Miyerkules, Mayo 30, 2012

No Pics, No Songs, Not much Else

You know what I hate? People who say that they're at a crossroads. It's a silly state to be in, and it's a stupid announcement. What would be more accurate would be something like "I don't know what the fuck I'm going to do next". With that being said, I don't what the fuck I'm going to do next.

This year has been a good one. I'm in a relatively healthy relationship, I finally managed to finish a feature length movie, and now certain dreams in comedy have come true. On the flip side, I'm still broke (long, complicated and rather asinine story) and I've been thinking that it's time to rejoin the real world of sorts.

I'm a closet self loather, hence, I am at a crossroads. 

Time Off.

After one of those creative meetings for that TV network thingy, the rain poured down and I was sorta stuck up North, in Ortigas. It was actually nice, as I haven't been to Ortigas in a long time. Considering I've spent a great deal of time up there from 2007 to 2011, it was nice to take a walk on those familiar streets. It was then that I began this secret personal project of mine that I'm looking forward to finish before the year ends.

It was also up there that I became afflicted with a fever that rendered me unable to do my job at the Think Tank. That led to a week long period of isolation where I've had nothing to do but to write and to think. The most prevalent thought that nagged me concerned my continued presence and employment at the Think Tank. I've been in the company for a year, and I'm a point where, being used to doing three or four things at a time, I'm seriously considering taking some real time off (not the fever imposed time off). 

I need to move on, to instigate change, to do some shit like that. I'm not exactly in the same place I was when I first entered the company. 

A Direct Line to the Universe.

After that week, I had myself a day that reintroduced me to something that I had been needing for a long time: the ability to listen to the messages of the Universe. Not many people know this, but I've always that guy who waits for signs and shit like that. hell, from 1998 to 2010 my major decision were made by a toss of my lucky coin. But, somewhere down the line, I lost that type of faith. (I even gave the coin away.) But, one weekend with the boys and here I am, once again believing in the great design.

It started when I, stuck in a world of creative blockage, decided to go out and watch the Avengers again with whoever replied first. It turned out to be The Big Man. So, off we went to the nearest mall to geek out. However, the universe had other plans. We were given  a flat tire, which required the assistance of the always eager to help Tapa King. He arrived, he failed to solve the problem, and essentially we had to go back to the Big Man's house. At the precise moment of our arrival came the Critic, fresh from a bike ride and looking for something to do. While yes, it's not really hard to get these three together for a drink, but one has to consider how if a single variable from that afternoon changed, even with something as elementary as a minute's delay, the four of us, the remnants of a once great time, would not be together on that day. The Universe was telling us something, and only a foolish man ignores the universe.

I'd rather not get into the details of what turned out to be a fairly epic night, but the highlights include a one on one conversation with the Critic and his recent lovelorn drama and our respective death wishes, me and the Tapa King finally seeing eye to eye on something, a trip to Tagaytay (which led to another week of colds that was totally worth it) and the realization that yes, it is time for me to start listening to fate again. Oh, and there was drinking. Lots of it. Not enough for m to break my "sobriety-at-30" pledge, but still. It was a day, and a night, and even a morning after, worthy to be included in the annals of legendary weekend nights. It's nowhere near the top of the list, but still, I rarely crack the list these days.

Never did I expect that I would credit an amazing Saturday night to both the Critic and the Tapa King. First time for everything I guess.

Me, My Thoughts and I.

Like I may have mentioned, riding top speed on the bed of the Big Man's pick up truck on the way to Tagaytay on a rainy night as the Tapa King and I discuss things of a specifically personal nature. So, I was stuck at home for another week. It was during this week that I truly decided to dwell upon my thoughts in the middle of attempting to write my second movie.

During this rather reflective week, various thoughts crossed my rather weary mind. Here are some of the more prevalent thoughts: 
I really love and miss iiving alone.
I need a job with health insurance. Seriously.
Facebook isn't so bad.
There are way too many movies I haven't seen.
The latter Transformers movies really are as bad as I remember them.
The phrase "blowing your nose" is a little odd.
I have no idea what the fuck going to do next. (It bears repeating.)
It's good to only have first world problems for a change.

As you can see, it has been a really productive week for me. 

A Sign of Things To Come With The Boys.

For the second straight weekend, me and the boys have decided to spend the night together. There was no push from serendipity this time, as we were all somewhat determined to go and get a drink on during an uneventful Sunday night to end a somewhat eventful week. The Critic finally quit his job. I am, at the time, have made up my mind on my own employment. The BIg Man got demoted (though I haven't had the opportunity to find out why). The Tapa King also was on the job hunt.

