Huwebes, Hulyo 19, 2012

The Less Than Royal

One of the things that I really hate is when someone oversells his or her mundane ability. That misplaced sense of self importance. You know, when you act as if people are supposed to be impressed with something that you're supposedly good at, lacking the ability to recognize that the thing you're supposedly good at is not that impressive in the first place. I encounter this a lot, and for some reason, very few people in my life realize that they do it.

A recent example of this would be the Tapa King. A few weeks ago, I wrote about this, the BIg Man's car got a flat, and we asked for his assistance, and he shows up. Every time he'd see me assisting he'd give some compliment along the lines of "wow, you're a mechanic like me". Apparently, fixing a flat is now a craft that's reserved for a gifted few. It's a wonder why Mang Lito, my old school bus driver, hasn't received his Nobel Prize yet. The most common occurrence of this usually involves cooking. Whenever I tell someone that I can cook, they'd be all surprised. Some are amazed, even. Dude, it's cooking. In a world where there are videos online wherein you can learn how to remove an ant stuck to your eyeball, how hard is it to comprehend that I, in all my years of living alone, could have picked up such an elementary skill? If you haven't seen me cook, it's only because I didn't cook for you. And the reason behind that is that there's always someone else more than willing to show off his or her culinary skills. I can cook, but I'm also fucking lazy. One of the more perplexing manifestations of this (I've encountered worse) is when I was dating this girl who'd brag to me about how good she was at shopping. Shopping. The act of going to the mall and buying shit. Apparently, it's a skill now. If so, then I guess the Midnight Sale at the local SM is like the Olympics to her. No, we didn't break up because of that. She made amazing pork chops.

My point is, unless it's heart surgery, rocket science, quantum physics or crime fighting that you're good at, then don't. Just don't.

And that's the random ranting section for this post that's done with. Let's head on to the drama.

Mid-Week With The Boys.

Despite my rededication to the Think Tank, I found time to join The Tapa King and The Critic on a mid-week drinking spree. The Critic is now officially jobless, and the Tapa King is,well, I don't know. The night was pleasant. There were way too many bottles of brandy put away by us three, and I ended up crashing in the Critic's sleeping bag. 

It was also a night of interesting conversation, of both past and future with a few touches of the present, and it led me to think about the past few years of my own life. From my own flirtation with rock bottom (To which the Tapa King vehemently insists didn't and couldn't happen. For him, apparently, unless you know how to use a hammer, you haven't been poor. That's why the Mighty Thor is widely renowned as prince of Asgard and God of Hobos.) to my long road back to somewhat stable ground. It made me somewhat proud(er) of the meager things I've accomplished.

It's weird, knowing that talking to the Critic actually helped out. I remember last year, when I was about to perform in Hong Kong, it was the Critic that I was chatting with. No homo, but flaws and all, he's not so bad.

Plus, I gotta ask him where he got that sweet sleeping bag.

The Week The King Died.

After a two week break, it was back to the network for another creative meeting with my fellow comedy writers. There was an odd vibe in the writer's room as the meeting took place a day after the death of the country's King of Comedy. With the veteran comedians there each sharing his own experience with the King, be it their early days in television, or their on screen appearances together, everyone had something to share and something to teach us younger comedians.

I sorta imagined what would happen if one of these older dudes pass away. Will I be the one talking about them to younger writers? Will I still be around making people laugh at such a time? And hearing their stories, a lot of them personal, gave me a clear insight of what it is to be a man who passes away and leaving a legitimate legacy. The same thoughts that were running through my head back when I was in the hospital after a heart attack back when I was in college came rushing back. The same thoughts that were in my mind during my darkest, least hopeful days ace back. If I died back in college, I knew what I would have left behind. If I died back in 2009, I'm a little less sure. If I die tomorrow, I have no idea what kind of impression I would leave. It definitely won't be the world's best boyfriend. It's doubtful I'll be remembered as a good friend. While yes, I have a habit of acting like I'm everyone's best friend, giving out advice and help left and right, but I rarely really reached out. I'm 30 years old and there is no one in my life that has a full understanding of who I am, of what motivates me, things like that.
Still, I enjoyed entertaining those thoughts. I also enjoyed sitting down in that meeting and seeing the unmistakeable gleam in their eyes as they talked about their early days in the business, and how the King has, at the very least, provided them some really good memories. 

