Saturday, December 24, 2005
Some thoughts on Kong

For all the references countless movies and shows have made to the 1933 version of King Kong, I have never actually watched it. The only famous scene imprinted in my thoughts of course, is the part where the mighty primate scaled the Empire State Building with biplanes in close pursuit. Having very little knowledge of the original film, I think, helped me enjoy the remake without any preempted biases or expectations.

Anyway, I had no idea why Peter Jackson decided to direct the film. However, it felt like Jack Black's character (the desperate director Carl Denham) in the early scenes draw some parallelisms to Jackson's own I assume, when the studio execs were screening his own work. "How much more of this is there?", the cigar puffing executive asks impatiently. Given the length of the movie, I read that the big wigs wanted Jackson to cut down his film by about half an hour. Well, the film still would have been a huge hit even if they did snip some scenes here and there, but I'm glad they didn't. Fortunately, they were wise enough to allow Jackson to invest more time in building up the anticipation for the arrival of Kong - as well as allow the characters to be fully fleshed out. There was simply enough time to allow us to see the people as complex individuals with personalities of their own, and not just cookie-cutter, run-of-the-mill templates.

As much as I wanted to avoid mentioning the LOTR trilogy (since it would be too obvious and too cliche' to do so), that was what probably convinced the powers that be to release King Kong unbutchered. I mean you look at those three movies, clocking in at three hours each, and they have without a doubt, kicked major ass. It's all about pacing and mastery of your craft I suppose. How else could you keep people glued to the screen for so long without boring them?

On another note, Jack Black was a very good choice to play the role IMHO. He has that passionate aura going for him, just teetering at the point of madness. In most of the scenes he was in, I kept thinking back to how enthusiastic he was as Dewey Finn in School of Rock, and he carried that well into this film. But of course, what made his character different here was that he was plain desperate. As Carl Denham he was, from what I thought, against the wall, playing his last card in a game against his favor. So much so that he was willing to risk not only all that he has, but as the ship's captain pointed out, others' as well.

Oh, and I also liked how Bruce Baxter's (played by Kyle Chandler) statement effectively demystifies the culture of celebrity worship: "I'm just an actor with a gun who's lost his motivation." He has one other quote, that I felt, was taking a pot shot at Jurassic Park. Denham orders Baxter to be within sight of the camera taking footage of the nearby dinosaurs close by reasoning that "the people are gonna think it's fake."

Baxter quips: "trust me, they aren't going to think they're fake!"

LOL.

And I'm sorry for not having said this right off that bat: the special effects are of course, first-rate. As my friend Clyde told me, "You can't tell the difference between live action and CGI." In this case, technology has been appropriately used as an effective tool to paint the picture that was, just decades ago, helplessly trapped in the mind's eye. In particular, the superior facial animation has made Kong a sentient being with a great range of emotions - and not just a faceless main attraction to fill in the money shot. I mean, you have to love those close ups that capture his different moods: rage, laughter, sadness, and silent contemplation.

Anyway, I just wanted to get it out of the way before I hit the bathroom (too much information eh?) and play another round of Vice City.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Birthday Dan


We love you :)
We wish you all the happiness that you deserve.
Thank you for coming into our lives and making it brighter with each passing day.

Love,

Mommy and Daddy


Tuesday, December 20, 2005
A Miserable Gray Limbo of Sleeplessness

You know what I am? I’m stuck in a rut. So I’m chained to my office at home, forced to stay up until the wee hours of the damn night to pay off the bills that we’ve incurred in the past few months or so. And for the past few weeks, Dan is waking up at the most ungodly of hours. I mean, I love him for sure, but what’s the deal with him wanting to bolt out of the room and downstairs right from the moment he wakes up? Come on.

His sleeping clock has somehow synchronized with mine I think. He’s up when I’m up, and sleeps through the good part of the day. What’s up with that? I seriously think that our stay-out sitter is lying. I bet she makes him sleep during the day so she has more time to do other chores, because she also does the laundry. In fact, she was originally doing the laundry on the weekends before she started babysitting for us. Now, she does the laundry duties in between Dan’s nap time, and a bit on the weekends still.

Here I am trying to rant this out of my system before I go downstairs again. WB (whiny boy) has asked to use my PC to surf fucking Friendster, or whatever trivialities tickle his fancy I suppose. Gotta make this quick. Take advantage of letting him watch Dan while I blow off some steam here eh? Anyway.

Going back to what I said earlier, I am stuck in a rut. So I’m enslaved to stay up at unholy hours to fill in a second job, we're stuck with bills, bills, and more bills. I was thinking of closing down the business, but that would be bad. Why? It only took a hundred grand from various family members to put up the business, that’s why. So shutting down for good puts that collective equivalent down the drain. And then what? Get stuck trying to pay off more debts if I take that option. Not to mention the goddamn electricity bill every month, by fucking god. WB stays up all fucking night watching TV and wasting away his youth getting bogged down in useless shit. But I digress.

I tell myself that once I’ve completely paid off the PC, I can start paying off the pending BIR and SSS bills for the business. But shit, I wonder when that will be. By that time, they might shut us down already.

So where does that leave me? Lyn wants to teach in the US, but she can’t get her foot in the door because it will take an obscene amount of money to do so. So that leaves me, the guy with the Visa that expires in 2010, to find employment abroad. Lyn says I could probably teach even for just a while so I can petition them or something like that. But I’m not teacher material. I could grin and bear it for a while, I could really. But then I would need to take some education units in school, and that would cost more money right? Who do I borrow from yet again?

Hmm, let’s see. Eeenie, meenie, minie, moe. Dad? Yeah sure, I only owe him enough as it is. If he was the mafia, he would have had me sleeping with the fishes by this time. But he loves his dear boy. Which reminds me, the car is not in good shape. I mean no dents, but the shocks need to be fixed, not to mention the moderately scuffed exterior.

Anyway, I’ve stayed here long enough. I’ll just finish this later at work, if I still feel like writing.

Disclaimer: various parts of this rant do not completely represent the actual truth. But that's how one talks like when a bit upset right?
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Today's update....

currently listening to: P.O.T., Slipknot, Dream Theater, Stone Sour, and Stemage

So I'm a little miffed that the radiator is irreparable. The problem is that it sprung a leak from wear and tear (the car was bought back '97) which has been causing it to overheat. Jimmy says the unit is basically beyond saving; he originally thought that patching it up with a sealant would do the trick. He said, "malutong na yung ibabaw nya, plastic kasi." GREAT.

Given that this is a Honda we're talking about, replacing it with an original part directly bought from the dealer would probably be equal to what I earn in a month (from being a phone monkey, not a teacher). Dad gave me money to have it fixed, but we weren't counting on having to replace the bloody thing. Here's hoping buying a surplus radiator won't exceed four figures LOL. The engine is also noisy so I had a tune-up done as well. The upper arm suspension for both front wheels needs to be replaced too. I'll have to canvass for those at a shop in Imperial where I bought from before. I had some parts of the arm suspension replaced before, but not the whole thing. A few months ago, the guy that looked my shocks said it's best to replace it but I held it off due to budgetary reasons. Oh, and the lock for the rear door at the passenger side won't open either. That's minor though, that'll be easy to fix.

Automobile woes aside, Dan's party is this Saturday. So the car has to be fixed by that day or I don't know how we're going to get there. Of course, Christmas and New Year is also fast approaching. By the end of this month, I will have fully paid off the computer :) That means we can pay off our other financial obligations.

It's my rest day tomorrow too. More GTA3 time, yipee :) Just kidding. If Dan was big enough, he'd probably smack me, hehe.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Why I hate reality shows:

Because I have enough drama in my own life to give a shit about anyone else's petty bickering broadcasted to millions of people.

To each his own poison I guess.
Monday, November 28, 2005

Stones to throw at my creator
Masochists to which I cater
- "Bother" by StoneSour
Sunday, November 27, 2005
A beautiful rant by Mr. Taylor

What a skeletal wreck of man this is
Translucent flesh and feeble bones
The kind of temple where the whores and villains try to tempt the holistic tones
Running rampant with free thought to free form, in the free in the clear
And the matters at hand are shelled out like lint at a laundrymat to sift and focus
On the bigger...better...now...

We all have a little sin that needs venting
Virtues for the rending and laws and systems and stems that riff from the branches of office
Do you know what your post entails?
Do you serve a purpose? or purposely serve?
Wind down inside adivistic galore
The value of a summer spent and a winter earned
For the rest of us there is always sunday
The day of the week that reeks of rest but all we do is catch our breaths

So we can wade naked into the bloody pool
And place our hand on the big black book
To watch the knives zig zag between our aching fingers
A vacation is a countdown
T-minus your life and counting

Time to drag your tongue across the sugarcube and hope you get a taste

What the fuck is all this for? What the hells going on? Shut up!

