Lunes, Mayo 23, 2011

Rouse Me Like Never Before

It really sucks, but I think the thing that I am trying to fix is actually getting worse. The past week was surprisingly hectic, despite the fact that I had spent the majority of it in bed. I was a little lost there for a bit, and I literally and figuratively lost my footing. I've basically considered myself as a workaholic, a fact that isn't obvious due to my malnourished bank account, but I've made it a point to drown myself in work and alcohol once the going got tough.

This week, I found out that I no longer have that ability. We're not going to need pills for this. Lots of it.

Cavite, Uncorrupted. I started the week off by staying at my mother's place for a couple of days. I needed to prepare for a big show, and not worrying about food and chores and other household stuff was something I needed. However, it was obviously not enough. So up I went to the Big Man's place to down some booze with the Quiet Man, the Big Man's newfound brother, the Gadgeteer, and the Big Man himself.

It was a good night that didn't really help me much with coming up with any material for my set, but it helped combat the sleeplessness, so that's always good. That's right, one night before my comedic debut on television I went and got hammered.

The Supposed Big Break. The day I went to the huge network to perform for a television show that I rarely watched in front of an audience who, given the chance to get to know them better, I would hate as individuals, I was nervous. Hell, the small dingy bar like Votre was enough to turn my knees into jelly, and I made those people laugh weekly. Here, in

"enemy territory", my ulcers went berserk.

The pre-show shenanigans also made my fears escalate, as one of the mainstream comics warmed up the crowd in the type of comedy that I have always personally disagreed with. But who was I to argue the merits of good comedy? I, who still had a long ways to go in establishing myself on the stage?

But, the usual mainstream bullshit caught up with me, and after waiting three fucking hours to do my two minute set just made the very little fuck I gave diminish further. So I went up, energy at an all time low, and for the first time ever I did stand up without alcohol in my system, and without my usual masturbation, sex and drug jokes in my arsenal. Good, clean, mainstream fun, that's what they wanted, and that's what I gave.

How was it? If they air it, watch it. If not, well, let's just say I managed to turn off a crowd who was digging me for the first minute of my set.


A Girl By Many Names. Accompanying me to the network thing were, of course, the group's manager and, lo and behold, a college classmate who now goes by names like Yvette and Olga and fuck knows what else. Me and her, we've never been really close, and sometimes I don't think I actually liked that much.

It's weird though. After my show, I went to see hers. (She produces a bunch of artsy fartsy events all around the QC area.) We even ended up at my lace. Spending the night talking with someone who at some point in your life barely registered a blip on your radar and now she's one of the people that actually gets you, it's funny. It's safe to say that we're friends now, cause, like I keep telling a few other people in my circle, we crazy, damaged folk need to stick together.

All Work, No Play. Once the Girl With Many Names left, I was off to a job interview with The Therapist, another one of those people who gets it. And despite the fact that I had a fever, that I had spent the entire night drinking and talking, I managed to land the job. My final interview lasted probably around 30 minutes, 80% of which I just made the top brass laugh.

And who said comedians don't have marketable skills?

And then I went home to meet up with the Friendly Almost Neighbor (the girl who I used to work in the Evil Empire with) to help out on a video thing for an officemate of hers that was leaving. Good to see that the summer I spent studying film still has its uses.

But I have to say, I'm proud of what I managed to produce. Maybe I should push through with my project now.

Staring at the Ceiling. Once she left, I laid down on my mattress and stared at the ceiling. For three fucking days. Only getting up to shower, use the loo, and get food. I was under the weather, but it wasn't that that kept me in bed. I just didn't feel the drive to do anything, even if it meant that I ended up broke the following payday.

People were inviting me to hang with them, but there I lay, as if waiting for some impetus that I finally should get out of bed and move forward. I never thought it would be such a bad feeling, knowing that nothing needed to be done immediately. It was lonely. Scary even.

Standard Sunday. Sunday night, I sent out a call to arms, and of all the options that arose, I just decided to go to the Big Man's house instead. Walked in on the couple fighting, but somehow it turned around. The Big Man and I spent the entire night taking about the different "eras" in our lives, seeing that we've been constantly around each for 15 years now.

