Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Have jacket, will go places

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I live the simple life. I lounge around all day and only get up when my matey, a silly and clumsy girl I share an office table with, needs me. As long as I'm left to my own devices, I'm good.

Today, though, something happened. I was walking around the office with my matey, doing our usual errands, when we got called in by one of our supers. Lazy bum that I was, I tuned out of the conversation. After all, the girl I was with could handle the conversation baggage just fine.

Yada, yada, yada, Japan. Yada, yada, yada, 6 weeks. Yada, yada, yada, can I bring you with me. And more yada, yada, yada.

Wait, what?

At that point, everyone got excited. Above the ruckus that ensued, I mentally pieced the fragments of the conversation. "I'm going to Japan for six weeks. Can I bring her with me?"

Me. Getting invited to go to Japan for six weeks. In the winter season. Snow. Japan.

I waited for my mate's reaction. Though we've only been together for a couple of months, I knew that she had this great passion for anything Japanese. She reeks of Japan love. I mean, I spend my time in useful lassitude. She spends her time in front of a computer screen, sifting through anything that has a connection with Japan - anime, bento boxes, magazines, manga, sushi maker, tofu strains. She even sneaks a peek at those hentai stuff when she gets the chance. No wonder her computer is so slow these days. Probably some illicit virus found its way to her PC's drives or something.

Anyhow, I was surprised to see her so cool about it. She was even smiling and being helpful and all that. Prolly hiding all that disappointment inside. Beh.

The trip is not until next week, so we went back to our table. She was pretty silent. I wondered what was going through that weird little head of hers. Of course, she'd be thinking of all the Japan stuff she would be asking for as omiyage. Personally, I know she'd be wanting some of these stuff. I just hope she has enough hidden moolah to get them all.

Gurren Lagann's Viral figurine. Rawr.

Oodles, piles and columns of these...

...And even more oodles, piles and columns of these..

Something traditional like this kimono...

An inkstone would be nice too...

Still, it's not as if she's picky. I can bring back a stone and she would suck out all the Japan essence from the darned thing in no time.

Too bad, matey. You'd like it there, I know. I'm sure you'll go there someday and drool all you want. You may be the 'most promising' employee and all that, but this time, it's me they need there. It's winter, and everybody'll need a jacket or two. Don't worry, I'll give Japan your hellos.
Sincerely, your jacket

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year's Eve Lunacy

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

While Parisians kiss under the Eiffel tower and New Yorkers count down at Central Park, Filipinos frenziedly jump at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Why, you ask? Because you will actually grow taller if you welcome the New Year mimicking the locomotive faculties of a toad being chased by a python. At least that’s what my grandma says. While growing up, I religiously jumped every year. Yes, I’m taller than the average Filipina, so does this mean it worked? Probably. But I’m sticking to genetics to explain my height.

Popular Filipino wisdom dictates you to do all the things that you’d want to be doing in the coming year on the stroke of midnight. This explains a lot of things, like why a lot of us go retro (polka dots, anyone?) or why only very few serve chicken for the noche buena feast (who’d want to be pecking on dirt for a living?).

When I was a kid, this scared me a lot. I mean, what if I had a sudden urge to, erm, move, and midnight found me grunting in the loo? That would mean the coming year had a lot of sh*t in store for me. Oh, no! A year-long case of diarrhea is too much. I was very careful with what I was thinking and doing during midnight.

I remember my aunt flouncing in front of me a few years ago, wearing a horrid white dress with polka dots. She told me she’d be lucky in the coming year, as the red dots signified lots of coins. Fate really loves symbolism, huh? I beg to differ auntie. They look more like bloody holes in my bank account. No, thank you. However, if she really believed in these things, my aunt should wear a dress with dollar bills printed all over it, presumably with Ben F.’s face in them. That would ensure fate cannot get you wrong. You want $100 dollar bills, baby.

My friend prepares a huge feast on New Year’s Eve, with a whole roasted pig (lechon), pans of custard (leche flan), cakes, chocolate coins, fruits, and so many other sumptuous dishes, all for… five people. Pigs apparently symbolize progress because they push forward, rooting themselves in the ground before moving. At exactly midnight, my friend and his family scatter coins all over their house, believing financial blessings will rain upon them. When I visited later that day, I quietly went around the house pocketing the coins. Yep, a very lucky start for me.

Prices of round fruits and anything with a remotely similar coloring to gold disappear fast during the holidays. Stores jack up the prices sky high, but everyone bites anyway. This association of round, circular edibles is not peculiar to Filipinos. Spanish revelers eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Italians consume round, flat lentils, while North Americans have black-eyed peas (no, they don’t wish for shiners in the year ahead).

