Sunday, September 30, 2007

If I Had a Choice


I'd take root here, and never, ever leave. Last night was one of the greatest nights I've ever had in a really really long time. Three bottles of Tanduay (with one still remaining) and a bottle of Gran Matador, plus all that red wine. The laughs and slapstick fun of awesome company, the thrilling talk and catching up. Bruce's nudist qualities. All that food (apparently). Blacking out again - and having fun even after (I know I did, and so did everybody else).

I am going back here, and I am never, ever leaving. Only these people can keep my mind happy, with their silly antics. Once Obbie posts the photos, the world will see just how wild a night at Mount Narciso can be. Haha!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Arial Font 21


I just got back to Manila.

The only way to get the best Manila-style greeting is to ride the ordinary fare bus from NAIA to Buendia lugging a somewhat light piece of otherwise bulky luggage. And a laptop. And then it's a crowded jeep from there to Makati Medical.

I'm sleepy. And almost happy. All that's left is to get some things out of my mind.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Multiplex: It's Worth Mentioning


I just have to plug this.


The writing is goddamned intelligent for a webcomic. And to think I have just discovered it now. For shame.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Love Haibane Renmei


A dialogue taken from the last episode of Haibane Renmei:

REKI
Everytime I trusted someone, I always ended up being betrayed, so at some point, I stopped trusting everybody. So that I wouldn't have to get hurt, I became a stone.

Ironic, isn't it? If only I close my heart and pretend to be nice, everyone says I'm a good Haibane. They just don't know how dark and impure my heart is.

RAKKA
That's not true! You were always kind! I believe in you!

REKI
Rakka. You never realized, did you? How jealous I was of you.

RAKKA
You weren't . . .

REKI
Both of us were sin-bound, but you were forgiven. Everyone leaves me. When Kuu took the Dayof Flight, some part of me was jealous of her, and I absolutely despised myself for that.

RAKKA
That's not true! You came to look for me when I fell into the well! You took care of me and went to get the medicine for me! When I was in pain, you were always there for me!

REKI
That's right! And why do you think I did that?! I was only looking for salvation! Only when I was being useful to someone, only then could I forget about my sin! And the only thing I was thinking was that maybe God would come and forgive me someday!

RAKKA
Stop it! Stop it!

REKI
Rakka, to me, it didn't have to be you.

RAKKA
STOP IT!!

REKI
When I found your cocoon, I made a bet. I forced myself to believe that if this Haibane trusted me, I would be forgiven. That's why I acted so kind. It didn't matter who was born in the cocoon. It was all a lie. I didn't care about anything as long as I was forgiven. It was a mistake for you to trust me. Now you know, so get out! Get out!!

This is insane drama. This one scene alone reverberates with perhaps all of the action you'd ever see in the series, but for the minute or so that it lasts, the two main charcoal feathers, the young Rakka and Reki the painter, you see the extremes of the rock Reki (her name means the small pebble) has built around herself, and the gradual breaking of the meeker, trusting Rakka. This is the prelude to the climactic push where Rakka fulfills the ultimate meaning of her true name (the meddling nut), and breaks the older charcoal feather out of the deadly circle of sin (The one who recognizes his sin has no sin).

This is, truly, a magnificent show for meditation.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Everybody's Dancin' in the Moonlight


Okay, note to self: if you sleep at, say, three in the morning, and for some screwed up reason, your body decides to wake you up, fresh and alert, at five thirty two bloody hours later, you can instantly assume that your body is indeed crazy, and is lying to you through it's teeth.

Here's what happened. I slept at three after enjoying a heartbreakingly beautiful movie called Magnolia (which, if you haven't had the pleasure of viewing the film as of your reading of this humbled text, should shame you into submission and prod - nay, drop kick you into finding a copy of it as fast as you can). It was an honestly good night, considering how last week was like; and I think I slept like a baby.

That is, until I opened my eyes, feeling fresh and wired, fists at the ready to tackle whatever linebackers the week decides to throw my way.

It was five thirty-two in the morning.

Since I didn't usually wake up this early in the morning, I decided to go and give the apartment a good beating - that is, I went around and tidied up what needed tidying up, kicking some of the resident spiders out of town, and dusting my small-but-steadily-growing library. Then I had some breakfast, a modest bowl of oatmeal with flakes of cheese, and a cup of coffee.

And then I went to the computer, sat down, and worked a bit on a short story. Around thirty minutes later, the water delivery boys (one had a new haircut) arrived for my weekly fix, and after they left, I did some stretching and went on my thirty-minute run.

When I finished with my routine, it was nearly twelve in the afternoon. I decided to go into town and eat lunch out. I needed to pick up my laundry, anyway. All nine kilograms of it.

Let me tell you something about lugging nine kilos of laundry uphill for around fifteen minutes. If it didn't come in even the most rudimentary of backpacks, something that you can rely the good ole dorsal to handle with ease, and instead was ceremoniously wrapped in two layers of XXL garbage bags, bless the owners of the laundromat, you will have one of two things, if not both:

  • an increased heart rate
  • a throbbing pain in and around your arms
and to think I used to lug a bottle of water up around the same distance a few months back. I cannot express in words how thankful I am for the Aqua Prime wonder twins.

I think my day went downhill from there. The heat around the time I left for the office was more than enough to make sure that I arrived at the office with a fresh coat of lovely sweat that kinda worked rather badly with the formal wear we had to put on every Monday.

