Lunes, Disyembre 31, 2012

The Best and Worst of 2012

2012, a year that was supposed to be the last for various reasons, turned out to be one of the best years I’ve had after college. While it still had the usual relationship drama, the highlights from one project after another more than makes up for it. So, as I try to avoid my usual tendency to be way too wordy, here are some words and pictures that should describe my 2012.

Turning 30.

We're getting older, wiser, drunker.

The dread 3 and oh came and I was all for meeting it. Despite my original plan of having just one amazing party to celebrate my three decades and surprising decision to stay alive, I ended up having three. The first one was a surprise party thrown by, ironically enough, people who I mostly don’t speak to anymore. (One of the many reasons I hate surprises.) The second was the one me and Marvi planned, and that one was awesome. Of course, there’s that third party, the extra party I have every year with the Scoobies.

I knew, in that second party, as I lay there, nearly stoned and a tad drunk in the pool, looking at the night sky of the South, that it was going to be a great year.

The Office.

At the end of 2011, I was content with the way things were in the Think Tank. At the start of the year, one major change occurred that resulted in the social upheaval of most things I’ve come to be accustomed to up in the Tank. That change was the Boss’ resignation. This paved the way to a lot of friction to those left behind, especially considering how the replacement decided to handle what remained of the team. What once was a tightly knit group is now... you know what? I’m not even going to get into that. It’s just equal parts hilarious and annoying.

We had a mostly good run, and if there’s one thing I learned about social structures this year, sometimes you just have to trim the fat.

Another Year, Another Relationship.

Got a girlfriend, didn’t work out, she asked to be friends, that didn’t work out either, so now I’m like, a mean guy or something. That’s basically it.

Seriously though, this last relationship had the potential to go the distance, but I guess our wants differed. It was the aftermath that burns my ass, and the sense of entitlement that seems to have resulted from it. But that’s done, and lines have been drawn, and does tend to make life in the Think Tank a tad more interesting.

Indie Jones.

Yeah, we dropped him after this photo was taken.

In support of the family business, I assembled a crew that comprised of the Big Man, The Tapa King, and Jo F’n Regis to go forth and make a shitty indie movie that blew chunks but, as I’ve heard, made bank.

Among other things, this project paved the way for a lot of things that shaped my year, one of which I will discuss in a bit, but in essence, it was just plain fun. It was an amazing experience for me personally, and after years of inactivity, brought me back to form.

One of the Gang.

Shortly after I the movie wrapped, I received a phone call from the director of a show that has been making me laugh since the mid-90s, asking me to come and work for them as a writer. That’s right, I was finally doing comedy on TV, and it was amazing. Week after week, despite certain hassles and issues, I feel like I grew, not just as a comedian, but as a person as a whole working with the business’ best and brightest. To be considered among them is truly an honor, and while I may be on sabbatical right now, I’m looking forward to returning and bringing the funny.

My Boys and I.

For the longest time, I’ve been friends with the boys from (or in close proximity to) Hidalgo street. 2012 saw a rare occurrence wherein me and the Big Man were at odds. Sure, the Critic and the Tapa King were involved, but the basic conflict, or at least the only one that matters was the issue between me and the Big Man. It was resolved, and it resulted in what I think is a greater appreciation of not just our mutual history, but also our basic differences; the things that make the whole relationship work.

Other people from the group also made their presence felt, primarily the Tapa King, who quickly went from being our blunt instrument to just being a useless tool. That’s what happens when one person thinks himself as better than the rest of the group. Jonic and Raymond became welcome additions to the weekends, and the Critic is now enjoying a reclusive kind of being in love or whatever the fuck that is.

All in all, things seem to be looking up, and considering the other endeavors me and the boys pursued over the latter part of the year, this may be the most competent incarnation of the group.

The Scoobies.

Before the big bye bye.

