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Puckering Time

It's now or never.

Check. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Monday, May 28, 2007

It has been more than three months since a prominent radio station left the airwaves and was replaced by an entirely different format in which one is more or less likely to think whether he had dialed the tuner correctly or he already needs to replace his mini hi-fi system because it is strangely receiving transmission signals from a distant planet. Unlike those truly enlightened beings who can endure a month’s duration without the radio, I need the said equipment in my daily life. One of the first things I do in the morning – aside from rituals inside the bathroom and swigging coffee – is to switch my radio on. I usually tune in to the news first, changing the dial to FM afterwards and maintaining the same frequency all throughout the day. (Now I listen to WRock and Love Radio, the latter I find interesting because I find the loudest and the craziest tandem in that side of the FM band funny and lovable.)

I have this fetish with on-air broadcasting stuff ever since when I was in elementary. My condition was further aggravated when I entered high school; I was picked by our teachers to do a voice-over stint in one of our school programs. Okay, it wasn’t really an actual broadcasting thing but it’s close to that. They gave me a 10-page script which I was supposed to follow as a guide perhaps, but it was so badly written that I had to overhaul every page into something more intelligible not just for me but for everyone concerned (and because I’m also into coherence, although it doesn’t seem evident in my blog but that’s another story). I thought that it was going to be a breakthrough performance until one of our grrrl teachers brilliantly gave me a partner. She said that reading all of the 10-page script could possibly strain my voice so she grabbed me someone with whom I would share the burden. My partner’s voice was bad, and when I say bad I really mean bad. Repulsive, dreadful, ghastly, appalling – these are some of the few appropriate adjectives with which to associate with his voice. Or simply think of fork scraping deeply on blackboard. Call me arrogant but if ever we all had the misfortune to be with him in the same room and he starts to make pompous statements as to his early adult achievements, you’d rather ram your earlobes with a moldy cork.

During intramurals all senior batches have this kind of dinky idea to put up booths near the gymnasium so as to earn extra income to cover the expenses incurred during the entire week, i.e. electricity, props, etc. In our batch we had a kissing booth wherein unwary passersby who ventured too near would be “smacked” by someone with a stamp pad and a cast shaped into something that resembles pouted lips upon which the unlucky smooched must pay two pesos. It’s obligatory to pay the fine, but everyone thought it was fun. Less intellectual beings had always insisted on having a marriage booth and it was the omnipresent booth that opened as early as 7 am. The rationale being, couples, whether in real life or just purely wallowing in unilateral delusion, are dragged towards the booth where a designated priest bestowed by the infinite powers that be simulates the ritual of matrimony. In short, the couples get “married” whether they like it or not. And when the said false prophet utters the line, “You may kiss the bride” to the “groom,” it would always prompt an annoying “Aaayeeeee!” followed by a din of claps. They have once attempted to pair me with a girl whom I barely know, but all their powers of persuasion and strength were proven useless because I was such a prominent figure then that they – the chasers – can’t do anything but bend to my will, ha ha ha. Then we also had a DJ booth where one could request for his favorite song, dedicate all sorts of messages to friends or to their teachers, and rip MP3s to CDs which cost 50 bucks. Since there was no designated DJ, technically anyone who has the gall to grab the microphone and talk gibberish can do the job. The improvised DJ booth consisted of a laptop, two CD players, a mini component, and an old mic that was meant to be shared to all which really freaked me out. Of course it had amps and two powerful speakers that blared noise in the entire universe. I stayed there all the time, taking turns in commanding the “console.” I brought my own mic and a pair of headphones.

That’s when I figuratively heard my calling as radio announcer or any personage in any broadcasting-related job that when I entered college I chose Broadcast Communication as my course, but unfortunately I landed on Speech Communication which is still very much related to BC – for all you know, SC is the “mother” of mass communication. I’ve had previous experiences with radio announcing, some of which you may already know and I will not reiterate it here because I dislike the idea of being associated with freakazoids. Just recently – actually just a few days ago – a friend recommended me to someone who I suppose is an event coordinator, and I was asked if I could do a hosting stint for a certain event which is going to be held probably next month. I was about to accept the offer when I was reminded of an already nailed scheduled trip happening probably on the same tentative dates of the event. I didn’t have any other choice but to turn the offer down. I’m not into letting opportunities pass by, but I believe there’s a lot more out there, just sitting and waiting for the contract signing to begin.