Because of all of that, all four of us were broke. I grew up reading Captain America and Batman comics. If those two characters taught me anything, it's that there is always a way. With only 100 pesos to buy enough booze to satisfy four men whose appetite for alcohol surpasses Olympian standards (at some point or another), it seemed like an impossible task. But… we did it. With a little resourcefulness, the right attitude, and knowing the right people to summon, me and my boys spent the night laughing. It was something we all needed it seemed, and I think it's we'll be needing reasons to laugh for the upcoming months.

Still, I think this was what's missing. I think this was the thing I was bitching about the least time I wrote here. Back then, even during my darkest days, I always claimed there was something I could always count on: my weekends. No matter how good or bad the week might be, fate always steps in and ensures I end it right. Hopefully, regardless of what I decide to do, what we have started here (or restarted) continues, in spite of seeming obstacles.

Miyerkules, Mayo 16, 2012

Needing Something Static

I'm one of those people who believe that the entire world can change in a day. That's why I've always been conscious about how time is spent; one mismanaged second and everything can come crashing down, despite the best of plans and intentions. But, there are always incidents and circumstances that's out of one's control, so one can only try one's best to keep a grip on everything.

The past week has been what one can describe as a game changer. A paradigm shift. A reshuffling of the familiar to pave the way for uncertainty. Right now, I'm not exactly sure where I stand, or where I want to stand.

Midweek Drinking, Just Like The Old Days.

I don't know if I've mentioned this in the past, but my work at the Think Tank has a tendency to dry up on a seasonal basis. It contributes to not just my consistent lack of finances, but also my tremendous amount of free time. You know the age old dilemma about money and time. Still, I try to survive (barely) with that.

Such a dry spell was the case on a Tuesday night, so I end up the way I usually end up during such scenarios: at the Big Man's, getting a drink on. It was loud, it was fun, it was nice. Even the Tapa King's presence added to what was, in my mind, an ideal way to spend the night: a minor buzz, a lively conversation that involved plans of future movies, personal stuff and corporate espionage, and most importantly, everything was real. No guards, no pretenses, none of the usual shit I've been exposed to for the past few months. 

It definitely was a nice alternative to earning money that day.

Out With The Boys, Unfortunately Like The Old Days.

A couple of days later, the girlfriend went to Singapore in the morning. At a loss for company or anything to do, (plus I sorta overslept and missed doing stand up as well as meet up with my "handler") I went on to hang out with The HUman Torch, The Big Man and a couple of their fellow network cult people or whatever for some drinking in a place of ill repute.
When you're sober, things seem a lot less fun. Even more when you're at a certain age. So there I was, old and sober, and I spent a night in near silence observing the follies of the various people from other tables. Once that whole experience was over, I needed something more, so, The Human torch, The Big Man and I continued with a few more drinks at the guy's house once more. And that was fun.

Something happened, I think, a some point in the recent past. Something changed. I'm pretty sure it wasn't sudden, but it crept quietly enough for me to only notice it once the effects have come to be. And one of those effects were predominantly felt that night in that bar: boredom. 1998 me would be smirking in sarcastic amusement by now. 

Something else happened that day, but that I'll discuss some other time.

The Curve Ball.

I spent Saturday bothered by my lack of responsiveness to the previous night's festivities, and the following day, Sunday, was spent with the Scoobies. For days, I've been seeing my beloved Scoobies lamenting shit online. Of course, I dismissed it as something that didn't particularly involve me.

So I showed up at Marvi's house, once again remarkably late due to another bout of oversleeping, when I found the news out. Nikki has been accepted for a job in Singapore, and she was going to leave the morning after, thus, making it the last night the Scoobies and I are "complete". 

I've drank with a lot of people, in a lot of varying circumstances, in my life. It's rare that I get to drink with someone, especially someone that close to me, on the cusp of undergoing a tremendous change. It was… emotionally intense. We laughed, took pictures, gossiped about people a bit, listened to local 90s music, you know, the usual stuff that we did when we're together. There was the quiet satisfaction that only the feeling of utter contentment in the company you keep can only provide. I mean, this is Nikki, the last girl I ever pursued in college. One of the only five women I brought into my Fortress after she was too drunk to go home from Marbles. The only other member of the Scoobies who was legally single and childless. The one who I brought to assess one of the girls I was about to jump into a relationship with. The one who had me miss work and risk being fired at a time when I was desperate to keep a job because her heart was broken. She's loud. She's demanding. She's one of ours. And she's leaving. And yeah, she's going to come back, at least she claims she will, but there's a lot of difference from knowing that we can call her up to meet any time, and having to wait months.
Around four AM, we had to say our goodbyes. People were fighting back tears, and I was cracking jokes, because, hey, we all had our ways of dealing. When she left, Shelly, Marvi and I just sat there, talking about her. Things are definitely not going to be the same. 

Looking back a bit though, I can't help but think that this year has been a landmark year for the Scoobies. Shelly's single and seemingly happy. Nikki's off to Singapore chasing after the future. Marvi has left her job of six (?) years for a new life down in Alabang. And me, with the movie/s and the writing for TV and the new girlfriend thing.

