Saturday, December 25, 2004

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bye Dad

After a long battle with cancer, my dad passed away today.
Dad, you will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Cut off!!

A few days ago, the phone went out. We had it coming. It had made a strange noise for a while, and then,  one day it just went out. We’ve called the phone company, but it will be a while.

This means my dial-up internet connection is gone as well. I feel totally isolated. Well, I still have my cell phone, and my mom lent hers to my granny. So we are still semi-connected.

But... I want my Internet!!

Luckily, there are choices. My parents have a cable connection, and so does my girlfriend. There is the occasional internet cafe or the campus lab. But nothing beats being able to hook up at midnight to look at some dirty slu....uhm, I mean... to check up for new words to add to my vocabulary. Yes, that’s what I always do with my online time. Always.

Can’t live without that Webster.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A few words about my dad

Ok, it's time to talk about something that's been troubling me for a very long time.

My dad is sick, really sick.

He has a malignant lymphoma in his neck. It started on his panchreas two years ago, but you know how cancer doesn't like to confine itself to just one place. So it migrated to his neck. That's when things got ugly. The lymph nodes there starting to swell up, and he started to get a lot of bulges around his throat. That was kinda hard to watch, but the best was yet to come. The doctors decided to put a catheter in him, so the chemotherapy could have a direct input into his bloodstream. So he has a plastic valve grafted onto his chest, barely covered with  a layer of skin. You can clearly see the contours of the thing. It's gross. Very Frankenstein-ish. I can't imagine what having that must feel like.

When the cancer got to his panchreas, it made him diabetic. But when it got to his neck, it crushed several nerves and paralyzed half of his face.

The chemo started to waste my old man away. He quickly lost over 50 pounds. And his hair.

Eventually, some of the hair grew back, and some of the pounds made a return. But it wasn't the same. His arms, which used to be thick as a log, became as thin as matchsticks.

The drugs started to wreack havok on his body. His digestive system got devastated. He was the one who taught me the love of food. Now the thought of eating one of his beloved burgers is enough to make him heave.

It is as if 30 years dropped on him in just one year. He used to be a vivacious man. He used to look 10 years younger than his real age. Now he looks 80. The disease has turned him into a frail old man.

The doctors have given up trying to cure him, and now are focusing on lessening his pain. He may not last more than six more months.

Making peace with the past

I smirk whenever I see a TV show that has kids mouthing off to their parents. Had I done anything REMOTELY close to that when I was a kid, I would’ve had to pick my teeth off the floor.

I got my dose of whuppings when I was a kid. I used to resent my Dad for it. He wasn’t (and still isn’t) the easiest person to talk to. You couldn’t summon his wrath without grave consequence. And boy, was that easy to do!  Several times as a kid, he felt the need to show me my place with a good smack to the back of my head every now and then. If you haven’t been slapped in the back of the head, it’s not fun, trust me.
When my own kids misbehave, I’ll whip their lower back till there is no skin in there, but I’ll leave their heads alone. I figure God put extra filling in the butt area for a good reason. Those cheeks aren’t just for sitting, kids!!

As a consequence of the body punishments, I used to resent my Dad profoundly. But that was before he got sick. It’s hard to hold a grudge at somebody who is fading away before your very eyes.

This is not my dad

I want the man I knew two years ago. Give him back.

I have stopped taking pictures. I loved to photograph my family every chance I had. But now I won’t go with a camera near my dad. This is not how I want to remember him. I don’t think he would like to be remembered this way, either.

Cancer is a monster

It can take everything away: your health, your youth, your will to live. But it can't take your family's love away. We love you, Dad. We always will.

May God give each one of us the strength to overcome this terrible trial.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Have you ever seen Crash?? It’s a creepy film, man. It’s about a secret community of weirdoes that get turned on whenever they’re on a car crash. These are really sick people. They take pictures of traffic accidents because it makes them hot. Even seeing crash test films makes the horny devils want to do the horizontal mambo. I don’t know what made me dislike this film. Maybe it was the man-to-man love scenes. Or maybe it was the cross-dressing. Could’ve been the cripple-sex. Truly, I am not sure.  

But now I know why the kid at the video store kept looking at me funny while I was renting it out.

I banged a lady

I was driving to my school last Friday, to return some overdue books at the library. It had been a rainy afternoon, and the traffic was bad. Then I saw the lady in front of me suddenly slowing down. I tried to brake, but the pavement was wet and the tires didn’t take hold.

It was kinda funny, actually. I was driving at around 20 kph, so it was a slow collission. It felt like the car slid for a lifetime before slamming into that lady’s rear bumper. Sort of like slow motion: S.....L.....A......M.....!!!

I got a bit shaken, but not too much. After a quick damage assesment, we knew the following:
  • She was ok
  • I was ok
  • Her car was ok (just a banged-up bumper)
  • Mine was not

Since my car hit the woman’s bumper with the right headlight, it got totally pushed in, along with the hood, the bumper, the grill and the front side of the car. Yeah: OUCH.

Luckily, both of us were insured, so it was a matter of waiting for the insurance guys to show up (they would eventually show up about an hour later, due to traffic).  We moved our cars to a nearby gas station to clear the way and to minimize any posibilities of having the Kzanderallian police show up. (In case you have skipped posts, they are bad news). The lady turned out to be quite nice. We even had a cup of coffee together while we waited inside the gas station. It felt kinda surreal to sit there and talk to her like we hadn’t just crashed a few minutes ago.

In short...

It’s confirmed:
Crash the movie is nothing like real life.
Traffic accidents are a total turn-off.

Monday, October 04, 2004


A few days ago I reached the top ‘user status’ rank: Baby Buggy Bumper. What this means is that I have made over 3200 comments in the forums. I like to think of myself as an ‘active forum participant with a noted inclination towards frequent written participation and with a focus on the enrichment of the thematic pool’.
Arsi has a word for this: BLABBERMOUTH.  

Who’s talkative?

