Monday, September 27, 2010

Dirty Old Harry took my game away

I went into a strange office today, a parallel universe of sorts from the one I'm used to. For one thing, it was... ugh... clean! There was glass everywhere, which kinda fooled me cause I couldn't see a thing. That was how impeccably clean it was. And you know those office chairs, those on plastic wheels that swivel and spin? The wheels actually turned and it went wherever you wanted it to go. Not a single ball bearing out of place. Then the people actually occupying these offices came in, and let me just say, I was tempted to run away in terror, seeing that every square inch of fabric was ironed to a crisp. Even the hair on top of their heads seemed to be ironed down as well.

Now I'm not exactly a hobo, but I was feeling as insecure as a lizard missing it's tail. Suddenly every unsightly crease, every piece of lint, every strand of hair out of place stood out for everyone to glare at. Why was I here?

Well, I'm actually in this office for an interview. Yeah that's right, somehow I have brought all this upon myself, I have convinced myself that I wanted to go to the King's grand ball, and I'm waiting for my bad-ass godfather to show up and put me in an Italian suit and crocodile skin shoes, lighting up a Cuban while I'm at it.

I guess you can tell I'm having some serious second thoughts. I hate changes. I don't even change bedsheets and pillowcases until I really really...really have to. Changing offices, is one thing, but having to shed my old threads for those crispy numbers may be a bit more than I bargained for. I was willing my legs to stand up and start running, but while waiting, they fell asleep and I was kinda stuck there, wide-eyed and scared shitless.


I haven't been to many interviews, but I could imagine it to be as close a feeling as a bunch of inmates waiting for their "moment of truth" on death row. There you are, along with a bunch of well-dressed strangers, waiting for some guy in a suit to ask you a bunch of questions to which you have no idea what the right answers are.

So I was there, by myself, letting my legs go to sleep, when a hot chick in a really nifty blazer sits beside me. I smile of course, and start a light conversation. You know, the typical "It's kinda cold here, isn't it?" and "Boy, what about this weather, huh?". Before I could make the transition to one of my killer lines, ("Nice shoes, wanna..."), this stately dude comes into the room.

Stately, by the way, is a word I use which I don't know the exact meaning to. The word just came to my mind all of a sudden at the sight of him. White hairs growing underneath the fading dyed strands, hardened face and hands plus a fair amount of age freckles. Kinda Clint Eastwood-like.

So this dude sits on the chair beside the chick-in-blazer and then chats her up. Apparently, his lines were a heck of a lot smoother than mine, and so I'm left starting into the back of her head the whole time while waiting for the hour of judgment. So there I sat, twiddling my thumbs and committing every word he says to memory. God he was good, I sure hope we weren't going for the same spot, else he'd totally cream me.


By the way, I'd like to give a big shout-out to all the poker gods up there! Thank you, guys... I'm friggin' back!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My own little red army

I've rid myself of the idiot box... yes, I don't watch it anymore. However, that doesn't mean I don't get bothered anymore. As luck would have it, my sister lives with me now, occupying the other room in my two-bedroom apartment. And she's here constantly. And guess what she does the whole day? Yep... she's a couch potato, either surfing the net or watching television.

With her watching television the whole day, I'm getting almost nothing done. I may not watch the shows with her, but I could hear it, which is pretty much enough to distract me from whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing. Sometimes, I go into isolation mode, locking myself up in my room, but my apartment is tiny so I still hear the television or her laughing her ass off in the living room. It's getting to me.

Take right now for example, I should be updating my CV, coming up with new material for our brochure, planning out my day tomorrow, but with this reality show blaring into my ears, I can't think straight. Thanks to the boob tube, I've been reduced to... well, an idiot. I usually start off fine, but my brain turns to mush when I hear some stupid remark or catch some cleavage (or a pair of really long legs) on television. The train of thought suddenly gets derailed and I'd have to walk all the way back to the terminal and catch another one.

It gets worse when the shows go into commercial breaks. Commercials are 30-second ads, meaning they have to catch your attention in that short span of time so they can tell you to buy something. Well, they're doing a fantastic job, and I end up watching more commercials than getting anything else done.