I could go on and on, but let’s move on...shall we?

Say, you’re me and I’m you and they all watch the things we do
And like a smack of spite they threw me down the stairs
Haven’t felt like this in years

The great magnet of malicious magnanimous refuse
Let me go and plundge me into the dead spot again
That’s where you go when there’s no one else around
Its just you, and there was never anyone to begin with, now was there?

Sanctimonious pretentious dastardly bastards with there thumb on the pulse and a finger on the trigger...

Classified my ass, that’s a fucking secret and you know it.

Government is another way to say...better...than...you...Its like ice but no pick, a murder charge that wont stick
Its like a whole other world where you can smell the food but you cant touch the silverware...what luck

Fascism you can vote for...isn’t that sweet!

And we’re all gonna die some day, cause that’s the American way

And I’ve drunk too much and said too little
When your gaffer taped in the middle, say a prayer, say a phrase, get yourself together and...

See what’s happening...

Shut up! Fuck you, fuck you!

I’m sorry, I could go on and on...
But it’s time to move on...so...
Remember...you’re a wreck: an accident, forget the freak - you’re just nature
Keep the gun oiled and the temple clean, shit snort and blaspheme
Let the heads cool and the engine run

Because in then end everything we do...is just everything we’ve done.
Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rude Boy and Rude Girl's Night Out

After picking up my DSL reimbursement from Len's place, Lyn and I decided to take a detour to Tiendesitas to check out the reggae show (courtesy of NU 107 and the various sponsors) last night. We were repeatedly hearing the radio ads for the event on our way to Boni so we thought it would be a shame to miss it.

We missed the last few songs of the second act (as far as I could tell) because the place was packed without a parking slot in sight. We eventually parked near the Ortigas Ave exit. I was expecting the setup to be the full-fledged concert type where there was an open lot and people sprawled on the ground smoking pot or whatever. It turned out that the main area (about half the size of a football field) had tables and chairs for eating/drinking while the different food stalls were located along the sides. The well-lit stage was in the center back portion.

By the time we arrived, the Brownbeat All Stars were starting their set. I had heard good things about these guys on the radio and in print (Pulp magazine) a few years back, but didn't really pay any attention to their singles when they were still being played on NU 107. In fact, I found their songs to be a bit annoying at the time since I couldn't appreciate the whole ska/reggae genre just yet. But as with many good bands, hearing them live changes everything. I think the real ability of a band can be judged by how well they play live. Sure, your songs could sound great on CD, but that's because you have have the luxury to re-taking, editing and tweaking all the little flaws you'll come across while recording in the studio. But when you're on stage in front of the crowd, that's something else. Anyway, their set rocked - all the instruments came together, with Skarlet doing awesome vocals. The trumpets and sax were great, complementing the keyboards, drums, and bass - not to mention the trademark ska guitar arrangements.

NU 107 jocks Andy and that guy from Against The Flow were the hosts for the evening. They did some mini-contests between sets to give the bands time to set up their equipment. It was nice and a bit weird to finally see the faces behind the voices. I would always hear their disembodied voices on the air, and seeing them on stage was a bit surreal.

The other acts in the lineup that we caught were Reggae Mistress and Mishka Adams. When Reggae Mistress came on stage, I wasn't expecting the singers to be on the heavy side. To be honest, I was a bit thrown off because of that and was a bit distracted. But they were really good, so after a songs into their set, it didn't really matter what they looked like. Here I am hating overrated boy bands on account of their sparkling smiles and conveniently polished looks...while judging genuine musicians based on what they looked like. Tsk tsk. It's the music that counts right? So yeah, they were good and even played a burning version of No Doubt's "Underneath It All".

Thoughts on the whole thing: seeing all the sponsors' banners and products being displayed in the general area, it felt a bit demeaning to see them plug their stuff when all I came for was the music. It felt a bit icky seeing the commerical machinery in action, with those GSM Blue girls going around promoting a product they probably could care less about. But then it would be impractical and unfair to feel that way. As someone put it, money makes the world go round.

I would like to say that music should be an outlet for social reform, breaking down the status quo and all that other lofty stuff I assumed to be true back in high school and college. But the fact of the matter is that music is still business, a.k.a. a means of sustaining one's self by selling a commodity or service. Given that fact, it doesn't mean that music can't be true, pure and honest. You need someone with the capital, facilities and financial means to get your music off the ground and into the people's ears. There are sell-outs (read: Pinoy Ako, Pinoy tayo), but there are honest, earnest musicians that need sponsors so they can be heard. Quid pro quo right? Nothing wrong about that.

About an hour and a half into our stay, we finally found a table so we could sit down and eat. I was surprised to run into my classmate from high school who turned out to be the owner (or manager) of the place we ordered our sisig from.

All in all, it was an enjoyable night...I wish we could have stayed longer and caught the other bands that played. We should have brought a camera - we were pretty close to the stage so we could have taken good shots of the performers. I wonder if the bouncers would let us take pictures right near the stage though.

This is all I can show for all the great music we heard:


If you look real close, you'll notice the smudged signatures of the band. They were selling their EP album at the venue so we thought of getting a copy. Lyn convinced me to go backstage and ask one of them where I could buy their CD. I felt very nervous and felt like I had a big "L" on my forehead as I walked towards the people (it was dark so I couldn't see who they were really well). I think it was Fern, the bassist, who I asked about buying a copy. He said we would have to wait for their manager who took a quick restroom break. So I waited right next to the backstage entrance and Fern finally came over and gave us a copy. We felt a bit bold and asked him if we could have the band sign our copy to which he gracefully agreed to. So there it is: pure, raw music in its unadluterated form, hot in my hands. I can imagine what they had to go through just to get their CD published. There was some purity to it, giving my money directly to the band - and not to some pirate or middleman. Thanks NU, I came out of it with a rekindled love for music.

Monday, November 14, 2005
No-Brainers come in two's

Two Names You Go By
1. Mark
2. Kuya

Two Parts of Your Heritage
1. Filipino
2. Spanish

Two Things That Scare You
1. Flying cockroaches
2. Regan Teresa MacNeil

Two of Your Everyday Essentials
1. Food
2. Sleep

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now
1. white old navy shirt
2. orange shorts from Cebu

Two of Your Favorite Bands or Musical Artists (at the moment)
1. Incubus
2. Dream Theater

Two of Your Favorite Songs - at the moment
1. Anti-Gravity love song
2. Broken Sonnet

Two Things You Want in a Relationship (other than Real Love)
1. understanding
2. physical intimacy

Two Truths
1. You can put the pieces back together, but you can't undo the cracks
2. There is no truth, only that which suits your taste

Two of Your Favorite Hobbies
1. listening to music
2. writing

Two Things You Want Really Badly
1. Peace of mind
2. An inexhaustable source of income

Two Places You Want to go on vacation
1. Chico, CA with Lyn and Dan
2. Anywhere in Japan

Two Things You Want to Do Before You Die
1. Leave enough money for my next of kin to live on
2. Play in band and get a standing ovation

Two Ways that you are stereotypically a Chick/Guy
1. I couldn't dance if my life depended on it
2. My seething hatred for boy bands

Two Things You Normally Wouldn't Admit
1. I often get tongue-tied on the phone (read: bulol)
2. There are a few select pop songs that I do like

Two Things You Are Thinking About Now
1. Is Dan going to be alright?
2. This band isn't bad at all

Two Stores You Shop At
1. Shopwise
2. Tropical Hut

Two people you haven't talked to in a while:
1. Jamir
2. Carlo
Sunday, November 13, 2005
"Seasons change, and so can I"

- A Change Of Seasons, Dream Theater

Towards the tail-end of this 22 minute behemoth of a song, that line is heartily sung, glam rock style. It's a shame I only got into this band very recently. Some of my other friends have been raving about them for years, and it's only now that I finally got to appreciate them (the band, not my friends - they're all far away).

But I digress. The reason for quoting that line is because, in my own interpretation, I can relate to it. Those words, imortalized in sonic glory, strikes a chord within me. You know that feeling when you hear the lyrics of a song, and you can soooo relate? I'm feeling that right now.

People change over time. We all pass through different phases in our lives, with each passing one changing us for the better or for the worse. It's true what they say about the majority of one's life heavily depending on how you react to it. I'm feeling a little introspective tonight, so I feel like looking back on the recent years of my young life. The last few years that have passed feel like eternity strecthed thin. I've gone through so many trials and tribulations, that sadly, have partially left me bitter and jaded about how the world works. Not to mention a crash course in the following: The Breakdown Of Human Relations 101™, and Picking up The Pieces After Estrangement 101™, and Stop Being So Pissed Off 101™.