It was never my intent to become a ‘Baby Buggy Bumper’. I just saw a lot of opportunites for commenting in the forums, and went ahead and did it. That’s all. However, the comments started piling up over time, and here we are.

But this rank can give people the wrong idea about me. Just because I’ve posted 3200 times in 16 months, it doesn’t mean I talk a lot. I just talk often. There is a diference.

Most of my comments are short, which is no wonder when you take my famed impatience into account. If you bundled them together, I don’t think all my comments would amount to more than three full pages of text. Need more proof? Take a good look at the blog you’re reading. Large type makes up for the fact that I don’t write that much! When you compare this blog to Cyn’s or hbomb’s, you can easily see that they have more words in just one page than I do in my whole blog!!

However... 3200 comments in little more than a year...

Oh, what the heck: I guess I do talk a lot.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Oh arsi, how I wish you were wrong about this one

Recently, I was over at Bunny Corner and I was reading a post where arsi said that Haloscan, the company that provides the commenting service in my blog, was deleting all comments older than four months. I decided to checked this for myself and was dismayed at the results. At least one comment has been erased so far, but it was an important one: it was my very first comment ever. I even made a post mentioning that very fact. Now that posting is completely pointless, since the comment that originated it is gone. Many precious gems by dpenguin, Taz and arsi (yes, the bunnymeister himself!!) will be lost! Even though I haven’t read some of those comments in months, that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t mind if they disappeared forever.

I must do something. But what?

My guess is that I’ll be switching to Blogger’s own commenting system. It came out about six weeks after I started blogging, and I tried switching back then, but it was a mess. The code was mixed up and I ended up with two commenting links. With Galoot’s help I managed to separate the two. In the end, I stayed with Haloscan, cause it displayed comments in a separate window, without having to leave the page you were in. Also, the interface was way easier to use and manage than Blogger’s. But no feature is too cool for me to allow further massacre of my beloved comments.  

I read how jaymeekaye copy-pasted each and every comment she ever got from Haloscan to Blogger when she switched.  I admire a person willing to perform such a tiresome, monotone task.
Maybe I’ll ask her to switch my comments for me.

Insert your comment here

Visitor comments are very important to me. When I see comments after one of my blog postings, it tells me that people are
a) reading this blog, and
b) so interested in what they read, that they feel compelled to write about it

Writing a blog isn’t easy. I have to turn off my TV, walk all the way to my room, turn on the computer, fire up my mail app, and write.  
It sure is nice to know that all this exhausting effort isn’t a total waste.


Thursday, September 30, 2004

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in

I thought i had bit it today. I had to hand over a report for the graduation class I’m taking. Well,  I had to write tons and tons of stuff. I started writing around 22:00 last night and didn’t stop till about 7:00 today, when I took a break to have a bite to eat. But even after burning the midnight oil, I was far from finished. I started to lose hope around noon. I had to hand out the thing around 16:35. There was just so much ground to cover!! I decided to call it quits around 17:15. I printed the report out and was out the door like yesterday’s sunshine. Not that the traffic was helpful, either. I must’ve made a 20 minute trip in about twice the time. When I arrived at school, I was hesitant to enter. The girl teaching the class had warned me that if I missed this drop-off, I was out.

Out. After spending so much money, time and effort on this dang class. In case you’ve forgotten, I even had to take a 3-month break from the job at Lexcorp just to have enough time. All for not. I was feeling like a total failure as I crossed the doorway. Of course, having arrived so late, I was the last on the list. When it was time for my work to be evaluated, she was in a very cheerful mood. She said she was sorry for coming down on me so hard last time, and the report looked promising. I was so thrilled, I almost cried. I wanted to hug her, but barely managed to keep a hold on myself.

After everybody was gone, I let out a humongous sigh of relief. I was still on the race.

I couldn’t believe it. I was so sure I was a goner. I felt like a condemmned man who had been given a full pardon just as he was sitting in the electric chair.

I can do this: I can win this class.

I have to.

Oh but all things have a price

It’s 23:44 and I’ve been awake for about 24 hours straight. I had to, otherwise I would’ve never finished the report I had to hand out today.

Staying awake was tough. Luckily, I had a little help from Mr. Red Bull. Oh, and i mean the energy drink, not the man (unfortunately)

Despite the chemical boost, around 6:27 I found myself trying to catch some rest in any way possible. I even slept on the floor for a while. This was a trick I picked up in my early student days. If you sleep on the floor, you are never comfortable, which prevents you from dozing off the whole night away.

I kept having these mini-naps, which were not cool, for I didn’t get any rest at all. I remember going to bed and saying to myself “Oh, let’s have some sleep...just for a bit.”
I would get a mini sleep, but then the anguish of the unfinished paper would overcome me and get me on my feet.

Geez, I feel exhausted.

Right now, I am not sleepy, but I know i will drop down like a brick as soon as the adrenaline rush stops, which could be any minute now.

SLAM! Zzzzzzzzz...

Damn kids!!

It just seems that every bozo that has a mildly powerful engine in his car has the need to try it out as often as possible. Since the closest racetrack is about 50 miles away, those who like to live in the fast lane have turned any available city street into their own little Daytona. I have the misfortune of living in a very long and wide street, which makes it perfect for racing. So every time I leave the house i am afraid that I may lose a life or limb as one of those jerks passes whooshing by.

I’m not a fan of speedbumps, but I’m totally ready to make an exception.


Tough times

My mother-in-law is going thru very tough times right now.  

Last year, a brain clot got her mom into a coma she will probably never get out of.
Then, about four months ago, her sister died to a very painful form of stomach tumor. She is the second sister to die of cancer.

Two days ago, her father finally passed away, after being bedridden for about a year due to a stroke.

This was very shocking, for this happened almost before my very eyes. I remember leaving the room for just a minute, and when I came back, he was gone.
There was a lot of crying and sorrow, but deep down we knew he was going to a better place.  He had been such a gentle soul, funny, talkative, friendly, courteous... The stroke ended all that. During his last year of life, he was little more than a wooden puppet, unable to think or do anything for himself. It broke my heart to see him this way.