We've all come a long way. Let's just try and stay together despite all that. Please.

Where I Stand Now.

This whole post seems a little too dramatic and even a little whiny. Point is, I'm older now, and things have changed. There have been developments (some I'm not at liberty to discuss yet) that I'm going to be dealing with in the time to come. I might withdraw a bit, limiting my interaction to a selected number of individuals. I've got a lot of things to do, a lot of moves to make. I'm being vague, yes, but things are happening, and not all of it's to my liking. I feel like I lost something that I'd like to figure out what exactly, and how to regain it. In advance, I'm apologizing to people I might be snubbing, and people I'd be bothering. I'm fine, I'm not unhappy. But there are certain elements missing, and I don't think I can fully function the way I usually do until they're found.

"I find it hard to believe
That all the pain that we are feeling
Has some meaning in this world
It's so hard to believe
That everything you see is different
From the things that you've been told
I wanted life to be this way
Just a little bit of love could mean so much
O please don't take it all away
But with you heaven is still close enough to touch
I find it hard to believe
That someone up there is waiting
With arms open wide and smiling
It's so hard to believe
When someone told me that your suffering
Is what you get for living
I wanted life to be this way
Just a little bit of love could mean so much
O please don't take it all away
But with you heaven is still close enough to touch
Because your love is still the only thing
That matters in this world
The only thing I can believe..." - The eraserheads, "Hard to Believe"

Sabado, Mayo 5, 2012

Singing in the Upswing

I think I may have gone on this rant before, but I really don't like receiving advice. it's not pride, you know. Not a misconception that I don't need advice, because I do. Everyone does. But the thing is, I'd rather go to subject-matter experts for opinions and advice, rather than the first dude who asks about my comings and goings. Basically, if I needed advice on how to make a chair, I'd ask a carpenter. I won't heed relationship advice from people who've had nothing but crappy relationships. I won't heed time management advice from people who've never had a real need to manage time. I won't heed creative suggestions from people whose creativity is limited to "interesting" haircuts and "unorthodox" fashion decisions. Unless I directly ask you for your opinion, please... don't burden yourself with trying to come up with something that would make you sound knowledgeable. I don't want you getting hurt.

Why am I starting off this post with a rant? Because I'm in a fucking good mood, and as I've learned during all these months of sobriety, I apparently like being a whiny bitch when it comes to stupid people. Don't worry, I'm sure karma or providence or whatever's going to strike me down at some point, and I'd actually welcome it. 

Finally, things seem to be slowing down almost to the point that I can actual start breathing freely. Almost. Movie's done, sorta, and I will be talking about that later. There's a new thing for me to devote my attention to; a really huge, important thing. I finally got to watch The Avengers, and seeing my childhood heroes get that much attention just perks me up. Basically, I sense a wave of change in the air, which isn't necessarily good, but it may be what I need.

Best Feet Forward.
I remember back in the day when I had an idiot friend who put so much stock in Murphy's Law that he basically turned it into an excuse whenever he fucks up because of his own innate stupidity. Well, I got a big dose of Murphy anal raping me a couple of weeks after the movie supposedly wrapped. While transferring, for some reason, one of the tapes got erased, taking with it 20 to 30 minutes of exposition. It's the ultimate nightmare scenario for anyone practicing in the industry.

As I have alluded to in my last post, I was not happy with the results of the movie. I did it for the wrong reasons and I did it with the wrong attitude. When the tape got messed up, I was initially pissed, but more than anything I saw an opportunity to at least do something right with it. So, with Jo F'n Regis at my side, we went out and did what we do best; a last minute save with nothing but our innate bullshit wielding skills. I remember how a few months ago, when he had put up a seminar that ended in somewhat of a complication, he had me prepare something on the fly. This is getting to be a really bad habit. 
The movie is still a shitty mess, but the difference is, now it's my shitty mess. Unlike the original shoot, I actually had fun. We managed to shoot enough material to save the movie. (It didn't save it from the utter depths of low quality, but hell, it's done and it will be shown. It's all that matters.)

Those two days that Jo and I went truly indy got me raring for the possibility of future projects. I don't know if there would be, but I wouldn't mind if there was.   

The Sordid State of The Think Tank.

Things at the Think Tank have become… personally troublesome. While I don't think the people currently handling the group are doing anything technically wrong (office drama notwithstanding), the Think Tank has become so that everything I loved about working there, nearly every reason I had that made me happy enough to stay for an entire year, seem to have vanished. Again, the people who currently have taken the reins are not doing anything technically wrong. I should know, given my experience with people who had no business leading anyone but yet seem to find themselves in such positions. I'm just starting to think this whole thing isn't for me anymore. I like having a job of course, but what used to be my ideal place of employment is slowly being altered into what i see as just one huge pissing contest. 