The Scoobies themselves have been through some changes. The biggest of which is Nikki’s departure to Singapore, though we still tend to see her on a fairly regular basis. Marvi also has been moving around, amusingly enough, towards me. She moved to work in Alabang, just a block away from the Think Tank, and, shortly after the flood thing which I was also around for, she and her family moved just a stone’s throw away from where I live. It’s made meeting up with them easier for me. Shelly, Weng and the others also have their own things going.

I’m happy the Scoobies are going strong and have been going strong for almost a decade now. Here’s hoping we all grow old together.

Hong Kong Once More.

And the crowd goes... docile.

My second tour of Hong Kong was better than the first. After nearly not qualifying for the contest, I made the most of the experience. Getting to know the other comedians, learning, relishing the entire journey. I came back better, happier, and filled with a sense of accomplishment. Yeah, I lost, but I did get invited to perform in Singapore, so there’s that. We’ll see what next year holds for my comedic career.

The Beach.

No, we're not known for our maturity.

After HK, the movie, the breakup, the multiple, simultaneous jobs and all of the other shit I had to go through, all I wanted was to enjoy a trip to the beach where I could unwind and do my annual rock thing. The boys and I took two cars and had a weekend in Zambales that resulted in me getting sunburn, a sprained knee, and much needed time to think. That weekend got me ready for next year’s quests, which I will discuss soon.

One Last Project.

The vacation was supposed to be how I end my year, and I wanted to just chill during December, content in knowing I’ve done everything I set out to do in 2012, from a successful 30th birthday, to competing in Hong Kong. However, I don’t turn down jobs, and when the Big Man’s boss asked us to make a music video for one of his friends, I spent my December making an amazing video that saw the return of my Nephew, a Student of mine, and SMI. Postproduction begins in January, and I’ll be detailing the experience next post. Basically, it’s a fine end to a fine year.

The Verdict.

Here's hoping 2013 is just as awesome as 2012 is, and if not, then fucking end the world already.

Huwebes, Disyembre 27, 2012

Jolly Enough.

It’s that time of the year again where I annually get a little bit crazier and a whole lot less sober, and surprisingly enough, things are okay. With me barreling towards the music video, which is my last big project before the year ends, and the supposed “end of the world” passing by, the last couple of weeks have been busy, as per usual.

Of course, there’s always time to rant. You know what I hate? The entire fucking Christmas season. Don’t get me wrong, I like earning that little something extra from whatever company I happen to be employed in every December (and let me stress the word “little”), but everything else about the holidays baffles me. The unnecessary traffic, the seemingly compulsive need to buy stuff, the god awful parties, the reunions, the carolers, the stupid movies, the irrationally cheery mood everyone’s in... Every. Fucking. Thing.

Still, it’s not so bad, at least not as bad as previous years, and I’m glad it’s over. Here come eleven months of sanity.

Going Old School.

Where it all began. Sorta.
In line with the with the shitty video I plan on shooting, one of the hurdles I seem to have encountered was looking for an actual location to shoot the damn thing. Since this is something I’ve never done before (the whole “non-comedic” nature of the song), coming up with ideas is a tad more difficult than usual. On one Friday, as me and the Big Man were supposed to scour the immediate vicinity for an ideal spot. As we were stuck in traffic, it suddenly hit me, and I told him to drive towards the alma mater. No, not the big green university way down South, but the shitty, rinky dink small town high school that me and some of the oldest friends I have. St. Michael’s Institute has been my “home” for nearly half of my life, and the reason why the option of shooting something there always eluded me.

So, off we went, and surprisingly enough, it happened to be the birthday of the school principal; luckily, the same principal who ran the archaic institution back when me and the Big Man and Ol’ Football Head were still in our teens trying to survive those tumultuous years. (I’ll take any and all opportunities to use the word “tumultuous”.) The school has changed a lot, and but the teachers, the general atmosphere, still remained the same. I’ll get into the preproduction shenanigans in a bit, but finding a location that’s this meaningful has to be a sign.