And of course, I feel honored that I will be one of the writers that will be writing the tribute episode to a guy who has made so many people laugh for decades. I don't care which of my stuff they air. I'd be ecstatic if any one of my material got on.

Bars and the People in Them. 

Two days after the meeting, I spent the entire Friday writing my ass off. I had a feeling of self consciousness, since this seemed to be an important episode. There was a moment there when I was definitely blocked on commercial spoofs, so I went on youtube for some inspiration. I randomly clicked on a video and saw they all of the spoofs format hat particular product came from me. Some were revised a little, but still. Once I was done with all of my "chores", I felt a feeling of accomplishment.

Too bad no one was around. That's what I noticed recently. Whenever I score a win, no one wants to celebrate with me.

The Galera Trip That Wasn't.

I was supposed to spend a weekend in the beach with the Scoobies for the first time in our long history together, but that was not meant to be. One of these days, the stars would align and that would come into fruition. I was a little disappointed, for many obvious reasons, but one of which is that I was hoping to get really drunk on the beach that weekend, some sort of last bash before all of my focus and energy's devoted to getting in the Hong Kong Comedy Festival once again.

Unexpectedly, it was the Think Tank's company outing that provided me with that little personal satisfaction. The trip was mostly uneventful, but it did give me the chance to somehow get to know a lot of the new faces at the Think Tank and spend some quality time with some of the old ones. Most of the Breakfast Club opted not to go, which, in retrospect was a good thing. 
Drinks, songs and the beach. Now, I'm ready to focus on the funny.

Two Months.

Okay. I have a month to prepare an audition video, and two months to come up with the money in case I actually get in again. Last year, I wanted to join the competition just for the experience, to celebrate my first year as a stand up comic and to somehow prove myself to myself. This time around, a lot of the same motivations are still there, but I'm also driven by less than noble reasons. I have two months to show the world that not only do I got it, but I got in spades. Cue "Eye of the Tiger".

Martes, Hulyo 3, 2012

Sudden Clarity, Inexplicable Inspiration, Fighting Form

Last time around, I ended my post with a somewhat personal and nearly violent rant. I mentioned this before; I like ranting. With this in mind, I figured out a way to really get me in the mood to write blog posts that don't get ruined by sudden flashes of anger. Every week, Ill start off by taking about things that I hate. It sounded like a fun idea in my head, so let's put that theory to the test.

You know one thing that annoys the living hell out of me? Fake geeks. See, back in the day, my fellow geeks and I had to go through a hard time being tormented by our peers because we like certain things that were not considered the "in" thing. And now, people think they can just put on fake glasses and get in line to watch the Avengers, play a couple of video games, watch a little Game of Thrones and that earns them the write to call themselves geeks? Uh uh. No way. No sir. It's cool that you like those things, because there's no reason not to, but label yourself a geek once you've walked a mile in our DnD playing-comic book quoting-Hobbit feet. We'll still be celebrating the glory that is MODOK long after the trend has passed and you no longer think the guys from The Big Bang Theory are cool. I mean really, we didn't pretend to be good at playing ball or getting girls back in high school, don't try to pretend that you couldn't get laid now. 

Oh, and by the way, Farmville isn't an MMORPG.

That… felt good. Now, on with the updates.

The Job Hunt Concludes with a Day in the City.

My long quest to find a job that provided a higher level of security and benefits has ended, resulting in… me staying at the Think Tank. 

