Friday, September 30, 2011

Could Be Worse


The goddamned storm went and knocked out the power the whole day Tuesday.

Could be worse: The neighbors in the front part of the compound still don't have electricity up to now.

The storm also toppled two huge trees in front of the house, costing me P1200.00 to have two men with a chainsaw, axe, machete, and strong backs to hack them completely down.

Could be worse: They could have fallen on Mia.

Speaking of, Mia's still in the casa, so I've been using the other car as my daily driver. Last night, as I prepared to pull out of the garage, the stick remained frozen at Park and would not come unstuck no matter what sorcery I attempted.

Could be worse: She could've frozen at Park in the middle of Roxas Boulevard.

And still from last night, I stupidly placed my iPod atop the toilet tank, only to have it slip into the tank when I moved the cover to tug at the chain mechanism.

Could be worse: It could've fallen into the bowl.


Glass-empty, glass-full.

But still...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sick Bitch

I've always loved cars. 

Even after that fine day when it dawned on me that they are nothing but gold-digging whores: sexy and fun to ride, but at the end of the day, they will steal all your money.

It's unfortunate, then, that I'm a bit of a sentimental guy when it comes to the four-wheeled harlots. The prevailing logic is that one should dispose of cars after five years; the logic being that after half a decade, the broad's just going to bring you nothing but trouble. Considering the cost of maintaining cars, that's good advice right there.

Unfortunately, logic and I aren't exactly besties.

Hence, you can consider my garage a whorehouse lined with aging, disease-ridden, and cantankerous tramps. True, most of them have retained their exterior beauty, but, like a drag queen sans make-up, the true horrors lie underneath.

Like any pimp, I have a favorite in my redoubtable harem, and the apple of my eye has always been Mia. I acquired her more than a decade ago and, contrary to the sage "after-5-years-ditch-the-bitch" credo, I have kept her all these years like Gretchen Barretto. She's still sexy as all hell, despite minute, barely-discernible physical imperfections. She's still a "guaranteed head-turner", as the car ads would say. It is an indicator of my familiarity with her that I find myself pleasantly surprised any time people praise her good looks that I have long taken for granted. Nevertheless, like any D.O.M. happy to see his acquisitions being appraised so well, I simply smile and carry on.

However, like many beautiful things, Mia costs me a pretty penny just sitting there. And when she has one of her numerous tantrums, she gouges me for a hefty sum.

Several days ago I felt guilty about abandoning her to languish in the garage for the past six months, a consequence of my preference to being driven around in a service vehicle rather than battling traffic and circling the labyrinths of Makati on my own trying to secure a good non-towing parking slot.  With the majority of the year's workload over and, consequently, the driver and service car not at my beck and call, I thought I might reacquaint myself with my little abandonada and take her out for a little spin - just to relive the good times. 

Her revenge, of course, was swift: her engine would turn over, then promptly quit. Turn over, quit. Turn over, quit.

Just like a petulant, vengeful hussy to pull a coitus interruptus.

After a quick but thorough process of elimination, it became apparent that Mia was beyond any automotive wizardry I and my kinsmen possessed. And so for seven days, she sat out in the rain like a silvery Sadako, stone-cold and spitefully staring at me with her retractable eyes.

Today, the planets aligned enough that I was able to summon my towing service to forcibly drag Mia from her peevish sit-down strike in front of the house, and deliver her to the clinical ministrations of the casa.

Verdict? It wasn't the fuel line, nor the carburetors, nor a clogged-up exhaust.

Computer box. 

Just like the one she burned the last time.

More like Pandora's Box, I grumbled, out of which fly all kinds of nasty, expensive plagues.

Still...thankfully nothing's wrong with her heart - the purring thing known as the engine - save for a wonky timing belt. And the alternator also needed to be replaced. And of course, the aircon needs freon. And the windshield wipers are shot. And we need to get a new motor for the power windows. And I might want to have the canvas top looked at. And what did I say about Pandora's Box again?

But car ownership, like having mistresses, is a privilege - one that we pay for dearly. At any rate, these other issues are minor, all things considered. The bitch is alive, and she is running.

Of course, I have known Mia for a long, long time, and I know she is nowhere near finished. Like any mistress, she can be bribed with superficial trappings: a long-overdue repaint, a detailing session, perhaps, and better mags.

But her heart is beating and it is black. She will love me once again, but before that, she will first exact a long drawn-out revenge. Just like she did the last time. And the time before.

Then again, you know what they say: hell hath no fury like a convertible scorned.

The sick bitch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


September 21, 1972

Because you were too young to remember. Or too old to forget.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


"Once upon a time, I asked someone to 
meet me in Paris."

"How fantastical, no?"

"He didn't come."

"I think we both knew what it would mean if he did,
and he wasn't ready."

"I did it because I wanted to be able to tell him that, whatever happens,
we'll always have Paris."

"Maybe one day, I'd walk those same streets
but I won't be the same person."

Text by Kane. From here.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I've been a long-time fan of Katsuhiro Otomo's AKIRA - that legendary 1988 animated movie which helped introduce the very idea of anime to the United States and the rest of the world as a viable, adult art form.