We also ran into one of the people I’ve known the longest; a dude I new since kindergarten, and anybody who knows even a little bit about me knows that I refuse to leave a meeting like that as such. So off to the club we went, and while I’m not at liberty to divulge certain details, let me break it down to key events: someone got slapped four times, I had a fever AND high blood pressure, a crazy chick broke a bunch of stuff, and an old friend went home with another crazy chick. Yeah, that happened.

The Tiny Dancer.

Over that entire ordeal, one person made it a point to look after me, and that was the Tiny Dancer, the girl I was talking about in my last post. It’s not surprising that she knows how to make a dude feel special, but in the various times that we hung out, I can’t help but admire her and her story (or what I know of her story). Here she is, bereft of opportunities, making the most of what she has and refusing to lose her resolve, that shit is just inspiring. Hell, I’ve known some people absolutely losing it just because Forever 21 ran out of the blouse they wanted. As I mentioned, like the people I met in Purgatory back in 2009, someone who can go through all that and still be able to not just succeed but smile deserves respect.
He shows up once a year and sells phones, like a weird Santa.

I always try to surround myself with people like that, people of substance. With someone like her around, I know that me doing any less would be a downright crime.

Christmas with The Scoobies.

The Scoobies and I see each other every time there’s a major holiday. I’ve talked about this before. These days, we only get to see Nikki on Facetime or whatever. I’ve also mentioned that. I’ve also mentioned that every time we  hang out I feel all blessed and happy and all that good shit. So, nothing’s new. Same old amazing nights with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in the middle of the season I hate the most.

My Not-so-Perfect Day and The Think Tank Party.

I didn’t originally plan on attending the office Christmas party. Not because of some gripe with the holidays (That never goes away.) or because I was too busy (Which I was, but that’s never a good reason to miss a party, even shitty ones.), but because it was strategically set on the night before the world was supposedly ending. Now, I was never a believer of that Mayan calendar hoohah, but I’m also a believer in being prepared and in the fact that we live in a world of infinite possibilities. So, just in case, I plotted out my perfect day.

The plan was simple; bacon and eggs for breakfast (a shitload of bacon and eggs at that), a lunch date with the Tiny Dancer (check... and it was lovely), then off to Makati to do stand up (Hell, if the world was ending, I’ll go out on stage, mic in hand.) I don’t mean to snub the company party, especially since this is the only company I’ve been able to tolerate enough to stick long enough to see a second Christmas party invite, but I already visited the Boss and what remains of the team I was a part of (and partly responsible for my extended stay in the Tank). That was more than enough for me.

People who would never survive the zombie outbreak.
But, the season reared its ugly head again as the drones of shoppers caused a traffic jam so bad, it took me hours to get to even halfway towards my destination. So, I joined my beloved fellow part timers and off a partyin’ we went.

Truth is, it wasn’t so bad. Yeah, it wasn’t my kind of scene, but a shitload of alcohol fixed that real quick. After that veil of intoxication was pulled over my boyish good looks (Hah!), it was all laughs. There was a reconciliation of sorts (I had a spat with one of the office friends), there were some regrettable dancing, a declaration of family form one of my fellow geeks and even more drinking.

While this night doesn’t go down in the history books compared to certain weekends (and some questionable weeknights) in my life, I still wouldn’t have minded the world ending right then and there. 


The past couple of weeks have been nothing but me preparing for the shoot. The Big Man was, to my surprise, pulling his own weight despite the seeming lack of focus (Girl problems). It’s been ridiculously crazy, what with a producer that seems to suffer from delusions of grandeur, an artist that’s hard to read, a retired publicist that I both want to impress and piss off, casting meetings and all the other usual shit, with the holidays being a frosting on this crap cake of an endeavor. Despite all of that, however, I’m excited to see how this plays out.