Now here I am, at the office, just counting the minutes til quitting time, so that I could get home, kill myself with whatever exercise I have left for today (Monday is muscle training day oh boy).

My bed shall embrace me like a lost lover tonight. I can feel it.

When God Wants Something Done, He Sends a Lawyer


And no, that title isn't rhetorical or figurative in anyway. More details here.

God scores a point. Makes you wonder just what form modern-day avatars take. Lawyers in business suits. Office drones in plaid. The bench warmer of a famous soccer team. If you think about it, maybe everybody's an avatar.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This Is More Than Just Sheer Coincidence


Meme taken from Mike, title stolen from "Magnolia," since the movie rocks so much.

1. When you were a kid (read anywhere from birth to about ten), what did you "want to be when you grew up"? Do you still want that?

I always wanted to be a criminal investigator. And no, I don't think so; the PNP don't get paid enough, Pinoy crime is like an infestation of fleas on a scraggly mutt, and private investigators usually don't have enough back-up to stay alive.

2. What is the best video game, and why?

Tough question. But the only game I ever played more than twenty times was Chrono Trigger, so I guess that'd be it.

Or the Megaman series! Fanboys rule. Oh, and here's something interesting. Or sick.

3. Pencil or pen? *g*

Pen. They can be used to make intricate skin tattoos.

4. Three wishes - what are they? (They have to be selfish wishes.)

The powers of:

a. Mind reading (I swear)
b. Flight
c. Destruction

5. What's the one question you'd like me to ask? Answer that.

I don't get this question. Is it a question I'd like people to ask me, or a question I'd like to ask the guy I stole that meme from - or, conversely, a question I'd like him to ask me?


I need a new wardrobe.

This Is Not The Music From "Jaws"


We take a break from your regularly scheduled program to give everybody who cares a heavy dose of hardcore fanboyism:

AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER SEASON THREE IS LOOKING AWESOME!

I just finished watching "The Awakening," the first episode of this much-awaited continuation of what could be one of the most groundbreaking animated children's shows the mighty America has produced (and that's saying a lot, actually, considering the quality of most shows they've been churning out, but that's for another day). And unlike the severe mood swings the season one ender / season two premiere had - which wasn't bad at all, although it could be unsettling for those watching the series continuously - this series continues from the insanely depressing cliffhanger of "The Crossroads of Destiny."

Aang seems to be going through a Potterification of sorts (read: gay / emo transformation), while Zuko is, once again, the butt of all Azula's jokes - but that's been established a long time ago; boys, watch out for Azula's bed scene. It's her shining moment of sexiness, perhaps the only one we'll ever see from her.

Oh, and Ozai actually shows his face, and is indeed a rather good-looking individual, althought his boyish features don't seem to mix well with the musculature of the rest of his body, as evidenced in the agni-kai between him and his only son in the first season. He sure gives Iroh a run for his money, though, which could explain why good ole Uncle only has one kid (who died in the war), while Mark Hamill (Ozai, via his voice actor) has Zuko and Azula.

The rest of the cast is on-set merely as wallflowers for the protagonist and the anti-hero, aside from the impressive metalbending and waterbending both Toph and Katara execute throughout the episode. Although Katara crying to her dad was one bit of waterbending the show could have done without; I guess they needed to establish that one little plot point for the family viewers. I mean, we wouldn't want ten-year olds asking their fathers about the sudden re-introduction of Hakoda into the lives of the young heroes, but the preview review plugged by Avatar Spirit hit it spot on when they mentioned that the scene was something the episode could have done without.

However, if you're fresh from viewing the season two finale, the third season's premiere is more than enough to get anybody stoked for the rest of the series. Looks like I'll be pretty busy come Sunday morning of the next ten weeks.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Mule is Broken. I Need a Replacement.


Sometimes, I just sit in front of my desk, thinking that maybe, just maybe, the past year's been a big-ass joke. That somewhere, out there, is me, sleeping off a hangover after a heavy night of drinking at Bruce's or Louie's. That everything was right with the world - I still had long hair, I was still a fat bastard who could take in alcohol and troubles as if he were the unbreakable Iron Man.

(funny, how I mention Iron Man in this post, since technically Tony Stark is your ultimate tragic hero; trapped in his life support system because of shrapnel in his heart for the longest time, then varying levels of death and rebirth. Real smooth, Martin Cruz. You're a genius when it comes to accidental metaphors).

But no. I'm here. I know I'm here. I told myself I'd never resolve to regret, since regret equates to something that you couldn't ever fix, and I've always prided myself in being able to fix things that I end up wrecking. But I somewhat regret 2007. It was a bad year. It still is a bad year. I've never seen so many different aspects of hardships that could mentally and emotionally tax the so-called indomitable human spirit. I've never had to deal with the problems of being the only person around to look after myself, through thick and thin. I've never been so worried about the people I left back at home, the people I love, the people I wish would love me, and the people who could make my day complete, no matter how dejecting my day had been. I've never been so lonely that I'd resort to doing what I just did the past week (and no, parents, it wasn't anything immoral; it was just monumentally stupid). I've never felt the tug of individuality, and the reason why the comforts of home could never, ever be overrated. It was a really heady learning experience, and I can only wonder how I managed to eke it out alive and sane.

