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Puckering Time

It's now or never.

Wrong gramming. Wrong pronounce.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

With the mushrooming of call centers in almost every possible rentable space in the metro, there is no doubt that most of the job-seekers nowadays would want to enter such a career. One must be really sure with full conviction that he will “work for a company unlike any other because [he] is not like everybody else.” I personally find this bit of statement reeking with irony and absurdity. Consider the declaration of superiority. It’s a call center by IBM. What sets it off from other call centers, I have no idea, but the fact that it is a call center means that it’s no different from, say, Convergys, e-Telecare, Sykes, or that stupefyingly annoying PLDT. And nowadays, most people seem to equate the word “lucrative” to call center. Judging from the blinding salaries beginners can receive, not to mention the incentives and probably bonuses, one could really be allured into entering the business.

But there was no mention of the sure-fire possibilities that one can turn into a) a zombie, or b) a pretentious twit who professes mediocre accentuation.

Aside from malls and chocolates, the MRT is one of my ultimate sources of happiness whenever I feel like jumping into the ravine of the indefinite destiny. Friday morning I was feeling slightly out of kilter for I was in a bad mood: no caffeine fix. I reached the MRT Taft station and my head began to throb: migraine. Lest I bring on the Armageddon at the most inconvenient time – the 6.30 am rush hour – I firmly grasped the handle bars on top of me, closed my eyes, and tried to doze off. Standing.

The train arrived at the Ayala station upon which a blustering vertically-challenged human being clutching his Nokia 3100 with his left hand onto his left ear boarded the second coach and stood beside me. (I hate employing politically correct grammar, but I would definitely be offending a lot of people if I didn’t.) I assume this clod works for a call center because of the lanyard dangling on his neck down to the navel. He was not the typical kind of person you’d wish to get along with. He conversed to the other party so loudly that his voice reverberated inside the train, and I feared him breaking the resonance frequency of the tempered glass panes. It’s not a good idea to contemplate. By the way, he spoke in full American accent, slang included. And he doesn’t even resemble a foreigner. More likely, he looks like a foreign material from hell.

“I will not tell you how I only got one hour of sleep! In my cubicle!”
Upon which he proceeded to talk about it in broadcast intensity. Hopefully it’s not the cubicle that first came into my mind.

“I (sic) eat senwitch and juice a hwile agow. Habachu, what jee-eet?”
Note that I wrote it the way he said it.

“Oh my gawd, I was there teww. Why didn’t we see each otha?”

“I’d berah geww to a messege paaahrlor later. I feel so (sic) stress. Wanna come with me?”

“Hey, I have the song you’re looking for. Hwat? You forgot it already? It’s by the Pussy Cut Dahls! Anyway, it’s in my iPahd.”

Message to instructors: please don’t let your trainees pass anything that would not justify your efforts in teaching them the proper way to speak the twang. It’s horrible and altogether embarrassing.

“Haven’t been to the cinemas lately. Ah, I know. Let’s watch Harry Patter!”
I restrained myself from laughing, lest I’d drown their conversation with my maniacal giggling and whatnot.

People, if you are so much confident with the way you speak and being a moronic laughing stock is not part of your grand scheme in life, find out first what phonetics means. Use it. It will help you. And for call center agents who still have a hangover from their jobs on the way home, be a responsible horde of communicators. Your accent may sound remarkable, probably enviable, but don’t bother reminding us that you know much better. That you have an edge than the rest of the crowd – do you actually know what you’re doing? If phonetics is too atrocious, it will be difficult for the listening crowd to distinguish what is real from what is phony, and you don’t have any right to be sadistic. You might even sow confusion to Harry Potter fans, and you don’t want to see boulders and pillboxes hurtling toward your general direction.

And please, find out what Freudian slips are. Avoid them


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Boredom kills more relationships than any number of toothpaste tubes squeezed at the wrong end." - Jessica Zafra, Chicken Pox for the Soul.