I miss the Boss.

Part of the Gang.
Amidst all of the craziness of the movie and the office, I received a phone call that pretty much took away the mental burdens of each of my aforementioned occupations. Last year, I and a few other stand up comics auditioned for this TV network. I think I wrote about it. We got in, and each were assigned to write for a different show. I got assigned to do this show that pretty much heralded the type of comedy I didn't like to do. I refused. Instead, I performed on that show once, and never expected to work with the network in any capacity.

A year later, I got a phone call from the director of hands down, the best comedy show in local TV for more than a decade and he told me he was in need of a writer. Apparently, I was that writer. A year ago, I had no qualms of letting the opportunity go for that other show. This time around, however, well, even someone like me would have a hard time saying no to the opportunity to be a part of the show that has kept me laughing since I was in high school. I don't care if they called out of the blue and shat on my beloved schedule.I traveled north with both a smile on my face and a nagging thought at the back of my head that kept telling me hat someone was pranking me. Once I got to the studio, I found out that it was legit.

As of this writing, I have only been to the creative meetings for two weeks, withe each meeting more and more satisfying. Sitting in that room, not just with fellow comedians, but two of the guys that made "Alien!" sound like the funniest thing ever, was nothing but a sheer honor. And people who know me know that I'm not the type who gets starstruck. I've gotten accustomed to be around celebrities and other "named" people ever since I graduated. But of course, this was different. And knowing that I was able to make these people laugh made me wet myself.

I don't say this often, but this gig is a dream come true. This is not just another paycheck for me. Much like Hong Kong, I'm going to cherish every second of this. Who cares if I'm doing softcore movies with nearly non-existent budgets for pervs who seem to not have discovered internet smut when I also happen to be providing material for the country's unofficial Friday night habit?

Last Remaining Good Nights.
Another good thing about the past couple of weeks was that there were a couple of nights wherein I actually spent some time with my boys. From The Critic (who's apparently in love) and I taking a little trip of the mind before the Big Man showed up for an actual trip further down south, to a huge drinking session that I put together out of sheer boredom, it was nice to be reminded of how good things could be, and how good things actually were.

I understand things are never going to be the way that they were. Back before Ol' Football head left the country, things have really taken a turn towards the less ideal. In my opinion, his departure was always been the turning point. His absence, the way I see it, contributed to The Critic basically giving up on everything once his wife left him, The Big Man getting swayed into the worldly, and I guess my own decision to loosen my grip back in 2009.

See, I'm an angry person. I wasn't always an angry person, but once I became an angry person I never stopped being an angry person. Back in the day, hanging out with my boys helped channel that anger. But, like with everything else, things change. Not everyone does things simply for the joy of doing them anymore. A lot of people in my life, not just with my friends down south, have prioritized fulfilling  their self image, trying to live up to a definition that places them in a favorable light, instead of just living. When I was younger, shit like that didn't matter. These days, it's all everyone talks about.

These nights are few, and with the way things are going, two of the last. With the new beginnings I seem to be heading into, and these specific aspects of my life seemingly ending, I think it's time everything undergoes some well needed redefinition. Myself included, of course.  
Right now, I'm in a good relationship, I'm living out a few dreams, and while things are far from perfect, I do certainly notice the upswing. For whatever's missing, I'm sure I'll find it, whether it's my boys realizing certain things, or be it with new people, it matters little. I'm not angry anymore, for one. At least, not as angry as I used to be, when I was with people who gave me legitimate reasons to be angry. I think that's a start.

"I've got a lotta things to do tonight
I'm so sick of making lists 
Of things I'll never finish
I've lived here for the last 12 years 
Since early 1995 all my shit has been in boxes 
But if I had a little more time to kill
I'd settle every little stupid thing
Yeah you'd think that I would

But I'm too tired to go to sleep tonight
And I'm too weak to follow dreams tonight
For the first time in a long time I can say
That I want to try to get better and 
Overcome each moment 
In my own way

I wonder if I'll ever lose my mind
I tried hard for awhile
But then I kind of gave up
Winter is killer when the sun goes down
I'm really not as stubborn as I seem
Said the knuckle to the concrete

And I'm too weak to follow dreams tonight
For the first time in a long time I can say
That I want to try to get better and 
Overcome each moment 
In my own way

I'm not saying that I'm giving up
I'm just trying not to think 
As much as I used to
Cause never is a lonely little messed up word
Maybe I'll get it right some day
For the first time in a long time I can say
That I want to try
I feel helpless for the most part
But I'm learning to open my eyes
And the sad truth of the matter is 
I'll never get over it
But I'm gonna try
To get better and overcome each moment
In my own way

I sure want to get back on track
And I'll do whatever it takes
Even if it kills me " - Motion City Soundtrack, "Even If It Kills Me"