Friday, August 24, 2012

Letters to Marge (Chapter 33): A Slice of Saturday (or is it still Friday night?)

me looking at the Army Navy
serving counter in a very
"Night Hawk-ish" moment.
Dear Marge,

Nope, no lectures today. Just a little drop by.

Your mother is currently pregnant with your sibling. Please note the ambiguously gendered noun. Oh my, doesnt the word "sibling" sound a wee bit cold? But no, we still dont know if the bean of jelly in your momma's belly is a boy or girl.

Anyways, i have been dispatched at a little past midnight to the nearest spot that sells taco, because your mother caught Robert de Niro's "Machete" on HBO.

So there. Oh, order's done. Gotta run.

'catch you later.


random shots snapped while
avoiding a road accident.
(don't try this at home, kid)

P.S. your mother ordered a soft vegetarian taco, a tortilla soup (without the tortilla. Yeah...), and i got myself a bit of onion rings.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Letters to Marge (Chapter 32): Everything is (Almost) Worth Trying

Dear Marge,

I wrote the theme for this post before i wrote the Tears for Fears post. And it was initially titled "Life is Too Short." But given what i wrote in the previous post, it seemed a wee bit contradictory. But the point i'd like to make is still the same.

And it's as simple as this: when an opportunity comes your way to do something new, keep an open mind and always lean first towards trying for it before ultimately turning it down (if you have to).

Been there, there, there...
ooh, i have to go THERE...
and THERE... Done that, that,
that... no, not THAT, did that,
that, that... oh no, never THAT...
but THAT? hmm...
Check this old man out. Over the course of my colorful life, i have been or dipped into the following things (in the order that they just pop into my head): i've written articles and tech reviews for magazines (yes, real ones that got printed on real paper), joined painting contests in school, got forced into a swimming competition as a child, studied martial arts, went to the gym, played saxophone with a couple of bands, sang vocals in a band, sang in a church choir, was an altar boy, a published poet, an honor student (in kindergarten! So what? Still! Heh heh...), a high school drop-out, helped tend your grandmother's store, acted as cashier, went to the gym and got offered to join a body building competition waaay back (yeah! Believe it, girl!). i've emceed weddings and other events, i joined a TV game show once, auditioned for a job as a DJ (which i didnt get), was an amateur photographer (nowadays, everyone is!), served food and drinks (at your mother's little food place waaaaaaay back), attended to customers as a computer technician, worked as a landscape architect for two weeks (on site, too), worked as an interior designer for almost two years total, directed radio and print commercials, provided voice talent for radio and the occasional event, posed as a print ad talent, been my own company's messenger, your grandfather's weekend driver, tried to play basketball (had ONE good game in my entire life! yes, believe it!), i even once regularly toyed with the lights of a disco in a five-star hotel, i did minor carpentry and repairs at home (waaaaaay back), performed minor repairs and even part replacements on my first car (again, waaaaaaaaay back), acted as unofficial substitute guidance counsellor back in college, and so many more that will fill a very long list.

So through all that up there, i look back from time to time, find myself smiling, sometimes wincing, sometimes even angry. But ultimately, i will find myself smiling again at the color, music and noise in the memories of what has been my life so far.

And here's the clincher, in many of those above things, i totally sucked.

In a few, i didn't embarrass myself (which may actually mean that i may have embarrassed myself on some other things, but we can talk about those some other time), in a handful of those, i haven't given up trying to not suck. But there's a job that i didn't list up there where i may have sucked, i may done well sometimes, but most of all, i will never give up trying to always get better at. That "job" is being your dad, and being your mother's husband.

Again, I have never been perfect at any of those up there. But in every case, i either had fun or learned something new and/or useful. And guess what? I have no intention of ending that list. It will keep getting longer while i live, breathe, or manage to sneak away from your mother so i can try something she might find either embarrassing or suicidal.

But no, i'm not suicidal. Neither should you be.

But as you go on through life, try different things. Learn something new (sometimes not necessarily useful). Fill your life with color, music and noise.
Dad (is Crazy!*)

*your mom added the last two words herself.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Letters to Marge (Chapter 31): Meet Messrs. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, and the Time Machine called Music

Charming gentlemen who make
great music.
Dearest Margaret,

Hello there, little girl. Hmm... you would probably argue that by now you are a "big" girl because you are, after all, due to become a big sister very soon. Fine... Fine... But know you this,  even if you get more little brothers or sisters after this next guy, even when one day you fall in love, get married, and have kids of your own (yes, in THAT order dammit!!!), you will always be my "little girl."
Now read on...

my Maverick glow stick
of new wave devotion
Last night, your mom and i went to the Araneta Coliseum out in Cubao to catch a concert of two wonderful musicians and the rest of their band. These guys were Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, better known to 40-somethings and almost-40-somethings like me as "Tears for Fears." While there, i saw an acquaintance and client watching the show with her husband, and there was also my old boss and mentor, Kenneth Quintal. Remind me to tell you about him one of these days.

stupid phone camera...
And as i write this, i keep clearing my scratchy throat since i lost my voice screaming and cheering while they played and sang music that threw me back to that time when knowing a bunch of British pop songs that few people know about was cool, and having vinyl records imported from Hong Kong was even cooler. And the fewer people who knew those British songs, the better. No, i didn't own a lot of imported vinyl records, my dear cousin Jan did. I owned only that odd record or two he gave to me out of friendship. One of these days, ask me about him, too. His story is interesting as well.

It was a lonely time, because your grandmother had to leave for something back then, your grandfather never really came to terms with that until much, much later, and your uncles had no idea what the heck was going on.

But it was also a simpler time. It was a time when i began meeting the people and building the friendships that kept me strong when i needed them, the people who would be my islands and shores in my long swim in the sometimes turbulent seas of my young life. It was a time when my weekends and summers were spent alone with an old notebook wherein i doodled odd-looking cars, imagined new video games, my own superheroes, and wrote poetry. It was a time when i looked around my then quiet life and told myself that i knew there was going to be much more than that.

And every so often in the background, i would pop in a cassette tape where i recorded Curt Smith crooning out "Welcome to your life, there's no turning back..." randomly followed by Roland Orzabal declaring " features form with a change in the weatherrrrr..." along with so many other lines that at that time seemed to me like slightly sensible British metaphysical rubbish. But they weren't, not by a long, long mile. These were songs that meant something deeper, and wanted to say something bigger. These were great songs. This was great music. This was a great band.

So yes, last night your mother and i saw a great band, Tears for Fears. I was young again, and the future was an infinite ocean waiting for me to dive in and find my own treasure. And while i was skirting the shores, Tears for Fears was one of the bands playing in the air.

I hope that as you grow older, you will learn to love music like i do. Songs will be capsules to times in your life where you have to look back to from time to time. The times when friendships began simply because you both liked the same book or the same TV show (in your case, probably the same website), or perhaps the same music. Let music make you look back to remind you that at one time, you either had more than what you have now, or perhaps you had less. But for better or worse, times definitely can and will change. If they have changed for the better, then that's great. If they have changed for the worse, then take comfort in the surety that things can change again for the better.

As you get older, you will join people like me who complain about how life is too short. But it really isn't. It's long enough to look back and be happy for what you've had, and definitely long enough to look forward to all the good and better things that can still lie ahead. And it's long enough to enjoy good music from bands like Tears for Fears.