No, I’m not pining for attention. That remorseful idea didn’t even surface until some asshole brilliantly enlightened me with remarkable exuberance that I am indeed craving for attention. Attention from what, I have no idea. But my tact proved unnecessary for the question seemed not to qualify the pronoun What; more likely, it’s Who. I’ve been in a seemingly irrational but highly emotional state that I found myself not functioning very well these past few days. If getting real sleep poses a real challenge, imagine what it would be like the following morning when you flutter your eyes open, and even before your brain receives the proper signals going through your synapses reminding you to open your gaping mouth and express diplomatic greetings of Hellos and Good Mornings, you realize that it’s going to be another hell of a day, nothing new to brag about, and basically have no one to mend the frayed pieces into one.

Most people think that I’m bursting with happiness, judging from the fact that I engage in hysterical and oftentimes hilarious conversations prompting gales of laughter in the process. But behind that uproarious giggling and intellectual chitchats is an entirely different human being – a freakazoid, not at all a loner, but I’m alone nonetheless for I’ve been a celibate for a longish time. I feel like there’s a very large hole that I have to plug, but the problem is I don’t know where the hole is. I’ve been trying to divert my attention to lots of interesting stuff. For instance, gadgets. I’m a tech whore, and I spend a large chunk of my retail therapy sessions in techie shops. Also I try to lose myself in books, and reading must be done in coffee shops. I require myself to do this bit of ritual at least once a week or I’d get freakier. Apart from these, I also go out with friends, and I recently found out the real purpose of the existence of Chocolate Kiss in UP, which brings me to another kind of diversion: eating out. My choice of restaurant depends on my mood for that particular day, and thanks to my frequent mood swings I can actually compare which is better. From Mandarin Oriental to Jollibee, Café Breton to Figaro, Max Brenner to Brownies Unlimited, Masas to Barrio Fiesta, I owe my eating experiences to them for I therefore conclude hereon that I am not a picky eater as compared to what friends say.

Despite this seemingly quote completeness unquote, I still feel a little dullness. I have resources within my reach, I do well in school, but then I’m not at all happy. You know those flicks wherein the filthy rich protagonists undergo some sort of a crisis, feel very discontented and gloomy with their lives, and find out in the long run that the only probable solution for their existential anguish is to renounce all their worldly treasures, and then they live happily ever after? I think I’m just like one of them, except that I am not filthy rich and have no worldly treasures to renounce for if I so much give up all what is left of me I would definitely end up a stinking cadaver.

What’s the point I’m driving at? I’m kind of missing someone. Kind of. That someone from my not-so-glimmering but nonetheless exciting past. Been having attempts to forget Someone, but she just wants to stay in my subconscious. A friend advised me to look for other prospects. That way I wouldn’t be feel so fucked up or something like that. Then I did what he advised me to do: I went to serious girl-hunting. For the first few attempts at groveling I found the experience quite exciting, but I realized that as I went along (with my friend as a companion) it was pointless. The only available flesh that would fling upon me would either look like a gargoyle or has a face that launched a thousand…missiles. I would eye for lovely beautiful girls then I’d get turned off for two simple reasons: intellectual differences and extreme bitchiness – and I hate the combination of the two. These phenomena always happen. Okay, not at all times, but on a regular basis. Occasionally I get to hook a potential mate, but the effects are way beyond human recognition of the word relationship. There are bombarding of nuclear insults, bombarding of nuclear-strength juices (ha ha!), and cleaning up the mess is just nasty, and it’s usually me who waves the white flag, letting it billow in the breeze for I really can’t be so indifferent with my feelings – at least I’m being transparent; other guys are so much obsessed with their egos, and letting a girl step on them is so like building the Pyramids single-handedly. You can look them up in my previous posts, and you can conclude that I wasn’t really in a relationship. I try to work things out. I try. But oftentimes it just doesn’t work.

Friends declare that if I try to figure out where my destined special someone is, Special Someone will not arrive at my doorstep. They added that Special Someone, at the right time and space continuum, will turn up effortlessly and will give me that perfect blend of smooches. Hmmm, sounds pretty uplifting. I can’t wait any further.

The Deathly Callous

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter 7 is now out. So?

