Monday, December 29, 2003

It's Alive

Friends pitied me when I said I will be on a bus Christmas Eve. They invited me to join them in welcoming Christmas but I turned them down. Unlike last year, I wanted to be home Christmas Day. The bus terminal was surprisingly empty Christmas Eve; there were only a few of us stubborn enough to welcome Christmas while in transit. My bus was nowhere near full. At midnight, I said "Merry Christmas" aloud then went back to sleep. One of my younger brothers didn't make it in time for Christmas, but with his arrival this morning, the family will be complete to start the new year. Thank God for small blessings.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Played Dress-Up

My friend Car wed yesterday. Unfortunately I didn't make it to the church—getting a cab in the metro these days is a labor of Hercules. I told Car at the reception that since I didn't see nor hear any "I do," she was still single as far as I was concerned. She just laughed. She looked very happy last night. And glowing. I guess I'll have to wait for the wedding video to see what I missed. As usual, it looked like our table had the most fun there. Our pictures would attest to that. Seeing everybody all dressed up was nice. We all looked so... grown. And just for Car I wore a barong. I saw what I would've looked like as a lawyer: not too shabby. Spiffy, even.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Fair Warning

In a couple of days the drunkard will go home to Bicol. He will stockpile movies and place himself under house arrest. He will also attempt to finish some of his backlog from work.

He expects this blog to grow stale over the next two weeks as he doesn't have Internet access at home. However, he hopes to emerge in January a little fatter.

On Crying

Do you often cry in front of people or alone? Alone. If I cry in front of people, I must be at a funeral. Have your friends ever seen you cry? A few of them, yes. Have you cried today? Not, but the day's still young. Do you usually cry for a long time? A minute is long already. Do you get really red when you cry? I don't know; I don't run to a mirror when I cry. Have you ever been someone's "crying shoulder?" Just last night I was. Have you ever hugged someone because they were crying? Yes. I've been told I give great hugs. Have you ever had a shoulder to cry on? No one has applied for the job. Yet. Have you been hugged when you cried? A couple of times. Do you cry during movies? Yes. I cried when Optimus Prime died in The Transformers: The Movie. I cried when I watched I Am Sam. Do you cry while reading books? Just once, when I read The Notebook. Does music make you cry? Every time I hear, "Ang laki-laki, ang pula-pula ng bulaklak..." Have you ever been called a cry baby? Not to my face, no. Have you ever tried to stop yourself from crying? When I'm in public, yes, because I cry ugly. Does this survey make you want to cry? Yes, that's 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back. Do you cry when you are physically hurt? Only when I'm in extreme pain. Like the time I had a molar pulled. Do you cry when you are scared? I don't, but I pee on myself. Do you cry over bad grades? Never. I've made teachers cry, though. Have you ever cried over spilled milk? Literal spilled milk, no. Figurative spilled milk, yes. Can you make yourself cry? Sure, if I poke my eyes. When was the last time you cried? 6 December 2003, mid-afternoon, while walking. Do you have a favorite crying quote? "Tahan na, baka wala ka nang iluha 'pag patay na 'ko." Have you ever cried for anyone who wouldn't cry for you? Will take the fifth. Will you cry because this survey is over? Not only that, I'll probably shoot myself.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

In The Presence Of Celebrity

Last night was Katski's well-attended birthday bash. It became another reunion for our college Comm block so I was able to touch base with friends I haven't seen in a while, like Reggie (who came dressed as Eminem, complete with tattoos and the blond 'do). There was drinking, there was dancing, and there was card playing. In short, it was just like college. And since Katski wrote for the ABS-CBN's recently-concluded telenovela Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay, some artistas arrived. I recognized Lorna Tolentino, Ricky Davao, Jean Garcia, and John Lloyd Cruz. At Katski's party last year Bea Alonzo was there, as were Rica Peralejo and Rafael Rosell (who played a character that Katski named after me). Everyone pretended not to ogle.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Apologies To Paul And Gordon

I'm at the office. I and a couple of officemates will pass the night here. We came from a videoke joint somewhere in Boni Avenue. I took the stage; I had no choice, everyone at our table sang. I murdered "Is It Okay If I Call You Mine?" and "Shape Of My Heart." A GRO sat beside me midway through the first song. I finished to a smattering of applause, and not just from my table. Perhaps they were being sarcastic, but it somewhat made up for the debacle that was our Christmas party performance.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Laughed Out Of The Spotlight

Our group was first to present during the Christmas party. Everyone was excited, and we took our places amid loud cheering.

Our background music then played. And we promptly choked: we forgot the lyrics, we forgot the steps we practiced since Monday, we forgot everything! What an embarrassment. Everyone had fun—at our expense.

But it's all good, the debacle will have been forgotten by new year. I hope.

Downer

I was in Glorietta earlier today looking for a suitable exchange gift. I bumped into a married couple who were both old friends. Apparently there was cause for concern: the wife will be operated on tomorrow to remove an ovarian cyst. That dampened my Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Cardiac Thursday

Our department lunched at Gerry's Grill today, boss' treat. We ordered copious amounts of crispy crablets, inihaw na pusit, sisig, crispy pata, and pinakbet (to assuage our consciences). It stretched into a three-hour lunch break. And when we got back, the office was a regular circus when we got back. Festival hams were being given away.

It's that time of year again. There will be a lot of partying, eating, and drinking over the next few days. I grow tired—and fat—just thinking about it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Happy Day Today Is A

I received presents! First came the boss' gift. It came in a small box wrapped in red and topped off with a yellow ribbon: a new wallet! An officemate then gave me a small figurine that would look good on a Christmas tree—if I had one. Next came the package for the contractual employees: assorted grocery items for making spaghetti and fruit salad. I'm crossing my fingers for my November suweldo and the GMA bonus.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Out Of The Frying Pan

I got out of the VST dance number and joined five other guys for a song-and-dance. We will bastardize the theme from "Meteor Garden 2" and Parokya Ni Edgar's "Mr. Suave." I figure if I'm going to embarrass myself in front of the whole company, I might as well have fun doing it.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A Post While Crashing At Mark's

Mark and I just got back from a get-together for our friend Car. She's getting married on the 23rd. The party was supposed to have been a bridal shower but it turned co-ed somewhere along the way. Ergo, there were no male strippers. I think some of the girls were a little disappointed, he he. Car will be the first in my immediate circle of friends to marry. This was a surprise; no one pegged her as the one who'll go first. But we're very happy for her, seeing that she's genuinely happy. Too bad they'll settle in San Francisco. I'll miss that girl. The party was well-attended: J, Syd, Domi, Mark, Mark, Marc, Rina, Rheena, Jamie, Camille, Mia, and Katski were there. With all those Comm Batch 2000 people present, the conversation was just hilarious. There were lots to eat and drink but I tee-totaled. Someone brought an industrial-strength videoke machine. And towards the end, there was a really nasty icing fight. I can still smell the mocha on me.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Let Me Entertain You

All of the company's 2003 hirees, whether regular or contractual, have to present a number during next week's Christmas party. That means my two left feet and I have to dance to a VST song. I might have to drink to endure it. I promise, anyone who takes my picture dies.

