Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On Job Applications

I enjoy getting interviewed and taking exams for a position in need of my services because I get to dust off the best-looking long sleeves and slacks from my dressers and wear them for the job offer, as well as flexing my intellectual muscles with their challenging exams. Judging from most of the companies I've applied for, I have been rejected only once because my inability to finish their exam, rewriting and condensing a 5,000-word economics article to 3,000, almost got me late with my prior commitment. Not to sound like a braggart, but when you really set your mind into doing something, it almost always follows that you'll get what you want.

I know most people who dislike the prospect of looking for another job, even if it means getting employed to a more profitable position with better career growth and opportunities, simply because they don't feel like it. That's not really such a bad thing, mind you, but you gotta do what's best for yourself.

However, looking too much for yourself can sometimes get the better of you. Case in point, the company I recently applied for in Makati.

I ran half an hour late due to the traffic and pouring rain at that time, but I thought it was going to be fine. Well, it was fine with the people and exam coordinator of the company since they guided me to the testing area, but not with the actually exam.

From my experience, exams are supposed to gauge your skills on that particular position you are applying for and usually consist of three parts: grammar, logic, and specialized test based on your work. However, it was only with this company that I endured and struggled through eight whopping exams within a 4-hour period! The exams are as follows: grammar, specialized test, another grammar exam, two psych exams (!), a logic exam, a write-up about yourself, and ANOTHER godforsaken grammar exam. By the time the logic exam kicked in, I was cursing and mumbling to myself on the absurdity of it all. Although the exhaustive and thorough examination has a purpose to serve, it was just unnecessary excessive and mind-numbing, especially the psych test that I feel should be scrapped. Then again, who cares about what I think?

Due to my weariness and confusion, I decided to screw with the remaining half of the exam since I had a feeling that my boorish attitude was overpowering any logical thought of trying to do well with the test. With everybody done since they started on time, I went out the room at exactly 6 p.m. semi-pissed after having skipped lunch for this downfall. Clearly not exactly the best day for me.

However, a week after the memorable exam of miserable proportions, I got a call from their HR department regarding an interview with the company for a job consideration. Strangely enough, I passed the exams.

Oh, the irony is killing me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

On 2008 Wishlist

I posted an entry at the beginning of 2008 about goals and objectives that I must accomplish before the year ends. Now, I'm not really big on making resolutions for the new year, but I never have done this before my entire life since I believe that resolutions are meant to be broken. More than half the year have passed and it's time to revisit the wishes I have committed myself into doing this 2008:

watch all David Cronenberg, David Lynch, and Stephen Chow films

Since I've gotten busier throughout the years, I've decided to cut down on watching movies to save time and get more things done. I don't mind purchasing pirated DVDs from black markets despite their quality, but there are other better things for me to do at this point in time. So there.

read five of the penned 'Great American Novels': The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick, To Kill A Mockingbird, Grapes Of Wrath, The Scarlet Letter

Although I haven't read any of the titles above, buying the Scarlet Letter just recently nevertheless puts me on track with this list. There's just a lot of great books that I've been getting into (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Maurkami, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and Misfortune by Wesley Stace) that the classics have been put on hold. In time, my friend. In time.

slowly but surely pick off Pablo Neruda writings off the shelves, in an attempt to bring back my fancy for poetry

I purchased Selected Readings earlier this year, but it seems that plans have changed, unfortunately. After getting accepted in the MA program in Anglo-American Literature at this particular university, my focus seems to have gone to fiction. Of course, I'll still find time for Neruda poetry here and there, but it won't be my priority for years to come.

have Kings of Convenience's "Cayman Islands," "Winning The Battle, Losing The War," "Homesick," "Manhattan Skyline," "I Don't Know What I Can Save You From," "The Weight Of My Words," and "Failure" down pat on the acoustic

You can count "Cayman Islands" in my guitar playlist sine I've been thoroughly playing it since January of this year. However, I can't say the same for the other because I've fallen out from my juice for guitar playing as of late. I don't know, but I can't see myself having memorized all these songs before the year ends.

FINALLY master the chromatic scale and sweep-picking

See above. Seriously, I don't have the discipline for practicing scales and modes on the guitar ever since. Yeah.

have the complete collection of Jim Lee's X-Men, all in .pdf format

The reason I wish to get myself acquainted -- and eventually collect in the future -- comic books is to atone for the comic book collection that I took for granted when I was a kid. Particularly, I wanted to redeem the lost first issue of X-Men Unlimited released in 1992 (I have no idea how much it cost, but let's assume that it's expensive to keep me motivated in my comic pursuits).

