"Forget Prince Charming. I'll take the wolf." - Emily the Strange

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hypothetically Speaking

I was just thinking about what Martin wrote on the short note he sent to my e-mail several weeks ago. He says that he’s amazed at how well I understand what he’s trying to say and how no one else could do that. He’s even more amazed that we’ve managed to overcome the language and the physical barrier.

It definitely is. Amazing, I mean. We’re one month shy from commemorating one whole year of being connected to each other using almost always our laptops and our cellular phones quite often. It’s really astounding that in between our busy, sometimes depressing, sometimes dreary and a lot of times exciting lives, we’ve somehow managed to get by. It’s not as often as when we first started this relationship but I’m certainly thankful it’s lasted this long. And hopefully continue for a long time to come.

At the end of his short note, he left me with a hypothetical question. What would happen if in the near future we see each other again and find each other unbearable to be with? What if the chemistry we have on paper or e-mail does not translate well to when we’re actually in close proximity to each other?

I really don’t know how to answer that. I’m going to have to say that we’ll just cross that bridge when we get there. I will let tomorrow worry for its self because I’m happy with the way things are. There’s no use worrying about things that may or may not happen. I’m absolutely glad that Martin and I are really close friends and I’m even more happy to know that I have someone special albeit it might seem at times that what we are are indefinable.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What's On The Boob Tube

I am just so in-love with the DSL and Youtube pairing! Over the weekend, I was ecstatic to see a lot of clips that happened during the recently concluded 2006 MTV Video Music Awards in the Big Apple. Patience is one virtue that I need a lot of work on and it is especially true for TV specials.

I was peeved when I got the message “Due to copyright concerns, this video cannot be played outside of the United States” when I tried to play the video clips of the different VMA performances over at www.mtv.com">MTV. I don’t get it. It’s not like they’re never going to show it in the MTV Asia, Europe or Latin America territories. I immediately head over to Youtube and was able to find in an instant the clips that I was looking for. I loved Justin Timberlake’s performance, was amazed at Shakira’s dance moves, got blown away by Beyonce but was iffy about Christina’s new single. As for the other performers, I’m very much looking forward to checking out their albums especially Panic! At The Disco.

One other thing that got me really antsy and impatient was seeing the movie trailer for “Fast Food Nation.” I’m curious as to what they’re going to do with the story line because “Fast Food Nation” is not a narrative (in general) but an investigative factbook type. I read the book a couple of years ago and was able to finish it in 1 ½ days. After devouring the book’s contents, I swore never to eat McDonalds ever again and to minimize my patronage of fast food joints in general.

It reminded me of the time that I finished reading Naomi Klein’s “No Logo” and became idealistic about anti-globalization. The anti-globalization stance, I’m kind of having a hard time on that one because of my inner shopaholic but with the serious health implications (not to mention socio-economic) contained in Eric Schlossinger’s book, I’m sure it will stick. It’s been a long time since I had anything from McDonalds, KFC (thank you PETA for the Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign), Wendy’s, Popeye’s and Burger King. If I really can’t help it, I stick to Jollibee. Tangkilikin ang sariling atin (Patronize Filipino-made products) :D

9 pm of Saturday and Sunday night, I was glued to ABC 5 for the first semi-final elimination night. They had the 12 male contestants on first and it was a pretty good show. I was disappointed by a couple of people and was shocked to find out the next day that some people who I thought wouldn’t cut it ended up being on the Top 4. I was a bit disillusioned with what happened to Ramirr, the long-haired rocker who did a wonderful rendition of Bon Jovi’s ‘Bed of Roses.’ What happened was a complete Chris Daughtry. Miguel, the baby-faced 17-year-old La Sallista was able to pull off a Jasmine Trias.

If anybody would be able to view Miguel’s performance, I’m telling you it was a complete fiasco. First mistake was his choice of song – it was too mature for his inexperienced self. Second mistake, he couldn’t hit the high notes and his falsetto was very awkward or in some cases, it sounded like somebody scratching their nails on a blackboard. Third, he’s cute alright but during his performance, his face was contorted beyond recognition because he was trying his darnest to reach the high notes of “Highway of Life.” I really thought that he’d get the boot but I guess he was saved by the text brigade of the La Salle community from both the past, the present and maybe even the future. To think that Ryan, the other proud La Sallian on stage, joked that Miguel just lost the Ateneo vote right then and there when he shouted the La Salle motto during the interview that immediately followed his performance. Or it could’ve been his image endorser/boy-next-door cuteness factor that landed him in the Top 4.

