Tuesday, October 30, 2007

After City Limits


One of the things I miss most about Manila is that the city just doesn't fall asleep. No matter where you go within the city, you're sure to find somebody awake. Never mind that the people who're up at say, three in the morning are more likely to do you harm than anything else, but the fact remains that for good or ill, you're never truly physically alone in Manila.

These thoughts ran through my head as I made my way out of the village I live in here in Cagayan de Oro. It was two-thirty in the morning (my day was pretty fucked up at the time, starting with the fact that I fell asleep at five in the morning the day before), and the entire bloody village was emptier than a cemetery. We don't keep night watchmen here, so when the local istambays go to bed, the only company you have are the mountaint's animal and insect occupants.

When you get to downtown Divisoria, the scenery changes from deep rural to semi-urbane. You see the requisite poor littering the sidewalks, the litter littering the sidewalks, and the odd establishments that stay open for twenty four hours. While nothing like Manila, the nighttime Divisoria is like a distant echo, sending caressing thoughts of companionship and danger running through your spine like the slight currents from a nearby Tesla coil.

I was withdrawing some money from the Landbank ATM in front of the cathedral, for example, when from the shadows, this really old woman appears from out of nowhere. She's your typical greasebag of a woman, with matted curly hair and a face like the hide of a carabao, parka that's probably been pissed on more times than the toilet bowl in my pad. She was also wearing an equally filthy duster, and was looking at me as if I were an apparition. Funny thing was, I ended up thinking that maybe she was the apparition.

The woman stayed there throughout the entire time I was finishing my transaction. When I was about to get my card from the slot, and put the bills into my wallet, however, she ambled over to my side - we were technically rubbing shoulders - and watched the screen intently. I looked at her, gave her my most winning smile and a nod after putting away my money, and walked away.

Later on, after a refreshingly heart-racing meal of three pieces of chicken and two cups of rice, I was walking to the only twenty-four hour convenience store in the area when a beat-up old Dodge Colt pulls over. The Colt actually would have looked pretty good - better than the one my family used to have - and was painted a bright yellow. The problem was, the car was pretty banged up (you could see the green foundation beneath the yellow coat), and the bumper was out in several spots.

Anyway. This guy pulls over beside me, and calls out to me via the Pinoy method of calling attention (SSSST!). At first, I didn't know if he was talking to me, but since the only other people within the vicinity were these two sidewalk vendors who were fast asleep, the only person he could have logically been calling out to was me.

So I acknowledge him, and raise a questioning eyebrow. Now, the fun thing about being a Pinoy is that establishing eye contact after the initial greeting is all part of the conversation. Without further ado, the guy asks me if I wanted a woman for the night.

Good lord. All I wanted was a meal, a tube of toothpaste, and a bottle of soda. In other words, I declined. Then he asks me if I wanted a man. That was the part where I walked away. The store was just another two blocks. And the clerk was rather pretty.

Cities. You've got to love them, since no matter what shit they throw at you, in the end, every minute you spend in them is an adventure.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gin-Bulag: The Enemy of Thine Enemy


Ohohoholy shit I am not doing gin-bulag ever again. The subsequent bouts of wastedness is just too awesome for me to handle. As of this writing, I am laughing at the fact that I apparently tried to enter the word "DAMMit" as the username for my Gmail account. That fact alone is hilarious.

However, last night was pretty fruitful. Gabby and I managed to flesh out ideas for the entire webcomic; now, I just have to write the bloody script and finish the bloody storyboard.

BTW John, yes, I am also working on the scripts for "Continuum." I expect a lot from you, so brush up on your art, foo.

To the people I sent randomly strange messages to last night, I apology. Really. I didn't know hell of what I was doing. :D

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Well, This Was Useless


First off, I would just like to say that I need a haircut. And a shave. I told myself I wouldn't get any real kickass grooming done until I set foot back on Manila soil, but apparently, that's not going to do wonders for the ruggedly handsome countenance I am privy to.

