Saturday, August 18, 2007
I’d be going on an indefinite leave of absence. For several days I’ve been so pissed off with my life, so bored out of my f***ing skull that I occasionally wished that I’d just fling myself upon an onrushing vehicle. Or something like it to the point that I’m beginning to lose my conscious will and full conviction to blog about…anything.
Be back when I’m damn ready.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Accounts of five generic types of human beings I encounter on an almost daily basis - and I don't have to be in hell. I hope you’re not one of them.
1. Those people who, in the early hours of the morning, stink like hell and have the gall to raise their armpits of death in public.
If you commute going to school or work, you’d probably agree that these creatures really exist. They would complacently plant their butts right next to you, even manage to scrunch their moist and clammy bodies to your own, and you can forget about breathing because for the next thirty minutes of your life all that your olfactory glands can sense is the smell of pungent decaying maggots that slices through your flesh and eats away your bones – then you’d regret leaving your portable oxygen tank at home.
Their malodorous hygienic deficiencies vary in different levels and strength, from the subtle and oftentimes seemingly innocuous type you wouldn’t notice until the creature is within three inches away from you to the ballistic portent of earth-shaking intensity you wished you always had a pocket flamethrower so as to minimize any epidermal contact in the process. I am told that people with such abhorrent bodily odors are oblivious to their condition to the point of being so ignorant about it – doesn’t it occur to them that by accidentally inhaling large amounts of the vile bodily excretions can cause fainting spells or extremely unbearable headaches? Hello people, ever heard of deodorants? They’re very cheap, like twenty bucks or so.
2. Those inconsiderate clods who fart inside elevators and other enclosed – and airconditioned! – spaces.
Oh please, don’t get me started. It’s probably the deadliest weapon of mass destruction. I’ve been through a lot of agonizing experiences of this kind, and it’s not at all pleasurable. Your mind wanders amid the high-rising skyscrapers and frenetic billboards of Edsa while serenely riding the MRT when suddenly a funky detesting odor penetrates your soul, further distracting your faculties for more than a minute or so depending on the exhaust fan setting. It is very disgusting. Same with elevator scenes where the environment is warmer and therefore more conducive to cranium-splitting headaches due to melodious aftermaths. If those gases were flammable I could’ve seen actual explosions.
Then all people within half a meter’s radius, hankies covering their noses, would search for the perpetrator, express their awful disgust complete with cusswords and all possible dehumanizing clichés, and then deny themselves of the crime. People, we are not sure who among us is behind this hideous felony, but don’t make the others suspect you by broadcasting clues and stuff by being so defensive about the matter. Just cover your noses, shut your freaking mouth, and wish that moron to die from his own miserable inconsideration.
3. Odd couples who publicly display their passionate affection for the audience to see.
As the spokesperson of the singles community, I most emphatically don’t feel resentful for choosing to remain single for an indefinite period of time. In your haste to exhibit supremacy, you may have forgotten that I mentioned the word odd. Here, I’m offering my thesaurus, you can look up for its synonyms.
I am reminded of that revolving text message about the types of couples according to how they miraculously entered a relationship based solely on physical attributes. Whenever I see odd couples hanging around, wrapping their arms to the one person they’ve pledged undying love with (blecch!), smooching and giggling with eyes fluttering in mid air, I immediately remember the last lines of the text message; it says, “Kapwa ko, mahal ko.” How very apt. Pardon me for jumping in – I am all for freedom of expression, but could you please keep it to a minimum? We also need privacy.
4. Those people who stare at you for no apparent reason.
For one, they make you very paranoid, the fact that they’d nail their eyes on you as if counting every flaw and pothole on your face. Now I am not the one whom you would fondly describe as “good-looking,” although I must say that I don’t look ugly; I don’t even dwell in between either. But this always happens, and again, in varying degrees. Now if you are trying to mock me with your soulful stare on the grounds that you look far much better than I do, I am very sorry for not possessing the physical characteristics of an accidental genetic experiment, i.e. you, but I’ll see what I can do about your problem. But if you look like a dehydrated prune to begin with, and you start ogling me from head to foot, how dare you.
If gouging out eyeballs weren’t a heinous crime I must’ve blinded hundreds.
5. Braggarts who flaunt their mobile phones from their pockets for the whole universe to see, and engage in very loud conversations.
I may condone such a behavior if you’re a businessman who needs to entertain phone calls with a Nokia E90, but knowing that you’re just one of us I am inclined to think that you just want attention. Then there are those who bring out not just one but three (or five, maybe six, eight at most if you’re an octopus) different cellphones, whipping them out one after the other – this person’s probably into selling bootleg items. But it’s amazing how these people could maintain three working units from obviously three different network subscriptions. Remember that scene in Freaky Friday when the mom’s phone (I forgot her name) rang and she has to rummage inside her bag in order to find out which gadget is making a buzz? What if those phones ring all at the same time? Imagine what great source of entertainment it may bring to the viewing public.