Misdirection Is King

My new pair of shoes: leatherette, off-white with black stripes, dirt-cheap, size ten. In short, perfect.

I wore it today and it attracted attention at work. Make that too much attention.
EVP: Naka-rubber shoes ka? Bawal 'yan. Masisita ka n'yan.
And that is how I got away with wearing jeans to work.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

At The Enterprise

I met Yay at lunch today to deliver the Powerpuff Girls blanket she asked me buy. Not much has changed since I saw her last. Though she wields a Palm Pilot now, matino pa din siyang kausap. And good thing I was done eating when she dropped her small bomb. Kaya pala siya blooming, he he.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Once More, With Feelings

J and I went to Gweilos again last night. We got there dizzy from hunger so we ate a lot. We didn't talk until all the food was gone. And since I had a nasty hang-over Sunday morning, I passed on the beer (no, I wasn't sick last night). The trip home in his new ride was surreal: Lisa Loeb was playing, and the two of us were singing along.

Monday, December 8, 2003

Foolishness Of Youth

I found my college freshman journal the other day. I couldn't help but smile as I read it.

So what did I write about seven years ago?

Deaths in the family. Cinema Paradiso. Wolfgang's "Cathedral of Space." Il Postino. English classes. The Little Prince.

ROTC. Remedial Math. A gay boardmate's antics. 7:30 a.m. classes. Ribald jokes.

Getting an ear pierced. Cutting classes. Cute classmates. Cramming. Childhood scars. Sleeping in the library. Plans after graduation (be a journalist, a teacher, or a Jesuit).

Promises to quit drinking and smoking. Rock concerts. Love letters to my red, high-cut Chuck Taylors. Semestral breaks.

A wish that I went to UP
.

Fun stuff.

Out Of Commission

I haven't blogged in almost two weeks. As you can see below, I've been preoccupied. Two Fridays ago: Feverish, molar hurt. Two Saturdays ago: Caught a friend's band play, drank beers, feverish, molar hurt. Two Sundays ago: Feverish, molar hurt. Last Monday: Feverish, molar hurt, absent from work. Last Tuesday: Feverish, molar hurt, got molar pulled, absent from work. Last Wednesday: Absent from work. Last Thursday: Back at work. Last Friday: Back at work, basketball, midnight trip to Baguio. Last Saturday: Shopped for shoes and a Powerpuff Girls flannel blanket, had beers. Yesterday: Hung over, trip to La Union, swimming, late night trip to Manila. Today, tomorrow and the day after that: Year-end planning at work. This is (not) the life.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

A Pancake Haiku

I wrote this in Pancake House, hung over after yet another drink-'til-die session.
I think it would be
rude to throw you out of this
plate glass window.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Yes, No, No, And Yes

While cleaning out my wallet—literally and figuratively—I found this:
Do you still take solitary walks
on windy afternoons as they turn to a
soothing twilight and melt into night?

Do you still write honest poems
when you have nothing to do or are driven
by some unexplainable force in your soul?

It's nothing, I was just wondering,
remembering, how you are. Maybe
you were fortunate enough to achieve
a calm communion with the spirits
within your soul (or maybe you're
wondering what tragedy has struck
to make me this crazy).

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Not Cool

Fernando Poe, Jr. has declared he will run for president in 2004. He'll win, of course; he's so popular only massive cheating will deny him the post.

But I will have a say on the matter: according to the Comelec, those who voted in past elections but failed to validate their registration records can still vote on May 10. They will be placed on a separate watch list and will need to prove that they are residents of the area where they are voting.

Coincidentally, next year's elections will fall on the day of our barangay fiesta. Anyone who wants to get stinking drunk on that day is welcome at our house.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Drunkard Went A-Drinking

We ended up in Gweilos. Had a couple of Lone Star Lights (down with Danding!) and lots of die-young-but-die-happy pulutan. One on one.

Later we met a schoolmate at another bar (which carried only San Miguel Corporation products). Had a couple of San Mig Lights (still down with Danding!). One on one on one.

Thanks, dude. I needed that. Sa uulitin.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Commiseration

I'm still at the office, typing some stuff needed for tomorrow. A few minutes ago I texted J about the Ad Congress results. His reply: "Olats. Beer?" "Sure," I said. "Name the time, name the place." So I'm still at the office, waiting for him to finish a meeting. It's been a long day, but it ends on a high note, if we can help it.

Tasteless Joke Up Ahead

This might make me guilty of perpetuating a stereotype:
All the Muslims in Quiapo support Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Every corner you hear them whispering "DVD, DVD, DVD."
I told you.

Friday, November 21, 2003

I'm Pissed

The plan right after the game was to head to Cubao and catch a bus to Baguio, where my friend J was attending the Ad Congress. I was on the way to the Buendia MRT station when a friend texted. She was ill and asked if I could buy her medicine. Since my friend lived alone and didn't have anyone to help in case she needed things, I decided to cancel the trip. At the MRT station, I counted loose change as I approached the window for Stored Value Tickets. The teller saw me and must have concluded I was poor or illiterate because he rapped on the "Stored Value Tickets Only" sign and jerked his thumb to indicate the "Exact Change Only" window next to his. Since I was a well-bred and -educated Atenean, I reached into my pocket and counted some really large bills in his face. I peeled one off and slammed it down the counter. The guy didn't look me in the eye when he gave me my change and my ticket. I wished so hard he would, just so I can say "Eff you." In retrospect, I could have done with a little more class. I admit I acted like a jerk, but these things really get my goat. Hindi porke barya lang ang hawak ng tao he or she is a second-class citizen.