As of this writing, I'm anticipating a a change of seasons once again, although I'm not absolutely sure just yet. Give it a few days, and I'll know for sure. If it is what I think it is, then it will be another test of my mettle. Take it as it comes they say. Yeah, we'll see.

Paying your dues. Seeing the long line at the PRC office made me think of a few things. IMHO, all of us line up to carve out a dream we have within ourselves. It can be any field, whether legal or illegal. So we have to sweat it out with other hopefuls, the brooding masses that happen to have the same dream as ours. Then it boils down to having to stand out from the rest, perform with flying colors, save the world and ride off the into the sunset. Well maybe not the last two, but you know what I mean right?

It feels like a movie actually. There are certain archetypes that you, the Naive Newbie, are bound meet along the way, such as the The Jaded Veteran and The Evil Rival Determined To Make your Life Hell. It reminds me of those overly romanticized movies where the common street gangster rises to the ranks to become the crime boss- or those singing contests/fashion model reality shows/artista search drivel shown on TV.

Of course, there's the token snotty judge who's usually an overbearing bitch or a drag queen on PMS. They dish out the usual, I'm-such-an-established-power-figure-in-the-world-you-chose-to-get-into-and-you-shall-kiss-my-egotistic-ass-lest-you-fail-miserably kind of lines to give the viewer the impression that they're really someone you should fear.

Ok, I think my little ditty on life is turning into a downward spiral isn't it? I can't help being sarcastic after a few sentences I guess...
Monday, November 07, 2005

LOL

A lot of things are on my mind, but this made my day.

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What have you done indeed?
Monday, October 31, 2005
Currently listening to: Dream Theater's Pull Me Under

Dan's playing downstairs and Lyn's catching up on some rest. Here I am just browsing at a leisurely pace. Downtime, ya know. We've been getting a huge load of calls all week with no time to blog or browse - I do take a sneek peek at hi-fi from between calls though. All of our breaks have been cut short due to the high call volume. So when they give the green signal to take 10 minutes off, I go straight downstairs and then it's munchmunchmunch gobblegobblegobble gulpgulpgulpgulpgulpgulp. Can't complain though, the pay's good and I just hope they keep us (international agents) for at least a year. I can commit to doing this for year. That's not too bad, right? I have bills to pay off and once that's done we can save up a bit.

I was supposed to do the lesson plan for my Japanese class but I guess I can do that tomorrow. I think they all grew a grey watching me procrastinate, LOL (little Incubus reference there, sorry).

Dan took his first trip to the dentist last Saturday (10/29/05). We need to switch his toothpaste and brush his teeth more thorughly, lest he get early tooth decay the dentist warns. Too bad I didn't bring my camera along. He had some flouride treatment to prevent his teeth from getting caivities. The doctor seems like the mataray type. She was kinda stern when warning us about the dangers of taking a bottle to bed. Doctor says there's a small caivty starting in his one of his molars so we should brush it really well. Easier said than done. Sobrang likot ni Dan kaya (damn you cofibean, you're corrupting my grammar). I thought as long as the nipple isn't soaked in his mouth all night, it would be no big deal. Turns out he shouldn't have milk in his mouth at all during the night. Well, what can we do? He cries in the middle of the night when he's hungry. I could try giving him just water but he can tell the difference even if he's asleep.

Oh, and we went trick-or-treating with one of our students and his mom yesterday:

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He sure likes Slim Shady

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you just got served, fool
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Lyn and Andro

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Andro, our student
Saturday, October 29, 2005
You know what? I'm not as pissed off as I may seem. It's just I don't write here until I am. It's just my release I guess. We all have different reasons why we post on our journals. But outside of my blog, I do experience a wider range of emotions beyond the steam I blow off here. I was upset yesterday because this PC of mine has been suddenly resetting by itself a few times in the past month or so. No error messages, when it comes back on though. Gino says it might be the power supply acting up, or maybe the processor overheating. Well, I did keep this box in a somewhat cramped space. So me and Lyn did a little bit of rearranging here to allow better ventilation for the computer.

What keeps my gut in worried little knots is that I haven't fully paid my mom back for this PC yet (just one-third by Monday). After that's out of the way, I have other overdue bills to pay, not to mention some car maintenance stuff as well. Oh well, it's only money right? Oh please dear computer of mine, don't flake out on me - give it a decade or so, ok? Pwede ba yun ha?

I know I should see the positive things in life, appreciate all the good stuff I have going for me. I should be happy that I work out of home. I should be grateful in spite of the fact that I'm always strapped for cash, I still have a warm bed and a hot meal to look forward to everyday. I should be happy that I'm surrounded by many people who care for me and go out of their way to make my life easier.

Many, many other people have it a lot worse than me...I know, I know. So why do I flip out when trouble comes along?

Several years ago (towards the end of my college days), I slowly resolved, little by little, to be an adult in the full sense of the word. Meaning that I should always find a way to meet any problems head-on, with drama and whining kept to a minimum. But you know what, you'd think after all this time I'd be like that by now. But no, I'm really not that type. Kahit ipilit ko pa sa sarili ko. I'm probably just better at hiding my flabbergast-ness now than I was before. I may have moments of crystal clear clarity from time to time, but on a general basis I throw a bitch fit (well, when no one's looking anyway). I guess I'm not as grown up as I thought I would be.

Maybe I need anger management classes or something. Going back to what I said, that's why I rant online. Everything seems peachier the morning after.

That is all.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
You know what I like about Star Trek? The fact that they've done away with the whole concept of currency. By the twenty-somethingeth century, all mankind has decided that there is no need to use that extra-special sheet of paper we need to have piles and piles of to keep ourselves happy.
What makes a man? Is it the brute physique? The steel will? The iron resolve to weather any cirumstance and obstacle? IMHO, it's the diskarte. No, it's the diskaaaaaarrrte, because you know, you have to say it with a street-smart edge to emphasize the full weight and effect of the said concept. So that's what makes a man what he should be. That, and the ability to squeeze every amount of production from one's phyiscal being - not to mention the ability to exist on a few hours of sleep. I heard that Batman developed some sort of Far Eastern meditation technique that allows him to cram a good night's sleep into three hours. Teach me, he must.
OT, here I come.
Yeah, so what brought about these idle musings? I just did the math today, and the semi-fat paycheck I'm expecting tomorrow (or on Monday, God forbid) is barely gonna cover the pending expenses. Aaaand, one of our ex-students still hasn't paid up.
Since I'm on the subject, let me say something about their family. They're basically your trailer trash family that hit it big through their successful trucking business. Let me say this: money doesn't buy class.
Being loaded as they are, it's ironic that they're dodging my follow up calls for their over-fucking-due payments. Mayaman ka nga, jologs naman ugali mo, bobo pa sa ingles. In preparation for a science test, I asked his smelly, overgrown son what the benefit of exercise is. His frickin' reply:
"IT MAKES OUR FAT LOOSE"
Potah. Saan ka nakakita ng ganyang kabobong estudyante? Daig pa sya ng isa naming tinuturuan na nasa grade 1. Yeah, I'm judging them, but what can I say, the truth hurts. I'm pissed ok? Go away.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
I shouldn't be doing this right now because the more windows I have open, the more memory it eats up, which might screw up my softphone. Normally having a lot of applications running while taking calls is ok, but my newly installed DSL connection at home is acting up. 230 kbps? Who are they kidding? It should be 512. My PC was working perfectly fine at Len's place, but now I get disconnected every now and then, in addition to the slow connection. Could it be that they installed the splitter for the landline (which is an extension) right next to my PC upstairs? I checked the diagram at the DSL website and it shows that the splitter should go through the modem cable AND the main phone, which is downstairs. If that's the case, then maybe I get booted off whenever someone uses the phone downstairs. Then they'll probably have to reinstall the splitter so it feeds through the main phone instead of the extension I have beside me now.


This spotty connection is pissing me off! I'm using this for work, dammit. I have to restart my softphone application every now and then just to make sure it's still running and ready to receive calls. Customer service says it might be due to the fact that it was just installed yesterday, hence the unstable connection. But that was more than 24 hours ago - they said it should clear up by then.

AND the PC just rebooted by itself all of a sudden. Good thing I was on break that time. I don't know what happened, could it have been a loose power cable? Or did the extension cord or AVR come loose? My steps were quite light, so I don't know. I just hope it doesn't happen again.

It reminds me of the other non-working PC they have here. The power light comes on, but nothing comes through the monitor. There are some cases where it would boot up fine and you could even open applications, but the screen would suddenly black out or the picture would turn garbage. Maybe it's the video card, or the memory's screwed up, I honestly don't know. Or maybe it's because the monitor for that broken PC feeds through the CPU for its power supply rather than having a separate power cord to go into an outlet. And that monitor is what I have hooked up to my own PC now. I have to pick up my own monitor from Len's place tomorrow. I have this sinking feeling that this monitor might be one of the culprits involved in the fall of its former PC.

