State Of The Nation

1. I left my first company.

I started out as an agent, and spent my last few months with the company as a trainer. Pictured above are cards with messages on them, which my co-trainers gave me on my last day (I think). I had some great times with them, and a handful of the consultants in my department have become more or less my family during my brief stay as a barely-competent but highly-praised shoe-in. Not everybody liked me, sure, but I came to terms with it eventually. I think I made good progress. One reason why I’ll probably never forget that time in my life.

But it was a sad time, so I’ll leave out most of the details for now. I’ll tell you all about it when I have more resources, i.e. time, silence, emotional clarity, and nothing to do.

Bottom line: I felt it was time to get going. So I went.

2. I now work with another company.

One of the main reasons I quit my previous company was that I felt like I needed a break. I was working 12-hour shifts, I was working when I got home, I was working during the weekends. And the hours I had to spend in the office felt like a battle every damn day. You could argue that I couldn’t have expected it to be a walk in the park—it’s a supervisorial role, for cryin’ out loud. Tough going for a 21-year-old brat who’s never had a job before and led a mostly sheltered existence. So I quit.

People were shocked, and of course they wanted reasons.  So of course, I said I wanted to rest for a while. That was far from the main reason, but it was a reason at least. I said I wanted to sit around for a while, think about the decisions I’ve made and how I wanted my life to play out from then on, and maybe watch TV shows and read books while I’m at it. Basically I wanted to act my age again, even for a little while, before jumping back into the cage. That much was true. I’ll lie low for a month, I told them.

Not even two weeks later, I chatted with a friend and former colleague on Facebook. She mentioned that she was currently bumming but had plans to apply to a certain company. I’ve heard about them before, mainly because of their insane pay package (and for a non-managerial post too, might I add) and the somewhat unique job description—making real-time phone call captions for the hard-of-hearing. I barely thought about working for them when I first heard of them, despite the pay. I found it shady that I didn’t know the company, and that nobody else in my immediate circle seemed to. But then it popped up in this conversation with said friend, at a time when I was jobless. Figuring there shouldn’t be any harm in trying, I applied the very next day. And I got in.

Well, sort of. But I’ll elaborate some other time.

I’ve been working here for nearly a month now. I’ve been paid once since I started, and it was pro-rated since my wave started a few days into the cutoff—but it was still more than any single paycheck I’ve ever had. My friend didn’t make the cut for the account, but she works in the same company so at least I have someone I know here. It’s been an odd month, and a lot of my issues have come out due to the changes, and the people. It’s mostly the latter, and has something to do with my angry dumb brain, and my hormones. I’ll tell you about them some time.

For now, I’m being paid a moderately insane amount of cash for a unique and monotonous job (that my mind has wanted for a long time now) which I applied for on a whim. Can’t say I’m doing too bad, I guess. It’s also a long ways away from my area, so I get to travel and explore a little bit—I’m no Bear Grylls but I like to walk unfamiliar streets every once in a while. So there’s that, too.

By the way, I took that photo up there in one of the company CRs. I just wanted to show you how shitty-looking we’re allowed to be at work. And I gotta tell you, it is highly appreciated.

3. I got a haircut, and also wear glasses now.

In case you couldn’t tell from the photo above, here’s another photo:

And another one, because why not?

I’ve been planning to get a haircut for a while now. Having to tie it up every morning and redo it every few hours was starting to get tedious. I also figured that if I was going to let my madman hair go loose, I might as well get it dyed to reduce the eyesore. So I did. As usual, it looked okay when I was in the salon, but since then it’s gone back to being a clusterfuck. I still pin some portions back with a barette or a butterfly clip, but for the most part I’m okay with the mess. Kinda looks like art. Ha, ha.

I got my glasses in Manila, and they’re for astigmatism. They make me dizzy, kinda like Manila does, except I like Manila dizziness. On the bright side, I think they go well with my hair somewhat.

Speaking of Manila..

4. I met the Berlin Wall, and the Spolarium (for the second time).

I was starting to get antsy in my city due to aforementioned-but-unelaborated life-change issues, so in a very rare moment of thoughtless wanderlust I decided to go to Baguio. There wouldn’t be much for me to do there, seeing as how most of my batchmates had already graduated. My college mate who’s been staying down here went home for the week, though, so I figured maybe I could chill with her. She’s pretty cool and doesn’t trip my antisocial alarms, so she was a safe bet. And if not, I could just meditate and get lost. That was the original plan, anyway.

But in another rare moment of whatever-it-was, I decided to ask my friend go with me. Her parents usually won’t allow her, but she said yes and so in a matter of hours we were all set. We were really excited since we’ve been planning to go there together for Ages.