Why do I get the feeling that what just happened with the boys won’t be repeated when it’s the girl’s turn? Is it because the guys would automatically have a lot more voters with the combined clout of the female of the species and gays? I don’t mean to offend gays, all right, it’s just an observation. I have a lot of homosexual friends and they’re the best friends anybody could ever wish for.

Speaking of homosexuals, Cosmopolitan Philippines’ Batchelor’s Bash is going to happen yet again over the next couple of days. Hmm, I wonder what it’ll be like. I’ve been to that event two years ago and it was fun. There was only one thing that disappointed me – half the house was filled with homosexuals who were very aggressive in lapping up the models’ attention. I wonder who made it in this year’s edition? I bet Sam Milby’s in the top 10, if not number 1.

Another program that is on my Sunday night habit is QTV 11’s “Ang Pinaka.” I don’t know what’s with chart shows but I am just hooked! The list that they come up with every week is just delightful. They explain at the start of the show the qualifications they have for picking the people in their list. What would make it even better is if they would be able to include concrete facts and figures ala Forbes Magazine to give it an added credibility, especially for people who top the list. The great thing about this list is that it is not biased. You need proof? They don’t include nor exclude stars on their list just because they’re affiliated with a certain network. The show’s producers should congratulate themselves for picking Pia Guanio as its host because she’s a perfect fit.

It shows how much of a couch potato I am, ain’t it?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I am just so disgusted with the government. Before, I do get angry at their ineptitude and laugh hysterically at their stupidity. But as of this morning, I am no longer amused, to say the very least. I have reached my personal tipping point and I just want to lash out.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been working my butt off on a project with the Department of Education. We’ve fast tracked everything to make sure that the program finishes in time for the President’s deadline of October of this year to train public school teachers, primarily from the elementary level, into improving their English conversational skills*.

Despite the expedite, we got untimely delays from the way the whole bureaucracy was run. I do understand that there has to be checks and balances but adding politics (especially with another election period just around the corner) into the equation crippled the whole system. Because of this certain DepED official, all my efforts (and the other service providers that the department wanted to get for the program) went down the drain as the program is completely scrapped. Let’s call this certain individual as ‘Pho’ (short cut for political ho).

Pho is your typical bureaucratic small fish – constantly namedropping the highest officer of the land and fully manifests the Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde complex. When we had a meeting with her one Friday afternoon a great number of weeks ago, she had a big, fake smile plastered on her face as she was talking us, letting out flowery, patronizing words from her vile tongue. When she’s in the confines of the boardroom for the ManCom meetings, our sources tell us how skillful she is at bashing us. I’d much rather talk to ever acerbic Simon Cowell any day! To think she had the temerity to politely sequester the whole set of books that we brought along in that meeting for demonstration purposes.

The number one reason why she sabotaged the Project Pump Priming process? She got wind of how much money Malacanang set aside for the entire training program and she wanted it all for herself. She’ll be using the divide and conquer method for siphoning a portion of the funds – divide the funds among her different regional directors so it’ll be much more manageable for her to cook the books.

Pho’s reputation within the DepED is that of a payola master. During the last elections, she was very blatant about her handing out of envelopes filled with cash to voters. Rumor has it that she was placed in the DepED Central Office for the exact same thing to be repeated yet again for next year’s elections. For all those who benefited from her ware, don’t forget to thank your congressman, other local and national government officials.

I’m still peeved about it all. May the heavens have mercy on her as the underworld certainly won’t. It’s my first time to work with government and what I found to be shocking was how some people could be very 'chutzpah'-tic with their deeds. It’s such a shame to find out the torchbearer of knowledge for future generations are the first ones to rob them of the good life they might have one day.

Good luck to the Filipinos of the next generation. We’re already down in the dumps with the lack of quality education and the people who are supposed to care or be alarmed of the sharp decline of literacy are indifferent if it doesn’t concern the bottomlines that they’re after. They probably something stronger than luck – a miracle.

*The entire training program is divided into several parts covering basic skills such as reading, writing and speaking. Our part in the program was for the teachers' oral communications.

The Visitor from London

For some strange reason, I was antsy about opening the Trillian program in my computer Tuesday two weeks ago. I soon found out why because as soon as I logged in, Ian’s messages when I was offline popped out one after another in rapid succession. I was able to read immediately the last message and this is what it said:

“I’ll be in Manila on Thursday.”

