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.