I was never curious about Harry Potter. For some reason or so ever since the first book went to circulation and the first movie which happened to a blockbuster hit a couple of years ago, I did not feel a sense of responsibility or whatsoever to know what the commotion was all about. I am very proud to say that I haven’t seen any of the HP movies, and haven’t read any of the seven books. I am a happy citizen for I am spared of the problems incurred during the brain tweaking process. There’s no need to contemplate answers for inundated questions, viz. Who’s going to kick the bucket in the last series? Why did J.K. Rowling vanquish (put name of character here)? What is her intention in doing so? Why? Why not? What happened to Voldemort’s nose if that would be called a nose to being with? Why are people so engrossed with a bunch of witches? Technically we have our own adaptation of witches here, although they don’t look so aesthetically sound, but then both versions do witchcraft, so why choose the imported and good-looking (I reviewed this question over, and suddenly I realized the most logical answer for this.)? If Harry dies, are we expecting liberation of thoughts from most HP barmy fanatics? If he doesn’t, will there be an eighth book? A ninth? What about a tenth? If J.K. Rowling dies, who will get the grand royalties from her books and movies? If she doesn’t, is it a big deal?

While the whole world rejoices at the height of this trend, I am expecting the following to take place.

  • Harry Potter mall tours, provided the event coordinators could persuade the whole cast of HP, which equates to vast sums of greenbacks
  • Harry Potter look-alike contests in Eat Bulaga
  • Harry Potter merchandises featuring the limited edition close-up of Voldemort’s nose
  • Harry Potter costume party – tops, for it happened in Greenbelt
  • Harry Potter signature eyeglasses
  • Harry Potter undergarments
  • Harry Potter Bar and Restaurant along Tomas Morato
  • Limited edition Havaianas Hava-HP series
  • Harry Potter Musical
  • The Best of Harry Potter compilation CD
  • Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Harry Potter
  • Apple iPotter, the successor of the iPod
  • Starbucks HarRonMione Blended Frappuccino. The taste, I absolutely have no idea.
  • Official Harry Potter and the Gobbler of Fire, Brimstone, and Scorpions fans’ club

Ignorance is bliss. What does not kill me makes me stronger.

Primetime MRT flick

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It was around half past four in the afternoon. Standing inside the second coach of the MRT bound to Taft Avenue, I was trying to keep my balance for the train kept on swaying. I’m definitely not a klutzy person, but the rocking was a little violent that my hands almost slipped from the handrails – it’s a good thing that my traction kept me in place or else people would’ve seen me do somersaults at the most inconvenient time. After I gained stability everything else went on smoothly as if near-devastation scenarios didn’t happen.

In front of me was a young couple from my school (both of them wore IDs). They made a beautiful couple, like they were really meant to join each other’s hand in the first place. For a moment the pink runny mass inside my skull started recalling my sojourn in the wilderness which took me three months to realize that I was hiking on the wrong mountain. It was – how shall I put this – exciting but at the same time fatal, literally, for I threw and broke a deadly object – a tall glass from a coffee shop – when I found about the crop circles in my own territory. Anyway, enough of this crap. Going back to the couple, we three seemed to have something in common. You know, that shaky feeling of a relationship on the verge of going kaput, or at the very least a badly frayed one. I furtively watched them from my peripheral vision, lest they sue me with invasion of privacy. They were talking subtly and most people didn’t get to notice, but I was able to eavesdrop thanks to my excellent hearing.

The two were seriously discussing about some topic involving a certain text message that the girl kept on bringing up.

“Bakit hindi mo kaagad sinabi sa’kin?”
She was wearing a black shirt, khaki jeans, and a pair of Havs. Keeping her hair fixed was a pony tail.
“Kelangan pa bang malaman ko ‘yun sa iba, at kay (name of a girl) pa ha!”

“Sasabihin ko naman talaga sa’yo ‘yun eh, naunahan lang ako ni (name of girl).”
Dressed in navy blue shirt, dark jeans, and a pair of Chucks, he seemed to be very problematic. The guy was as thin as me, and he’s a little over 0.01% more handsome than the author of this blog who was wearing a white shirt with blue “90” print, dark jeans, and rubber shoes.