I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating this is.


Since I couldn't get any work done, I went to my default mode, which is to go daydreaming my time away. It went well for a while, until a single tiny red ant bit my big toe. It was still there, chomping down when I lifted my foot up to inspect the bug and when I picked it off my skin, it had a quizzed look, kinda like asking me what the heck I was doing. I mercifully threw him to the floor, and it walked off to the nearest object of nutrition it could find. Me again. Just like the ingrate that it was, it proceeded to climb onto my flip-flops and was about to have another biteful just as I picked it up again (it still had that "what's the big idea?" look on it). This time, I squished it's tiny brain out of its red little head.


As you may have guessed, where there's one red ant taking a bite off you, there are bound to be thousands, maybe even millions of others, all waiting for their turn. The multitude were in between the concrete walls of my house, where they've set up their headquarters. If only I've been a bit more pro-active, I would get some industrial strength pesticide, drill a hole into their nest, and zap the critters. Fortunately for them, I'm too lazy to put that plan into action.

So now, my apartment has become their playground. They're everywhere, always busy getting in line and making a mad dash to the garbage can, or the sink, or to where I've spilled some sugar and cream while making coffee. For the most part, they don't really bother me too much, unless they're making a meal of my big toe or some other part of my anatomy. In fact, their presence gives a bit of motivation for me to take out the trash, tidy up after meals and wash the dishes religiously. At times, they're even helping me clean up, such as the time I saw them making off with a dead lizard. No, I didn't kill the reptile, it died, probably of old age underneath the sofa, where the ants found its carcass and thought they'd better "clean" it up lest it rot and fester there creating a stink. Thanks guys.

Just imagine how dirty my apartment would be without those guys. I'm thankful I haven't obliterated them with pest spray in the past. Saved a ton on pesticide, too.

Now, if I could only train these guys to go after cockroaches...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Camera shy

I've been flying for work a lot the past couple of years. Usually I don't mind sitting wherever, it's usually just a one hour flight anyway, I'm getting off the plane before my seat even begins to warm up. But there was this one incident where the guy sitting by the window kept getting up and going to the restroom or procuring something from his bag in the overhead bin that made me hate any seat but by the window. So now, I usually make the effort to check in early to assure myself of the prized exit-row, window seat.

Sitting by the window while on a day flight has its advantages, I'll say. My country being an archipelago, I get to see plenty of beaches along the way. It's become some sort of hobby of mine to try and memorize some distinct feature down below of some peculiar coastline and then go look it up on Google Earth when I touch down. I'd make some sort of promise to myself that I'd make my way over there someday and check out the view from on the ground.

I remember one particular stretch of road by a lake. It's a circumferential road hugging the lakeside on Manila's eastern side. I remembered looking down the window and wondering when I'd be able to drive through that deserted yet conspicuous road. I've looked it up online and basically I have an idea of how to get there, but haven't had the opportunity to try it out. Just last week, I got to do just that.

As I was coming from a client, I knew I was near enough to that road and that it would take me in the general direction of where I was to go to next. So I buckled down and explored a bit. From an industrial zone, I had to weave through a small community of informal settlers, then a short dirt road through some rice paddies, then a steep and winding on-ramp made of mud and gravel. I know, why go through all that effort, right? A number of times, I've almost thought of turning around and abandoning the quest. But when at long last I got on the highway, I was giddy as a school girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

Well, the lakeside view I imagined wasn't there. There was a tall dike separating the highway from the lake in case the water level rose, so you had to get down from your car and walk up the dike to see the brown lake. (Which I did) I would have liked to post some pictures, but I didn't own a camera. (Which reminds me that I should get one someday) The drive was great however, as there were only about a couple of vehicles I saw throughout the whole stretch. I was kinda sad when it ended, a 15-minute drive on a really long and gentle left-hand curve.


Okay, reading back, I couldn't figure out how to end it. Plus, it wasn't an interesting read at all, in dire need of pictures, a screen shot of a Google Map and a view from the plane's window. If you ever get to read this, do know that it was a hard decision to press the "Publish Post" button and that more than once, thoughts on a prolonged tap at the "Delete" button were brought up.