One thing bothered me, though. The problems with having family members who steel themselves into traveling are such that you get involved, you are involved, and you can’t do anything about it. Any attempt at running in the opposite direction would mean being bombarded with highfalutin sermons and such. Kind of makes you wish you were billeted permanently inside the announcer’s booth, carrying out the stuff you aspired to do in the first place. I’m sounding a little bitter here.

Kape Beentah

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I think I just had an overdose of caffeine. I have this overwhelming belief that I just did.

Early this morning I had this misguided attempt to prepare my own coffee. As I have mentioned in previous posts my day wouldn’t be complete without the said beverage, and whenever I’m deprived of the substance I freak out. I know I’m a freak to begin with, and I don’t need somebody to assert that point, but I’m in this weird state okay? A while ago it’s a bit different. No one made coffee for me (and the rest of the human population inside our house), but for some reason or so I didn’t go ballistic. Weird, but I was there.

And so I went straight to the cupboard to make coffee, but for one thing: I have got no master’s degree, not even an undergraduate diploma, for coffee making. I have no problem with self confidence and I take pride in saying that I’m an expert – and a fine one to talk to – when coffee is concerned, but the catch is that I don’t know how to make it, not even for myself. I usually rely on someone for my caffeine fix; all I know is to swig and consume vast amounts of coffee. Anyway, there I was, staring blankly onto the canisters inside the cupboard, figuring out the shit I have to undergo. I remembered having observed my mom preparing coffee for me when I visited her at her office. She ceremoniously took one teaspoon of the brown-black substance, one teaspoon of creamer, and two blocks of sugar. Then she proceeded to yank the thermos plunger for hot water, mixed the concoction vigorously, and coffee was served. I took a sip and chimes began ringing inside my head. The coffee my mom made for me was so great I tried to make one for myself. I had made wrong decisions and had done stupid things in my life, and this was far much worse than anything else. Instead of chimes and bells, I heard rumbling noises like a stampede of animals in that movie Jumanji. Instead of going straight to my gullet, I bid farewell to the coffee I’ve made and watched it swirl down the sink.

I have strayed from my original topic which is my intoxication from coffee. So I was in front of the cupboard then. I tried to imitate what my mom did. I tried anyway, and the results were unbelievable. I just have to believe in myself that I could accomplish such a daunting task. And because I was amazed with my hidden talent, I went to grab a mug as large as a pitcher and proceeded to fill it halfway with the mixture, employing mathematical procedures in the process, involving the use of proportions and some lessons on physics. For a 500-ml mug, put at least two and a half teaspoonful of coffee (Nescafe Gold is much preferred), two teaspoons of creamer, and five to six sugar blocks (since we don’t have the loose variety). I finished everything, but of course not in just one sipping or I’ll drown. Then after 15 minutes or so, I started to feel unusually below par.

It is said that people should consume more or less than three to four cups of coffee a day. I’m not good in approximation, but I’ve guzzled around half a liter of coffee. Caffeine is supposed to alleviate the alertness level of a person and to relieve headaches and is a great help whenever one had a terrible hangover from last night’s drinking session. But large amounts might lead to a much more terrible not to mention annoying headache and digestive tract problems, plus extreme nervousness and loss of sleep. In my case, it’s quite different. You know the feeling of paranoia, as if somebody’s watching over your back like some driveling maniac is about to launch and stab you with a Japanese cleaver? The feeling of uneasiness? The strange panic-stricken feeling accompanied by palpitations and shortness of breath? Put yourself in those situations and you are me. I’m not kidding. I tried to lie down on my bed but it got worse – I feel like I’m going to drown in a waterless surrounding. As if I’ve taken marijuana or something, although I haven’t actually tried sniveling marijuana; my Christian Living teacher told me so when you’re under the influence of hemp.

I’ve already experienced this beforehand. Since I basically got nothing to do I went to Starbucks with friends at the Town. They had Grande Mocha Frappuccinos (I don’t know what’s with Mocha Frap that most people regard it as their ultimate favorite, quote-unquote), and I had a Venti Java Chip. And because man is naturally insatiable we got another serving of the same sizes. After we made rounds inside the mall – and since funds were already running low – I dragged them to have pearl shakes at Zagu, regular caffe latte (We are not a bunch of coffee addicts). By the time I got home, I started to feel the same thing as stated in the previous paragraph. It was so horrifying, and the feeling was awful. But after an hour or so it subsided instantly as if I was just making excuses not to help in house chores, ha ha.

I don’t know if I’m the only one who gets to experience such a horrendous – but exciting, what can I say – moment with coffee. I get to come across in this state quite rarely, so maybe I could do it again tomorrow.

