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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

The Neanderthal Was Right the First Time

Monday, July 31, 2006

My two week vacation officially ended approximately five hours ago. No more hanging out with friends in the afternoon, No more Late Night with Conan O'Brien, No more sleeping until lunch, No more free time... again. Instead, I'm in front of my office computer again, designing plans and site developments for a new condominium project. This is, if I'm not mistaken, the third condominium project we've handled in the last two months. Condominium Ad Nauseam. Back again in the same mundane routine of a blue collar drone. It raises the eternal procrastinator question... Why do we need to work?

Origin of the Working Class Species

I was mulling over this while I was computing the number of parking slots for the condo. I came to the conclusion that "work" started when some short-sighted nomad (let's call him Caveman) stopped moving from one cave to another and thought... "Hmmm... Will this thing grow if I plant it?" Other nomads soon followed suit when they saw Caveman tilling soil and decorating his newly-owned cave with images of his other food source, hunting. I have minimal knowledge of anthropology, but I believe that work started when man invented hunting and agriculture.

Caveman Discovers the Wheel and Fortune.

Caveman felt bored. He was fed up with their deer BBQ's, swimming in the lake and his stinky cave. He went out and followed the path to his favorite crag. Caveman accidentally trips over a rock. Missing a tooth and his nose bleeding, he gave the rock a furious kick. To his surprise, the rock moved a whole inch. He shouted "Caveman, invent wheel!" and rolled his invention back to his cave. His neighbors got very curious with his new device and ordered some on www.cavemanscustomizedrockwheels.com, this is how Caveman made his first million. He made wheels for a living and was finally able to buy the Two-storey rent-controlled cave with a view of the ocean he always wanted.

Caveman Discovers Country Clubland

One weekend, Caveman started travelling. He heard of this land across the River of Exclusivity. According to his neighbor, this land had an olympic sized swimming pool, champagne at lunch and all his favorite sports: golf, tennis, and baseball! Caveman decided to see for himself. After paying the toll at the I-know-a-member Bridge, He found himself in Country Clubland. It was as he expected, even more. He was about to enter its 24 karat gold gates when a strangely clad man named "Enriquez" asked him to show his membership card. Caveman looked at him quizically. Enriquez' brother explained to him that he needed to buy a membership in order for him to enter Country Clubland. When he was told how much, he made a quick mental computation. "Ok, Caveman come back in 15 years, I'll have the money by then". So he went home and added another branch to his rock wheel business.

Caveman Discovers Dating

On a typical Wednesday at the office, Caveman met Cavewoman. Cavewoman was a from a well off mining family. She was from a long line of gold diggers. Cavewoman strolled over to Caveman in her leopard print venus-cut dress. She smiled showing off her one good tooth, and he fell in love. Caveman gave everything Cavewoman wanted. On one of their dates, Cavewoman talked of her bum ex-boyfriends who played PS2 all day. She wanted security, She wanted luxury, She wanted Caveman. So Caveman, being a 40-year old virgin, gave everything she wanted. He thought, I can always add another branch and still make Country Clubland membership in 15 years.

Caveman's Girlfriend Discovers Insecurity

Cavewoman was enjoying raw lion meat one afternoon as she strolled barefoot on the sands of Bulimia Beach. She nearly dropped a good piece of leg when her old high school friends, Paris and Hilton bumped into her. Paris and Hilton gave Cavewoman a "I'm sorry you look like that" look then giggled all the way back to their beach front hotel. Cavewoman cried all the way to Caveman's apartment. She spent all night online, looking for Insta-thin products, and signing up for liposuction. Of course caveman paid for all of these. They got engaged just a couple of days ago. He thought "The village at Mount Suburbia might need a rock wheel supply shop".

Caveman Discovers Human Resources

When Caveman went to Mount Suburbia to establish a new CCRW (Caveman's Customized Rock Wheels), he saw how eager these people where. They were flocking around the construction of his new mud hut emporium. He thought... "These people are so Paleozoic Era." A mountain man approached him and asked if he needed help looking for employees. "Employees?" Caveman queried. "Yes, people to work for you." The man replied. "We can make people do that? then yes! sure" Caveman said ecstatically. The man introduced himself "I'm Brown-nose, I have a B.A. from Kiss-ass University" This is how CCRW became CCRW, Inc. Caveman's manicures lasted a lot longer now, having his employees do the rock chiselling for him. He thought he would have less work when he had people working for him... but Alas! He worked twice as hard to manage the now 15 CCRW branches. Life was hard and Cavewoman is pregnant with their fifth cavebaby.

Caveman Discovers Gravity

It was National Neanderthal Day. The only holiday in the Mesozoic Era. Caveman felt numb from work, and his ears felt numb from Cavewoman's nagging. He decided to spend the day alone. He was walking, hands in the pockets of his loin cloth. He came across familiar trees and paths. He accidentally found himself in his first cave. He saw the first rock wheel he made, his first corn garden, his first wall paintings. He felt a sudden urge to go to his favorite crag, he hasn't been there in 15 years (and he still wasn't a Country Clubland member). Caveman looked at the old part of Neanderthalland. It was magnificent. He hadn't time for anything since he started working. He was at the brink of crying when something fell on his head. An Apple. For the first time in a long time, his head was without thoughts. He felt very calm. His last thoughts before he fell asleep were "I discovered gravity" Caveman's first rule of gravity: Lying down is way better than standing up.