Sometimes, I wish I'd just wake up a kid, in time for an episode of Batibot or maybe even that Saturday Robocop cartoon, or reruns of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Times were so much simpler then.

My friend, Jon, keeps on saying that Martin is Martin. That's a fact. Martin is Strong.

Lately, I've been wondering. Am I really? Maybe what he really meant to say was, "Martin is Crazy."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Because the Weather is Full of the Threat of Rain


There are, I have discovered, few things that amaze me.

Sitting here, in the dazzling sun while basking in the dour of a cold southerner threatening to take my sun away and turn the sunny afternoon into something more quaint, less exciting, I know and wait and see the unfolding of the magnificence only nature can bring, and I watch it with the anticipation of a child waiting for a gift from his mother, only less profound, because in this case, the gift was ephemeral and immaterial.

And it's common knowledge that immaterial things, emotions, psychoses, frustrations, and peace, count for plenty in the big scheme of things, but only, only if the packaging is gorgeous enough to dazzle the senses. In this case, again, it is not. After all, the slow cycle of the weather and seasons is an imitation of the flux of the impenetrable immaterials of your average person, and thus, when the sun slowly wanes in the face of heavy weather, one cannot help but imitate, and sink into a ponderous air slowly, like the collapse of a heavy boot into an equally heavy bog.

This is how life becomes luminous. But it no longer fascinates me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wahoo.


Just another meme. Got it from work, edited it a bit (and by that, I mean I removed one question).

If I was an opposite gender, what would my party clothes be like? Uh. Don't know about the top, but I'd always wear a long skirt. The kind I'd trip over.

At 10am this morning, I wasFast asleep

At 10pm tonight, I will be… Debating about going home or doing overtime.

Who should be the next Malaysian Prime Minister? I have no idea.

If my spouse told me to do without sex for a year, I would… agree. If I had a significant other, much less a spouse. And if she could stand it.

If I was a piece of a car, I would be the… the plush interior

If I was told one day that I would have to give up either 1) anything chocolate OR 2) ever seeing the beach again, for the rest of my life, which one will I give up?
Chocolates. No contest.

Singapore is good for… splurging on cash.

If I could only say 3 words before I die, what would those last words be?
I am eternal.

Who would I like to be left on a deserted island with?
Somebody fun and up for a little fooling around.


Die by drowning or by fire?
Fire. I'd rather be ashes than bloated.

If I opened a night club, what would I call it? El Loco Escondado

Don’t cheat: what’s “bulbous”? Growing or bearing bulbs

I think my ass is… Universally hawt.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Working Tour of Manila by a Real Son of Manila


I technically am a son of Manila, and I love Pandacan despite the somewhat decrepit anti-ghetto state it has recently degenerated into. Manila, a friend used to say, was like a whore; nondescript by day, dazzlingly beautiful but dangerous by night. Even today, as I try to live my life away from the hustle and bustle of the nation's questionable capital, I find myself yearning for the polluted avenues of Taft and United Nations, the Francisco Zamora bridge, which everybody from Pandacan lovingly calls the "bagong tulay," which leads to one of the largest motel sprawls imaginable in the country. I long for Roxas Boulevard and the filthy but romantic sea wall, from the old Army-Navy Sports complex to the pristine, dog-friendly gardens of the cultural centre, just like how a man, devoid of love, returns to the embrace of his favorite prostitute just to know what human touch felt like, once in a while.

I want to see that old, somewhat batty old man who directs traffic at the corner where the old Romualdez mansion stands. Or salute that soldier who guards the watchtower atop the walls of Malacanyang Park right beside Nagtahan Bridge. Have that guard at the Pureza station of the LRT-II go through my gig bag again en route to Anonas, and Freedom Bar, which is only a city away, but feels just as much a part of the old Manila that I know so well.

I'd like to go to Gary's at Taft Avenue with my friends again, at seven p.m., just hours before closing time, to drink a couple of beers, and shoot the breeze with the fat waiter. Or wait for that really pretty girl who always went to the Dunkin' Donuts just a couple of stores away, while editing a short story and nibbling on a ten peso donut.

What else?

I want to go to SEx again - the Sinigang Express over at Pedro Gil, just a few steps away from St. Paul Manila, and have one of their Tapang Tapat, the most exciting, heart-choking tapsilog meal that goes down oh so well with a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen, the best pilsener in the world. Or visit the Starbucks over at Holiday Inn along U.N. Avenue, and say hi to the lovely baristas there (this, I hear, is impossible now).

There's something about waiting for the Greenhills bus at Sta. Mesa, with all the PUP students with you, breathing in the smog of the afternoon rush hour; you're in no hurry, after all, you're just on your way to Annapolis for another drinking session with your cronies. It's almost as nostalgic as that left turn from Araneta Avenue to N. (Ennie, to the old-timers) Domingo, where Manila ended and San Juan began in a deluge of seedy nightclubs taking advantage of the abrupt change in territory.

Along San Marcelino, just past the Adamson University campus, and pretty near SM Manila, is a series of the most interesting wall murals you could imagine seeing. There, among the murals, you will see the future of the city, ultramodern and prophetic, culminating in that one single painting of the woman with the green face taking a crap in a yellow tiled bathroom.

If you're ever in the Santa Ana extension of Pedro Gil, don't forget to stop by the Bambu Grill (if they're still open) for the cheapest silog meals this side of the Metro. The owners run a clandestine operation training waitresses for foreign service, and they regularly run episodes of Naruto on the only TV set in the entire restaurant. The tables are so heavy, it would take three of me to even move them for a meter.