I'm Tired

Earlier tonight some officemates and I played basketball at the Makati YMCA. I looked forward to the game the whole day because the last time I played was in 2002. A little backgrounder. I've never played organized basketball. In fact, I only started playing as a college freshman. Therefore, I've never developed the needed skills: I'm bad at dribbling, I'm bad at shooting (except when I'm right underneath the basket), and my vertical leap is an amazing twelve inches (when I'm not full). But you can't teach height. That I have going for me. By being 5 feet and 11 1/2 inches tall, most of the time I will get the rebound or the block if I extend my arms and jump. I will also rarely get blocked if I attempt a shot. Now back to the main story. I feel I acquitted myself well despite my long lay-off. My attempts—all undergoal stabs—kept falling: I made nine shots and missed only four (two from three-point area and two from mid-range). I collared rebounds, stole the ball twice, and blocked three shots. The first of those blocks was a thing of beauty, if I may say so myself. An officemate drove to the basket and I jumped up to challenge him. I made contact with the ball and it went Whap!, a sound that's either sweet or sickening, depending on whether one is the blocker or the blockee(?). As the ball fell out of bounds I yelled, "Saan ka pupunta!" Much cheering and jeering ensued. However, there were embarrassing moments, too. I got hit in the face twice because I couldn't handle passes from teammates. Each time, everyone laughed; I just smiled back. After the game I asked if it were normal for my face to hurt more than my body. That cracked them up. Come Monday I'll have bragging rights. I can't wait for next Friday!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Another One

My aunt-in-law's youngest brother died. He was run over by another vehicle while he was riding a bike. Now my aunt-in-law and my uncle are in Saipan. They wanted to come home for the funeral but finances-wise, that meant not being able to go home in March for their children's graduation ceremonies. How sad.

Stuntman Work

My landlord went jogging at the Loyola Memorial Park this morning and forgot to leave the gate keys, which meant I got locked inside the house on my way to work.

Unfazed, my landlady woke the next-door neighbor and asked if I could pass through their house. The neighbor agreed.

Now, my boarding house is the middle unit in a sort of triplex. Our balcony is only a few feet away from our next-door neighbor's bedroom.

I took off my shoes, climbed onto our balcony's banister, went through the next-door neighbor's open bedroom window, landed on their bed, and went out their front door.

Our neighbor's two daughters sleeping on the bed barely stirred.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I Lost My Glasses, I Think

Argh! They're not on my table, not in my bag, and not in my shirt pockets. I love those glasses, even though Ate Glo uses an identical pair. They've been everywhere I've been: bent at dawn in Tagaytay, fixed at a shop along Session Road in Baguio... I remember it's been five days since I last wore them but I only noticed it now because my eyes have been itching from staring at computer monitors for two straight days. Where the hell is it? My look is incomplete!

Saturday, November 15, 2003

This Was My Friday Night

The plan last night was simple: be at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros at 8 p.m. and to watch a friend sing. It turned out to be anything but. A storm plus payday Friday plus Jesus is Lord prayer rally near Luneta equals hell. Diliman, Quezon City to Intramuros, Manila in close to three hours! In the taxi I listened to AM radio, something I haven't done since I was a schoolboy in short blue shorts. I arrived an hour late for the concert so I caught just the tail-end of my friend's performance. She was great, as usual. I've lost count how may times I've seen her perform, but I still get goose bumps every time. I felt so proud when she got a big ovation. We got lost going to Malate so dinner came late. And we had to pass by the UP Infirmary on the way home since my friend's mom didn't feel too well. We also watched Bulletproof Monk, which turned out to be quite enjoyable. No Crouching Tiger, but still... All in all, it was a fun enough Friday evening.

Things I Noticed At A Classical Music Concert

1. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra experience is amazing; what they say about kids and candy stores apply. 2. It would be fun to conduct an orchestra, even as an amateur a la Robert Fulghum. However, one has to be physically fit. 3. The coolest dude in the PPO was the bass drummer with the body of Edgar Mortiz. He was seated most of the time and only rose for a few weak boom-boom-booms. But in the passages that quicken the heartbeat and raise the spirit, he was in the thick of things with his boom-boom-boom-BOOM-BOOM-booms. I can relate to him: I played the bass drum in a drum and bugle corps in high school. Nagiba ang balikat ko. Up to now I have bad posture. 4. The next coolest dudes were the cello and double bass players. One can't help but respect musicians who play instruments taller or fatter than they are. 5. The San Agustin Church is lovely. Aside from a museum there's a courtyard inside, complete with palm trees, lights and a fountain. Too bad I didn't stay long to explore the place. 6. The accordion is responsible for the weepy Il Postino-ish soundtrack of most European films. 7. It’s disconcerting to share a pew with a foreigner who's so into the music he enters a trance and shakes. 8. It's sad when the standing ovation consists of just two people. 9. The lady in the lime-green gown who gave sampaguita garlands to the performers was cute. 10. For an encore, one should not repeat a piece performed earlier. 11. A gorgeous woman loses her allure when she's caught fixing a wedgie. 12. It's hard to stand on one leg with two backpacks strapped to the front of one's torso and an umbrella and a tripod wedged between one's thigh and chest, to tie shoelaces. 13. After mingling with so many Kastilaloys after the show, I now have an idea how Jose Rizal must have felt while he was in Europe: disgusted at the smell.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Notes To Self

It is not advisable to play Jeopardy! until three a.m. when you have to be up for work at five-thirty a.m. It is not advisable to rely on your body clock. That you woke up at five a.m. ten straight days isn't a guarantee you will do so on the eleventh day. It is good to use your cell phone's alarm clock, but make sure the battery doesn't run out after the alarm is set. You have been warned.

If Chicken Little Tells You That The Sky Is Falling

I caused a mild commotion at work. Early this morning I called an officemate to let them know I wasn't coming to work, and to remind her that another officemate was supposed to give her something. When she asked why I was absent, I said that I will not come to work unless I get my overdue salary. A few minutes later my cell phone rang. It was the boss, asking if I was really going to boycott work. Apparently, my officemate told him what I said. I explained that I was just kidding. He then informed me that he had already spoken with the SVP for Admin/HR. The processing of my salary would be fast-tracked starting today and I would probably get it early next week. He also said to call my officemate again to explain that I was just joking. This officemate was emotional, so I shouldn't be making such a crack. When I called up my officemate anew, I could hear the commotion in the background. Apparently she had told everyone in the department. Me and my big mouth.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Smile And The World Smiles With You

There's a great picture of Chief Justice Hilario Davide on the front page of today's Inquirer. He has a Santa smile. Understandable, as the Supreme Court recently trashed the impeachment complaint against him.