All these "Me Caveman" comic strips were drawn by the talented Tayyar Ozkan. They were the inspiration for my ramblings/ bedtime story. Visit his website at:

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Will someone kill that Sukob Flowergirl!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Its quarter to seven, I'm still awake. I can't get that flowergirl from Sukob out of my head. Sukob is a horror movie about a superstition in Filipino culture. It is a belief that bad luck comes to those who get married under certain circumstances like tying the knot on a date that falls in the same year as a family member's death or a sibling's wedding.

I met some of my friends and friends of friends late last night. I didn't expect the lines to be excruciatingly long. There was a queue for tickets and a queue for entry. We planned to watch the 730 one but ended up watching the last full show. After a snack, a semi-finished cigarette, and Tine buying a humongous cotton candy, we were flashing the star stamp on our wrists at the cinema entry. We went in a little prematurely because we could still hear the "aaaaahhhs!!!" of the audience inside. Not wanting to spoil the movie, we passed the time making fun of this shitty girl who kept complaining about us entering without queuing (we have Cinema 4 star marks baby!) We finally did enter and sat comfortably on our seats.

The Philippine national anthem played, an ad for Spiderman three, and the movie started. Dona: "Ano ba yan! Simula agad! Di man lang tayo kinondisyon!" (It's already starting! They didn't even prepare us!) The audience was fun that night, there were screams that were out of sync, some screams were in perfect unison, and some screams were for totally different reasons... all in all a total scream-o-rama, my tonsils were pulsating at the end of the show. The movie was generally okey a barkada (peer) movie that has its fair share of super scary moments. Although you can't help but notice similarities with Final Destination (death chasing you, woman getting smashed by a speeding bus) and The Ring (that damn flowergirl crawling). The twist was good also, Tine and I kept trying to figure the story out and by three-fourths of the movie we got the most of it. The scariest thing about the movie for me is the musical score. It made certain scenes scarier, the gradual increase in volume, and made scenes to startle the audience even more effective.

This is the polar opposite of what the cinema was like Photo from www.gabesplayerpianos.org

We all had sweaty armpits by the end of the movie. When the credits started rolling, the lights were turned on. We all tried our darndest to hide our faces, we made such a scene there screaming we didn't want anyone to know who we were. I peered around and nearly everyone in the vicinity was doing the same. We went out laughing at certain scenes (as if we didn't watch it together) and on the way to the coffee shop, we made occasional remarks like "Ano yun!!!" (What's that!!!) while pointing at mirrors or dark niches.

Miss Jessica Zafra (All hail, Miss Zafra, Goddess of Irony) watched the movie too. Read her thoughts at the following url (I especially loved the bit about forks. LOL)
Jessica Zafra's Twisted: Interactive Horror!

It's officially morning. I think I would be able to sleep now. I have a vivid imagination and I have an excellent retention of scary images, and lying alone in a dark room after watching a horror flick isn't good... at all. Instead of lying there, eyes darting from window to mirror to door, praying nothing would come up from underneath your bed and hold your leg... I opted to be productive and bloghop instead. The thing about scary movies is you know you won't be able to sleep after you see the movie... but you keep coming back for more.

BTW, Since there was no Super Dry, I had an SMB Pale Pilsen at the coffee shop and I haven't noticed this caption before...


Dream Journal 01: Rice Crispies and a Colt 45

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I had two of the weirdest dreams last night, back to back like a dream marathon. Dreams have eluded me for some time now, so I was very ecstatic when I woke up. I'm even more ecstatic when I remember details of a dream, because most of the time I'm only left with feelings in the morning (or afternoon for the last 2 weeks) when I wake up. I would often remember joy, sensuality, fear, anger, etc when I wake up but have no idea what the dream was about. You get this nagging sensation you usually feel when you leave the house knowing you forgot something but can't put your finger on or the feeling you get when you're in the middle of an examination faced with a question you absolutely know the answer to, you can even tell in what page it is in your notebook, but can't quite transmit that thought into the "correct" term. However, today, I can remember some details quite vividly.

Vertigo or Tower of Pleasure. Salvador Dali. 1930
I've always liked Dali's surreal paintings.

Dream (Part I): Congratulations Carmen

I visited my old high school. It was just as I left it, the unadorned, multi-paint coated chocolate brown doors of classrooms, the white walls, the terrazzo floors, and the indoor concrete basketball court placed smack down in the middle where most of the classrooms in the main building faced. The court/ auditorium/ morning assembly area has always been lit by artificial lighting as far as I can remember. The only natural lighting that it got came from clearstory windows that lined the upper part of the walls just beneath the ceiling, so in the dream, I couldn't figure out the time.

I was on my way to the faculty room that was located above the stage of the auditorium and had a commanding view of the insides of the main building. It was a whole storey above the classrooms and had a narrow access walkway that had the faculty room's entrance doors to one side and a balustrade to the other that reached only up to one's hips. Being an altophobic, this wasn't one of my favorite places, one could easily push the upper part of your body and cause you to cartwheel to your death on the slab below. I went into the room where all the teachers convene, as students we were not allowed within these walls unless absolutely needed.

There was a party of some sort. I saw some secondary school friends as well, some teachers I knew and some I didn't. The party was, as I saw on the cake near the entry, a "Congratulations Carmen" party. I didn't know who Carmen was. I mingled, asking some friends who Carmen was but nobody knew. At one of the tables, a couple of my ex-classmates were talking to a late-twenties to early-thirties woman with glasses. She was Carmen. She seemed to know me. She offered me a rice cake of some sort with pinipig. It tasted good, crunchy on the outside but soft inside. It was a pretty large piece and I was about more than halfway done when I felt something crawling on my hand. It was a bug of some sort, like a small centipede. I flicked it away only to have another one on the other side of my hand. That's when I found out that it came from the rice cake I was eating, the things on the top I mistook for rice crispies, were actually these pink disgusting creepy crawlies.

