Miyerkules, Enero 11, 2012

The Week I Turned 30

It finally came, the day that, in many ways, I have both dreaded and anticipated. I initially planned on celebrating my 30th birthday for an entire week, but due to financial restraints, I changed my mind about it. Looking back on the week that I turned 30, I apparently still managed to have a week-long celebration of sorts.

To those who don't know, the day I turn 30 was supposed to be the day I die. It's why I made it a point to accomplish everything I wanted to do in life before hitting that particular age. But, as evidenced by me still blogging about it, my supposedly inevitable demise did not take place. At least, not in the literal sense.

Starting the Year With Style.

One of the advantages of having a birthday in the first week of the year is that one still feels the "new year, new start" vibe that the first day of the year usually delivers. On the first day of this particular year, I woke up in the afternoon (after that night at Jo's I wrote about last week) with a slight buzz and a stifled laugh (the first text message I read upon waking up was one from Erin, which seemed to be an unnecessary reminder that I stood no chance). After finally getting coffee in my system, I got dressed and went to see my boys. The Critic, the Big Man, and Mr. Guerrero were all there, ready to down more than a few drinks.

Apparently, it's been quite some time since any one of us had done it, and with Mr. Guerrero (whose birthday was incidentally a few days before mine) and the Big Man and I "persuaded" him to use his birthday money to indulge in a few… gentlemanly pleasures. That's right, the boys were back on the strip club scene! On the start of the new year! Fuck yeah! Unfortunately, the actual events of the night did not deserve a "fuck yeah!" on any level.

I learned two things from that day. 1.) There are very few things more awkward than running into a former student of yours at a strip club and 2.) a strip club without any strippers (they have yet to come back from holiday it seemed) is nothing but a place with over-priced booze. And it was a little gay, all four of us, sitting in silence like that. Yeah, we ended up in one of those 24 hour burger joints, a true sign of loser-dom. Don't get me wrong, it was all fun for me. The whole day was just… strange. But, strange is good.

Let's Try That Again.

The next night, much to my sincere surprise, the Big Man and I once again found ourselves in that very same strip club. I dropped by the Big man's place looking for something to do and a little assistance with certain things I failed to take into consideration, and we ended up smack dab in the middle of the club widely renowned for a stabbing incident or two. There are things that remain constant in such establishments, one particular thing is how their services tend to get shoved down one's throat (so to speak). We went in, sat down, ordered drinks, and long story short, I was the unwilling (seriously) recipient of a lap dance from a bottomless menstruating stripper. (True story.)

Yes, I am aging gracefully.

Minor Obstacles.

The following nights were spent with the Breakfast Club, specifically, in the house of Mr. Team Player of the Year. It was during these nights that I faced a couple of obstacles blocking me from my goal of celebrating my 30th in a manner that I wanted. First, it dawned on me that I was teetering once again on being broke. With the production of the family project pushed back (and possibly shelved) the payday I was expecting obviously did not come through, and given the nature of my day job, it was unlikely I would be paid handsomely for sitting on my ass and drinking for the past few weeks. The second problem was far more pressing, as the possibility that the Scoobies would not be available for the set date presented a likelihood that the whole shindig would be cancelled. That second one affected me more, and led to a long walk in the park that led into me getting drunk once more.

While those problems loomed, I did still those nights with the team. I even had a couple of meaningful conversations (in the midst of all the swearing and dick jokes). The money problem got settled eventually, and the thing with the Scoobies, well… that one was sorted out in a very impressive manner.

The Day Before The Big Third Decade.

On the eve of my 30th, I went to Makati for three reasons: to spend my last day as a twenty-something in the most important place of my personal decade, to meet up with Marvi to plan something for the weekend, and to meet up with her husband to discuss possible projects in the future.

My favorite bar was closed, and though that was a tad disappointing, I couldn't help but appreciate the symbolism. That time of my life, when I'd spend Friday nights and/or Sunday nights at the Grill getting absolutely "ridonkulous" with my best people need to be put behind me. I had a ton of memories in that place, from my high school days, up to my college days and the better part of my 20s. It was time to find a new home, the way the characters from St. Elmo's Fire did at the end of the movie.