The caller from Hell, i.e. Me

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I’ve been keeping this bit of angst in me for almost a week now. It’s not the usual “I hate myself, and I want to die” mode; more likely, it’s “I hate people, and I want them to die.” Call me a morbid person but there are certain things in life that I couldn’t let to pass without professing my rage.

A week ago I was having problems with my ISP. Because I’m a fan of dial-up connections I decided to prolong my agony – I’m a sadomasochist – by using PLDT Vibe to connect to the Internet. By the way, that’s not a typographical error – the words say “dial-up connections,” so don’t grab posthaste a pair of eyeglasses for yourself, and please refrain from advising me to switch to DSL because it would only fall on deaf ears. Anyway, I’ve had no problems with Vibe but when PLDT merged Vibe with “the powers” of the PLDT Pwede! Card (don’t forget the exclamation point), it was close to impossible to connect with the server. At first I thought I was just running out of credits, so I went to have it reloaded. With P200 fresh credits and another 50 bucks for the initial load that was left I assumed that everything will be fine. The usual error message kept on showing on the screen, at which point I was already seething with rage. I was on the verge of smashing my PC into bits when I realized the existence of our phone. I thought, if I called up the PLDT hotline for assistance, would it help? So before I could completely destroy my PC I telephoned 10-120 for support.

I have nothing against call centers but as Jessica Zafra so succinctly put it, by just accidentally giving them a buzz you suddenly understand Waiting for Godot. You know, it’s futility of human existence to the extreme level. The recorded message often goes, “All our agents are engaged at the moment.” So. That’s how problematic the system is. Years later my call was attended, and I proceeded to bug the CCA with my problem. She seemed used to being screamed upon by customers because even in my hair-raising voice she remained calmed. She told me to recheck the username and password if I’ve typed it properly, the number to dial, the modem if properly connected blah blah blah. I appreciate her effort to give me suggestions but I’ve been there a zillion times. She told me to restart the computer. I did what was told me but it still led me to nothingness.

I have talked to a total of 12 customer service representatives, and I feel like a stupid because I kept on repeating my complaints to different CSRs. Then finally I was so fed up with all these crap that when my 12th call was picked up I immediately interrogated the CSR.

Me: “What’s the problem with PLDT Pwede! that I find it hard to connect to your server?”

CSR: “Sir, ano po ba yung na-e -encounter niyong problem?”

“Marami. Gusto mong malaman? (Recites the repetitious litany of complaints made to the other 11 CSRs)

*silence* “Ah, ganun po ba. *silence* Sir, can you hold on for one or two minutes?”

“Ay, hindi na. I need to check my email, and send an important document this night, and you’re asking me to hold this call?”

“Sir, kasi po kailangan naming i-check kung anong problema. Baka po kasi sa computer niyo.”

“Walang problema sa computer ko. Sa inyo ang may problema. Yung dating Vibe naman mabilis akong nakapagko-connect tapos dito sa Pwede! card ang hirap.”

“Sir, to tell you honestly ganyan din po yung problema ko. Mahirap po talaga.”

“So hahayaan niyo na lang na ganito? You have to do something about it.”

“Sir, gagawan nalang po natin ng report yan then i-fo-forward natin sa management.”

“REPORT?! Can it help me send the email?”

“Sir, we’re sorry for the inconvenience pero…”

“Look, I would me the meanest person if I wouldn’t accept your apology, but a report wouldn’t solve my problem right now. I have to send this document, and you have to help me.”

*silence* “Sir, ganito na lang. Na-try ko na ‘to before so baka gumana sa inyo. Gawa kayo ng bagong dialer, then restart your PC.”

“All right. Pag hindi pa ‘to okay…”

“Tawag nalang po kayo ulit samin.”

Well, I was glad that his suggestion worked, but I didn’t like his last piece of advice. It took me 12 agents to have my problem solved. Actually I didn’t shout at him; I was merely projecting my voice to give the impression that they need to get the damn server working properly (and because it’s already 11 pm). Or at the very least, solve it. I guess they’ve been immune to hellbender customers like me, and I salute you people for having such enduring patience. I wish I had that kind of virtue, but I’m given to making people tense by just chatting them up.

"...to utilize proper utilization..."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Guess who said that line. (Note: This would be quite long.)