I've thought of posting more pictures and visuals to make my blog a tad more interesting, but I've been consciously resisting. One reason is the lack of a digital camera. Second is that for as long as I could remember, I've been too lazy to bring a camera and actually take photographs. Then there's the laziness in uploading pictures to my computer to think about, and sorting through them to pick out the best ones. Still another reason (excuse?) is that some of my best reads don't involve pictures at all. Novels, books in general, newspaper opinion articles, essays, short stories and other such examples don't have any pictures to guide the reader through the text, and because I'd like to one day be writing such stuff myself, I'm trying to veer away from posting photos. If only I possessed some talent to be able to do away with pictures entirely!

Oh well, at any rate the fact that I need to get myself a camera is still out there. I'm getting old, and my recollection of some things are being compromised. (Though most of my memory problems have a lot more to do with alcohol than anything else) I promise that when I do get a camera, I'm gonna post more pictures with the text. At least that would probably give a lot of people (myself included) some sort of idea what the heck I was talking about.

Until then, well, you're just gonna have to do with more of my sucky texts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Whatever Happened To... Freddie Prinze, Jr.?!

First of all, apologies to Chris over at for the title. He has a continuing "Whatever Happened To..." series which is just hilarious! In my defense (just in case he sues me or anything...), the succeeding post is not in the mold of these biographies of his. For starters, the title is in the form of a... well, whatever it is you call that. And, well, it's not nearly as funny as any of Chris' tales. If that's not enough to stop a lawsuit, I'm going to run around the block butt-naked in a bit and report myself for indecent exposure, a side-effect of my current, temporary insanity.


It was the year 2002, I was still in college. (and by "still in college", I meant that I was STILL IN COLLEGE after 8 friggin' years!) Like all college losers, I had a crush on a particular girl in my class. Let's call her Rachel Leigh Cook. (Obviously not her real name, but since this is my blog, I'll call her whatever the hell I want to) We hung out often, chatted on the phone for hours and seemed on the way to a deeper relationship. That is, until Freddie Prinze, Jr. showed up.

No, Freddie wasn't in our class. I didn't even know the guy, and neither did she. Freddie was an ocean away, living his glamorous life filled with hot girls, fast cars and even more hot girls. I was in the third-world, more concerned about where the next beer was coming from, and constantly on the alert for some new, innovative ways to cheat on my exams.

Now, some afternoons when I'm stumped and bored, I invite myself over at Rachel's place and we just hang out. This was not only something that women contrive of as being "sweet", but the fact that it costs next to nothing and you might even get a free meal and beverage out of it made it a really popular thing with me. Usually we'd just babble about stuff, talk about whatever was going on in class and all that girly crap, but then one afternoon, she made a proposition that sounded like a good idea. She had a copy of "She's All That" on VCD, a movie starring Freddie, and asked if I would like to watch it with her.

Apparently, I just said yes to what was to be a rotten lifetime ahead.

It was the usual girl-boy high school plot, the type where the girl-hates-the-guy-then-the-guy-does-something-nice-and-suddenly-she's-madly-in-love-with-him type of movie. What's unusual is that the guy in this movie is not of the typical loser-to-winner mold. He's Zach Siler, captain of the soccer varsity, 4th highest GPA in class, heading off to the Ivy League school of his choice. He's got a really cool jeep, great hair, his girlfriend is the hottest chick in school, and of course, a shoo-in for prom king. He's no Lloyd Dobbler, and I hate him.

Unfortunately, my feelings for this Zack Siler guy is quite the opposite to what Rachel Leigh Cook's is. Also unfortunate, that I am obviously no Zack Siler.

The years pass by, and I eventually graduate. Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s star dims somewhat, but I remember Zack Siler as if it were yesterday. Life was unfair, and Zach Siler was the most glaring proof of it. Whenever something disheartening befell me, I immediately place the blame on this guy. He was the reason why I'm unhappy at work, why poor little children all around the world were starving, responsible for the existence of ignorance and discrimination, and ultimately, the cause of male-pattern baldness and impotence. A neighbor of mine once asked me what they should name their soon-to-be-born baby boy. I suggested 'Zack Siler', and spent a whole afternoon dreaming up all the ways I would torture the little guy throughout his miserable lifetime.