That, and the lack of sleep of the past few days, anyway. So I should be heading off to dreamy-dreamland in a bit.

In other news: House meets reality TV. Except it isn't reality. The writer who thought up the entire survival of the nastiest bit deserves some pretty good praise. Also, it's quite a treat to see Greg House giving out peonies. It gives you some insight as to how a good character can change without becoming insufferable; write that down kids.

That's all for today from the front. Don't let reality bite you on your way out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Segue Lang


The Eraserheads are the best cure to a heavy heart, as well as other ailments. :)


Meanwhile! Advibe hasn't been anything quite like what I initially expected it to be. This leads me to wonder if mebbe I hadn't been given the shorter end of the stick.

But I get to work from home, so that's always a plus.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wet Dream of a Male 80's Kid


I saw this link on Mike Ongsingko's blog, and MAN. I just had to post it here.









I am currently drooling. I wish it were real.

The End of Contentment


This is the end of contentment.

I finished the last few assignments I had to finish for Stickymedia Solutions' content department earlier today. It was like dropping off anchor from your hometown, waving at all your friends from the dock, wishing them all well and promising to write, except that you know you'll still be in the same place at the same time the next day.

I'm not saying that its an emotional separation. I've been going on way too much about emotional this and emotional that for the past few posts that I could put up my very own soap opera clinic and actually have enough material to last me a couple of years. So no, this isn't an emotional post.

But there's something to be said about having a steady something that you know working for you. I mean, I know writing. I know my writing. For the past year, I've been editing so many words, resuscitating so many dead articles, churning out so much copy that I couldn't even bear to look at the short story I'm writing when I get home. But I enjoyed my stay in the content department, and I know the content kids enjoyed my company as well, and there's just no replacement for the kind of love that you get from people who appreciate your work for what it is.

Tomorrow I plow into the world of Advibe Media, and the uncharted waters of full-throttle cutthroat Internet advertising. I have no idea just how well I could do in this new environment. My previous boss tells me that I could do it. The company owner says that the client thinks I could do it. I just hope I can think that I can do it.


My sister mentioned something about horoscopes that make some sense. If you fall for a symbiotic element, say earth (since I'm a Cancerian, and that's water if I've ever seen one), the chances are rather strong that one of the two people in the relationship will lose his or her identity. Which makes me wonder just how much of my identity I've lost so far. I can tell that the past five months have changed me so drastically, it's frightening. And while the idea of being fully content in a relationship is appealing in so many levels that it's frightening, does it make the price of one's own personality worth it?

Am I headed down that path that will generate a massive change in the entity that is me? Have I begun that metamorphosis already? Am I making the right choice in pursuing this? Is it worth my time, my effort, and the effort of the other person?

So I lied. This was going to be another emo post. Sue me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Things in my Mind


Crossroads are annoying little bitches, sometimes. You don't know if you're going the right way, and the only way you can find out is if you take the damn avenue - and even then, you probably wouldn't be in your own perfect path anyway.

But that's the thing. You have to take them, whether you want to or not (although you mostly often don't; you rarely get chances to choose exactly what your heart tells you to choose, either because you're an idiot or because everything looks enticing, and these two situations always happen).

At the very least, I am on the last legs of my stay here in this sleepy city that remains to be one of the most beautiful I've seen, although I wouldn't want to live here. In eleven days, November rears in its ugly face, and from then, it's two days to my dad's birthday, thirteen to the near-death anniversary of the crash brothers Obi and Martin.

And the day after that, I go home.

Home. It sounds like a Star Wars introduction. A galaxy far, far away.


Yesterday was the last day of editing. The dregs of all the shittiest writers the world could ever push my way has been processed through my majick hands of healing, and as I finished cleaning up the last damned word of that godforsaken set of documents, I could feel my mind breathing a sigh of relief.