Velazquez Painting the Infanta Margarita with the Lights
and Shadows of His Own Glory. Salvador Dali. 1958

Dream (Part II): Colt 45

I don't remember how the dream shifted from the rice crispies to me walking along a sidewalk with three friends, but there I was. An unusually warm night, Jo noticed we were going to pass by a condo where a strange death occurred just a month ago. We were scaring each other, Bert and Vic doing most of the taunting. It was a three storey minimalistic condo with a curtain wall facade. It was the only semi-decent building in the area where it was mostly vulcanizing shops and storehouses. We came to the building directly in front of the condo, an old brick building which must've been a printing press. We stayed there for a moment trying to find that white line they draw around a dead body, when I saw a familiar face coming up in front of us. We hid behind the brick building. Len is an acquaintance of mine, who as it appeared knew someone who lived in the condo. She walked right into the building and a few minutes later one of the units on the third floor was lit. We could see Len and another woman pacing the room.

We were about to leave when a black van slowly pulled to a stop in front of the brick building. We crouched, and crawled behind some bushes on the empty lot beside the brick building. After a couple of minutes, Len came storming out of the main door. We were looking at each other trying hard to conceal ourselves, the bushes weren't that full and a street lamp made it impossible for us to move. Our shadows were cast on another building to our left and any movement could give us away. We heard the van door open, some mumbling, a woman screaming then muffled, the van door closing, a struggle, then complete silence. I didn't exhale once while this was happening. I almost peed my pants when the van door opened again.

Heavy footsteps. I had the courage to peek a little and saw a pudgy man holding a large plastic cup with a red straw. He was looking for something. He was nearing the bushes but veered a little to the left where he stopped and thru the cup in a trash can. He was walking toward the van, but suddenly stopped, turned his head and walk in our direction. My heart was about to jump out of my chest. We were all frozen staring at this man's fierce eyes. He saw us.

The fight or flight response. We were trying to flee but our legs were frozen stiff. When he was about a meter away, and we heard his breathing, all four of us instantaneously stood and charged towards him. Why we did this, I don't know. But the man was taken by surprise, we were able to push him back a good 2 meters or so and luckily into a large window at the side of the brick building. The pudgy man fell in. My ears were burning from all the adrenaline.

I peered into the window and didn't see him, I looked this way and that and finally saw a rifle pointed at me. I ducked and heard the bullet whiz above me. While I crouched behind the window sill I felt a cold metal on my hands. It was a gun, a large gun, a Colt 45 (deus ex machina). I was holding the gun, when Jo screamed pointing at the window. I saw him above me aiming a rifle at someone, I aimed the gun toward him and fired. My eyes were closed when I did this and when I opened them, he was gone all I heard was his profanities trailing off into the distance. We were all running to the street by then. Vic looked at me with the expression "Where did you get that?" We heard another rifle shot. When we turned he was there aiming his rifle again. We all dove face floor into the dirt. We heard a couple of bullets, then a click, click. He was out of bullets.

The fight or flight response. We all stood. As Jo, Vic and Bert were about to run. I stood there in a few meters in front of him, raised the gun, aimed it at him and fired a shot to his chest. He was walking towards me now, blood on his shirt from a bullet hole in his throat. I shot him again in the arm, and the thigh, but he was still walking toward me. I was starting to panic and I was having a hard time aiming the gun with my shaky hands. I was able to shoot another one on his chest when he picked up his speed and crashed into me, driving me to the ground. He was bleeding all over me, I couldn't breathe because of his weight. He opened his eyes, stared at his left hand. I stared at what he was looking at. It was a blinking red light but I couldn't tell what it is. When he did put his forefinger above it, I knew right away it was a button. I turned my head away, and all I see was all a very bright light choking all the shadows that we were casting on the wall.

I asked the dream doctor what these all means. I'm still waiting for a response.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Following links from one blog to another, reading about the lives of people you have absolutely nothing to do with. (www.urbandictionary.com)

I was spending some time on the web, nothing much to do this afternoon. I did a fair share of bloghopping and stumbled on an interesting blog fosfor.se. It collected a number of interesting blogs from all over the web. The following entries caught my eye.

So you think you know how to Photoshop, eh?

What part of the following picture is Photoshopped?

All of it. I couldn't believe it too! I have been using photoshop for some time now but I've never done anything this good. I thought the man was photoshopped onto the woman or something like that, but the artist Daniel Hammonds aka Wade/ Haujobb & Fairlight, did it from scratch. He shows a step to step tutorial of this piece named "Me and Louie's Sister" here:

When Drawings Fight Back
There are three more drawings in the site below but no mention of the name of the artist in this site or in fosfor.se (Please comment if you know the artist of these drawings).

Cartoon Characters Through an Xray

A fun collection of 22 cartoon characters in a collection called "Skeletal System". The artist's name is Michael Paulus, check out his website in the link below, the home page is one of the best ones I've seen yet.

There is something always something interesting happening in the world, and thanks to the web you could see it as fast as you can click your mouse.