I don’t believe in any of this baloney. After all, I’m an educated 5th generation Martian hell-bent on proving that fate is what you make of it.

If all of these are true, then the poor Filipino would be a myth. And Juan Tamad can be as lazy as he can get…if he stuffs himself full of roast pork and lentils while the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Humbugs #48: Secret Santa

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I utterly fail to understand why certain people like this activity so much to the point that they cannot have a complete Christmas experience without it. Recently, some imposing pricks at work made it compulsory for us to join this year’s Secret Santa. For those of you who don’t know what Secret Santa is, it’s the Christmas custom we so fondly refer to as Kris Kringle or Manito-Manita.

As a kid, I used to enjoy this activity a lot. I remember this to be that one activity I always looked forward to in the Christmas parties I participated in. There’s always this thrill to be had in opening presents whether they’re crappy or not. But then again, there are lots of thrills to be had when you’re 11 and below. Times have certainly changed. Over the years, I’ve developed a misanthropic view of this custom, which seems so sad at first but is actually very liberating and rewarding.

For the record, I still enjoy this activity but only if it was in the company of people who actually knew what I was into (that’s what Facebook is for, damn it!) and vice versa. Other than that, I do not participate in this activity at all. It’s not that I don’t like giving stuff away. I’ve actually become more generous over the years. It’s just that this activity is an exercise at poor decision-making considering you’ve made financial investments in it.

Before I proceed, you might argue that “it’s the thought that counts.” On situations outside Secret Santa, I do believe in that phrase. Outside Secret Santa, nobody is compelled to give you anything. If they do give you something, then it must be out of genuine generosity and I find returning the favor much more enjoyable that way. But in Secret effing Santa, participation obligates you to spend in order to receive a gift, thus the dynamic changes and now, we can proceed to why I think this is an exercise at poor decision-making.

Here’s the thing. By virtue of the fact that I am obligated to spend money in order to get something, I now have the right to at least expect my money’s worth. Let’s say for our hypothetical Secret Santa, the price for the gifts should be P200.00. Let’s also consider that the typical circumstance in this activity usually places you in a group of people the majority of which have no clue with regards to the things you like. To be a little bit optimistic, let’s also consider that in that group, there might be a couple of people who do know what you’re into, or that there are some people who would go the extra mile to get you what you want at P200.00.

Essentially, you’re gambling here. What happens is you are spending P200.00 in order to receive a gift which you’re not guaranteed to like. In the event that you do get something that you like, it’s a good gamble; you get your money’s worth. But what if you get something you didn’t like? It’s a bad trade off and a total waste of that P200.00.

Your investment of P200.00 to get your money’s worth lies in the hands of whoever becomes your Secret Santa. If by some good fate your Secret Santa is the resident all-around nice person, then good for you. I’m sure you’ll enjoy those DVD’s he/she went through the trouble of compiling and burning for you. If by some common upshot your Secret Santa is the average Joe who you just smile to but never really talk to at work, then I hope you’ll enjoy the impersonal and exceedingly neutral presents you’re about to receive. Overall, not a good gamble since you already have all the face towels you would need. But the possibilities don’t end there. What if by some misfortune, your Secret Santa is that creep who likes to fool around too much? For your P200.00, you get pink panties! But guess what? You’re a man with huge testicles! How are you supposed to tuck your man-balls in an article of clothing not designed for protruding baby-makers? Again, not a good gamble.

Of course, if you’re among those who don’t mind throwing away money, then go ahead. This activity is definitely for you. Just don’t go around whining why, for some unexplainable reason, you’re always short on cash. But for those who prefer putting every single peso to good use, then we’re better off spending that P200.00 to buy for ourselves exactly what we want for that value.

So, unless it’s in the company of good friends, skip Secret Santa this year and for all the years to come. It’s a gamble not worth taking.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My 2010 Candidates

Friday, November 20, 2009
Its already election period and presidentiables and non-presidentiables are already busy campaigning. Though I don't think I would be able to vote come May, I do have my preferred candidates. I'm still undecided though. Here they are:

For President:

1. Manny Villar - Sipag at Tiyaga. Though C-5 extension controversy hurts his resume.
2. Gilbert Teodoro - Brilliant mind. Seems very ambitious to me by not opting to run for lower positions first.

No Noynoy? I think he's just taking advantage of the people's sympathy following his mother's death.