And that not only helped with the anxiety, but it gave me a vague idea on how I should go about confronting this.

Plan of Action. I realized that at some point in my life, something got derailed. When the Big Man and I were talking about how we were in the past, it was hard not to ascertain that we are exactly where we are simply because of who we are. The difference in my case was that I was completely happy for the majority of those times. It's probably because whatever condition I had went untreated particularly since I had spent the better part of my younger years drowning myself in distraction.

I'mma be retracing my steps now, because the one thing I learned during my talk with the Big Man on that night was that the best thing I've ever done, to this day, despite the TV and bar gigs, despite the movies I've made and the projects i've been involved with, despite all of the "interesting" people I've met over the years, I've never been more proud or content than when me and my friends made everyone laugh in a rinky dink school play back when we were juniors. That video I did for the people from the Evil Empire came close, but not close enough.

Recapturing that may lead to the solution to all of this drama. After all, I started out as this weird emo kid (even before there was emo) and here I am. Back to the emo drawing board.

"Cuz growin up I was never the logical one
packed my shit and left home like the prodigal son
with a bottle of jack and my shotgun strapped
I went looking for fame and yo I've never been back
filled with spite staying high as a kite
I was dealin and stealin everything in sight
pool hustling trying to make that green
I've been ramblin and gamblin since the age of 13
working like a bitch like a god damn tank
some disagree because me rents had bank
but all that's gold don't always glitter
so I'll take another puff from my one hitter
I'm a slave to the trade I'm paid to rhyme
blow all my cash on cheap women and wine
cause money, money, money ain't shit to me
but I gotta make a lot just to be free
Please God Please I'll pay any cost
If you'd just stop the world cause I wanna get off
there's too much hardship there's too much pain
there's too many motherfuckers tryin to get in my brain
I've been to your mountains I've been to your seaside
and everywhere I went somebody's wanted a free ride
but parasites can't fake the Rock
and any suckers that step in my way are getting shot
cause I hold key to my own success
and suckers that step shall be put to rest
yes, I hold the key to my own success
and suckers that step will catch a bullet in their chest,
so pass the buddha the funky tie hooter
and watch me rip because I'm such a slick shooter.
not a generic dime a dozen M.C.
never was in a posse never wanted to be" - Kid Rock, "Prodigal Son"

Linggo, Mayo 15, 2011

The So-Called Down Time

It's been long overdue, but I finally get a week off from everything. Well, most things. The whole trouble with my worsening condition reached a head, and surprisingly enough, my week away from work actually became one of my more eventful and restless weeks, more so than I've had in a long time.

My anxiety attacks have escalated to the point where I spend entire nights in tears and walking out of my Fortress completely surprised that the sun has risen. It didn't help that certain individuals have bailed on me at this point, but it's not like it hasn't happened before, and that I haven't survived that sort of treatment before. But, this time, I avoided some of the mistakes I committed before, and actually placed my condition in the hands of people that have earned my trust.

Water, Water, Everywhere. Things, in a way that shouldn't surprise anyone, turned for the worse on a Sunday at the Think Tank. Then other shitty things happened, and of course, it did not take long for everything to seem like they were viewed from a fish eye lens. The things that I was going through for the past couple of weeks paled in comparison to that moment.

One phone call saved my fragile sanity. it was the Salesman, fellow stand up comic and Southerner, the guy who introduced me to a bunch of geeks that made my move to Las Pinas a little less lonely. We had a couple of beers and talked about the possibilities, as the Salesman actually accomplished on his own what we both set out to do a few months ago, which was to find a new spot to do stand up regularly. we worked on a few jokes, exchanged a couple of tips, and then we got to the main reason why I asked for the face time. I, for one of the rare times in my life, asked for ad

vice. For someone who's been through rough times himself, the Salesman managed to cheer me up and give me a little hope that things are going to be better. Plus, between him and the Therapist, I knew I wasn't alone in facing this crap.

I went home thinking that things were actually looking up, despite the troublesome affairs with work and others. Plus, it had been raining again, and nothing cheers me up more than a nice pour down. Yeah, things seemed like they were going to be fine. All that got flushed down the toilet the moment I went in my apartment. Water. Lots of it.