As for the broadcasting part, see related post.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Rats. I hate rats. Which is not to say that I freak out whenever I see them, but I loathe them with a passion. Those disgusting filthy vermins really need to be annihilated like cockroaches, although I much prefer roaches because in just one swing of a hand together with a powerful 1,000 Newtons of robust masculine force those critters could immediately enter a state of nonexistence. Rats need to be addressed differently, and no amount of whacking and projectile slippers can wipe them out from this planet.
A few days ago I went into some sort of immersion with my friend along the road less traveled in West Avenue. All the while I thought West Avenue houses the opulent ghettoes of the filthy and oftentimes indifferent rich, but I found out that as you go along the narrow streets of the place slum areas would smack right in front of your face. My friend is a nursing student from a school I will not mention here for personal reasons, and he coerced me into acting as his personal assistant. “Sure, so long as you’d answer my lunch,” I told him on the phone. “No problem, I might even treat you with free coffee,” he said as if he’s bribing me. And on a Saturday morning armed with basic survival necessities like alcohol, wet wipes, and bottles of mineral water we set out on an expedition.
It was a dingy alien territory, but far much inhabitable than other places I’ve seen in the Tondo area, for instance. The tapered winding roads would occasionally have cracks and potholes, which were the very conditions not favorable for car enthusiasts. We took a tricycle going to the designated vicinity where my friend is supposed to collect health information from at least 30 residents. I asked him why we don’t just get the records from the Barangay Hall; he said that he needed first hand information because those records are probably outdated. He warned me about bag and cellphone snatchers. “Itago mo ‘yang remote control mo,” referring to my humongous Communicator. “Even if you really can’t help it, ‘wag mong ipakita na nandidiri ka,” he croaked. “Hoy, mas maarte ka sa’kin. Nandidiri ka nga sa dugo, nursing student ka pa man din,” I retorted with full conviction.
We arrived at The Place and much to my surprise it was cleaner than what I had envisioned. Okay, it wasn’t so neat and chic for it was still shabby, but it’s tolerable. Houses were like town houses juxtaposed to each other, most of which having second floor levels and a dinky sari-sari store in the first floor. Occasionally there were dog poop – some still fresh and some fossilized – strewn along the narrow alley, which was the designated playpen of the children. A little over 15 meters from the main road was a junk shop. My friend and I traversed the way towards the junk shop, and with the help of two Barangay officials we collected 30 individuals and conducted the survey inside the shop’s premises.
The people were very nice even if most of them were not familiar with the word deodorant – or toothbrush. I had a conversation with a woman in her late 20’s and she kept apologizing about the situation of their place. She added that her family is a native of Cebu, and discontented with their life there they flew to Manila thinking they could have a much easier lifestyle only to find out that Manila is harsher and “parang walang awa” (merciless) to poor people like her. “Hindi kami makabalik sa Cebu kasi mahal ang pamasahe,” she told me. My friend was busy asking the mothers of the children about family histories and such. I was busy trying hard not to inhale as much bad air as possible.
About twenty, thirty minutes had passed when I felt that my feet were poising a sit down strike, so I went to find something to lean on. I found this not-so empty space near a bunch of scrap metals and dismembered parts of electrics fans and rusty car parts and since my feet were starting to kill me I hovered and raised my left foot a bit on a car radiator. Scarcely had I relaxed my foot when I felt a little tugging in the right part of my pants, the one left standing. I thought that my pants were hooked by one of those scrap materials so I jerked my right leg. Only to find out that the tugging persisted, and the horrible thing was I started to sense little claws crawling towards my leg. A small rat mistook my hairy leg for a pole! I shook my right leg violently pulling up my pants to see where the abominable creature had gone. I saw the filthy organism fleeing its way towards a crevice of a house, passing by my shoes without excusing itself. Eewww. How gross can it get? I immediately whipped out my alcohol and marinated my right leg fearing an apocalyptic event: What if the rat left trails of urine on my leg?
I quickly left the place where I stayed and rushed over to broadcast the petrifying incident to my friend who was then gulping a bottle of softdrink. For some streak of parallelism he told me a similar story happened to him. He was gathering his notebooks, papers, and stuff and when he was about to stash everything he felt something odd inside his bag. A soft and furry sort of thing was rummaging through the bag’s side pocket. When he opened the latch he saw a brown rat shrieking in obvious horror upon seeing my friend – naah, it was him who squealed. He atrociously beat his bag trying to exorcise the presence of the rat, which was successful for it scurried away. He fondly remembered how the rat smelled like hell – he said it was unimaginable.
