Huwebes, Setyembre 8, 2011

This Year's Story

It's been two weeks since I updated these pages, but I've been extremely busy. At least, more so than usual. With the year slowly coming into its final stretch, I'm feeling a level of elation that pretty much allowed me to act with the same confident strength that I've come to rely on that only living a life of semi-isolation can provide.

The past two weeks started out with minor pessimism for me. I heard something a petty and unnecessarily defensive remark from one of my old friends directed towards old colleagues that painted the first of my two weeks with a less than excitable hue. I never expected that kind of disillusionment would be the catalyst of potentially great things, but it did light some sort of fire under my ass to get my affairs in order and to ensure that I continue living life values, principles and beliefs intact.

A Real Good Night. The comment that kicked off my extended pondering came on a Monday night. I was having a conversation with the Big Man on our way to his little project. It was a casual talk, mostly I was just updating him about everything I had come to learn about our high school classmates. It was pleasant, and we were laughing and shit, but when I mentioned something about most of them going in and out of the country for financial reasons, he responds with how he doesn't need to leave the country to buy whatever it was that these people are working hard to get. While I may be reading too much into it, I was still taken aback, partly because it's an attitude that, aside from surprising, was clearly unbecoming and it was a comment that was uncalled for. Status was something that me and my old friends never really put much stock into, but then again, I may just be glossing over my past. Of course, I started thinking of the people in my life that have recently exhibited similar mentality. Certain exes, certain friends and acquaintances, it all came back to me and kinda bugged me all night. I used to roll with legends, but most of those legends are fading because of the growing susceptibility to self image pitfalls. Old age? You can't blame everything on that.

Then, the following night gave me a measure of peace. There has been a drought in the Think Tank and pretty much everyone was grasping for work to do. On that night, I once again found myself alone in the office, waiting for work to arrive, when I got a message from a fellow Think Tanker who was in definite need of company and, at the very least, laughter. Nothing was getting done, and I was pretty sure I could provide both for her, so I figured, what the fuck, right?

I went to her place (after getting lost and ending up in the wrong apartment complex, knocking on the wrong door and waking up and pissing off the wrong person). We hung out, and she told what was bugging her. Apparently, she was seeing someone who comes from a very well off family. Her lover went sick, and out of concern, she paid an unexpected visit. Long story short, it ended with her lover's sister going on a diatribe of how capable they are of taking care of the said sick person, considering how rich they are. Basically, the thought conveyed was pretty much in the same breath as my friend's statement from the night before. It was rude, hurtful, and again, uncalled for. She, my colleague, is one of the smartest, most talented, kindest and most real people I've ever met. From her humble beginnings and bad decisions she managed to rise up into one of the most accomplished individuals in my life. For her to be subject to that kind of bullshit was nothing short of a disgrace.

I did my best to cheer her up, and I think I did a fine job of it. I went back to the office afterwards content in the fact that I have made a connection with a kindred spirit.

As the sun rose, I decided to have breakfast in the area where I used to get drunk every morning with the people from Purgatory. It was good, being able to sit there and just bask in the memories. Recalling the days where I was surrounded by equally broken but essentially good, real people gave me a level of awareness higher than I had had all year. It was one of the most fulfilling nights of my recent history, and definitely one of the two best nights of my year (the other being my Super Weekend). I got shit done at work, helped a friend out, and had a satisfying, hard earned meal at the end of the day, just like simpler times.

Rediscovery. The following night, I was back at the Big Man's project wondering what to do next. As I alluded to in my previous post, I have a new quest to pursue before the year ends, but considering the daunting tasks it would take to actually complete the tasks, I wasn't really sure I was up to it.

What injected some newfound motivation in me was, of all things, a Youtube video made by a student filmmaker who went to Votre and did a documentary on us comics. Watching the video, not only did I feel the feeling I got overtime I hit the stage (or reasonable facsimile thereof) at Votre, I remember how doing stand up during that time was the only completely good thing going in my life.

It gave me the "eye of the tiger", so to speak, and I just focused on that for the rest of the night. The singular thought that was in my mind right then was "I've got a contest to get into".

Pilgrimage. The highlight of the first of the past two weeks was, surprisingly enough, initiated by none other than Jo F'n Regis. On another night when the Big Man, the Make Up Artist and I were heading for another night at the Big Man's project when I received Jo's text. everyone who has worked with me knows that while I am a hard worker, the right invite would make the decision of dropping everything and just making up for the missed work way too easy to make. The Big Man gave me permission (But to be honest, I didn't really ask for one, cause either way, I was going, but of curse, this is my friend I'm working with. Anyone else, I'd be telling him or her to stick it.) in exchange for a service that I could render and I was off for some serious bro time with Jo.

The invite that was so irresistible? A return to the Grill. Jo and I talked, laughed, and most importantly, drank. We even had some cheap ass Chinese food afterwards just to drive the point home. There are very few places that really feels like home, and that bar will always be one of those few places. Besides, it's been weeks since I had a legitimately good night out, and there's something about that place that makes me feel like the world is in my hands once more.