His wife was a very funny woman, impetuous and lively. Then the coma turned her into a little wrinkle on the bed. Tragic.

I really admire my mother-in-law. Her faith has kept her together. She is a very strong woman.
So is Ivy. They are a tough breed.

If the need for it ever arises, I hope to be as strong myself.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Blog That!!

I am curious about the way the "Blog This!" tool works. Apparently it enables you to post entries in your blog with a lot more ease. This can be quite useful if you are the blog aficionado. I don't think I'll use it too much. I got blog-by-mail, and I'm not that talkative, anyway. Before I forget: this tool allows you to make links, which is cool, cause there this awesome site you should totally check out.

Oh what a night!

Yesterday, it was Clio night.

For those of you who don’t know the advertising business, the Clio Awards are given out every year to the best works in advertising and design around the world. They are handed out in Miami (Florida) during the month of May. And around September, in Kzanderallia, there is always this gala organized by the Kzanderallian Advertising Association where they show the winning awards. They’ve been doing it for several years now. Some people would balk at the idea of paying $12 just to go see commercials for two hours straight. But actually, it’s very entertaining. An ad can be a work of art, moving and captivating while telling you a tiny story in just under 30 seconds.

And this is so much more than just showing ads! Every year they have a theme, and the decorations, invites, tickets and giveaway prizes are in tune with it. One year, it was ‘Chinese Culture’, then it was ‘Summer Party’. This year’s theme was ‘Know Kzanderallia’. They got together with the Kzanderallian Institute of Tourism and produced a very interesting work, showcasing the different aspects of Kzanderallia. They have ‘Wild Kzanderallia’, ‘Caribbean Kzanderallia’, “Colonial Kzanderallia”, and so forth.

I love the Clio show. I wait all year for it. But... Yesterday, several things didn’t work out as planned.

To show off the ads, the Clio people turn a banquet hall into a projection room with 5 screens and 2000 seats. This was never a problem when they used video, but this year, they went digital. There was malfunction galore. Several screens didn’t go at the same pace as the soundtrack, and they had to turn several screens off at the end.

They cut off the ad reel. Usually two hours long, they only showed half of it so people would have time to see a “Magical Mystical Tour of Kzanderallia”. The expo was OK, and everything, but I paid to see ads, not to see an expo.

After the chopped-off ad reel ended, we were supposed to leave the projection room and go to a nearby hall. This didn’t seem to be so hard, since most of us had been to the hotel before and knew the place where the expo was being held. But here’s the thing: we had to take a specific, little-known path. This was never said. Most people (me included) took the well-known route and found ourselves faced with closed doors. We had to doubleback and try to make our way into the expo.  Me and a few people got into an elevator and ended up three basements down, and had to go back up via the stairs. It was a mess.

Then, we finally made it to the hall. It was packed with lights, music and people. They were handing out little souvenirs like petite bottles of Quetzalteca Especial, a drink one step away from rubbing-alcohol. There were tamales, and tortillas. There was a photo booth, where you could take a photo of yourself with the Miss Kzanderallia.

However, the night ended shortly. Turns out Ivy got quite pissed at me, ‘cause she thought I’d been neglecting her all night. It got to a point where I dragged her out and took her home. Of course, we made up once we were there. But when I managed to get back to the Clios, the party was over. Damn.

The dreadful aftermath

Oh, but the worst part was yet to come: when I got home from the Clios and downloaded the photos into my computer, half were missing!
Either by camera malfunction or human error, about 20 photos are gone. Total bummer, as yu can imagine. But maybe some things we aren’t meant to remember. I only wish the mental images from that sucky night were as easy to erase from my brain.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Consequences, consequences

Yeah, well it had to happen. After a string of days of little sleep, my eyes got incredibly irritated and tired. And my body was overcome with exahustion. But I've been trying to stay off the Red Bull. Don't want to depend on it to do everything. However, if these keeps up, I think I have little choice but to pop another can just to keep going. I have tons of stuff to do for tomorrow, and I can’t fall asleep.


I’m a hermit

Due to all the work from studying, I have seen my family and friends alarmingly less.
It’s come to the point where I fear that one of these days I’ll show up for dinner and I’ll get nothing but unfriendly stares while a voice in the background squeals, “Mom, who is that?” “No idea, honey. I better call the cops”.  

My sister is... no, wait

Dammit, I can’t believe I was gonna tell the same thing again...

Instead, I’ll tell ya a bit how my sister’s two week stay has gone so far. Maybe the word ‘stay’ is wrong, for she hasn’t stayed still much... She has been all over town, visiting old friends from school and college. She even went to a nearby city to nurse a sick friend for a while. Then, she went to the next country (no kidding) to visit a friend from the time she was studying her Master’s.

This flutter of activity has somewhat miffed my folks, who had counted on having her around more. But being homely is not my sis’s style. Never has been. There is even an expression my mother uses: She is‘like a streetlamp: she shines brightly on the road, but not at home.  

My first 36 hours of chat

I’ve choked a guy over another guy’s affections.
I have spoken total jabberwacky with meow.  
I’ve Stepped Up!
I’ve been kicked out five times.

So far, so good!!

Eight is a magical number

Recently, the phone company decided to add another digit to all phone numbers in the country. So now we've gone from seven digits to eight.
It ain't easy, lemme tell you. Numbers you used to know by heart are no longer valid. Of course, everybody in the country is pretty much in the same predicament. So the phone company put up ads on TV, on the radio, even on the net. And they are also handing out all sorts of little cardboard reminders you can stick on the fridge door or the kind you can put in your wallet. Luckily, since mine is a small country, we still don’t have to mess with area codes. Wonder how much that’ll last.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Am I dreaming?

