MY ROOM IS A HUGE SHOEBOX (PART 1)

Due to rains, I got stuck in my house.

Damn rain wreaked havoc in some parts of my house, but the boredom it created prompted me was enough for me to clean my room. From 10am to 3am, I cleaned my room – from the spider’s web in the ceiling to the dusty stuffs shelved in dusty shoeboxes I need to throw out.

Luckily there were no dead things that came about of my spring cleaning.

As I grazed through my things, I found several objects that brought me in a place called “past”. Some of these things have been ridden by dust or smells like dust. I never thought cleaning to be time-constraining.

I remember my parents’ scrapbook where they compiled everything I made when I was extremely young. At aged 2, I allegedly could write. I am a TV freak since year one and it shows with me spelling out every commercial I latched my eyes on.

Pepsodent is one of the words I usually spell in my formative years.


Anyway, the trip to memory lane dated to my high school years. I think this was the time that I first condemned any disposing of things that I like.

I remember I completed the Jolly Band and the Jolly Train sets… I think they are part of a Smokey Mountain bin somewhere…

Anyway from the things I scoured I found out that I write crappy back then. My appreciation for Archie Comics is in its all time high, and I was seriously thin and good-looking back then.

Dammit… I must trim my weight…

Anyway, here are the things that could be prominently seen in my room.


HORNY AND SPIDEY: When I was in Grade 2 at the defunct Our Lady of Grace Montessori formerly seen at Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, I bought a couple of 2-peso toys from a crappy Ghostbusters munchie. I believe I bought three, but I guess the other one has gone with the wind. Anyway, despite their ugliness I love these guys because back then, I paint them with markers and give them “awesomeness”. I usually put them on chess games whenever I lose a piece. I also place them in water despite their inability to float. Now they are either situated near my obsolete PC or inside my big replica of a Ferrari F50 I bought from Shell.


WRESTLERS: While most of my generation collected G.I. Joes and Transformers, I collected WWF action figures (now WWE after they were defeated by a panda). The first action figure I bought was Rowdy Roddy Piper and the Honky Tonk Man. This was followed up by getting the Rockers, Bushwhackers, and the Demolition. My last figure bought was the Undertaker. All in all I had a little less than 20 action figures in my list where half of the toys were illegally taken from my friends (one friend surrendered his Big Boss Man and Typhoon while another gave me his Hulk Hogan, Brutus Beefcake, Jake the Snake, Earthquake, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, among others). I even asked my Dad to make a gigantic wooden ring complete with ropes and turnbuckle to make my doll-playing credible. Yes, some of these guys are either destroyed or missing but whatever is left from these toys, I value them greatly. Back then kasi, I never thought banging their heads to the wall, making them fly from a doubledeck, or putting them and making them fight inside an aquarium would make them less than unbreakable. Boy was I wrong…


KODAK MOMENTS: Back then my dad owned a camera. I used it once and it was for the field trip we had when I was in second year high school. Back then, a small decent-looking camera is ultra-grand a la the beepers and the tamagotchis that were the “in” thing then. This field trip was the first time I went to Tagaytay. And I think this was the first time I appreciated Bubble Gang when we watched in the bus (I was huge Tropang Trumpo fan and I seethed when Bitoy and Ogie switched to Bubble… it was the gag when Bitoy spoofed Nora Daza and she was making fruitcake and she got drunk by overtasting the alcoholic ingredient).


COMICS: Like I said, I was a huge Archie fan growing up (I was then high-end because I laugh at their jokes... which is also one of my low points) and the recent report pissed me off that after more than 60 years of two-timing, the redhead fellow chose Veronica over Betty! I was also a huge Marvel fan but I was collecting the cards and merely borrowing the comic books of my classmates to know the characters. Comics played a huge part of me when my high school buddy, Gabby, dared me to tell my high school crush that I have a crush on her. If I didn’t tell Gegay, I owe him an Archie. That motivation was enough to tell her how I felt and I was glad that my torpeness ended on that bet.