Intermittent silence as the three of us trudged along the rails away from the hustle of Edsa below. Occasionally I glimpse upon the humongous tarpaulins strapped on steel frameworks and wonder if those ads really appeal to the viewing public.

“Alam mo ‘yung text mo kanina, parang hindi ka sincere eh. As if you’re taking for granted all the efforts I’ve made to contact you. Grabe ka naman, konting consideration lang sa nararamdaman ko ang hinihingi ko from you.”
I don’t know if the girl was fuming mad, but I can sense it nonetheless.

The guy replied with remarkable enthusiasm.

A few days ago over Shaw Boulevard I overheard two people commenting on the upcoming Disney Pixar animated movie, Ratatouille (pronounced as ra ta tu’ wee). “Gusto kong mapanood ‘yun o,” said the guy at my near left. “Alin?” asked the girl beside him. “Ayun, yung RataTWIL. Parang masaya eh. Ano ba ‘yun, daga?” Somebody give that guy a Nobel Peace Prize.

Shaking her head, she turned to him and asked something like,

“Ano, kelan tayo mag-uusap? Bakit ayaw mong magsalita?”

“Next time na lang. Sorry talaga.”
If I were just a good counselor I might’ve jumped in their very peaceful conversation. I was about to break into a spiel when the girl grabbed the book that was being held by the guy probably to awaken his senses and exclaimed,

“Mahal mo pa ba ko?”

Dead silence. I was watching a cheap flick that was so captivating I vow to bring a videocam to document future encounters.

“Ewan ko sa’yo. Bahala ka sa buhay mo. Kausapin mo sarili mo!”
At which point I almost burst into a mad laughter. That scene was so very 19 months ago! I could see the guy cringing from those unsightly death rays. Before I could ever do crunches, I covered my mouth and tried to divert my attention by looking at more deadly billboards.

When I sneaked back to take another look I caught the girl rolling her eyeballs and uttering statements that gave me another irresistible urge to bray with laughter.

“Ewan ko sa’yo!”
I stopped myself short and bit my lips.

The MRT arrived at Taft Avenue in unruffled silence, though I have to admit that I was quietly chuckling. Both of them were still not on speaking terms when they went out of the train, and I wish them good luck. I half-expect them to push each other off the ramp but they went straight to the escalator and queued up. In the event things start to get murky, sweet nothings turn out to be atrocious brawling, and human existence seems ultimately futile, I know of one sure-fire solution that could actually help liberate them. Composed of two syllables, the effects and after-math are very astonishing and life-altering.

“I quit.”

*ubo* ... *singhot*

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Colds. I just hate catching it, or should I say being inflicted with it. For one I couldn’t function very well because I have to watch for my nose full of icky snot that cannot resist the pull of gravity; two, my throat swells like hell, and it itches so terribly, man; three, my olfactory sense suddenly becomes non-apparent due to uber-gooey viscous muck blocking my airways, and my predilection to food gets disoriented which completely obliterates the idea of eating out during the weekend. At this moment I assume that you know that a cold is not a disease; it’s just an indication that filthy micro shits are invading your insides. What’s more annoying is that a cold is incurable because a number of viruses can cause this irritating condition, and commercial medicines just lessen the aftermath it sets off. But for me it all boils down to one thing: I hate colds, and I abhor it with my life.

I just felt that my condition’s getting worse last Friday. I was at our usual hang-out place in UP when I suddenly had seizures of violent sneezing. That’s my problem, uncontrollable (and usually hysterical) sneezing. When my nose gets cranked up, it won’t actually pull to a stop until I have drunk the necessary medicine, i.e. antihistamines, but then I didn’t have one so I resorted to drowning myself with water which made me a lot better. Tranquilizers might help, but narcolepsy is not my thing, and I like being a hyper kiddo. I once had an awful experience with antihistamines when I was in high school. I drank the 25 mg capsule form of Benadryl AH before I went off to school, and even before the teacher opened his mouth I was starting to lose consciousness. Everything was going round in circles, my eyes were falling out, and my whole system was beginning to hit the REM stage. Antihistamines are supposed to make one sleepy. I forgot the reason why, but probably to rest the inflicted person because 20 sneezes in succession are not a pleasant state of affairs. And you should know that every time a person sneezes, his heart skips a beat for a second.