I Dub Thee

I've told no one at the office my nickname so they all call me by my given name. They pronounce it correctly too: Le-yo, not Lee-yow. My parents gave me that name because they watched one episode too many of Flordeluna, a Channel 9 drama series that was airing the year I was born. In that soap, one of the main characters was a policeman played by the late great Dindo Fernando. Since my father was a policeman, too, they named me after the character. Among my friends, my favorite kulot is the only one I've allowed to call me by my given name. As early as first year college I've asked her to use my nickname but she couldn't be persuaded. I used to not prefer being called by my given name. Now I'm starting to like it again. It's as good a name as any, and better than most. Most importantly, it's mine.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Another Post That Proves J Right

Until the All Soul's break two weeks ago a guy I know hasn't come home to Bicol since November 2002. It's been more than 11 months, a mere 24 days short of a full year. Why? Basic cowardice. He was the first offspring, first grandchild, first to attend and graduate from one of the best universities in the country, first to go to law school... In short, it was understood—though it may have been unspoken—that his family was pinning its hopes on him. But ever since he made the decision to leave law school, he's been reluctant—hell, ashamed—to face the family. He's sure they were—are?—hurt. He's sure they were—are?—disappointed. He just didn't have the guts to show himself. Last July the guy got a job. The work's not commensurate with his education and he hasn't been paid yet, but at least he's starting to do something worthwhile with his life. He's regained some measure of self-respect. Last November the prodigal son returned. And he was welcomed.

Today Is Monday

Argh! That's all. By the way, today marks my fourth month here.

Friday, November 7, 2003

Tortfeasor Am I

I was watching The Scorpion King at home the morning of November 2 when a man arrived carrying half a sack of rice. Earlier my father had some palay milled for me to bring back to Manila that night, and this guy was delivering it.

My mother asked me to watch our two dogs so they won't bite the guy, so I did. He put down the sack of rice, then walked away. I went back inside the house. Suddenly I heard a yelp of pain.

Oh, shit!

I rushed over and my initial fears were confirmed: one of our dogs gave chase and bit the guy's lower right leg. A little blood trickled from two bite wounds.

I led the guy to the nearest faucet so he can wash the bites with soap and water. To his credit he was very calm, as if it was only a mosquito that bit him.

The guy left after washing up. I put a leash on the guilty dog and went back to my movie.

It's only now that I'm wondering if the guy's okay, or if our dog gave him rabies. I think I feel a pang of guilt.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

Yes, It's Been That Long

Wow, I haven't posted in 33 days.

It's slow, but it's coming along.

Elevator Trouble

I had a co-passenger in the elevator this morning. The two of us got in at the ground floor, and somehow we forgot to push the buttons for our respective floors. I must have been deep in thought at the time. And I was laden: I had a laptop bag slung across one shoulder, a projector bag across the other, a five-pound expandable envelope on one hand, and plastic bag of full of Tapa King food on the other. The point is, I had an excuse for not remembering to push the button. The other guy didn't; he was just plain stupid. We were speeding through floors 6 and 7 before I realized—10—that I hadn't pushed—13—the button—14—for my floor. So I smiled at—16—myself. "'Wag mong pagtatawanan ang hindi mo kilala," Stupid said. Huh? The elevator stopped at the 18th floor. A maintenance dude walked in, and promptly pushed the "G" button. Stupid followed suit and pressed "10." Before he got off his floor, Stupid turned to the maintenance dude and me. "May namamatay dahil diyan." When the elevator doors closed, Maintenance Dude and I looked at each other. Huh? I see you, Fr. Nick. And you're going, "What is the leit motif?"

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Another Roadblock

As I mentioned in previous posts, my contract expires next Friday. But they told me two days ago that I can't get my pay yet: it turns out I'm required to submit an accomplishment report every fifteen days. What's next, they'll ask me to clean the Augean stables?

Friday, October 3, 2003

We Got Bushwhacked

Tsk, tsk, Ateneo lost Game 1. And I just know the Blue Eagles lost because I didn't watch. Oh well, at least my weekend's here. I promise not to miss the game this Sunday.

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Insert The Jeopardy! Theme Here

UAAP basketball Finals na! I have a dilemma: if I get out of the office at 5, I'll be home by 7 and catch just the last few seconds of the game. If I watch here at work, I'll probably catch the second half but get home really late. Decision, decisions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Too Much Time On Their Hands

Early yesterday I psyched myself up by listening to the CD of Ateneo cheers released earlier this year. It's a nice album. The first few tracks feature the Blue Babble Battalion while the rest are reinterpretations of Ateneo cheers by Atenista bands and musicians like Itchyworms, Ciudad, and Chito Miranda of Parokya Ni Edgar. Da Pulis' silly fun version of "Halikinu" and Kjwan's rock take on "Fabilioh" are my personal favorites. But remind me to kill Rico Blanco for murdering "A Song For Mary" in the last track.

D'oh!

Ateneo won yesterday! Finals, here we come! I wasn't able to watch the game; I had to type stuff for work all day (the sound you just heard was me, slapping myself upside the head). But it was a good thing I missed it or I would've popped a carotid. It was that exciting. Or so they tell me.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Kick In The Shin

I'm upset: they told me Thursday that my transcripts of the OpCom meetings were supposed to be typewritten. This wouldn't be a problem had I been informed when I started working two-and-a-half months ago. My supervisor did not tell me they had to be typewritten. As a result all nine transcripts I've done are handwritten. And it's not easy to transcribe. On the average the OpCom meetings are two hours long, using up three 45-minute sides of two 90-minute cassette tapes. It takes me one day to finish one 45-minute side so I don't go out Saturday and Sunday just to finish the transcriptions before coming to work Monday. At the moment I worry less about the added work than the possibility that I won't be free to take a new job after my contract here ends on October 10. I suppose I would be required to submit the typewritten stuff before they sign my release papers. A friend said I was set up. However, I'm also partly to blame. I didn't ask if I was doing things correctly, I simply assumed that I was since my supervisor did not tell me otherwise. But I see a way out: my contract does not specifically require that I produce typewritten transcripts. This is my welcome to the workaday world. Or more precisely, my rude awakening.

Friday, September 26, 2003

To The Dogs

I'm pissed. The Blue Eagles lost to La Salle last Thursday. Not only that, Ateneo's starting point guard LA Tenorio will not play in the sudden-death game on Tuesday. There's trouble brewing on the work front also.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Too Late The Hero

Today, with only 12 working days left on my contract, I finally received some office supplies:
1 blue ball pen
1 bottle correction fluid
1 neon green highlighter
5 battery two-packs
2 boxes cassette tapes
1 whiteboard marker
1 box diskettes
1 roll tissue paper

Something In Common

I saw a picture of the President of the Philippines in the front page of yesterday's issue of the Manila Standard. She and I wear nearly-identical pairs of glasses.