For Vice - President:

1. Mar Roxas - Had he pursued the Presidency, he would have my vote.
2. Loren Legarda - My ideal Pres-VP tandem would be Mar and Loren respectively. Now I'm torn between the two of them.

Feel free to react.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Wanna Be a Flight Attendant! (But tiny voice in head says "No")

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So I was watching View From the Top (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264150/ )starring Gwyneth Paltrow a while back, and I suddenly remembered that I once had this dream of becoming a flight attendant, just because people used to tell me (back when I was thinner - if those times ever existed) that my height was fit for it. I honestly toyed with the idea, especially since traveling is a frustration/guilty pleasure of mine. I thought, only a few jobs could let you work AND play at the same time right? And then reality hit me. I can't be a flight attendant. I just can't. And the tiny voice in my head (yes, my tiny voice is a nagger) told me why.

1. I got motion sickness.

I actually never had motion sickness during flights (probably because I love the thought of riding planes), but I get a bad case of it especially with cab rides in Manila. I don't know why, but there's something with the way those drivers transition from releasing the clutch and stepping on the gas pedal. I know there's a slight chance that those drivers could be pilots by day, but times are tough and they could be working part-time. I don't wanna take that risk.

2. I have poor balance inside moving vehicles.

A simple elevator ride could send me from one corner to the other just by picking up an object on a floor. Whenever I have the urge to pee on a flight, I try to hold it as much as I could until we land (I know, it's bad) 'cause I have this fear of tripping on the floor if I walked down the aisle. As we know, flight attendants walk a lot the whole time, and a LULIT (native term for a "wuss") cabin crew won't help.

3. My huge hips are not conducive especially for local planes with smaller spaces.

Believe me, I've gone through so much pain and embarrassing moments with these hips. I literally get bruises because of constant bumping on table edges, chairs, and the like. My patients suddenly rouse from their deep sleep just because my hips hit on something solid no matter how consciously I move. Worse, I get stuck on tiny chairs (and this happens a lot), and it takes some squirming (and a few seconds of utter humiliation) before I could free myself from it. Sure, it's perfect for childbearing and all, but it just doesn't fit the job requirement. Unless, of course, I go international. Bigger aisles, less accidents.

And the list goes on.

After giving it much thought (and feeding myself with negativity), I decided to stick to my profession for now. It's a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle of flight attendants (they never had to monitor poop and vomit for 8 hours), but I'd like to think this is where I truly belong.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Monkey Business

Friday, October 30, 2009

Monkeys and apes fascinate me. I've always wanted one (a macaque anyway) as a pet when I was a kid, but my mom - who got a morbid disgust against them after she was served a bowl of monkey stew at a local fiesta - won't have it in the house. It didn't help matters when I got bitten in the head by a neighbor's macaque that I've been trying to get to de-lice my head (it got frustrated because it can't find any).

I remember staying behind in my school after classes so that me and my school buddies can play with the monkeys on display outside the library. We would buy fried bananas - piping hot and just out from the frying pan - and throw them at the monkeys inside the cages - who them would fight tooth and nail to get the treat - even if it burns them, which we would laugh at such glee.

During fiestas, travelling carnies with pet monkeys were always  the big attraction that draw my attention. Carnies would dress them up with tiny human clothes, giving the animals an eerie resemblance to some folks that I've met (debatable, but well...).

Even some of my favorite movies have monkeys in them - Project X, Planet of the Apes, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (monkey brains for dessert, anyone?), to name a few. Futurama, the now-cancelled cartoon that I watch all the time, has a genius monkey named Gunther - a smart monkey who can debate with Professor Farnsworth  topics that are only usually given during debate tournaments.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Demonic Language

Thursday, October 29, 2009
Seen the movie Constantine? Its not that groundbreaking a movie or anything but it is still good for killing time. That's why I got a DVD copy and watched it again. Beware of the subtitle though.

Minutes into the film, a lady is possessed by a demon soldier and nobody is more qualified for the job of helping the poor victim than our hero Constantine, John Constantine. It's his habit to introduce himself first before doing what he does best - sending demons back to hell!

In the scene where he introduced himself to the demon possessing the poor lady victim, the dialogue went this way:

Constantine: This is Constantine... John Constantine, asshole.
Possessed lady: Papatayin natin sila.

Yep. It's in Filipino. Unlike the time when I watched the movie in the big screen during its theatrical run, that line did not surprise me as I saw it coming. But what caught my attention was the subtitle when the possessed lady uttered that line. I hope its not the official subtitle. Here's a screen capture:

Apparently I am fluent in demonic language. T_T