Miyerkules, Oktubre 24, 2012

Human Relations

From the moment the plane touched down and I was back in the country after what I consider a successful tour of Hong Kong, the first thing I did was look for people to drink with. Considering the ungodly hour and the fact that a lot of my people aren't really as spontaneous as they once were (old age would do that to you) I wound up in the closest thing to a bar that's near my house: the strip club.

The early morning drinking session alone (there was a girl there, and she's interesting enough, my mind was in all directions at once that a lot of her "company" went unnoticed) set the tone for the couple of weeks. Truth is, once I was done with the one thing I set out to do for the year, I am pretty much cruising until the year ends and I could go off to my next "mission", which was Singapore. I'm pretty much done here, and the past few weeks emphasized that.

Last Day at the 9 to 5.

My first day back at my full time job also turned out to be my last day. After a couple of months of it being the ideal workplace for me, the inclusion of one person who was determined to turn the place into something that it was not became the death knell. I spoke about it briefly in my previous post, and in that one day after my trip, everything came to a head.

I don't want to go into the long, boring details about it. What I am going to say is that it's hard when the person in charge is both unaware of the nature of the business and yet still concerned with maintaining an air of superiority all because the "white people" have arrived and everyone needed to put their best foot forward. Normally, that it isn't a problem, but when the post you hold is somewhat an obsolete position and you're desperate to be relevant at any cost, it can be a dangerous thing.

The end result of that day was me basically having my fill of the bullshit. Yes, the money was good, but if I was the type of guy who bent over backwards for the paycheck, then my resume, as well as my personal life, wouldn't be what it is today. Plus, the way she kept saying "cross cutting" when she meant 'cost cutting" was getting really annoying.

I spoke to my actual boss about the changes that were, to me at least, not just frivolous but downright idiotic. and he just said that they wanted to avoid conflict as long as the clients were there. Great. Pop went my BP, and out went the last of my patience.

Back at the Think Tank.

Despite the obviously unhealthy state I was in, I went to the Think Tank instead of going home to rest and prepare for another work day. (I had fully intended to give the 9 to 5 another shot.) However, I needed to go and experience a workplace that, while being far from perfect, no longer was under the rule of someone who was a silly mixture of overcompensation and delusions of grandeur. I was back in the Think Tank, not getting any work done, but reconnecting with a bunch of people I had been somewhat away from since I started preparing for Hong Kong.

It was nice, and it reminded me why that company holds the record for the longest time I was able to not just tolerate it, but actually enjoy being part of its employ. I felt at home. Like I said, the place is far from perfect, but it is ideal for someone like me, for various reasons that most of the 9 to 5 folk would never ever understand.  

Unnecessarily Awkward.

There are a few kinks in the Think Tank ideal after I came back. First off, there are way too many new faces. Then again, I don't really care about anyone I don't really know, so it wasn't a big deal. Secondly, there's the ex. I've never had an issue with sharing space with an ex girlfriend, and history can prove that. And since this particular ex has been clear about wanting to be friends after the relationship fell apart, I didn't think I was going to encounter any difficulties there. The planets must have aligned, because I was wrong.

On that day I came back, I was greeted warmly by almost everyone i interacted with on a regular basis, with the prime exception of the ex. And it wasn't the "I'm busy working so I can't properly say hello" kind of thing. It was a stand offish, "look at me, I'm doing amazingly well" kind of dismissal. Jesus Christ, I'm back in high school. Wow.

Some people have told me that she might not be able to process my regular appearances well enough since the break up was still kinda fresh, but come on. It's a break up. It's hard for both parties. To act primarily in reaction to what you feel and what you feel alone is childish. But considering the reasons as to why the relationship ended in the first place, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. It's annoying, but not nearly enough to ruin my days. It's a waste, yes, but I've got other things to think about.

Chicken Wings and Silly Things.

On the other side of the coin, I'm having a great time with the remanding members of the Breakfast Club. We of the older, less productive crowd have not lost a beat, and I now find myself once again enjoying the company of the people that have gotten me into eating regularly (and excessively) again.

Oh look. We're eating. Again.
And there's drama, there's always drama. One's pursuing a girl after being sorta cheated on and left by a long time girlfriend and then rebounded with a somewhat crazy chick. Then there's another girl who likes this ex of hers still and somewhat asked my assistance in pursuing said ex. Great, at least now, I get to feel like I'm back in college.

We had a nice Friday night out eating chicken wings and then coffee and we all offered our best insults directed towards key people in the office. you know, harmless, not quite wholesome fun wherein no one really gets hurt and everyone gets entertained. While this may not have been the type of rest the doctor recommended, it beats sitting in the 9 to 5 listening to the many ways certain people can prevent me from doing my job well.