So here I am, waiting for the DSL helpdesk to call me back for the ticket I logged FOUR hours ago. Maybe I'm reaping the seeds that I've sown during my own days as a customer service rep at my last job.

There are just so many factors left to chance right now. I'm glad I've come this far, but I need to be employed for at least six months at this job so I can pay off my mom, who charged this costly computer to her card for now.

I swear, I'm right about ready to chew my fingers off. My nails would've been gone by now if I was the type that bit them during these kinds of situations.

To quote Tom Cruise's character in Vanilla Sky:

"It's a nightmare!! Tech support!!!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I'm at it again. The computer screen is looking at me, not the other way around. Web browsing for a few hours can do that to you. After a few months of hiatus, the routines, feelings and little things of the past have to come to settle in my subconscious again. The red, wide-open eyes, the numbing boredom, and all the other things in between are coming back to me. Am I destined to just be a phone monkey forever?

I tell myself that I'm also teaching in the afternoon, that way I can prove that I'm not typecasted to answer phone calls all the time (tama ba grammar?). I shouldn't complain though; I've waited a long time to get back into this kind of work because the job lets me work at home. It won't be like before. Plus, the pay is even bigger than what I used to earn by two grand. I am lucky to be given this opportunity. Still, the old trappings of my last job are coming back to haunt me. But I am grateful to have been accepted, no doubt about it.

The thing is I'm working out of another location until I can get the DSL connection hooked up at home. When I start taking calls from home, things will get better. It's a tradeoff though. I'm seeing less of my son since I get up late. Lyn teaches preschool kids early in the morning, so I see to Dan's grooming for now. When I get up, I hurriedly give him his vitamins and give him a bath. Then it's off to our learning center. I stay there until late afternoon and head off to my boss' office to do call center work from her home. As soon as I get the DSL connected at the house, I don't have to drive all the way to Mandaluyong. Besides, I'm wearing out my welcome here IMHO because all I do here is eat (aside from taking calls). Don't get me wrong, she's very accommodating and all, pero nakakahiya na kasi.

The real reason for this post is because I was going over the Friendster account of my classmate back in high school. I browsed through some of the pictures of her at parties with the other people from my batch, and felt something stir within me. I thought to myself "god, after all this time, they're still hanging out".

I felt jealous. Yes, I was envious that they've kept close ties with one another, while here I am, alienated from most of the people in my past. I can't imagine them seeing me like this: worn out, haggard-looking and weary. I look at them, and they look great. If some of them might have made fun of me behind my back before, I can't imagine what they'd say now. God! I feel so pathetic right now. I can't imagine why I'm even writing this.

Well, I guess I should have only myself to blame for not being more outgoing back then. I was wrapped up in my own little world, letting many, many opportunities to shine pass me by in ignorant bliss. Hey could you really hold that against me? I was a teenager for crying out loud. I was supposed to be sullen, moody and withdrawn. Now I only have regret to chew on.

Forgive me for the continuous ranting, but my fingers are getting ahead of my brain.

But I should be grateful for what I have right? A wife and a kid to love, good health (well, that depends on who you ask), a job, a roof over my head, food on the table, and all that other stuff I know I shouldn't take for granted. So why do I feel this reverberating sensation of hollowness? It is it just lack of sleep (di ako nasanay di ba)?

But that's all I wanted to say, just so I can get it out of my system. By tomorrow, my current thoughts will be nothing but a dull memory I'll shrug off.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
The Phone Monkey is Alive Once Again
On the third day of training and we've just gone soft live. So far so good. I hope I didn't mess up on the job. And I hope the DSL connection at home get sets up ASAP. It's cool to hang out at Len's place, but I'd rather go straight to bed after my shift. Night shift is now a good thing, since that means I still get to teach nihongo during the day. After a few months of hiatus, it's strange to be back in the game. My goal is to pay back mom for the new PC I got within two months.
Woohoo, here I go again.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
SOB STORY # 25641
There was one particular Friday I remember when our newly hired yaya of two days suddenly decided to quit. Her husband showed up to inform us that her mother didn't want her to be a nanny. So she packed up her stuff and left before noon. She didn't even give us time to find a replacement, let alone wait until the next day. We decided to go to Sta. Ana, Manila so we could leave Dan with Lyn's relatives and go all the way back to Taytay to tutor the kids. The problem was that the car was color-coded for the day and there was no way we could make it back to to beat the 3PM deadline. Consequently, we cancelled all our classes for that day and headed to MegaMall to wait for the to be lifted at 7PM.
Lyn, Dan and I roamed the mall, virtually flat broke, with barely enough to feed ourselves (although we did bring milk for Dan). We passed most of the time at the video arcade. We didn't actually play any games - we just sat by the bench and carried Dan around to distract him when he would get restless.
I don't recall any other time when I felt more pitiful or pathetic. The song "Esem" by Yano comes to mind. Maybe it's my pride talking, but I don't ever want to feel like that ever again. Kawawang-kawawa kami nung araw na yun. All because of that bitch. She has no idea what inconvenience she caused us that day.
When I think about how upset I was that day, I decided that I would use my anger to fuel my desire to excel. I'm not going to let myself or them fall into that kind of situation again. Kainis talaga! Tangina.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
AS RANDOM AS IT GETS

So I finally caved in and watched the not-so-original copy of Batman Begins at home. I tried holding off seeing it until I could get my hands on a clear copy, but the temptation had proven to be too much. The reason is that I don't want to rob myself of experiencing the film the way it was meant to be - namely with decent picture and audible dialogue. Well, that policy only applies to movies I really want to watch.

Dan's awake. I'll be back.

As I was saying, even though the copy I watched was crap, I enjoyed the film. It's disappointing not to have watched it on the big screen. I'll just have to imagine what is must have been like and assume it was thoroughly enjoyable. Oh well, I'll get to see it original video someday.

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"Kuya Marko, pwede ba maglaro si Dan sa bahay namin?"

All I could I give was a polite "no", or something like "ay wag na lang muna". What I really wanted to say was "sorry kid, I don't want to give your uncle an excuse to be his psycho self again. He'll just throw another bitch fit and beat someone up". I'm talking about our next door neighbors, my mom-in-law's siblings (and their kids). There's one particular brother mom-in-law has that's actually a nice guy, but has violent tendencies. When we didn't have anyone to leave Dan with in the past, sometimes we would ask them if they could take care of him while we were at work. There were also times when when we'd leave Dan and his new yaya at their place because we didn't trust her alone with our kid. Apparently, the said psycho uncle got pissed off whenever we would do so. So says his mom (mom-in-law's mother): "nagagalit siya pag iniiwan dito si Dan kasama ng yaya niya. Kung sinu-sino daw yung pinapapasok dito". As if he bought and owned the house. Nakikitira lang sila. Asshole.

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So you want to be a phone monkey eh? Well let me tell you right now sonny, it ain't no walk in the park (or the graveyard in this case). With your overpriced taste, you'll come to find that your paycheck won't be enough, nor justify the work you're going to do. I'm talking about my bro-in-law, whom I shall refer to as Whiny Boy.

WB is actually nice to me, but he's a spoiled brat. He's too busy with Ragnarok, hanging, and jamming with his band to be bothered with school. He's planning to file a LOA so he can apply for a call center job. When I asked him what for, he said "sawa na ako sa kakahingi". Tangina mo pare. Sabihin mo lang masyado ka lang magastos. Your parents are breaking their back to make a living...just so they can send your lazy ass to school, you inconsiderate little shit. Selfish little prick.
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Shampoo commercials suck. Next to the devil, they must be the greatest perpetrator of lies. Honestly, do you really expect me to believe that using your overhyped product will make anyone's hair look as artificially straight as the model's??
Sunday, August 14, 2005
All my precious comments gone :( all swallowed up by the beast known as the malfunction of enetation.co.uk. So here I am to start anew. Feel free to post about the previous posts, etc.

Waiting for Lyn to get out of UE. We barely made it on time by the skin of our teeth - a few minutes shy of 6:30 AM. Hopefully, they'll be letting them out for lunch, which is an hour from now. Aggh, they don't allow mobile phones in the testing area (understandably) so I'm gonna have to wait for Lyn by 12 noon even if I'm not sure if she's getting out by then. I should have looked at it before she went in this morning. In the meantime, I'm just lazing about in a suprisingly good net cafe at Recto. The connection is fast enough to rival that of the office of my last job. I just tried downloading some files, it's pretty damn fast I say. It's not that seedy either. Well-lit, good PCs and friendly staff. However, I did see a baby roach crawl across the keyboard to my right. But at 15 bucks an hour, it's a very good deal. They even charge by the minute.