After months of endless frustration, I have finally been able to chat with my fellow Worthians.
A lot of famous faces were there: meowza, atomica, catwoman, rob_church, jago... even CCZ!!

Somebody pinch me!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I didn't think I'd make it this far

Last night I tried, for the very first time, the very famous Red Bull Energy Drink. I have to say, I didn't really believe in energy drinks in general, having tried a couple some time ago. But never Red Bull... Until now.

I was at my girlfriend’s and I was beggining to feel kinda sleepy at 19:00, so I popped a can open and drank from it. At first, it didn't feel a lot different in taste or effect to the other energy drinks I had tried before. But less than five minutes later, I was quite awake. And that was just from a couple of sips. I reassumed work and kept taking pulls from the slender aluminum can till there was nothing in it to drink.

Then I drove home. I was feeling quite good as I got to my room and plopped in front of the ‘puter for some working. Only... I didn’t get any work done. I fiddled with pictures, organized my files and did a million things alike. Before I knew it, it was 5:30 and I hadn’t slept a wink. By now, I was kinda numb all over, so I decided to park it for a while.

A couple of hours later, I was up again. Now it’s 2 in the morning and I am still awake. I know a second Red Bull would get me thru the night, but I guess we better leave it here. It’s not safe for humanity to have my brain sleep-starved for too long.

Just imagine the threads that would arise...!

Several things at once

One of the things I hate is that life doesn't stay still just 'cause I don't have any time to blog anymore.

I’ll try to address as many anecdotes as I am able in just one post:


About a month ago, a Belgian friend of my sister’s dropped by my parents’ house. His name was Igor. Despite what you might think, that is his actual name. Because of all the monster films I watched as a boy, all the time Igor was here I had to keep shaking visions of him as Doctor Frankestein’s helper.

Igor is quite tall. Maybe not so for a European, but here in Kzanderallia, he’s a veritable giant. There are photos that have him standing right next to him barely reaching his shoulder. Felt like a total pygmy. But it must’ve been quite awkward for him as well. Kzanderallian folk aren’t that tall in general. So all his stay he must’ve felt like Gulliver in the land of the Lilliputians.

One night, he came to have dinner with us. After it was over, I took him out for a night on the town. Unfortunately, a night out in Kzanderallia isn’t what it used to be. The bars close at 1 AM. You read that right: ONE IN THE MORNING. And they don’t just stop  serving drinks, they kick out all the customers, and close up the bars. Now is that sucky or what?

Before leaving for home, Igor thanked us for our hospitality and told me he had a great time that night.

I wish i could believe him... But I can’t shake the notion that he’s in some Belgian bar right now, laughing his head off at us crazy Kzanderallians and our lame party lives.

Independence Day

Yes, it’s coming. But here in Kzanderallia, we celebrate it on Sept. 15th. A lot of flags will wave in the air on Wednesday. My granny has one she made, but bugs have ridden it with tiny holes. It is at least 20 years old. Seeing how decayed my granny’s flag has become, I bought her a new one. She says she’ll put it up on the 15th, but I know she’s kinda dissapointed. Maybe a new flag wasn’t a good idea after all.

Meanwhile, I better start rehearsing the Kzanderallian National Anthem. You never know when the situation demands a burst of patriotic melody!

My sister is here!!

Yep, folks, the big sister the executive is back in town. She works for a big company as a Supply Manager for North America. Quite a bigwig, my sis. She was posted for about to years in Antwerpen, Belgium. During her stay in Europe, she visited almost all of the countries in the Union. Now she is going to work at the company headquarters, in the US. But she’s taking a couple of weeks off to visit us. We are all happy she’s here, but no one is more thrilled than my mom. The cub is reunited with the lioness. All is well in the jungle.


I had a pleasant surprise the other day. Fab, a friend of mine from grammar school, dropped by for a visit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t present at the time. But we talked on the phone a few days later and tomorrow we’ll see each other for breakfast. It’s gonna be cool. This will be the first time we’ve seen each other in over 7 years. And we have quite a topic to discuss: he’s getting married!

And that’s it for now!

What else can I say? I have said all I had to!!
I know... having nothing to say hasn’t stopped me in the past, but as it is nearly 2:30 AM, I find this little case of writer’s block the perfect op to go to bed and rest a bit. I must say that I am afraid it will be hard for me to go to sleep this very moment, as I am just so full of stamina... and... energ....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Just WHERE are my messages???

I just came here to check if anybody had left any messages on my blog... And there were none. But not just the last entry, but the whole blog!! It seems that Haloscan's server is down. They can’t do this to me!! I can’t live without messages!! How else can I know if people like me??

Flat on my ass

Me and Ivy, we have a thing we do at her house. Sometimes, when she’s distracted, I dash for the door, as fast as I can. When she realizes I’m gone, she runs right behind me. Usually she catches me before I reach the street. Then we have a hug, a kiss and a good laugh on account of the silliness of the whole thing.

Tonite was no exception. We were talking in the lobby, and Iv turned her head at some noise she heard. When she turned back, I was long gone. It took her about a minute to react, but by then, I was almost at the front door. I was laughing my head off, when it happened, almost in slow motion: I stepped on a very slippery puddle of water and started to slide forwards as I started to fall backwards. Next thing I knew, SLAM! I was laying flat on the floor.
After the initial shock had passed, and just before I could moan or curse, I started to laugh out loud. Ivy was petrified, but started giggling too. It was just so absurd! It took me a good five minutes or so before I could stand again, still laughing at myself.
After performing a quick body check, I realized that my ego had been the only casualty that night.


Yeah, i know. Once again, I have been abandoning my blog. It happens quite often, but this is the absolute longest I’ve been away from it: three weeks. A lot of stuff happened. I got back to school, there were people coming from abroad, I left Lexcorp... But I’m getting ahead of myself. So, without further ado...

School Daze

Did I tell you about the class I’m attending?
Yes I did.