But (a lot of buts in this particular part of the entry) fate wouldn’t have any of it, so later on in the day we find out that there’s a HUGE storm and that the people of Baguio have been stitching nets into the mountainface to prevent landslides. They were expecting the rain to be so bad they were literally sewing the soil onto the mountain. That pretty much put the fire out for us, so my friend just slept over.

The next day was a Sunday, so we decided we shouldn’t let the day go to waste. That was when my friend mentioned that a chunk of the Berlin Wall was on display at the National Museum. If I had any misgivings before that, I lost them immediately. And so it was that when the lashing winds and rains let up a little, we hopped into a shuttle bound for Manila.

First we went to see the Spolarium, since you simply can’t NOT look at Spolarium when you visit the National Museum. You need to pay your respects. And also because my friend currently has a thing with Philippine history and our national heroes, specifically those involved in the blockbuster history “biopic” Heneral Luna. I saw the painting the last time I was there, and she’s seen it countless times before. Still, its grandiose presence never fails to to mesmerize us.

Then we went to the next building, and made a few detours into the different displays within the wing—mostly artefacts and dioramas, all interesting and insanely detailed. Then we went straight to the Marble Hall, where Section 22 of the Berlin Wall stood before us.

POMELO_20151018155833_fast POMELO_20151018160120_fast

I was swept away. I looked at it and it looked at me. And as I stood there, as odd as it may sound, I felt like I was in a different place, in a different time, among different people. I was flooded with feelings I had long since tamped down for fear of being considered impractical and too idealistic. I was overwhelmed by this piece of history standing right in front of me, and I was at a loss for words.

You could say, “hey, you’re in a museum. Museums tend to have things like that, you know. What’s the fuss about?” And you know what, you are absolutely right. Each and every single shred of wood and shell and paint in all the museums in the world hold meaning, memories, and history in each fiber of their composition. And all of them deserve to be relived and experienced by everyone. But I don’t know how to explain it. I didn’t know much about the Berlin Wall, I’ll have to admit. Before I got to read the stuff on the wall I didn’t even know what exactly it was for. But I knew it had seen things I couldn’t even dream up, and that thought stood like behemoths all around this chunk of concrete, standing before us like a mighty, knowing creature. And when I learned that it once stood between people of a single nation, dividing them, one face alive and colourful and another bland and cold—and knowing that that wall has now been taken down and brought here, man. It almost brought tears to my eyes, knowing that something this meaningful is in front of me.

So I did what any person would, and took photos. I’m a shitbag like that.

The man guarding the wall had noticed our interest and shared some information, mainly about how long the wall is going to be on display here before it’s moved to Rizal park. He said he thought that was better, so that the people outside can see that whatever divides can and does come down. I smiled at that.

It was a very humbling experience, I can tell you that. Right up there with the first time I got to listen to a vinyl record, and that time I saw a meteor shower back in college. Call me sappy, but I’ll probably keep that moment with me for a long long time.

5. I’ve been buying books again.

I bought these from Underground in Manila. I was only supposed to get Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting because tehnically that was the only thing I reserved.. And I wasn’t even supposed to get that because I’ve only ever been to that bookshop ONCE, and I had a friend with me. This time I had to go alone, and I almost noped the fuck out. In fact I did nope out for a few days, if it wasn’t for the Facebook page’s owner calling me out in the comments section (politely, though) after a few days have passed and I hadn’t confirmed anything. I decided that I had to man the fuck up; hell, I’ve been a trainer, I’ve been through scarier shit.

So with a little help from my Manila-familiar friends, I hopped into an FX bound for Buendia and asked the driver to kindly drop me off at City Hall.

Guess what? He didn’t.

So I got a bit lost, and after some loosely-masked frantic PMs to my Manila friend, I saw a street sign saying Kalaw, and a jeep bound for City Hall. In an instant I knew where I was and how to get myself un-lost. And when I got to the shop, of course, instead of just picking up the book I wanted, I went ahead and picked up more. I have no regrets.

The bookkeeper, Iris was his name I think? He was the same guy in the shop the first time I was there. He was busy then, and he only had time for a few suggestions in between rearranging books and stacks of books with his gloved hands. He struck me as eccentric (of course, running a shop like that in the middle of the Lagusnilad underpass, you couldn’t be anything but), but I never got to talk to him in length.

This time, though, he engaged me in this conversation about why people only ever seem to read the books that everyone else does, and I was quite surprised. He also asked me what I was reading right now, what I liked reading, and what my opinions on certain authors like Charles Bukowski and Murakami were. For the most part I was dumb as a cucumber, but he didn’t seem to mind. Afterwards, he even told me to leave titles on their wall so he can look for them for me. He was really nice.