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts - where hast thou gone? They're always swarming and buzzing in my head when I'm cut off from online access, and then flutter away when I have decent time to blog. I'm still waiting for a call from my former manager so they can set up an interview. I had hesitated to post about it here out of fear of jinxing the whole thing, but I can't keep my anxiety to myself any longer. If I do get the job, it means more income for us, and less sleep for me. But I honestly don't mind.

Uh-oh, suddenly my tummy doesn't feel so good. I wonder if they have a bathroom here?

Anyway, business is still fledgling, but Lyn and I are trying to our best to keep it up and running. Oh, and Master Nemo has joined our staff as a part-time tutor :) Teaching grade school kids is rewarding and frustrating at the same time. Well, rewarding for teaching smart and cooperative students and frustrating on account of teaching slow and stubborn ones.

Too bad I didn't bring my flash drive with me. I'm thinking they could save mp3s from here since Windows XP doesn't give you any hassle about using portable USB storage devices [like 98 does (the OS that the net cafe at our village has)].

Let's hit the publish button and see if that'll do it for now. If nothing follows below, I guess that'll be it for now.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
The working day hasn't started for me yet, but I'm already a bit drained. Just swept and mopped the office. Afterwards, I put together the dialogue we're going to use for tomorrow's lesson...as well as the overdue quiz. All in all, I started 10:45 AM and finished 12:35 PM.

Arrgh, so here I am at a net cafe trying to hear myself think while the elementary kids nearby are playing some network game. Not the usual smelly ragnarok scum, but loudmouthed all the same. Well that's the price for trying to blog in a net cafe.

Anyway, we're still trying to gain momentum as far as the business is concerned. I'm also looking to get another job to supplement our income. Hope the interview is scheduled soon. I had so many thoughts pouring in last night, but now they're all gone. Oh well, I have to go home for lunch so I can be back at the office by 1:45 PM. Time is always against us, as Morpheus said.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
A Very Rushed Update

Ok, here goes...I have a job interview on Monday as I'm applying for a part-time position as a Japanese/English teacher . I actually had a first interview with them already this week, but they told me to review my grammar notes and come back to do a demo lesson. I must say that speaking and writing in English on a daily basis for three years (during my previous job) does not automatically make you a good teacher. You'd think that after all that time, teaching grammar would be a breeze. Wrong. It's one thing to use the language, and an entirely different matter to teach the theories and rules behind it. Honestly, I'm less anxious with what I'm going to demo for my Japanese stuff. We'll see how it turns out next week.

Had the two front tires replaced yesterday. The old ones were so worn out that they were causing the steering to wiggle already. It's smooth driving from now on. The airconditioner at the office is leaking freon. Repairs amount to P2500...good god. Expenses abound...what's new, right?

I guess that does it for now. I'll be coming back when time allows it.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Well, well, it's been a long time since I last posted here. The PC at home has fallen to the dark side. Hardware failure suffered it has, yesss...hmm.
Anyway, I was finally able to squeeze in some quality blog time while waiting for Lyn to get back. As of this writing, I'm in a seedy little net cafe in some far-flung corner in Recto. Lucky me, it seems that the staff here has enough taste to play some Incubus songs I haven't heard in ages. I forgot how depressing it is to walk along the streets of Manila. The last time I set foot in this area when I was still boarding at Jamir's place behind UST.
So, time for some updates I suppose. Running your own business does have its perks and downsides. At least it's easier to go home and you spend less on food since the house is pretty close to where our office is. Acting as the admin/Japanese teacher is quite exhausting I tell you. But I feel good knowing that my brain has come to life again after it eventually atrophied over a three year call center gig LOL. I'm still adjusting to life outside my comfort zone (sans DSL connection and sitting around all day), but it'll soon pass. Financial matters occupy my thoughts as well. It's different when you don't have a paycheck to look forward to every two weeks. Hopefully, we'll get more students and increase revenue soon. All in all, being directly responsible for your livelyhood builds character I guess.
Speaking of teaching, I have a lot of ground to recover since I've forgotten some of the basics of grammar. I wouldn't want to look like a fool in front of my students right? Hai, mo ichido benkyou shite! Fortunately, the kids I'm teaching haven't caught on and I'm still able to create the illusion that I know what I'm talking about - for now.
We also launched an exhibit last weekend to feature the work of our visual art students. It was a small and modest affair with good grub. It'll be open until the end of this week. Hey, one of my former co-workers dropped by the commercial center where our office is located at. He and his girlfriend just finished playing ragnarok (yechh) when I ran into them. What is it about that crappy game anyway? I love video games (I've been playing them since third grade), so when I say ragnarok sucks, you can consider that an educated opinion. It's annoying hearing the same repetitive sound effects when the shitty little sprite based characters start fighting their wussy little battles. Wha-bish! Wha-bish! Wha-bish! Yecchhhh. "Different strokes for different folks" is right on the mark in this case.
What else? Oh yeah, we caught Episode III a week and half ago. Okay, here's my very brief two cents: while the physical, tangible technical aspects of the moviemaking process may be a cause of endless debate for many fans, one has to appreciate the story, concept and spirit of the saga as a whole. Putting every scene, line of dialogue, or any subtle nuance under a microscope is not the point at all. I love the way story flowed from incredible potential, to falling from grace, and finally redemption - all in a period of 12 hours. Yes, the reality of shooting a movie is quite daunting and may get in the way of the simple, earnest desire to tell an otherwordly tale; but I think we have to look past some niggling points and realize the beauty of storytelling.
For instance, wouldn't you all agree that it's nice how (considering the whole framework of the Force) Anakin was indirectly responsible for bringing balance to the galaxy far, far away? His children were his and the Force's way to evening things out in the end. Also, It was satisfying to finally bear witness to the actual moment when Anakin was physically and morally transformed into one of the most famous villains in popular fiction. At last, the dark lord of Sith has arisen.
Well, that's it for now. Hope to write again soon.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Phone Monkey, Out

One hour to go until I go home. One hour left officially as a Customer Service Representative.

And so ends my three-and-a-half-year odyssey as a drone of the digital empire. Good times, bad times - you know the whole deal. I was remotely teary-eyed at the start of my shift, but now I'm just anxious. I want to think about it not as resigning from a high-paying (well higher than the average entry level kind) job, but as opening my doors for other opportunities.

Yeah, right. Who am I kidding? I gotta do something fast lest we go hungry. Well, I know I'll find something adequate to replace the financial vacuum I've just created.

I'm actually too lazy to sort out the people at work that I'd like to acknowledge. I might forget someone unintentionally and hurt his/her feelings, soooo here goes my universal shout-out to all of you at work:

My deepest thanks go out to all of you who've I've shared a moment with. It could have been a short, meaningful conversation during a smoke or during a lull in the phone queue. It could have been a good laugh we shared between ourselves, or a good IM chat we had amidst the humdrum routine of work. Whatever it was, thanks for sharing that shred of time of with me. That single moment in time we had will forever be etched into history. No one and nothing can ever take that away.

Thanks to all those that helped me out here in one way or another. Thanks for showing me the ropes when I was still a hapless newbie. Thanks for putting up with whatever foul-ups I might have committed. Thanks for being there when I needed you.

And my apologies to any toes I inadvertently stepped on while we were out there on the floor, earning our daily bread. I really am a nice guy if you got to know me better.

Somehow, somewhere I'm going to run into you guys again. I'm not the most touchy-feely person out there, but believe me when I say there must a purpose for having crossed paths with you all.

Besides, it's not like I'm going to vaporize into thin air, right? See you all on the other side :)

Phone Monkey, out.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Life, One Bullet Point At a Time

My day so far:
  • Woke up at 8AM
  • Had breakfast with Lyn and Dan (fed him nilaga with rice, he didn't like the breaded fish with tartar sauce, or maybe he just doesn't like the sauce)
  • Briefly checked email and other sites from the house (dial up is behaving ok now, must be the PLDT vibe prepaid card and the system restore I did last night to remove the spyware brought about by a downloaded patch for ragnarok)
  • Gave Dan a bath, put him to sleep
  • Took a nap while Dan was sleeping
  • Left Dan with the neighbors (Lyn's relatives)
  • Left the house in a frenzied rush (and late at that)
  • Arrived at work five minutes late
  • Rescheduled a long delayed mother's day dinner with my mom for Wednesday
  • Chatted with my friend (in the US) online and helped him track down his mom's friend that lives here (made a few calls to ask around)
  • Had a late lunch (Abrea is the shiznitz)
  • Took some calls
  • Did some emails
  • Waiting for my shift end
How was your day?