Then a few weeks back, I experienced something really terrible. They ran out of sesame seed buns for a Big Mac during my lunch break. I settled for some regular buns... it just wasn't the same. I didn't have to look far to know who the culprit was, there was only one suspect, my old nemesis, Zack Siler. I figured it was about time that I settled the score with this pretty boy, to put fairness and the law of averages back in the world and stop persecution, war, famine and most importantly an outbreak of ugly babies.

I figured that the best way to track this guy down was to contact him through the man who played him in the movie, suddenly Freddie Prinze, Jr. comes into the picture. I googled him, looked up his twitter account, and put down an unflattering entry on him on wikipedia. Then I opened up, and saw the most baffling sight: There was Freddie, up on the ring at the WWE, as a guest announcer. He gained a bit of weight, hairline receding, and was pretty much unknown to a good number of the underage bunch of delinquents that made up the audience. He had been busying himself with the WWE instead of making movies and television shows. Now here he is, engaging Randy Orton in a verbal tussle. Talk about low.

But before I could make any sense of the whole situation, Randy Orton kicked his ass, HARD. He instantly fell to the canvass, quivering like a leaf, worst acting job I've ever seen even by fake-wrestling standards.

It's insanely frustrating when the one thing that you've always known as fact, the only absolute truth, that one constant in the universe, suddenly comes into question and gets ass-kicked to pieces. This Freddie Prinze, Jr. guy, the embodiment of Zach Siler, the root of all that is evil and wrong in the world, beaten up and publicly humiliated by someone who wears Spandex for a living? Now all my beliefs, the structure and ideals in my life that was carefully and painstakingly crafted out of a deep-rooted hate for this character Zack Siler, have come crumbling down.

So riddle me this: whatever the hell happened to Freddie Prinze, Jr.?!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thoughts while sitting in a bus for 7 hours

Life sucks, a reality that has made itself known to me periodically. In this recent reminder, there seems to be no escaping this rut my career has gotten itself into for the past few months. I am beginning to get to the peak of my cyclical disdain for work, and this has dragged my life in general to the pits.


As I’ve just a few days ago found a large chunk of time while sitting on a bus for 7 hours, I decided to conduct a closer analysis of my soon-to-be-doomed [knock on wood] career. I made a few simulations based on three particular scenarios. The first scenario involved maintaining the status quo, on the premise that my current job involves a cyclical pattern of success and failure. The second assumes that I resign and take another job (in more or less the same field) while the third has me quitting my job altogether and starting up my own business.

It may be of interest for you readers (it was for me) to note that a few other options, such as marrying into money, going back to the folks and sponging off them for years, and fulfilling my life-long dream of being a successful porn star, also popped up, but let’s limit these to the previous three to keep whatever semblance of rationality and sense within this post intact. I’ll get to those other options in future posts, definitely.

So okay, getting to the first option, maintaining the status quo and assuming that with a bit more perseverance and elbow grease, it all works out. Although this seems to be simple and reasonable enough, the fact that this cycle has been going on for the better part of the decade does not sit well with me. Also, such a sinusoidal pattern doesn’t seem to be taking me anywhere, the high points being tempered by the lows on an annual basis.

This is what’s (theoretically) going to happen: things start looking up for the remainder of the year and after all’s said and done, I come up with satisfactory results. But come evaluation time, that time of the year when bosses start to dig up dirt on you to justify the bare minimum increase for the next year, the office gods deem that the low periods deserve more weight that the highs, and I’m left grumbling at what crumbs they throw my way. Give this pattern another 5 years or so and you’ll find me a miserable man, always chasing that stupid rainbow’s end to strangle the life out of a leprechaun.

Obviously, that simulation doesn’t end well. Bit did the others fare any better?

On to the next scenario, and we find me lining up interviews and donning that tie and wing-tipped shoes. Wait, I suddenly realize that I don’t have either one. Hmm… well, let’s take time to assume that I went to a mall and got myself both items for use on these interviews… there, that’s better.