Next week, I start working with a new team. And I am not without my apprehensions. I don't know if I'm up to the tasks and the toxicity of the post. It's like I've actually learned to doubt my own abilities, whereas a year ago exactly, the only thing I ever doubted was the veracity of Jessica Zafra's existence (which has, unfortunately, been proven). These guys (my department heads) are thrusting me into unknown territory, and the only thing that's keeping me from running scared is my huge ego. Granted, I was technically tossing myself into the jungle when I decided to take the CdO post last October, but I foraged on like a crazed guerrilla on steroids. Now, I'm not so surefooted.

Dang, really. The October-November cusp seems to host a lot of gut-wrenching twists of fate for me. Fortunately, I have alcohol and my pigheadedness to keep me from tapping out. Might not be much to go on with, but it's more than enough to keep me smiling.


Somebody is mad at me. I don't know if that person will be reading this; if this is the case, then I'd like to beg for forgiveness. You know who you are; I can't bear having disagreements with you, so drop me a message when you can. Radio silence is going to be the death of me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I Have Murder in My Mind


I am normally a very, very nice man. There are very few things that get my goat, no matter how dire the situation.

One of them, sadly, happens to be bad writers.

I am presently editing the work of a twenty-something excuse for an imbeccillic monkey given the God-given gift of using a keyboard. And, unfortunately, a computer with an Internet connection.

And because of this, this . . . ABOMINATION, I make one solemn promise.

Should the gods be kind enough to provide me with the chance to meet this writer personally, I will smile, and slowly, slowly gut him / her whilst he/she is living in order to extract only the most succulent, purest and most inimicable sort of pain. The most unadulterated scream of pain shall be like the tinkling of little piano keys in my ears. I will smile as his / her blood slowly drains from the body, the ebb of life from it's mortal shell. And just before he/she knocks out from sheer hemorrhagic pain, I will eschew a hole on his / her back and pull out his / her spinal cord.

AMEN.

Because some things just don't deserve to live.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Girl Genius


I LOVE this webcomic.

Here's a sample dialogue:

MAXIM: Should haff used hyu brains dot time, too.
DIMO: Shot op. I gets a new vun soon.
MAXIM: A new brain? Goot idea.

And I am convinced that I am a Jagermonster. Gaslamp fantasy (steampunk for you sci-fi freaks) galore in Girl Genius. The comic is highly recommended.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Abject Technophobia


Tremors.

You feel it when you're walking down the street, or even when you're just sitting down with a good book. From out of nowhere, you feel a sudden vibration in your side pocket, or you hear a distant, disembodied chime.

You instantly reach into the said pocket, like a reflex action, bringing out your mobile phone, expecting a new message or, if you're lucky, a phone call or an email.

But there's nothing there. The operator logo greets you with a blink as your fingers activate the mobile phone's backlight. You have just felt a phantom vibration.

Some research - not much, admittedly - has been going into this phenomenon, wherein most of the more definitive results point to a psychosomatic answer. That is to say, that it's all in our heads. Which also underscores the urban legend that man, in this day and age, has become so attached to his technology that it has partly begun to affect even his mind's involuntary actions.

I'm no technophobe, and I love machines just as much as the next guy. But it's curious how current technology has promoted more than just the evolution of the human physiology. Now, we're dealing with mental evolution, the true final frontier wherein no man has ever gone, and could ever get into, unless you were a telepath, in which case you should belong in a zoo. But I digress.

The rationale behind these involuntary tremors is the overwhelming need for connectivity, which is a light way of saying that we truly don't want to be alone, in the gestalt social aspect of loneliness.

The first level of human contact is the touch; the second, the presence. And the third is communication. Machines have eliminated the continuing need for the first two, and have directed more focus on the third level, which is communication, which explains partly why old people consider the next generation to be noisier and more confusing. We are enveloped in white noise, the static of speech without sound, the conversations of bells and chimes and blinking lights, because that's pretty much all we have left in a rapidly expanding global community.