Apparently the pipes were fucked up due to the massive construction and shit like that. I fell to my knees the moment the landlady left. A whole lot of my shit were doused, wet comic books, magazines, clothes, everything. Remember that scene from the Sixth season of Buffy where she finds the basement flooded and just sat there for hours staring at the flood, finally feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders? It was exactly like that, only in my case, there was no Slayer strength to to rely on, no easily beatable monster to kill and serve as a distraction, There was just me, breathing funny, anxiety crept up to me, looking for a friendly voice to listen to, and when that didn't come, I slept in a puddle that was ankle high. It was going to be a long ass week.

De Ja Freakin' Vu. It's amazing that two events separated by two years can be amazing identical. On the first day of the vacation/nervous breakdown, my first visitor was The Girl Who Saved My Life. Back in 2009, I was a wreck, and she was the one constant that showed up in my lonely Fortress to literally and metaphorically save my life. Now, 2011 comes and I'm in the middle of an untreated crisis, and there she is once more, in my empty house, sacrificing time just so to cheer me up.

She changed a lot though, now that she was a graduate and now working. She's a little more mature now, and far less like a lost little girl who got abandoned by her boy. It's good. Two years ago, we both had baggage. Now, mine's a tad heavier than hers, and she's still willing to share the weight.

I went to Cavite that night, and it was the first night in a couple of weeks I actually slept without any attacks of any sort.

Road Trip. The following day, I paid a visit to the Big Man's house to talk about this new project I was going to work on with the rest of the boys, and to talk about what has happened to me. His reaction to my condition was expected and understandable, being a concerned friend and all. I think, however, his interest was piqued more by the news that I took a week off from work. It was 1 PM, I was in their house, with no plans at all, he was itching to do something fun (since his wife got preggers, along with a few other less than ideal conditions, his opportunities to just fuck around like the old days were limited at best), so, much like how we did things just a year ago, we went and had ourselves a road trip.

The Big Man. Myself. The Tapa King. The Big Main's long lost brother. A crazy (but intelligent) old dude. Two teenagers. One really wasted waitress. A set of wheels. A collective desire for doing fucked up shit. All those elements culminated into a single perfect moment where I, all issues and problems aside, stood staring at the vast and beautiful darkness of Tagaytay and allowed myself to breathe easy.

Everything was chaotic, but I never was one for the peace and quiet bit. Three important things happened that night. One, the possibility of the Big Man and I working together professionally was put on the table. Two, I met some really crazy people that would feed me material for a long time. And three, my sort-of-manager sent me a message, saying he booked me to do stand up for a TV show. I said yes, of course, cause nothing helps my anxiety quite like fucking up in front of a live studio audience. The catch? No dirty language, no blue stuff, no English. Just good ol' wholesome mainstream comedy. But, that's another story for another time.

I had a good night, and I went home with a few new friends, a new awesome hat, and a whole bunch of stories.

Wednesday NIght Delights. In my life, few things suddenly feel more right than a Wednesday night open mic. The Salesman did good. Nice bar, nice treatment. Amazing crowd. I actually brought the Human Torch and the BIg Man to watch me make the younger people of the audience laugh ad the older bunch shy away in disgust. I love being rude and crude and right.

Before the show, the Big Man and I also walked around the streets of Manila, mostly in fear. I don't know if it's because we're getting older or what, but we longer are as comfy trudging down the same streets we used to fuck around in while we were in college. I guess we all got too suburban the moment we all found ourselves living in Cavite again.

It was a really long day, really. After the show, we had time to hang out at my place before going all the way to Caloocan to pick up his mother and some random friend she met on the bus. I have to tell you, it was quite an experience. It's good that the Big Man and I have managed to get caught up once again. What with all the shit he and I have been dealing with as individuals as of late,I guess we mutually need the back up. In fact, we even went out and saw a movie a day later. The break from everything was beneficial to all of us, I think.

And since I still haven't raised enough funds to get therapy, I discovered that consistently keeping myself in the company of people who do not add to my problems is the best way of keeping a handle on this thing.