So I tried bed rest. I prescribed myself to put my feet up and try to forget every thought that haunts my subconscious upon which I fell asleep for 3 hours. When I came to it was past 8 pm and I heard Kris Aquino and the contestant shrieking what might have been distress signal yelps during prehistoric times. I decided to get myself propped up but then a sudden wave of inexplicable headache pounded my left parietal cranium. It was so bad that I screamed with pain, but it was pointless because my voice was drowned by the loud TV volume in the living room. That headache could probably drive me nuts if I contained it, so what I did was I got up and went straight to the medicine cabinet for a dose of mefenamic acid. I’ve been an avid fan of Dolfenal ever since I started experiencing migraines, and it actually works for me. Fifteen minutes tops, and goodbye migraine. And once again it proved its efficacy when I gulped in a 250-mg tablet to help lessen the throbbing pain in my head, after which I went straight to my PC and tried to write about something, but for one problem. I just couldn’t concentrate basically because Deal or No Deal was on our TV screen, and my computer’s just beside it.

Anyway, that’s beside the point. I still have colds, and its effect on my body is just so terrible. As I’ve said my throat itches so bad that it makes me want to reach for a metal scourer and scratch my throat with it. And with this my voice is getting hoarse, being extremely aggravated by incessant coughing plus I did some hosting slash emcee-ing stint with my sister ala Nicolehyala and Chris Tsuper mode a while ago so I believe everything’s getting really worse. Plus I have this awful feeling that I’d be showcasing my report tomorrow (Monday, 16 July) in Broadcasting. And on Wednesday I’d be having a recording for Radio. I’m really stressing myself.

Aside from water therapy, calamansi and other fruit juices, and Pei Pa Koa, what else can you prescribe to help alleviate my condition?

Existential vacuum

Friday, July 13, 2007

Could somebody please tell me why I feel so drained whenever Kapamilya Deal or No Deal is on TV? It bothers the hell out of me.

The only period of time I could sit in front of my PC is during the evening, and unfortunately the computer is juxtaposed to the television set, and I still have to let that program of exaggerated creatures finish off. (Probably they're postmodernists as the players can assume different personalities; then again, they could be borderline schizoids or just having fun with multiple personalities.) Which equates to loss of will to blog because I tend to get cranky when I'm annoyed - well, who wouldn't be?

Have to fabricate worst-case scenario remedies. But I'm still wondering why.

Manic-depressive Monday

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I am a very punctual person. As much as possible, I see to it that I arrive at my destination at least 30 minutes earlier than projected. Unlike others who are afflicted with a severe case of chronic tardiness, I seldom get lagged behind schedule. I don’t know, I’ve been like this since the time being. (I’ve probably assimilated this from my parents.) For instance, during the iBlog3 event last 14 April, I was the earliest human being to arrive at the façade of the School of Economics Auditorium – I set foot on the grounds roughly 7 am. I got there way, way much earlier than the organizers of the event who arrived one and a half hours later. There was no one around to talk with, except for a couple of people who asked for a light, and some religious being who attempted to dissuade me from my Christian beliefs. The corollary to this positive attribute is, unfortunately, drastic and most of the time infuriating. I am the one who always wait until my eyeballs desiccate and fall out from their sockets. Friends trickled in one by one, and by the time we were almost complete it was already a few minutes past nine. The curse of the perpetually on-the-dot.

