You know what I hate? People who shove their lifestyles down everyone's throats. Everywhere I turn there's always somebody who promoting their way of life, whether it's for religion, health or wellness, business, or whatever it is that they think is the proper way to live.
A week or so ago, I met these people who kept urging me to join their church. They weren't even subtle about it. They talked about how I could turn my life around and all that shit. Months ago, I was also approached by some guy and talked about his training program and shit like that, emphasizing how good he felt and stuff.
Now, I don't care about the choices people make, especially since most of those choices don't directly affect me, but for the love of all that's sane, do I really have to hear about it? No, I do not care about the type of diet you have. No, I do not wish to know how you've been saved by the Holy Ghost. No, I do not wish to know how you've applied some management philosophy you've read in passing to improve your performance for your dead end job. No. You can post that shit online but, unless I ask, do not come up to me and try to get me to join your "revolution". That's what Facebook is for.
I don't recruit people into reading comics, watching wrestling, playing video games and basically eating like a nine year old. This is how I roll, and I respect how you roll. Let's keep it at that. Rant over.
Long Overdue Night Out.
I've been bugging the guys to go out for a long time now. With the amount of stress I go through, I thought hitting the bars a little more regularly would be good for me. Plus, for some reason the boys don't really go out much, contributing to some of their lamer tendencies. Finally, the BIg Man and his wife, along with the surprising presence of the Tapa King (he was not supposed to be there, especially since he's been getting under everyone's nerves as of late) and we went to this unsuspecting bar by the highway. It was a good time, of course. There was singing, lots of drinking, a dude who got in a fight with his wife in the middle of the highway (not the Big Couple) and more of us subtly insulting the Tapa King's intelligence.
That was indeed a great night out, and I think we've found the bar that suits all of our needs. I'm a fan of the bad food and cold booze and loud music that all bars have to offer, and, as it turns out, the waitresses also function as GROs, giving the rest of the guys a reason to drink there.
See? Middle ground isn't that hard to find sometimes.
Someone close to the Big Man and I got in an unfortunate accident wherein, while riding her motorcycle, drunk as drunk can be, she crashed and nearly had her face torn off and stuff. (The details are vague, and I really didn't want to find out more.)
We visited her in the ER of PGH, a hospital me and the guys have had some history with, and the whole thing just really bothered me. There was of course the incredible amount of misery in the air that's common in ERs and more so in that particular hospital. There's also the thought that the accident could have happened to any one of us. Seeing her all banged up, at the risk of sounding selfish, made me think about all those times me and the guys would travel completely shitfaced and out of it. I think of how the Critic usually eggs the BIg Man to drive insanely fast for no apparent reason, and when the Gadgeteer and I nearly fell off the road from the mountains in Tagaytay. I kept thinking about what would have happened if, in any one of those circumstances, things went wrong. Where would we be today?
Another predominant thought that came to my mind is that the girl was younger than us. We've been in a bunch of situations wherein people younger than us not just go through similar accidents but also died. There's Love's kid, and there's Kevin, from my Dungeons and Dragons party to name a couple. It's just weird that while we, a group of old fucking idiots, remain relatively unscathed.
And of course, there's the compassion I feel for the girl in question. A sewed up face, most teeth missing, who knows what kinds of internal injuries she got and of course the trauma from the entire experience, it goes without saying that she's facing a tough several months. Even years. And this girl, while not being a saint, has always been good to me. I don't know how she is with others, but she's been cool to me ever since we met back in the early 2000s. She always made me feel important, which is something I think she has a knack for doing. (I remember that old dude that she was totally putting over a year ago or so.) Not being able to help her feel sucky.
The Audition Video.
The day after the hospital visit, I shot my audition video for the Hong Kong competition, the deadline for which was just three days away. The finished product of the video was something that felt less sucky, in my opinion.
A Client Meeting, An Anniversary, and a Reunion.
Wednesday came, and as I've gotten used to by now, Wednesday is the day I go and pretend to know what makes the masses laugh in the weekly creative meeting for the TV show I am helping to destroy. Of course, just as I've gotten accustomed to the way things are, the Network threw me a curveball and included me in a client meeting in the morning. So there I was, at 9 in the fucking morning, with less then four hours of sleep from my previous unproductive night at the Think Tank (essays are scarce), trying my best to impress the corporate bigwigs of this new coffee product that's out in the market by talking as little as possible. (I've learned that the best way to deal with "important" people is to shut the hell up as much as possible while the grown ups are talking.)
