Sunday, February 07, 2010

Chasing Time

"We gotta get out while we're young,
"'Coz tramps like us, baby we were born to run. "

- Springsteen

I can't believe I had to be reminded of this by an aging rock icon about 3 times my age.

You gotta see him perform Dancing in the Dark in Barcelona to appreciate the wonder. If you'd see him light up the crowd with his music with a shirt soaking his back cold, you'd think he'd die of pneumonia like the average pinoy oldie.

I've seen musicians die, but when the day comes for him to face the music, it will feel as though the very life he has injected to our hearts will be sucked out, along with the color of life that he made oh so very musical, with Rock and Roll, no less.

And yet he inspires me the best to live like his music tells me to. Here is an old man defying age, defying time itself. True, I have learned from a multitude of teachers that a fight with father time is nothing short of a losing battle from the get-go.

Finding his songs at this particular time had made me stop and take a long hard look at my life: the realization that age is coming to me quicker than I ever expected, and I am far from where I want to be.

At this point, I'm thinking if I don't drop everything and run, the rest of my life is going to catch up with me.

...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nostalgia

Whatever words I write has been inspired by this song, and the words a fellow listener left.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HxZKa4NwGo

Who hasn't seen the youthful dreams crushed or tamed by adulthood?
Who hasn't wanted to just jump in their car and leave it all behind?
Who hasn't been left alone with their grief when the rest of the world has moved on?
- from some comment on the song "The River"

Alright. I have to accept it. I am old. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself as a 25-year old, especially back when I was that fat kid being picked on the school bus when I was 6.

My life was a black hole from the time I turned 7 to the day my ADMU friends managed to give me back my soul. It was so bad, I decided to lock everything up. I kept so few, though.

A few memories...
A few friends...
A few dreams...

Dreams, huh? I had a dream once, of what I wanted to be when I grow up. This, is not it. Of course, I can only blame myself for not living up to my potential. My only atonement is to live this path I chose, and make the most of it.

I wanted to be a doctor... I wanted to be someone who builds things... I wanted to be a Marine, or a Paratrooper...

I always sit back, and think to myself: what changed? This wasn't me. And then I realized. I grew up. In life, sometimes we do things because we want to. But most of the time, we do things because we have to. It's been a long time since I was 6. A lot of un-fun stuff came up, responsiblity being the first.

Then I remember what my parents told be before. My dad wanted to join the Navy. My mom wanted to be a doctor. They ended up not unlike me, and they made up for their tamed dreams by teaching me to go for mine. And even though my ending is the same as them, I will make sure to do as they did, with my kids. Its just now that I understand all they did for me from back then, and I love them so much.

As the track comes to a stop, I look back and see the crushed dreams left from a time when I had much more faith. I've been picking up the pieces ever since, and I am proud that O have built my life from the ruins.

I am quite okay now... But I would just love to stop what I'm doing and walk away, just like that...

This writing makes my vacation worth it. It made me discover this song, which made me stop and think. And I break a weary smile to how I turned out.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Starting Over, and a new Book

Oh well, it's been a long time...

After a 3 month sabbatical from weight training, I decided it was about time for me to try to get my old strength back. After a snack of chicken noodles and crackers, I filled my liter canteen with water, and I went searching my drawers for my trusty leather gloves.

I found the gloves, alright. However, when I put them on, I realized they were stiffer than cardboard. Maybe that's what I get for leaving them out in the sun for too long. Sweat from my hands ought to soften them up. As I fastened the wrist strap, I remembered that I had to have the strap shortened, since the wrist strap was too loose for me.

So I got to my gym, which one could mistake for a Junk Shop, or in some cases, a mosquito nest. I did my usual stretching, then put 100 pounds worth of iron for my bench press for my official return to weight training. 12 reps on 100 pounds went by without a hitch. All hell broke loose when I put 120.

2 hours, and countless gasps of "Shit, I could do this before!" after, I found myself having a sore chest, and sore rotator cuffs. Not bad for my first day back. I did my back workout the next day, and boy, was that painful.

Times like these, I wish I had my iPod.

***

The PC I use at home is an old one. Of course, for me to call that PC old, in this day and age, is an understatement. I have a 6-year old first-flight Pentium 4 1.7GHz Processor with 256MB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce2 with 64MB of VRAM and 40GB of Hard Disk Space. I have an even older (As in 1995 older) PC downstairs with MORE impressive stats.

Anyway, prior to this week, I've only formatted this computer twice, and on both occasions, somebody else did it for me. Being the son of a plant's IT Director has its advantages, considering the fact that I'm an IT major, and supposedly a good one.