I couldn’t think straight for a couple of minutes and all I managed to conjure up in my head was…

“Holy cow!”

My mind started to wander aimlessly at what that 6-word sentence implied. It was jumping from one idea to another at the speed of light that I couldn’t keep track of all the crazy imprints that were in my head at that time. Ian. Manila. Here? Can’t be. Bollocks.

I didn’t know what else to say because I was caught off guard. I knew that he has plans to be in Manila but I certainly didn’t expect it to be so soon. I really didn’t see that coming. Ian knows a lot about Filipinos but I wasn’t sure if he knew anything about the country and getting around the metro so I gave him my office landline and my mobile number. I also gave him the additional instruction to contact me if he needs anything.

The next day, I got a text message from Ian. There was a mix up with the dates he provided me but that he would be in the county by Sunday. I was a bit concerned about him since this is the first time he’ll go outside of the United Kingdom and I certainly hope that nothing untoward or unpleasant would happen to him while in Manila. It’s not a good impression to make for a self-confessed Filipino-phile Ian.

Saturday morning came and I found myself in the office waiting for my meeting with my boss and a couple of colleagues to start. I passed the time by calling up different hotels and travelers inns to check their rates. I’m happy to have found a couple of places that would fit Ian’s budget.

Around 4 pm, I got a text message from Ian telling me that he’s already in the airport. I noticed on my laptop that my e-mail regarding the places I got quotations from bounced back. It looks like there’s a problem with his e-mail address. I immediately replied by saying “Gute Reise,” the name of the hotel and instructions on how to get there. I followed it up with a warning to always make sure that cab drivers turn on the meter every time he would get into a cab.

The whole day Sunday, I constantly browsed my phone just to check if he sent me a text message from Ian but none came. Monday morning, I finally got word from Ian. He’s staying over at Citadel Inn and that the flight was okay. I was still on my way to the office when I got his message so I told him that I would just call him when I got to where I was going.

When I finally got to talk to him on the phone, my fears were allayed when I found out that he has friends who picked him up from the airport. It feels weird to be talking to him. The fact that this guy is really in Manila still hasn’t sunk to my head still. It might take a couple of days or probably when I finally get to see him face-to-face.

Ian and I had plans to meet Monday night but my schedule didn’t permit it. I took a leave from work Wednesday and we rendezvoused at Glorietta. He was accompanied by his friend Diane and I’m happy that somebody’s taking care of him and his needs. Diane still had a meeting to go to so she left Ian in my care. Being the geek that I am, the first thing we did was to go to a museum – the Ayala museum to be exact then went around the entire Greenbelt area.

We stopped by Starbucks to recharge our batteries and a chat. I was happy to be there with him but it was utterly embarrassing when he was able to pick up on my uneasiness. It’s not him – Ian’s barely legal and he looks young with his light brown hair and his hazel eyes. It was the people the people surrounding us.

I can tell by the way they look at us what they were thinking. I guess it can’t be helped since this is, after all, a third world country. My defense mechanism kicked in and I talk louder than usual, letting people hear my thick American accent. As if that’ll do anything to change people’s perception. Ian and I did poke fun at the situation and took it one step further by playing an informal game of ‘Spot the Thaifrau*.’ He finds it incredibly ridiculous to find a silver-haired Caucasian male to be around Pinays who seem to still be in their training bras.

After some time, we got up, left the mall area and became urban adventurers by going around the CBD’s (Central Business District) general vicinity by foot. It was still pretty early (around 5) so I suggested to him that we could go to Baywalk since it’s not really far from where we were. He agreed and off we went to Roxas Boulevard. We were lucky that the traffic wasn’t really heavy and we were able to get to Baywalk in time for the sunset. I’ve seen this view thousands of times already and yet I am still amazed at how breath taking it could be. I could just imagine how intense it must’ve been for the neophyte Manila visitor who was standing beside me.

We stayed in that area until shortly past 6 before we proceeded to go back to Ian’s hotel to pick up his laundry. After Ian took a quick shower, we went to the bar over at Burgundy Corporate Center to meet his friends for a drink. They’re a really lively bunch – Diane, the multitasker; Nains, the perpetually preoccupied one and Ian (pronounced as schwa-y-schwa-) the working student with the seemingly boundless energy. I really clicked with them that as a result, even after we’ve all gone home we still communicate with each other. The main topic of conversation for the time being though was where to take Ian the Brit :)