After that awkward experience (I don't really know even today if I'm supposed to feel honored that they chose me for the meeting or cranky because I think they tapped me cause everyone else was busy.), it was off to the network for the actual creative meeting. The show is about to put out a 17th anniversary episode, and of course, we newbies got chewed out. Don't get me wrong, I'm still happy to be writing for the show. It's just that with every meeting, I remember more and more why I left the biz several years ago. Fuck it. At least I still get to listen in on Pete's genius once a week.
Once the meeting was over, I was obviously tired, but I had hours to kill before I could show up at the full time job, so I decided to follow up on my contingency plan if Hong Kong doesn't follow through. So, I met up with my long lost "nephew" in Makati. We talked over a couple of drinks and the prospect of working on this project of ours really excited me. He even threw me a few good ideas, and yeah, I'm pumped to get the Coffeehouse up and running.
All in all, I think I'm doing something right career-wise. It's going to be a while before I completely enjoy it though. While I'm not a hundred percent happy about what I do a hundred percent of the time,I always feel fulfilled, and at the end of the day, that's a hundred percent good enough. For now, at least.
Friday night, I went to my full time job, waiting for midnight when the line up for the Hong Kong competition, the single thing I've been looking forward to all year (despite the recent hesitation), was going to be announced. The clock struck midnight, I checked my email and boom. I didn't make the cut. With countless of applications from countries like the US, UK, Japan and others, I was not part of the 30 selected. I was stunned. Not surprised, but stunned.
Regardless of my newly formed reservations about joining, I still sent an application. When I got rejected, I felt things that I needed a couple of days to process, simply because I didn't know exactly how bad I felt and why.
I had more than a few drinks with the Big Man over the course of the weekend after my rejection. I figured it out. When I got rejected, I literally felt all the air get sucked out of me. It was because I felt less whole than I usually am. See, last year, I was happy to be picked for the contest simply because of what it symbolized. Getting selected meant that I was among the best in the world at what I did, and that's something that no one could take away from me and that very few people can claim. The knowledge that I could hang with all these talented people made me feel genuinely proud. It was something that was mine. When I got rejected, a lot of the confidence I had that stemmed from being a part of the competition somehow vanished.
I began to doubt. Even with all my contingency plans, my projects if ever I decide to not go to Hong Kong anyway, felt pointless. After all, I was having doubts about my desire to join the competition, but what I didn't need was doubts towards having the ability to claim my part in the competition. If I were to decide to not join, it was supposed to be because of my choice, not because I wasn't good enough.
The Big Man, as we were drinking on a Monday afternoon (a session that extended into the early hours of Tuesday morning) was uncharacteristically supportive. It's not to say that we're not supportive of each other, we just don't compliment each other verbally. I never really figured out why, but we were never like that. We make objective observations that sometimes come off as compliments, like "you're good at this…" or "this is your strong point…" and shit like that.
He even tried to comfort me as I was saying my piece about not being among the 30 best competitors by saying something like "Maybe you're the 31st. That's why you didn't get in." That statement of his, I remarked with a "that's not it", but in all honesty, I thought "man, what an idiotic thing to say."
The Phone Call.
I woke up on a Monday afternoon, stomach howling because of the ludicrous amount of alcohol that no two men of our age should consume. The Big Man had already left, we drank at my place, and I went about my day. Made myself breakfast, watched Robocop 2, and mentally prepared myself to do some more writing for the TV show, the project and even the new movie I was supposed to make before the year ends.
I received a text message, but I chose to ignore it. A few minutes later, my phone rang. It was none other than the guy who put together the competition in Hong Kong. Apparently, one of the contestants had to back out, and I was next in line.
Motherfucker. The Big Man was right. I was the 31st. The guy ended the call by saying "don't back out, okay? I'm going to kick your ass."So yeah, I'm going to Hong Kong. Not because I'm afraid of getting my ass kicked, though he is Chinese and might know some sweet moves that would knock me on my ass. I'm going to Hong Kong with a killer set and show everyone that they shouldn't have rejected me in the first place.