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Packing

The past two hours have been turning out far worse than necessary. I came from work and was rushing to the mall to hopefully pick out a pair of slim Chuck Taylors before they closed. On the way there, I had a little misadventure that shall be kept a secret (I ran out of gas on the scoot, in my confidence that I’d make the next gas station – obviously, I didn’t. The next gas station was a half mile away, and when I got there it was gone. The next one was another half mile. Uphill. FML).

Back at home opening a package and I realized I have the wrong extension tube for the camera – too long by 8mm. Kat walked quite a far distance to have it overnighted from San Francisco to make this trip – it works, but I will be honest and admit that this setup is far from ideal. All stores are closed tomorrow.

Then just right now I found out I bought a 72mm lens cap earlier today, instead of a 77mm that I need. Punyeta.

I will go drink by myself now. Le sigh.

Flying Ipis from Guam

I was about to take a massive dump when a big brown Chamorro Cockroach greeted me in the corner of the toilet.

I ran to the kitchen to grab a can of Raid I bought last trip, and pointed warily at the bugger. As soon as that mystic white cloud hit the mark, it ran like a bat out of hell towards me, outside across the hallway and into my bedroom, fluttering its wings in preparation to wreak havoc before dying an ignominious death. It hung out under the bed for a few seconds before disappearing into the dark crevices of the night, probably waiting for me to fall asleep and crawl into my mouth.

Now my prairie dogs are back in the pad, the turtle is back in the shell, the kids are away from the pool. What a total mood killer. FML.

Fortune Cookie

I dropped off Kate at LAX for her flight back to Manila, and headed to Singaporean Express (LMU-era comfort food) in Marina del Rey and proceed to polish off my Nasi Goreng.

Just as I crack my fortune cookie open, Kate calls and says her flight got cancelled. As she’s asking me if she can stay for the rest of the weekend, I pull out my fortune which reads: “Luck will be yours when you least expect it.”

Blue Bird

Yesterday was my first time up to Squaw Valley where we spent the Sunday snowboarding. There was a storm that rolled in on Saturday so we were expecting a fresh dump of snow and clear conditions on the slopes. It was also Kat’s first time to ski, and she took her first classes. It was actually really hot since the sun was out full force, and I was roasting under the jacket with just a base layer and t-shirt.

I ditched my butt-pads in the interest of time and for the sake of any unfortunate onlookers who may happen to see me squirm my way into a tight pair of shorts. Whenever I would strap on the board, I would notice that my ass is soaking up a lot more moisture from the snow and attributed it to the missing ass-pads. At some point during the morning though, I kept noticing that my bib was several inches shorter than how I remember it to be. And how it was riding high up into my butt. Out of curiosity, I ask Kat if her bib is loose. And she replies in the affirmative. Apparently, we somehow switched our gear. Nice.

I wish I took more photos of Kat’s amazing sunburn. It’s just on her nose. Very cute.

Drove down from SF this morning, and went straight to work. Since we are leaving the dog up north with Kat for the week, I kept getting hallucinations of a white fluffy ball roaming near my feet around the house. Oh, Mondays.

Angeles, Pampanga

Took the car out for a long drive to Pampanga to finally visit Alexis. Armed with vague instructions (and Firefox in offline mode), I actually had no problem finding the place. It was a small cemetery, and I found their family vault (the largest in the area) emblazoned with “Tioseco – Pamintuan”.

It took me a while to confirm that it was the right one, since I couldn’t find his name plate. I always replayed in my head what it would be like to see it – but this time it was going to be for real. My heart always thought about the vagueness of its loss, about the disconnect of my reality, of my distance. And here I was, two hours away from the city, no further away from my friend than I had ever wished to be. Then I saw a little prayer card, tucked into the corner of a picture frame.

I stood under the sun for awhile, my head against the dusty black gate, trying to transform my grief into some form of acceptance. That I wished the universe to always give us the strength to overcome our losses, and the gift to love the world to whom we truly belong.

Eggy, I miss you terribly.

Mr. Tioseco

Alexis, there is no day that passes that I don’t think of you, and how much it weighs on my heart to realise I will never hear your voice again except in the fondness of the past, that the laughter we share and the bright excitement of the world to come was taken away before its time was due. I know for a fact that I may never know a man as real as you were with me, in sharing our secrets of family and friends, that my world, and everybody’s world, would never be the same without you.

It’s shattering to realise that the life we hold so precious could slip away at any given moment, especially when you trust the world to hold your expectations. That I said I would see you again soon after the New Year, and gave you and Nika a hug, would still cloud my mind with disbelief it would be our last. My burden remains on the love that you’ve left behind, but the gift you have given me, to realise that you can love the world for what it is, and what it could be, I will forever be grateful. As Ping said, see you soon, Comrade.

