Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Stranger at King's Court

I was under the impression that this would not last long. This feeling of self-destruction in the sense of falling in love with a mistake I committed some years ago is something I thought wouldn’t last at all. But I am greatly mistaken. It was a mistaken love affair after all. But unfortunately for me, my mistakes are the stuff that I cherish the most and had always wanted to get back on.

If anyone of you thought I am smoke-free, think again. I took a break with the sticks for a few days time but now I am back. Willingly back.

As I sit across an elongated bench outside the building I work at I began grasping for my cigarette in the plastic bag of Mini Stop. Out of the freshly opened flip-top box I smelled the aroma of tobacco filled rolled paper on my fingers. Almost shaking I lit it and the sparks began. Every color, every lines, every movements and every whispers of talk around me is suddenly full of life. This is such a wonderful thing isn’t it?

As I drag on my stick I noticed that I was the only girl in the crowd. Three men sitting on my left, one of them sitting right next to me, a seemingly haggard looking man in a pale white barong sat quietly on my right and some five to six men chatting animatedly a few meters in front of me on the other side of the area. These are strangers. And I love strangers around me when I smoke. Because the fact that they don’t know me allows me the freedom to just be me. For them I am just a girl who smokes, nothing more and nothing less.

Indeed I am. A girl who sits in a crowded place of men in leather shoes and business suits dragging on two to three sticks a day. Or shall I say dragging on two to three sticks a sit. Because cigarette is my lunch and my dinner. Not my breakfast though because I always wake up late, just in time to run wet-haired for work. So there. Just lunch and dinner. It’s not that I’m on a diet or is saving money but because I’m always in no appetite for food in the cafeteria or in anywhere else my workmates frequent for lunch breaks. Just that.

So I took out another stick and wait for some girls to come out and sit on the same bench with me to have a drag in their own cigars. I wish. But none has come out to play. Suddenly I realized something is wrong. There are no other girls in sight. What the hell is wrong with the world today? Am I the only girl in the world now who smokes in a public place like this surrounded by men in haggard faces and laser eyes? I don’t get this.

Now I’m offended. How strange can this be? Now my being back to the old habit is bothering me. I feel like I’m not normal at all. Oh this sucks. I put out the smoke on the ashtray post and stormed out of the area. My head is spinning with unusual mockery. Staying in that place so full of crappy staring old men and playing a stranger was a mistake. Now I am marked. Like old times. When I commit something that no one else has ever done before, which is most likely I have no intention of doing, I am marked. This is so like that. I hate being a stranger and stand being surrounded by stranger who thinks I am strange. Oh, this isn’t making any sense anymore.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nico, the K-zone Monster

Nico is really a collector of a lot of stuff. Read: a lot. Yeah, that's because most of the stuff he collects really doesn't have much value or something like that. One of his fixations is collecting this kids' magazine called K-zone. Its got loads of stuff about Anime, Console game infos, Jonas Bros. and Hannah Montana trivia, Restaurant suggestion for kids, Jonas Bros. and Hannah Montana infos, some cool sports for kids to try, latest movies for kids, Jonas Bros. and Hannah Montana news, jokes, more jokes and some more Jonas Bros. and Hannah Montana collectibles. But the good thing is my brother's not obsessed with either of those two artist I mentioned (no offense) and turns out my sister Iris is the one so keen on those teen brothers and then I ended up listening to that Hannah girl - This is the life!!! Oh my gosh! Anyway, this kid, nightmare. Ha! He's got a complete set since 2007 (including the double issues)! Ma, do you have any idea about this???

Nico,The K-zone monster

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Best Laid Plans - Father’s Day on Mute Special

It has been a week since my father left for a foreign land nine and a half hours flight away from here. It was part of the best laid plans we had in mind. It went well.

So we thought.

Father’s Day on Mute

No, this isn’t Father’s Day. But it sure has turned out to be after hearing the tragedy of heat stroke that had knocked him and our future down under. Sunday, at Megamall, I was with Mama, my sister Iris, my younger brother Nico, my grandpa Joaquin (mothers’ side). We gathered up and made one man deserve all the hugs and smiles and the love and support in the world. My father, Armando Echo Descalsote.