My first encounters with Akira had been in animation reviews ( I was then a young, aspiring animation student), where praise upon lavish praise was heaped upon it. But try as I might, I could not secure a local copy anywhere (mind you, this was in the Paleozoic Era, when the internet and cell phones were just a nerd's wet dreams.) So when I went to the venerable HMV in Hong Kong and spied an Akira laserdisc (again, the Paleozoic), I immediately pounced upon it like a raptor on a Jurassic Park bit player. Despite the fact that the laserdisc contained no English subtitles and I spoke no Japanese, I  was mesmerized by the story and the animation so much that I was an instant convert to the cult of Akira.

I would learn later on that Akira was originally a serialized manga (later compiled into six hardbound volumes), and like a heroin addict needing his next fix, I simply had to read the original source material. And once again, Hong Kong came to my rescue, where I espied the Akira manga in Page One. In my naiveté, I thought the thick, heavy volume contained the entire ouvré, but as I neared the halfway mark of the graphic novel, I realized that it was merely the first volume of an epic 6-volumes and 2182-pages. But Hong Kong's fabled bookstores could be of no help from this point, and further travels around Asia failed to yield any other volumes of Akira. And so it was that as mammals asserted their dominance and the years crawled into the Mesozoic, the many differences between the original graphic novel and the landmark animated film remained an elusive enigma.

Fast-forward to the Cenozoic - Present Day.

Despite the existence of the internet and PayPal and, it never occurred to me to purchase the entire 6-volume set off the tubes. Maybe because I went haywire with my credit cards in my youth and abused eBay like a red-headed stepchild, or maybe because I just don't like having my sensitive digits floating in the internet cloud. Not even a trip to Tokyo reminded me to resume my quest for the remaining 5 volumes of Akira.

However, as Maleficent so eloquently remarked in Sleeping Beauty: "But see the gracious whim of fate!" Running a couple of errands this morning, I was absent-mindedly browsing through the art and photography sections of NBS, before I sauntered off into the comics section. I haven't read comics since X-Men:101, being merely content to skim websites for updates on the interminable reboots and byzantine story arcs of my favorite characters. Anyway, I looked up from a copy of Blackest Night, and, as SJP says in the video below:

Some six thousand pesos and a Laking National card application later, the Necronomicon Holy Grail was finally, finally in my possession:

I'm so stoked I could just reduce Neo-Tokyo to a smouldering pile of rubble again.

And à-propos of nothing, as we see SJP being whisked away - hopefully to the guillotine - we shall resume La Série Gay Paree next time.


"I had to have it!"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Iron Lady

Probably the first image that comes to mind when one hears the word "Paris" is the Eiffel Tower, and no visit to the City of Lights would be complete without a pilgrimage to this massive, breathtaking, world-famous monument.

The Eiffel Tower - or Tour Eiffel aka La Dame de Fer ("The Iron Lady") en Francais - is an imposing pig-iron latticework tower originally built as an entrance arch for the 1889 World's Fair. It was designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel, who, along with sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, had previously co-fathered yet another Metal Maiden who greeted immigrants for over a century at the New York harbor:

The saucy French minx.

Despite the Eiffel Tower's current worldwide renown, initially many Parisians considered the bare metal plated structure as a monstrosity and an eyesore. Among its famous critics were composer Charles (Ave Maria, Faust, Romeo et Juliette) Gounod, the architect Charles (Opéra de Paris) Garnier, novelist Alexandre ("The Lady of the Camellias") Dumas, and Guy ("The Necklace") de Maupassant:

"Novelist Guy de Maupassant—who claimed to hate the tower—supposedly ate lunch in the Tower's restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where one could not see the structure." * 

Eiffel's tower originally only had a permit to stand for 20 years, and was supposed to be dismantled in 1909. However, it has endured as an iconic French landmark - the most-visited paid monument in the world - symbolizing not only Paris but the entire country as well.

Yo, Gustave, eiffel for your tower, dude! Awesome!

The Grand Iron Lady is a true Parisian landmark -
literally the tallest building in central Paris.

Pictures can't do justice to the breathtaking view from the base.

The view from the first elevator...

...that takes you to the second level.

Level 2 : Shoes and Bags. Actually, more like the gift shop
and restaurants.

I admit it, I  shot this tourist. But he didn't have the decency to topple over
the railing and plunge screaming to his death several meters below.


You have to take another, smaller elevator to the summit, 
but only if you have a ticket to the top.
 Otherwise, you stay on the second level with the other rabble.

Your eyes in the sky.

The Trocadero as seen from the summit.

Don't do it, baby! Life is good! I love you!

Paris way way down below.

Go ouest, young man.

I'm a long, long way from home.

Oh, and engel...

...your choice of gold or brass, monsieur.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Life In Advertising

On the occasion of the start of the last quarter of the year, I'm interrupting my Paris Je T'aime series to bring you this little infographic on the life I have chosen:

As usual, click to embiggen.

Thanks to copyranter for the link.

And never fear, I shall be back to bore you with more pictures of Paris afterwards.

A tout a l'heure, messieurs.