Call and answer.

By | July 7, 2014

Last night, I found myself playing familiar songs from years ago. One of them was Barenaked Ladies’s “Call and Answer“.

I once sang that song in a karaoke. It’s a relatively easy song to sing, even though it required a wide range. I told friends at that time that the song had a story for me, but I didn’t tell them what the story was.

I posted a summary of that story.

Two tweets about that song, then I went back to work and eventually fell asleep on my station. Several replies to those tweets followed, including some from my favorite guy-stalker.

It got me back into thinking why I was remembering that particular period of my life. And then I remembered it was around this date six years ago (I initially misremembered it as seven and on July 7th) when Daryl and I broke up, on our third anniversary.

I’ve long ago accepted the end of that relationship. Daryl and I remained friends. Looking at the things I wrote from that period, I realized how much I changed from 6 years ago; and how much I didn’t change.

A lot of things I wrote six years ago no longer hold true. But how I saw and regarded our relationship remained unchanged.

Let’s see. Six years from now, I might be doing this nostalgia trip again. And I will rediscover this post and, hopefully, have a good laugh at myself and the things I thought I was very sure of.

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Nuked longganisa.

By | June 23, 2014

My mother, in her usual tone of absent-minded concern, asked if the frozen longganisa will be adequately cooked when placed in the microwave.

“Sure,” I said.

Of course, she didn’t believe me, commenting how it’s unsafe to eat undercooked meat. I told her how microwave cooks food from the inside out, so it doesn’t matter if the food was frozen.

I overcooked the sausage. My mother was amazed to see what was a fat tube of meat shriveled to half its size.

So in the end, it was no longer longganisa. The meat was dry and too deep-fried, it was a sausage-shaped chicharon that sprung out of my plate when I cut it with a spoon.

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Dream: An action adventure building escape.

By | June 20, 2014

The building’s lift stopped at a certain floor, annoying me because I was running late for work (even in my dream!). When I went out, I discovered that, one floor down, the building’s pillars collapsed. One pillar smashed into the elevator shaft. Somehow the building was still standing, but only just.

Alerting my companions, we took the fire stairs, which somehow was placed outside a high-rise building. Judging that the entire building will collapse within half an hour, I urged my companions to quickly climb down from the 16th floor.

Not surprisingly, one of my companions would fall into a hysterical fit every so often: That stock character of a bumbling, helpless person that slows down a group yet somehow manages not to die ahead of the others.

Despite my real world fear of heights, I was a very competent person in my dream, leading my companions to safety. That was despite being in a world where safety regulations apparently do not exist. I already mentioned the outside fire stairs; the lift we were on apparently doesn’t have a closing door, and part of the platform floor dangerously slopes downwards. There were also the sparking open wires and some locked doors. The place felt like the aftermath of a small-scale disaster that was specifically made to happen.

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Dusk, Bonifacio Global City

Dream: A late night restaurant scene.

By | June 16, 2014

One night, I met with a lesbian girl friend for a really late dinner. We were joined by a straight guy friend.

The evening traffic was horrible. After some indecision on where to eat, we decided to go to a fashionable restaurant owned by another guy friend. Girl friend drove us there. There was quite a crowd inside. I was enjoying my meal while talking with my friends when the restaurant owner called my attention from several tables away.

“How is it outside?” he asked. At first, I didn’t understand what was he about. After asking what he meant, I began answering about how bad the evening traffic was and how we decided to have dinner at his place.

Restaurant owner cut me off, talked to the crowd, and started shaming my girl friend. Apparently, he didn’t know she was gay until she dumped him; he was sharing that to the other diners, and how he felt being taken advantage of. Girl friend indignantly talked back and started arguing with the restaurant owner; straight guy friend who was with us tried reasoning with both of them.

I was only halfway done with my dinner but I curtly told the restaurant owner that we were leaving. I stood up from our table but girl friend stormed out of the place. Me and guy friend, calling her name which she ignored, ran after her to her car which was parked some distance away while it was raining.