I'm sure at some point, my interactions with these people would eventually come to an end, as it occurs with most if not all social groups, but I am going to make the most of every second while everyone is still around.

Fighting Words.

The weekend came, and I was expecting a quiet weekend. Like I said, the doc ordered me to slow down, so I didn't plan any of those legendary weekends I've been somewhat accustomed to. But the issues with the Tapa King have come to a head, so I went to the BIg Man's for a supposed confrontation. The King's brave words online (Yes, this whole shitty affair peaked through Facebook, which already makes it infinitely stupider than it has to be.) were not to be found once I got there. The Big Man claims he was surprised I didn't lay it on thick, but I don't think he completely gets how I deal with people. I got to the house, gave the King a look, to which he responded by giving me a salute and then looking away, pouring drinks like nothing happened. I am not going to be the one to start it; it would diminish my control of the situation and place the Tapa King on an undeserved moral high ground.

It's a good thing Jonic came and lashed his tongue. He was blowing off steam, but in the end, nothing substantial was accomplished. That night, I decided I was done with the Tapa King. The past few weeks have shown his true, cowardly, two faced nature, and while I'm sure the Big Man and the rest of them would eventually let things slide, my own personal code would not allow me to waste another second of my obviously short and precious life with a liability. That's what he is. All the double dealing, the back stabbing, the lack of responsibility for his own words and actions, they all add up to the conclusion that this person is not to be trusted. He's burned all of them before, and from all indications, he's still burning them now, and what's annoying is that he's not even doing it on purpose. He's just wired that way, the way serial killers are wired to kill, or religious zealots and cultists have been wired to be close minded. There is no other logical solution here but to cut him off, and I'm not waiting around for the time when he burns me. As far as I know, he already has.

It's sad too, since this means I have to find someone else to do the heavy lifting for my next movie.

More Grown Up Goodness.

The heartwarming reunion. I've had worse.
Shelly's birthday party provided me with a nice Sunday night with the Scoobies, a great contrast to the Tapa King episode from the night before. A decent buzz, amusing conversation, and a genuine delight in the simple things. I'm always thankful that the Scoobies are there. Truth is, they're the only people that truly makes me feel that I don't have to go on TV, join international competitions, and basically achieve things that are beyond most people's capabilities to feel good about myself. These are real people, and I can't laud them enough. 

The Other Side.

The following night, when I'm still supposed to be resting, I went out to stink with that girl from the strip club and a few of her friends. I had the Big Man tag along for security purposes, and he saw fit to bring this new girl he's planning to bang (or has banged, I don't really know). I have to say, drinking at the gas station is definitely a lot more fun down South.

It was a good night, but one thing that I noticed is that it seemed everyone was expecting that I make a move on the girl. I just wanted to hang out. I was in no physical condition to work, and so I decided to spend the night chilling. She asked if we could drink, and I said yes. It didn't have to lead to anywhere beyond that.

I'm going to address something that a lot of people may be wondering about. Yes, I tend to frequent strip clubs. While for the most part, the Big Man and the rest of them are the ones who bring me to such places, I too have initiated some of those jaunts. Yes, I have shared a table with more than a few women there, and yeah, some I find really attractive. But, I have never, and will never, be involved with any of those women beyond sharing a drink with them. Why? the simple explanation is that they do nothing for me.

I'm not going to blast the Big Man, or the Human Torch or the Tapa King for their respective choices to pursue such women, that's their thing. But me, I'm a snob. I'm not trying to be a dick about it, I'm just being honest here. I like my women with class. I like them educated. I like them articulate. I like them with above average comprehension skills. While yes, I do enjoy sharing a drink with these people, it is going to take more than you shaking your money maker in my direction to get me to be the guy that downs enormous amounts of hard earned money or to alter my routine or schedule to accommodate chasing you around. The only way these women can have me under their spell is if they take advanced classes in Hogwarts. I know, I'm not much of a catch, but still, this is one game I don't play in Easy Mode. But, to each his own, right?

Bed Rest.

After all of that, and considering that there was a bug going around at the Think Tank, it was bound to happen. My supposed rest came in the form of a days long fever that rendered me helpless. I don't think I've ever been sick since I graduated college, at least not in the common colds and fever kind of way. After years of consistently going on full burn I get sick after a couple of weeks off? That just boggles my mind.