I got the job, and am now happily doodling away in my little cubicle and making sales calls to new clients and new companies. The pay’s a little better, the benefits nicer, and because I made sure that my next place of employment is in the city, the officemates are infinitely hotter. Sounds like heaven, right? So one year then another passes by, and suddenly I find myself getting sick of the office, hating my clients and no longer interested in the hotties at the office.

Ahem… back up, maybe I’d still be interested in the hotties. No, I’m sure I’d still be interested. I’d bet my left nut I’d still be interested. Throw in the other nut as well. Let’s scratch that bit about not liking the hotties altogether.

Anyway, besides the chicks at the office who loves to show off their cleavages and makes sure everyone knows that they just waxed their legs, I find myself in a familiar situation, a miserable idiot who does nothing but chase skirts and sales day after day for an eternity.

Now on to the last one, I quit my job. Hooray! Then just as sudden as my decision to quit, I remember that I don’t have a cent in savings and haven’t a clue how to start a business, even less in running one. Crud.


Now, obviously the second scenario seems to be the best one at least in the short term. But that is exactly what’s wrong with my analysis, I was only looking for instant gratification. (Kinda like all men in general, I guess) If I wanted to get a clearer picture of what I really wanted to do with my career (and life in general), I have to think further ahead in the future.

The truth is, all three scenarios represent what I want out of my career. To start off with one company and learn as much as I contribute, then move to another one to expose myself to a broader perspective of running a business as well as gain a bit more monetary compensation in the mid-term for future investments. Then finally, armed with what I’ve learned and the few investments I’ve made, start up a business, first concurrently with my job, then devoting myself to it full-time if it shows true promise.

I was going to expound on this train of thought, maybe come up with an action plan of some type and design a structure into my daily routine to cultivate it, before something happened. A hot chick happened to hop on the bus and sit beside me. Suddenly my mind wandered off to thoughts of being a famous porn star with money to burn and a harem waiting for me when (and if) I came home to my multi-million dollar beach-front mansion. Life was good again.

The bus then made a final stop, and I was back to reality. Damn.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Deep fried Wednesday

I found myself on a streetcorner this afternoon, hungry, tired and longing to get back home and lounge on the couch for hours. It's a Wednesday, my least favorite day of the week. It sticks out right smack in the middle of the week, like a a big red pimple. You're kinda stuck between weekends, halfway between relishing the weekend past and looking forward to the one ahead. It's just awkward.

As I was about to get on a bus for that short ride home, I realized that I didn't have any change for the fare. So I decided to grab a bite, being hungry anyway. In my search for a quick meal, I spied an old favorite of mine, fried spring rolls. My feet were excitedly shuffling towards the stall and I got myself a bunch of them to take home with me. Just then, the girl on the stall beside the one with the spring rolls brought out a tray full of little brown paper bags, blots of oil dotting the exterior of each. I inquired what they were, and before the girl could answer, she brought out a sign announcing that deep-fried chicken skins were waiting in each small bag. I bought a couple of the suckers as well. My thoughts were now filled with crunchy, deep-friend delights to be dunked in spiced vinegar.

Just as I was to board a bus, the scent of burning garlic wafted into my nostrils and I froze in half-step. I turned around and another stall was busy with a boy making a batch of deep fried garlic peanuts. I fished out some more change and bought a small pouch of the newly cooked batch. At this point, I almost ran to the nearest bus to get away from the lure of other goodies that might catch my fancy.

I got home and promptly gorged on the small feast I got myself. I could almost feel the oil oozing out of each pore of my face with each bite, but I couldn't stop eating and listening to the crunch it made in my mouth. As soon as it was over, the dining table was a mess of flimsy plastic bags and oil blotted brown paper. I just sat there, wondering if there was a small morsel or two that I could have missed.

Before I could stand up and clean the table, the front door swung open and in came my sister, take-out bag in hand. She asked if I was hungry, if I wanted to eat the remains of her lunch. She laid the bag on the table and brought out a piece of deep fried chicken. It disappeared in the next 10 seconds.

I sat on the couch, satiated, sleepy and smiling.

Wednesdays aren't that bad after all.