We seriously have to think of ways how to destroy and wipe out the entire rodent population even if it seems so trivial; to paraphrase a line in The Catcher in the Rye, it’s like planning to erase all the “Fuck you” signs in the world. If I’m not mistaken, the population density of rats in India is higher than those of human inhabitants. Eewww. Gross. Note to the rats: You shall never achieve world domination. Mark my words.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Hey, it’s August, and do you know what it means?
Like, hello. Although we don’t actually feel it, it’s the Buwan ng Wika thing here in the PI. Aren’t you glad about it? You’re so mean (in Poveda school girl tone). The Philippines is so exotic it’s the only country that celebrates the existence of its vernacular language. Isn’t that amazing? We observe this kind of nonsensical event to commemorate the Filipino language. Haven’t heard of any other country that does the same thing – do you actually think the Americans and the Japanese do it?
But since we’re citizens of this country, all we can do is to make the most fun out of it. Yeah, creating something from nothing. Of course it’s a daunting task for it requires the average person to develop either a high sense of humor or probably schizophrenia. But then again, boredom is one of the major reasons why suicidal attempts exist, so we might as well address this problem.
Just how adept and versatile are you? I have this bit of activity for you, dear readers. This is patterned from an activity in UP I fondly remember when I was still a freshman. It boosted the curiosity of all passersby in the AS Lobby. Here is a list of 15 statements that you have to translate in Swahili. No, in English or Filipino, depending on how they are stated. Try anyway.
- Masarap kumain ng ginataang alupihang dagat at pinaupong manok.
- Tinitighiyawat ka ba sa mani?
- Kung hindi mo ako lulubayan, kukutusan kita.
- Nanggigigil ako kapag nakikita ko si Apple.
- Isinga mo iyang sipon mo, huwag mong singhutin pabalik.
- (taken from Giniling Festival’s “Tsong, Boypren Mo Pokpok”) Nakasusulasok, nakaririmarin, nakapanghihilakbot, nakakasuklam.
- Nakakasuya ang kwek-kwek.
- Your life story is cadaverously beautiful.
- That jewelry is an affordable luxury.
Friday, August 03, 2007
This is Greenbelt.
Is it really the Triangle North of Makati, or Manila? A couple of friends insisted on Manila, and I insisted on Makati. I’m very certain that it really is Makati. They’re very convinced that it really is Manila. I checked Wikipedia, and they defined TriNoma as “blahblahblah of Manila.” But no, I will not be shaken from my belief. No amount of persuasion can reverse my thoughts. It will only steel my resolve, nya ha ha.
Been to TriNoma yesterday with my friend. Since it’s an Ayala mall one may harbor fantasies of hippiness because TriNoma effectively simulates the very ambience of Makati, although habitués of the latter – myself included – may argue that TriNoma is no better than Greenbelt. I realized as I walked towards the grand façade of the mall, I’d rather spend a little more than a hundred bucks to flag a cab and speed to Greenbelt posthaste for there was minimal fulfillment, and definitely no sense of elation. Another friend of mine would attest that TriNoma is the one mall she’ll definitely not frequent. I find her idea a little vague so I immediately launched into Albert Einstein mode – I have to put it to a test.
Because my jeepney-riding friend who was coming from Manila did not materialize on time, I made an attempt to check out what great amenity TriNoma could offer. As far as I’m concerned there were a few things noticeable. For one, those bushes and the curiosity-boosting fountain that prompted the audience to follow the projectile water spewing out jet-fashioned at the façade block the way so efficiently I thought I was entering the wrong way. I proceeded inside the mall premises, passing through the sliding infrared-powered door, and was welcomed by security personnel who insisted on checking my backpack even if I’ve been already scanned. Maybe it was just second-level paranoia, but in any case I just felt like I was in Makati.
The wholeness of TriNoma could be summed up in two words, Taglish: Parang Glorietta. At least that’s from the perspective of other friends having heard their shares of firsts at TriNoma. I have my own way of putting it into comparison: Parang Glorietta, feeling Shangri-La. I assume most of you have sprawled and hanged out at Shangri-La Mandaluyong, and you may have noticed the wide alleys leading to establishments and the confounding flights of escalators that are the very definition of postmodernism, plus the excellent lighting and air conditioning. Combine these features with Glorietta’s, and the resulting concoction is the Triangle North of Makati.
Now I’m a self-confessed coffee addict. In TriNoma there are several coffee shops, and I was so possessed with salivating joy when I found out that there are two Starbucks Coffee outlets: one is at the second floor in front of Shoe Salon, and the other at the fourth floor outside the cinemas, wherein one can get a breathtaking view of walls and Chinese bamboo strewn along what may have been a pool surrounding Starbucks. The latter I find a little more pleasing than the former, being a smoking area, but it’s not at all impressive.