Still, the downtime gave me a chance to think about certain things. Future plans. Singapore. My deteriorating health. Even wrote a script in my head that would become my next movie. I also looked back not he past few months and evaluated (I'm not exaggerating here) every single person actively in my life these days to gauge which ones I will be cutting off in the coming year. (Yeah, I'm not used to downtime.) I even considered some lifestyle changes that might surprise some people.

I'm 30 years old and changes need to be made, especially if I'm to finish the new bucket list I made. (I already finished the first one before I turned 30, and the new one I made got lost when I lost my old wallet.)

Return to Marbles.

The following weekend, the boys and I were supposed to take Tagaytay by storm once more, but then I decided to take a breather from the potential Tapa King discussions. Good thing though, that some key people from the Think Tank wanted to drink, and we were back in Marbles to save my Friday night. All those Mind Erasers and beer and the nice talks led to a great night out. I love it when I get to close down Marbles. I even managed to practice some of my old material on these guys, and yeah, they still work.

That night made me feel more strongly about relocation. As I've said before, I've come to a point wherein I accept that I'm not the guy that's going to do things the normal way. The way I see it, I'm going to grow old (if it comes to that) somewhat alone, with nothing but my stories and my memories, and I'm not going to fight it. I'm just the guy who comes in and out of people's lives, and leaving, at the very least, some really good memories, and I can live with that.

Hopefully, this time next year, I'll be having more adventures with new people, more tales of love and more jokes to tell, more complaints about inefficient bosses and dumb people. (Then again, maybe not, but that would be cool.) In the meantime, the people around me seems to be enough to get me through.

Sabado, Oktubre 13, 2012

How the Rest of September Went

This is an extremely late post, as I have been all over the place lately. No rants for this blog, as I've decided to start a different blog specially for my rantings (I noticed that it's been taking up too much space, so I figured it's time I moved it somewhere else where I could really let 'er rip.). I'll be posting a link when it's done. As for the usual goings on in my day to day life, this site will still be providing that, and all five or so of my regular readers will still get their fix of living vicariously through my unbelievably unremarkable life. Now, let's get on with it. (It would help if you read the next paragraph in Ted Mosby's voice.)

Kids, in September of 2012, I had a boring full time job, I just turned single again, and I was hanging out regularly with the guys again. Most importantly, I was preparing for the Hong Kong Contest that has been the focal point of my year.

The 9 to 5.

In order to help fund my Hong Kong trip, I had to get a full time job, and I did. I ended up writing content for a website during the graveyard hours, and all was relatively well. People were gracious enough to leave me the fuck alone, and i didn't mind dealing without he soul sucking routine that came with the job. Hell, I was grateful for the isolation. The decent pay and the opportunity to clear my mind were a great combination in me decompressing, especially since I was heading to a very important competition. But everything changed when they hired a new OM whose only work experience revolved around the call center industry. Don't get me wrong, everyone who knows me knows that I have nothing against phone monkeys, as I was one myself and to this day I maintain that the best people I've ever worked with I met in Purgatory, but I am also firm believer that there are two kinds of call center folk; the good kind, and the other kind. She belonged to the other kind, the kind that couldn't shut up about her "achievements" as if that was supposed to impress anyone. Slowly, it was all about nonsensical rules and buzz phrases like "moving forward…" and "corp world" (which doesn't make sense). I'm sure she's a good person, but anyone who doesn't recognize the utter futility of what we do, is definitely a danger to basic quality of life. Still, I decided to give the new management a chance, even though I suffered through shoddy management once this year, and I'm not really into going through another one.
Are you serious, bro?

Boys will be Boys, Though Some will be Assholes.

There have been a few drinking sessions before my trip to Hong Kong happened, but there has always been one main point of discussion:: the Tapa King. This came to a head when we drank at this dude David's house, another one of the Tapa KIng and Jonic's high school friends. It was on that night when everyone laid down their cards with how the King has displayed his particular brand of douchebagginess on every single one of us. From little white lies, to downright laughable attempts of manipulation, to random acts of two faced, opportunistic, self service, the Tapa King has pretty much screwed every single one of us. It wouldn't take long before the whole thing boils over, but that's a story for the next post.

A Good Night Before A Great Weekend.

The weekend before the most important weekend of my year, I decided to get away from all the break up, Tapa King, and work drama, so me, the BIg Man and his wife, Jonic and surprisingly, Mr. Guerrero headed to Tagaytay to have more than a few drinks at some bar that has a branch that was 30 minutes away from where we actually live. Mr. Guerrero was burdened with marital problems, which sucked, but it didn't hinder us from having a great time. The absence of the Tapa King has, as always, been appreciated, and the music, the cocktails and the cool night air of Tagaytay made for one hell of a night. Three things were accomplished on that night: one, I decided to never hang out with the Tapa King again, unless one of the other guys invited him over, two, no matter how bad the shit in the full time job gets, I have proven that a good weekend can easily make up for it, and three, thanks to Jonic, I knew Hong Kong was going to be a blast, regardless of what happens.

