Martes, Nobyembre 27, 2012

Lean, mean, somewhat like a machine...

Certain events from the past couple of weeks have left me in a rather ranty mood, so let’s start off this post with me blowing off a little steam. Let me just go on record in saying that while I, myself, am not a religious man, I have a high level of respect for those who value their spirituality and practice it in a manner of their choosing. What I don’t have much respect for is using your own personal beliefs into certain arguments seemingly under the notion that those beliefs are shared and accepted by everyone.

Case in point, I was on my usual venting mode a few days back when I’m told that I should be patient because even God knows how to forgive. God is forgiving, so I should be forgiving too. Right. God also created the world in seven days. Should I get started on that, as well? Cause, I don’t know about anyone else, but while I know I accomplish a shitload of things in seven days, I’m pretty sure conjuring up an entire universe would take a little bit longer for someone like me. Look, it’s cool that you believe in things like that, and that you hold such ideals to be true, but to assume that it’s the same for anyone else is bordering on arrogance. Hell, most of my ethical and moral decisions are based on what I read and learned from comic books, you don’t see me telling people to seek vengeance for the weak cause that’s what Ghost Rider would do. Offering advice is cool and all, but make sure the advice is appropriate to the receiver. After all, you wouldn’t offer ice cream to someone whose lactose tolerant now, would you? Rant over.

Anyhoo, let’s move on. While my weekdays have mostly focused on working at the Think Tank, my weekends have seen me return to Manila after several years, contribute in making  a fat guy go all “aw shucks”, write a resignation letter which for some reason got lost and, at least for the time being, help save a marriage.

A Walk in the Old Neighborhood.

On a Saturday that was supposed to have me go to Laguna for an officemate’s birthday party, a series of unfortunate events led me to stay in Cavite that had me spend the majority of the day with the Critic. Our day comprised mostly of him talking about his new relationship and us walking back and forth from his place to the Big Man’s.

We'll handle your goodies for you.
It seemed like it a long time ago that he and I walked all over that neighborhood on a regular basis, and doing so on that weekend really took me back. We’d taken the more “scenic” routes, and we passed by a lot of the familiar roads that the Boys and I had various adventures in, proving my theory that one doesn’t need to travel a great distance just to have a great time. We passed by Hidalgo street, and saw the house that we all ended up in every Sunday afternoon. (It was the house the Big Man grew up in, and it had become home for every single one of us at some point or another, even during those times that the Big man himself didn’t live there.) The house is abandoned now, and seeing the place boarded up and shit seems to be such a terrible waste. Regardless of how far we’ve all come individually in our personal and professional lives, I would still view those weekends from 1999-2010 as the most well spent Sundays I’ll ever have. At the risk of sounding like an old man, which I already feel I am, the stories that that house and that street can tell pretty much defines a specific era in my life, and no doubt all of the Boys’ lives as well.

On a lighter note, the Critic and I took the chance to visit the Human Torch, whose family had opened up a store. We spent a couple of hours there in a lame attempt to increase sales, peruse the porn in the Torch’s lappie, and generally just hanging out. It was fun. Bad for business, but fun.

I’ve never been a guy with a sense of community, but that particular area is where my roots are planted, and I’m pretty sure that in the end, we will all wind up back in the old neighborhood.

Relationship Tipping Points.

The following day was when I learned the reason behind the Big Man’s absurd absence from the previous day that led to me and the Critic hoofing it up all over the village Hobbit style. Apparently, the other shoe finally fell, and his wife found out about certain indiscretions.

I was at the nearby mall, waiting for Marvi’s message (the Scoobies were supposed to meet up at Nikki’s for lunch) when his wife started texting me saying she wanted someone to talk to. She told me what happened, and I jumped on the nearest overpaid tricycle and went to their place.

It was odd. I’d seen them fight and argue countless of times, but there was a sense of finality to this little episode. Talks of separation were already in the air, and when I got there, they weren’t even speaking anymore. So, I did the logical thing I could do and spoke to him, then her, then him again (I brought him along to the Scooby lunch), and then drank with him and then passed out. I told both of them everything I thought about the situation, offered suggestions from both a logical and objective point of view, and the perspective of someone who had witnessed his own parents part ways. (I don’t talk about that much, but not because of any emotional reasons. It all just sounds so 90s.)