The night even ended with a surprise appearance by the Tapa King, which didn't actually improve anything, but didn't take anything away from the night either..

In fact, I left the Grill knowing that I went through everything that I exactly needed to be in the proper mindset in taking the next step to accomplishing my latest intended goal. Most likely, if those sequence of events did not take place the way they did, I'd probably just be completely lost by now.

Grand Motivations Among Materialistic Intentions. I learned that the Human Torch joined one of those atrocious network marketing deals in a big way. When I asked the Big Man (who, given his entrepreneurial nature, also joined) as to why would the Torch, with his remarkably stable professional state, jumped on this venture so aggressively, the Big Man told that, above all things, it was because a girl. (A girl who had cheated on him at least twice, to the best of my knowledge, no less.) I pretty much scoffed at this decision, and refused to join in. (I was apparently tapped to be one of the people to join in and help everyone make money.) Prudence would dictate that one should not join in on any endeavor led by a person driven mostly by emotion, as it would lead to clouded decisions and a distinct inability to lead. With my plate being full as it is, I could not afford any more risky business.

However, as it often happens, fate stepped in. On Saturday, I was supposed to finish this video I needed that would hopefully secure me a slot in the contest, and pay a visit to the Think Tank to finish the required output for my day job. But, a storm hit, and hit like a motherfucker. I knew the boys would be at a network-related seminar, so I decided to make an appearance instead of spending a Saturday night at home. What I saw was one of the most mind numbing displays ideals-twisting manipulation. There were a bunch of professionals there programed to achieve on thing, appeal to most people's baser natures by cranking up the cognitive dissonance and the fear of isolation and promising a completely fulfilled life through the ability to gather worldly possessions. Their arguments were clearly underscored by the promise of excess.

I wasn't buying anything that they've been offering. More money? I was born into a relatively well off family and walked away from that. More time? I have always been a man who's had my entire life in my control and my control alone, regardless of circumstance and consequence. This is not my problem. The ability to help the people around me financially? I'm surrounded by people who have the ability to earn a living. I live only for myself, and I'd like to think that I have everything I could ever need. And whenever new needs arise, I know I have the means to obtain it. However, sitting in on that seminar, I realized that the Human Torch's reasons, irrational as they are, are the only reasons in that room that I can really respect. Plus, it wasn't that long ago when I would be equally or even more daring in the name of love. So I was in, provided certain things cleared up.

We ended the night by paying a visit to one of their favorite strip clubs, and had a surprisingly decent amount of fun. (Disregarding a threat of a fight that occurred towards the tail end of the night and all that.)

The Race to the Deadline. The start, as well as the majority, of the following week, was devoted to one thing and one thing only: to ensure my spot in that contest. I have conceptualized, I have gathered, and I have made do with what little resources I had. What came out was, unlike many of my other creations, something I didn't really feel was the best product I could come out with. Still, the deadline was on the first of September, so I had to roll the dice.

I sent the video to the guy running the show, and came the most annoying part of anything: waiting.To make matters worse, the BIg Man's project had to take a week off, and the Think Tank was still running low on things for me to work on. And so I waited.

Friday night, accompanying the Big Man on his chores, (Plus, I was broke, so I didn't have much by way of options.) I received the single greatest e-mail I have ever received in my life. Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially performing and competing in the 5th Annual Hong Kong International Comedy Festival.

Now, I just need to raise the money to get my ass there. Minor details. What's important is that on my first year as a stand up comic, months before I turn 30, I get to perform on that level. Win, lose, or draw, I win. HK won't know what hit it.

Celebration. I wasn't the only with good news that night, as the Big Man apparently nailed another money making venture. While money's tight, there was no way we weren't going to do anything about it. Enter the Human Torch and the rest of his goons, all looking for a good time and willing to spend for it.

You know how this story goes, right? Drinks? Check. Ladies? Check. Laughter? (Check) Obscenely unhealthy meal afterwards followed by oversleeping and complete negligence of other responsibilities? Oh hell, check.

Facing Forward. What can I say? I've never been this pumped for anything. All my fears have been alleviated with the simple prospect of me being able to pursue something I love, despite the odds. For many years now, I've heard it from every other person that's passed through my life. You're too old to be idealistic. You can't always get what you want. You have to compromise.

I respectfully disagree. My creed has always been: "Change what I cannot accept, discard and replace that which I cannot change". I'll bend over backwards for the simple reason of helping my friends. I will go through trials to be with the person I love. And I will always be chasing after my legitimate passions without reservation. It's who I am. And the people around me, whether we all share the same point of view or not, accept that, the way I accept them. People don't have to like it, and I'm thankful for the ones that do.

"I've been roaming around, I was looking down at all I see

painted faces, fill places I can't reach

You know that I could use somebody...
you know that I could use somebody...

Someone like you and all you know and how you speak
countless lovers undercover of the streets

You know that I could use somebody...
you know that I could use somebody..." - Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody"

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