Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I've let so many things drop form my life because I got swallowed up by some preoccupation or other. That's bad. I feel like my whole life's pretty much been spent metaphorically picking up after myself.

Getting swallowed up in a project or cause may be a good or a bad thing. I could easily lose myself in a project. You'd never be able to speak to me properly for weeks. I've been lucky I haven't lost myself in Scientology or the Aum Shinri Kyo.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm Thooper, Thanks for Asth-king

I don't really sleep. Not anymore.

I'm irrationally, albeit mildly, ticked off at Wentworth Miller.

I've a backlog of stories and stalled projects --Mammon 10, Happy Pasay Feet (working title) among others.

I've a small backlog of post-class work too.

I'm somewhat touchy and irritable because people think that just because I don't sleep I'm fair game for errands and work that shouldn't be assigned to me.

Still I'm not angry. I've been so busy that my standard witch's brew of emotions is being drained away as I workworkworkworkworkworkworkwork. No, it's not good. Just because it looks normal to everyone else doesn't mean it's good. But at least I'm lucid, and at least I'm functioning.

Hey, that's what it's all about, right?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I am Tony Snark... and a crapload of other people too

I should stop editing, even if only for a week, as I note with growing horror that I am becoming terse and acerbic in my comments and annotations. Yes, some students do deserve the barbs. But most of them shouldn't have to be waterboarded by my inner English Gestapo.

My Inner Grammar Nazi's zeal, I've noticed, waxes proportionate to the levels of frustration felt by the rest of me-- the Knight, the Fool, the Scholar, the Toolbox Poet, the Mad Evolutionary Bio-Psycho-Sociologist, the jilted Thanatologist, the Guy in the Yellow Shirt-- all the varied facets of myself that other people have already seen.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Gentle Surprises

At the end of the workday I'm often exhausted. You have a limited concept of hell until you have tried your earnest best to search for meaning in the quagmire of a beginning English student's essays. If you're anything like me or my lovely apo, you'll be wide awake and tying yourself in mental knots making sure your students can understand the nuances of the language long after you should have been asleep or tying up the loose ends of your personal life.

You reach a point where you're sick of having more classes, as each one can potentially turn into 30 minute therapy sessions with students who cannot help but bring their troubles with them to class.
I was looking forward to the lull in my calendar of activities for each weekday.

Lo and behold, management slaps a new class on my schedule. What surprises is that I must really have been doing something right-- this student was formerly enrolled in our "coupon class" program, for students whose schedules are as frayed as Britney's domestic life. She normally bounces from one teacher to another in the course of her training until she finishes a month's worth of classes. That she decided--even if tentatively-- to stay with me on a fixed schedule is ...flattering.

I'm not looking forward to the inconvenience of hand-holding another novice as she makes the pilgrimage from Engrish to English. But she already speaks well; has the markings of a sharp mind. It would be a shame if a damned band score slaps her in the face with the word "inadequate."

To be told by your exes, your bosses, to be told by a stupid test that you're just not good enough-- It's happened to me a lot over the last three years and I am far more tired of that.

Let this never have to happen to the people who matter.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Tell Us a Story

Those of us who still want to write about dismembered feet in Pasay City are still welcome to do so. Make note, this whole rigmarole is for fun-- a damned good way to prove to ourselves that were still human enough to tell stories. Though I might sweeten the deal by giving a prize beyond a promise to purchase your book and pimp it to anyone who'll listen.

My own story is still percolating in some stages so you don't have to worry about deadlines. But be assured it's being outlined and written. Looking forward to hearing about how your stories are coming along.

I am Engrish Teacha!

Writing classes are coming along nicely-- my student's improving. And that's always god news. My vet student had a great weekend, which boosted his capacity to make decent conversation. Would that the "great weekend" happen every day.

I'm still behind in my post class work. Fixing that now.

E.D. Phone Home

My job has swallowed me up. The logistics of being a damned good Engrish teacha, being a "good" kuya and ...son, as well as pushing my sisyphean boulder up the stupid hill are eating up my time. I haven't been to Cainta in a month. My "girlfriend" Maya and my PC Mylene have been needing my attention for some time now and I don't know when I can get to them.

I could drop the boulder. I'm often close to doing that these days. Just let it roll down the f_cken hill and let it flatten me one last time. I don't want to look at my desktop; I don't want to look at the pictures in my album and the ones in my phone. Every time I find myself patiently wrapping something in my trademark brown paper I ask myself "What's the point?"

But I can't quite bring myself to end this. I've lost too much; I don't sleep anymore; I hobble around like someone's grandpa when the doctors say that by all rights I should be high-kicking like a cheerleader on crack. I can't enjoy local music and I miss my friends, even the ones who think my other name is Joe Satan. And did I tell you I utterly hate weekends now?