Tap, tap, tap... Afternoon Nap

I had the worst (and ugliest) alarm clock this afternoon. I slept late last night planning stuff in my head. After lunch and a couple of shows, I felt my eyes beginning to feel heavy as I lay lazily on the living room couch. I haven't had an afternoon nap since college, a full 8 years ago. I was truly enjoying my siesta. Nearly catching sleep, a loud knock came from the window next to the main door. This fugly woman plus a couple were at the door when I opened it, They were looking for a room for rent. Not knowing the affairs of the apartments my mom, who went out, manages, I asked our housekeeper if we had any. Nope, she says, fully occupied. I returned to the door with the news, and this fugly woman still kept inquiring. What part of "none" didn't she understand. I nearly slammed the door to her face, I was absolutely not in the mood for nonsense, but the rules of propriety hadn't been quelled enough by my irritability. I just dismissed her politely and closed the door, saying nasty things under my breath.

It's one thing to be woken up by my bright red wind-up alarm clock, It's another to be woken by a fugly woman with bright red lipstick.

My friend TJ sent me an e-mail with caricatures of some celebrities. The drawings exaggerated certain physical attributes that have become anatomical signatures for these celebrities. I dunno where these drawings actually came from, I tried following the string of forwards this e-mail went through and found a dead end. (Extend my compliments to the artist if you know him/her) Below is one of Penelope Cruz and all I can think of when I looked at it was the woman who tapped on my nap.

BTW, Does Miss Cruz actually have a Mickey Mouse tattoo on her bosom?


The Pen is Mightier than the S(poken)word.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

(Photo: www.picturejockey.com)

Many people can talk hours on end without getting boring. They have this innate ability to say the right things at the right time, said in a manner that sounds witty and articulate without crossing over the line of arrogance or pretension. They can make the corniest of jokes into something actually funny (I can't tell a joke to save my life). They can make you hang on every perfectly uttered word and every perfectly enunciated sentence. I, to my great dismay, am not one of these people.

You can't help but wish you could speak as seductively sophisticated as Cate Blanchett (her monologues in the first LOTR movie still gives me the chills) or maybe talk as charmingly as Ralph Fiennes or Paul Bettany (I have a thing for british accents), or the soothing voice of Morgan Freeman or Ellen Pompeo, or the commanding voice of Anthony Hopkins. Truth... I have a squeaky voice that always comes across as anxious or constipated. Whenever I hear my own voice on a video or in a voice call, I gag. I sound like Karen Walker (Will and Grace) only with less charisma. I also have a tendency to speak too fastly blurting all my ideas at once and getting only a "huh?" or a puzzled expression from the person I'm talking to. It's sad.

Thank God for writing. A medium I can express myself in, not as good as a lot of people but a whole lot better than me opening my mouth. Whenever I type, I hear my "head voice" reading what I'm writing and it sounds a whole lot better than my "mouth voice". You can never take back something you've already said, in writing/typing your best friend is "Backspace". You can spellcheck... If there were only such a device for your vocal chords that corrects how you pronounce words before they even come out of your mouth. I have embarassed myself too many times by mis-pronouncing words, and later trying to speed up the conversation hoping nobody noticed.

The pen is indeed mightier (and more fool proof) than the s(poken) word.


I've Officially Moved In

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

After 3 days, 9 moved posts, a couple of blog templates and a million help pages on HTML and CSS, I have officially moved in. Not shabby for a newbie that started with zero knowledge on everything technical in the www. I love what I've done with the place. I found another use for my Photoshop skills and my OCD.

Blogging does encourage narcissism.


Butt Ugly

Sunday, July 23, 2006

(Photo: Liam Gallagher, Oasis)

The cigarette does the smoking - you're just the sucker.
~Author Unknown

Government Warning: Smoking Kills... the latest warning by the Surgeon General. I didn't notice when they decided to change the warning from "Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health" to the more blunt one we have now, they probably thought the first one wasn't potent enough. If I had one peso for every concerned "that can cause cancer" or "you need to quit before it kills you" or every pamphlet showing a lung suffering from emphysema or an old woman with a nasty hole in her throat, well I'd need to carry one of those wood handled velvet bag thingies we see in churches to collect all the change. It's not like smokers don't know these things, it's written on the side of the box for Pete's sake (never did understand this expression. Who the hell is Pete?). It's one of the few honest consumer products. Have you ever seen a beer bottle with "Government Warning: Drinking can Cause Liver Cancer" stamped on the side or a warning like "Eating this can make your kids obese and lazy" on a McDonald's Happy Meal. In the movie Interstate 60, one of the eccentric people the main character met in his eventful journey to deliver a parcel was a middle-aged man obsessed with truth, ready to detonate explosives tied around his waist whenever he met a person not willing to admit he is lying. Gary Cooper (Bob Cody): "I like cigarettes, the packet says they cause cancer and they do. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Boy, if it wasn't for cigarettes I don't know where I'd be today. I used to be in advertising, I got paid for lying. Then one day a little boy died because of one of those lies. Boy, that fried me. So when I got my nicotine death sentence, I decided to make the rest of my time count. Put an end to some of those lies. Now, for the first time in my life, I'm fulfilled, I'm content. Lung cancer, not without its benefits."

Cigarettes aren't given enough credit, it has its advantages too. Smoking is good for your colon. Constipated? Everyone knows it helps you do the # deux. It is a drug, highly addictive, but a drug nonetheless. Smoking is good for your eyes, at least for people who spend 8 hours or so in front of a computer. Smoking breaks can soothe the eyes and help you refocus them. Smoking is also a social activity. I've met a fair share of interesting people whenever I bum a cigarette or a light. The talented Michelle Pfeiffer said: "I used to smoke two packs a day and I just hate being a nonsmoker.... but I will never consider myself a nonsmoker because I always find smokers the most interesting people at the table."