Since we're in the same geographical location, further down the street you will find the Santa Ana church, where the ghost of a beggar haunts the corner where Pedro Gil extension meets New Panaderos. And even further is the ruins of one of the old hospitals in the area, emanating such powerful vibes of unearthly radiance that the entire avenue, though wide enough to fit four hummers abreast, is vastly empty save for the jeepneys going from Mandaluyong to Manila via Kalentong.

On the opposite side of Santa Ana, very near the Manila-Makati border, is a place called Builders. My friend Obi and I love this place. And that is all that will be said about it.

Along one of the side streets in Dapitan was this little batcave of a drinking place the Thomasian Writers' Guild called Kittens (or the Batcave, depending on your batch). It regularly serves cheap-ass bottles of Red Horse 500s starting from eleven in the morning. How do I know this? I have proof - you may find it in my liver, and in the livers of plenty other contemporaries in the TWG. The owner has become rather exasperated with some of us, actually. But she loves the business. I hear the place had closed down now. Such a shame.

I want to eat at Wendy's Nagtahan again.

Or walk the two labradors, Homer and Marge, along the Linear Park.

Contemplate the prices of Red Horse at the Tejeron San Migue plant.

Listen to the trains whirring down the railroad tracks, or the Angelus bells of the Sto. Nino parish.

Watch the sunset where the smog makes it beautiful.

Hear the roar of familiar people. Listen to Hotdog blasting from the stereo components of people who didn't care about personal space.

I miss Manila.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Frog in My Apartment: A Fairy Tale


A small frog managed to make it's way into my house the other night.

I'd just gotten home, fresh from a night out after doing a bit of work that really needed seeing to, lest I get fired, and I wouldn't want that, no I wouldn't. I switched the dim lights on, and woke up my computer from hibernation. There were still some documents left to finish, but I didn't feel like doing them at the time.

Instead, I felt like cooking. I had some rather tasty, zeppelin-shaped sardines waiting in my larder, and the local variation of the monay, which had a glazed crust that tasted so much like honey, it was a crime to toast it for fear of divine retribution. These two foodstuffs went really well together, and it didn't take too much prodding from my inner self to get moving.

That was when I saw the frog.

It was sitting on the sink, right beside my dishrack, looking rather innocently at some ants that were crawling up the wall. It was probably hungry too, but it was so small, hardly the size of my fingernail, that it didn't look like it was capable of feeding itself. I went closer to give the creature a more thorough inspection.

When my shadow blocked the little light emanating from my low-watt lamp and loomed over the ittle froggy, it turned to me and said,"Hey mack, get out of my light. I'm trying to catch my dinner."

I stopped in midstep, taken aback at the fact that a frog that probably wasn't even in puberty was talking to me. "I'm blocking your light?" I asked.

"Yeah. Hey. Move it. I'm hungry here," it replied.

Well, the nerve of the amphibian. I said, "Well you're on my sink. This is my house. You're trespassing here." I reached for the light switch that operated the sink's overhead bulb, and in a second, my shadow had shifted to my back. The froggy jumped at the sudden deluge of radiant energy.

"There. Better?" I asked. "I figure I'd let you stick around, despite your attitude earlier, since hey, I rarely get visitors. And you're doing me a favor, getting rid of the ants. Just, y'know, don't mind me while I prepare some food for myself. I'm hungry too."

It looked at me with it's beady eyes for a second, then ballooned what little chin it had - which I decided was the frog's version of a shrug. "Suit yerself, mack. And thanks."

"No worries." I was already reaching into my overhead cupboard - making sure I wasn't blocking the froggy's light - and took out the jar of Zaragoza and a small plate. Using a pair of tongs, I removed three of the delectable sardines from the jar, and one of the pickled carrots the manufacturers placed in the jar. It improved the sardines' flavor, or so they said. I just liked them because they were pickled in Spanish oil.

While I was digging around for the loaf of monay, the froggy was busy lunging - with its tongue, naturally - for the ants that, attracted by the scent of the sardines, were braving the path where the amphibian was, making his job easier. It was interesting, watching a small frog eat. There was a silky, swift movement in every lunge; first, the frog sat, stock-still, waiting for an insect to get within the range of it's heat-seeking tongue. Then there was the slightest of jerks at the frog's rump-end, which rippled up its back muscles right before the froggy opened its mouth to lunge with it's elastic tongue, legs leaning forward like a runner just before the first gunshot.

"That's quite a tongue you have there," I said. "And looks like you're plenty hungry, too. That's what? Your twentieth ant?"

"Charmed, I'm sure," he said, which was, I think, in response to my compliment. "And I'm not really that hungry. But I'm in a hurry, see?"

"In a hurry?"

There was a silent snap! as the froggy captured yet another ant. "In a hurry, yeah," it said while swallowing the insect. "A frog'll stay a runt for most of his life if he don't chow on as much grub as he can find. Ever hear the expression eat worth your weight? Well, yer average fully-grown toad's around ten pounds, tops. An ant don't even measure up to an ounce. You do the math."

"So," I said, going back to my bread hunt, "technically you're stuffing yourself just so that you can grow bigger?"

"Spot-on, mack," it replied. It was watching another ant, a crawler, try to figure out if there was a way past the blockade that was the froggy. "You're a real Einstein. IQ of 200 and all that."

