Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cable Paralysis

After Sky Cable (or whatever cable company) did an audit of the entire condo block and found out "glitches" in subscription (read: a helluva lot of illegal connections in our building), they decided to cut everyone's lines...and reconnect each and every one after "investigations" and "confirmations". As our subscription's just about done, with another month's worth forthcoming, me being broke, and my roommates on some extended hiatus from the house, I realized I wouldn't need another renewed cable TV subscription--considering I myself don't watch much TV; and I found it distasteful that I'm paying so much on cable subscriptions while the others aren't, yet still enjoys the same (or hell, more of!) channels that I paid for. So, I just ignored the notice for reconnection/renewal, spliced an old antenna wire, plugged one end of it into the back of the TV, thrusted an old fork at the other end of the wire, and hung the dratted thing on top of the blinds' tension rod. Voila, a makeshift TV antenna that receives local channels...and clear, too!

With this cable paralysis, it dawned on me: what about the Special Features, Movies of the Night, Feature Presentations, etc. etc. etc. of HBO, Cinemax, Starworld and AXN? Well, we have a trusty DVD player (THREE players, to be exact...including my notebook). That should quench our thirst for a motion picture. And with Makati Cinema Square being barely 20 minutes away, and 8-in-1 DVDs costing under a hundred, I'd say fuck the HBO specials and pop in a new, DVD- (or cinema-, whatever) copy disc, and we're in business.

Bless these movie pirates for coming up with these 8-in-1's (which come in boxes and boxes of 'em!), I wouldn't have to shell out lotsa bucks just to watch a new movie, nor would I need to pay lotsa moolah via Pay-Per-View for some classics of other box office hits that I missed in the big screen. (Oh, c'mon. Stop giving me that self-righteous, judgmental stare as if you yourself haven't purchased a contraband DVD!)

Got the Charlie's Angels collection. Loved the remake of the classic, but found the Matrix-y treatment rather over the top. Also bought the Miss Congeniality anthology. Snorted like Sandra in both parts. Played the Mission Impossible series. Tell me again, why I fell asleep watching the movie? Ooohhh...Tom Cruise. And, there was the Harry Potter collection: from the Sorcerer's Stone down to the Goblet of Fire. JK Rowling had me hooked and in anticipation of the next installment. Also watched the non-anthologies, i.e. the "solo" movies, mostly new, others ancient. And here's a "mini-review":

The Sound of Music. Oh yeah. THAT The Sound of Music (wait...I don't think there was ever a remake). I just figured, I've watched it one million years ago, it's time to kill some more hours doing nothing in the condo, with cable paralysis. Funny, Floyd and Jun-jun (er, Ronald) have NEVER EVER watched the film, and thus made me and Arvin feel ancient. Whatever. So-do-la-fa-mi-do-reeeee.....

The Lake House. WTF? Inconsistencies, sappiness, loopholes, predictability. And did I mention implausible? Geesh. Talk about The Twilight Zone (which I'm still searching to date).

Closer. WTF x2. I felt like I watched Pride and Prejudice AGAIN...which is SO unlikely. Sorry, Maits, but I just don't dig stories about women preparing themselves to be wives. I guess I've broken bread with way too many feminists.

Mga Pusang Gala. More than anything, it's the quotable quotes: "Even a goldfish has a heart...blahblahblah...because a body without a heart is just a carcasssssss". Yeah. Bring it on. So reminiscent of Temptation Island, with killer quotes like: "Rub-a-dub-dub, two bitches in a tub" or "That's a lot of shit (pronounced SHEEEET)". Note to self: gotta stock up on more of those kitschy movies...

Yours, Mine, Ours. Cheaper By the Dozen 1 and 2. Oh god. I failed to check who the script writer was for each movie. Wait a minute. Maybe it's one and the same. Go figure.

And as the single title CDs came pouring in, I found myself lurking by my suki DVD stall and looking at boxed sets of seasons-by-seasons of TV series. Could I handle the marathon? Would I have the will power to cut a season/series four-, five episodes short of the ending when sheer exhaustion would creep in? Should I choose X over Y or over Z? Decisions, decisions...

I ended up with my pioneer TV series: WB's Smallville. For 500 bucks, I got all five seasons...in five DVD-9 discs. I remember watching the first episode of Smallville on a legit dvd of Season 1 while I was staying with my friend Willard in Vegas, by Sahara and Nellis. I started watching, and before I knew it, I was already on episode five. I was hooked. But sadly, 'twas time for me to get going back home, so I never got to watching it. So, with this boxed set, I was able to catch up and make up. And boy, did it get me, Floyd, Ron, and Daniel hooked. Thanks to Smallville, we all got insomniac and would blabber about characters and storylines for hours. Superpowers? Damn. I'd patiently lay on cornfields waiting for falling asteroids if I could get just one of 'em powers. But seriously, Lana Lang's just overstaying. I think the network should just axe her. Now that hottie Lois is in the picture, I say get her and Clark doing some REAL HOT action (OK, OK, sorry, I got carried away). With Zod finally getting released and Clark being banished into the Phantom Zone as the season finale of Season 5, I find myself these last couple of days downloading episodes one to five of Season 6. Thank God for DivX, a nifty filesharing forum, and high-speed cable.