At that point, I didn’t know if anything I said made a difference, cause I had said a lot of things being the guy who did the majority of the talking for the duration that I was with either party. A week later I found out that they had decided to stay together, going for a course of action that I had suggested. I don’t know if they had the same action in mind before I suggested it and needed someone to echo those thoughts, or they got the idea from me, but the point is, they’re staying together. At least for now, and I guess that’s going to have to be good enough.

A Tale of New Love.

Monday saw the culmination of several days of planning between me and the new girlfriend of one of my teammates. As I mentioned in my previous posts, one of the guys I work with finally managed to get this girl who he’s been chasing for months. The girl, in turn, wanted to do something nice for her chubby beau and decided to ask for my assistance for reasons unknown to me.

I’ve made a pretty good living of not just telling stories, but selling them as well, so when the girl wanted o pay a surprise visit to the office to make her man happy, it was up to me to coordinate everything, which isn’t hard, and make sure that her man actually shows up for work, which is exponentially harder. So... I lied. I lied a lot. Hell, I lied for days upon days.

The pay off was worth it. She was happy, he was happy, and me and the rest of the team all got fried chicken.

Office Gossip Fodder.

Now, I didn’t write about the past two exploits to make myself look like a good guy. I’m not. I’m just a believer of the social responsibility that all friends have that if a friend is in need, and you were asked to assist or saw that you were in a position to help, ignoring that would be to break a social contract. I like to think I take care of my people, thankless that job may be at times. So it guess it’s a good thing my people’s numbers have been dwindled further, particularly after that weekend.

Apparently, despite missing the party in Laguna, my presence was felt through an emotional outburst that I’d like to think was fueled by alcohol. Basically, it was said that I was “being mean”.

I was being mean? Me. The guy this person ignored blatantly since I came back to the office regularly. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been called worse, but in most of those other cases, the allegations have been justified and most of all, made to my face. If this was because I cracked a few jokes, well, this person of all people should know that I do that to everyone, even to those closest to me. If this was because I didn’t speak to this person ever since I came back, well, I don’t know, I guess my conversation skills haven’t developed to a point wherein I could just come up to someone that has treated me like I’m some six foot three, see through, wraith-like creature with a big mouth and casually say “hi”. I was being mean? Jesus H. Christ, man. If this person had an issue with me, I think there were more effective ways of dealing with those issues than causing a scene. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people getting hammered and stealing the show; I just have a major issue when it’s done in my name and I’m not even there to address whatever claim that is made on me.

What burns my ass even more is that this happened in a party that wasn’t just comprised of mostly people at work, but people at work that I was actually nice to in the nearly two years I have spent in the company. The work day after all of this happened, no one mentioned anything to me. I even had lunch with them and all they were talking about is how Erin was drunk off her ass, and she did this, and that, and not even a “by the way, some person was there and your name was mentioned a couple of times, and none of it was in a good light.” Really? The one person who thought I should know was someone who I had barely spoken to in months. She wasn’t even in the office. She took the time to get online and message me.

I ignored that at first, dealt with the anger the way I usually do, and that’s pick a fight with people in the food service industry (there are certain fast food joints that are pretty reliable in giving you reasons to lash out). After all, everyone I asked advised me not to confront this person directly, as said person might be going through stuff. Yeah, I’m automatically expected to be the bigger person. Great. Okay. Perfect. I’m done. I quit. I’m over it. People want me mean, I’ll be mean.

The New Project.

My way of dealing with things, aside from biting the heads off of  random employees who seem to mess up is to indulge myself with work. Not the monotonous shit that I do at the Think Tank (It’s a great way to earn money on the side, and I’m not dissing its value to our consumers, but it’s a day job. No one studies college for four years to do what we do.), but real work that requires me actually caring about what I do. And that’s a moot point, seeing as the Think Tank seems to be running out of actual work I can do to pay them bills and debts and random wants and needs.

In comes the Big Man’s boss, who’s apparently managing a singer who had a huge hit back in the 90s and is ready to make a comeback. The task: a music video. A production that involves a miniscule budget, an underdog talent who’s seeking a second shot, that’s the type of shit I could really sink my teeth into. (Not that I make a habit out of sinking my teeth into excrement.)