-
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
I close my eyes and everything goes black. I turn up the live version of "Pull Me Under" by Dream Theater to the unbearable point of loudness in an attempt to reproduce the rush that the audience got when they played this. In my opinion, a band's mettle is truly tested when they’re playing in front of a live crowd. It’s only then that you’ll see if they can actually pull off their songs or if they’re merely products of heavy studio tweaking. Well, I have to hand it to them – they are good.

The crunch of the guitar. The pounding of the drums. The ear-splitting, encompassing noise so thick you can take a bite out of it. The song ends and the crowd cheers.

My eyes open, and it’s back to reality. I ponder about my post call-center life. As of now, it’s just freelance writing prospects for me, and not many to boot. I intend to supplement the income from our tutorial business with my non-existent writing gigs. I hope that turns out well.

Less than a month to go. Tick-tock.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Of Job Prospects and Wasted Cash
So I sent sanitized versions (sans profanity) of some of my blog posts to a prospective employer that's looking for freelance writers. Hope I have what they're looking for. It took him a week to reply to my first email so it'll probably take just as long get word from him. Still looking elsewhere though...
I also applied for the third time to get my NBI clearance. I had done this before at the city hall, but I had forgotten to go back and claim it. It was consequently forfeited twice and wasted a good amount of money for the application fee. This time, they came over to the building we work in, so it was a painless process. No lines, no sweltering heat. It'll take a week for them to remit the actual form to me.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Just got home to gas up the car. Upon entering our village, an oncoming tricycle cut my lane to park at the nearby terminal on my side. I managed to slow down and honked my horn out of anger. The wife told me the guy’s name was Pablo, apparently another member of this village’s hardcore community. She advised me to take the car tomorrow, for he might wait for me in some dark corner. Fuck, he was the one that cut me off, now I have to pay for the grave outrage of honking my horn at his dumb ass? Oooh, hardcore indeed.

At the start of our nanny’s tenure, I had made it clear that she would take her rest day when it was mine as well. Furthermore, I had told her that my rest days don’t necessarily fall on the weekends every week. Well, now she’s requesting that she needs to take her off on Saturday. The only way for her to do that is if I’m on the night shift, which I think will be all that’s left for me anyway. To be fair, she’s pro-active when it comes to chores and has other good traits. But what I don’t like is that she neglects Dan’s back when he’s perspiring. And since she’s a bit old, I sometimes worry if she’s strong enough to carry my kid – she looks a bit on the frail side.

Just venting here.
Off To a Rough Start

Coming from a two-day rest period, today didn't quite start out as well I wanted to. I woke up late, and since it was way too early (3:45 am) there wasn't any food yet. The water I was preparing for my bath was dirty. The water in our area is drawn from a deep well so when they clean the huge water tank for our area, it usually yields some residue. It was a good thing that we had some clean water stored in a separate container set aside for shortages, etc.

Since there were no tricycles around at the time, I had to walk to the gate of our village. I'm pretty much used to this when my shift is this early but today was different. It was a nice and rushed walk and I was inhaling the cold morning air when I heard barking from behind me. Now I'm used to passing by stray and owned dogs; they don't really do anything but bark at me. This time though I knew something was up because I recognized the particular dog as I turned around. It was the mean one that was usually chained up by his drunkard of a master.

To my suprise, this son of a bitch was free to roam the streets and was coming up behind me fast. I thought it was useless trying to run so I stopped in my tracks and faced him. I menacingly swung my backpack his direction to scare him off. It worked - he barked and backed off. It looked like he was gonna try again so I did the same thing. I thought to myself it wasn't so bad since nobody saw me as it was too early for anyone to be around. Of course, someone had to be walking nearby at that hour thereby bearing witness to my skirmish.

Even if the ride to work was fast, I still arrived late from all the delays I had. And I left my gel at home so my short hair looks like a bit of a train wreck from the strong draft from the jeepney trip. GREAT. Nothing a little trip to washroom can't fix I guess.

Oh, I'm having second thoughts about sending the email to that person. Going to back to my last entry, the other thing I learned is to be selective with the person you want to have an honest talk with. In some cases, it'll just blow up in your face. Which is why I'm hesitant now; I don't think he really gives a shit about me, let alone what I have to say.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Choking On That Jagged Little Pill
It's usually when I'm lying in bed at night that I have a few epiphanies of sorts. Right after putting my kid to sleep last night and observing him in that peaceful state, thoughts came flooding in once again. In the dark, I was pondering on a recent scuffle I had with someone. We had exchanged a series of nasty words via IM, and one thing led to another. Shortly after, I had done something out of anger. Realizing my lapse in judgment, I worked up the nerve to apologize to the said person. Initially, I was thinking about just letting things blow over and act like nothing happened. But then, my conscience and embarrassment was gnawing away at me so much that I couldn't bear NOT to patch things up.

So I went over and made the first move and explained my side, the reasons behind my anger, and of course apologized. Hostility gave way to understanding on both sides, and mutual admissions of guilt were exchanged. All in all, it went well. We were cool after that. But what was keeping awake was the fact that I was so determined to fix things with that person. Looking back, I made the first move because I couldn’t bear to see another breakdown of human relations occur in my life. These recent years, I’ve become familiar with the bitter aftertaste when you end up creating a chasm of misunderstanding with a friend or family member. Prior to those recent years (college onwards), I never knew what it was like not be on speaking terms with someone you were previously close with (with the exception of a couple of the neighbors I grew up with).

Sure, I had spats with my playmates as a kid, but those were trivial and petty; everybody goes through those while growing up. But when I hit college, I realized what a nauseous sensation it was to be estranged from someone you shared good times with before. I couldn’t stomach the feeling of someone hating you for whatever reason. The most probable reason why I’m still bummed out about the rift between my college blockmates is that I put my pride on the line. In the name of reconciliation, I hung my self-esteem out to dry so they could wring it out for what it was worth. But what did I get out of it? Nothing, except a hefty dose of conceited, backstabbing goodness. I put myself out there and they didn’t even have the decency of talking about what happened (well at least not to my face). If their beef with me was so bad, why didn’t they have the balls to say it in front of me?

To this day, some deep, buried part of me is still pissed off. Why? I had put myself out there and tried to be as honest and frank as possible, even if it was difficult. I had admitted my shortcomings and earnestly tried to be a civilized human being. Still, that wasn’t enough for them. For all the courage I mustered up to talk about sensitive issues, I just got burned in the end. Adding insult to injury, they acted like we were good friends again and like nothing happened when I met up with them several years after.

Right at that moment last night, it just hit me. After all these years of reflection, it’s apparent that there’s really nothing wrong with me. I had messed up, but not that bad. If they couldn’t find it in themselves to at least acknowledge my initiative then that’s their problem. With those thoughts, I can breathe better now. I’ve probably known it all along, but now I can freely say that I don’t need their goddamn approval. Not anymore, fuckhead spineless little shits.

So going back to my recent fracas, it just occurred to me that I wasn’t going let that happen - NOT AGAIN if I could help it. I was extremely relieved to know that my apology was accepted and that we could be on good (NOT just speaking) terms again. This time, I was actually applauded for what I did. I mentioned to the person that I know when I’m wrong, and that I couldn’t bear to see another relationship in my life go sour. I was told to my face, “it takes a man to do that”. Whew, that felt good. I guess I still have a scrap of decency left in me after all.

There is one other person I’ve been meaning to send an email to. After all that talk about being brave, somehow I can’t bear to talk to that someone face to face for now. Let’s see how that one goes.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Fight Club

This is too hardcore for my movie-watching, broken prose-writing, pseudo musical critic self. I had just finished watching Red Dragon (which was already gruesome for me) when my wife informed me that her younger brother had gotten himself in a tussle last night. He was peeing somewhere by the sidewalk in one the streets of our village when a bunch of guys decided to get their kicks by picking on him. Now I've criticized him for being such a lazy bum at times, but he's a nice guy really. And that comment has nothing to do with the fact that he actually beat his would-be assailant, much to their surprise. From what I heard, he managed to get the guy in a headlock and proceeded to pound the asshole's face with his fist. Talk about a makeover.

Apparently, the said hooligans are members of a well-known fraternity. It still makes my innards turn at the local concept of such organizations. In any case, my wife thinks they're just posing as members of the said group. She'll find out herself as soon as she gets the name of the guys that attacked her brother. The wifey used to hang out with a rough crowd back in high school and college so she knows a lot of people from the fraternity in question. She'll make a couple of phone calls I guess.

"Make a couple of phone calls" - is that mafia-like or what?

Oooooh, hardcore indeed.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
I have to make this count

Whoopee. This is my first post from home. Our dial up connection is agonzingly slow, so I have to make the most of the moment. They fixed the phone line last night so they could hook up a new line for the PC. It was ok last night, but after trying to download YM it crapped out all of a sudden. The pages were loading slow and everything was basically screwed up from then on. arrrrgggh.

