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.     

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