MAKING COMICS: I was a bad drawer but I love to storytell. Most of the bosses I encountered told me that I was too wordy when I write. I admit, it is still part of my system today. Back in high school I tried to make a comic book. Actually, when I was Grade 3 in OLGM, I was a founder of a club called The Daily Toilet. This was an organization of third graders who wrote and drew stuffs in a folded olso paper. My first character was Superskunk, a violet pigment of the imagination who talks as if he is important. Anyway, my idea turned out to be something most of the kids in my classroom wanted as girly drawings, terrible drawings, traced drawings, and drawings amounted to nothing spawned in my seat everyday. Unfortunately Daily Toilet halted operations when a turf war surfaced with other organizations that spawned from my direction. Moving on, as my drawings slowly become ridiculous, I tried to embark on making a comic book in high school where we see an Archie environment but they have Ranma comedy and 90210 situations. With this spawned the Browns (aka Our Lives), a tale about teens housed in one roof and then eventually hooking up with each other. Unfortunately the lack of audience made me stop the dream. Actually when I was in college I tried to lure Gabby to draw the things I write. However, the grueling life of a college guy stopped all communications which unfortunately led to a falling out. The last time I saw Gabby was when Gegay and I met at SM North a few years back so she could give me my Sour Cream Pringles and he was with his girlfriend.

I had a little brush with online internet popularity when One Tuff Skool premiered two years ago. It was short-lived but I thought the reviews were awesome.


KING OF THE NIGHT: Before my fourth year in high school, I was a large fat geek playing Magic after the fad of collecting NBA cards died down. Thanks to the Fitness Flyer, managed to shed my unwanted pounds and became aesthetically nice (working would prompt my fats to return). With my intellectual-looking persona, the night of my prom almost gave me a heart attack: I was our section’s bet to become Prom King! Now I am no jock and talking about hotness hasn’t been in my aura that time (college made me awesome... and kind of alcoholic), so putting me in front of many people made me anxious. The reason I was in the Prom was a girl… so this bogus thing could either make or break my courting (the girl would later confide that the reason that I didn’t get her yes was because she thought I was merely courting her for fun). Spoiler alert… I lost! Hurrah! That didn’t stop me though from dancing How Do I Live, On Bended Knee, and It Might Be You in front of the geeks, jocks, and girls.


NICK JOAQUIN: Growing up, I knew little authors and the closest thing I could place in that same arena was Pol Medina Junior. Yes, I was that dumb in the history of literature. Okay I know one more author and that was my college friend Jeff’s grandpa (current IBC-13 senior reporter), historian Gregorio Zaide. I enjoy history and any person I know in the yesteryears whether its Cleopatra or Adolf Hitler, I yearn of reading. Now, the book is a tale on Joaquin’s look on the life of Jose Rizal. It was written nicely in the sense you see that Joaquin was storytelling like he was a drunk guy speaking in English (which is indeed, his way of discovering the words to write in his awesome novels). It was one of the first books that opted me to become a writer in some way (aside from the fact that I idolized Doogie Howser whom I consider as the first internationally-renowned blogger).


CHASING AMY: While hunting for a peg in college (this was during stages of me writing Time Spell… or what it was called back then) I came across this screenplay. First up, I only knew Kevin Smith because I recently watched Dogma back then. I didn’t know that Dogma was one of many Jay and Silent Bob collaborations because the flick wasn’t mainstream enough to land in SM theaters. As I read it… I loved it and saved it in my micro floppy. I super loved it that I printed the pages (it costs a little over 60 pesos) and I binded it in one of the many bookbinding centers across Dapitan. Funny how I just recently saw the film via a Torrent download from a friend and I thought Hooper was played by a sucky actor.


ROTC: Before the heroics of Mark Welson Chua aka Havenguy destroyed ROTC corruption, megalomaniacs and Gwapo-lang-pag-linggo despots walked with their diabolical smile hanging out and their retarded hairstyles during Sundays. In my first year I was with the Hotel Company. This was the company where most of us hide from the officers where our platoon heads are nothing more than beer-drinking soon-to-be-debarred bitches. When my second year started, UST ROTC abolished Hotel Company and merged us to the Model Company. We often stayed out late and in terms of uniform, I borrowed mine from Brain because our Hotel Company uniforms are waste here. Brain alongside the rest of my friends are part of the LES group where they just clean their baranggays (or merely show up to have their names signed). They are lucky bastards.