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Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA

Philippine history as told by #RP612fic.

By | June 13, 2014

One of my favorite Twitter memes happens every year during the Philippine Independence Day.

#RP612fic (Republic of the Philippines June 12 fiction) was the brainchild of Paolo Chikiamco in 2009. During Independence Day, Twitter users post single-tweet stories of alternate histories of the Philippines.

Coming up with a good story in less than 140 characters (the hashtag should be included in the tweet) is quite challenging, but a lot of Twitter users rise up to the challenge admirably. You see tweets referencing famous (and not-so-famous) historical events, reimagining historical figures interacting with modern technology, and even re-imagining Filipino literary works (like the Rizal novels, Florante at Laura, or Ibong Adarna). A lot of the tweets are pop cultural mash-ups, but some remain true to the speculative fiction roots of the meme (like this beautifully illustrated story from Gerry Alanguilan).

This is the second year I’ve joined #RP612fic. Since it’s often difficult searching through the Twitter archives, I’m posting the tweets I posted this year:

  • “Yes, it was me who did it,” admitted the tearful senator on national television. “I hereby render my resignation.” #RP612Fic *
    1:03 AM 12 Jun 2014

* I should’ve used “tender”, not “render”; but I rarely bother editing my tweets.

  • 2054: Filipino netizens celebrate “Matuwid” PNoy, the inspiring leader who tamed Philippine politics and restored public trust. #RP612fic
    5:45 AM – 12 Jun 2014
  • Archaeologists puzzled over the fossil skeleton recovered from a Benguet mine. It appeared human-like, except for the horse skull. #RP612fic
    2:27 PM – 12 Jun 2014
  • After a momentous Vatican decision, the Philippines remained the only nation that outlawed divorce. #RP612fic
    2:35 PM – 12 Jun 2014
  • During his oath-taking speech, former actor Pio Pascua came out as the first gay president in Asia. #RP612fic
    2:38 PM – 12 Jun 2014
  • After heated discussions and (a some moments of physical violence), Congress was still divided on the National App Bill. #RP612fic
    2:50 PM – 12 Jun 2014
  • Experimental psychic beacons gathered Leftists in Santolan, to be gassed by the military. It was known as the 1986 EDSA Massacre. #RP612fic
    3:31 PM – 12 Jun 2014
  • The long-abandoned pit in Ortigas is deathly quiet. Except for an occasional hiss, like from a giant snake. #RP612fic **
    6:00 PM – 12 Jun 2014

** This had the most favorites and retweets from my #RP612fic posts (among them Paolo Chikiamco — I’m still a little giddy from it). Probably because of the reference I made to an Ortigas urban legend that was very popular during the 1990s. The idea of using this construction site has been in my mind for some time now; it was fortunate that I passed by the area yesterday and I was able to take a photo to accompany my story.

  • The giant kaiju is destroying Manila.

    “Mary, help us,” whispers the General as he activates the Monolith. #RP612fic
    6:22 PM – 12 Jun 2014

  • Rumors were confirmed! It was revealed that VPres Enrile, grandson of the former Senator, was actually JP Enrile in a cloned body. #RP612fic
    8:38 PM – 12 Jun 2014
  • Little Pepe was grounded after his mom found out that her favorite pair of Manolo Blahnik was thrown in the Pasig River. #RP612fic
    9:10 PM – 12 Jun 2014
  • “My phone was stolen,” explained Emilio Jacinto when his intimate videos with Andres Bonifacio became the latest public scandal. #RP612fic ***
    9:31 PM – 12 Jun 2014

*** Because I think they are among the cutest slash-pair from the Philippine revolution.

As much fun as it is writing tweet-length fiction, what’s even better is reading through the various submissions: laughing at the historical jokes, being satisfied at noticing the references, and admiring the creativity of many Filipinos on Twitter.

Thank you, Paolo Chikiamco, for coming up with #RP612fic. It’s a great way to celebrate Independence Day, whether you believe in Philippine independence or not.

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