Of course, for those who know better, comic files can be read under .cbz format, and Jim Lee's version, although it is the most popular installment of the X-Men series, is certainly not the best. However, as fate would have it, I seem to have turned sour on X-Men and comics in particular because of the continuity issue that spans from decades of stories and plots that I have to acquaint myself in order to fully consume the awesomeness of Wolverine and the gang. Tempting offer, but no thanks. At least for now.

memorize and name parts of the car without even having to look at them, a skill that alpha-males are inherently blessed with

I learned how to handle an overheating car, if that counts. I have learned that I am simply not an automobile person and therefore cannot fulfill my [art of this bargain. Sorry.

So there you have it. I've found myself doing a lot lately, which compromised most of my wishes. However, I don't mind, as I can still fulfill these things in the future.

Monday, July 21, 2008

On Being A Filipino

Salamat, Nestle

Note: This post has nothing to do with Mark Lapid and his proverbial "Saging lang ang may puso" chutzpah.

I have tried being a Filipino for almost all my life. Sadly, I seem unable to translate myself in an expression that is truly Filipino. However, before you saddle me with full-blown remarks such as "Suck white-boy cock" or "Mabuhay ang Inang Bayan," I am proud to say that my favorite author is F. Sionil Jose, one of my favorite movies is Salawahan (Jay Ilagan, among others), and my 2nd year Filipino teacher who everybody hated pegged me as one of her favorite students, for some strange reason.

Just when I thought that my stock as a Filipino rose, it immediately devalued after I realized that I have yet to actually care about political issues that shape the country; I have yet to attend anti-government rallies in campus even though I'm not particularly fond of the consensus degradation path taken by our government officials. I would say that, in case the Philippines completely decays like banana peel in the near future, it's because of people like me and my alarming indifference that have let this once-proud country down. Worse, I don't even care what happens, as long as I have a sweet-ass job paying me a fat paycheck.

I have been taking classes about Philippine Literature In English this past month, and throughout the sessions, I am seriously wanting to change all of my bullshit ways. Well, not really.

(Forgive me if I turn a tad academic in this post, but please bear with me.)

What particularly struck me while reading the assigned texts for the class is the use of English in the country under American rule. Unlike during the Spanish regime, where Filipinos were prohibited from educating themselves of the horrible situation they're in, the American period marked improved communication and sharing of thoughts and ideas.

There was always the issue of Filipinos not being able to cultivate and fully harness their culture due to the forced influence pressed by their colonial masters. Throughout the years, Filipinos developed a distorted and fucked-up identity smeared by elements from different countries. This made an indelible mark in the national language because, during that time, Filipinos were actually reluctant of using Tagalog. Manuel Quezon believes that the Filipino language does not embody a the voice of being a Filipino. He even went as far as to say that something like the English language could do as our national language.

Well, I'm sorry to say, ex-President Quezon, that you are incorrect, and that Tagalog has served well in being the preferred language of the country throughout the years.

So ano nga ba talaga punto ko sa entry na ito? Magbabago nga ba ako? Ano koneksyon ng pagsalaysay ko ng pagiging alipin natin sa mga ibang bansa at ang naging bunga nito sa ating paggamit ng Tagalog.

Ewan ko. Bahala na.

On Writing

picture taken from this site

I live by writing as my current profession. During college, I never had any idea on what I would become in the future (no thanks to Philosophy and its highfalutin mumbo jumbo), but thankfully, the writing world somewhat accepted a wandering douche as part of their low-paying, poorly-compensated, and overworked organization (unless you work in the porn industry, where money is subject to how many dirty thoughts you can come up with).

Before I unleash a projected diatribe on everything against writing, let's get a couple of things straight: I ain't knocking other professions such as graphic designers and programmers, in particular, and nor am I bitching about my current workload, which happens to be fair by standard, but of course, people strive for more in life.

Writers are an under-appreciated bunch of literates who deserve more than 80-100 pesos for every 400-word article they make. Although people can prepare articles in an instant, that's without checking whether the grammar is correct, the thought is properly expressed, and the work is actually an intelligible piece of content. Most of the time, the article violates three of these cardinal rules, but it's not totally the fault of the writer. After writing about cabinets, insurance, and other asinine topics straight from the SEO septic tank of vomit-inducing keywords for the nth time, something has got to give in.