By the way, I once made an essay about heroes during my college Filipino class and Havenguy’s heroism was my subject. Dammit I almost cried when I read it out loud because I think it was merely a week after he was buried. A week before his death I sat beside him and P.U.K. my phone until I begged him to normalize it.

Until now, his murder is one of the dumbest things those ROTC bastards could ever do. Did they expect the entire system to mutilate their asses with what they did? NGAYON KAHIT LINGGO DI NA KAYO GWAPO, MGA GAGO!


ARTISTANG ARTLETS: When I was in my third year, I joined an acting guild in my college to solidify the fact that I pursued communication arts to become something prominent in the field of entertainment. I had my stage directorial debut where I lost my cool and I became mad hours before the performance (it was a failed ploy to rally up my troops as when I walked out I went to what was then I-Link and played Counterstrike with my friends… and the performance tanked afterwards). There I met someone gleefully called by my friends as “Pumpkin”. That story never materialized to anything as after the end of that sem I pursued “other” things. Here, I got my ego checked because I was accepting orders for older members who were my juniors in that college. After being relegated to “makeup” duty (because one of the older girls had a crush on me), I walked out of the organization altogether.


MICRO-FLOPPY DISKS: Fond memories are enclosed in these irrelevant saving devices. From my short stories, to my thesis research, to my scripts, to my other money-making devices, these things are sacred. I remember doing tedious nights in a PC house when instead of killing cyberfoes using a cybergun, I am stuck thinking of review of related literature, methodology, operational framework, tons of tables and bar graphs, and other things to make my thesis, ad, marketing plan, journalism paper, and film study work. Sure, I sacrificed things to merely get half of the job done (one infamous incident involved me not playing in the inter-college Counterstrike tourney where Geist, Evilbrain, and the man that cannot be named almost disowned me from the group) but when it was said and done, I aced all of my paper works and had a lone 1.0 in my transcript for leading my group in our thesis work.


THESIS: Back when I was in high school I was fond of researching. Like I said, “If I think of something, then I am a writer but when I experience writer’s block… then I am a researcher”. My technical writing topic in high school was all about the Two World Wars. When I was in college, my research paper was all about the Anime boom in the Philippines. I tallied the ten-most popular Japanese cartoons in the Philippines and back in 1999-2000, Voltes V was first, followed by Ghost Fighter, and then came Dragonball Z, Cedie: Ang Munting Prinsipe, and Princess Sarah. Samurai X has yet to be popular and I don’t think that Naruto hasn’t been conceptualized during those days. My thesis to pass college was a collective effort about the representation of homosexuals in the realm of Philippine Cinema. We conducted surveys, interviews, focus group discussions and a buck-load of research. Paolo Villaluna, currently an emerging indie director, gave us permission to use his short film Palugid as a basis for our thesis. Like I said, I aced this part of the curriculum with a mere seven grammatical errors in the first draft of the thesis which eventually ended up as 1.0 (the only reason why our names didn’t have a best thesis award was he got late in submitting the thesis).


I-LINK: This was pretty much my crib from college ‘til my working years where I met a lot of friends and a couple of love interests. While the place has laid defunct, the Counterstriking/DOTA buddies have stayed intact and is continuing in helping each other regarding grown men stuffs like paperwork, professional advices, and the love department. We are still meeting every week in the P. Noval area and even if we don’t we still keep tabs with each other through beer drinking sessions and YM conversations in the workplace. The number seen could either be the number they dish out for PC rentals or the number which the guard hands out during the times where bags are prohibited inside the gaming areas.


CRIMSON: I dreamt of being a screenplay writer but this was admittedly… a crappy piece of trash. This was a receipt signifying that Star Cinema got my script. The story is all about a simple college guy whose girlfriend is an assassin. The girl is a henchman of an evil megalomaniac who lives in a moving island. They are threatening to bomb the world if their demands for world domination is not met! First of all, I don’t know why the fuck I wasted my time and money to make this script. Have you ever seen Star Cinema produce Street Fighter-like movies??? Also, it didn’t help that Viva just produced the flop Silaw which starred the TGIS nucleus. The competition ended and the top prize went to Jologs (the movie casted Diether Ocampo, John Prats, Onemig Bondoc, Patrick Garcia, Baron Geisler, among others). Some of the scripts also became films like Trip (Jericho Rosales, Khristine Hermosa and Marvin Agustin), Nine Mornings (Piolo Pascual and Donita Rose), and Videoke King (Robin Padilla and Pops Fernandez). I made another screenplay the following year which more or less spawned Time Spell but I had no idea what happened with the competition altogether. And making a pseudonym that reeks "S-Man Salazar" is one of the dumbest things I have ever thought of.