But then pernicious adversaries are always present to rile me. Aside from extreme tardiness, events conspire to intervene with my daily activities, thus preventing me to go about with my plans. Last Friday I made a brutal mistake of traversing the sidewalks of Ayala Avenue in Makati instead of taking public transportation. I have already stretched out 400 meters when suddenly my feet refused to take orders from me, and instead gave me warning signals. They poised a sit down strike if I didn’t stop moving. I thought, if I so much bend at their will I would be considered a loser, but since I was sensing pain in my ankles – and I was going to meet a friend at SM MoA a few minutes later – I tried to hail a cab. I tried. Isn’t it amazing how every time you feel a little less than sluggish and decide to flag down a cab, they would pointedly avoid you, pretend they didn’t see you even if the whole planet saw the cabbie roll down the window to ask for your intended route, or simply refuse to ferry you to your destination for unknown reasons. And when you have ample time to kill, those same evil cabbies present themselves, even honk furiously and stop right in front of you – and you don’t even need them. It’s a fact of life, isn’t it? I went all the way to SM Makati and made an effort to summon a taxi. I must’ve looked like some important personage for there were exactly five cabs that stopped short even if I didn’t actually call them. I chose the white Toyota Vios for aesthetic reasons. Tell you what, you insatiable cabbies, we all know that times are hard but karma strikes to bring out the worst kind of life you can possibly imagine on the grounds that you were choosy with your passengers in which case how dare you. Serves you right, scums.

Yesterday was one of the most horrible days of my life, not counting relationships that went kaput and pimple breakouts. This has nothing to do with cabbies, by the way. I went out at exactly 5.30 am to avoid the rush hour traffic. I hailed a van plying the route to Baclaran, and seated complacently at the window side of the first row seat. When we got to this certain point in Bacoor which is notoriously known for traffic, we all got stuck in, well, traffic. But it was not your ordinary kind of traffic. I’ve been totally immersed with the concept of traffic, but I cannot say that I’m absolutely immune with it. For the first 20 minutes of pure potential energy I was still enjoying – the stereo was blaring Love Radio – but when 30 minutes had elapsed I began to feel annoyed. My butt was beginning to get numb, a part of my head was pulsing due to migraine, and I was getting late for my 8.30 am class. I was virtually helpless; I couldn’t do anything because I’ve already paid my fare, and if I so much got hacked off and decided to descend from the van, all the more it would be hellish because the road was covered with mud due to heavy rains that befell the night before, and there’s no other available means of transportation that could accommodate me. The concept of free will is totally void in traffic. So I decided to stay and wait for Godot.

Two grueling hours of stationary position is not a pleasurable experience. At 7.53 am I was still in Cavite. And my school is at Quezon City! And my Shakespeare subject starts at exactly 8.30! I couldn’t bring myself to get intensely angry for it would be extremely pointless anyway, and the amount of outrageous emotion I burst out is directly proportional to the length of time I need to be pacified. Then for some streak of the unknown the van started to accelerate. For a total stretch of 20 meters. All I wanted to do was to laugh then cry then stamp my feet. I thought I was going crazy. I tried to doze off, but it didn’t work. The woman beside me was fully unaware of my concealed rage; she was sleeping so soundly I feared of being vacuumed by her nostrils. Then the guy at my back joined forces with this noisy lady, and together they blasted the morning away with an earsplitting duet with lyrics of unknown descent for I could barely understand what a snore is all about.

An eternity later I arrived at Baclaran, and took a jeepney to the MRT Taft Avenue station. After 35 minutes, I was at the Quezon Avenue station and hurriedly went to get a cab. I landed on UP 9.10 am, perfectly unscathed but totally boiling with rage.

By the way, I was absent from my English 23 class.

Sweat and toil(et)

Friday, July 06, 2007

My friend Tim and I used to spend luxurious lapses of time in Makati and do some food tripping at several affordable restaurants. This afternoon we went to SM Mall of Asia. At Starbucks we were greeted by a welcoming committee of crews which was good because I tend not to revisit a coffee shop if the personnel are so grouchy, as if they non-verbally address to me their low compensation from the company. Anyway, I was feeling a little extreme, and did an impression of a really perky and good-natured guy – something I don’t do anywhere else. I talked to the service crew at the counter, and I didn’t care much if I seemed to act so chummy with her. This was weird, knowing that I, Mr. Sungit. I kidded and laughed hysterically with her, which was really fun. Tim looked bedazzled; I heard his mind saying, “I haven’t the slightest idea who that guy is.” Among the questions I asked, my most favorite was, Do I get a freebie? Ha ha, of course I wasn’t serious about this, but the crew who took my order found it hilarious, and she proceeded to show me her uvula.