However, with my mom leaving the country for SAP Consultancy in the US, I have been stripped of an entire IT department to service my computer should problems arise. Such a problem came 2 days after my DSL was finally installed. By then, I had come to terms with the reality that I would have to reformat the damned thing, so I backed up the most important things in my PC: namely my Media Library, and my Document Library.

My media library wasn't so impressive. I had 6GB (1100 songs approx) of music and 3GB (about 200 files worth) of music videos. Of course, with a DSL connection, it would theoretically take me only days what it took years (5 to be exact) to accumulate, but recovering such a library would be a grueling task, since I would be likely to forget a few of these songs.

Backing up those 10GB of data took me more that 6 hours.

True enough, there came a time when my Windows XP didn't start, and then I knew it was time to format my damned computer.

I'm now in the process of restoring my backups. I only need a DSL connection, a Torrent Downloader, and Yahoo Messenger, and I'm all good.

***

My friend Neps lent me a book.

It was entitled "HOW TO FIND YOUR ONE TRUE LOVE: 8 STEPS TO ATTRACT GOD'S BEST FOR THE SINGLE PERSON." It was written by Bo Sanchez.

Yes, I did read it. I'm in the process of reading it for the 3rd time before I actually write about it. From my first pass at it, I could say that it makes some sense, and it made for some interesting reading. I read it while waiting for Maan, who had a 1200-1630 class.

I've read something similar, John Gray's Mars and Venus on a Date. He's the same guy who wrote Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Bo Sanchez however, mentions GOD a lot, but they're pretty much the same, only mas binobola ka lang ni John Gray.

More of Bo Sanchez in my next post.

Lights out...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

End of Internship, plus Carmine

To those used to my blogs containing nothing but my personal misery, turn back now.

***

Ah, the 17th of October...

More than it being the much-awaited end of my internship at Novare, was another thing I was getting hyped about for a very long time. Yes, there was something I was looking forward to, more than returning to my life as a (rusty and mosquito-infested) gym-bound bum.

Back Story

It was back in 2005 when I met Carmine online via YM. She was asking our friend Louie for someone new to talk to. Faced with a lack of options rather than a choice, Louie introduced us, via YM, of course. Short version: We've been online buds ever since. We have been chatting more lately, on office hours (I was a bored intern), no less.

So there...

Our long 9am-5pm conversations (with actual work and breaks in between) would be about her work (health and fitness, which was my personal interest), my misery, her beloved colleagues, and on a few occasions, my work (software development: ZZZZZZ), which led to a few nosebleeds. She isn't much of a tech person, see.

One day, when we were talking about my allowance (which was way higher than average Mapuan standards), she demanded (I'm quite sure I used the right term) that I treat her to dinner. I said okay, but she added that I treat her along with the rest of my girls. I just laughed to myself as I agreed to her terms.

So the night before, I texted Maan to tell 2 more of the girls that dinner was a 'go.' I've already talked to Ariane and RJ. I was quite cautious in inviting, since this was the first time Carmine and I were meeting, and I didn't want her to feel out of place with all my friends.

We were 7 when we got to Yellow Cab Glorietta: Me, Maan, Ariane, Rj, Neps, Allyson and Nica. Melai supposedly couldn't make it, since she had class. I then texted Carmine when we found ourselves a place. 7:48 on my watch, I was right on time. When she replied, she said she was at Le Coeur (Damn French Words).

I was already being taunted by some of the girls, saying I was gonna get stood up. They asked how she would look like. I said humanap ka ng malaking babae, mas malaki kay Maan. I got a solid backhand to the gut, courtesy of Maan. (And I think I'm gonna get one from Carms too)

So there she was: all glamorous, just like the way I pictured her from how we talked. You know, fashionista chick with an attitude. She was quite easy to distinguish from a distance, even without my glasses. She's basically the tallest girl I know.

Anyway, I found a hint of cluelessness on her face, probably because of the fact that we were meeting for the first time, and she was going to meet most of my friends already. Oh shit, I thought: Me, Neps and RJ in one table? Uh-oh... You see, the three of us make for some gross table conversations.

Being the host of this entire thing, I went ahead and ordered 2 18-inch Manhattan Meatlovers (our barkada's favorite) and drinks. If it looked like overkill to you, try imagining this: 4 of us (namely Me, Maan, Melai and another) was able to lay waste to one 18-inch pizza. Anyway, I finally introduced Carms and the girls, and they were able to talk while waiting for the pizza.

To be honest, Carmine actually knew some of the girls from our conversations, and (to be fair) some of the girls already know Carmine from my "creative storytelling." Two of my friends, a pair of 17-year olds (Kim and Julianne) kinda idolized her already. Too bad they couldn't come.