After getting Kryptonized with Smallville, we called for a two-, three-day marathon hiatus. And then me and the girls from the office footloosed to my suki DVD stall again. Maits got Supernatural, Sex and the City (ALL SIX seasons) and Bones, Ella got Friends (ALL TEN seasons) and I think The OC, Grace got some Koreanovela boxed set, and I ended up with Dora the Explorer pack (well, that one's for Jasmine!) and 24.

The same night, Jack Bauer was introduced to us in my condo and the first 4 of the 24 hours unfolded so fast our dirty dishes already crusted in the sink as we sat watching. 24's all four seasons (that's 96 hours or episodes!) came in five discs and cost me 450 bucks. Night after night, Jack Bauer and the whole of CTU would be with us in our living room. I realized at some point that it was bad for my health--not just because I couldn't seem to press Stop/Eject on the remote because I'd get too giddy to get on to the next episode despite the ungodly hour of 2 or 3 in the morning, but because I find myself vicariously watching how the story unfolds. And I'd feel very much involved in the story--the deceptions, the treachery, the greed, the pure evil. I'd catch myself cussing and yelling at a character, or worse, hyperventilating and getting REALLY angry at a character. How's that for empathetic?! We followed Jack from an abduction, to a virus, to an assassination plot, to a sacrificial plane crash, to a terrorist bombing, to a nuclear bomb, and to a consequential arrest-and-shipment to China. And now, yes, I am awaiting its season premiere on January. In the mean time, I'm contenting myself with watching the previews for Season 5. So now, I'm holding my breath...as I use the CTU telephone ring as my mobile phone's message alert tone.

In an interim from one boxed set series to another, I came across the trailer of a now defunct, "one-hit wonder" pilot episode of
Aquaman from the WB/CW network merger. I struggled to download the DivX rip of the one and only episode via my trusty Limewire Pro, and managed to complete the whole AVI file after nights on end of downloading and/or staying on queue to get the download ticket running. I wondered...why did the network axe the life and the subsequent episodes of Aquaman (who, incidentally, plays The Green Arrow on Season 6 of Smallville, and is a love interest of Lois Lane. Two hot people on to each other. Yum) to make way for Veronica Mars? Like, duh?

While going through the DVD marathon break, Alet swapped dvds with me--my Smallville for her 2 seasons of Desperate Housewives. Maits, likewise, loaned me her Supernatural DVD. So I guess that should break the hiatus.

Floyd and Arvin started with their Desperate Housewives marathon. But since DH is actually considered a rerun to me (I've watched some episodes back in the US already, then watched both seasons on my computer via DivX downloads courtesy of Yayie-gurl), I started watching Charmed. I got all eight seasons for just about 600 bucks. And while I'm at it, I'm also downloading seasons 3 episodes of DH, which have already started showing in the US. So far, I've downloaded and watched episodes 1 to 4. I've also finished downloading all episodes of season 3 of the 4400, which we've already started watching, too. And as soon as I'm done with Charmed and 4400, I'm heading back to Makati Cinema Square to get The Dead Zone, CSI: NY/Miami, House, and Grey's Anatomy. Unless someone's already got 'em and would loan 'em to me for a couple of days.

God. What the hell am I going to do with all these boxed sets that I've watched already? Hmmm....ebay USA? Yeah, right...and see me go to prison for infringement of the copyright laws. Yaiks. So I guess it'll be my own personal mini-library then. Reruns ain't too bad, are they?

Now if you'd excuse me, I'm queueing downloads of The Last Temptation of Christ, and Como Agua Para Chocolate...and Phoebe's starting to show skin in Charmed. So, THE END.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Kneel Before Me

I thought getting incapacitated, movement-wise at least, would yield me more time to blog. I guess I was wrong. But I'm back, I've got a couple of drafts in my Blog Dashboard, and I'm planning to finish and post at least one or two. So stop whining already.

As part of my company's work-life balance program (which, to this date still has to be formally launched), me and my cohorts from the Training Department banded together to make a fitness program take off. After all, the Bonds and Legal Department have already joined forces and came up with their own Tae-bo class every Thursdays. Taking that as our cue, we reserved the executive lounge on a Monday after work (and all subsequent Mondays, until the Christmas give-aways arrive for stacking, that is) and organized a yoga class with none other than me, myself and I as the appointed yogi. Well, I was qualified: although I lack formal yoga lessons, I've had substantial involvement and attendance to yoga classes back in Marianas, the US, and Guam, and not to mention a stack of books on yoga and pilates, and videos of the same type. So, with our CD player and makeshift yoga mats/towels in tow, we marched off to the lounge and perspired the hour away, capping the session with a five-minute advanced abdominal exercises.