Ahh, where to begin? Well, I extended my resignation notice until the middle of May for various reasons - namely because my other job prospects were not so certain after all. I intend to work part-time so I can divert some time to our business as well. Still in mid-air as I mentioned before - the transition is still nail-biting. Sheesh.

A new nanny came in today. She seems nice enough and has all the qualities we're looking for: clean, polite, efficient, proactive, and friendly with kids (she already has four grandchildren). I'm not raising my hopes if she turns out to be unfit for the job. We’ve been in between countless ones so far for me to care at this point. It would be nice though if she actually stuck around for at least a year or so. The longest one we had stayed for about six months.

I feel like I’m on the brink of doing something great with my life, but I don’t know how or when it’s gonna happen. Somehow, somewhere it’s going to follow through. Is that weird?

I’m going to post next about a couple of bizarre dreams I had recently. I think I’ve done something close to what they call lucid dreaming.

Cheers.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Goodbye Comfort Zone

Well, I finally bit the bullet and passed my resignation notice. It feels like swinging in the jungle, letting go of one vine to grab the next one - and hoping it isn't greased. Right now, I'm squarely in mid-air, anticipating my days away. I guess I have to compose an obligatory goodbye email to my beloved co-workers...but that's for another day.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Tough Ain't Enough

It’s just been minutes since the end credits stopped rolling, and it was a good thing that I didn’t see any of the trailers for Million Dollar Baby, or read any PR about it. There’s a sense of purity in watching a movie with little knowledge of who’s who, or what the gimmick is. By saying “gimmick” though, is a mockery in this case. Much like the first Matrix film, this had the sleeper effect (something that comes out of nowhere to surprise you) on me because I saw the film without any expectations whatsoever. However, knowing beforehand that this is what won Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Hillary Swank their respective Oscars this year may skew my views just a little bit.

To the reader, there will be spoilers here so be warned. The film opens with Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) patching up his battle-weary fighter. Here we see that he’s an old man, jaded with events that have passed. He lends a general air of disenchantment and nurses a broken sense of security. Deathly afraid that his fighter will get in over his head, he puts off setting up any major title fights for his boy. Eventually, his warrior leaves him for another manager, and for greener pastures. Enter Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank), a hopeless case practically begging Frankie to take her under his wing. Cynical as he is about her (“I don’t train girls”, “tough ain’t enough”), he reluctantly begins the agonizing process of starting from the ground up with this helpless, clumsy excuse of a newbie. We’ve all seen this same scenario played in other movies, but this time it strikes a very painful chord.

Here we see the excellent performances by Eastwood, Swank, and Freeman, who plays a vital role in this subtle drama. A burned out has-been in the world of boxing, he still has a glimmer of optimism for the young hopefuls that come through the doors of their gym. For me, Freeman’s character represents part of the painful past that has molded Frankie Dunn into who he is. Freeman plays Scrap, a longtime friend of Frankie, and they were in fact, partners at one time as a boxer and manager respectively. Frankie eternally regrets the fact that he pushed Scrap too hard in his 109th fight, which cost him his eye in that fateful match. Their funny banter and humorous conversations barely mask the complex relationship these old friends share. In spite of it all, they still share a bond, which I’d like to think, other men of their age would be envious of.

Going back to Frankie and Maggie’s uphill struggle, the movie is actually more than just that journey. We see the circumstances that have brought these two hurtful souls together. I appreciated the beauty of sharing a connection that they’ve long lost in the estranged families they’ve come from. Basically, they found the parent and the child in each other that they didn’t find in their own blood relatives. Frankie found it in himself to take a big risk - something that he hasn’t done in a long, long time. Maggie was more than willing to go headfirst into the fray. Meanwhile, Frankie was able to let go of his fear and inhibition after being inspired by Maggie’s iron will. Halfway through the film, it occurred to me that they would do away with the standard clich├ęs. By the time Maggie stepped into the ring for her final match, I sensed that the story would go for the ironic approach. I was right. Brief triumph was immediately followed by crippling defeat. It’s when they try to pick up the pieces that make the characters what they are – where they ultimately shine as decent human beings, trying to make the best of what life gives them.

Personally, I found final scenes heart-wrenching. At Maggie’s request, Frankie had taken it upon himself to end her suffering by cutting off her life support. I found this to be a very poignant decision because in one way or another, I could see myself in that situation. My aunt recently passed away on account of illness. She had requested in her last will and testament that should she fall into such a state, any artificial means to prolong her life should be halted. As such, I know the firsthand pain of someone dying right then and there.

I believe that the most effective movies are the ones where you can identify with the characters of the story – or at least find pieces of yourself in them. All of us have relatives we’ve been alienated from, all of us have missed an opportunity that we regret to this day, and all of us have lost loved ones to death. What makes Clint Eastwood’s efforts so great is that none of the scenes were over the top or overplayed. At the hands of a lesser director, the intended message might have not come across that clear, or that painful.

The seemingly dry wit and deadpan approach only magnifies the reality of the story. It makes the personal battles waged by the main characters all the more convincing. Finding a tasteful amount of restraint, the expression “less is more” sure carries a lot of weight. The themes found in Million Dollar Baby (sheer determination, the bond that goes beyond blood, seizing the moment) have been played in countless other films, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen them so gracefully depicted.
Monday, March 07, 2005
I wish that I was one of those special, magical people that don't need to cough up sixty bucks to park in the very same building I work in. Sixty a day may not be a big deal to others, but it is to me. Hundred parking slots, my ass. The ones allotted for the mere mortals aren't even at fifty, counting the ones at the basement level. Aside from the gas I'm already consuming to drive to work, wasting more money just to park is annoying. Pure B.S. IMHO.

I guess I just have to commute then.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
I'm running a fever today. The biogesic is keeping it at bay, but it's probably gonna kick in again when I get home. Will I make it until Friday? Only my body knows. Dan and I took a 3 hour nap last night at 6:30 pm. When I woke up, I felt a naseous sensation in my stomach. It felt like a bout of hyperacidity making a comeback. So I took an antacid and felt better after, but not before squirming in bed for an hour or so. When I woke up this morning, I felt a bit hot and my bones felt heavy. So I dragged myself out of bed to take a semi-warm bath and took some paracetamol before leaving for work. So here I am at the office trying not to let hyperacidity and fever get the best of me.

We're expecting a new nanny later this morning; hope she turns out ok. We interviewed her yesterday and so far she looks ok. She's a mother of two kids, both of which are in their early teens if I recall correctly. Of course you never know how they turn out until they've been around for some time. Here's hoping that we found a good one...I can't exist on a few hours of sleep on a daily basis.

It's five minutes until my short break, and one call is on queue. Time to earn my pay right? I'll be updating this later.

Cheers.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
The Phone Monkey Knows No Fear

There's those few seconds of unsettling silence between me and the customer after I relay the bad news. It could be that they can't install on both a Mac or a PC at the same time, or maybe they have to pay for technical support, or it could be that their version is only supported online. Whatever it is, there's that small amount of time, which technically is just a drop in the bucket of the time-space continium, but seems to last much, much longer than it actually is.

"I'm sorry, but the license only allows you to install on one platform, even if we allow two machines per copy..."

"Unfortunately, the support for your version is only found online"

"Aside from our online forums, you can choose to log a paid incident for phone support"

Then the silence ensues. As I've said, it ranges from 3-5 seconds, which is really not a long time at all. But it feels like forever considering the white-knuckled anticipation of what the caller will say next. In fact, I feel like one of those war correspondents on the battelfield waiting for the maelstrom that will follow after hearing the sound of the mortar firing. The next few seconds could mean greivious harm, or a narrow brush with death.

....
....
....

"You have got to be kidding me."

"No way, this is bullshit."

"Oh, okay."

Predictably, the last response is the one I always hope for. I secretly exhale a sigh of relief when they actually accept what I have to tell them. Of course there will be times when the customer will give you a piece of his/her mind in a not-so-eloquent fashion. Ah, such is the life of a phone monkey. Not that I'm really complaining now, my last call center gig was ten times worse, given that 90% of calls you get involve a seething, computer illiterate homeowner. Add that to the lousy management, which made me quit 3 months into the job. So you see, it's just a little something I observed from my current work.

*****************************************

On to other things, my sister nearly lost her life recently due to food posioning. Not spoiled food mind you, but chemical posioning. They were making homemade corned beef and the excessive amount of sodium nitrate was the culprit. The recipe called for about half a teaspoon of the stuff to go with a pound of the beef. Apparently, it was the maid that erroneously added something like FOUR fucking tablespoons of the additive. Propotionally that would make it an overdose amounting to 400%. That caused my sister to collapse in front of her kids after ingesting the tainted meat. Had they gone to Makati Medical Center, she wouldn't have made it since she was in Alabang at the time. It was a good thing they sought treatment at a nearby hospital instead. Otherwise, I'd be on funeral leave right now. Her face was stiff and her hands slowly turned black for christ's sake.