Well, I’ve started making friends and everything. Even gave away chocolate cookies a couple of times.
I love meeting new people.  The classes took a while to get a hold on, but I’m making progress.
More as the situation develops.

Don’t cry for me, Lexcorp

After about a week of going to work in the morning and going to school in the afternoon, I started to realize that I wasn’t gonna be able to do both things for long. My schoolwork started to lag as I didn’t have any real time to do it. My work-work started to suffer as well, for several times I had to take homework to the workplace to try to finish it there. Believe me, those were stressful times, trying hard not to get caught by my boss while working on a school paper. Not that work at Lexcorp was a walk in the park, either. Remember the Lexcorp Gazettes?? Well, in case you had forgotten, there’s still three 1000-page books unfinished which are due on October. I started to get migranes and ended up exhausted all the time.

Something had to give. I started to look into work licenses. I wanted a three-month permit, with no pay. But I realized that there was no way I was gonna get it, considering the Gazette situation. So I decided to quit for good. I was quite determined, too. But when I told my boss, he wouldn’t have any of it. He asked me to reconsider my decision several times. Finally I said, “The only other alternative I can think up is a three-month permit...”

The permit was on its way to Human Resources by the next day. It took them two endless weeks to approve it, but now I am resting in the commodity of my own home, able to dedicate fully to getting that darn degree. I must hurry, I only have seven more weeks to do it.

Enter the Temp

Obviously, Lexcorp couldn’t stand to be without me the whole three months, so they hired a temp. But, as things are never simple at Lexcorp, instead of hiring a temp to substitute me, they were gonna transfer a girl from Public Relations to replace me and they were gonna hire a girl to replace her. Sounds complex? Sure, but here’s the deal: The P.R. Girl  was eager to switch jobs for two reasons: she was fed up with her boss and she wanted to earn a bit more. So replacing me for three months, she would get a break and more cash. But it was meant not to happen. The Human Resources people decided that the P.R. girl wasn’t qualified to replace me, so the temp replaced me in the end. I felt sorry for the P.R. Girl, but what could I do?

But, that’s only half of it. P.R. girl’s boss made Temp Girl come into the office a week before her hiring to make sure she would know her way around the workplace by the time P.R. Girl left. So the poor girl followed P.R. Girl for days, writing down stuff and making sure she knew all the procedures done there. Just as she was mastering P.R. Girl’s workload, she was ordered to come to my department and learn from me. Really, that must suck. Specially when you consider that she still hadn’t been hired. She was doing all of this for free.

Training her was kind of a hassle, since we were trying to to churn out one more tome of the Gazette at the same time. But I managed to tell her a thing or two about my work. The girl is smart, friendly, capable, BUT...she has the worst B.O. ever.

Really!! I can’t even begin to describe it. Have you ever smelled a very old and used $5 bill? Dirty, damp and stinky. I’m reminded of a Seinfeld episode where a valet parking lad rendered Jerry’s car useless after driving his car once. I had to hold my breath for long periods of time while trying not to sound like I was holding my breath. After a while, the smell would die down since my nose would get accustomed to it. But if I walked away for a minute, the pungent stench would rush back to my nostrils.

I feel for those I leave behind. May my temp’s B.O. not render them insane.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Time sure flies when you're busy!

I could swear I posted in here just yesterday, but as the date shows, it’s been a whole week!!
Have my fans deserted me?? Do the still care about my hijinks???


A N Y B O D Y ?

Saturday, August 07, 2004


The blog-by-mail thingie is not working!!
Sent two entries twice and none got thru.

I think I'll copy-paste them.
Not the best, but it'll have to do if I want those posts online as fast as possible.

Can't keep the fans waiting!!

Worst... headache...ever.

This is a follow-up to my insane posting session at 3AM on a Monday.
That kind of thing always has consequences. Damn, these were harsh.

For a while, though, I thought I had gotten off scot free. I just felt a bit tired throughout the morning. I got off work, went to my very first class of the semester, when...WHAAAM!!!

The biggest crushing migrane headache ever fell upon me. I swear my head felt like it was in a vise, with somebody screwing the damned thing tighter and tighter. After a while, I couldn’t even see properly with my right eye.

Being in the farthest corner of campus, the closest extra-strength aspirin was at least half a mile away. So I had three choices:

  • Run like heck across two parking lots with a mangled equilibrium and just one good eye
  • Cry like a baby
  • Tuff it out

I chose the latter, for I thought a good dose of machismo would do me good. In retrospective, it was the best choice, but it sure didn’t feel like it when I was holding my face with my hands, trying to muffle the pain and pay attention at the same time. I remember my teacher tried not to look at me funny, but was crassly unsuccessful.

100% understandable.

So, I’ve learned my lesson: no more staying up till 3 AM just to blog.

Starting tomorrow night.

Back on the saddle

I am an official college student... Once again.

Yes, I’m giving this “get your godforsaken College Degree” thing one more go.

It’s not easy. I had a very traumatic academic experience two years ago, and haven’t been back since.
In case you’re wondering, I flunked my final exam. Horribly. Was completely unprepared, and paid for it hard. Plus my evaluation board was totally against me.

Reasons notwithstanding, I am back now and that’s what counts.

But it’s gonna be tricky.
The class is called Portfolio. But don’t be deceived by the innocuous name. It is actually three classes bundled into one:
  • Research (We have to do a design essay on a topic of our choosing)
  • Strategy (We have to do a design project following a procedure called ‘Creative Strategy H’)
  • Portfolio (As the name suggests, it is a collection of our best design work)

As you see, it’s not just one class, now is it??

As if that wasn’t a handful, I get the distinct feeling that the faculty knows not what it is doing. You see, this is the first time such a class is being given. Ever. It is supposed to be an improvement over the old system. I don’t see how cramming a whole year’s worth of work in just one semester is so much better. Time will tell.

I’m stressed and anxious all the time, afraid I won’t be able to cope. I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to let down all the people who believe in me. I can’t let myself down. I have to get that title.