I haven’t been this happy about venturing out of my comfort zone in a while. It was refreshing. And also, BOOKS!!!!!1

6. Not so new news: I now have a smartphone? Yeah.

I don’t know how I could have missed telling you this. Hell I was blogging straight off of this damn phone. Anyway, I bought it for myself on my last birthday, seeing as how I had already lost two phones(!) within the year. I wanted to get a cheap phone because 1) I still did not have enough money for the phone of my dreams, i.e. Xiaomi Mi3 (and also I couldn’t find stocks anywhere in that damn mall), and 2) I just got my phone fucking stolen, am I really gonna replace it with something more expensive?

Well, the answer to the second question is yes. I bought an Asus Zenfone 5 with my own, hard-earned cash. By this time the Zenfone 2 had already come out, so a lot of people asked me if I bought it and, upon finding out that I didn’t, would ask why not. I dodn’t really have a reason—there was a version of the Zenfone 2 that was still well within my budget, and it was the newer model that can basically do what the Zenfone 5 can and more, so what gives? I dunno. Maybe I just figured that I didn’t really need the latest model, and this was a few thousand bucks cheaper, so I took the one that would save me money and still meet my needs. I did a little research before buyin the phone, of course, so I know it’s pretty damn decent for its price. So far it has been meeting my expectations quite well.

So since I can’t really take a photo of my phone using my phone, here’s a screenshot of my lockscreen. I dunno, go figure

7. It was Joche’s 2nd birthday last Saturday.

Happy birthday, buddy. I coulsn’t ask for a better friend. I’m glad you’re still with me after two years, and I get to spend more time talking to you and doodling shit and showing you off to the people I care about. Sorry if I abuse you sometimes, and whenever I don’t talk to you for weeks, months on end. That’s also partly why you’re still with me: I barely have anything to say anymore. Or at least, none that I think would deserve a space in your pages.

I’m so grateful I have you. Humans can be so volatile—I should know. So thanks. Here’s to more doodles and shitty feelings!

Anyway, I guess that’s it for now. I’ve been itching to write this post for literally days now, but I keep falling asleep midway and remembering that automatic drafts don’t work here (at least, not the way I want it to), so I just gave up.

But I’m glad I get to post this, here. It’s been a while. I feel like a bastard sonuvabitch who only ever goes home when he needs money. That’s a bit harsh, but I probably should try to visit more often. This felt nice. I feel like a fat lot’s rolled off my shoulders. I should do this more often.

Is There Anything To Be Said?

Of course I am in a crisis. I always am. The contention stems from the arising doubt of whether this crisis is anything worth writing about, or if I can even put it into words at all.

I don’t have anything to say. In all honesty, I’m just testing out my lordship over this blog. Funny how it’s been almost half a year since I began writing/posting/rambling here and while it has felt like home I never truly felt it to be within my command. The fear of judgement has always been there–the ghost of a prejudice from imaginary critics. This place runs under a dictatorship, like a kid pushed through a waterfall into the cave beyond—he does it and does it fast only because he is afraid of getting hurt. The odd thing is, the dictatorship is not mine, but the outside’s.. But the odder thing is, the outside does not give a rat’s ass about whatever is going on in my universe. And yet I am crippled by it. Imagined things can be as damaging as real ones.

Odder. I like that word; it lives up to its meaning. The magic of semantics is in that you don’t really know what semantics is but you can sort of feel around its edges and say confidently that this thing is a semantic thing.

I am mopping up the writing style of whoever author—and, more recently and alarmingly, whatever book—I am currently reading. The first time it was Jessica Zafra, in high school it was Bob Ong, and then there was the entire intellectual activist spirit of the Philippine Collegian. I even had a Murakami/King phase—yes, combined. Now the flower and seeming distended-ness of narrative of Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God Of Small Things’ is creeping into my open-mouthed beta-state rambling—or more like, my prose dips into this well from time to time, and it emerges with striped patterns of mundane and flower, of followable trails into materialistic concerns of aesthetics and untraceable, carefully aesthetic crooning about materialistic concerns. What.

I am painfully aware of how weird my non-Standard English must look like to its native speakers. I comfort myself by thinking of how Jose Garcia Villa bastardized the language and made it into a thing of incomparable beauty in the process. Of course the only thing that I could lay claim to as something which Villa and I share is the God complex that persists in his work (and even in his mighty pen name: Doveglion standing for dove, eagle & lion) (and even then I’m not entirely sure our sentiments about the matter are similar) and so I may have no right to assume that because He does it then I can, but yes I like excuses when I can have them.