Mic in Hand and in Heart.

Roughly one year after my first go around, after all the crazy shit that happened in between, my return to Hong Kong has finally arrived. Nothing was going to ruin my mood, not even the lame and unnecessary attempts by the manager to cramp up my night (for some reason I was not allowed to to go on leave, so I was going to the airport straight from work),I was really pumped. The BIg Man was nice enough to drive me to the airport (of course, he had a girl of ill repute with him) and I was off to a foreign land to make people laugh.

Was I nervous? When I got the call confirming I was in, I really wasn't. In fact, immediately after the phone call I was doing my happy dance in my room. I was ready to spit fire, and felt as if I was going to tear down the comedy club with my comedic stylings. That lasted for a few hours until one of my comedian friends reminded me that I hadn't done stand up for the majority of the year, and most of my material were untested. These were the thoughts I had as the plane landed, and once I got myself checked into the inn where my nationality, and worse the fact that I was a comic, was questioned by the Chinese dude running the place. (Someone needs a lesson in customer service.)
Since I flew in on the same day as the contest, my day was spent preparing. From the inn, I took a two hour walk to Central, where I was rehearsing my jokes in my mind while still sight seeing. (The highlight of which was seeing that building from The Dark Knight, where Batman takes that Chinese dude in Hong Kong and brings him back to Gotham. That shit was the balls.) I arrived in the general vicinity more than an hour before the show, so I went to a bar to "prepare". I was tired from my walk, and I was a tad anxious about performing despite the obvious stage rust. The whole thing seemed pointless, and I kinda felt that all those months of effort and delaying with difficult people wasn't worth it.

Once the show started, I was anxious, I was more than a little tired, and questioning things I never had to question before. I was on second to the last, a spot that I personally wasn't a fan of, as the bar has already been set higher. At some point, I realized that bitching about it would not accomplish anything. I was there, and it was showtime, and I had two choices; either hit the stage and choke, or hit the stage and make the past several months mean something. I went with the latter. And I felt great. It wasn't my best work, but considering I hadn't done it in a year, and several members of the audience approached me to tell me how good a job I did, I consider my venture to be a success, even though I didn't qualify for the finals.

I was in high spirits, and I spent the night drinking with the fellow comedians. There was some drama too, as someone who was unhappy with the results started ranting. The scene smeared some controversy on an otherwise great night, but truth is, I didn't really care. I was there, in the middle of it all, and I was learning, not just about the craft, but about the people who have chosen this medium as their art form. It's not an easy life, but none of these people would take anything else. I went back to the inn, overwhelmed with emotion, and by alcohol, and I actually lifted my arms and wooed in sheer delight as I walked the nearly empty but still well lit streets of Causeway Bay. I performed well, I had a great night out, I met and learned a lot of fellow comedians, and I felt I truly belonged among them. (Even though a lot of the veterans I dealt with called me "sweet" due to my naivete about he business.) This was all me, and while I had help here and there, this was my achievement. I didn't kiss any asses or ride any coattails. No backup, no nothing. I never felt that much alive all year.

On the second day of my HK weekend, I skipped the lunch the producer was throwing the comics so walk around and go toy hunting and generally hang out. (Very few things on earth can make me decline free dimsum, and action figures belong in that category.) I did my thing, and went back to the comedy cub to grab a few tips about crowd work, and briefly talk about the previous night's meltdown that I had been unintentionally a part of as I was one of the shoulders that were cried on. It was a good day, and a great weekend.

Truth is, I've been doing stand up for two years (though not as regularly as I had wanted to), and I think I grew more and learned in that weekend than the stretch I've been doing back in my homeland. One or two of the guys have tried to help, but mostly, it's just get on stage and get experience. You had to pay to get taught. But just talking to the people in Hong Kong was a learning experience, and it wasn't over yet. On my way to the airport, I shared a train ride with one of the comedians who has also flying out that Sunday night, and in the middle of my emotional high, he provided me my next step: Singapore. I got offered to do two nights in Singapore, one of which was on a show that was viewed by up to 200 people. Wow.

So, that's it. That's what I'll do. I was planning on relocating anyways, and this is the best way for me to do that without sacrificing my comedy. It's like everything's coming together, and as I said before, I'm not going to ignore what the universe tells me.