On another note, it sucks having classmates five years younger than me. The first day, everybody kept adressing me as if I were another teacher. It was until after a while that they realised that I was just another student like them.

I feel outdated, I feel obsolete. I keep questioning myself: Is my work good enough? Am I good enough??

I want my mommy.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

My tummy aches...

Yeah, got the tummy blues goin' in my belly. I dunno what could've brought this upon me, but I can be 100% certain it DIDN'T come from underfeeding.
It feels like I ate the world last weekend...

Now, my stomach feels bloated and it rumbles like a Harley.
Yes, I will stop before the disgusting details come up.

But my ailment will not last long. I got the world's best nurses at my side: Ivy, my mom and my granny.

Mayo Clinic, eat your heart out!

The Gazette is dead! Long live the Gazette!!

Yeah, Gazette No.2 is done!!
As forecasted, the darned book got delievered on Friday.
Now, work has started on Gazette 3: Son of the Gazette.
So far, it seems that it’ll be twice as big as its predecesor.


Monday, August 02, 2004

I am insane

It's THREE IN THE MORNING and I'm here blogging!!

Tomorrow is gonna be such a long day.

Enter the gringo

I have a friend called Van. He’s a fully certified gringo. Got papers and everything to prove it.  

I met him two years ago, while he was visiting my country as a tourist, and we’ve kept in contact ever since.

Two weeks ago, he dropped by on a business trip, so I went to see him at his hotel. I go up to his room and out he comes, gives me a big hug on the doorway and then SLAM! the door closed behind him. Two minutes with the guy and I already got him locked out of his room!!!

The day before he was due back, we met in Antique City, a very beautiful Kzanderallian city just 20 miles from the capital. We talked and had dinner with an Aussie girl he had just met. It was a very delightful time, specially since Van picked up the bill at the end.

Then we proceeded to stroll up and down Antique’s streets, while chatting all the time. I love talking to Van for two reasons:
  • I get to practice my crummy English.
  • He’s one of the most intelligent people I know, so I can bring up any subject and he can discuss it fluently.
  • He’s funny as heck. (Ok, that was three reasons. I can’t count)

We got tired of walking, so we ended up in an Arabian-themed bar. Aussie Girl wanted to check out the place. We sat down and ordered an arguileh, which is a funky Arabic water pipe they have, filled with fruit-flavored tobacco. Four people on a nearby table were making a helluva noise, so I turned around and recognized one guy: Diego. I explained to Van and Aussie that Diego is a big male model here in Kzanderallia. Van turned to me and whispered, “Geez, look at their socks!!”. One of the guys and one of the girls of Diego’s group had exchanged footware, so each had a white sock and a cyan sock. It was hilarious. Oh, the glamour of the fashion crowd.

After a while of sipping the arguileh, we got tipsy and started talking out loud and acting like big clowns. Diego and his comrades found us unsettling, so they left to find a more refined establishment. The waiter was also displeased at us, and was extremely rude. So we got out as well.

All the way back to his hotel, Van kept glancing at the ads on the street. Whenever he saw one with male models on it, he stopped cold and asked out loud, “Wait. IS THAT DIEGO??”

How can you not love a guy like that?

The cops suck (Surprise, surprise)

My cousin was driving with his girlfriend last month when he got stopped by some cops.

But, they were crooked cops and proceeded to rob him. They threatened to do bad things to the girl if they refused. So my cuz handed out all of his cash, his cell phone, his watch and assorted items that were on the car. My cuz’s girl was freaked, but he kept his cool and was even able to talk them into letting him keep his car radio and, most importantly, his car.

Thankfully, they came out of the ordeal with nothing but big scare. The poor kids.

Goes to show you the practicality of life in Kzanderallia. Crime and law enforcement, bundled up in just one place. How convenient!!

Next time some cops try to stop me, I think I’ll run like heck.

Son of the beach

My girlfriend Ivy turned 27 last Saturday. So her folks decided to take her, my sister-in-law and me to the beach.
The trip was uneventful. We got to a resort and headed to the pool area.

We swam a bit, then Ivy and me went to the beach. The sea was quite wild, so we didn’t go far into the water, just waist level. We got wet and headed back.

The pricey admission ticket entitled us to have food all day long, and we did. I ate so much that I got a bit sleepy, and so did everyone except Ivy. She got mad ‘cause all of us wanted to lie down while she wanted to play in the pool. “Swimming is no fun if I have to do it by myself”, she complained. I concluded that nobody should have to play by themselves on their birthday. So I made an effort and got myself into the water. Once there, I felt less heavy and sleepy, so we were able to have some fun times there. Guess the “you should not swim two hours after eating” rule doesn’t always apply.

So the day was over, and we had to get into some dry clothes.

At this point I should say that I don’t like locker rooms. I’m not too comfortable being naked with other people. Yes, I’m a nudiephobe. So there, I’ve said it. But I’ve found ways around that. I concienciously try to block out the nakedness and just proceed with maximum efficiency to shower, change or do whatever I’m supposed to do in a locker room.

My father-in-law isn’t as squeamish as me. So when he was having some trouble unfastening some strap on his wrist, he found it totally logic to come up to me and ask for my help. The fact that he was only wearing slippers at the time didn’t bother him at all. So I got to see my girlfriend’s dad in the nude, up close. I focused on the strap and nothing else. I was able to undo the knot in record time and each of us got back to our own dressing affairs.

I can say with full confidence that I will never forget this trip for as long as I live.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Cross your fingers!!

I think we may have finally finished the (insert pejorative word here) Gazzete.
One book of it, anyway. (There’s still four more to go.)

We are giving it a last check today. Hopefully, no more mistakes will be found.

We have to hand it this very day so it gets printed, and we hope to have it ready by mid morning.

If we get to pull this off, the town will definitely get painted red tonight.

Don't think so!

I don't know if I've said this before, but I've been thinking about telling friends and family about my blong... I mean, blog.