At least I've been lucky I've gotten my older friends back.

Patient X doing well. Thank God. If there was anything else I've helped do right, let her road be one that leads to Bethlehem, and not to Calvary. Anak ng patola naman, inako ko na 'yan. Pag 'yang therapy ni X, naudlot pa, ibig sabihin tama si Nora: wala na ngang himala. Mantsu-tsugi na ako ng taoh! Pramis.


Wis n'yo lang alam na nababading na ang lolo n'yo dahil nangungulila na me sa grand mudra ni Tish.

I'm reactivating Project Transcendence 2.0. I can't live like this. Got to set those contingency plans
in motion. Tell you more about it soon.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


On the drive home that Saturday, the cabbie said he thought we were a couple. Close, I responded, but no cigar. We could have been, considering our shared history and how closely related our fields of expertise were: I wasn't always a teacher for the English-impaired. There's a reason after all why I put journeyman on my career profiles-- it's the only respectable word substitute for freelancer, bum and dilletante.

But she had been very vocal about what kind of man would share her bed and her life and I didn't fit the bill. Even if the past year had finally done its magic and put the months of that aborted courtship in the proper perspective, nothing would change between us until that checklist of what she wanted in a man did. Or if I suddenly stopped being me.

Then again that little revelation would not have stopped him from giving me advice cloaked in the metaphor of a mango tree.

Strange, strange day.

In all the months that I languished, missing her, her words of scorn burned in my memory, what I wanted so badly was to just be able to share jokes and an occasional cab ride with her. To hold a door open for her. And yesterday, on our mutual quest for a box of pasalubong, I got my wish.

Coelho is right when he said the universe conspires to give you what you want. The catch is the universe seemingly has a problem with the concept of when. That was a wasted year that could have been spent sharing food and DVDs, comparing projects.

Still, beggars and burned romantics can't be choosers. And I am ...happy.

Divesting Myself of Gabby

The problem with lazy weekend afternoons, when you are nursing what may be the ghost of a bum leg, is that the channel-changer on the teevee is almost always pointed at nothing good on the tube.

I'm as much concerned with the lives of Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion as anyone on these Islands. Gabby Concepcion especially, considering that his journey to a semblance of peace and a renewed career in the Philippines was marked by instances of very public and very sordid interpersonal screwups. In this, I feel a certain cringe-worthy kinship with the man.

But one gets sick of it, the constant peering into the minutiae of a celebrity's life. Especially when you're a man who wishes he could spend a Sunday like everyone else-- at a mall, watching a movie with someone he cares about.

Lucky for me, I have work left over from Friday. It's necessary drudgery that I'm eager to finish and loath to begin, but at least I get to divest myself of Gabby Concepcion and everyone else in local showbiz.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


There is absolutely nothing wrong with my leg. Yet I still walk with a limp; I wince when extra pressure is placed on the bum leg. My cane is still a comforting tool that taptaptaps and raprapraps on the pavement underneath me. And idiot artist that I am, I'm actually seeing an aptness to the image of this erstwhile minor rock god hobbling to work.

The Mighty Thor, after all, was hiding in the body of one Donald Blake, lame physician.

At a moment's notice I could probably stand on my bum leg, collapse my cane, use it as a rather clumsy blunt weapon. In recent days, I've kind of been spoiling internally for a confrontation that would require me to do just that, to force my leg to do what it's supposed to. But I know better than to truly ask for it. I was already robbed at knife-point once.

I am missing something, something important. I have been for the longest time. That I am hobbling with a cane is just another manifestation of that loss. There are some disadvantages to feeling things in stereo.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Giant Cockroach

Every time he walks into that place it makes itself felt. It's there in the room and everyone strives mightily not to call everyone else's attention to the fact that it exists, even if it's there staring us all in the face, waving its antennae in quick arrhythmic circles, gesticulating with its spiny legs, moving its greasy mandibles up and down and inward toward the mouth.

Aww, look, it's even wearing a pink I (heart) Bora t-shirt. Now that's my kind of ungeheueren Ungeziefer!

It's all too easy to blame uh, Gregor, for carrying this monstrosity. After all, it's only there when he's there: two separate events happen immediately, one after the other, and automatically a correlation is assumed. Causation is established. And, ah, Gregor, gets a world of bad press.

What people forget is that it always takes two. That giant cockroach is reborn when two people stay in close proximity. That vermin, meine guten Freunde, has parents.

No, most of you don't get it and I don't expect you to. But the point has always been that the giant cockroach-- let's call him Aidan-- isn't. And you'd see that if you bothered to really look him in the face.