Oh, well. Time to buy a new one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Drinking Is Dangerous To Your Health


Last Saturday I ended my nine-week alcohol boycott. Previous to that, my last taste of alcohol was at Mark's dad's birthday party last July 15. At that party I had a freak accident while opening a bottle of beer: the lip of the bottle broke off and I cut the first knuckle on my right middle finger.

"I cut myself," I said to my friends. I ran, tracking blood, to the nearest sink to wash my hand. It was weird, I felt the blood gushing out in spurts. I suddenly felt dizzy. The last thing I remember was asking Jason to get me a chair.

When I woke, friends were propping me up. I was all wet. I learned that I fainted and that Camille, who was at the time standing right behind, caught me. Poor girl.

They brought me to the Capitol Medical Center to have my wound stitched up. The doctor shot me full of anesthetics but it wasn't enough to numb the sting of being sewed up. My friends were also kind enough to foot the bill.

It took a few weeks for the wound to fully heal because I couldn't not bend the injured knuckle. While I recovered, I didn't drink have a single drop of alcohol. That was why my first beer Saturday night was gone in 60 seconds. After a long, dry spell nothing tasted better.

Hand, Hand, Elbow, Elbow, Hand, Hand

Last Saturday a friend complimented me on the title of this blog. He likewise observed that unlike his blog, mine was introspective.

I replied that I blog because I want to write like I did when I was a college freshman. And that "introspective" is a not an inappropriate word to describe myself.

From high school until first year college I wrote passably well. Since then I've hardly written anything except school papers. I can't pinpoint why I stopped writing, only that I did.

Writing is something I can't do well if I don't keep doing it, so I'm trying to recover the old magic, as it were. How far I've progressed, only this blog's readers can tell.

To The Pain

I'm hurting in various body parts I can't even name.

This afternoon I went with the office delegation to the mass calisthenics at the BSP Cafetorium. We were a sight: company-issued Superman-blue shirts, blue and white balloons, banner, the works. And we were late.

We quickly learned that "calisthenics" was a misnomer; we found ourselves in an aerobics class, complete with an instructor!

During the first 15 minutes I didn't really participate; I was having a blast making fun of my co-participants. After a while I noticed I was the only one doing it half-assed. I looked more foolish than those who were into it so I decided I might as well participate.

An hour later I was close to fainting. My last athletic activity was sometime in May, and I paid for it.

There was a raffle afterward but I didn't win anything. But at least I got to keep the Superman-blue shirt.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Unsolicited Thoughts

Yesterday was Comments From Left Field Day.

In the morning I had to have something announced over the PA system. While I was writing the announcement, the cute, late-twenties (an unreliable estimate) switchboard operator said, "Si sir, laging naka-smile." So I smiled at her. Widely.

Then in the afternoon, I had to submit some stuff to this EVP, the same one I wrote about in a previous post. Our conversation went a little something like this:
EVP: You didn't enroll, ano?
Me: No, sir.
EVP: How do you know Alvin*?
Me: Sir, he was my former classmate in law school.
EVP: Why did you leave, burnout?
Me: Something like that, sir.
EVP: Anong year ka na ba dapat?
Me: Fourth year, sir. I left when I was in third year.
EVP: So enroll in Ateneo Law. Time is of the essence.
Me: Thank you for the advice, sir.
EVP: Ituloy mo. Time is of the essence. 'Di ka tataas.

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent.

Used As Bait

One of the hazards of being the newbie at work is that others volunteer my participation in tiresome activities. Next week will be the 103rd anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service. Like other government agencies, our office is required to send delegations to activities lined up by the Civil Service Commission. There was a intra-office memo asking each department to send at least three people to attend either a calisthenics activity or a Mass. I was volunteered, so on Monday afternoon I will join the contingent that will go to the calisthenics at the Bangko Sentral along Roxas Boulevard. I will also have to be in calisthenics attire (whatever that means). In all honesty, I am not a fitness buff. The last time I had something similar was in high school gym class. It was fun; we learned rolls, headstands and handstands. In short, we trained for future careers as movie stuntmen. Calisthenics bring back memories of grade school: all-white outfits, "Arms upward-forward-sideward-down" in time with the beat of a drum... And since I was always the tallest, I had to lead the exercises. That meant standing in front of the student assembly. Calisthenics looked cute then; it will look ridiculous now. Imagine hundreds of senior citizens in gym outfits making like third-graders. It's not a pretty sight, so I'll stay at the back. Way back. And if we're asked to do tae bo, I promise I'll slip out the back door.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Just Another Day

The OpCom meeting was set for 8:30 a.m. today. I wanted to be at work earlier than that, so I set my alarm at 5 a.m. and slept early. Good. I slept through the alarm and woke at 6! Muttering choice unprintables the whole time, I was only able to leave at 6:15 a.m. Bad. But miracle of miracles, traffic was light for a Friday. I went from Marikina to Makati in 48 minutes, a new world record, and was in the office at 7:03. Good. After some last-second editing, I printed the draft Minutes on recycled paper. I gave it to the Xerox guy at 8 a.m. "Nine pages, 18 copies," I said. Good. I went up to the 4th floor to give the switchboard operator paging instructions. But when I went back to the 3rd floor the Xerox guy wasn't there. Worse, he photocopied the wrong sides of the recycled paper! More unprintables. Bad. I had no choice but photocopy it myself. Luckily the Xerox guy left the machine's setting on "Collate/Sort." I can't imagine what I would've done had he not. Good. I then rushed to the company's new offices at the 17th floor of the next building. I finished setting up the microphones and the cassette tape recorders at exactly 8 a.m. Good. But some OpCom members were nowhere to be found! At 9:15 I was still running around, tracking them down. The meeting was almost canceled due to lack of quorum. I had to brave questions from irate EVPs who were getting impatient. Bad. In the end the meeting pushed through. And since there were only a few members present, the whole thing was over in 45 minutes, which means I only have to transcribe one side of a 90-minute cassette tape. Good. For the first time in weeks, I own my weekend. Yahoo!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

After a two-month wait, two Fridays ago I finally received my TIN from the Marikina BIR. Right then and there I phoned our HR Department and dictated my new tax identification and cedula numbers, which they inputted in my contract. Last Monday I signed my life away. Now I wait again, this time for the big, fat envelope.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Theme Song

The music that's been playing in my mind the whole day: Taan-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan-taan-tadan! And no, I'm not talking of Jowett, our friendly neighborhood Chinese dude.