I hope this isn’t another one of the guy’s flights of fancy, cause I will deliver on this. (I always do, though the level of quality varies.)  Plus, money. I’ve come to like that. Let’s shine a light on this faded star, shall we?

Back in Manila.

After meeting up with the dude managing the singer on a Friday night, a meeting that enhanced my doubts regarding his willingness to see this project through, I spent a night in Manila with the Big Man, Mr. Guerrero, and their respective wives. It was there that I heard about how the Big Man’s marriage is going to go. Amusingly enough, on the night when that particular couple nearly ended their union, Mr. Guerrero and his wife had a similar falling out. And there I was, one week later, drinking with two couples who were on the verge of separation.
I actually used a filter to make it look LESS gritty.

Being back in Manila, despite the memories I have of the place, didn’t have quite the same effect as walking around the neighborhood with the Critic did one week prior. It was alright, but I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere where I leave quickly enough. At my core, I’ll always be a sheltered Southern guy. Manila is just way too gritty for my taste.


Saturday morning came, and sleepless and a little tipsy as I was, the only thing I wanted was to go to the Think Tank and hope to high heaven I could work as well as I could. But, once again, there was not enough work to be found. Bad as I may have been having it, Philip (the chubby dude with the girlfriend I mentioned earlier) was definitely having it worse. Saturday was the day his new girlfriend leaves for work. Two broke guys, one was sad, the other extremely bored, and the only logical course of action? Go to a bar and get drunk.

The bar, aptly named Recovery, was a result of Philip’s high school friends to, probably, cheer him up. He brought me along probably because he was to introduce me to this girl mentioned I could hit it off with. I went cause, well, what was I going to do?

The night had minor high school drama, a confusing dance number, fire breathing, and a redonkulous amount of alcohol, most of it paid for by his friends. Afterwards, I dragged him back to the office just so I could stare at that adorable girl I had an inappropriate dream of a few weeks back.

Planning for the Following Weekend.

Sunday night and there was still no work to be done, but me and the boys had to prepare. At the gas station, the Big Man, his wife, Jonic, his new boy toy (Hah!) and myself went about planning next weekend’s trip to the beach. I haven’t been out of town with the Big Man since that trip to my province way back in college, and while this trip may suck (due to my inability to hang out with people for an extended period of time) this is exactly what we all needed. I had to do my annual rocks on the beach thing (Only one rock for this year. Guess what it’s for.), as well as a well needed vacation after all of the shit I’ve done the past 12 months. The Big Man and his wife need some time away, and Jonic needs to get out more.

It’s three days and two nights of the sea, the lake, and alcohol with, if the past several months are an indication, the latest incarnation of the Boys. And with the Tapa King voted out of the proverbial island, I don’t see a reason why this wouldn’t work. (Foreshadowing!)

Miyerkules, Nobyembre 14, 2012

Supposedly Slowing Down

Considering that I haven’t posted anything in three or so weeks, this one’s going to be longer than usual. So, I’m going to have to ask my readers, if there are any left that is, to bear with me.

Thing is, for someone who’s only left with one job now, a part time one at that, I’ve been somewhat busy. No complaints there, since I haven’t been in any way, shape or form socially inactive ever since 1998, but yeah, it does take a toll on me, and not just with the whole blogging thing.

In a nutshell, the past three weeks, I’ve officially stopped being a TV writer, I flirted with a 19 year old girl, I drank ten shots of various cocktails which left me debilitated the following day, helped a girl I once pursued with her own love crisis, I had a sex dream with one of my female co-workers, and watched a bunch of horror movies, all in the spirit of my favorite holiday. Let’s get on with it. (Also, for those of you who have been requesting that I do my rants again, chill the fuck out and wait. They’re coming.)

Regularly Irregular

I’ve officially stepped down from my writing post at the TV network. To those who remember, I requested some time off from the job to prepare from my now historic (in my mind at least) Hong Kong foray. A few weeks after said trip, I ultimately decided to stay away from TV for a bit. (I’ve had more than a few stints in television, and none of them really lasted. Thing is, I’m not really built for it. I realized that after my half a year gig at MTV Philippines.) Still, it was cool getting a phone call from the director of the longest running comedy show in the country to tell me what’s up and to “not forget” him. I know, it’s a polite thing to say and people in the industry speak in such a manner that it’s second nature to them, but still, I liked that. Regardless of what I felt about the job, it was still nice getting the ego stroke.