My decision to stay bloomed during my last job interview. It was the job opportunity I missed due to some not-quite-divine intervention. It was for a web content writing position. It promised all the benefits I said I needed. the pay was good. It was not only in Makati, but it was in a very specific spot in Makati that carried a lot of memories.(I think I mentioned this.) They called me in for a test, and then I had the interview after I passed said test, and I was pretty much informed that I was going to get hired. The catch: it was either that supposedly ideal job or the thankless, comedy writer gig.

Guess what I chose.

I took a long walk around Ayala Ave; had an enjoyable lunch with the Friendly Almost Neighbor and she dazzled me with tales of the Evil Empire; saw a movie with the Human Torch in the cinema in which I've had the most memories with, and I had a chance to think back of all the years I've spent around that area. From the highs (freshman year, 1998 and the years where the Big Grill was home) to the lows (working as a part time phone monkey while being drunk every morning of 2009 and working in the the Evil Empire a couple of years after that) to the pleasant mehs (smoking with the Angels, cigars with Jo F'n Regis, etc.), I realized that those days are over, and what I have now, while not as secure as I want it to be, it is mostly how I want things to be: a regular job with mostly good people that allows me to pay the bills and still do my comedy. And while everything seems different, I am, essentially, me, and I've always been pretty good at moving on and pretty bad at being secure. Freelancer at heart, you see. I'm sure future-me can deal with whatever's coming.  

An Important Conversation.

The product of my previous posts' outburst resulted in a face to face with a friend of mine with whom I was at odds. His response was timely, and we ironed things out. Before I posted the blog, I've had some people attempt to talk me out of such a confrontation, but I'm a firm believer that there are some things that are worth the potentially damaging face to face, then by all means, risk it. The pay off may well be better than one can comprehend. And if the outcome is negative, then there would not be any doubts or regret, or even unanswered questions. Fortunately, the meeting yielded positive results. Important questions were answered, things that needed to be said were said in no uncertain terms.

Without dwelling so much on the details of our conversation, everything was ironed out and I was glad that I did things my way. If I had heeded the advice of people who made it their way of life to avoid confrontation because it's easy, then I think, my friendship with the said person wouldn't have been somewhat saved. That has always been my way. If I had a problem with someone, I talk about it. I fight sometimes, and not because I'm a fan of confrontations, but because I'm a fan of fixing problems. I've encountered several people who don't seem to grasp this. 

For now, I'm just glad things are seemingly over, and there's at least a temporary air of honesty all around. 

A Spree Like Before.

The weekend came, and unlike the previous few weekends of June, I didn't drink with The Tapa King and The Critic. Not really. It was me and the Big Man, and the aforementioned King showed up a few hours later. There was beer, and for the first time in the longest time, there was singing. There was a guy named Aldrin with us (he's been hanging out with us for a few times before) and he was drunk and nonsensical by the night's end. Back to the basic ingredients: loud music, lots of beer, and a drunk guy babbling nonsense. I'd like to think that my weekends are finally back.

The Return To The Think Tank.

After my relentless search for new employment, as well as adjusting to life as a TV scriptwriter, I made my underwhelming return to regularly working at the Think Tank. Apparently, I just needed some time away. The last week wherein I've been showing up to work with some level of frequency reminded me of how happy I was the first few months of working in Alabang once more. The slow, almost non-eventful days and the delightfully mundane conversations with the people in the office was something I missed. Even the repetitive nature of my job is an amazing contrast to the rowdy weekends and the stressful comedy work, as well as a perfect complement to my rather peaceful personal life.

Yes, I'm back, and from all indications, I might be here for good.

Moving Forward.

The job hunt and its results, the confrontation, the newly found bond between me and some of my boys and writing for TV has given me a fresh perspective on the old and the new. With that in mind, my goals, both professional and personal, have become much, much more clearer. I'm ready to take another shot at Hong Kong, at making the comedy thing permanent, at hanging out with the same people in my life now for as long as possible, and at doing it all in my own trademark manner. Don't even think about stopping me.

"The wolf is hungry
He runs the show
He's licking his lips
He's ready to win
On the hunt tonight
For love at first sting

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane" - The Scorpions, "Rock You Like a Hurricane"