Since we're at it, bulk article writing blows. I'm sure some of you enjoy the prospect of writing and shaping up your literary skills just like how it did mine with my stint as an article generating guy, but that's barely scratching the surface. In essence, it forces you to write hundreds of articles in a span of a week, desensitizing your creative fervor, draining your writing juice, and numbing you from all the SEO restrictions and revisions that you will undertake from different Internet resources. Petulant blokes like me have found it nauseating after a week's worth of slaving and laboring to the almighty keyword.

Worse, there's really nothing left for Internet writers to do but take this silly job as a part-time endeavor and pretend that everything is fine and dandy. Although it's not really THAT bad, mind you, there are a lot of better jobs in store for you than merely regurgitating shitty information.

Monday, July 14, 2008

On Birthdays

I'm not particularly fond of birthdays, but I do appreciate the gesture. I appreciate the fact that people stop from doing whatever shit that have scheduled just to visit your home, partake on the prepared food, chug a beer or two, sing a couple of old songs, and head back to their caves like a sober hillbilly.

For years, it has been that way whenever I hold my birthday bash on our home. I only invite childhood friends during such festivities since I've pretty much shared my life with those assholes and it is only fitting for me to spend my purportedly special day with them. (For those who weren't invited, don't fret! Your time will come...) As expected, all of those invited arrived, perhaps making me the only person in our group to celebrate his birthday with everybody in tow.

However, I wouldn't be too sad if nobody came. Oh yes, it happened.

Well, not quite. Eons ago, only two people came to my birthday celebration (or lack thereof) past midnight at our house as we spent the night eating the prepared food that's gone cold and sang our hearts out with the videoke amidst the pouring rain. Surprisingly, I wasn't really bummed out about the whole thing thanks to lowered expectations that I developed early on in life. However, I did and still do feel that the celebration was one of the worst birthdays I ever had.

In conclusion, don't be like me who enjoys the company of only a handful of friends. Collect as many friends as possible in order to achieve harmony with the elements of life. If you're lucky, you may even get to enjoys your birthdays.

Monday, July 7, 2008

On Makati

I have been probably trumpeting this ever since, but I really treasure the moments working for iWeb during my first few months after graduating from college. Sure, the people were spiffy and the work was... really something, but I just realized now that the pleasure brought by working at iWeb had a lot to do with the surrounding where the office was originally situated.

Although the city is relatively far from where I currently live, traveling from home to Makati and back is like a walk in a park, only the park is an hour-long ride inside crammed buses, and I'm not even going to mention the waiting period. 'Exhausting' is pretty much the word that sums it all up. However, I wouldn't want it any other way because, strangely enough, I enjoy this quaint suffering. In fact, I'll probably live in Makati despite its inherent shortcomings (traffic, people, pollution, etc.) given the chance just for a single reason. Just so you know, it has nothing to do with living in the center of professional activity in the Philipines, but more of the nothingness of it all.

I would like to believe that Makati is the country's version of New York. Tall buildings, hot nightspots, and bright lights aside, it is a place where lots of lemmings wear their finest looking clothes and slick appearances as they walk along the sidewalk in varying paces, but crowding it regadless.

I enjoy the fact that despite their honed looks, folks in Makati look dead. Everybody tries to impress with their appearances but ultimately ends up looking like everybody else. Cold and lifeless, I would say.

I have this perverted fascination for obscurity. (My motto during college: Excellence in obscurity.) I never was the one to stand out. During school, I like to take the backseat of the class. Well, perhaps I few seats away from the back because I don't want to sit near the jocks. From that vantage point, you get a clear view of what's happening around you. People sleeping. People writing down notes. People flirting with each other. Lifeless, I might add.

After class, I was the first one to escape. Like I was not even there.

Getting accepted at my part-time job in Makati, I was once again acquainted with the comely city after two years. A rush of emotions enveloped me, as there was a strange feeling during the time when I was estranged from Makati and the office moved to Ortigas. Back then, I felt an elusive emptiness that can never be pinpointed because there was nothing to point at in the first place. I only realized it now that the luster of working for iWeb somewhat wore off after the relocation period. The luster was Makati.

Now, I'm walking alone the crammed street filled with empty drones. The place is like a lifeless party in a jungle filled with busy animals listening to their music players, trapped in their own party. A lifeless one, at that.

I have never felt alive.

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