A Bigger Think Tank and an even Larger Generation Gap. The Therapist actually hooked me up with a possible quasi-teaching job. This one, if I manage to snag it, will not only will I have enough for financial obligations, it would actually enable me to work two jobs at the same time, which, given my current situation, is good for my mental health in the long run. The less

idle time I have, the less opportunities for the darkness to set in.

I took the test, I passed, and I left to meet up with one of the people I met during our recent road trip. The rationale was simple. I should not have time alone, and I also need to get a general feel of a "normal" person if I were to do that TV thing right. The experience did nothing but make me feel old, but it also was enlightening. I'm happy that people of the Facebook generation can still muster some semblance of toughness and real courage. Most of the younger people I meet are the usual bunch of sycophants who don't know any better… thinking that just because social networking sites offer them an opportunity to express themselves gives them a certain level of entitlement that allows them to speak without doing the very basic thing of thinking first. I was pleasantly surprised.

That night, I went home alone once more, and it doesn't take much for me to notice a pattern here. I spend the night in a ball.

What Remains of the Empire. Last year, a friend of mine plucked me out of my little home based paradise to work in the Evil Empire, a place where reality is somewhat contorted by the sub-culture that was established by folks who were more than happy establishing themselves in their little pocket dimension rather than work on being, you know, chilling the fuck out. It was like the Superbowl of territorial pissing contests, and you had to look very carefully to find someone cool to hang out with. One of those people who was more than pleasant to speak to daily moved South recently.

I was torturing myself in my less than glorious return to the Think Tank when she sent me a text message. Drinks at my place, and we spent the night talking about writing, the Empire, people in general, my shit, her shit, theories about people we both knew. It was pleasant, and I was back to sleeping peacefully.

Vacation's Over. I have a hell of a climb in front of me, but after the week that started out with busted pipes, and ended with a quiet night, and everything that's happened in between, I realize that I will never be in a situation wherein I'll have someone constantly watching my back as I deal with this. (I hope no one goes and reacts to that statement by giving me a speech about how you have to look out for yourself and shit like that. Usually people who talk about things like that have always had people around them that it's gotten to the point that they no longer recognize their constant support system and have mistaken not having the need to ask for help as actual independence.) I hope, someday, as the Gadgeteer once said, I will be, once again, a "titan among giants". Right now, I'm just a guy trying to survive the day to day. I'm glad my support group is more firmly implanted than they were a couple of years ago.

I will be shiny. Just not yet.

"We used to tear it down,

but now we just exist.
The things that i did wrong,
I'll bet you've got a list.

Now i know how you remember
and those moments that you choose
will define me as a traitor,
stealing everything you lose.

Forget about what i said,
the lights are gone and the party's over.
Forget about what i said.
Forget about what i said,
I'm older now and i know you hear me.
Forget about what i said.

You'll stay up late tonight,
you'll turn off your phone.
Well you were selfish too,
but you were never all alone.
In those ugly pink apartments
with the hustlers and the kids,
mapping out some retribution.
Do we have to go through this?

Forget about what i said,
the lights are gone and the party's over." - The Killers, "Forget About What I Said"

Linggo, Mayo 8, 2011

My supposed final post from my old blog

I feel old. In a bad way. I'm suddenly realizing how hard it is to be pushing thirty and have a Peter Pan complex. Back in my early to mid-twenties, people still find that sort of shit endearing. These days, I'm usually gazed upon with a slight tilt of the head and a cocked eyebrow of confusion. (Heh, I said cock.) Still, it's high time I reassessed certain aspirations, considering that I've been working non-stop for the past year or so just to cross off things on my little Bucket list. (Which I stupidly lost.)

On the upside, a lot of things down South are becoming quite the learning experiences. Primary lesson: it's hard being a comedian when 90% of the things you see don't make you laugh.

