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.