The logic behind this idea is that by showing everybody my writings, they'll understand me better, and love me more. On the other hand, they may not like what I’ve written about them so far, or they may not like being written about whatsoever. They may also start wondering, “Will this creep be writing about THIS on his blog?? And what about THAT? Will he write about it too??

Again, maybe noting will happen at all.  

But have I the guts to chance it??

It's official: it sucks even more!

One of the few perks available at Lexcorp was the email:

  • No inbox limit
  • Mails could be up to 8 megs in size
  • You could attach any kind of file (except *.EXE)

It was pretty damn cool. I could send drawings, and pictures, and lots of stuff. I used it to keep in touch with friends and family.  

No more.

Effective this past Monday, you can only send Word, Excel or PDF files. And all mail gets screened so every word is work-related. Any infractions may result in sanctions or outright dismissal.

This means there’ll be no more updating this blog from work.

Not that Lexcorp was Paradise to begin with, but dammit, now it REALLY blows.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

An evening with Fido

As part of the massive global re-launching of Fido Dido as 7UP’s spokeperson, there was this contest called Draw Your Inner Fido. Contestants were supposed to come up with some ‘Fido-sophy’ of their own and draw Fido acting it out.

In case you didn’t know, Fido-sophy is a term coined by the 7UP Company, and it basically refers to some superficial, non-compromising, quick-fix, clichéd way of living life, like:
  • It’s cool to be yourself
  • Normal is boring
  • You are who you are and who you are is OK.
  • Dare to be different
  • Life is short, live it.

The contest seemed easy enough, so I decided to give it a try.

I must say, the drawing was the easy part. Coming up with some sufficiently simplistic, thoroughly bland bit of doctrine was tougher. Took me hours. I ended up with ‘Live life at your own beat. Not so bad, huh?

So I handed out my work and the wait started. Then, on the day of the awards, I get this call at work. It’s the Fido Contest people and they tell me I am amongst the 10 finalists. SWEET!!
I arrived at the place with my parents and my girlfriend on tow. The award ceremony was held at a place called ‘Fido’s Place’, and it’s a third-floor loft splattered with Fido stuff all over. There’s Fido murals, Fido floor motifs, there’s even a Fido statue, life-size. And of course, all the contestants’ work was displayed in big panels.

I wanted to take pictures of everything, but my camera was at the shop. Unfortunately, it remains true that if I ever neglect to bring a camera, nobody else brings one. And so, no photos were taken on my behalf, which made the photomaniac in me very upset. My only hope are the news photographers that were fluttering all over.

I check out the rest of the contest entries. Some are really bad, but some are REALLY good. I’m a nervous wreck.

The event starts about fifty minutes late. We have been some free 7UP, but no amount of soda can make you forget the fact that you’ve been waiting in line for about an hour.

As expected, the whole ceremony is a big 7UP commercial: people from the advertising company step up, and show us some TV ads. The they proceed to talk about Fido, about how he started, what his personality is like, etc, etc. At one moment, they bring out Fido’s creator, Johanna Ferrone. She tells us how thrilled she is that Fido got picked up again as the 7UP spokesperson. “Fido and I have been together for 20 years”, she said. “That’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had.” She’s funny and sweet, but she is grossly mistranslated. Those of us who speak English can only quiver at the things Ferrone’s interpreter is saying.

Finally, the awards are given out. They begin with the Honorable Mentions. They call out a couple of guys, then me. Although deeply disappointed, I put up a brave face and step up. They give a fantabulous piece of cardboard with my name scribbled on it. And Johanna Ferrone says some vague kind words about my drawing. She’s so nice, she can’t be a real New Yorker. No way.

I was feeling kinda OK at this point. I hadn’t won, but at least I had beat about 50 competitors. My folks and my girl are proud of me. Then... they call the next Honorable Mention winner. It’s an 8-year-old kid!!! Apparently, the jurors were impressed by the fact that someone so young would want to participate. Plus, he wrote a very moving letter declaring his love of Fido. That’s all fine and good, but what this means is that I’m drawing at third grade level!! At least I don’t eat my crayons anymore. Not so much, anyway.

A while later, the other awards are called out. These are the big guns: they get cash prizes and their designs get slapped on billboards and bus-stop signs. And the ceremony is over. We are cordially invited to vacate the premises.

It’s a big pill to swallow, pride. You see, I was so sure I had a chance at third place... I had even spent all the award money in my head!  Thankfully, my girlfriend was there to hug me tight, give me a big kiss and nurse my wounded ego back to health.

Friday, July 23, 2004

I'm beat

Last night, I had to stay up till 2 AM.

Stupid college.  


You see, my university went fully online about four years ago. This was a nice improvement to the previous method. Before, you had to drive down there, fill up a form and wait in line till you got to the inscription booth. This could take hours and it was annoying as heck.


Nowdays, you can register right from the commodity of your own home, using the university's website. Nice, right?


It's very convenient if there is just one section, or if you don't care who is giving the class. But sometimes you may want to get yourself into a specific class with a certain teacher. And that's when things get complicated.


If you're in a picky mood, you must get in early 'cause classes fill up fast. Unfortunately, the inscription periods open at midnight. So you must really be interested in the choice of teachers available.


Generally, I wouldn't care too much about who was teaching, but not this time. You see, it's not that I wanted certain teacher to give the class: rather, I wanted a certain teacher NOT to give me the class.


So there I was, sitting in front of my computer, waiting for the clock to strike 12. I logged in, got into my user section and attempted to get into the class. It didn't work. A cold sweat came all over me.  Had I done something wrong? What if I had neglected some procedure at some point??


In short, it took me about forty minutes to get everything worked out. By the time I logged out and headed to bed, it was about 2 AM. As you can imagine, four hours' sleep is hardly refreshing. Almost as bad as no sleep at all. Almost.


Need I say how hard it was getting out of bed this morning?