The prospects of working with Marvi's husband seemed promising, and I am excited to get on board, but the highlight of the night was Marvi. She reminded me exactly why I've admired her for nearly a decade now. She wanted us to go out for my birthday, and she just wouldn't take no for an answer. As we drank, she was on the phone contacting various resorts and other possible venues, she was drawing up a workable budget and balancing timeframes that wool eliminate both time and financial constraints on everyone's part. At the end of the night, the party was back on, and it was more cost effective. She made my 30th birthday party happen, and I will forever be grateful for that.

Surprise Shindig from The Breakfast Club.

I was already on a high from Marvi's efforts that I was set to call it a night. But, on my way back South, the Breakfast Club summoned me to the apartment that I would be sharing with them starting this month. Turns out that had planned this surpass party thingy. Now, I don't normally dig surprises. In fact, I fucking hate being caught off-guard. However, in all my years and in all the groups I've belonged to, I've never had anyone give me a surprise party. And considering that everyone is in the same financial boat (one that's about to sink) I have to admit, that shit touched me. We had beer and other liquor, games and brownies once midnight arrived and I was officially a 30 year old.

I left early in the morning, once everyone, aside from Carlo, was tired and passed out. (Seeing Jill drunk again was an amazing birthday present, btw.) I rode the van teary eyed, I'm not ashamed to admit, and smiling. I was teary eyed not just because of the massive acid reflux, and the crippling stomach pain that came with it, I've developed drinking constantly over the holidays, but also because despite all my planning and anticipation, it would be an unexpected gesture that made this transition of mine complete. I would have been content with the turn out of my 30th right then and there, but the day was just starting.

Turning 30 The Proper Way.

The big event finally arrived, and I was joined by the Scoobies, the Big Man, and The Critic (as well as the several children my grownup friends have) as we made our way to the familiar South to spend a night swimming and other stupid things people. The resort was merely a stone's throw away from the old college campus, which was perfect for reminiscing and shit like that. There was lots of food courtesy of Marvi's fantastic cooking (Marvi, incidentally, is now a caterer, and I will use this blog, as well as my other mediums of public expression, to pimp her services out). There were lots of beer, of course, and with the Critic bringing his own party favors, we had ourselves an amazing time.

It was an amazing contrast. The Scoobies are the group that I usually regard as my "grownup friends". Mixing them together with my boys, with whom I've had nothing but juvenile adventures with led to some pretty funny and, at times, emotionally fulfilling moments. We started the day by having a healthy conversation reminiscing about the old times, and ended it with me, the Big Man, and The Critic getting super smashed and running around the room, trying to keep one another from getting the last of the adobo. One moment that stick out in my mind was when I was in the pool, the highest one in that multi-level complex of pools that featured water of varying icky-ness, with a beer in hand and the full moon right above me, and the past decade literally flashed before my eyes. Of course, this significant personal moment was followed by more gibberish as the uncontrollable laughter came once we were back in the room.

The trip home was much quieter, but it was nice. It was peaceful. I rarely say this, but in that moment, I was happy.

Party's Over.

Alright, so now I'm 30. Like I said before, I'm supposed to be dead now. It's a long story, and if you guys really want to know more, ask me about it when you see me and I will disclose the sordid details. With an accomplished bucket list, I'm left to struggle with pondering the next step. I mentioned before that one way or another, 30 is the year that I die, and I have decided to make it so, in a far less morbid way. See, the past decade, my existence has been defined by my lifestyle. The majority of my most significant moments have been in a bar, or by doing something radically risky. (Another huge aspect of my life revolves around me and my quest for true love which, not surprisingly, often leads to more nights at the bar.) With that in mind, I am retiring that old persona and reverting to something far more boring. That time of my life is over. I'm Superboy no more. I won't be doing "indestructible" for the time being. While I figure out what I'm going to do next, I'll be partaking in the simpler, more boring things that "normal" people have been accustomed to, and hopefully, in sobriety, and downright lameness, I find a new definition that I'm comfy with.

New deadline TBD.