But, what with me parting ways from the network (for now, at least) and me no longer holding a 9 to 5, I am left with nothing else but the Think Tank. The somewhat abrupt change of pace is a welcome one, especially after the year I had. I think I earned a couple of months of kicking back and just generally chilling, and that, I did in spades.

A little sidenote though, the only thing that sucks about not being in Makati anymore is that I won’t be getting that night of drinking with Hannah. After all, we troubled souls with the “alleged” substance abuse problems need to stick together amidst the generally judgmental and eternally boring normal people.

Gas Station Politics

After last month’s episode with the Tapa King, I thought I wouldn’t be seeing that shit eating grin of his for a while, but then again, like an unexpected fart in an elevator or a zit on the night before prom, the unofficially ex-communicated shows up at a drinking session at the gas station, acting like all was well. Seriously, how dense/egocentric does a person have to be to ignore the very obvious fact that no one wants him around, at least for the time being? But there he was, all chummy and not even the slightest bit amusing. While I appreciate the attempt, the fact that he acted like nothing was wrong makes his attempt well beyond the normal tenets of lameness.

I don’t think I need to discuss how showing up at a drinking session fully dominated by a bunch of motormouths, each and every one of which he pissed off to some degree, ended up. Let’s just say that if Jonic’s tirade from the last encounter didn’t get the message across, that night at the gas station did.

I know he’ll be back, especially taking into consideration the absence and eventual return of the Big Man, The Human Torch, the Critic and even myself. But we all came back somewhat improved a bit. If he wants to hang, it’s going to start with a very basic principle: know that you are a douche, accept that you have been a douche, admit that you have been a douche, and work on not being a douche anymore.

A Stretch Halloween

I’ve always been vocal about how much I love Halloween. My Halloween season started out with staying in the office to watch a bunch of horror movies, then hit a high point when the Big Man, his wife, Jonic and two of his retarded (a compliment) friends, and myself hitting Tagaytay once more to have a healthy dose of alcohol and an almost unhealthy amount of good times. The Big Man’s wife got drunk, which was a treat, cause she rarely got drunk these days, and because she’s a funny drunk. I’m talking loud, uninhibited, throw-up anywhere drunk. Hell, she was so wasted, she couldn’t even get up to join the obligatory after drinks breakfast.

There was even a period there wherein I made it a point to speak with any and all women in the bar that Jonic liked and scored phone numbers for them. (I had to use my lack of shame for something,)

It was an awesome night, to say the least, and yeah, since the Grill closed, I may have found my new bar. (Alongside Marbles that is.)

Old Men and Old Habits

A day after that little adventure, the Big Man and I went off to visit Marvi, who was admitted to the hospital due to dengue, and that itself was an adventure. We got lost, despite the fact that it has been a hospital I visited at least once before, and the fact that I asked Chad, who lives in the area, for specific directions, and I had Google Maps on me. What can I say, I’m not always the stupid one in my group, but when I am, I play that role to its full extent.

The whole getting-lost-in-an-area-only-40-minutes-away-from-where-we-live served its purpose, as the Big Man was able to unload some heavy shit long the way. I can’t discuss any specifics, but while the writer in me is curious as to how a decision he’s contemplating would end up, the friend in me somewhat wishes that he doesn’t go that road. Either way, we all, as individuals and as a group, have survived numerous paradigm shifts. We’ll survive another one, and many more. Surviving, I learned, is one thing that we seem to have all mastered.

After seeing Marvi still as unflappable as she could be despite a potentially fatal disease, surprising no one, the Big Man and I just didn’t want to end the night. That’s when we decided to visit this old dude he has been hanging out with. I met the guy only once, but he was cool for someone who could be old enough to be my dad. So, the trip to the Old Man’s house that was originally intended for the Big Man to just get some money so he and I could do a strip club right turned into some really amusing domestic drinking session. The guy had stories, which is true for most old people, but he was also receptive to what we had to say.

This is the first time I got along with an old person, especially since I’ve never been the respect-your-elders-just-because-they’re-elders type, but I wouldn’t mind integrating the guy more into the group. After all, we are down one member.

