Monthly Archives: March 2010

My Rock Star Girlfriend: A Tale by A Groupie Boyfriend

For three songs, she wasn’t my girlfriend. She was a blinding source of light and wonder and I was an earthling looking up at her. I couldn’t recognize the girl who beats me up at Mortal Kombat every night; or the drinking buddy who always swears to never drink again but drinks again anyway; or the manga eater who loves to dip mangoes in frightening amounts of salt and vinegar. For three songs, she was above all that and higher.

Me? I was just awestruck and proud.

I’ve been very lucky to be sort of an embedded journalist in Rye’s journey to return to the stage after three years of blue-collar preoccupation. “Rye” is my girlfriend, Chemae. That was what they christened her in Baguio, the melting pot and battledome of musicians in the country where uncool people are probably harshly getting extinct as I type. A perfectly adequate and averagely below average guy like me wouldn’t survive that fiercely (and literally) cool place. But Chemae did — or rather, Rye. She used to be the lead vocalist for their alternative rock band called Mooncake. We’ve been together for more than a year and during that span of time, I’ve listened repeatedly to their songs which are great — and that’s not because I’m her boyfriend and I’m biased. Radical-supportive-boyfriend-mentality aside, I can confidently say Mooncake’s music rocked. In fact, one of their songs, “Payaso” is still aired in Baguio these days, I was told.

As guitar strings acquired rust and snapped in time however, Chemae faced what every musician in this country has faced and will face. Musical instruments have to be bagged and shelved and copies of lyrics have to be shredded to pursue a more practical and lucrative career elsewhere, down the slopes of Baguio for many. Relationships with bandmates also turned sour as everyone explored new personal challenges of their own. Like my demigod Ely Buendia said, any relationship, give it years and something will go wrong. He called it a natural death. In my interpretation, Mooncake died like that. Continue reading

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Summoned

Kyle almost jumped out of his seat. The private messenger’s window popped up on his screen.

“Please see me in my office immediately.” The CEO’s words.

“Ok, Sir. I’ll be there in a sec.” typed Kyle.

He’s had brushes with the CEO several times during his three-month stay in the company and he considers it a sign that he picked the right people to work for. Many employees today never see their CEOs face-to-face, he mused while rummaging for a pen and a piece of paper in his drawer. Their companies are so huge that they get fired before the year-end meet-and-greet party. iEventCentral makes it possible for your average clerk and security guard to chat with the CEO at least two times a month — kind of makes everyone feel special and appreciated, theoretically boosts their production. This guy is much more special, though. He’s known to randomly pick 9 employees in the building every April to celebrate his birthday with. He only picks guys and they go to a bar where he provides every single one of them with their own whore smack on their lap.

But he hasn’t tried that. Once, the CEO rode the elevator on the 43rd floor with a bunch of Israelis who scraped the elevator’s ceiling with their heads. Kyle was in a corner having gone to the ice-cold Finance Department on the same floor to manually submit some names. The CEO turned his head, noticed him gulping and looked at him for three seconds before smiling and nodding his head a fraction of a millimeter. Kyle heavily sighed and smiled and nodded, too. It was a fantastic experience being recognized like that.

As he pushed the up arrow alone in the white marble hallway, he can’t help but grin a cheshire grin. It’s the 26th of March and everyone knows the CEO’s birthday is on April 7. It’s about time for him to choose his next lucky pals for that special night. Kyle reviewed their encounters in the employees’ bathroom, their unexpected meeting at a showing of “Avatar,” and just recently at the building’s pantry. The bald bespectacled man in beige coat glanced at him once and told some skyscraper Italians, “See that over there at the condiments? One of our excellent employees here, Kyle.”

It’s coming.

Doors opened on the 43rd floor and Kyle stepped out, his trousers hiding the tremors in his legs. The CEO’s glittering silver office came nearer and nearer as he walked toward it — he felt his eyes were like a hand-held camera and he’s about to witness something awesome. He watched as his hands grasped the golden doorknob.

He was in. Continue reading

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Today, an Earthquake Hit Us.