A couple of days after session one, the sides of my left quadriceps (I believe that's thighs to non-anatomy lingo folks like us) started hurting, some sort of a burning pain as if I was stretching it overextensively. I dismissed it as a natural reaction to the stretching, and I went on with my daily routine--including regular every-other-day workouts at the gym. Little did I know that that almost-negligible pain was going to do a maximum overdrive weeks later.

I was sleeping on my bed, and the kinetic, rootless me unconsciously moved into a fetal position and thus bent my knee. It snapped. Or at least that's what I thought I heard that snapped, which woke me up in the first place, next to the excruciating pain on my left leg, that is. It took a while to get my knee straightened up, and as soon as I did, it wouldn't bend back. I came to work the next day limping, with every step seemingly causing more pain than the first. I decided all the Ben-Gay (yeah, yeah, laugh at that, you ass) and Alaxan Gel and Salonpas and Advils/Ponstan ain't gonna cut it for me anymore, so I headed to Makati Med.

Doctor Number 1 told me that I should have an MRI done because she couldn't quite figure out what was wrong with my knee. And since an MRI test wasn't covered under my company's health care package, I decided to ask for a second opinion. I went to Doctor Number 2, an orthopedic surgeon, in St. Camilus Polyclinic in San Antonio Vill, Makati. After a one thousand bucks X-ray and a quick peek at the plates, I was told by Doctor Number 2 that I had a case called Patellar Subluxation. Patel... Subluxwhat? Patellar Sublaxation. That's the technomedical way of saying my kneecap (patella) is fucked up and is a crazy fidgety bone that wouldn't stay in its axis. Apparently, this was either due to trauma (for a while there, I thought it was emotional trauma...but then after all the operations and trips to the hospitals I've had in just less than a year, trauma doesn't seem to be such an alien word) or is a congenital condition. Nothing major or serious...it's just that any maladies with the word "genital" scares the bejeezus out of me, that's all.

Doctor Number 2, after saying that I need to immobilize my knee for three months, gave me two options: buy a knee immobilizer and use it as long as I can, or have my left knee cemented with plaster of paris. I closed my eyes and tried to remember the hassle I went through the last time I had a finger on my right hand cemented, and I decided to choose the former option. The next day, I was headed to Bambang, Sta. Cruz to purchase the damned knee immobilizer, as medical supplies are generally cheaper in that area. About an hour later, I was onboard the LRT wearing the knee immobilizer and having such a miserable time descending the flight of stairs (tell me again, why doesn't LRT1 have any fucking elevators???!). Even hopping in and out of a cab was such a tormenting experience. My only consolation was that I get to remove this contraption everytime I had to take a dump and take a shower.

After some time of wearing it almost 24 hours a day (and going to work while in the process...what a fucking loser), I had this strange feeling of calcification in that area directly behind my knee. I could just imagine how painful my subsequent therapy was going to be if it hardened any further. So I decided to visit Doctor Number 3, a sports therapist recommended by Chrissie, who happened to be her therapist for her acute scoliosis.

After showing and orienting Doctor Number 3 on my condition, he casually but seriously told me that the immobilizer must go, and that I should go forward with my therapy. Fuck the almost two grand I spent for the immobilizer, but it had to go. So I went to my scheduled therapy, thrice a week and shelling out 1200+ per set (three sessions, that is); underwent mild electrocution of the knee, hot compress, and a series of painful exercises. Even bought ankle weights from Toby's so I could do the exercises myself at home. After two weeks of no improvement, I was advised to have a steroidal shot directly on my knee. I said I'd give it some thought...and I ran to Doctor Number 4 at Makati Med.

Doctor Number 4, after being briefed of my now pretty much memorized spiel on my condition, advised me to go directly to an orthopedic surgeon at Makati Med and talk about the possibility of going under the knife. Yaiiiks. So went to friends, contacts, nurses, relatives and other concerned people, looking for advice. I was finally referred to Doctor Number 5 at St. Luke's.

Doctor Number 5, apparently, is a renowned sports therapist and is the surgeon/therapist of the Professional Basketball Association players. More than the fear of a painful operation and therapy, it was the possibly exorbitant professional fees I was terrified of. Double yaiiiks. After having given him an abridged version of my patellar spiel and having shown him my X-ray plates, I was told to not worry about surgery...just yet. He gave me some sets of exercises (which are EXTREMELY and EXCRUCIATINGLY painful, mind you) which I can do at home for the next three weeks. I have to do it religiously lest I might really go under the knife.