Personal Favorite

This question has been running through my mind the whole day: How do you reverse entropy? Isaac Asimov answered it in "The Last Question," a short story that has, in my humble opinion, the most kick-ass ending in the known universe. And I only exaggerate by a bit.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Joyful Find

In my assigned classroom for the ACET I found a high school English literature textbook. I read it to pass the time while administering the test. The book was part of the Gems series. I remember using it when I was a high school freshman at the Ateneo de Naga. My classmates then would remember the book as our teacher for that subject was the former Ms. Grace Nobleza. She's Mrs. Nobleza-Rubio now, married and with kids, but in those days most of our all-boys class had a crush on her. She cried in our class once—when her fingers got in the way of a closing door. She went to the ladies' room, returned teary-eyed, and said, "Let's pray the 'Our Father' for our last meeting." After the prayer she walked out. It was weeks later when she returned to teaching us. But I digress. The book I rediscovered earlier today contained selected works from authors local and foreign. Shakespeare was represented. There were also some Lord Byron, Manley-Hopkins, NVM Gonzales, Nick Joaquin... In short, the usual gang of un-idiots. My favorite 'standard' literary pieces were in there. Some of my favorite writers, too. I read the book from cover to cover and was transported to that happily innocent time when I first got hooked on literature. That was easily the highlight of my day.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

No Regrets

Because I was an ACET examiner, I wasn't able to go to La Salle today to cheer for some law school friends who were taking the bar exams. But I was there last Sunday, so I've seen how Taft can become a virtual karnabal on a Sunday in September. Had I continued my law school experiment I would've been a senior now, about to take next year's bar. But since I quit during my third year, I saw last Sunday from a different perspective. As I watched contingents from law schools all over the country cheer their hearts out for their barristers, as I watched the examinees put on their bravest faces as they shuffled to their testing rooms, I felt... nothing. I stood there and couldn't see myself being there for any other reason except to support my friends. I couldn't picture myself making that walk to take the bar. I didn't envy the examinees, I didn't regret leaving law school. Wait, scratch that. I did feel something: that I made the right decision.

Bring Out The Brooms

For the first time in years, Ateneo won both elimination round games against La Salle. I missed yesterday's game because of the ACET. Fortunately, Car watched the whole thing and she was kind enough to give me score updates. I was lounging in the Admissions headquarters after the tests when some lady's friend phoned in the final score. The place simply erupted with joy. I kid you not.

Useful For A Change

I was in Ateneo yesterday and today for the 4th annual "Tibibord: Master ACET Examiner" weekend. Making the trip up the hill has become a sort of ritual come September. I'd like to think I'm giving back to the alma mater in my own small way. The free food has nothing to do with it, I swear. I signed on for four sessions and they were all boring as hell, except for yesterday morning. There was a kid in my room whose nose bled because of the heat. Or maybe it was because of the test's difficulty. It was fortunate the proctors they assigned to help me were two talkative undergrad girls. It helped pass the time. One annoying thing, though: the kids had difficulty following the simplest of instructions. I ask them to pass the orange answer sheet and they pass the red one. I tell them to put their paper on top when passing forward and they don't. And I'm sure my voice was loud enough.

Monday, September 8, 2003

I Need A Bed

It's Monday again. Dang, where did my weekend go?

Ah, I remember.

Saturday morning and most of Saturday afternoon I spent sleeping or playing Diablo 2. Late Saturday afternoon I went to Robinson's Metro East to shop for groceries for friends taking the bar exams. I spent the night in Century Park Sheraton but didn't get to sleep because I transcribed stuff for work.

Sunday I spent shuttling from the hotel to the bar site in La Salle to Powerplant to UP. I got home at 11 p.m. I slept until 5 a.m.

Now I'm at work. Tired and sleepy do not even begin to describe me.

Friday, September 5, 2003

Another One Bites The Dust

Ateneo won again yesterday. I think this is becoming a habit. But I'm not complaining.

Eff Me, I'm Famous

This is kind of scary. I Googled my nickname and this is what came out. Is that you, Big Brother?

Thursday, September 4, 2003

Nursery All Over Again

This morning, the President and CEO had a question about the Minutes of last week's meeting. I had to answer. I guess he was satisfied because he said, "Very good." Me smiled. Me smiled stupidly. Me smiled stupidly all day.

Monday, September 1, 2003

Hail The Conquering Heroes

Ateneo won the Battle of Katipunan over UP yesterday. It was surprising that the Maroons kept it close; they look like a team capable of losing all their games, especially if they keep giving the ball to their rookie Marvin Cruz. Sorry, Mr. Cruz, this isn't the Juniors Division anymore. The next goal for the Blue Eagles is at least a top-two finish after the eliminations so they can get a twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

New Best Friend

I hailed a cab in front of Ateneo Thursday night. It turned out the driver was the chatty type.
Driver: Nag-aaral ka ba dyan?
Me: Dehins. [I used to, though.]
Driver: Balita ko ang baba ng tuition d'yan.
Me: A, oo. [Around 36 thousand pesos per semester by the time I graduated. Thank God for scholarships.]
Driver: Bobo rin daw mga taga-d'yan.
Me: Balita ko nga. [I can even name names.]
Driver: Pero mataas naman sweldo pagkapos.
Me: 'Di naman. [Look at me.]
And on and on and on...

"Salamat sa k'wento, brod," I said when I got off.

I Feel An Inch Taller

I got complimented at work Thursday. A little backgrounder. My main duty here is to prepare the Minutes of the weekly meetings of the Operations Committee or the OpCom. The OpCom is composed of the President and CEO, four EVPs, four SVPs, and around ten VPs. At the start of each meeting, they review the Minutes of the previous meeting for any errors before they approve it. I've made five such Minutes so far, and the third and fourth were approved without corrections. After they finished reviewing my fifth Minutes Thursday, the President and CEO said, "So far walang mali, a." The Corporate Secretary, who was a Senior Vice President and a lawyer, turned to me and said, "Your Minutes are very good." I smiled a bit and nodded thanks. "It's really very good," she repeated. Now this was the same Corporate Secretary who interviewed me twice for a job opening in her office—the first was one-on-one, in the second she was part of a panel of six—but still chose someone else, which led to my ending up in another department. I was transcribing the audio recording of the meeting when I discovered that her second remark was caught on tape. So I kept playing it over and over. The bukol was forgotten.