I ignored the sarcasm since I had finally found the bread. "Why're you in a hurry to grow up?" I asked. "Don't you think it's great to stay a kid? You don't have to worry too much about so many things. You'll start out a tadpole, and you just have to swim about and open your mouth for whatever feed you can get. When you're all old and spotted, you can't afford to let your back dry for too long, or else you'll overheat. Plus there's the problem of having kids. And avoiding the assholes that like making a wallet out of your hide. I mean, you're a kid. Nobody wants finger-sized frog wallets. Or boiled frogs, since you won't make much of a meal. You're considered cute. Kids will want to play with you, rather than trap you in glass jars for biology class. You've got it made."

It took a break from catching the ants, long enough to give me a piercing, searching look. After a moment, it turned away and said, "Like I said, a real Einstein."

"Excuse me?" I shot back, a bit irked by the little toad's cheekiness.

It emitted a sigh. "Okay. It's like this. Ever heard the story of the Frog Prince?"

"Yeah," I said. I'd finished fixing my night's meal, and was putting away the knife, the sardine jar, and the bread bag. "That's the story about the frog who gets kissed by this really pretty girl, and becomes the prince who'll make her drop her panties in three seconds flat, and live with her happily ever after, right?"

"That's the one," it replied. "Well, I'm aiming to be one of them frog princes. Problem is, I'm a young-un, and you've never heard of a frog prince baby, have ya?"

A frog prince baby? No, there was no such thing. The frog prince was a fully grown prince, ugly as sin and possibly hallucinogenic - it was a wonder the princess didn't die after kissing that frog, but then again, love was one of the strangest things in the world. But then, here I was talking to a frog who was in a hurry to meet the love of his life.

What was that euphemism again? Now I've seen everything.

"So," it continued, hopping about and facing me, "that's the masterplan. I'm chowing on as much grub as my stomach can handle, so that I get bigger faster. So that I can meet up with my chick and have my own fairy tale ending."

"Oh. Well, good luck with that." I said. I took my plate to the table, sat down, and began prying the sardines open with a fork. "But I doubt that you'd find somebody willing to kiss you in this reality. I mean, you're a frog. There's no denying that. Go look for a hippie settlement, and try to pass yourself as one of them hallucinogenic toads, and you might get somebody to kiss you just to get high."

The froggy, apparently, was finished eating, and was now watching me eat my own dinner. It's doe-eyes had drooped somewhat, after hearing what I just said. I guess, after some deliberation, that I'd dampened its spirit, and this was confirmed when it muttered that I was 'one helluva human, to go and walk all over the dreams of an innocent baby frog like that.' It hopped onto my dishrack, regarded the open window, and with one giant jump, leaped onto the sill.

"Wait," I said, and I stood up abruptly from the table.

The frog stoppd where he was, between the salt and pepper shakers, and turned its face around to look at me. It's eyes were a bit more dewy than usual - it looked like it was just about ready to cry.

"Um. I'm sorry." I began, then walked slowly to the sink. I crushed a couple of ants with myfinger, and dropped them beside the pepper shaker, prying them from my pointing finger with my thumb. "Here. So that you'll grow bigger faster. Sorry if they're a bit crushed."

It looked at the remains, and with a single swoop of the eagle-eyed tongue, swallowed the whole bunch. It emitted a small croak, which was probably it's way of saying thanks, and hopped away before I could say anything else.

I wanted to give it a bit of advice, actually. I wanted to tell the froggy to talk to his princess first. Conversation was one of the fastest ways to a woman's heart, and even if you were a frog, you could get anybody to love you if you just showed her that you were an understanding, sweet old toad. Maybe even get them to kiss you. Live with them happily ever after. And all that jazz.

But the frog was gone, it had hopped back into the night, nursing it's wounded ego with the remnants of a couple of crushed ants, and, hopefully, the determination of a rock rolling downhill. I sure hope I didn't hurt its feelings. It was a nice frog, a frog with a dream. How many frogs did you meet everyday? How many frogs dreaming of one day kissing a princess and living the goodly, charmed life of a prince, did you meet everyday? It was beyond me, this kind of thinking, and I went back to my dinner, which was, ironically, starting to attract a new horde of ants.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wedding Aftermaths


Martin Cruz: writer / master of celebrations / club dancing machine extraordinaire.
Status: Dead
Life lessons:
- Jesuit priests do not like being cut off just when they are starting the gospel. No they don't.


- If you have to be the emcee for a wedding, make sure that a ready-made programme of events is set. Otherwise:
  1. Demand for one
  2. Make one yourself
  3. Back out from the position, with your tail between your legs
  4. Get hammered before the reception proper
  5. Hara-kiri?
- Cake is good. And so is fried chicken. And a lot of other wedding foods. Really.

- Tequilla and subsequent bottles of Red Horse do not a great conversationalist make. It does, however, make for an awesome dancing machine.

- Never ever start a conversation when you're inebriated and cooking corned beef at the same time. Cutting an onion is an exciting work of art when in this state, and could very well take ages.

- Mobile phones should be kept away from an inebriated Martin. I think some of my friends know this well. :D

And in the end: Congratulations to the newlyweds, John and Jovie Pimentel! I'm sorry if the photographers hated me for coming up with an impromptu programme with one of your titas. I'm sorry I wasn't able to sample all the food. You owe me a Green Haven treat, Mr. Pimentel, wahahaha!