It's been two weeks, give or take, and so far I've seen some improvements. It still hurts like hell when the temperature/weather gets cold (yeah, yeah, arthritis/rheumatism my ass), and it refuses to unlock at times, but at best, I'd say I'm better. At least now, I don't have to lug with me my four-footed steel cane or wear the fashion faux pas of a knee immobilizer. I can walk better, but still can't run or kneel or sit well. In time...in time. But for now, I'd have to settle with the improvements, no matter how minute or negligible. One thing I know for sure: I am doing this self-therapy religiously rather than do surgery. In a couple of days, I'm scheduled to go back to the gym after two months of rest. I bet Gold's Gym hasn't changed a bit...

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A Mélange of Q&As

More of the slightly more mature version of the grade school and high school autograph book questions... Feel free to cut and paste, change the answers, and email/YM 'em to me.

* Your guilty pleasure.
Eating sinfully sweet ice-cream and/or (how about AND, not or?!) cake while being a couch potato.

* Cat or dog?
Neither. I can't have 'em in my condo anyway. Bummer. But if I really had to choose, I'd say dog. Specifically? Siberian Husky.

* One gadget you cannot live without.
Make that three: My Palm LifeDrive, my Creative Zen mp3 player, and my Sony Ericsson W810i phone.

* One person you can't stand.
Kris Aquino...and occasionally, Regine Velasquez.

* Most risqué thing you've ever done.
Have sex in a public beach, and also sex at the UP Lagoon. Hehehehe

* Most important person in your life.
I'd have to say personS: my family.

* One place you'd rather live other than where you are right now.
Italy or Greece.

* CD playing in your CD changer.
You mean in my mp3 player? I'm on random mode, but right now, it's Kenny Lattimore's For You.

* You cook?
You bet your brown arse, I do. My specialty? Grilled Black Tiger Prawn Vietnamese Wraps.

* A movie/song that would immortalize your life.
Movie: Mr. Holland's Opus
Song: Bagay Ba Sa Kin Ang Kulot (NYAHAHAHAHA); I'd say Stronger

* Biggest fear.
Terrified of spiders and cemeteries. Fear of getting caught doing something bad.

* Sexual fantasy.
Threesome, in a public place. Yeeeeaaaaah.

* Biggest frustration that you'd want to do something about. Soon.
Not being a pilot. I'm seriously considering doing laser surgery of the eyes to achieve 20/20 vision, and then enrolling in a flying school.

* One decision/act you wish you could undo.
Having stayed in the US longer than I should have.

* One thing you don't have anymore that you wish you could have again.
My ME time, where I didn't have to worry about anything or anyone...where I can just read a book or surf for hours or sleep till 3pm cuz of a hangover.

* Your fashion sense.
I'd say I have a pretty good fashion sense. I'm more a street to casual to formal getup.

* Most fun thing you've ever done so far.
Whitewater raft in Cagayan de Oro.

* One thing that grosses you out the most.
Sight of exposed feet and open toilet doors while eating.

* Your biggest talent.
I'm a performer--I dance, I sing, I entertain.

* Biggest turnoff.
Physical: Bad breath and body odor.
Attitude: Incorrigible liar.

* Worst habit.
Depression shopping.

* Part of your body you wish looked better.
My flabs, my skin, and my teeth.

* Career/business you want with all your heart.
Career: I am doing it already--Training...just hoping for a bigger pay and greater employment package (sigh)
Business: I have a foodcart right now. I'm planning to become a supplier of gourmet food to a restaurant, or join ownership of an espresso bar.

* One thing that ticks you off.
I have really low tolerance for incompetent and dull people.

* Type with the right fingers on the keyboard?
Oh yeah. FINGERING's my thing. LOL

* Idea of a perfect date.
A walk by the beach, barefoot, either sunset/sundown or nighttime under the stars. Champagne or martini would be nice. And maybe cap it off with making love right there.

* Current hair color.
Dyed it Thai Tamarind.

* Pairs of shoes that you own.
Including the ones that I left in the US, I'd say 40-50 pairs. The Kenneth Cole's my favorite.

* Do your own laundry or bring it to the cleaners?
Cleaners. Don't have time to do it myself.

* Signature clothes or generic brands?
Signature and a handful of generic. Hell. As long as they're comfy.

* On a scale of 1-10, how evil are you? (1-Satan's distant cousin ten-times removed; and 10-devil incarnate/anti-Christ)
I'd have to say 6. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

* Vanity or necessity?
Vanity. Ehehehehehe

* Ever taken drugs? What kind?
I've tried doobies and E. Only once, though. And I'm not an addict! Hah.

* How much you love your job.
Scale of one to ten, nine and three quarters. But I'm not talking about the company.

* Single store you've ever maxed out your credit card(s).
That would be Banana Rep, or the Gap... but then again, eBay always maxes me out. LOL

* Obsessive-compulsive?
Hell yeah.