I have assembled a cast and crew of some of the more important people of the latter half of my year. The Big Man seems to be handling the role of production manager well enough, and the guy’s the yin to my proverbial yang. (Sounds a tad gay, don’t it?) The cast is headed by my Nephew, who’s rock and roll in all the right ways. Then there’s my Erin Hannon, who’s got the chops for work of this nature. Then there’s Raymond, the pretty lunkhead who may surprise everyone. Rounding off the main cast is the Tiny Dancer, providing a youthful energy on camera and providing me with a boost off camera. Without her, and the fact that I’ve been drinking on a nearly daily basis since preproduction started, I’d have probably have shot somebody already, myself definitely not an exception.

And then there’s me, the creative force behind this potentially good, potentially turd-tastic video. I have a tendency to how all the work, which is something the rest of the people I’ve worked with know, and it’s always been a win-win. If the product is good, everyone gets more than their fair share of the credit for my lovechild, and if it sucks, everyone else can wash their hands and say “I did my job well. The director did it.”

Heh. We’ll find out come January,

Miyerkules, Disyembre 12, 2012

Rated R and R

While I had initially planned to cruise until the year ended, there have been some slight deviations to that plan. I’m not complaining, since it’s been an amazing and productive year, and I don’t mind ending it on an even higher note.

Before I get tot he details of my exploits from the past couple of weeks, as usual, I have something to get off my chest. It burns my ass when people try to be clever when they’re not, but, what’s more annoying is that when they it their uninspired, ineffective zingers, with borrowed catchphrases like “boom”, probably in hopes of making their miraculously amusing. No. No. No, no, no. It doesn’t matter if you add “boom”, or “what”, or whatever other asinine thing you see from TV or movie characters that you like but will never, ever, be like, a weak burn is a weak burn. Ending them in such a cheap manner is tantamount to laughing at your own joke. It’s pathetic.


Ahurm. Ignore that. Moving on.

Sealing the Deal.

I’ve always kinda liked pitch meetings. In some weird way, I love the preparation, the entire urgency of the whole thing. Just you, your idea, and a bunch of jaded people that think that there’s no way you can ever blow their minds. (Despite the fact that more than half the time, they’re pretty easily convinced.) It’s oddly gratifying.

Such was the elation I felt after the Big Man and I met up with the producer and the singer of the song for the music video we’ve been asked to make. After an entire day at the Think Tank and not really working while listening to the song that, to be honest, is something I would not voluntarily listen to in a hundred years and prepping, the Big Man and I went to this bar of ill repute to get my focus on. (The combination of beer and loud music keeps me centered. It’s why I never do stand up dry.)
Getting drunk AND the job done.

We were then off to Makati in some really old timey bar that blows the Pub I go to in Alabang out of the water in sheer novelty and then I did my thing. Not too sound too cocky, but I wasn’t surprised the meeting went well. (Not overconfidence of any kind. They called us to do the job. I could have come in there proposing a three minute close up of shit and they’d just shrug and say, “do it”.)

One weird sidenote though. In my last post, I was talking about how the singer was some washed up dude and all that, cause that’s how he was introduced by the guy producing the video. Turns out he’s doing a whole lot better than most of us. Huh.

Still, it was a great night, and regardless of the fact that I was awake for more than 24 hours, we had to celebrate. So back to the bar in Cavite and that was when I drank until closing time with a 19 year old dancer once more. (More about her later.)

I love nights like that.

An Actual Vacation.

Just days after that meeting came the much awaited vacation with the guys. Zambales, a place where I have more than my fair share of memories in, welcomed us with open arms as it was three days of swimming, singing, laughing, and surprisingly enough, a small amount of bickering, almost no drinking whatsoever, and a sprained knee.

The three-day trip was long overdue, as I have spent the majority of the year working. (People from the Think Tank would scoff at this, considering how I treat the place as nothing more than a working vacation, but if they only knew the extent of the shit I do outside of the office, I’m sure they’d be surprised.) If there was one person that needed and deserved a vacation it was me.