My prose oscillates between hot honey spilling into cracks in concrete on a tar black day to bland rattattating that scrapes the ear like a fork being dragged across the surface of your brain.

(There is no narrative. There is only too much Arundhati Roy. And I don’t even like the book all that much so far.)

I do not know what I am saying. I do not know if I am saying.

So, What’s Been Going On?

Only a few more days before August comes to a close. 18 posts so far for this month, as compared to the previous couple months’ almost-90. My brain has once again dipped into what’s-the-point territory and began dissuading itself from posting anything, since it’s a futile activity that won’t really amount to much. Or at least, that’s what my brain says. I’m trying to figure out if there’s anything I need to be doing to change this mindset, or if it would just go away on its own just like last time. In the downtime, my brain simply refuses.

However, it was probably a good thing that my brain decided to hibernate at the time, because if it had stayed up to wait for anything exciting, it would have blown an aneurysm in the mess that ensued: another storm ravaged my country, and by “ravaged” I mean caused Php 80 million in damages, human lives excluded. Concrete highways cracked & split open, flood waters rose way overhead, and people swam to places—or rode plastic boats—instead of walking. It might seem like an image from a cartoon, but it’s real alright. And while it’s the Filipino habit to laugh and smile through calamities, it’s not really something to make light of—people were left homeless, crying on the streets, escaping death only by a foot’s length of rope or styrofoam board, and that’s if they escape. I’m glad the worst I got was a flu.

The flu, yes. I am once again reminded of my duty as a mortal to acquire sicknesses if only to seem like a normal human being. As if having to skip classes because of the catastrophes going on outside wasn’t bad enough, I had to get sick near the weekends, too. Now I have multiple absences and a fuckload of school things I missed, including reports and group activities. I feel so useless. I can’t blame them if they decide to exclude me from the activity, but it kinda sucks because I didn’t want to get sick (or at least, not really; I’m pretty sure my panicking subconscious induced this flu). I’ve used up almost all of my absences, and I had to get a medical certificate to serve as an excuse letter. It cost money! It sucks!

And I wasn’t the only one who got sick, because the day I planned to get started on my report, Sirhk Julius my laptop decided to lie down and not get up for a whole day. It took me a few hours of crying and a few more hours of obscure troubleshooting to get it barely up and running again (I never even found out what exactly went wrong; maybe it’s the beat-up state of the hard drive in general). It’s okay now, just a little slower than usual (meaning it’s very slow now), but we’re still planning to reformat it in the next few days. Need to be doing some backing up.

So yeah: brain is dead, people are dead, roads are dead, acads are dead, laptop dead (for a day), blog is dead. Dead is the new in thing.

(Oh right, and uh I kind of found out she made a Tumblr blog recently [for acads, she assures me]. I sent her decent messages at first, as a signed-in Tumbr user, but then I remembered that the Ask box features an option to send anon messages.. And soooo.. Yeah. One time I sent her a lovelorn anon message. Fuck, I don’t know why I keep doing these things.. So uh yeah, heart is also dead.)

On Posts, Insecurities, Impromptu Advocacies, Existential Nihilism, Et Cetera

I need to stop worrying about what people will think about the things I post because

1.) nobody reads this (no seriously, there’s a Stat counter to prove it), and

2.) I made this for me. This is a journal, not a coffee table book.

My worry about being literary-analyzed or personally prejudged is stopping me from writing down the things that I want to see here for my own personal enjoyment. I mean okay, if people see my posts and think I’m cool then that’s great. But that’s not the point of this. To be honest I don’t know what the point is exactly—maybe it’s exercise—but I know for a fact that I’m not simply trying to show people I’m somebody else aside from myself (I don’t know who I am as of yet, but that’s a vein to be pursues in another post). It’s not supposed to matter what people think. It shouldn’t matter what they’re going to say regarding the things they see here; the only thing that matters is how it affects them, in themselves. Their emotions should not simply be reactions to how pa-cool I’m being, or to how anal my categorizations & tagging are. If they are going to read it, it should not be about me. They should read it in relation to themselves, their lives, how they relate to it. I’m not the focus. I’m only reacting to things I see in the world, and what I’m trying to do is to get people to do the same. Introspection and individuality (some would call it egocentrism but I beg to be excused) should be the takeaway, if anything. Not prejudice, not literary analysis.

I see I got sidetracked again. That sidetrack was a very insightful thing for me, though. I only realized that as I was writing it down. I’ll think more about it later.

