Martes, Hunyo 19, 2012

High Spirits and High Opinions Don't Mix

The job hunt sorta goes on, despite my still unconfirmed status at the Think Tank. Separation anxiety, plus the need to score some cash, as well as the need for change, all play a part in my ongoing battle with the "should i stay or should i go" drama. Not quite surprising is the rise of another drama that has been brewing for years and has finally reached the tipping point. 

I've heard some really ugly things said about me to a third party, and as I write this, I am still contemplating my response. There will be a response at the end of this post, cause I'm not the kind to not say my peace, but given the choice of letting cooler heads prevail and being… well, me, I'm giving this situation the benefit of second thoughts. I guess we'll see about how I feel at the end of this post.

One of the Gang.

I actually asked the girlfriend to join me, the Critic and the Tapa King for Saturday drinks, though it was not a planned event. See, someone played a rather innocent prank, but considering my history with people wanting to cause me harm, I've decided to play it on the safe side and direct the imagined assailant someplace much, much more used to trouble: the Tapa King's house. Granted, it was not a move I'm used to doing, as I've ventured many of these situations alone, but again, the girlfriend was there. 

Anyhoo, the same way that it was nice to have her around with the Scoobies, it was also fun to have her around with me on guy's night. And I love the new "man cave". This is where we're honest (most of us at least) and openly crass (that goes for all of us). This new routine works for my need of change but my reticence for the unfamiliar. It's all good in the hood.

The Guy Council.

Sunday night, unexpectedly enough, saw another session take form as Jonic (no nickname as of yet, but since it seems he'll be a staple, I'm pretty sure I'll think of one), unable to answer the call to arms the previous night, was in need of company and drinking buddies. We later found out that he was having some sort of woman trouble, the kind that happens on the onset of attraction and right before the declaration of intent. Thus, the first ever "Guy Council". With my vast relationship history, the Critic's experiences as a single father and the Tapa King's in depth knowledge of John Lloyd movies and outstanding batting average with women (albeit with the damaged goods crowd) what you have is the most insightful and entertaining night of guy talk you can possibly ask for. The alcohol doesn't help, but it never hurts.

Now, that was a meaningful way to spend a Sunday night. Kicking back, helping out a bro while simultaneously making fun of his braces and hair and basically everything else we could think of, that's how we used to do it back in the day, and that's how we should have kept doing it. I remember those weekends fondly. Friday nights were for the Grill, Saturday nights were for Marbles, Sunday was meant for domestic drinking and dire discussion. 

I'm guessing we were so helpful that the guy had us over the following Friday for another one. The Council has spoken and will not continue speaking until the drinks are done.

(To those keeping track, yes, I am still sober.)

One on One with a Great Comedian.

As far as my own exploits go away from the girlfriend and the guys, I'm doing pretty well. The comedy writer thing is progressing still, and the latest meeting I attended allowed me the chance to pick the brain of one of the few local comedians that I admired. True, it was on the rooftop of the network where people seemingly smoked weed, and true, it lasted the duration of two cigarettes, but when you hang out with the right people, any short amount of time would be educational. We talked about his early days as a comic writer, and how he does his thing right now. He asked about me, and he seemed to be genuinely interested. (Seemed.) He gave me more than a few tips about surviving in the trade. What got to me most was his general demeanor. He doesn't walk around acting like he was important, despite of what he's achieved. He's a guy that has been making people laugh since the late 70s, both on and off screen, and there he was, just happy to be doing what he does.

I'm not a big fan of authority, and like I mentioned several times, I rarely get impressed by titles… but I do know how to recognize and respect my betters. And when it comes to the field of funny, few are better than Pete. If I do get old, which I doubt, but if I do get old, no matter what I end up doing, I will always try to be happy just doing what I do. Seems like a right way to live.

The Job Interview That Wasn't.

While I've been going back and forth on the Think Tank thing, I still thought it would be a smart move if I kept applying to jobs I potentially might like. One office called me, ironically not one of the dozens I sent my credentials to, and told me that they were ramping up. It was an opportunity to go back to writing online, one of the longest jobs I've ever had, in Makati, the very street where I met the Angels, and it was for a graveyard shift position, thus still not interfering with my comedy thing.