Miyerkules, Enero 4, 2012

Ending the Year Appropriately

I bid goodbye to 2011, and I did so with both flying colors and style. (That's from an old running "gag" between me and some of my friends and consistent blog readers.) The final days of the year have been relatively more quiet, but quite alcohol-fueled (for various reasons) and they were about as memorable as most of the year.

The good thing about the final days of the year is that the most of it have been unplanned, and involved people that most likely I'll be seeing a lot of in the coming year.

Christmas Day.

I had quite a Christmas Eve. being a guy who's on the move 98% of the time, I welcomed the isolation and the silence that only Christmas eve could provide. Since the family does not traditionally celebrate the overrated holiday, I loved myself up in my room and for the first time in a long time, I slept. (After having a ludicrous amount of drinks with The Big Man, of course.) The following day, Christmas day itself, I had a surprise visit from the Island Girl. We had another one of those talks, one wherein I never could quite express myself properly. (I've always had that problem. I could wise crack anyone until the cows went home, when it comes to verbally expressing my emotions, I stutter like some retard on meth.)

Still, it was peaceful, and after she went home, I went to see the Big Man and the Critic (who were reportedly drinking at the time), hopefully to get my holiday buzz on and get some dimsum while i was at it. They were already passed out when I got there, so I took a long walk, glad that the fucking holidays were over.

The Day After Christmas with The Scoobies.

The following night was spent with The Scoobies (or some of them). I have come to realize that my days without the Scoobies have become more and more rare. Still, it was a good night as usual. We drank, ate, laughed and shared ghost stories. There was also a bunch of extras from that Asiong Salonga movie there, and hearing the anecdotes were amusing. There's something about hanging out with the Scoobies that relaxes me, even though most of the time nothing noteworthy occurs. I'm guessing it's a feeling of contentment I don't sully get with others, plus the fact that I've always regarded them as grown ups, even back in college, the expectations of a good night are different. Not lower or higher, but different. Whatever it is, being without he Scoobies feels right, which is one of the many reasons I'm celebrating my 30th with them.

Marbles once more.

I actually went to the office after Christmas, hoping that there was something to do. (And of course, to try and get to spend some time with Erin, which, unsurprisingly, I didn't get to do.) What was supposed to be a productive night turned into a night at marbles as a teammate, bored out of her gourd, wanted to go out drinking. The night was especially revealing. We talked about our sex lives and past relationships, as well as future plans of degeneracy. I'm looking forward to it, personally, and getting to have Mind erasers at Marbles before the year ended seemed like the right thing to do.

Another Road Trip with The Breakfast Club.

Incidentally, one of the last days of the year also was the last day of employment for a beloved teammate of ours. In fact, the team's unofficial name was based off of his person's nickname (one we made up, of course). So, it was off to Laguna with the Breakfast Club for an event many were pessimistic would actually take place. But there we were, playing billiards, drinking tequila, cracking jokes and for some reason sharing ghost stories. The way I see it, that initial trip to Tagaytay turned us into a team, that team incentive competition thingy turned us into peers, the events surrounding the Christmas party turned us into friends, and that night in Laguna turned us into some dysfunctional family unit. On our way back home, we parted ways one by one, and I'm hoping that every single one of them feels as optimistic about the bond as I am. From this point on, regardless of what happens (even if I get fired, which is a certainty I face every two months) I'm sticking around this bunch.

Lighting the Sky on Fire.

Much like Christmas Eve, I had planned on sleeping in during New Year's Eve. However, in typical fashion, Jo F'n Regis put me in a position to shift my plans. And I was glad to do so. He, like me, was spending the holidays alone, and he wanted to company. So I showed up, and the year ended with us at the balcony of their three story home in Sucat, with a clear of the sky as it lit up, signaling the end of the year. From our vantage point, we saw fireworks as far as The Fort, and for thirty minutes we gazed at that spectacle, each lost in thought. I was going over the events of the past year, and Jo, well, I'm guessing he was just happy he's starting the new year back together with The Therapist. She even called him, and hearing Jo say the words "It's going to be our year" to the woman he loves was the perfect thing to go with the fireworks. Once the fireworks died down, we geeked out, drinking Bailey's and watching a couple of scary movies like the bro-geeks that we were.