After I got my usual Venti Java Chip and Tim with his Venti Mocha, we decided to stay outside, doing my usual puffing and our traditional ogling with our telescopic eyes. He seemed to be enjoying the company of his coffee so I didn’t bother joining the conversation. Instead, I looked around the periphery of our place. There seemed to be a common denominator among all passersby I saw. Foreigners. Lots of foreigners. I have never seen such a proliferation of alien blood, with the exception of international airports. Koreans dominate the population of foreigners I had spotted, and second to the number were Americans. They were walking to and fro, and they look as if they’re lost or something. At our right was a couple, a Japanese-looking guy who seemed to be in his forties and with him was a lady in her late twenties – hmmm, the popular “4M” principle began to circle around my head. In front of us was an American, smoking on Winston reds. At our back right were a group of French people – I think they’re French because I overheard their nasal accents.

My professor in Geography told us that SM MoA is strategically located at its current location in Pasay for economic reasons. It’s near airports, and major roads from Roxas Boulevard, Aguinaldo Highway, and Edsa Extension lead to this monstrosity. People leaving from the country could make a quick stopover to SM MoA for spur-of-the-moment shopping sprees, caffeine fixes perhaps, and probably restroom breathers basically because one cannot pee in so-called pink portalets (peeenk portable toilets) strewn along the stretch of Baclaran, lest s/he contracts various kinds of terminal diseases, or at the very least a terrible headache for the stench is so bad it seeps into the bone marrow. SM MoA is so capitalist-driven if you think about it; you’ll find almost anything you need in there at the biggest mall in the Philippines. And then I remembered that the owner is a Chinese.

After an hour or so, our tranquil state was interrupted by loud booming sounds of brass instruments. Then from a corner came a marching band called…SM Marching Band. It wasn’t really a full ensemble – then again, I don’t know what comprises a full ensemble, but I staunchly believe that it really wasn’t. The players had this costume that made them resemble rejected applicants of the Marine Corps. I thought they were just going to pass by and make rounds along the paved walkway, but the most dreadful part came in just as instantly: they performed right in front of us. The marching band was so hysterical, I almost fainted from laughing. If you haven’t seen them, don’t even contemplate meeting them in flesh. The music blaring from their instruments – consisting of clarinets, a tuba, trombones, a French horn, trumpets, bass and snare drums – reminded me of that movie Rocky Balboa, and the kind of music one associates with royalty strutting on red carpet, waving frantically until their hands fall out of their joints.

But the most hilarious part was the choreography. The band members formed four rows with five players in each row. And to express their high level of enthusiasm with their joyous and exciting muzak, they swayed from left to right, back and forth, turned around on their places, changed positions, and swung again from left to right, rocked their spines back and forth, spun around in 180 degrees, and made me laugh so much more. Everyone else showed a generous amount of passionate raving which they manifested through remorseless clapping of hands that prompted the band to perform another atrocious stunt, flailing and shaking their heads and all. This time I was cheesed off. I appreciate brass bands – the effort of blowing a steady stream of air onto those twisted tubes could probably inflate the player’s balls, but the second performance was so annoying it makes me want to grab the tuba, run amuck, and hammer them.

Then again, when the performance was over, it made me think. There must be a better way to make a living. Have to get my resumes ready.

It's something I still have to figure out.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Some of you may be harboring delusions that I am a writer. I am most definitely not a writer. You have to believe me. You have probably read some of my posts in this blog, and have actually clicked on the Post a Comment link or have made a glorious decision to hit the Close button altogether because I have cut you short of all the goodness in life from my frequent blah state which I translate into words – and for that matter I apologize. Then again, I’m just blogging so please don’t take offense, as if I’m bringing on the Armageddon.