But then, the universe, in the form of my mother and inept workers, stepped in. The shitty movie I made in the summer premiered, but technical glitches cause the movie to stop as it played. The copy I gave them worked fine, but whoever reproduced apparently thought burning DVDs was may too complicated for his skill set to do properly. So she asked me to make copies. Preparing movie for burning takes two hours. Burning it into a disc takes twenty to thirty minutes each. I needed four copies. I came from my TV network meeting, way up North. I had my job interview the following morning. Do the math.

I woke up the following day, a little over lunch time and way past the time of my interview, and went over to my mother's house for updates. Apparently, someone else figured out how to make the fucking discs work in the first place, and there was no immediate need to make copies.
It was then that I figured that going back to working 18 hours days juggling two or more jobs still wasn't in the books. Awesome.

Wholesome Saturday With the Scoobies, Not-so-wholesome Satur-night.

It was the celebration of Marvi's first-born, and they decided to celebrate by going swimming. My financial status would have rendered me unable to show up, but it's fortunate that they picked a resort that was a stone's throw away from where I live. We spent an afternoon eating, talking, eating some more and generally staying sober, all the while preparing ourselves for next month's trip to the beach where something extremely important happens. 

I, for one, am excited for that. The annual trip to the beach is great, but to be a part of someone's turning point, it's something that I can't refuse. Damn, this really is an eventful year for me and my Scoobies, and it's only halfway done.

That same night, as the rain poured, I visited the man cave once more and it was on. There was booze, there was the Council, there was Jonic (and he brought his muscle bound friend) and there was the Girl Who Saved My Life. We were loud. We were funny. People passed out. There were even a few heated discussions. At the end of it all, despite certain bits of unsavory information, we had a good old fashioned night.

My constantly legendary weekends are back, thanks to friends old and new. (Mostly old.)

Straw, Meet Camel's Back.

And now, we've come to the end of the post. See, what led to this was something the Tapa King revealed to me at Jonic's on Friday night, and while most of the things weren't really revelations, one particular statement caught my attention as it was nothing less than an insult. I was all for a confrontation with the guy who made the comment, but the Tapa King requested I don't, and so did the girlfriend, each having different reasons.

There were many things to consider. There's the source of the information, who, while not being a known fibber, isn't as good as relaying information accurately and objectively. There's the history with guy who made the comment that, if for no other reason than sentimentality, perhaps causes me to not want to react the way I normally would. But then there's my own view of right and wrong, and not addressing such an insult in kind would be wrong. Then there's logic, dictating me that a response is not only futile, but also unnecessary. There's also honor, in how my own personal code encourages me to do what I feel needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. But then there's the social structure that is so delicate that how I may react to the message would ripple throughout that sphere. But then, there's the insult itself. It seems that someone thinks a little too highly of himself and assumes that I, along with our other friends, are envious of him. Gee. Now I'm embarrassed. It seems that you've figured me out. Yes, I am envious. After all, I've always wanted a wife i could cheat on. (That's sarcasm, in case they don't discuss that in your "who's the one with the biggest bank account" meeting.)

Apparently, there was a comment I made in my previous blog post that may or may not have caused a lengthy tirade wherein said insult was made. So now, here I am, blogging once more, and it's time to address that matter and that person. No cute nicknames, minimal jokes, just mostly straight talk from me, to you. You know that I don't edit or even proofread my blog, so you should know that all of this rings true to me. This is might be a rather long rant, but trust me, this is me holding back.

First off, you don't need to worry about Mak. He's still your little errand boy whenever you need someone to help you get laid. As for your little assumption, really? Envious? Me? Of you? Of what, exactly? Again, I'm sincerely considering the source of this info, but if this is how you really feel, then you know what, if that's what makes you feel like the big man you so desperately want to be, then by all means. See, I was supposed to go off and blast you for every single reason why me envying you is just one of the hundreds of preposterous things that I have had both the privilege and misfortune of being exposed to in my life, but after rereading the above sections, as well as thinking back to the last several years of my life, I realized I don't need to. Good, bad or downright ugly, I've always been happy and proud for who I am, what I've done, and how I've done it. Can you say the same?