Of course, those activities led to my first official stupid act of the year: urinating from the third floor balcony down to the vacant lot behind their home. As I peed, I swear to god, I was stating the words I've found myself stating time and time again form the moment I met the guy: "Damn you Jo Regis."

The Best and Worst of 2011

2011, as I have mentioned several times before, is the year wherein the proverbial slate has been wiped clean. It's also my final year in my 20s, and if there's one thing I know how to do, it's to maximize every second of life, especially before the dreaded 3 and oh. Every thing is quite different now, especially since most of the old faces have been replaced with eerily familiar new ones.

Starting off with a bang.

One of the things I've always been proud of is that I've accomplished everything in my bucket list before I hit 30, and the year started off with the last thing on my said list: attending Li's wedding. I initially didn't want to go, but things kinda just happened. Lost a job just to host the damn reception, but I guess, in the long run, it was worth it.

The Stage.

The one aspect of my life that had taken top position when it comes to personal importance is stand up comedy. I started doing stand up late 2010, and 2011 is technically my first year as a comic. In that respect, 2011 was a big year, from popping my comedic cherry at Votre, bombing at Merk's, getting my reality checked at Gossip, warmed up better comedians at Kebab Bob, even earned a couple of TV stints, including doing a set at the country's premier stand up comedy show (which isn't actually as cool as it sounds, but it was an honor nonetheless). Of course, the culmination of that was getting to perform on an international level. Competing in HK's Takeout Comedy Club for their annual comedy festival is undoubtedly the highlight of my year, despite how much I abhor traveling. I've taken a short break from stand up, but I will be back in full swing come 2012.

Crazy Moments.

Despite the therapeutic benefits that come with being able to make a roomful of people laugh, 2011 also saw my supposed mental problems go into full swing. The anxiety, the depersonalization and at times the depression got so bad that it had affected my work, the one avenue of my life that was never affected by any personal matters that ever got to me. I saw it coming from the start of the year, but the early part of the year showed that I was also lacking in a strong support system. Eventually l, with the help of Jo F'n Regis, The Salesman, the Therapist, The Girl Who Saved My Life, The BIg Man and, most recently, The Breakfast Club (unbeknownst to them of course) I survived another year without seeking the professional help everyone thinks I need but don't really want.

Love matters and loose ends.

Everyone has weaknesses, and if one would ask my closest friends, my biggest weakness has always been the fairer sex. The year started out with me in what seemed to be finally a long term relationship that, surprising no one, turned sour. The break up occurred through text, while I was in the office on a Sunday, having another anxiety attack. It was around June or May, and truthfully, with my escalating personal problems, I never had a chance to mourn that particular break up. In fact, while writing this, it's the first time I actually gave a lengthy thought to the events of the break up. If it wasn't for the people present at the office at the time of the break up, I'm guessing I would've handled things differently. I no longer had strength at that point, but they, shall we say, lent me theirs.

Shortly after the breakup, I had some very confusing feelings for a long time friend of mine, but that didn't last, thanks to the Life Coach's insistence that it shouldn't. (This was also the year I decided to start listening to other people, hence the Life Coach and the Therapist).

The year also marked the return of the Island Girl, with whom I had a relationship that wreaked havoc in our respective lives back in 2009, but somehow has provided some form of bittersweet solace from time to time in 2011. Her return reminded me of a lot of things, particularly of things that I have lost and wish to regain in the coming year, provided I don't die.

Other faces from the past have sprung up from time to time. Ex-girlfriends and former potential lovers who I never had a chance to speak with one on one reappeared to establish the end of our time together.

Yes, I have loved and lost several times. More so than most people, according to a work colleague of mine. But the thing is, as the Salesman reminded me, I should not stop pursuing the ideal just because certain opportunities didn't pan out. Truth is, after the break up, I was supposed to stop dating, but in the Salesman's exact words at San Mig, "so number 13 didn't work. Time to look for number 14, or 15, or even give someone a second chance. Point is, you should never stop looking for happiness, because you deserve it". I needed someone to tell me those words for a change.

Fortresses new and old.