Blowing Off Steam

The Big Man, still troubled by his problems, wanted to go out the night after the Old Man’s thing. I, myself, am not averse to drinking three nights in a row, so we went to a bar of ill-repute (after having quite a lot of alcohol in my place) and pretty much tore shit up.

Yup, this is where I flirted with the 19 year old, and yeah, it was fun.

Tides Once More

Monday night came the much anticipated night out with my friends from the Think Tank, and for the second time in the span of a few days, I was back in Tagaytay, ready to abuse my body like the rock star I’m not.

I like how our little outings are planned in advance now, as it gives me something to look forward to. Plus, we went out on the day that one of our own finally managed to land that girl he’s been chasing after for months, there was an actual cause for celebration. I was kinda envious of him though, and not because he’s with someone and I’m single. It’s because it’s been a long time I was that state, wherein it glaringly obvious that I was in love to the point that I would move mountains, burn down villages and take on unnamable fiends just to win my woman’s heart. The last time I was in that state, it ended exceptionally bad, and it’s not that I didn’t love the ones who came after, but it was no longer like that. Every one of the girls that came after never got the best of me, and it’s not that I didn’t want to give that aspect of myself. I just had trouble with the wanting to. I used to be far less logical and far more of a believer. These days, not so much. Who knows, some day, right person, but right now, that’s not something I entirely care about anymore.

So we were there, in Tagaytay, all having a nice dinner (though my dinner comprised entirely of alcohol) and some nice conversation and it dawned on me that it has been a year since we all started hanging out. Yeah, some of them I’ve known a little longer, but around this time last ear, the whole team bonding thing was just beginning to hit its stride. A lot has changed, except for one thing: whenever we’re together, I do feel like we’re better than everybody else. Not that we actually are, but it’s just an energy I get, ad it’s rare that you meet people that make you feel that way. It’s a good thing.

The Third Weekend.

After the succession of alcohol laden days, I’ve decided to take a few days off. (More accurately though, my heart, blood pressure, stomach and the fact that my shit came in exciting new colors forced me to take a few days off.) But, of course, once hte weekend rolled around, it was back to the same old good stuff.

Friday night, I got invited to drink by the girl who I pursued last year, my Erin Hannon. Honestly, if I received that text one year ago, I’d probably be doing cartwheels all over the office. Anyhoo, it was a good excuse to hit the Pub once more.  I even got some work done afterwards.

Saturday, I was supposed to go to Manila for the birthday of the Big Man’s daughter, but considering my sleeping habits as of late, I didn’t make it. Instead, I went to Las Pinas for movie night and a birthday party with a few other members of the Think Tank. There was booze, horror movies, and I even spent all night talking comics and random geeky stuff to the man of the house. It’s quite a contrast to the things I’ve been doing that past few days, but it’s a welcome one.

Sunday, after I managed to squeeze out some work, the Big Man surprisingly messaged asking for drinks, and yeah, I obliged. We drank, his wife once again got hammered in a spectacular way, and then it was off to the bar so I could once again flirt with a girl way too young for me. In my defense, it’s not a midlife crisis if you had a heart attack at 21 and didn’t expect to live past 30. (Then again, I have a couple of months since I actually am past 30, so all bets are still off.)

The Exact Opposite.

The past three weeks have shown me something about my current state. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a guy who prefers to be alone. The reason for this is that I hate people. I think the human populace is filled with mostly idiots. Fuck, I get into arguments at least twice a day, and I’m not exaggerating. I literally mean it when I say that I care more about the well being of my favorite fictional characters than the majority of the chuckleheads out there in the real world. Which is weird since I seemingly spend a great deal of time trying to entertain them, personally and professionally.

In the office, there used to be a joke about me having “first priority friends”. Looking at the past few weeks, I surmise that it’s true. Regardless of what my schedule or my physical state may be, I’m not going to miss any meetings with the Boys or the Scoobies, unless it was humanly impossible for me to be there. I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to talk comics with a fellow geek that I’ve come to respect so much, or to listen to a girl that will always hold a special spot in my life. And I’m not going to miss the chance that me and the remainder of the awesome team I used to belong to get to hang out, secretly diss people and generally have a good time.

Point is, yeah, I’d much rather be alone. I just managed to surround myself with people that have become obvious exceptions to that rule.