What bugs me, as always, is that you had a problem with me, and you saw fit to just get drunk and whine to Mak in the same place you seem to be very fond of making stupid decisions instead of growing a pair and discussing it to me face to face. But then again, that's not really your strong suit, is it? You can scold someone half a world away over the Internet but doing so to someone who lives approximately 15 minutes from your house is something you can't do.
Tell you what, since you've always prided yourself in being able to be in control of things, you contact me when and if you want this thing aired out. Bring Mak with you if you want, I don't really give a fuck. One way or another, you and I are going to have a talk. One of three things are most likely to happen: One, we talk, you use your usual argument style of using a loud voice and tossing irrelevant curses and insults. Two, we talk, you try put some sort of spin or justification on the situation, seeing as you think of yourself as quite the  liar. Or three, you vanish for weeks while continuing to badmouth me behind my back. I promise you, if any or all of those thing occur, I'm going to make you regret it. It may not happen immediately, but I will. Another thing I can assure is that when we face off, I'm not going to be as tact as I am while writing this.

I'm not trying to be a tough guy and such. I'm not pretending to be someone I'm not, but I will not be disrespected by anyone, especially not someone from whom I deserve better. I'll be waiting. 

Lunes, Hunyo 4, 2012

No Prize for Consolation

The year's halfway done, and things have changed. It's still that time of the year, and I can't believe of noticing this just now, wherein I do some sort of clean up. Around June this time last year, I became single, I had feelings for a particular girl that I ended up not going for, I started doing the TV stuff and a bunch of other miscellaneous shit. The year before that, around June, I believe I just started working a new job, hung out with a bunch of new people, I was living in the Big Man's house and all that other shit.

This time around, it's no different. Here I am, just a month or so in as a TV comedy writer, working on a second (and hopefully less shitty) movie, and looking for the possibilities of a new day job. The past week didn't really show great strides in that last thing, but here's hoping. I gots to get paid, and I gots to get paid soon. Somewhere else that is.

Getting Creative.

As I mentioned before, I'm not the kind of guy that gets starstruck normally. Hell, I have a big TV in my room and I don't use it, so I'm not up to date on who the supposed stars are for me to be struck in the first place. As I also have mentioned, my short (and possibly temporary) stint in the TV network had me in awe of the comedic talent that has graced the creative meetings so far. Last week, I finally got the chance to be in the same creative meeting as the man himself: Michael V. To those who may be living in a rock that's filters out more information than the one I usually inhabit, this guy is perhaps the premier name in local mainstream comedy, and there he was, reacting to a sketch I wrote in a somehow positive manner. Boom. I metaphorically jizzed in my pants out of sheer pride.

I was in high spirits after that, despite the looming poverty and unemployment. (One can argue that yes, the TV writing thing is employment, but I don't necessarily see something I enjoy as a job. I don't know, I think it's important that there is one aspect in one's life one can constantly bitch about, and for most people, it's the job. So I really need one. That, and a steady paycheck would be sweet.) It was a temporary high, but if there's someone who appreciates a temporary high, it's me.

Another good thing about the meeting is that they finally want me to sign a contract thingy. It's either my supposed two month stint is to be extended, or they just need the paperwork so they can pay me for the work I've done so far and wish me well on my future endeavors. Either way, it's awesome.

The Job Hunt.

The fact that I need a job and that I keep bitching about a having a job may be a bit misleading. I still am technically employed. I spoke last week to the new HR person at the Think Tank, who has always been one of my top five non-Breakfast Club people in the office, about my intention to quit. As of right now, she's still helping me with options, but I've been advised to keep doing my thing as long as I'm employed. It's going to be hard to do my job though when I mentally have one foot out of the door.

I had a couple of promising leads on jobs for companies that would still allow me to work in Alabang while being a completely fresh breath of air. One was for web content writing, which happens to be the longest day job I've had (two years or so, I think, back when Ortigas was synonymous to home) so the transition wouldn't be that hard. Plus, given my credentials and experience, I was in line for an attractive financial package. The other was a writing gig that would have me double as the GM's point person in meetings with clients. Also in Alabang, also was supposed to pay well.