Now, go read some other, more interesting blog.

This Could Just Be Me After a Bad Night


But lemme assure you that I don't ask for help for no reason. I won't explain why I'm asking for your prayers, but if you slightly care for the sanity and wellbeing of either Kilawinguwak, Martin Cruz, or the Cruz family, then I beg and implore you for prayers. I / We severely need them. Thank you.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Attack of the Mystery Bug


Yesterday, I was kept from leaving the house because of the fact that my lower back hurt like a bitch in heat, which cemented my decision to keep away from sit-ups, and stick to crunches. As a result, I had to stay and work from home - which I have begun to mind, because my home time is when I work on my stories and watch the multitudes of media I gather, since I am sans television. I'd rather work in an environment like the office, where the air is made of nothing other than work, and serves as a cocoon from the reality of the world.

Fortunately for me, Lia was more than understanding, and let me conduct my homework (so to speak) at peace.

I was going to go to work today, to make up for the lost day yesterday. Unfortunately, sometime this morning, a series of rather unfortunate events happened that I will now relate.

So there I was, sitting at the only chair in my house, typing away and trying as hard as I could (and utterly failing) to keep myself seated upright without damaging my back any further. I'd already finished with one of my tasks, and I was now working on something unrelated to the office. It was nearly time for bed, and I was winding down.

I'd noticed earlier that there were plenty of bugs zipping in and out of the only open window in my apartment, but I paid that no mind. Bugs were pretty common in this part of the city (countryside?), and I usually just let them be. I only went after cockroaches and ants, and the occasional threatening giant spider, those arachnids with leg spans as big as your open fist. If they didn't bug me, however, I didn't bug them.

Around thirty minutes before the time I'd alloted myself to brush my teeth and zip to bed, I felt something strange, some palpitating thing at the base of my arm, near the elbow joint. I swatted at it, thinking it was just another one of the bugs that had gotten a little too curious. It went away.

For a while, anyway.

I'd encountered a rather annoying virus sometime during the night, and I was hard put at finding a solution. Juggling that and updating the spreadsheet that was supposed to show my workout schedule were two pretty absorbing tasks, and all of my concentration was diverted to at least one of the two procedures. I was used to manually removing virii from my computer - it was all a matter of removing the files that generated them and the registry entries that made them possible, and so long as I knew what to tinker with, I could extract the bloody bastard from my system and gloat over my new accomplishment.

This was, I understand, far from being a hotshot programmer, but for someone who did rather badly at C++, it was pretty exciting, as if it were something straight out of a cyberpunk novel.

Finally, I had to give up, and went with the most promising solution at hand. I emptied the C:\windows\prefetch folder, and restarted my system, plunging it into safe mode so that I could thoroughly scan the computer without the benefit of most system processes - which could be the source of my problem. Since the antivirus technically had more files to scan at safe mode, I settled in for an hour-long wait.

I poured myself three fingers' worth of brandy, and watched AVG do it's job.

Sometime after I started the system scan, the sensation I had earlier felt in my arm returned. Since my hands were free, I decided to check it out. What I saw did not do anything to make my dour, virus-ridden mood any better.

When you see a welt, you will assume one of two things. Firstly, you will assume that either you had been bitten by a bug, such as a mosquito, and will either scratch to your heart's content, or apply a salve of sorts. Some people rely on isopropyl; I, on the other hand, believe in the healing powers of Caladryl.

Secondly, should the bug be improbable, you will assume that you had ingested something that didn't exactly agree with your system. Just as with mosquito bites, this was not something alien to me. I had been allergic to crustaceans like shrimp and crabs for the longest time, and as a child, I would develop maps upon maps of rashes throughout my body after eating a single baby shrimp.

Now, since I was only talking about my arm, it would be rather easy to assume that the situation, therefore, had to be number one. Since - yes - I was, upon investigating the palpitating thing on my arm, looking at a rather angry-looking, circular welt. It was engorged, it was radiating heat, and it was itchy. I wanted desperately to scratch it, except that now that I had been alerted to the sensation, multitudes upon multitudes of other similar sensations were now making itself felt throughout my body, sending itchyness messages through the nerve endings of my skin, cultivating an electric signal that barged from synapse to synapse at speeds faster than light, telling my brain that it was itchy and demanding - DEMANDING - for the soothing sensation of an unloving, yet relaxing, finger scratch. Which directed evidence to situation two.

Since we were talking about multiple marks throughout my body, I immediately decided that it was something I ate that day, and while I dug through my bags for my diskhaler, which was the only antihistaminic agent I had on hand, I dug through my brain for what could possibly have caused the outbreak. I had a risotto this morning, button-mushroom risotto, which wasn't something I wasn't used to eating. And then it was stir-fried corned beef later that night. A cheese sandwich.

It was nothing I was allergic to, to say the least. So it had to be number one. But where was the bug?

After taking a dose of the Seretide, I decided to take a bath, to help keep the burning sensation at bay. While I was undressing in the bathroom, however, I found, while going through my hair, the remnants of a rather squashed bug. I had squashed it while I was running my hand through my hair.

Like most of the bugs in this region, I didn't know what it was, or if it was poisonous or capable of administering allergens in any way. But then, I didn't know if any of the creatures in this neck of the woulds even bit. So I decided that my outbreak was caused by the mystery bug. A good bath, the Seretide, and a good night's sleep should take care of it.