CASSETTE TAPES: I am a music geek. I love every genre of music except for novelty, 80’s ballads, and yeah… some emo bands. While I sort of cringe whenever I hear glam rock, I can admire all and get the beauty in their madness. I think when I was in grade school I love boy bands… which transformed into hiphop which is why in college I tried very hard to understand Aerosmith, Led Zep, GNR, Metallica, Queen, and others. When I was young I tripped to the tunes of Menudo but the first album I bought with my money was the Legit Mizfitz. I marched to SM to hurry back to St. James and catch my service just to get the fresh-off-the-box release of the Eraserheads’ Circus, Cutterpillow, and Fruitcake. I loved my Natalie Imbruglia, Alanis Morrisette, Offspring, Savage Garden, The Corrs, All Saints, Matchbox Twenty, and Blur tapes. Hell, I even adore Aqua (Turn Back Time is an awesome track). Catz bought me an Enrique Iglesias tape which looped in my skull in the mid-2000’s. The last tape I bought was the first three albums of Hanson (trash Mmmbop but admit it, they played good vibe in their later albums) and the only reason for this was at that time, they sold 3 for 50 pesos.


DEATH THREAT: Funny... I never thought I owned a Death Threat album but alas, it surfaced while I was cleaning. I never liked this tape except for their one-hit wonder “Gusto Kong Bumaet”. However, I remember a high school classmate asking the death metal guys if Death Threat was metal. You would never understand the beating he took unless you yourself experienced it.


THE TANTRA THING: Bent on seriously slacking, I usually clock at 1pm and then go to UST minutes later. I either show up eventually in the office to clock out or pretty ditch the working idea. One time we were smoking when a hot person came in front of us in a tube top and told us the promo in I-Link where we would play for free and get freebies once we tried out Tantra. Let’s just say, I threw a couple of MIA’s until that promo expired.


MY FIRST LAYOFF: After college, I worked as a copywriter for some government network that gave my parents cash to raise me and my sister. Actually, this was more of an OJT stint more than anything else because alongside former child star-turned art director Nelz Yumul (he won a PMPC Star Award for his work in Chikiting Patrol), we pretty much worked for a hour max then head to a stairway to smoke, or go to SM, or watch TV, or surf the net from 1pm (my usual arrive time) to 6pm (my usual depart time). And yeah, at 5:30, we watch Meteor Garden. At this point, my officemates are hatching thoughts of either going to Figaro for coffee or searching for a low-budget food trip. After almost two years of slacking, the network’s poor revenues caused a lot of layoffs and working as a talent, we were the first ones to go. After receiving a letter, Nelz and I wandered around the metro attending job fairs and after attending the UST job fair, I found what is now to be an ex-girlfriend.

Too bad that was also the start of my cash crash.


MIXED TAPE: Back when I had no YM to ruin people, Snapshots was merely an audio recording and I was the only one who had access on it. The recording usually takes on the-guy-that-can’t-be-named-for-fear-of-libel’s house where a bunch a drunkards bat insults on each other. After drinking sprees, I tried to transcribe it but the lengthy conversations is unbearable.