But yes, back to the point. The point was, I should not have to worry, and if I can’t help it, then even if I do, that worrying should not stop me from posting what I feel, because this is mine, and my experiences and thought processes are unique. I don’t have to worry if I’m posting too much or too little (except if I’m doing it because I’m pressured by nonexistent readers; now that would be a real problem), or about scheduling what posts to publish when. I should not have to worry about whether what I’m posting is special or common, or if it makes me look jejemon or plain or whatever. This is me, and this is a mirror of what I am, though a very distorted one (my words can never do my feelings justice, mainly because my tongue is clumsy and forgetful). I don’t have to hold back because I’m afraid of pretending, because I don’t have to pretend.

Well I’m glad I got that settled.. It’s a bummer, though, that this time around, it’s not my insecurity that’s stopping me from posting; it’s my brain’s existential nihilistic tendencies.

Why is life as a semi-sane person so hard? *sigh*

I’m Bored.

It’s a Sunday, and there’s no school until Tuesday (because in UP that’s how we roll). My sister has sent my allowance for the coming week, but I’m too lazy to go out and get it, mostly because it’s raining outside and I don’t want to take a bath in this cold. It sucks because I’m on my period so I can’t do my crunches, which amounts to not being able to do anything productive today. Well, I did finish Stephen King’s Blaze, but I was on the last 15 or so pages anyway, so it didn’t take up much time. I’ve been listening to Incubus’ albums for the past few hours, and in the midst of it all I remembered that I miss listening to the Smashing Pumpkins, so I went ahead and looked for a working download of their discography. My internet speed is dismal, however, so I don’t expect it to finish until next week or so (it’s a big discography, okay). It’s also this disappointing internet connection that’s been hindering me from doing another thing that would have made me productive: my homework. I’d love to just go to the library instead, but the school’s closed during Sundays, so it follows that the library is also closed. I do have a ton of readings for my Lit Crit class, but they’re mostly on topics that have already been covered, and the new readings I can’t get a copy of because–yep–the library is closed. There are a lot of books here that I ought to be reading, like The Anthology Of Popular Verses, or my friend’s copy of A Dirge For Prester John Vol. 1: The Habitation Of The Blessed (Catherynne M. Valente is a genius, by the way), or yet another friend’s copy of John Greene’s Looking For Alaska (though this one I would read only out of curiosity about the hype). I haven’t even started on Irvine Welsh’s Glue yetI just don’t feel like reading, is all. It sounds so anti-intellectual, I know, but to enjoy reading there’s a certain mood that I have to be in (the transfer-me-to-another-universe mood), and even if I was in such a mood it takes a certain level of cogitation to be able to fully get there. If I can’t think properly, as is the case, the experience is wasted. There’s actually a lot of things to be done, but there are also a lot of obstacles in the circumstances that kind of keep me in this glass case of procrastination. Right now all I want to do is lay back down in bed and do nothing for the rest of the day, but if I don’t get out to buy “certain supplies” I’ll girl-bleed all over my bed. Curse girl-bleeding! Agh. It’s this shit weather that’s stopping me from going outside; I can’t even take my Sky Photos. Well, to be honest I didn’t want to take any Sky photos recently, mostly because nothing’s going on up there aside from dull gray rain clouds and drips. Sigh. By the way, I’ve been thinking about moving somewhere else, i.e. exporting my blog. I don’t want to have followers anymore, because it makes me uneasy. I know nobody ever reads my posts other than my poetry, and even those I’m pretty sure people who “liked” them didn’t read. I feel like they just clicked the “poetry” tag and liked everything that’s there. And that’s kind of what’s fueling this feeling of wanting to get away from those dead eyes, you know, those people who aren’t really people but are more of machines who mechanically “like” things, all the while ignoring your more human posts. So yeah, I might stop tagging my posts altogether (or revise my tagging system so that it makes sense only to me), and maybe make a new blog. Or is there any way to block followers? I’ll have to do some more exploring. It’s somewhat tied to the laziness I feel regarding making new posts. For some time I thought I should cater to people and make this blog look presentable, but I figure that’s of no use. So yes, I want to make this blog only for myself again, and for no one else.

It’s almost 2 in the afternoon and I haven’t bathed. After this long-ass rambling I still don’t know what to do with my life today. Hmm. I think I want a grilled cheese sandwich.

OMG Ruuuuun

I’ll post my shit tmw OK my phone is charging so I kept it dead so I can’t upload my photos so I can’t post my Sky things and when I can’t post my Sky shit I don’t like posting my other things

Imma post a poem though, that might last this blog a bit. I’m going back to Baguio tomorrow anyway, so maybe then I’ll have some time to post stuff before running to school while low on sleep and rich in body pain OK bye bye