"Oh my God! College Crowd..." Carms was still coming to terms with the reality of the situation: Yes, I'm at least 3 years older than the rest of my friends. She just threw a switch in her, so that she could act as if she was 21 years old, or so she said.

Melai got dismissed early and hauled ass to Glorietta to get some free pizza, and she also made for some funny stories. NiƱo and a friend also passed by and left his share of funny moments. Next thing I know, I find Carmine laughing with the rest of my friends, and joining in for a few pictures. She was quite the un-photogenic earlier, covering her face at the sight of cameraphones aimed at her.

Funny thing was I was expecting more of a shock, with me and Carmine meeting for the first time. But in fact, it kinda felt like we have been actual (rather than online) buddies since '05. Ariane was quite puzzled, since she noticed that we acted as if we have been old buds from school or something.

To make the long story short, we had a great time, free dinner notwithstanding. Ariane and RJ had to go a little earlier, since RJ was going to drop Ariane home. I actually planned on hitching a ride with them, but Maan suggested Carmine and I come with her and Neps, so Neps can drive her home (since Carmine and Neps were neighbors).

We also had funny moments in the car: pretending to be vendors of peanuts and water, pretending to be stupid passengers on the wrong bus (Cubao po? Biyaheng Laguna po ito, ser...), to wrong turns and keeping silent while on the phone. This part, I just have to say in tagalog: Lintek na Melai to, di ko kayang manahimik mula G4 carpark hanggang Mantrade!

Carmine also commented on how gay I sound when I start my sentences with "My God..." Do I? Dammit!

So we dropped Maan off at her flat, and Melai and I got off at the Burgundy Tower, but not without saying bye bye to Carmine. I walked Melai to her jeep (despite knowing at the back of my head that no guy would take advantage of her! LOL) and took my jeep home.

In the end, I'm glad to have met Carmine for the very first time. I'm also glad the girls liked Carms and vice versa. That was one of the best days of my life, and I owe it to Carmine and my friends. I'm hoping this night will have a sequel, so I should probably get myself a real job.

Never underestimate the power of noisy friends and two giant pizzas.

Lights out...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Burning Out...

Hey there...

I'm at the start of a long weekend and I find myself wishing for some sort of getaway or something. I actually envy Carmine who is 30 minutes away from her Palawan getaway. At the beginning of the week, I actually had a choice between a weekend spent at the beach or at the mountains, either one involving massive amounts of alcohol.

I could sure use some of that right now. So far, I've tried to curb this gripping madness with food, but after spending 200 bucks on junk food, I realize that a liter of red horse and a bag of chicharon would've had more effect.

I am tired. Almost like the fatigue I get from basketball, only I need alcohol instead of Gatorade. I'm burning the candle at both ends and at the middle.

I can't believe how a few seemingly insignificant words can hurt me so much.

I've been hiding from my friends (some of whom I've virtually dropped off the map for 2 months) a lot of stuff about what has happened to me recently. Most of the time, I just say I've been finishing a thesis, which is about 80 to 90 percent true. All they have to mark my existence was a Yahoo Messenger Avatar paired with a very Emo status.

Much as I'd like to blast myself to total inebriation with gin or vodka straight off the bottle, I don't think it will help me at the moment, since alcohol just reminds me of my problems. Amazing.

I have kept my friends in different circles and very few of these circles of friends intersect at any point. In doing so, I have been able to live quite a compartmentalized life. Each set of friends know me differently from the others.

Now, despite the compartments, I find myself with no one to run to, except for a few friends who I haven't bound to certain circles. Thank God for them. Only they have kept me sane all this time.

I have lost a great amount of my old strength. Now this symptomless malady drains what little is left of my inner strength.

For the sake of the few who have kept me from falling any deeper, I am holding on. Now where the hell's that bottle opener?

There should be a song lyric here, but writing it down won't help me.

Lights out...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Walking After Dark

I seem to blur the fine line between courage and recklessness...

I was with my old college buds [emphasis on OLD] last night. It's been 2 years since we were that complete. We were no different from our old, crazy selves. We were all just a bit older, and there was beer for a change. I have to admit, I got used to going out with either the girls or the drunkards, but last night was a welcome change.

I was pretty blasted with what little beer I've taken in by midnight. By the time we left, I was sober, but sleepy.

I guess it was already 1:30 in the morning when we decided to call it a night. I still had to make my way from Diliman all the way to Merville. A big thanks to BL for the ride. I got as near to Pasay as Santolan. The closer, the better, I guess. I took a bus to Bicutan instead of getting a cab.