In my childhood papa was always the cheery one. He can take it anytime and anywhere. He’s unbelievably witty in conversations in the most hypothetical sense that us, kids, only understand that ‘it’ was indeed funny when they, the old, starts guffawing with laughter. He talked big about learning how to deal with life in college, and so at an early age my sister and I were projected to look beyond our generations to the world of grown-ups in college. That wasn’t really bad though as it taught us how to go for something we truly aspire regardless of how financially incapable we are or mentally disoriented (not literally) to take on our chosen fields as long as we have something…to aspire...right. Oh whatever.

My father is a Finance graduate in UE (University of the East) who has more respect and understanding for Philosophy than for Accounting because he believed that common sense is much used in life than doing an inventory of numbers. But he used the accounting stuff anyway later on in life. For 15 years he worked for General Milling Corporations where he met my mother and was married in 1984. Mama told me a little of his proposal was really the wackiest excuse to get married. The line he said was something like – “Do you know how much money we keep spending a night of just eating and watching movies and how much we’ll save if we get married instead?” Mama’s answer was a “no idea” - about what the hell is he up to (she’s obviously not into marriage just yet) but in spite of herself came out a resounding laughter and a yes to let’s get married.

A year after I came in the picture then a year after that, my sister Iris. The most treasured father and daughter moment I can recall is definitely that time I first played for the Flores de Mayo some years ago. In the family, Papa is known for his musical skills. He plays the piano and guitar very well and can learn how to play a song by just listening to it. He sings too! He loves all kinds of music as a matter of fact and is responsible for influencing us (me, my sister and younger brother) with the music of Beatles, Eagles, Queen, Beegees, Michael Jackson, Santana, Elton John, America, Chicago, ABBA and Robbie Williams and Michael Buble.

I was about 10 years old when I was formally taught on how to play the piano and violin then guitars and flute when I turned 12. My younger siblings were taught the same instruments equitably but they were just not as good as I had turned out to be. One time in May, Papa asked me to play the piano on his behalf at the Flores de Mayo festivity that my grandmother (Papas’ mother) is conducting every year. It was a family tradition wherein we invite lots and lots of people to celebrate with us in honor of the Immaculate Mother Mary. This was always done in Latin and so Papa had to deal with me learning Latin, singing it and playing it at the same time. It was tedious but for the first time in my life I felt a strong sense of worth. And so I learned quickly. The celebrations were done during weekends and I played in all of them for an entire month never missing any opportunity to wow the crowd. They said I was brilliant - a youngster amongst the mature choir. Mama, my brother and sister, cousins, elders and grandmother, who were there, would only sit and stare at how Papa and I had done it perfectly. The father and daughter tandem, just perfect.

The Best Laid Plans
In actuality, the word ‘perfect’ isn’t a really fitting word for my relationship with Papa, because it was never been like that honestly. We were always and forever in conflict about so many things. Trust is our favorite topic. For him, life is a humongous arena of black and whites that once we are let out there – the so-called scene – you will either turn out white as a ghost or black as evil. So the more he ties me to his standards the more I struggle out.

Since then, instinctively Papa became my biggest pressure in almost everything I do. I got myself into sports – softball varsity – in high school, learned enough of reverse psychology and all in all become a fighter for my younger siblings and in some ways for the entire family so that one way or another win his old appreciation of his favorite daughter. But I always fail him. And so later on I started building my walls to another world. I joined a writer’s society in college so I can spend much time out of the house and away from his wicked smite of remarks. I learned to love and hate him. Love him to be around so I have all the reasons to be a constant ridicule to the family. Hate him for still seeing through me.

It happened some time last year after an apparent incapacity of mine to be the provider of the family. A call from my aunt abroad gave me all the chances to change our fate and to try once again to prove myself to him. This time, I made sure nothing else will get in the way. Nothing.

It was a chance for Papa to go abroad and play a scene in the family business. It all seemed perfect. I gathered up information as to what has to be done for him to get there. The money and his qualifications were so impossible at that time. A freaking three hundred thousand pesos and a striving family to feed is too heavy for my shoulders. In fact it was absolute insanity! And so I had to plan it carefully, and smoothly. Trust again became an issue. I made him trust me. In the sense that whatever I say and do is what’s best for him. It worked. Days and months had passed and we carried on having a common goal and a common anticipation that one day it will happen. It was not deceit, no. Please believe me when I say this. I had no intensions to play dishonesty in the background just to make him go out of my life because he is my father, and I love him as much as I love the entire family. It was that I want him to learn how to trust me back to positive appreciation and so we can go back to the part when we lived simple lives treating each other the perfect father and daughter in the eyes of everyone.