I haven't always been like this, a pulmonary masochist. I was an anti-smoking pseudo-activist during the early years of high school. I don't really remember the exact time I got cig-hooked... It was probably some time during college. It all starts with innocent puffing out of curiosity and the sake of peer agreeability (a.k.a. smoking makes you cool delusion)... slowly evolving into a stick a day plus a couple during a night out (a.k.a. look at me, look at me... I'm smoking)... and later on an another-stick-wouldn't-hurt, I'm-not-hooked, I-can-quit-tomorrow-if-I-want-to phase (a.k.a. gradual addiction with denial). You know you've hit the peak of the addiction curve when you pilfer your Dad's Philip Morris, or when cigarettes are at the top of your grocery list. You know you're scraping the bottom of the barrel when you light a half-smoked cigarette from the waste basket because its night, the damn sari-sari store is closed and you forgot to buy supplies.

I will quit. I will quit... eventually... Maybe... I don't know... Probably when I lose one lung or I'm breathing out of a hole in my throat.

"What a weird thing smoking is and I can't stop it. I feel cozy, have a sense of well-being when I'm smoking, poisoning myself, killing myself slowly. Not so slowly maybe. I have all kinds of pains I don't want to know about and I know that's what they're from. But when I don't smoke I scarcely feel as if I'm living. I don't feel as if I'm living unless I'm killing myself."
~Russell Hoban, Turtle Diary, 1975


Truth or Consequence

Friday, July 21, 2006

(Photo from: www.religioustattoos.net)

There are some truths we know. There are some truths we wish we knew. There are some truths we wish we didn't. There are some truths we wish we could've known earlier. There are some truths we wish we could've known later. There are some truths we fear knowing. There are some truths we wish to forget.

Ignorance... they say is bliss. Some also say that what you won't know won't hurt you. But others will contradict by saying that you can never hide the truth. The bliss of ignorance has an expiration date. So would you rather know now or later?

Truth... they say sets us free. But they also say that truth can make you mad. Some truths can leave us lost and confused, forever bound by the shackles of doubt and despair. If you were to die in a week, would you want to know so you can anxiously prepare for it or would you rather not know and enjoy your remaining week without fear?

They say you cannot change the truth but the truth can change you. Truth and consequence. There is no "or". Every truth comes with consequences. Every unknown truth comes with consequences too. The truth hurts. Not knowing the truth also hurts.

Knowing the consequences, to know the truth or not to know the truth... That is the question.

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Dinner with Imaginary Friends

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

If you could have dinner with any 3 living people, who would you pick?

My answer here changes every time I think about it... but tonight, it would probably be: Sandra Oh, Richard Linklater and Conan O'Brien. I would probably be more of a listener in this gathering than an active partaker, their personalities and worldly experience are waaaayy too interesting. There lives are like bestsellers and mine is like a footnote to a forgotten book at the far reaches of the crappy books section of the library.

Sandra Oh. 5'-6", Korean-Canadian, Actress.

"You just don't care about what people think. But it's hard to do because people tell you what they think all the time. It's sort of nuts. We actors, we're a fragile bunch, and yet we need to be strong because 90% of our lives is rejection. You have to figure out what really is important."

I love Miss Sandra Oh. She is probably the first notable Asian actress who actually acts without having to do tiger claws and roundhouses. I first noticed how brilliant an actress she is in Sideways (a.k.a. My crash course on Wine 101) playing an overlooked supporting role. Sandra Oh as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy is flawless casting. As Dr. Yang, she has infectious sarcasm, blunt frankness and a tendency toward sociopathy. She won a Golden Globe for the role and I remember how genuine she was in accepting it. Most winners would be all poised and stagy reciting well delivered and very witty speeches that appear unrehearsed. Not my dear Sandra, she got lost trying to find the stage because some damn friggin A-list celebrities wouldn't even stand up to let her pass. When she did finally get to the microphone, she made no attempt at appearing calm and collected. She blurted out spontaneous thoughts like "I feel like someone set me on fire," or "Oh God, I don't remember any of your names!"

Richard Linklater. (height unknown), American, Writer-Director.

"Most of us are losers most of the time, if you think about it."

He is one of my favorite directors. Richard Linklater wrote the screenplay, directed and sometimes played a cameo in some of, I think, the best contemporary movies of our time. Before Sunrise is my all time fave. Jesse and Celine, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, spending a night in Vienna talking about everything. (My thoughts on this movie needs a whole blog entry or two). Before Sunset, a sequel to the former. Jesse and Celine meet again in Paris after nine years, a grandmother's death, a marriage, a kid, and a book. The movie is shot in real time, following the two in their one hour and seventeen minute strolling conversation that started in a book store and ended in Celine's apartment. Mr. Linklater also did Waking Life, a surreal movie on dreams, Dazed and Confused and The School of Rock. There is a truth in all of his movies, the kind of truth we often don't talk about and the type we only get from true intimacy.

Conan O'Brien. 6'-4", Irish-American, Host.

"If you can really laugh at yourself loud and hard every time you fall, people will think you're drunk."