28 going 30

I was walking the dog this morning, when the security guy pulls up right beside me. “You’re Gopez right??”, and I say yeah what’s up. He says he was wondering who this kid was, and thought it might be that Gopez kid but that I usually had my glasses on, and going out on my scooter or the ‘hippie van’. Chatted a little bit, asked me what LMU was on my sweatshirt and told him about Loyola Marymount and how I graduated in ’03. Then his eyes got wide. 2003?? I told him I’m 28, and that’s when he totally shat himself and couldn’t believe it. And that girl who rides with you on the back of your scooter? Yeah she’s 25.

“All this time I thought you were just a kid who got out of high school!”

Exactly. Like that time I took Kat to my company Christmas party; we were the only ones carded at the bar and I joked to everyone that Kat was a senior in HS with a fake ID, and thought I was taking her to my prom. ;)

Beer and Art

The Friday was spent drinking beer with Kat, Booger and Cam at home watching the TV sync up with the audio of the “I Wish I Were A Carpenter” tribute CD (which I might add is one of the bestest 90’s CDs evarr). It was some show about parachuting from a plane to hit your foot against a small sensor in the middle of a landing circle. Anyway, the cut scenes and flying people made a pretty good pairing with the music. Afterwards, K and I toyed around with a few wooden panels, wood stain, and varnish in the garage as part of our preparations for the Unique LA craft fair on Dec 5-6. There’s something therapeutic about wood work, and I really wish I got into it more than just sniffing the fumes of the varnish out of the can. I keed.

Saturday morning was a long Vespa trip out to the O-Hotel in downtown LA where K and I attended a workshop/seminar hosted by Unique LA for their vendors. This pretty much got us all fired up to brainstorm on all the possible table configurations to finalize our table setup. Afterwards, we met up for a late lunch with Kathlyn, Dan and his family at Canter’s (damn good lengua at a Jewish Deli!), to celebrate the news that he passed the bar!! I should probably memorize his number in case I get thrown in the slammer and need to make that one phone call.

Earlier today, we passed by the first CTN Animation Expo and met up with Kei from Imaginism Studios. It was a smaller conference and a lot more intimate than Comicon in San Diego, but K and I were totally floored by the skill of all the artists in attendance. I really wish I knew what I was good at, but I know it’s the wrong way of going about it. Because eventually, you will always be good at what you love doing. If you keep at it. :)

No Juice

And so I jinxed it – I forgot my laptop charger. So now I have 4 hours of computing time to spread across the week, which should be enough for bare essentials. The great part is that I picked up an extra charger on sale from Office Depot a long time ago, so I have a charger at home and at work. And I don’t have either of them. Hooray!

Home

There is this heaviness in my heart that I can’t reconcile, and I’m resigned to the fact that the answers may forever elude me. Each day, I think about you, each morning that I wake up, each night before I succumb to slumber. The longest two months of my life, and how can I say that it’ll ever be better when I know that our catching up will be at the end of our lives?

I miss you, Alexis. I hope you and Nika are finally home.

Crash

I just saw a spectacular crash on Laurel Canyon and Sherman Way a few minutes ago, on my way back to the office from the dealer. I was a few cars behind the line turning left, when all the traffic lights at the intersection disappeared. So everyone was doing the stop and go routine, when all of a sudden the lights turned back on to indicate east-west was red, and north-south was go. So cars start obeying the rules like they should, except for the two cards beside me that for some reason start to inch closer towards the center of the intersection, as if to assert their intentions of passing the stop. The white pickup truck beside me stopped, but the idiot van beside him pushed on forward, just as a silver SUV made its way through the intersection. Did the van stop? No, it rolled so slowly, so surely, and clipped the rear end of the SUV. And then it was slow motion as the car started turning diagonally, yet still going straight across the slick pavement, making a complete 180, jumping the opposite median divider on the other side of the intersection, popping his tire, and crashing into two unsuspecting cars on the opposite lane while his SUV sat on the median divider facing the wrong direction.

It was a bit surreal yet lucid, how it happens in slow motion and the tragic grace of watching it all unfold. I make my left when my light turned green, and stopped to check on the guy. He was still sitting in the car in utter disbelief, mutter “WTF!!!” and confirmed with me that the guy totally ran through the red light. I felt bad cos he kinda reminded me of my brother-in-law Fil’s brother (who is incidentally my favorite, and not because he has a cockroach tattooed on his chest).

Stay safe on the roads, everyone. You might be careful behind the wheel, but others are not. And if shit happens, just hope it don’t land in ‘yo pants.

Of Flesh and Blood

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations.  In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Bill Safire