I’m cool with people chilling out, having got nothing to do but to bum around, but may I express my awful disgust at flirting and squirming and uproariously laughing humanoids who have this bit of idea to hang out at Starbucks without even buying their merchandise. Natives, those chairs, tables, and humongous green umbrellas you enjoy are strictly for the consumption of customers, not for the hardcore bystanders. We patrons occasionally are having a hard time finding the one comfortable place to spend the afternoon with our frappuccinos when you flock over in droves, and hey, I saw that! How dare you have the gall to roll your eyeballs at us you fish-smelling athlete’s foot, and don’t pretend you didn’t do it or I’ll stuff your flaking mouth with cigarette butts and ashes.
If you don’t want to experience such horrible levels of abomination, the real Makati is just waiting for you. For us, rather.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Guess where I snatched the title.
Since funds were running low I took a bus plying the route to Alabang from Makati yesterday afternoon. As usual nothing so glaring ever happened during the 30-minute drive except that my seatmate who happened to be a girl in her early twenties probably, kept on munching French fries swimming in deep vats of ketchup, all from McDonald’s. She had this peculiar way of eating the fries that aroused my curiosity: she selected the slender potato strips almost dripping with ketchup afterwards she licked the red condiment first, dipped it into the septic ketchup tank again, and finally devoured the fries bit by bit. Every after two or three strands of fries she would ceremoniously lick and suck her fingers dry from any residue left incurred from the bizarre ritual. Now I am all for freedom of expression – you want to eat the way you feel it deems comfortable, fine by me. You want to sup up lychee? Mayonnaise? Fine, just don’t give me an offer.
I prefer eating at Jollibee than at McDonald’s. Why? Because I am a political being. We are highly political beings. The mere fact that we single out a preference from an array of options proves the validity of the preceding statements. Blame the wise ancients for introducing the concepts, but now at least we can see the practical applications of seemingly trivial but highly intellectual ideologies. Or to simply put it, which do you prefer, a whopping sum of money to the tune of US$1B or to have steaming hot sex with a celebrity you salivate after? If you were a politician or an aspiring one, you’d probably choose the second option for reasons too obvious to contemplate. If you were not a politician but chose sex over money nonetheless, it only proves that people are getting a lot giddier and libidinous these days.
Where was I? Yes, McDonald’s and Jollibee. Although I grew up with a McDonald’s outlet just a few blocks away from our place (my family used to live near Ayala Alabang), I couldn’t say that I developed a sense of antiquarian history with it. Well, we ate there during the weekends but the word fun wasn’t inscribed. It wasn’t so much with the ambience or whatsoever, but what sets the two fast food restaurants apart is the very merchandise they sell, food. My palate can easily distinguish what is bland from delectable. We all know that McDonald’s originated from the US (and there is this phenomenon called McDonaldization which I will not expound for I fear another digression), and I heard somewhere that most Americans prefer something that tastes a little less than bland, if not bland at all. On the other hand, Jollibee, being a truly Filipino innovation though the owner is half Chinese, captures the taste of Pinoys so exquisitely I doubt if there were people who reportedly avoid eating out in the restaurant. Like McDonald’s, Jollibee has now several branches outside the country, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day another wave of phenomenal hoo-ha materializes in the name of Jollibeezation.
It occurred to me that I did not directly answer why I prefer Jollibee to McDonald’s. The justification to that lies in the first few paragraphs of this post. French fries. Jollibee serves the most scrumptious, most enthralling, most superior French fries than any other restaurant I’ve been to. Even before the Crispy variety came out. There is something in those fries, something inexplicable beyond human reason that drags me back to the counter and triggers the urge to order another large serving. I just don’t know, but out of all the fries my teeth had sank into, Jollibee is simply the best pick. And I’m definitely not paid to express these laudable statements for the company.
If you want excessive amounts of iodine try McDonald’s French fries. Theirs is sseeewww briny it’s like eating salt altogether, and I did not pay to have me brought to an internist afterwards. There’s this dinky McDonald’s branch almost beside Metropolis Star in Alabang (Montillano, if I’m not mistaken with the branch’s name) that serves I think the saltiest French fries ever. Sometime a couple of years ago I ate breakfast there with a friend. We ordered large-sized fries, just for the heck of it. When the said comestible materialized we found it very difficult to imagine that those were julienned fried potatoes. The tasting part came, but was preempted by the sight of gushing torrents of iodized salt falling off the holes on the bottom of the carton box. If we so much as to finish eating the fries we might have been rushed to the Asian Hospital which was only a few meters away. The fries ended up in the trash bin.
On a seemingly related literature, I tried the fries served at Kenny Rogers. At first it looked tempting, but as I clamped my teeth into one, I figured it would be better for KR to stick with their specialty. Experimentation is good, it brings out lots of potentials, but potatoes are supposed to taste like potatoes, and not like pieces of corrugated cardboard.