So kids, remember to check the amount of death sodium nitrate that you put into your homemade corned beef, because that may be the last thing you'll eat in this god-forsaken earth.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
People=Shit (Slipknot)
Here we go again, motherfucker
Come on down, and see the idiot right here
Too fucked to beg and not afraid to care
What's the matter with calamity anyway?
Right? Get the fuck outta my face
Understand that I can't feel anything
It isn't like I wanna sift through the decay
I feel like a would, like I got a fuckin' Gun against my head,
you live when I'm dead
One more time, mother fucker
Everybody hates me now, so fuck it
Blood's on my face and my hands, and I
Don't know why, I'm not afraid to cry
But that's none of your business
Whose life is it? Get it? See it? Feel it? Eat it?
Spin it around so i can spit in its face
I wanna leave without a trace
Cuz I don't wanna die in this place
People = Shit
People = Shit (Whatcha gonna do?)
People = Shit (Cuz I am not afraid of you)
People = Shit (I'm everything you'll never be)
People = Shit
It never stops - you can't be everything to everyone
Contagion - I'm sittin' at the side of Satan
What do you want from me?
They never told me the failure I was meant to be
Overdo it - don't tell me you blew it
Stop your bitchin' and fight your way through it
I'M - NOT - LIKE - YOU - I - JUST - FUCK - UP
C'mon mother fucker, everybody has to die
People = Shit People = Shit (Whatcha gonna do?)
People = Shit (Cuz I am not afraid of you)
People = Shit (I'm everything you'll never be)
People = Shit
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Bummed Out

Sadly my hopes for being a daywalker crashed and burned in a blaze of glory for the fourth time. Like a WWII fighter plane shot down by an ICBM. Just came up from the 31st floor to have a smoke. Shit, shit, shit. My breath tastes of nicotine and iced tea, and my morale is sinking like a camel in quicksand. The more I try to shake myself out of it, the deeper I get. What else to do but stay still and hope for someone to pull me out? Yes indeed, yes in-fucking-deed.

A co-worker came up to me to propose a networking scheme he has going on. Incidentally, I tried to pitch a same gimmick to him a few months back because my mom gently forced me to join her new money-making venture. Currently, that hasn't panned out for me too much. Going back to said co-worker's proposal, it seems legal enough: it's a well-established business entity in the book/magazine/comic trade that's planning to try its hand at this crazy game called networking. It's certainly cheaper to sign up for this one, as opposed to the afformentioned scheme I got myself into some time ago. Same deal: you get a referral fee for those that sign up under your own name, or known as a downline to those familiar with the game. Same promises of untold riches too: about 200 grand a month if you're really, really good at it. "Good" being the sales talking kind of guy, which I'm not. That's probably why I'm not going to be up to it. That's just not me. And besides, I need to focus my attention on our tutorial business.

There's a lot of money out there; the trick is how to get your share of it. Sigh, they're just sheets pf paper that if you had piles of, would create an illusion of happiness. But I would like to have just enough of it to live a bit comfortably. Is that all there is to life? Join the rat race to secure a financial oasis in this poverty-sticken desert of unemployment and rising rates of inflation? That's how a man's worth is measured by, right? The so-called diskarte. The true yardstick of one's manhood.

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck. Be a man, Marko. Suck it up. Stop whining. Get down and give me infinity. Hop to it, soldier.

Okay, I'll stop now.

Monday, January 31, 2005
I fought the law

Last Friday I nearly got caught by the MMDA upon executing a right turn into Ortigas Ave coming from J. Vargas. I came from work the night before and had forgotten that the car I was using was not allowed the following morning (color coding). The traffic enforcer was standing by the corner, and had eyes like a hawk. I tried tailgating the car in front of me to obscure the incriminating license plate I bore (which ends in the number "9"). No good. Shortly after I made a right, he gestured with his hand to pull over. He probably knew I was pretending not to see him so he called to his companions (whom I didn't notice until I came out of the turn). To my horror, his buddies had a motorcycle. I heard them honking their motorcycle horn, or was it a siren ("wang-wang")?

In any case, I just drove along at a moderate pace to keep the charade going. I dared not speed up, because that would give away that I was guilty. Better to feign ignorance, right? I thought to myself, "what the hell am I doing?". I figured I wasn't in the mood to argue with the MMDA dude, or fork over some bribe cash to squirm my way out of the situation...it was already an exhausting night for me as it was.

I was furiously checking my rearview mirror to see if they were going to chase me. I was approaching the C5/ Ortigas intersection and was panicking because the traffic light didn't look like it was going to turn green any time soon. That meant I had to stop, which will risk my capture if they had gone after me. I suddenly remembered The World's Scariest Car Chases. Well, it never came to that, but my little brush with the fuzz was a bit of a rush. So, I opted to make a left into Libis instead to keep my momentum going. I knew a route going home from there (albeit longer), so all was well.

I guess they figured it wasn't worth it to go after me. I'd like to think that the befuddled traffic enforcer muttered "shit!! there goes my breakfast".

Yes indeed, I am a bad, baaaaad, man.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Disgruntled Phone Monkey

11:19 pm:

A lot of things are getting me down. Work-wise, I feel a dark cloud looming over me, bearing its weight on my shoulders...even though it's high above. Its presence is more than enough to keep my mind a stirred frenzy of restlessness. I can't keep focused if my body lacks the rest it needs. I need a vacation. Have you seen that Lucky Me commercial where the guy was so exhausted from work that he was oblivious to the cars on the street? Well that's me, but it will take more than a cup of noodles to fix me up.

This shall come to pass, like any other phases or mood swings. Off to work for now; it's the best way to drown the thoughts gnawing away at peace of mind.

12:08 am:

Just finished a call. It just occured to me that I'm growing increasingly unhappy because I feel entrapped in my schedule. I feel like I don't have a life anymore; it's just a perception though. I feel trapped by my severe lack of sleep. I need a new schedule. Or a new job. Or hire a nanny so I can sleep. Either way, something's gotta give. It can be my mind, my body, or my schedule.

Something. Anything.

2:59 am:

Got out of a 30 minute break half an hour ago. Tried to steal a bit of sleep. Now I feel like a zombie struggling to resurrect myself back to life. I am the undead. The rec room feels like home so it's really hard for me not to sleep so soundly. I always have strange dreams when I sleep there.

I'm sliding downhill into a murky pool of depression when I think about my son. It sucks that I'm not there at night.

5:23 am:

Night of the living dead part two. Waking up from my lunch break is a major fucking drag. Someone give me a medal: with my brain at half capacity, I still had it in me to establish rapport with the customer. Hell, I even made her laugh:

Me: So, did u change Windows versions when you re-did your PC?

Her: Uh, I went from XP to 2K because it was grindingly slow from all those updates you know?

Me: Yeah...ok, just give me a few moments to generate your activation code....I'm on XP.

Her: Ok, hahaha.

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Way Past Strike Three

Currently blasting A Crow Left of The Murder on my co-worker's overly borrowed headphones. I need it to drown out my thoughts on my fate as an employee of this company. I'm schduled for a meeting with my team lead (TL) to discuss my evaluation/performance as of late.

This morning, I overslept at work for the fourth time this month. What a way to start 2005. I usually catch a wink during my lunch break at the office rec room. Problem is, I don't hear the celphone alarm when it goes off...hence the chronic tardiness. Just one instance of overbreak (10-15 minutes) reflects badly on our performance. Imagine the consequences of my offenses so far:

Strike 1: 20 minutes overbreak
Strike 2: 30 minutes overbreak
Strike 3: 1 1/2 hours overbreak
Strike 4: same as #3

I'm not that lazy, mind you. There are probably gonna be some preachy types lurking around here so I welcome it. But it's just that I only get 2-3 hours of sleep everyday (during the day literally, night shift sucks). Blame it on the responsibilties of married life and parenthood I suppose. I swear, I didn't mean it. This job is important to me, believe me. I should be telling that to my boss huh?

I'm just so goddamned tired. I don't know if I can find any other work that pays this much, which is higher than most entry level positions.

I sit here in anticipation, pondering on what other opportunities lie ahead of me should I be voted off the island. And we all know anticipation is worse than the proverbial shit-hits-the-fan. Add to the fact that I have an upcoming 2-day suspension for accumulated tardiness last year. I'll be lucky if they extend my suspension...I'd like to think of it as "unpaid leave".

Thursday, January 06, 2005
New Skin

Looking good so far. A bit too plain maybe, but it's soothing. What do you think?
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Not much calls tonight. Staring at the monitor for several hours on end is mind-numbing.

I feel like the screen is sucking my soul, awash in the wired world of the web.