The thing that’s scariest about death by earthquake is how innocent and, at the same time, how conclusive it is. Unlike illnesses, which we can partly blame on our lifestyles and, often, our lack of resources to pay for healthcare; or unlike murders, which we can directly blame on the person who pulled the trigger or shoved the knife — an earthquake is as faultless as an infant. We can’t hurl accusations of injustice of any degree on an earthquake. It existed before us and will persist after us regardless of anything we do or say or conceive. It may be the closest thing to an omnipotent deity. It has limitless powers, innocence, and, well — wrath. It is also decisive, final, ultimate. All our aspirations, political ideologies, hard disks filled with pictures of our loved ones don’t matter to the second that earthquake swallows us whole like a whale does to plankton. All our everything turns to nothing and you can’t imagine any other way for the narratives of our lives to end as nonsensically and abruptly as the way an earthquake destroys us. We just end. That’s it. No stories of how brave we fought through our diseases, no tales about how divinely or badly we treated people before we were murdered; no legends of our great wars, no letters to justify how unconditional and passionate our love was. The earthquake just erases us and we’re gone. And if something is more terrible than dying, it is dying forever without an echo.

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Food Poisoning

Ako’y tila lumpiang ubod. Ambilis kong mapanis. Maiwan mo lang akong nakatiwangwang sa ibabaw ng mesa ng kinse minutos, amoy utot na ko. Kainin mo ‘ko’t mamimilipit ang mga bituka’t atay mo. Daig mo pa ang asong nagkakalkal ng basura sa umaga ‘pag nagkalat ka sa inidoro. Hindi kita titigilan hangga’t di mo pa nailalabas lahat ng labong at giniling, kamatis at bawang, at ‘di pa naririnig ng kapitbahay ang lindol at dagungdong ng puwit mo. Kasi masama akong mapanis. Ospital talaga ang diretso mo, sa ICU ka itatakbo ng naka-stretcher at diaper kung sa’n papalanghapin ko ng mamasa-masang kabag kahit yung mga doktor na may takip sa ilong. Wala silang takas sa kapanisan ko. Matataranta lahat ng kaibigan mo, akala mamamatay ka na. Pero di ka naman mamamatay. Matatae ka lang ng timba-timba. Kalimutan mo na ang Diatabs.

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Sunday

Ice-cold coffee dripping
Outside, rain pours on arid land
Tables — fake marble tables buzzing
We sit, gazing at each other’s lips

A rundown of names as the cream melts
Our cell phones, we use them as clocks
DVDs — fake DVDs in the bag
We’ll watch them later to sedate our eyes

I lost you last night in a dream
I’ve forgotten all but the twinge
Dreams — fake films in my head for free
But I can’t lose you in a dream or reality

Ashes pile up in the tray
Outside, rain pours without a plan
Sundays — fake respite from our pains
I’ll wait for you again ’til Sunday comes.

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“Such a Pain.”

One of the hardest things in life is settings things in motion — starting things, sparking events, creating. Here I am talking big things again, but man, I just don’t know how God himself summoned the initiative to create the world in the first place. Being a god floating in the infinite spaces of nowhere, basking in your own limitless powers should have been a pretty settled life for him. I really don’t understand what drove him to get up from his golden chair and create cockroaches, cancers, Lady Gagas and all that stuff. It’s too troublesome from my perspective.

If you read or watch “Naruto,” that popular manga and anime from the (oftentimes) brilliant mind of Masashi Kishimoto, you’ll know this character, Shikamaru who’s one of my favorites. Aside from being a super genius ninja, he’s also the laziest of the lot, with an incurable habit to lie down on green meadows and just stare at the passing clouds in the sky. Now and then when other ninjas ask him to do something, he’ll utter in the sleepiest tone “Mendōkusei,” meaning, “Such a pain.” I just love his character because I can relate so much.

When the world expects me to do something, I just want to go Shikamaru on them.

Mendōkusei. Such a pain. Continue reading

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Taho Addiction: There’s No Rehab For It

tahoI got late today by 2 minutes. I could have ran like I used to when I still have 15 minutes left to get to our office at Pearl Drive, Ortigas Center from the Shaw Boulevard MRT Station. But I didn’t run because there was something more important than being on time today.

I had to get my daily fix of taho. Continue reading

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