But I think that people haven't really forgotten the first two levels of human contact; in fact, the need for such things has become so increasingly important that the expectation of touch, the aura of a person in the room, has been delegated to the machine, in the absence of a willing participant in social play. Thus the phantom limb of a mobile phone in your pocket. Thus the phantom vibrations.

We are waiting for someone to touch us, embrace us, and to say hello.

This is the 21st century, ladies and gentlemen. The cusp of the ages, where old gets left behind in the afterburners of the future. This is where the fear of being alone outweighs the fear of technology, and also quite possibly the beginning of the end of society as we know it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Decisions, Decisions


Okay.

I've made gargantuan decisions before. But this decision I'm making now could be pretty huge. And I'm feeling that pang that normally hits other people at times like these. Which is, to say, that I am starting to hate decisions.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


NO.

No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

I don't like it when I go batshit insane. So no. NO. And I mean No.

Monday, October 08, 2007

History Repeats Itself


I wanted to post this earlier.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

And then I realize that I did the exact same thing in my old blog two years ago on October 6th. Creepy shit. But I think the emotion is well worth the repetition. Because right now, I must be strong.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Let's Get Ready to . . . . Fumble?


Now, if I were a person of some clout, and was given the chance to print the headlines for either the People's Journal, Pilipino Star, or any of the somewhat respectable tabloids circulating in Metro Manila, it'd probably go something like this:

Barrera Pinakyaw ni Pacman!

(for the bisaya readers, pakyaw in tagalog means to finish greedily, often used as a term of ridicule).

Because really. That was what happened in the Pacquiao - Barrera fight held at Mandalay Bay. Barrera could have been a stuffed and weighted dummy that just kept coming back for more and more punishment, and we wouldn't have been able to tell the difference.

Oh wait, there was that one illegal punch. Yeah, no dummy would have been able to pull off something like that. Or the cut cheek. Or that trip of his during the twelfth round.

In any case, Pacquiao was just laying on the punishment like a cheeseburger grinding machine on Extra Joss. If Barrera wasn't so busy defending himself, Pacquiao would have knocked him out by the sixth round. I'm not kidding.

For what could possibly be Barrera's retirement fight, and as Quinito Henson said during the GMA 7 telecast, that was one hell of a way to go for someone like the Babyfaced Assassin. I mean, the guy technically has a place in the WBO Hall of Fame reserved for when he finally puts down the gloves! And what does he do in his last fight? He throws a maximum of a hundred or so punches, and even gets himself penalized in the full view of the overhead camera. Some Hall of Famer.

I have to say this, though. The Pacman was pretty much out of it himself. His first five rounds were crappy, spent trying to figure out how he could out-step Barrera, who at first looked like he knew what he was doing, keeping away from Pacquiao's reach. This kept the Pacman from hitting him squarely, save for a few punches here and there. But then, Barrera just had to play so defensively that his routine became predictable to a fault, and from the sixth round onwards, Pacquiao was owning his ass so bad, it was painful.

But considering how Pacquiao's past fights were, I kinda expected a bit more flourish from him. Sure, he looked like he didn't break a sweat by the end of the fight. Sure his right jabs were impressive. But dude! He could rain more terror with his left arm in one round than the paltry square hits on the face he did with his right throughout the fight.

And then good ole' Vice President Noli De Castro just had to be on hand at the end of the fight during Pacquiao's interview. Sheesh.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Away Wid You


Finally, after a looooooong feud with the Virtumonde dialer that somehow managed to worm itself into my computer, I found a fix.

No more late nights of scouring through the registry, trying to find the offending files.

No more bloody pop-ups in both IE and Firefox.

And best of all, I no longer have to run Spybot on every startup. Woohoo!