TALENT ID AND A SCRATCH PAPER: I juggled two jobs in the summer of 2004. I became a field reporter for a sequestered government station where I go on cam despite the fact that I was seriously oily… and I worked as a copywriter in an up and coming TV station owned by one of the top honchos of some food company (the top honcho had an extremely beautiful but seriously notorious wife). Copywriting was my bread and butter while reporting was something in my blood since I was raised by a news writer and a news director. It was freaking hard for me because I wake up at 7am to go as a reporter/ segment producer and I had to hurry, thereby missing meals to jeep to Novaliches to type station-based plugs (the department had two computers then and one of the computers had no mouse so I had to choose between a typewriter and an ugly computer). Often I had to work my plugs in the other station where despite the fact that they had a workstation, all of their PC’s were… crap. Also, as a reporter, I had to endure the availability of the subject being unavailable so I often miss my copywriting job. The PBA was then resurfacing in that channel and in three months I had to choose between the two stations. At the start of that September I ditched the reporting gig to become a full-time copywriter. I still had time to go to my tambayan but I was merely there to see my GF back then. In one day I was going to an average of four municipalities which was extremely tiring.


AD OF THE MONTH: I consider myself as a man’s man of copywriting. I have an distinct edge in terms of writing because I use words not usually used by many. Whenever I do a plug, the first thing I think of is how to make the plug “Sydrified”. When the Ad of the Month in my former work started, I was working on vignettes to boost the ratings of the newly-acquired PBA. Then I developed PBA Astigcology, a take on your favorite superstars you never seen before, with my boss, Sir Perci's go signal. The particular ad of the month starred Wesley Gonzales as he goes to the beauty parlor. The plug placed first on the rankings and with Kuya Erwin’s help (the artist/editor involved in the story) we captured the first AOTM trophy (the trophy is like the WWE belt where if not defended properly, it will change hands after the month).


FHM CALENDAR: Yes, I love reading the mag but I was never into buying the calendar. But hey, Sir Perci (my boss from my PBA station) gave me the calendar and yeah, I used it… used it well actually. Back then the Starstruck alum’s teenybopper image shed was shocking. Now… hmm… can’t pinpoint what she’s been up to. Care to whisper it to my ear?


PINS: Pins are my mementos from where I once was. Too bad, I didn’t get pins from my two first jobs (and its not because they don’t have the budget). The Philippine Idol pin was given to me after I left the station to move to my current work while the UST pin was part of the package they hand out to those that applied for an alumni card. I have gathered a variety of pins from shops, Nelz, and other people.


GYM: Yes, despite looking like a very geeky fatboy I had my share eagerness to shed my extra pounds. It started when Vlad and I were new, and Arena Fitness in Quezon Ave had a promo. We walked from the network to the gym (which pretty much became our warmup). There I endured a bout with stretching… and the treadmill… and eventually the hardships of lifting weights. After two months, we never renewed our membership. The work became harder and with 10pm as their closing time, none of us would want to work out during daytime (we got off from work around 8:30). Also I suffered some sort of masculinity fail in the locker room area. This is pretty much the scene:

Vlad and I were talking… about to go to the sauna.

Then an old guy appears out of nowhere.

OLD GUY: Ikaw ha! Ang dami mo pang aalisin na taba.

While talking he was pinching my side fats.

Awkward silence.

The man, noticing how gay he acted walks away… out of the locker area… without saying a word.


Then Vlad laughed noisily and hard.

The guy hasn’t even left the locker area.

It was that gay.


THE LIGHTING THINGY: This happened during Cindy’s birthday where we spent it at Ocean Park. This was roughly more than a month after Cindy and I reconciled. Fact is, I can’t call her girlfriend yet but I think back then she was thinking of me as someone that could be that guy. After we looked at the pretty creatures, we decided to visit the gift shop. The gift shop was unfortunately crappy and aside from the sucky shirts, this is the only thing worth looking at. By the way: this was supposed to be her gift. Why is this still in my room?


VLAD’S WEDDING: When I was in Channel 5, I usually contact Vlad for information regarding the PBA’s sked… or for a new set of action shots from the superstars. When I moved to my current job, my boss asked me to find an artist and amongst the many number of resumes, he was the successful applicant. Years later, he and his wife Wilma married. The invitation was the first time I saw Cindy dressed without her trademark t-shirt and denim. But the first time I saw her wearing a very, very formal wear was when she became a bridesmaid to one of his officemates. The “sellout” picture was shot in this wedding.


I have more but I’ll try to write it on a later time. Forgive me but this lengthy thread deserves a grammar and spell check somewhere around the next week or so. I have more… so please excuse my wordiness.

You have been Sydrified.

Game Over.

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