The first day included bad omens, a really long fucking drive, people getting lost, traffic violations, and perhaps the best damn adobo I’ve ever had. Me and some of the boys ended the day with a swim in the lake and an impromptu photoshoot with possible homoerotic undertones.

The second day was spent at the beach, where I did my annual rock burying ritual. As I alluded to in a previous post, 2012 has been so good to me that this year, I only buried one rock. There was only one thing from the year that didn’t really go well, and while a bunch of bad things happened (like when me and the Big Man were at odds or when the Tapa King got kicked out of the group), those events brought forth good things in the long run. There was only one that brought little to no positive to it, and that’s the one thing I’m leaving behind in that beach.
Pretty, right? Imagine seeing nothing but that for 3 to 4 hours. It can be both good and bad.

The day in the beach also resulted in me spraining my knee. Playing a children’s game. In the beach. And yes, alcohol was involved, but it can’t take all the credit. There’s also old age, lack of coordination, and the general stupidity I have to thank for the discomfort. It’s all good, though. Physical injuries are a sign of an awesome vacation, I believe.

The third day was the trip back, and given the condition of my leg, I decided to ride in the back of the pick up for more than half of the way back. This may sound weird, but that ride was kinda the highlight of the entire trip for me. Don’t get me wrong, the trip was awesome, but those hours of nothing but the wind in my hair, the sun in my face and the music in my ears was exactly what I needed. I needed time to think, and during those hours of introspection, aided by the amazing sights all around me, I have managed to figure a lot of things out. I won’t be discussing them now, but they will be manifesting in the next several months and in the coming year. I’m both new and old, and it’s going to be awesome.

Here Comes Trouble.

The day after I got back South, throbbing sprained knee and all, I met up with the Dancer to see a movie. Just to be clear, we are not romantically involved. I like having her around though, because, among other things, there are very few people in my spheres that I can really respect beyond the socially expected manner.

At the age of 19, she already displayed the will and resolve that, in my opinion, the Tapa King will never be able to muster in his entire life, been through, going through and will successfully go through stuff that the more “privileged” people I’ve met (particularly in the past 18 months) will not have an ice cube’s chance in hell of even withstanding, and she does all this without becoming (as far as I know) a selfish, cynical, overly dramatic, person. The fact that she’s cheerful and bubbly in the face of all that, well, it reminds me of the people in Purgatory, who helped me through my toughest year yet, the Scoobies, and even myself and some of the guys.

I’m rarely impressed by anyone. Hell, the last time I was impressed by someone, he turned out to be a dickbag. (Is that a word?) But, this one’s different. So yeah, I like having her around. Let’s leave it at that for now.

Another Friday in Marbles.

I ended the work week by drinking with one of my fellow part timers in my second favorite bar in the world... Marbles. (Since my first favorite bar is closed, I’m guessing Marbles should take the default position, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

It was a night that was the product of one guy’s rather inconsiderate and somewhat selfish decision, but it turned out okay. It was nice getting some time alone with everyone’s favorite firewyman (I don’t know if I spelled that right.). Incidentally, a little over a year ago, she and I also drank one on one in that same bar. That’s was a nice throw back, and I went home thinking how many things have changed over the several months.

One More Sketch.

When I decided to stop writing for TV for a bit and rest my messed up system, I thought I wouldn’t be writing any moderately funny stuff for the Gang anymore. Hell, when I received the phone call from the director, as dismissed it as a polite phone call people in the industry normally do.

Surprisingly enough, on a Sunday night where I was bored as hell and looking for things to do, I got a text from the director asking me to come up with a rush script for a sketch. While I used to hate it when they’d do that (and in all fairness, they rarely do) I was pumped about being able to write for the gag show that I grew up watching at least one more time before the year ended.

I don’t know if it’s just me and my hours long introspection, or things are actually falling into place, but things are getting better. I don’t want to jinx it, but here’s hoping 2013 is a year wherein I no longer need to bury rocks in the beach. It can be done, you know. I did it before. No reason why I can’t do so again.