The bath did soothe the welts a little, and was refreshing enough to help me live with their presence and prepare for bed. When I checked on the computer after bathing, the antivirus hadn't found anything, so I shut it off, rolled into bed, and promptly fell asleep.

When I woke up, however, at around eleven in the morning, I was feeling decidedly terrible. The welts had, if anything, multiplied in numbers, and I was having trouble breathing. To top it all off, the back pain was still there.

I decided to email my boss later in the afternoon that I was, again, absent, albeit for a rather different reason. I made myself a cup of coffee, which was another good antihistaminic agent, turned on my computer, and prepared for a long day at home.

When my computer turned on, the antivirus bleeped. Another infected file had been found.

The mysterious bug had struck again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One-Eyed Man


It's been very quiet within my corner of the blogosphere recently. And no, Multiply doesn't count - Most people're usually just crossposting over at the service (I'm one of them), so technically, those guys're not even in my blogroll.

So to liven things up, here's a survey - yes, I do surveys sometimes - grabbed from Trina. I wasn't planning on posting this, but I gave it a shot, and some of the results were pretty hilarious. Just remember that most of the time, the songs I listen to don't have any lyrics.

Also, some of the items here are, ah, sensitive. If you know something about that particular part of my life, keep it to yourself. :D


1. if someone says "Is this okay?" you say?
Adieu - Emily Bindiger
Okay, this is a beautiful, sad song. I'm guessing the question has something to do with a break-up. Ouch. That brings back really foul memories.

2. what would best describe your personality?
Feel The Circle - Yoko Kanno
An intense, beautiful instrmental. Quiet, with hardly any beats, but you can feel the tension in the air. Very good.

3. what do you like in a guy/girl?
Starstruck Honey Rough Master (with the sex part at the start, haha!) - Mahasa
Now this just plain made me laugh. Mahasa is the band I used to be part of, and this was - is - one of my favorite songs. Give 'em a listen here (free plug!).

4. how do you feel today?
Poore Faye (Lip Cream) - Yoko Kanno
Yes, today was very, very bleh. Rainy days make me weep, what with the melancholy of being shut inside. And it rained rather heavily here.

5. what is your life's purpose?
Piano Black - The Seatbelts
In my mind's eye, this song is very progressive, active, and sunny. I like how that sounds.

6. what is your motto?
Either Jessica - Dir en Grey or San Francisco Holiday (Worry Later) Take 3 - Thelonius
Monk
Funny, I don't understand Japanese, and the latter song didn't have any lyrics. Maybe I have no understandable motto.

7. what do your friends think of you?
Birdland - The String Cheese Incident
No qualms here. Birdland is a classic. Means I'm a classic. Haha!

8. what do you think of your parents?
Straight, No Chaser - Thelonius Monk
Yes, I have to agree. My folks are fun (and frightening) when undiluted.

9. what do you think about very often?
Rhytm-a-ning - Thelonius Monk
This just didn't make any sense at all. Does this reflect my mind?

10. what do you think of your best friend?
This is Not America - David Bowie and the Pat Metheny Group
If this means what I think it does, then this does not bode well for me and my oldest, dearest friend.

11. what do you think of the person you like?
Either Diggin' My Potato - The New York Musicians or Brain Damage - Pink FLoyd
Now this is weird. The first song is simple, laid-back, yet very very sexy. Which she is. But the lack of lyrics prompted me to get another song. And Brain Damage is just so fitting.

12. what is your life story?
Comfort in your Strangeness - Cynthia Alexander
So the fact that I'm strange makes me a comfortable person to be with?

13. what do you want to be when you grow up?
Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
I think this song, ultimately, talks about being happy and content, enlightened. I wish to achieve all three one day.

14. what do you think when you see the person you like?
A kiss to build a dream on - Louis Armstrong
Oh God YES. Dammit. Just one friggin' kiss. Haha.

15. what do your parents think of you?
Amusement Park - The Seatbelts
The title alone says it all. I'm sure my dad will get a kick out of this.

16. what will you dance to at your wedding?
2nd Life - Yoko Kanno
A very serious tango. Hell YES. So sexy.

17. what will they play at your funeral?
Phoenix - Daft Punk
How fitting. My memory shall rise from the ashes of the pyre and be immortalized.

18. what is your favorite hobby/interest?
Piano Solo (live) - Yoko Kanno
I like adulation. I like recognition. This is fitting.

19. what is your biggest fear?
Call me, call me (live) - Steve Conte
The ultimate song about loneliness. It is my biggest fear. Also, the lines " . . . what can I do to get me through to you . . . " rankle in my head whenever I hear them.

20. what is your biggest secret?
Huwag Na Lang Kaya - True Faith
Haha. My player knows me very well.

21. what song will be the title when you repost this?
One-Eyed Man - The Red Herring
This really made me laugh. Haha! Give it a listen here. It really is hilarious.

And that's all for now folks. Hopefully, my next entry will be about a new short story.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

If This Were the Beaches of Normandy, We'd Have Been the Axis Forces


Very, very few things serve to shake the Zeppelin's own foundations, but today, the content-finance department's team building activity at Roan Beach served to deal a double helping of fun and excitement to the life of Martin Cruz, writer-salaryman.