Another year, another set of addresses. I tend to move around a lot. This year saw me with only two glaring dwellings. The year started off with me moving into an apartment that I needed the Cheerleader, another ex girlfriend, to acquire. It was ideal for me. It was like a smaller version of my Fortress of Solitude back in 2009: big, empty, and detached from the outside world. Shortly before the Hong Kong trip, I had to move back into the mother's house, as per her request. She had purchased her own home, and left me the old one to share with the brother (who rarely stays there since I moved back in) for reasons, at the time, were unknown to me. Now, I obviously now, and it has been a great source of both excitement and stress, as I was requested to rejoin the family to "take over" the family business. That's still up in the air, and a matter for the coming year.


The Big Man also made strides in his profession, becoming a manager and acquiring the services of yours truly, along with a few others. It didn't last, and while I could list several reasons why I didn't, I'd rather dwell on some of the good that came out of it. I have proven that I still, despite the failing physical and mental health, had the ability to juggle three different lives at once. Working with the Big Man, regardless of the circumstances, was fun. And of course, like with any endeavor, successful or otherwise, it was an avenue for growth, another "battle scar" to tell the grandkids about.

The Think Tank.

This year also marks the first time, in all my years as a freelancer, I have found a company I'm comfortable enough to plat my roots in. I applied to the Think Tank in February, and at that time, I also had the chance to work for a former company I had worked in. That other company promised a bigger salary, and the proximity to where my girlfriend was at the time. Usually, that kind of decision would be a no-brainer, but there was something about the Think Tank that drew me in. I love where the location, the flexible hours, and just recently, the people.

I never got the chance to bond with a lot of the people of the Think Tank in my earlier months, initially, due to the girlfriend, and eventually due to my time working on the BIg Man's project (it took up my nights). After the office was renovated in the middle of the year, and after the trip to Hong Kong, and the dissolution of the Big Man's project, I became witness to the formation of the team I like to refer to as the Breakfast Club (or at times,The Expandables, given the average waist line of the team). This particular story is just beginning (or, as Whoopi mentioned, the first season has just ended). Any TV fanboy knows the second season is usually the best season in any series.

Match Making at its best.

While my love life remains an atrocity, I have managed to get to couples started in 2011. One, out of admitted selfishness. The other, out of hope that I regain some measure of the dreamer I once was.

The first one was The Gadgeteer and the Cheerleader. He just got out of a relationship (a wild, short one with someone I also introduced him too). Once it was over, the Gadgeteer, it hurts me to say it, has been a tad clingy, showing up at my house and inviting me to drink even during my anxiety attacks or bouts with hypertension. I've always had the inability to say no to friends, so this had become something of a problem for me. The Cheerleader herself had become overly friendly with me, and as I mentioned, helped me get the apartment I've lived in for several months. I didn't mind hanging out with her from time to time, but the climax of this tale went down on the very day I moved into the apartment. She called me up, asking if we could get back together. I had a girlfriend at the time, and the solution seemed simple. I set them up, and they've been together. I'm not exactly proud of that, but it all worked out for the best. (I think.)

The second one was with The Salesman and his longtime friend. They've been in love for ages, and just needed a nudge in the right direction. That nudge came in the form of a six foot, borderline alcoholic comedian, and after losing a ton of money (the Salesman did, I've ever had enough money to justify calling it a ton) at the casino, we drove over to the girl where he professed his love and intention to commit while I ate fried chicken. (True story.) Being introduced to people as the "guy who saved my life" is always a reason to smile. I wish them luck and I hope they grow old together.

The year, in so many words.

All in all, while it wasn't a "perfect year", it was all in all a good one. When the year started, I wanted to ensure that I didn't have a single bad day for the entire year, and I did that. A lot of bad shit happened, but I never went to bed before I could do something that cancels out the bad shit. I broke new ground, and the number of people in my life has been cut down to a more manageable size. I had the usual crazy nights that had been the norm since I was 16, and I have managed to survive without compromise or apologies. Now, I belong to a new circle of friends while still retaining some of the more important old ones, working the yin yang jobs (one job I hate, but love the company, another job I love but loathe the people I work with), pretty much in love once again (yes, the elusive "Erin Hannon") and I made the most of my final year in my twenties. I'm proud to say I'm almost home. Not quite there yet, but getting there in my own way.