Okay, I was once news editor of our quasi school circulation in High School. I was tasked to do the job basically because no one can be as obsessive-compulsive with correct grammar as I do, but then I also get departures from my own OC behavior. I love to hear people talk, and try to correct anything problematic whenever there is a chance, but I also enjoy reading scribbles – then I proofread them. My teacher discovered this bit of talent of mine, and then she recommended me to join the Journalism Club upon which I took a dinky diagnostic exam and then poof! I became news editor! Then I was burdened with stacks of paperwork for me to bring home which effectively annoyed the hell out of me. You don’t know how hard it is to proofread simple fifty-cent sentences; by simple I mean retarded. I’m serious. I just find it all the more annoying the fact that those so-called correspondents were able to make it to the screening, and they seemed to connive with each other because majority of their submitted article drafts had one revolving main topic. Then I used red ink – bloody-red Pilot V5 sign pen I much preferred – to encircle, underline all seemingly gawky sentences, and make equally infuriating remarks about their atrocious grammatical and syntax errors by the time I have reached the “###” sign which means Nothing Follows or the end of an article. (“End” here means “put to a stop” although it sounds much more fun to just terminate the writer once and for all, ha ha!)

Apart from my being a pestilential toad to aspiring paper writers, I was also the undisputed champion in our Spelling quiz bees. From freshman to senior year in high school, no single soul had overthrown me from my seat as the title holder for Spelling. There were some who made fatal attempts to oust me. They failed – basically because I didn’t and wouldn’t let them win, nya ha ha. This was how I studied for the quiz bee: I take out two humongous World Book Dictionaries, my Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, and then I try to read and understand every word entry. This was a grueling task for it required patience, time, and effort, not to mention the proper way of ignoring the tranquilizing effects of reading. I don’t memorize, by the way; it would be hellish.

Then I went to UP and took up units in English. This feat effectively changed my perspective over my fondness in the language. I stupidly assumed that College English was no better than High School English, and by the end of the semester I was rewarded with a very wonderful dramatic grade of 3.0. I nearly flunked this course because I was bad at term papers. I don’t really hate the way the course was handled, but it was a factor. Plus I am horrible at systematic writing, you know, following specific rules and stuff. But I discovered the wonders of term paper writing – actually, it was more of a need – when two of my professors in two major subjects in Speech made a brilliant idea to require the class to submit somewhat a baby thesis with specific prerequisites. I almost ripped my skin off, and crawled and slithered on a bed of salt. But it paid off; I didn’t get a grade lower than 1.75. (A “2” would freak me out, actually.)

Then I started to do blogging. This makes perfect sense because I once loathed writing articles and journals yet I’m clacking away to do posts like this. And then I would come across good bloggers who were mistaken with my writing style. Honestly I don’t know what a writing style is – I got a 3.0 in English, remember? There is no need for comparison to other well-renowned writers and/or bloggers; just to reiterate my disclaimer, I am not a writer. I usually write the way I want to express things in usual everyday conversations. As with the issue of highfalutin vocabulary, I think it’s a product of too much reading. You know, the more words you ingest, the more it will get stuck inside you like a piece of bubble gum entangled on your hair. Thesauri and dictionaries can help, too. The sad thing on my part is that I lost my thesaurus somewhere in the vast plains of my room, our dictionary is too bulky to be hauled out from the shelf, and it took me years to discover the meaning of Shift+F7. I’m not kidding.

Now if you are going to ask me for advice, I’m afraid I’m the wrong person to inquire. I can’t even help myself with my problem in coherence, much less to assist you on how to be an effective writer. Maybe we could just put it this way. If your goal in life is to write, then go ahead, no one’s stopping you, but you have to be 120.936099% sure that you really want to be a [good] writer. Listen to what’s in your head. It could be telling you something, but which should not be mistaken with “Satan told me to kill people” kind of voice. Write what you know. Pure unembellished facts could be possible but that would be boring. You have to preempt that readers would want something warped and funny, or something tragic and lachrymal. And be careful with plagiarism.

Again, just write what you know. If you don’t know anything, then you got yourself a problem.


© 2007 Puckering Time | It's now or never by Mike.
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Letter of intent should be typewritten in no less than 5,000 words, point 10, single-spaced, Verdana. The author is not kidding.