Have you seen the movie Sugar & Spice about cheerleaders robbing banks? Anyways, one of those pompom wearing felons was totally obsessed with Conan O'Brien. Who wouldn't be? No one can make me laugh as hard as this guy, and that goes without saying he does it way past midnight. His talk show is scheduled way too late, so I often miss it on weekdays. However when I do, I experience all the types of laughter anatomically possible for homo sapiens. There's the chuckle, the sarcastic ha-ha (like Nelson from the Simpsons), the mind-laugh (you laugh in your head but your face doesn't show any sign except maybe for a slight smile), the polite laugh (at jokes gone awry), and the all out, tears in the eye, wa-poise, slapping your lap kind of laughter I rarely experience nowadays. Last night he did this whole thing again about him being very big in Finland because he resembled the incumbent female president of the country. The show does a split screen, an unflattering photo of Tarja Halonen on the right, and Conan on the left putting on a pair of glasses, tilting his head to the side and doing a hilarious impersonation of the president's sort of smile. He even did a couple of ads, actually aired in Finland, where he promoted Halonen using a talking fish. I also enjoy his choreographed entry when they start the show and the way he makes fun of Max Weinberg, La Bamba, the studio announcer, audience members and most often himself. Can't wait for him to take Leno's spot.

Me. 5'-9.5", Filipino, Stalker.

"My life is so terribly boring compared to these three"

Nod, nod, nod.

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Chapped Lipped, Soaking Wet and Flat Broke...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

There is an old wives' tale that says... "All bad things happen in threes". You hear about such incidences in the news, you feel sorry for the fellow it happened to and a couple of minutes later you're watching Spanglish on HBO as if nothing happened. To actually have three bad things happen to you consecutively is devastating!

Episode 1: The Chapstick Incident

1830 hours. Circa one week ago. Just finished another day at the office, I was in an FX on my way to a friend's house. I distinctively remember hearing a cheesy Ilocano melodrama on the taxi radio. The type of radio program where the audio actors emote way too much and there are probably two supposed sound technicians walking with extra heavy shoes and slamming a door to demonstrate the theatrical walk-out of the main character's mistress... or something like that. Anyways, I recall twirling my favorite lip balm (the green minty one) in my hands like a baton looking at the dingy corduroy car seats when the taxi came to a startling stop (I almost went to first base with the passenger seat head rest... ullk). I was frantically rummaging thru my bag for the fare having seen that I was a couple of houses away from my destination. I paid, went out and as I was pressing the door bell realized that I wasn't holding my Chapstick. Drats.

Episode 2: The Umburglar (Part I)

1900 hours. Yesternight. The first day of my two week leave. I met up with a couple of girlfriends for coffee. Tine, Dona and I were having a fabulous time talking about everything from board exams to babies over brewed coffee, Marlboro lights and dessert. The waiters that night went from the good, to the bad, to the downright ugly. It was sometime during our conversation about that psychic that went on "Deal or no Deal" (with actions please) that I made a mental note to secure my umbrella from the table beside us. Earlier that evening, I came to the coffee shop unfashionably early and was seated, after a century of waiting, on a dreadful table. A couple of cigarettes and twelve Text Twist™ correct six-letter words later, the table in the corner by the windows cleared up. With ashtray, bag, and cup & saucer in hand(s), I moved. I however, forgot to relocate my umbrella with me... the tail end of typhoon Florita was still over Baguio. Dona sort of knew the occupants of the table I evacuated earlier. Frenemies. The frenemies left during my coffee refill. It was about five minutes later that the umbrella mental note beeped, I gazed under the vacant table and Voila! the umbrella has evaporated. Blasted Umburglar!

Episode 2a: Blame It On The Batteries (Part II)

2030 hours. Still Yesternight. After a Session Road hike while throwing bitching comments in the air over my stolen chartreuse umbrella, Tine and I were saying goodbye to Dona at the SM lower ground escalator. We were gonna do some late night hygiene product shopping. I ended up buying another umbrella. At the cashier's counter, Tine wanted to test the eyebrow trimmer she was eyeing before flipping out her SM advantage card. A saleslady told her to pay for it before testing it (huh?). Anyways, that's what we did. Over the UCB fragrances at the nauseous scents-intermingling-in-the-air perfume counter, the lady was opening the tightly sealed trimmer with a translucent pink cutter. I half expected the product not to work and to my surprise, it didn't! The saleslady was jerking it this way and that and finally came to the remarkable conclusion that it was because of the AAA batteries Tine bought to test it. For crying out loud! This lady must be kidding me. That's when I experienced the tedium of the bureaucracy of Customer Service. We were following this poor purple clad saleslady, named May, around the department store being passed from person to person, all happening near closing time. Blah blah blah... It all ended with Tine hesitantly accepting a replacement eyebrow trimmer. I'm happy to report that she SMSed me saying that it finally works.

Episode 3: Mr. Non-Brightside

1700 hours. This afternoon. I woke up late to a messy room. I promised I'd wake up early today but I had had had to do a marathon of the first season of Grey's Anatomy. I was supposed to fix my room today to look for my wallet that's been reported AWOL for a day and a half now. I can't bear thinking about what I have to go through to replace the IDs and licenses I had in that wallet so I pried myself off my bed. I literally turned my bed over and several other furniture in my room (and some parts of the house), searching in vain for that darn wallet, while Fiona Apple sang out of my radio. At about 5 pm, I called the search party off. I realized that I should be saving my energy for queuing and for filling out forms, replacing all the stuff in there that I've lost. On the bright side, my room is sparklingly clean. There is no bright side when you lose your wallet. Dang it! I'm so f***ing... (what's English for burara? scatterbrained? Thanks Geeyoe).

