointed when Bea replied, with a louder tone of voice, "Yes it IS."

"No it isn't."

"It's bastus."

"It is not!"

"Yes it IS!"

They weren't screaming at each other, but their voices had become pretty loud at this point. Bea proved to be the louder of the two though, and her elder sister eventually shut up and pouted at the candlestick burning on the table.

Just as their lola was coming back with the board game, Celine says, "I want to watch Flushed Away."

I was going to ask her if she'd seen the trailer, but Bea beat me to the gun with a loud and proud statement: "I watched Apocalypto the other day!" I nearly choked on my beer again.

Don't you just love them? Little darlings. I hope to have kids as mischievous like them someday.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Timely Moment to Evoke the Garfield Mantra

I hate Mondays.

On the up side, I've discovered that my insurance card is indeed good in the hospital nearby. More on this when I feel a bit more chipper to post. Ta ta.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Funny Story For You!

Here's a series of Funny Stories.

Story #1

This morning, as I was walking to the highway I happened to meet one of my neighbors, this lady I usually buy binignit from in the afternoons just after work when the sun was high and the heat was ultimate. On this particular morning, she was looking rather pensive, and I decided that this wasn't especially because I was an hour late for work.

But I was a nice - if creepy-quiet - neighbor, and I didn't neglect my neighborly duties. Plus, she had a really hot daughter and being nice to the mom wouldn't hurt.

So I said Hello.

She nodded at me with a slight grimace. Yep, something was up. Did someone, God forbid, knock up her daughter?

No. "I lost a pig last night. I bought a piglet, and sometime during the night, she managed to slip out of the gate. I'm looking for her now."

A Piglet. Right. From junkyard car geeks to people who raised piglets. This is what the quality of my neighborhood has degraded to. My only regret is that I can't relate her words in the native tongue, since my Cebuano is limited to asking for directions, price, and the occasional cuss word.

Story #2

At the spot in the highway where I usually wait for the jeep that takes me to downtown CdO, there is a House. This House houses a house, a small sari-sari store, and this empty-looking pen. Or so it appeared.

One day, I was rather surprised to hear a lot of angry-sounding screeches coming from the pen.

Now, some background on my upbringing - I was never brought up anywhere near a slaughterhouse, much less a place that housed live pigs, so I wouldn't know what a screeching, grunting pig would sound like.

So imagine my Surprise when, upon staring over the bamboo fence inquisitively, I find myself face to face with the largest, fattest barako I have ever seen.

But apparently, my Surprise was nothing compared to the pig's. After seeing my mug from over the fence, the damned thing shut it's trap and just stared, probably thinking jeezus this is the guy who'll be eating me up later and oh my god will you look at the size of him how the bloody fuck will I ever survive the chewing from those jowls so god help me. Is there a god? If there is a god, why am I stuck here braying and screeching like a wild pig, pardon the expresson, while animals like HIM and my OWNERS are free to wander about like animals in the vast urban jungle? I mean, back in my day . . .

And this tirade would go on up to the wee hours of the night. When the poor creature was finally knocked out of his senses by a swift, spiked club to the forehead. And if that didn't do him in, I'm sure the gutting, chopping, and cooking would do the trick just fine.

Stay tuned for another Funny Story folks! Hang on to that cigarette, don't change that dial 'cause we'll be right back with more action-packed edge-of-your-seat stories.

Okay, Maybe Not.