Stupid Accident

Early Thursday morning I woke up and found myself on the floor. First time it has ever happened. And no, I didn't drink the night before. I was so sleepy I didn't remember if I woke from a bad dream. But when I climbed back to bed my left calf muscle cramped up. It was excruciating! After a while I fell asleep again. My phone alarm woke me up at 5:30 a.m. There was a big and painful lump on the back of my head. I couldn't figure out what day or date it was, which was weird. I also couldn't remember if I had dinner the night before. In the afternoon of that same day, I still couldn't remember if I'd taken a bath before going to work. Since my brain felt like it was buzzing I entertained thoughts of a concussion. The temporary memory loss didn't help at all. It's been three days since. There hasn't been any fainting spells or other other funny symptoms so I guess it was nothing. The bump's also gone. However, when I touch the spot it still hurts. I wonder if I need to see a doctor.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Blue-Blooded

Ateneo lost yesterday. Mabuti naman. Too much success can get into one's head. But a loss to NU? Tsk, what a choke job. Don't get me wrong. I've always supported the Blue Eagles. I remember watching them in grade school when the UAAP games still aired on RPN 9. I cheered for the team even during the lean years (which would go on to include all of my four years in college). Little did I know that I would study in two Ateneos over the next eight years.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Usual Suspects

Yesterday's bank rob in our building made it to today's issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. According to the news item, the robbers wore military-style outfits and were armed with M14 and M16 rifles and .45-caliber pistols. They were also swift and precise with their movements. Hmm, who could they be?

The Best Hiding Place

About an hour after the bank robbery at the ground floor of our building yesterday, the Makati SWAT went up to our office. Apparently one of the robbers slipped past the police cordon and hid somewhere in the building.

The doors to our office were closed minutes after the shoot-out so the SWAT team was sure the suspect wasn't in company premises. That led to a search of the comfort rooms, which made for a funny incident because the ladies' room was occupied at the time.

When I went down at quitting time, I saw bullet holes on the lobby's marble walls. The street was barricaded. Lima-singko 'yung pulis, 'yung mediamen, 'yung miron. Karnabal, astig!

But all of it was trumped by seeing Lana Asanin, in gym clothes, exit the HSBC building.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Lights, Camera...

At around 3:30 this afternoon my typing was interrupted by the sound of automatic gunfire. Being true-blue Pinoys, we all left our cubicles to see what the racket was.

The view from the nearest window was not much: people scampering about on the street below, faces peering from the windows of the Chinabank building opposite, a bank's armored car, an armed security guard... Those who thought they saw something were instant celebrities.

It seems the commotion came from our building, the Citibank Center. An attempted bank robbery, they said. A janitor said the receptionists at the ground floor lobby were still crying, shaken by the shoot-out. Someone said the robbers smacked around the irritating security guard stationed near the elevators.

I tired of it after fifteen minutes but some officemates are still at the window. They say there are a lot of policemen downstairs. And someone at the Chinabank bulding called to say that a few of their windows now sport bullet holes.

No Political Essayist

Last Thursday I stepped out of the office to buy death sticks and saw Paseo de Roxas littered with cut-up Yellow Pages. Because I was cooped up the whole day it looked like I missed a hell of a confetti shower. Then I remembered. It was August 21, Ninoy Aquino’s 20th death anniversary. The nationalistic songs blaring from the corner of Paseo and Ayala Avenue should have been a clue. Wow, I thought. 20 years. The country still hasn't changed much. In that day's newspapers were stories about corruption, murder, and mayhem. Same old, same old. It got me thinking, what did Ninoy's life and death mean? I couldn’t answer myself. Just more trash for the Metro Aides to sweep up?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Wild Goose Chase 2

When I came back yesterday afternoon I found out that the lie backfired.

The Marikina BIR didn't process the application because I had no application form from the LTO. I was about to go to the LTO but a fellow TIN applicant said I needed a birth certificate to get the LTO form. And my birth certificate was in the province.

I had to come clean. I told the BIR people I needed the TIN for work, that I needed it to sign a contract of service with my company. They asked me to accomplish Form 1902 and submit with it a certificate of employment and a copy of my birth certificate.

The problem is, the company can't give me the employment certificate because the contract of service—which I haven't seen, by the way—will say that there's no employee-employer relationship between me and the company. It's a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Aaargh. My parents were government employees; I should have remembered that transacting business with government agencies is a pain and a half. But no, I went on and took a job in a GOCC.

Wild Goose Chase

I took Tuesday afternoon off to process my TIN application at the Marikina BIR. I needed it to claim my salary.

I didn't mind the rain. I didn't mind that our office was in Paseo de Roxas in Makati and the BIR office was somewhere along Marcos Highway just past Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta.

When I got there I accomplished a Form 1904 and told the BIR people I was going to use the TIN to apply for a student driver's permit. It was a lie, but the guy I spoke with at the Makati BIR advised me to say that.

The fib worked. BIR Marikina told me to come back the following day.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Thank God

It's Friday! I'm looking at the clock, and it's counting down to 5. Freedom! You all have a great weekend now.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Home Is Where...

Many would be surprised to know I've been living at the same boarding house since first year college. I’ve been here seven years and counting. That makes me the most overstaying boarder. It’s a wonder my landlady hasn’t given me a Loyalty Award yet. Strictly speaking, though, I haven’t stayed here that long. I go home to the province for vacations. And even when I'm in Metro Manila, I've been known to disappear for days and not be seen at the boarding house. I have adoptive families (Hi Mark! Hi J! Hi Ate Kay!) who let me crash at their homes so often I should get a refund of part of my rent and turn it over to them. Once, my landlady said pina-blotter nila ako dahil ang tagal ko nang hindi umuuwi. Up to now I'm not sure if she was kidding. I used to live here with Mon, Leo, Mike, Mao, Fugee, Al, Ronnie, my classmates since high school who've already left to pursue careers or further education. Ah, the hell we used to raise! Now I live with my brother and some undergrad kids. It’s fun because I get away with bossing them around but I have to be sort of responsible for them, too. By default I'm the older brother to perfect strangers. Admittedly, there are a lot of things to dislike about this place, foremost of which is it’s too far from my workplace. But at the moment I have no plans of moving out. Eventually I will have to.