Notice to the public: If you see a green chapstick in a taxi, a bitch with a chartreuse umbrella or a black pirated Girbaud wallet please inform me immediately! (except maybe for the lip gloss, wouldn't want to touch that now) This three-bad-things-happening-to-you is real and highly contagious.

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Roasted Langka Seeds

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Afternoon. I was doing my routine e-mail check-up... Forwarded e-mails... spam... Haribon Bulletin for July... more spam... Online journals... even more spam... Friendster Blog Update from "Jackie"... oh. Click! I'm a blogging newbie, so I check every single blog update that passes through my inbox. A couple more clicks and I'm reading Jackie's thoughts (Jackie... If you ever read this. I'll fax you the release forms so I can use your name... officially. hehe). It's a Lilac schemed Blog with a picture of her adorable daughter. Blog entry title "July 16". (Jackie I'm quoting you verbatim. This is in the release form. :P ) She starts... "gawd. i can't think of a better title, a more creative one. what the heck.. july 16 brings back so many memories - painful ones at that.. july 16, 1990 was when a deadly 7.7 earthquake struck baguio at 4:20 in the afternoon.. i was in 3rd grade, i was 9 years old. kakauwi ko lang nun (I just came home)..." read more... Jackie wrote about her experiences during the July 16 Killer Earthquake, a bitter-"sweet 16”"years ago. I can't believe I forgot about it, I was too caught up in the mental pre-spending of my 2 week vacation.

Three images of that time have been etched in my memory. First are the photos of the sections of the Hyatt Hotel that tumbled like dominoes. Second, the blankets and bed sheets tied end to end hanging out of the windows of the fallen Nevada Hotel (where Nevada Square is now), And lastly, the broken shards of a white ceramic elephant lamp on our living room floor. Every resident of Baguio during the earthquake has their own personal story to tell. Mine goes...

Roasted_langka I was ten, in primary school, sprawled on our couch doing what every ten year old primary school student during that time does in the afternoon, watching cartoons. We had FEN then, our house was within the radius of the satellite service of Camp John Hay, when it was still run by the USAF (I miss the old CJH). Nothing beats a school day afternoon spent with Tom and his nemesis Jerry. Kakauwi ko din lang nun (thanks to daylight savings time) I was in my underwear because I was in the process of changing into my pambahay when the MGM lion started roaring signaling the start of the show. My mom gave me a bowl of roasted langka seeds (eto ang pamagat ng "Maalaala Mo Kaya" episode for today) which I savored. So there I was on the couch with my brother, my mom nearby reading the newspaper, my sister in her room, my dad still at work... when the earthquake struck. We felt what the lettered dice for Word Factory might have felt like when you shake them in their egg crate like box to start a new game. It started with a slow vertical vibration which made everyone know something's wrong. It then gained momentum and started shaking our whole house sideways and diagonally and every direction possible, I remember feeling frozen and incapable of movement. When I saw that our piano, which took three strong men to move, started dancing this way and that, I felt, and so did everyone in the house, the urgency to go out as fast as possible. Running during an earthquake is like running drunk on a bus aisle while it swerves. It stopped when we reached the driveway. All our neighbors were outside by that time too, the last 45 seconds or so seemed like an eternity. Everything was still, everyone was stunned silent... and then the hail came. To a ten year old catholic boy studying in a Catholic school, an earthquake and hail were way too much to handle. It really felt like the end of the world... like living the Revelation... waiting for the four horsemen of the apocalypse to swoop down and chop your head off or something like that. My dad came home, or to the street at least cause that's where we were, and that comforted me and my siblings a lot. The sphere of a kid's universe is small and it contains probably only the home, the front yard, the street and extends outward two neighbor's houses away or so and knowing everyone in my family was safe made me think twice about the whole apocalypse-happening-right-now. I wasn't even aware then of the number of deaths and injuries, buildings collapsing and people camping in BurnhamPark , I was snug in the make-shift shelter we made on our porch. Days after the earthquake were actually a little bit fun for a ten year old... no school, relief goods from John Hay that came in those brown plastic army packs, sleeping outdoors, etc. except for the occasional after shocks that made you pray the earth would hold itself together.

A man (or probably a woman) once said "What doesn't kill us… only makes us stronger" (or stranger? hehe... either way it works). As we grow older the sphere of our universe does to. As a ten year old, my world occupied a very small portion of BaguioCity... house and school. As a twenty six year old, I'm affected by what happens in the geographic world... 9-11, the Tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, Leyte, and so many natural and unnecessary man-made catastrophes. Living memorial trees have been planted annually in Baguio in memory of those who died in the 1990 earthquake. My personal form of remembrance... eating a bowl of roasted langka seeds... remembering the Baguio that was before the earthquake and celebrating the Baguio that is because of it.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

(Photo: http://www.porthalcyon.com/reviews/200505/fourcharms.shtml)

About this time four years ago, I was holding a bright red umbrella standing on an aluminum viewing telescope (can anyone say lightning rod?) with 12 awesome friends, SV2G, atop the Main Tower having my picture taken against a rainy Frankfurt skyline. Those two-and-a-half weeks of pure joy and exhilaration sealed our bond as friends and on every 13th day of the month since, we've been keeping in touch via customized text messages commemorating all the fun and embarrassing moments we had that only a Filipino sense of humor can comprehend.