God bless you, ComboFix.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Being Parentless: the Two Lolas and the Circumstances of their Deaths


It's inevitable. One of these days, we'll all have to come to terms with the fact that we are truly alone, deprived of the hand that fed us, the mouth that made us who we are, the people that truly kept us from going over the edge. We'll have other loved ones around us, but nothing, nothing can replace the love of a parent for a child.

I remember two years ago of the events when my paternal grandmother died. The four Cruz siblings - my ate Yeyey, who commuted in from Singapore, my kuya Migs, my ate Carina, and myself - were caught unawares (death kinda does that) by my lola's passing, especially because my dad was at the time incarcerated in Makati Medical Center, recovering from a failed attempt to put his large intestines back together (he's been living with a colostomy bag ever since). We didn't have the heart to tell him, especially since it was early in the morning, I was supposed to be at school, and his blood pressure at the time was unexpectedly high.

My sisters were eventually able to tell him later on, but that was the start of a series of nightmares for us kids. This was, technically, our first attempt at handling a burial, since my mother was in Spain and was in no position to give us a hand. We all knew my dad had a plan regarding my lola Pacing's internment, but we didn't know what it was, or where the documents were. We were able to keep things together, though, and the entire ordeal pushed through without a hitch; in fact, people were amazed at how we managed the whole business.

Just a few hours ago, my maternal grandmother passed away as well. It was expected, since her health hasn't been anything too great for the past few years, from what we've been hearing (she lives in Canada with my aunts), but any death in the family is still a pretty difficult blow.

It's as if history's repeating itself, since just recently, my mother suffered an ischemic stroke. She is presently recovering, hopefully recovering well, and is undergoing speech and physical therapy for the right side of her body (her wrist and hand, to be precise). But one can only imagine the emotional pressure of being told of a parent's passing, more so since she is in no position to either express her deepest sorrows except by crying, or to travel to Canada to attend her mother's own funeral.

In hindsight, this pretty much mirrors the hardships my dad had to go through when Lola Pacing died. Now, on the death of Mama Ding, it is my mother's turn to show just how steadfast her character is. One can only pray for the best, especially since one is technically three thousand miles away from her bedside, at least for the rest of October.

Both of my grandmothers were pianists, and teachers at that. Lola Pacing was a virtuoso, a student of the piano ever since she could walk straight, going to extreme lengths to perfect the craft, purposely cutting the webbing between her thumb and forefinger in order to extend the reaches of her somewhat smallish hands. She taught piano at the UP Conservatory for most of her adult life, and retired to a life of one-on-one piano lessons (of which I participated in as a child) at our home in Pandacan.

Mama Ding, on the other hand, was a mestiza of rather noble descent, a product of the Medrano knights of Spain, and was a fantastic cook. Her piano skills were at par with my other grandmother's (they often bickered about it, as I remember), and taught, even way past her retirement, in Concordia College at Santa Ana, Manila. I don't really remember much of her, since I was a kid when they left for Canada, but I remember the stories of when her husband, my grandfather Papa Ton, was withering away due to a muscular disorder that eventually took his life. Mama Ding was never the healthiest person, due to a rather serious onset of type II diabetes, and had always been cared for by Papa Ton, but she took up the task of caring for her husband when his health began to fail him.

To my grandmothers, cheers to the two of you, and may the heavens ring with your concertos, now that the two of you are together.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

That Ol' Black Magic


Did I say it, or did I say it? Read this to understand what I'm talking about. They won't let this die without a good bout of further grandstanding, although it's actually pretty nice to see our beloved senators commending the chief executive, for once.

Abalos, in the meantime, is still in for a lot of hot water. And so is FG. Let's just see how good ol' Gloria handles that, especially since she's not doing Abalos any favors by being unable to receive the former COMELEC chairman's formal resignation - which, in turn, will be used by the senate's blue ribbon committee to tar and feather the poor bastard.