After series of discussions over endless efforts to make this all come true, finally the day has arrived. The weekend before his flight I was back in Antipolo with a bottle of wine at hand ready to celebrate for a discreetly proud and excited father. I sensed all time happiness. Everything went well after all.

Where: Megamall, Max’s Restaurant
When: September 7, 2008, Sunday
What: Lunch date with Mama, Puyin, Nico, Lolo Joaquin (mama’s father), Tita Tere and Tito Rolly, TF, Kenneth and Vince (cousins)
Agenda: Grandparents’ Day
Sub-agenda: Papa’s situation in Qatar

He was in a bad state. A topic that had driven us back to question the chance we all had agreed upon. The chance we took. The chance that started it all. The chance that ruined it all.

Now, everything was a complete disaster. The best laid plan has turned into a life threatening situation that could cost me not only a father to prove myself to that I had cared for ever since but also heaven and earth. As I sit across my mother and beside my sister and younger brother digesting not only the food on my plate but the downpour of emotions between deep sighs. It was heartbreaking. I could not think straight and could not decide on the level of stupidity I had reached. I felt sick to finish my meal and so I timidly spared myself with the desserts because the knot in my stomach gets tighter and tighter every minute. But everyone including me kept a cool face though. My sister and brother on the other hand didn’t give up relating me more of their shock and disappointment resulting me another round of imaginary banging on the wall. All the more, they were the ones who were expecting good things from this out of the so-uncharted-water adventure because they respect me and knowing this was my plan will turn out well. But now they knew it didn’t and so I was more damned.

Stressed out I went back to my boarding house and got a hold of Papa on the phone. He said that he’d rather not talk about his situation there because he knows he can still do the part if only the climate would cooperate. I felt a little ok. I asked him for the last time to take care of him self and put down the phone. Before doing so he asked that if all things fail we just have to be proud that we took the chance.

This morning, I learned it was heat stroke.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Simon Pegg

After watching Shaun of the Dead - twice in a row (I obviously can't seem to get enough of it), Guest House Paradiso and Run, Fatboy, Run, I am now a Simon Pegg fan. My gosh!

I've said this a couple of days ago to a friend that I'm developing this sort of fascination over British. Brandon Flowers of the The Killers is totally becoming a staple in my everyday living though I'm not sure he's Brit but since their stint in Abbey Road I just thought so. And if you put him together with Simon, oh my! I mean I know right they're just soooo urgh irresistibly cute! Oh please somebody stop me.

Now I can't last a day without watching these two guys now. Simon and Brandon. Brandon and Simon. Okay enough! I'll feature Brandon Flowers in my next post promise! (marking the calendar now). But for now - Simon Pegg.
Simon is simply one of the funny and talented guys I've seen on tv. I was so amazed when I found out he has co-written Shaun of the Dead which is one of the funniest so-unheard-of-movies I've ever seen. That movie is what directors now call the Rom-Zom-Com type of films because of the brilliant idea of mixing two genres (Horror and Romantic Comedy) into one movie and still keep everything intact. I'm sure when you see at least one of those movies I mentioned you will get the drift. And if you check on his other films you will notice that he's been casted with almost the same actors and actress. Like in Shaun of the Dead he's with Nick Frost (which has been Simon's best friend for 15 years. Whoa!) who starred with him again in Hot Fuzz along with many others. In Guest House Paradiso he was also there with Liz from Shaun of the Dead. In Run, Fatboy, Run he was there with Dylan Morgan who also was in Shaun of the Dead. I mean I know this is small...small...world! Lolx. Just kidding. But boo whatever, I love this guy. Period.

So, as for that, I will let you see Simon Pegg at his simplest form. Ha-ha! I mean in his simplest funny role. I'm just not sure if this is Dylan Morgan (the guy who could have been the older version of Harry Potter) whom he's with in this scene but anyway, take a good look at this lad, and have one bloody hell of a time! Blimey, what's gotten in me? British eh!

P.S. Simon also stars in the movie How to Lose Friends and Alienate People along side Kirsten Dunst(Spiderman Trilogy) and Megan Fox(Transformers) and Big Nothing with David Schwimer and a film with Gillian Anderson (X-Files). This only means one thing... He's coming to invade America! Hahaha! I love this! So move over Jim Carey... Simon Pegg's here! Wuhoo!

Do you Speak English? from Big Train