It was a long time coming, this team building activity, and I learned quite a bit about the otherwise benign folks of the BOTW team (I am the only member of the umbrella content department, and Argee [RG?] is the only other member of finance). I'm usually pretty benign myself, described by the office folks as the peevish, stern-looking, quiet writer who makes it a rule to come in late (oh boy, Lia is going to have my hide for that line).

But today. Today, ladies and gentlemen. Today, the very foundations of all these laid-back individuals were shaken, and the Cthulus that slept within the depths of their innermost beings were revealed, stank, ugly, and rather willing to party given a bottle or two of beers. There was the exciting trip to the beach via a rented jeep (Obi, ga-pakyaw ni :D), with pop music blasting from the speakers as if the entire jeep and everything within a twenty mile radius were composed of deaf people; there was also the sliding pasta, which only Soren and I could control like the lazy bastards we were: by hanging on to the edges of the trays, and shifting weights at every turn.

But the fun really started when we got to the beach itself. Carrying a fully loaded ice chest the size of me up a flight of stairs is no mean feat, and could only be achieved by yours truly, Raffy the rather insane Rapper, and Ferdy, whose Chick's Choice t-shirt really rather made my day. The karaoke machine was carried up as well, again by myself and my fellow lazy butt, Soren (Google Analytics will show a spike in the popularity of the dead philosopher's keyword after this post, I'm rather sure). After a heavy lunch which technically rendered us incapable of further movement, though, the real team building fun started.

We were first asked to scour the beach for the one thing that could have described us perfectly; again, me being the lazy butt that I was, grabbed a bottle of lukewarm beer from the nearest chest and used that for my show and tell. Soren followed suit, getting a bottle of isopropyl from his backpack, the copycat slut. And then it was a variation of the standard trust game: we were all given bandanas with which to cover our eyes with, and paired up with another team member (Lia, in her ever-loving nature to make life complicated for everybody, paired me up with Gillian for the first of many recurring pair-ups that day). Gillian was a pretty decent guide; I don't remember tripping once up and down the flight of steps. On the other hand, she made a horrible blind person, shaking like a twig during a Signal No. 4 typhoon with every step she had to take back to the beach, so much so that I had to lead her with two hands.

Then it was that group survival game, wherein Ferdy and I both discovered that we were sure goners should we ever encounter a plane crash into an environment that hosted sub-zero temperatures - apparently, 90-proof whiskey would serve only to hasten the advent of hypothermia, and guns, while a good source of heat, sound, and protection, was also a rather bad weapon in the hands of a hungry survivor suffering from the effects of said whiskey. Ah well. See you in hell, bitch. Soren, on the other hand, had a 60% survival rate - not that it mattered, since the rest of the world was better off without the lazy butt (kidding, dude, you know we love you and your thousand nipples, too).

Then it was that weird grouping game, wherein we were all blindfolded once again, and had to seek out our mates by the sound we were told to emit. Mine was a snake. So was Ferdy's, Soren's and Mai-Mai's, who remains to me a mysterious figure (given that she was in the morning shift and I had this uncanny penchant to get to the office late). Go figure. So I'm a snake. Badger, badger.

And then there was another grouping game, which ended up with me devising an insane idea wherein I was a master tamer and Yuki, Kat, and Rose, these three really cool women were my, uh, animals. Yeah, I know. The weirdest things happen to me.

After that, it was swimming to the wee hours of the night, then dinner, another team-building activity where we had to input our thoughts into these pieces of paper taped behind each others' backs (not that I could understand half of what was written on mine, due to the language barrier, thank you very much you lovable motherfuckers, but whoever called me " . . . jolly, witty, sexy . . ." knew what she [he? God forbid] was talking about).

And thus ended team-building, and it was beer and spin the bottle for the rest of the night. Then the reinforcements arrived: link department's David Piltlow (it's actually Pitlo), Ryan Yatol, and Marvin Barraquias accompanied Raffy, Ferdy and myself with around four more bottles of Red Horse Grande, while Soren, Anthony, and Argee went swimming from 2200 to 0230 in the friggin' rain. And I thought I was crazy. Went home with Ferdy at around 0330, and now, here I am.

Highlights of the day:
  • the rapidly vanishing food during lunch
  • Richard Cheese and Stephen Hawkins' duet in the jazz rendition of The Girl is Mine (don't mess with the paraplegic, yo!).
  • swimming. Finally, me in a body of water bigger than a bucket.
  • Gillian's involuntary jitters. I mean, really. Am I that scary?
  • dirty-dancing with Gillian and Rose to the tunes of the Deftones and the new Smashing Pumpkins.
  • dirty-dancing with Kat to some song (apparently, my high school skills remain intact; my grind is impeccable).
  • Salsa with Yuki (who was lousy) and Raffy (who actually rocked). Apparently, I know a few of the steps of salsa. Surprised the hell out of me too.
  • beer with kinilaw. I must learn how to prepare the damn thing.
  • the increasingly R-rated spin the bottle. Lia was of no use at restraining us at all. Some boss (kidding boss, please don't fire me).
  • I regained a friend. :D
The only bad things that happened was that I texted a dear friend a rather stupid message (a message that read "Shej" cannot get any dumber) using my last bit of load. And that I may very well be the target of new gossip come Monday due to some, ah, rather interesting twists of circumstance.

Cheers folks. :D I'm off to bed. If I get a copy of the video, I'll put it up at me Multiply. No incriminating evidence though.