Thirteen has been a lucky number for SV2G. There were thirteen of us on the trip. We stayed in, last time Kyx and I counted, thirteen hotels and youth hostels. There are several other instances, mostly remembered only when we reunite and reminisce of days gone by, where thirteen has been reinforced as a special number to our posse.

Thirteen... XIII... Labin-tatlo... Trese... where does this number get its potency. Probably the most widely accepted manifestation of triskaidekaphobia is the deletion of the thirteenth floor in high-rise buildings. Also, I think everyone feels slightly different when the thirteenth day of the month happens to fall on a Friday like the earth is tilted a degree farther or something. I've learned, from a National Geographic documentary during the whole Da Vinci Code brouhaha, that Friday the 13th became an inauspicious date when the pope turned against the Knights Templar on said date or something like that... I wasn't really paying attention (tee hee).

In general, I think, I'm not really superstitious. Breaking mirrors, crossing the path of black cats, walking under ladders and other western superstitions never quite made me mentally associate bad luck. However, I do say "bari bari" when I throw anything in creepy places where vengeful dwarves may be lurking. I also instinctively bite my tongue when dogs bark at me, and throw salt over my shoulder when I spill some on the table… more force of habit than phobia.

This day goes down in history, for me at least, as the most depressing 13 ever not because of this blasted typhoon Florita but because right now, Coldplay is probably doing sound checks for their concert tonight in Hong Kong... so near yet so far... grrrrr...


Rainy Days And Wednesdays...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

(Photo: http://www.i-esfera.com/fotos/image1.htm)

...always get me down. What is it about rain that makes you lethargic and incapable of disengaging yourself from the warmth of your bed? What is it about rain that makes you wanna watch sappy romantic comedies? What is it about rain that makes you grab the stool you sneaked out from Otto Hahn, and then stand on it so you can reach up to the recesses of your uppermost closet shelf to retrieve your shoebox of mementos of failed relationships that are too difficult to dispose of... and then flip through them while you go through a range of emotions via your winamp player, starting with a nostalgic selection of: "Yellow" (Coldplay), "Wish You Were Here" (Pink Floyd), "Nobody Does It Better" (Carly Simon), "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (Rollin' Stones), "The Scientist" (Coldplay), "I Miss You" (Incubus), "I" (6cyclemind), "Walking After You" (Foo Fighters), "Come To My Window" (Melissa Etheridge), "Brick" (Ben Folds Five), "Just Another" (Pete Yorn), "Come Around" (Rhett Miller).

To a more "senti", tears-forming-in-the-eyes- and-flapping-your-hands- to-fan-it-dry playlist of: "A Song For You" (Donny Hathaway), "Home" (Michale Buble), "You Don't Know Me" (Jann Arden), "Goodbye My Lover" (James Blunt), "Everything" (Lifehouse), "I Can't Make You Love Me" (Bonnie Raitt), "Tattoed On My Mind" (D'Sound), "Feels Like Home" (Chantal Kreviazuk), "New York State Of Mind" (Billy Joel), "Blower's Daughter" (Damien Rice), "Pwede Ba" (Soapdish), "More Than Anyone" (Gavin Degraw).

And then a playlist loaded with contained anger, repressed sorrow and resentment: "Oo" (Updharmadown), "Never Really Love You Anyway" (The Corrs), "Waiting In Vain" (Annie Lennox), "Cool Off" (Session Road), "Don't Speak" (No Doubt), "Walang Kadala Dala" (Sandwich), "Tumatakbo" (Mojofly), "Kung Ayaw Mo Huwag Mo" (Rivermaya), "You Oughta Know" (Alanis Morissette), "Tensionado" (Soapdish), "Colorblind" (Counting Crows), "Fools Like Me" (Lisa Loeb), "Scar" (Missy Higgins), "Bleed For Me" (Seether feat. Amy Lee), "My Favorite Game" (The Cardigans), "Criminal" (Fiona Apple), and capping it off with "Glory Box" (Portishead).

Rain rain go away...Little Chester does not want to open this shoebox again.

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Trading Fairytales for Bank Accounts

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

(Chris Martin, Coldplay)

I had a rude awakening today at that hideous monstrosity of a building known as SSS. I'm getting insured, I've lost the deluded invinsibility of youth, that "that-couldn't-possibly-happen-to-me" mentality that makes me (or at least USED to make me) totally fearless. Where did my youth go??

I miss the carefree days of immaturity. When your biggest problem was waking up early for school and the source of your biggest joy is a christmas present. The excuse to be irresponsible is a luxury. Don't get me wrong, independence is wonderful... the absence of parental supervision, late nights, alcohol, nicotine, etc. etc. But with independence comes responsibility. Jobs, bills, health, mortality and every mundane and morbid thing in between. When did the slow erosion of our idealism start? When did we shift from cartoons to CNN? When did we start living in the "real" world? Last I checked I was still in La-la land where anything was possible. Age creeps up on you and.. surprise! its there staring you in the face in the form of an SSS RS-5 Form.

Growing up is such a pain in the ass (my psyche is shouting Peter Pan syndrome). I can totally relate to Jesse (Before Sunrise) "I always think that I'm still this 13 year old boy, y'know who just doesn't really know how to be an adult, pretending to live my life, taking notes for when I'll really have to do it. Kind of like I'm in a dress rehearsal for a Junior High play." In certain gatherings where you're expected to be an adult I find myself mentally checking what I do, editting what I say because that's how I think adults should act and speak. I think I'll never truly know how to be an adult... But I sure do make a flawless impersonation of one.

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Moving Day
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