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Archive for May, 2015|Monthly archive page

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In Uncategorized on May 27, 2015 at 6:32 am

THE LONG weekend was spent out of town, specifically in Cape Cod, even more specifically in Truro, a very short distance from the sea town of Provincetown. We started the journey in the Amtrak Acela express in its Quiet Car (no phones, no conversation) something that I could get used to. The first time I have ridden this business class train was during my first month here in the US when I would join the missus to her Philly trip on a weekly basis from our housing in the middle of Times Square. The comfort of business class train travel came back: legroom, access to the dining car, airplane-clean restrooms, wi-fi. The moment I sat down, I imagined taking a five-hour night train in the Quiet Car with a half pound of jamon serrano and a half bottle of Rioja and a novel. Yes, it has come to that, my happy place involves ham and alcohol and books.

IN THE car, I saw someone reading Ulysses by James Joyce. I read My Struggle Volume 2 by Karl Ove Knausgaard throughout the 2.5-our trip. Then we had pints of Guinness at the ferry station plus chicken wings. I slept for maybe 10 minutes in the 30-minute journey and opted for more reading than more bear from the ferry bar.

SOON, WE landed at the airbnb apartment, a four bedroom beach house with a terrace and a sun room and a brand new grill. Someone grilled liempo with nothing but salt and pepper. Another prepared ampalaya with bagoong. There was a vegan salad as well as fried daing na bangus for the vegetarian and pescetarian in the group. And steaming rice of course. And more beer.

I PREPPED my iPad by borrowing someone’s keyboard for the next day’s writing and then promptly went to bed. As always in vacations like these, I woke up first, made coffee, and admired the view while imagining I am smoking Marlboros. The brewed coffee from a Dunkin beans was superb. I finally wrestled down the story revision on the iPad, writing the opening scene that would dictate where this story would go. So, victory. I celebrated by cooking the eggs for breakfast, what I call as ugly eggs: sunny side but Pinoy-style, malasado at the center, tostado at the edges. Always a winner. Especially when paired with crispy bacon, which we indeed have. 

THEN WE took a walk at the beach and played with the dogs. I collected rocks and did my usual tribute to Chtulhu. After a quick bath we headed to the town proper for oysters and shrimps and white wine for lunch. More drinking followed in another outdoor bar. One highlight was finding a used copy of Poppy Z. Brite’s Drawing Bloood, something I have always wanted to reread for the longest time. More walking, drinking, taking a look at the waspy gay men and young beautiful gay women in the area. Portuegese donuts were had.
AND THEN we stopped by a seafood market to pick up lobsters and I bought steaks of tuna and blue fish, perfectly cut with the skin still attached. Back at the airbnb, corns were grilled as well as more bangus, vegan salad prepped, and I fried my salt and pepper fish until well done.  The Portuegese sausages that I bought were left untouched which I immediately secured to bring back to NY. I read a couple of chapters from the Karl Ove Knausgaard book and then I retired, saying no to a horror film on netflix.

SO THAT was the weekend, just grilling and cooking and eating and sleeping and reading and writing. We could always use more of those, especially the missus who has never been busy in her life servicing 3 continents aside from her corporate program(s) and other mandated extra curriculars. Yep, freshly grilled liempo does help.

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In Uncategorized on May 20, 2015 at 7:30 pm

BEFORE THE 15th of next month, I need to have a submission-worthy story written down. I am not yet in panic mode as I do have a story written down that just need a major overhaul. I have unwrapped a Moleskin notebook just for this effort. All the characters, all the scenes are there, it is just the telling that needs some work. Maybe when I do panic, it will come. But anyway, yes, a new short story.

THERE IS nothing like bottle of Rioja and jamon Serrano to speaks very eloquently that life is worth living.

IF YOU know where to look, I just debuted my copywriting skillz in this side of the globe. Pun-loving hipster approved no less.

THIS MIGHT just be the summer that we go sequel-less. The appeal of blockbusters have started to fade since last year and we plan to avoid every single blockbuster film most especially sequel except for Mission Impossible. We plan to compensate by spending money on independent films and the dinner that comes after.