I decided not to go for either of the jobs. And for the life of me, I can't really pinpoint why.
Oh, there were several factors. The music they played in the lobby wasn't cool. The HR person who called me about my application sounded rude, and worse, boring. There was also this nagging image in my mind wherein I would be walking around in a suit and carrying a tablet and being all corporate-y and professional. Normal people like to refer to it as "grown up". Sensible people, you know, the ones who don't jump at the opportunity to sell their souls for money, refer to it as lame. It's shallow, yes, and grossly impractical and idealistic. But, I am impractical and idealistic, and I think everyone deserves to be shallow once in a while.

The thing is, almost all of the jobs I've had, I jumped into because they were there. Hence, the early exits. While I regret nothing, I'd like to hold out for something I can really settle into. I don't want to turn into a mass produced douche-bag who severely lacks identity, like some of the people I know who are clearly on the wrong path. I like looking at the mirror, seeing my ugly mug and accepting that ugly mug with a smile.   

A Fitting End.

With a week full of unremarkable highs and lows, what better way to end it with two of the most unremarkable people I know: the Tapa King and The Critic. The Big Man was not able to join us because of some network marketing cult activity. (I'm not slamming the guy's choice for a livelihood, all I'm saying is, if you join an organization that presents an ideal lifestyle and mindset while encouraging you to recruit other people to embrace that paradigm in exchange for some form of reward… you're in a cult.)

Anyhoo, the three of us, all unemployed or soon to be unemployed, all broke and still coming from three extremely separate paths and schools of thought, yet finding ourselves agreeing to some pretty strong concepts, drank as the rain poured down. In fact, that particular section of the Tapa King's house, the disarrayed third floor that substitutes as a work place, is perhaps the ideal place to drink in, especially with the typhoon teasing its arrival. The place reminded the Critic and I of the Gadgeteer's house back when we were in college.

It was an ordinary night, something that, much like the previous weekend, exactly what we needed to end the week. I really see the value of these two chuckleheads now. The Critic, despite being emasculated and pretty much had the majority of his brain cells fried beyond any point of salvation, is one of those rare guys who will always try to see the best in people. After everything that he's been through, the Critic has become an insecure guy, which sucks, but he's the right kind of insecure guy. He's not the kind who would silently compete with his friends, or talk shit about them behind their back just to make them look good, or be extra loud about his or her meager accomplishments. There's one in every group, and it's usually the least attract, least intelligent, least accomplished, and least interesting. Thankfully, the Critic is not that guy. Right now, he's just a guy who's waiting for his turn. I, for one, am rooting for him.

The Tapa King, on the other hand, is someone I just figured out. Not entirely, but I have a better idea of who he is, especially after we shot the shitty movie where he hands down was the MVP on that particular team. He's a working class dude who takes pride in being a working class dude. I admire that. He's uncomplicated. He lives, he works, he drinks, and he's happy as long as he manages to do all of that shit. And the guy's legit too. You know how some broken, low self esteem dudes go to strip clubs and get duped by the girls there to drop huge amounts of hard earned money? The Tapa King's broke as fuck and he has all these women of ill repute going to his house to do the nasty. That shit is game, people. Respect. I guess those stripper mind games only work if the guy has mind. (BAZINGA.) Seriously speaking though, I'm impressed. Not just with the whole ladies' man thing, but how he somehow managed to find what makes him happy, albeit not completely. I don't impress easily. Of all the people that I personally know, there have only been four persons that have impressed me. Marvi and her husband Kokoy (they count as one), Ol' Football Head, The Therapist, and Shelly. Now I'm counting The Tapa King among those people.

Again, pleasant night, surprisingly insightful conversation, a little gossip thrown in and I had me a good night. I just wonder if next weekend yields the same results.

Inspiration Strikes.

With all the uncertainty in the air, I found the best way to ease my mind. Sitting in my room on a Sunday night, I intended to wrap up the treatment for the next movie, but hanging out with the two idiots woke something up inside of me that I haven't had access to in a while. I flipped open the laptop, and banged out a couple of scripts for short films under the Coffeehouse banner. And since I have access to a camera and an editing device, I think it's the perfect time to live out some Coffeehouse Dreams. I just need to assemble the right crew and cast. 
Let the changes come. I've proven I always stick the landing, anyways.

"All stuck in the middle
between what is and what might be
a great sensation
has swept the nation
everybody wants the image you’ve got for sale" - Motion City Soundtrack, "Boombox Generation"