The (Relatively) New Faces of the South. The community I move in is ever growing, as evidenced by a surprise appearance from one of my favorite co-workers from the Evil Empire. Apparently, she has moved South and already experienced the wonders of living here. (She already had an encounter with a purse snatcher.) Of course, with The Therapist and I now sharing a workplace, Jo F'n Regis was sure to be not far behind. We have once again reclaimed Marbles, the way I used to do on a regular basis when I was in college.
I have slowly and surely made quite a home for myself here in the new Fortress, with The Therapist, Jo, The Sheltered Sons, SosoJeff and his wife, to a somewhat lesser degree The Gadgeteer, the people from Purgatory and my coworkers at the Think Tank all accessible at any time I wish. The mall i used to cut classes to hang out in back in high school is now five minutes away, and the bar I used to drink in back in college just as nearby, and with the girlfriend willing to make the trip South as often as possible, I think I have more than what I seem to need.
If only I could just slow things down even for a bit to enjoy all of these things.
Think Tank Troubles. In all my years of being employed, I never, ever had bothered to engage in a war of words with anyone.If things got bad, I either quit altogether (cause frankly, I wasn't wasting any energy on some corporate doof) or just plainly ignored the problem. But I actually like working in the Think Tank, mostly because it allows me the time to focus on my numerous pursuits while still enabling me to cover the bills and sustain my annoying habit of eating.
But then comes this dude who, in all honesty, has been taking a small portion of my contentment away just by trying to manage people in a manner which I could describe as a showcase of lack of direction. It's like he's torn between being the chummy boss and being Dr. Doom. (Ruthless, douchey, but effective.)
While I'm not an expert on how things are done in a corporate setting, I've handled projects and people before, and I have a good idea of what makes a diverse group f people work. Being a leader is a hard job, especially since it falls under your responsibility to understand the strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and personalities of every single member of your team. Most people see leadership as merely a title that automatically entitles one respect and obedience. My bosses from Purgatory and MTV earned everyone's respect by showing consistently that they deserved it without a single threat thrown around. They never had to remind people that were the leader. They just took every opportunity to prove themselves worthy.
For now, though, I got what I wanted out of the confrontation. Things are relatively okay now. I'm expecting a fallout, and as always, I'm not going down without a fight.
Three Goals. On one of my dies off, I decided to roam around a mall in the South, the one with the strip of bars beside it, and I figured to try my hand at acquiring a venue to establish stand up in. It was a bust, and even the short appearances of faces from the past was not enough to erase the fact that I once again have fallen in love with n activity that's nearly impossible to pull off.
The time alone afforded me the opportunity to narrow down my list of goals. I'm 29. In half a year, give or take, I'm turning thirty. It's a bitter pill to swallow, yes, but I'd rather not dwell on it. I'm focusing on just three things now: getting my comedy thing together, acquiring money and preparing for my 30th birthday.
The comedy thing, I already have a couple of plans for that. Ditto the money thing. The birthday, well that's a bit tricky, as I haven't decided yet between throwing a huge ass bash like I did when I turned 20, or if I'd be spending it in peaceful silence. For those who are reading this and actually want to give me something on the day I turn too old to be awesome, I'll gladly accept sweater vests, wheelchairs, wooden pipes, false teeth and other reminders that the only youthful thing I have now is my boyish good looks. (Boom.)
Discussions in a Gas Station. I met up with the Big Man on an early morning gas station minor drinking session to discuss the project. He seems all for it, but with his wife oh-so-close to popping out a new kid, I have a few doubts regrading the capacity he'll have on this new project of mind. It would be weird to not have him as my no. 2 on this particular sinking ship, as he usually is the one I go do stupid shit with. BUt he did commit, and it will be fun, especially once the Human Torch, the Gadgeteer, and the Uber-Geek sign on.
I'm excited, personally, to be focusing on something else again. Plus, an early morning talk in a nearly empty gas station has always been something I truly enjoyed.
The Immovable Audience. I actually got another opportunity to hit the mic again. It sucked. But it was a learning experience. Someday soon, if not me, one of my colleagues would be able to break that wall.

Normal Folk No Longer Allowed

I'm starting from scratch here. To those old time readers, think of this as a brand new season of the Sitcom. to those new readers out there, I strongly suggest you find a more entertaining blog to read. The old blogsite I used to post my rants suspended my account for some reason, but it really could have come at a better time, as my life once again has undergone those annual changes that's beyond my control.

So, here's a brand new chapter of the Badly Written Sitcom.  In HD. (And that joke right there just cost me another five regular readers.) Seriously though, I'm going to be more honest in these blogposts.