Reasons Why

Last Saturday was the Ateneo-La Salle game at the Araneta Coliseum. My boardmates went because wonder of wonders, our landlady had a ticket source. I, on the other hand, had to be somewhere else. Besides, the tickets were for nosebleed seats. For a self-proclaimed rabid Atenista, I haven’t gone to many of those Ateneo-La Salle matches. Sure I follow the team on television and in the papers and try to catch their games at the nearby Loyola Gym, but Ateneo-La Salle live? I think I can count those with just one hand. It must be because I'm a Pavlovian dog. Blue Eagle teams during my four years of college lost so much and so badly that even if they’re now the defending champs I still half-expect them to choke in every game. And when that happens, sayang lang ang hapon mo. Pawisan ka na, wala nang boses, nabiktima pa ng scalper. Ang sakit, pare. Insult to injury. Also, in every single one of those Ateneo-La Salle games I attended Dick Gordon tried to relive his cheerleading days. Have a four-sizes-too-small Blue Babble jacket, will cheer at halftime. Not the prettiest of sights, I tell you. Another reason to stay home. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy when they took the trophy last year. I was happy, too, when they won last Saturday. How did they do it? I have a theory: No Dick.

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Cold Feet

During the first semester of my third year in law school I went on a leave of absence. I wasn’t being kicked out, but the desire to continue wasn’t there.

Looking back, I realize I did not enter law school with the best of intentions. In fact, I had no intentions at all!

I was set for a career in advertising, but on a trip I went with my boardmates and took the Law Aptitude Examination. When I passed, on a trip I went to the panel interview. And when I passed again, on a trip I decided to enroll. But the trip ended.

So why did I leave?

It’s a combination of reasons. To save on saliva I say "Ayoko lang," although puking my guts out before classes is a vivid memory. It got that bad. I wanted to quit. And did. I bummed around for a year. Now I work.

Do I wish I didn’t leave?

Not really. But the "Quitter" tag I’ll never live down.

...

My four boardmates are still at it: Toots in UNC, Fugee in Arellano, Alder in San Beda, and Ronnie in Ateneo. Good luck, guys.

Giddy Pig

I can type and post at work. I can also type at home and post at work. This could result in multiple posts in a single day or no posts for days on end. It depends on my workload.

But since I finished my all tasks as early as Thursday, I’m not busy at the moment. This weekend is mine, all mine!

The Why

At work a week ago someone asked if I was the law student the company recently hired. I said I wasn’t; I was a former law student.

An EVP who heard me struck a conversation:
EVP: Why did you quit law school?
Me: Sir, I just didn't want continue.
EVP: Sayang 'yan. Just take two to three subjects.
Me: Maybe someday, sir, I’ll go back.
EVP: Pagsisisihan mo 'yan.
Me: I hope not, sir. But thank you for the advice.
EVP: Sa susunod may bayad na 'yan.
That got me thinking. Why did I leave, really?

View From The Bottom

At present I work for a GOCC. Our offices are located along Paseo de Roxas in Makati. I got here through Kat, a friend from UP. An executive here told her there was an opening in the Office of the Corporate Secretary. They called me for what turned out to be a panel interview. I wore my "serious" outfit: blue long sleeves, Budweiser tie, black pants, black socks, black Doc Martens, and Ateneo college ring. I didn’t get the job, though. They wanted a presently-enrolled law student. The guy they hired was a fifth-year evening student who was my classmate for a couple of semesters in law school. Kat’s friend then offered me a job in their department. It’s not a permanent position like the other one so the salary is lower. But because there's a chance for regular employment after six months or so, and because I was bored from my one-year leave of absence from law school, I took it. Since July 10 I’ve been part of the workaday world. You know what I realized? It’s not bad, it's not bad at all.

A Month Into It

Thursday marked my fourth week at work. Wow, how fast time flies. This is my first job. I interned for MTV Philippines before but that doesn't count; I didn't have a salary. Come to think of it, I have yet to be paid here. They said it's because I don't have a cedula and a TIN. Heyng? I always thought it worked like this: be at work at 8 a.m., leave at 5 p.m., and fifteen days later you're handed an envelope with money in it. It appears I was mistaken. This is why I shouldn't get my education from movies. Ideally. The HR Department only informed me last week that I have to have those documents. I'm assuming this is because I need to sign the contract of service, which my department head reviewed last week. I pretended I was going to the CR and went straight to the BIR office a block away. The security guard there said I needed to submit a certificate of employment and a company ID with the TIN application form. Me to the BIR guard: Kaya nga kelangan ko ng TIN e, para ma-finalize yung pag-hire sa 'kin at magkaroon ako ng certificate of employment. 'Ala rin akong company ID. Building pass, meron. Fortunately I have a very supportive mother. Hagalpak lang ng tawa inabot ko when I recounted everything. Sigh. With any luck I will have the papers next week. Which means maiipon ang sweldo ko bago ko matanggap. Yippee!

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Just Like Old Times

Makati City has a smoking ban, so like my law-abiding office mates I sneak off to the men's comfort room to light up. Oh so 1995. I'm in cahoots with the office security guard. Before I go, I ask if the building's roving guard has already made his run. If yes, it's a go. The ban is not a joke. The city mayor deputized twenty-five or so senior citizens to help the police enforce it. These deputies have IDs, and they can apprehend indiscriminate smokers. The penalty for the first offense is a thousand-peso fine. If you cannot—or will not—pay, the apprehending officer can make you sweep a street instead. They don't care how impeccably dressed you are. So for someone like me who needs two-and-a-half days to earn that thousand, the CR cubicle is a safe haven. Thank God ours look and smell clean. Next week: a report on the viability of fire escape stairwells.

Thrill Ride And Panic Attack

We're right in the middle of the rainy season. And since I commute to and from work it can be a real hassle. Yesterday, for example. Sumabit lang ako sa jeep kasi sobrang rush hour at punuan. Then it rained. I never thought a 35-kph ride under the rain could be so much fun—the wind whistling in your ears, the water trickling from your hair down to your neck to the inside of your clothes... Pwe! I must have looked an idiot because I was smiling from ear to ear. Eventually I was able to sit. And promptly fell asleep for about fifteen minutes. Once I alighted I realized my cell phone wasn't in my pocket. Thank God there was a red light; I was able to re-board the same jeep. The people inside looked bewildered as I searched under the seats, along the aisle, at their feet... After a few moments I gave up. I accepted that while I napped the phone fell from my pocket. Someone somewhere was now the lucky owner of a load-less, three-year old Ren-Ren Ritualo phone. (A brief explanation. See Nokia 3210. See Ren-Ren. Compare. Contrast.) I took a death stick from my bag in order to calm down. Lo and behold, there was my phone.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Come In, Come In

Shucks, I'm a rookie at this but here goes.

Ahem, ahem.

Most of what you'll read here will turn out to be idiotic. Sometimes I won't post regularly (because the supervisor is around). But drop by from time time; sometimes it will be worth your while.