There’s nothing more like being entertained by a bunch of creeps on national television. How shall I describe it. All that I know is that I’m so amused with every inch of my body that I nearly burst an artery. No, I did not spend my time watching people cavorting to and fro in the flying trapeze, although I have to admit that the feeling was close to that.

I’m talking about Isang Tanong, the senatorial forum on GMA 7 last Sunday. I really prepared myself for this program emotionally and mentally for I know that within the next three grueling hours my ears would be stormed by gibberish talks by gurgling senatoriables with their pompous ten-cents’ worth clichés which are oh so passé. Most people think politics is full of dirt and grime, but face it, it is one of the most lucrative jobs available. I am inclined to think that politics is pure fun and excitement, especially when pathetic sleazoids become microphone whores and pretend that they should be taken very seriously because the future of our sons and daughters is in their hands – oh puhleez. Blecch. Phooey.

There were 14 candidates set to fire, excuse me, for interrogation by what seemed to be a panel of judges like those in pageants, except that this one is more intellectual and captures the interest of the people. First batch includes Loren Legarda, Mike Defensor, and Richard Gomez. Odd one out. Loren’s answers were brief, straight to the point, and very substantial; seems like she’s used to answering such questions as her stand in the issue of political party systems. Mike D might’ve mistaken the forum for a press release; his responses were quick but very flowery. I wonder why. Then Richard’s turn. He sure looked tense, very tense that his attempt to swallow air in his mouth was very obvious for the viewers to see. As far as the questions were concerned, he did not answer them directly and kept digressing on topics which were already out of context, or at the very least, were not being asked for him to give his POVs. What would you expect.

As for the second batch, Ping Lacson, Zosimo Jesus Paredes, and wow, Victor Wood – is this a forum or what? The question was how they would fight corruption assuming they’ve been elected in office. Ping answered safely, and did not actually mention any specific measures to combat the problem. Zosimo’s answers were kind of…religious, and I do hope he’s sincere enough because I can construe his statements as blasphemy. By the way, he also did a Gomez. Then Victor Wood. The Soul Siren – oh, I’m sorry, I thought the forum was a music festival. FYI people, his favorite pastime is painting. How very cool. Manolo asked him about his position in the issue of Charter Change. “Wala akong alam d’yan.” Okay. When asked if illegal logging be considered as a heinous crime: “Depende.” Okay.

Third batch: Cesar Montano. Oliver Lozano. Prospero Pichay. Again, odd one out. The question was about Charter Change. What do you think Cesar Montano replied? Did he answer the question accurately, briefly, and concisely? Directly? He said “he hates to sound spiritual.” Anyway, Oliver Lozano’s a staunch believer that what the system needs is not Charter Change, but character change! (He glared his eyes on camera – how scary) Then it was Pichay’s turn. (I find it hilarious that he managed to use the name of a green leafy vegetable for his campaign, and there’s one campaign material that he used: a fan shaped like pechay that says, “I’m a Pichay fan!” How funny. But it sure is a great mnemonic device.) Thumbs up for Cha-Cha. He’s a member of Team Unity.

Fourth batch: Kiko Pangilinan, Mel Chavez, and the Dancing Queen herself, Tessie Aquino-Oreta. Kiko gave a not-quite substantial answer, and looked quite bothered or something when he was interrogated; maybe a little more time in the john could solve it. Mel so solemnly put it, “Tama na ang pagnanakaw!” Then proceeded to rattle off statistical figures which I think viewers don’t actually give a hoot. He digressed from the topic. I hereby declare Mel Chavez as the Ultimate Repository of Traditional Politicians’ Clichés. Clap. Tessie’s answers were tangential and flowery, and when asked whose government served better: Estrada’s or Arroyo’s, chrysanthemums, tulips, lilies, and a motley assortment of fauna began sprouting in the studio. I half-expected her to shake her booty while clutching mango branches.

The question raised for the fifth and last batch was about the sluggish Erap plunder case. Koko Pimentel safely gave his opinion, with legalities and all basically because he is a lawyer. He’s a bar topnotcher, you know. Ed Orpilla said, “…kulang sa pag-unawa at pagmamahal ang mamamayan…” Really? “Ang mahirap ay mahirap pa rin…dapat gawan ng solusyon ng administrasyon…” I rest my case.