Man, I am sooo tired. My eyes are all sore and my whole body feels like I got hit with a ton of bricks. And my mood is... well, suffice it to say that a female coworker told me I was the first case of male PMS she had ever seen.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

It's getting hot in herre!!

Just when I thought I was out of the furnace, back in I go again.


It's official: the weather in Kzanderallia has gone back to torrid.


Actually, it never stopped being that way. I had high hopes that the rains would cool down this boiling pot of a country. But the precipitation rates so far have been minimal, and so, the overall effect has been nonexistent.


So now, on top of the unbearable heat, you have to lug an umbrella around, because you never know when the rain is gonna hit.


Such is life in the tropics.

LIVE from Lexcorp!!

Yes, I know I said I wouldn't write from here anymore.


Blog entries done in Lexcorp are incredibly code-ridden and you never really know how they'll come out until they're published. Also, editing them can be quite the chore.


But, I must. I've been neglecting my blog too long, and I know that if keep putting it off, then I'll probably stop bloggin' altogether. And I don't want that to happen.


Having a blog is cool for several reasons. To me, it's like freeze-framing life. You get to archive and share all your thoughts and anecdotes before they're lost to oblivion.   


I can almost see it: future generations will be able to browse thru my blog, get a glimpse of my life in Kzanderallia in 2004, read all my deepest meditations... and wonder why I wasn't ever institutionalized.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Ok, now THAT was a bad idea

So content have I been to with the “blog-by-mail” feature, that I tried the unthinkable:
I posted from Lexcorp.

Did it work? You be the judge. Look at most of the posts made on the 15th. See anything different??

The type is smaller. But it’s not just that. There was an array of errors in each post which took an enormous time to fix. Extra characters and stuff like that. And you can’t see it, but each post has about half a page of this:  

!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:DoNotRelyOnCSS/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:SpellingState>Clean</w:SpellingState> <w:GrammarState>Clean</w:GrammarState> <w:DocumentKind>DocumentEmail</w:DocumentKind> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:EnvelopeVis/> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Wingdings; panose-1:5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:2; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:0 268435456 0 0 -2147483648 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Trebuchet MS"; panose-1:2 11 6 3 2 2 2 2 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:swiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:7 0 0 0 19 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;}

Although invisible, all this useless coding could build up and slow down a browser to a crawl.

No wonder nobody does pages in MS Office.


Recently, I've rediscovered reading... REAL reading.
The kind you do with books.

I'm thrilled. This is so much better than reading magazines, which is pretty much what I'd been reading for the past 10 months.
Magazines are OK for a while, but the brain eventually needs something solid, something like... literature.

Why hadn't I been reading before? Good question.

You see, I thought I didn't have time, that books were just too long, but I was wrong. The secret is to read a bit here, a bit there...just what you can handle at a time. Before you realize it, the book is finished and you're looking for another. Personally, I try to read at least half an hour each day.

Right now, I'm finishing off a collection of short tales by Isaac Asimov.

This is what I've read so far:

  • The Tunnel, by Ernesto Sábato
  • The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

Ok, so it's not such a long list, but... what did ya expect??
I've been on the reading wagon for only a couple of months.

UP NEXT: 1984, by George Orwell. I've seen the Apple ad, now I'll try the book!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I'm still a designer, right?

Lexcorp is wasting my valuable talents with unproductive chores.


I'm a D-E-S-I-G-N-E-R, for cripes's sake. Says so in my job description. Therefore, I should be designing stuff.


Instead, all I do is type in MS Word the whole day. Yes, I'm still doing the Lexcorp Gazette. In case you skipped previous entries, the Gazette is 1000 pages long and it spreads over four volumes. It's 100% solid text. The content is totally lame corporate stuff.  


All the designing I get to do right now is using the space between characters and the leading in creative ways just so that the material fits into a page nicely. It's so tiresome, so repetitive, so... boring.


And the work is far from over. After I finish this book, I'll still have five more to go.  Hooray.



All work and no play makes KZ a dull boy...

Should I or shouldn't I??

Lately, I've been asking myself if I should be trying to promote my blog somehow.
Should I dig it out of the cool, underground status it currently has going and bring it into the spotlight??
I wonder how will the pressure of augmented readership affect me and my blog.
Should I sell out??
But if I do, what would be a nice retail price?

Pass the 'dunce' hat

I'll admit, I'm not the most alert person around.

But yesterday I outdid myself.


There was this very interesting Science Fiction Festival going on this month. Since it's gonna be impossible for me to attend it fully, I chose the day with the most interesting activities: I decided Wednesday would be the best choice.


So, yesterday off I went, got to the place without a hitch, parked the car and everything. The price at the parking lot was kinda steep, but I thought, "What the hey, I'm gonna be here quite a while, so it's best if the car is well-guarded."


I got to the building where the Festival was being held. It was closed. No wonder, since I was an hour early. With so much time in my hands,  I decided to kill some of it by strolling around the nearby blocks. After fifteen minutes of walking, I got tired and bored, so I went to a nearby library and spent the rest of the overtime reading some mags. They even had A.I. playing on DVD. How appropriate.


Well, as you can imagine, I lost track of time. When I realized it, I was five minutes late!! Cursing my dumb luck, I dashed back two blocks to the building where the Festival being held. I was quite frustrated, because getting a good seat was out of the question. Now I even had to worry about getting any seat.  When I arrived, gasping for air, the bulding was... closed.


Had the Festival been postponed?? Hadn't seen anything like that on the news...


Then, a young fellow, who works there walked right by me. I stopped him and asked, "Hey, what about the Sci-Fi Festival??"


He looked at me, perplexed, and answered, "Nothing, it's being held next week, just as planned."

And he pointed at a poster on the wall.


There it was, as clear as day:



It was a Wednesday, alright: next Wednesday!!

The worst part of it is that I must've seen that poster about three times when I first arrived. I only checked the day, not the date.

I'm such a dufus.


But, it's funny. People are always giving me heat 'cause I'm always late for stuff. Now I showed up a whole week in advance!