By 3am I got my already-sobered self to Bicutan. Bicutan at 3 in the morning is so different as compared to Bicutan at 1am. It was so quiet. Too quiet. Again, I thought of taking a cab after considering the hassles of getting a trike around Merville at that time. However, I didn't think any cab was gonna show up anytime soon, so I just took a jeep. I figured I was safer if I was on the move.

Minutes later, I was on the end of the Merville Access road, sitting alone on a trike waiting for it to fill up. At 3 in the fucking morning, i thought of paying for a special trip, but backed out after finding out it was 30 bucks and I only had 120 bucks left.

[If you wish to live a lot longer, I do not recommend doing this]

I decided to walk from SLEX to Merville's gate. It had quite an ugly neighborhood in between them. At 3am, it was pretty dark and quiet. It was a lot more unnerving than Bicutan, since I actually know someone who was robbed and stabbed to death on this very road. He was my neighbor.

I thought of removing my school ID and atm card from my wallet since 120 bucks isn't a big thing to lose. But then again, I thought, If I DID get mugged here, then maybe I'd get what I have been wishing for, and I won't have to give anything up. He'd be doing me a favor by ending my misery.

I got to Merville's gate, but not without relishing the thrill of walking through a half-mile dark road, not caring if I get stabbed or shot.

That wasn't courage. Just recklessness.

Anyway, I got home safe... Dammit.

[sighs]

I tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone.
But though you're still here,
I've been alone all along.
- Evanesence, 'My Immortal'

Lights out...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Internship Blues

Hi there.

I'm down to 8 days left in my Internship, and now I find myself thinking of staying here for a bit longer. Somehow I find it weird because I've already made my to-do list for the first day I stop (for the moment) being a software developer. Somehow this was what that list would look like:

Wake up at 7am
Jog for 20 minutes and Skip rope
Lift Weights for 2 hours
Read "Without Remorse" by Clancy until lunch
Watch "How I Met Your Mother" on Marathon Mode
Play Civilization III again

The book and dvd could be replaced with any Clancy Book or Epic dvd I own (Like Lord of the Rings, or Grey's Anatomy). The exercise though, is essential. I want my body back by Christmas. Plus 10 pounds by December? Hahaha. Try me.

I'm going to miss the social life though... But what the hell? I can be easily dragged to Makati anyway.

***

A good population indicator would be our favorite MRT. And if it's any indicator, things aren't looking good for the next decade or so.

I've been riding the MRT since 2001, back when I was an Atenean. Back then, I could ride at Magallanes, right in the middle of rush hour, and get a seat. My preferred seat would be at the back end of the first car. Getting on any station close to the end of the line could get you seated.

Now, a lot of my trips (mostly on the Quezon City area like Loyola Heights or Diliman) require me to get on Quezon Avenue Station, since I hated the Cubao station ever since. Though it's close to the end of the line, the train always comes to Q-Ave chock-full already. The moment it gets to Cubao, it's hell on earth (or a train) already.

It's a good thing I'm still quite intimidating to behold for the average Filipino. With all the shoving happening in that Goddamned train, it comforts me to know that one stare could put a full grown man in his place. Also, the last time I tried to join the shoving, a lot of people DID move when I pushed.

***

I can't believe looking for a replacement is this hard.

Though I'm not required to find a replacement, I've had a hard time finding myself an Internship, so I'm doing the next batch a favor by making their lives a little easier. This was my how my recruitment effort looked like:

Anton: Hey, you got a company yet for OJT?
Prospect: No. Why?
Anton: Want to try NOVARE?
Prospect: May allowance ba doon?
Anton: Meron. 250 plus, per day.
Prospect: Wow. Sige, apply ako. Teka, ano ba ginagawa mo doon?
Anton: Java Developer ako.
Prospect: Ay, java? Ayoko na.
Anton: Ayos doon, very lenient sila sa Internet at Dress Code (At this moment, Gimson, my officemate, is in jeans and a t-shirt)
Prospect: Ayaw.

Java must be a sickness the way Mapuans avoid it. I think they'd rather wrestle crocodiles than be Java Developers. Hey, I like Java Development, but I'd really rather be a Marine shooting someone's ass off. And hey, Novare's an excellent company for Internship. It's their loss, not Novare's.

***

To those asking how I've been:

This is where I say I've had enough,
No one should ever feel the way that I feel now.
A walking open wound, a trophy display of bruises,
And I don't believe that I'm getting any better... Any better...

- Dashboard Confessional, "Saints and Sailors"

Lights out...