In other news: I need to stop doing what I do best. Which is obsessing. It'll get me nowhere, like a quagmire in the middle of a desert. It's only making me more and more disagreeable, and since I have to liquidate a lot of the stuff in the apartment on this last month of my stay here in Cagayan De Oro, I need all my wits about me.

Oh yeah, I'll be home in time for Christmas. Hang the stockings, and get your rhum-dipped kisses ready, girls, because I'll be hitting the streets of Manila so hard you'll think I was a hurricane.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Amen


In November, the streets of Manila will be filled with the blood of a million brain cells, and the avenues shall be streaked with a multitude of alcohol of various shapes and sizes, from all walks of life and the farthest reaches of the world.

Forevermore.

I Read The News Today Oh Boy


Let's see.

I.
I got back to Cagayan de Oro yesterday, fresh from a heady night of wine-ing with Obi wherein I ended up in one couch, him in another, both of us with no recollection at all of how we got there. Let the speculations begin.

Anyway. The night before, my boss specifically told me that one of the projects I was handling was going to have what is called a field day the next day. I forget the details, but when you hear the terms field and day used in the same context as advertising and / or marketing, it could only mean a whole lotta work for me. So against my better judgment, and the proddings of an as-yet sober Obi, I agreed to show up at work the following day after my flight.

This was, as you could well imagine, a really, really bad decision. Upon arriving at the office fresh from my welcome-back-to-the-ends-of-the-earth meal at JRJ Fried Chicken, I discovered that not only did Lia not have any work for me - which leads me to suspect that the damn broad missed me and only wanted me to show up at work so she can bask her eyes on my otherworldly beautiful self - but also that, after a couple of hours of nodding to sleep whilst on autopilot (that's really a term I use for when I have very little to do at work), finishing anything at that point in time was not only a chore, it was also impossible. At exactly 9:30 p.m., I packed my things, told Lia that I was skipping out due to severe narcoleptic seizures, and went home. My bed loved me anew that night.

II.
So technically, with Mrs. Arroyo's decision to dump the NBN-ZTE deal - a left hook that came from nowhere, which leads me to think that maybe Freddie Roach is a scam, and she really is behind Manny Pacquiao's training - the country lost two things:
    1. a really big asset that could have helped the country jet into the 21st century as the BPO tiger of Asia (although I have no idea how that could be an honor)
    2. a lot of pre-holiday entertainment.
That latter part may be a bit too hasty, though; even now, in the wake of Gloria's decisive executive decision, the return of the First Gentleman, and Abalos' resignation are both still plagued by the vultures of the media, dredging this story for all its worth in front page news. So we might still have a ZTE - the Christmas Special in the future.

III.
Over at Pao's site, there's a rather interesting entry that should pretty much hit at least the Pinoy medical world with the velocity of said Manny Pacquiao's left hook. It combines the gravity of the recent Malou Fernandez brouhaha and a really curious show called Desperate Housewives.

Now, I'm not really a proponent of anti-racism, because I think everybody's a bit racist once in a while, me more often than most, but I really, really hate primetime television. If I were a doctor, I'd sign.

IV.
I am on the mend. In the process of. Apparently, extreme alcohol intake, while bad on the body, is quite good for the humor of a person.

Here is the first set of photographs taken from last Saturday's Mt. Narciso bash, courtesy of Obi and his Nikon D100. The next set of photos were deemed to be too pornographic, and were kept in a private network.

V.
That thing's still there. Somewhere. It's floating about in my mind, and I can't wait for the day when the amount of alcohol I imbibe will wipe out the very memory. When I go back to Manila, maybe.

EDIT: Number five is a killer. I swear. I need mental amputation, maybe. Otherwise, there is no hope for me. Putanginang yan. Shet.

Monday, October 01, 2007

This Is Not Sparta.


I just found out that I have no self-control at all. None whatsoever. I was supposed to not say anything. Keep my mouth shut. Abhor contact. I mean, how hard can that be?

Pretty hard, apparently. It's never easy to say no when it counts. Tsk.