NOW ON to the communal table thingy. This thing is premised, of course, on maximizing profit. And I am all for profit. Except that Americans are the least sociable person on earth. Yep. Remember, being sociable is vastly different from being talkative. Now this is very disturbing indeed because eating in a high priced restaurant needs all the comforts that you can have. If you are paying for a 50$ bone marrow, you should at least be able to slurp the goodness out of that bone with total abandon. But try doing that with 19 other people looking at you. I witnessed this phenomenon on our last trip where the said lover of bone marrow have to surrender and have the thing wrapped (pray, what will you do with a coagulated marrow but throw it in the bin?). Thankfully, me and the missus have a strategy when faced with communal tables. First, if possible, we request to be seated at the bar. It is quick and yes, more private. Sure the bartender is there but there is nothing like offering him your food to make him go away. Two, if communal table is the only way to go, the best way to go about it is to be communal. Share the fucking food with everyone. Believe you me, this will put you in control of the situation. One, the unsociable will politely decline and leave you to yourself. Two, the really sociable will partake and you will be put at ease. And three, the really sociable will also offer you a portion of their food. And viola, communal table as it should be. And oh fuck yes, we did this at the Publican in Chicago with a lovely German couple (not married to each other, but the girl, it turned out, was married to a Pinoy. She is the boss of the other German and it was a business lunch).

TO THE two people in Manila reading this, I miss you.

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In Uncategorized on May 12, 2015 at 4:38 pm

FINISHED A couple of days ago the book that I am currently obsessed with and I love it very much indeed. In this day and age when plotless novels that are nothing but navel gazing is the flavor of the moment, it is very refreshing to stumble upon a work that is so solidly plotted. As in shit fucking happens, characters do change, and the human experience is taken to the extreme. Aristotle got it right: narrative is about the arc. Novels that are nothing but thinly disguised autobiographies disturbs me. Even more disturbing are the mushrooming of this crap. Like what I have always said, once you spot a trend, you are already too late my friend. Take Brooklyn and beards. I rest my case. Anyway, yes, things need to change in a story and not just about the postive going to into the negative but to the negation of the negation (as in love, apathy, hatred, hatred masquerading as love). Go Aristotle!
CHICAGO AND pork. There is a certain something with how this city loves pork. We have conquered Girl and a Goat, The Publican, Little Goat, and The Purple Pig. All delisyoso. The greatest so far is the meal at  the Girl and a Goat where a very young girl devoured pig’s face. Tapa, marketed as pork shank could also be had and I fear that Pinoy fares have already been Americanized. At the Purple Pig, we had pig ears with massaged kale topped with egg. Tell me it’s not a slightly healthy version of sisig. And the pork shank. Although without the toe nails, tell me it is not crispy pata.
I HAVE something to say about restaurants and communal tables but I will reserve it for another post.

Science VS Faith

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2015 at 12:32 pm

MY DOS centimos on the Hype of the Century also known as the Mayweather – Pacquiao Match.

THERE IS only one question I want to ask Manny Pacquiao, the Philippine Champion and absentee congressman. What does your newfound faith tell you to do?

FAITH HAS been known to do unreal things. People have freely given their income, said no to blood transfusions, driven planes to buildings. All in the name of their god. It is possible that Pacquaio, in his newfound faith, also loved his enemy, as commanded by the bibl

THE LAST time the fighting politician really entered the ring with murder in his mind was during the Hatton match. After that, faith intervened. And who can say no to the guidance of the holy spirit in the form of the dozens of alipores conducting the bible studies? I have been part of a bible studying cult before so I know how it feels to let the lord guide your life, or in th case of Pacquiao, your left hand.

AND ON the other hand, pun intended, Mayweather, did it via science. The mere fact that Mayweather just shut up with zero thrashtalking meant he knew how to defeat Pacquiao–the very same strategy that should have been taken by the congressman. Train hard, shun media whores, and let the punching do the talking. But no, he has to buy a house, invite a cabal of bible nuts to sing the anthem, and do his “training” in public. I have no words.

WHAT’S ALSO funny is the reaction of the crowd. Everyone knew that Mayweather would play it safe (read: measured punches, running around, letting the fight drag on). Everyone knew that Pacauaio needed a KO (but how can you do that when you are supposed to love your enemies?). But when Mayweather did what was expected and won, there was that feeling of we wuz robbed. Pray, how exactly where we robbed? It all went to plan. According to Mayweather’s plan. It was a very scientific approach and sad to say, last Saturday was one of those days when science proved to be mightier than blind faith. They don’t call boxing the sweet science for nothing.