As for the final question that went for everybody else, “Bakit kailangan namin kayo iboto?” For 30 seconds, do you actually think they can answer it without any line of rhetoric? And flowers? I will just enumerate the most captivating senatoriables and their gisted answers:

1. Gomez: “Vote me for my youthful perspective.”

2. Wood: “Isulong ang Charter Change.”

3. Lozano: just plain traditional rhetoric; no need to quote

4. Pichay: “Ako ang Tinig ng Mindanao.”

5. Pangilinan: “Because I’m an independent candidate”

6. Chavez: cliché, cliché, and nothing but cliché

7. Pimentel: “I’m a problem solver at heart.”

8. Orpilla: “I love statistics.”

Who are you going to vote for?

Their own survival kits

Friday, May 04, 2007

Still in slight fever slash sore throat mode, I decided to accompany my sister for her hair fix yesterday. I didn’t mind my being sick because I have this belief that if I ignored the negative vibes that attempt to overthrow me, they’ll all go away without me knowing it. So I dressed up and headed to Going Straight Salon.

Upon arrival at the salon there were exactly five people having the same idea as to having their hair groomed. Since I had no business inside the establishment I decided to keep myself busy – and since my head was beginning to throb very badly – by reading the stacks of magazine specially intended for waiting companions of the store’s customers. The mags were all back issues dating way back in the year 2005 to 06, and ranged from an all men’s fitness guide to housekeeping stuff for moms. Of course, men’s and women’s magazines were also there alongside stuff for teens and gadget freaks. I started flipping the pages of a teens’ mag.

There was nothing much to contemplate, except for some really infuriating part that managed to worsen my headache. There was a question asked to celebrities, and it went like this: “Complete the sentence: I wouldn’t be able to live without (blank) because (blank blank blank).” I thought this was interesting, but the celebrities proved it otherwise. There was one who said that he can’t live without the gym named after a precious element because he likes toning his body. Yeah, right. Judging from his physical features he seemed to forget to shape up his head because it’s the only visible part of his uber muscular body that is not proportional. A girl said something like, she can’t survive a day without her iPod, and because she loves music so much that in fact, she went to buy not just one but three Nanos for her “vast collection of songs.” What’s the point, I thought, stamping my foot after having the statement read. An iPod Nano can store 4GB worth of music files (assuming she bought the four-gig variant) , and that’s roughly around 1,000 songs; if she bought three of the same item, that’s just 12GB, and only 3,000 worth of music. She could’ve just bought the 80GB variant which can store around 30K songs, but I guess the idea didn’t occur to her, being to busy sticking up the lanyard in her ears.

A lady celebrity said, “…I can’t live without my cell phone…” Her statement reeks of mediocrity; it seems to me that her N91 is the only thing that keeps her alive, like a life support system. I checked out the specs of the thing. Hmmm. Wi-Fi. 3G. 4GB hard drive. 2-megapixel camera. There was no mention of the basic necessities for everyday living. How she did it with her phone I have got no idea. Another buff guy went on like, “I can’t live without my Mac. It’s been with me since I got in the industry blah blah blah.” I, myself, depend heavily on my laptop especially when I’m doing school work (or doing something for my blog), but since my mom gestated without the iBook attached to my umbilical cord I guess I could live without it. I just don’t know about that guy. Well, Mac has a lot to offer for those who are tired of the conventional PC, but it just couldn’t do your laundry, much less to assist you in brushing your teeth.

At which point I closed the magazine and put it away from me. This generation (in which I and the rest of the global community of the youth belong to) has been summoned by the powers that be known as capitalism to tweak their minds and think that technology – and other stuff that equate life with money, convenience, and power – is necessary for us to live. It’s like saying that iPods, Sony Vaios, iMac G5s, and PS3s are needed in order for us to continue breathing. They’ve already became necessities. I’m not a technophobe – hell, I love technology – but I’m not so narrow-minded to allow myself be bludgeoned in the head by such ridiculous ideas and notions that gadgets, expensive gyms, and other costly thingamajigs can replace the functions of my pancreas, gall bladder, lungs, and most importantly my brain.

I have other things to prioritize, and it includes my headache.

Stamp this posthaste.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

And so I hereby eat my words. I said that I'd be on a vacation and yet I have this post. I don't have so much to explain, but let me just say that I am afflicted with my favorite disease of all time, sore throat. It really hurts. And I'm feverish.

Our first destination flopped, we're now down to our next itinerary, i.e. Batangas. Meanwhile, I do hope things would get better including my throat since I'm really having a hard time.

By the way, why don't you check out a fairly new blog. By Mikee.

© 2007 Puckering Time | It's now or never by Mike.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission from the author.
Letter of intent should be typewritten in no less than 5,000 words, point 10, single-spaced, Verdana. The author is not kidding.