A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I waited in quiet dread for news I didn't want to hear but was virtually certain that I would.

A year ago today, I got a text message that I didn't want to get, and then another saying exactly the same thing, thereby breaking my heart twice.

A year ago today, I stared at his inert form, too stunned to believe that what I was looking at was real.

A year ago today, I saw his mother cradle his head in her arms and call him "my baby" and felt the urge to completely break down and cry.

A year ago today, my son lost a godfather, and I lost a soul brother.

It's been a year, and life has been kind to me for the most part, but I can't help but remember him and how a year ago today, he left us all.

I would like to believe the tears have dried up, and that I'm happy to know he's in a much better place than this world, with its tattered economy, wars, environmental rape and endless political scandals. But now that I've stopped to think about it, I realize how much I still miss him.

This one's for you, Jay.



while going around mexico, i kind of got the feeling the latin americans were all in this cool fun club and they all knew how to party.
of course i have no facts and figures to back this. it is just that, well, watching them salsa and do all their other many dances, you kind of get the impression they are more relaxed and not so high strung.
i am now in brazil.
i went to the sambadrome last night and finally checked out carnaval.
while it would depend on the school presenting of course, i would say that the floats are by far the most creative and colorful that i have ever seen. the floats in mardi gras (in new orleans) are bland in comparison to the in-your-face color and vivacity of this brazilian version


You SHOULD Always Be Able to Go Home Again...

It's been a year since one of 4J's central pillars, Jay Tan, died and almost a year since one of its most indefatigable organizers, TC Montano, pretty much dropped off the face of the earth, or at least the space inhabited by 4J. In the time that has passed, 4J has become a strange and noticeably different place.

More than the exchanges of snark over contributions for parties or boys'-nights-out there's an undercurrent of unpleasantness that, more than once now, has reared its head and I can pretty much sum up the problem in one word: exclusion.

Suddenly, the j-boys who have taken up residence abroad have been branded as people who "don't give a shit" and excluded from e-mail updates.

It's been nearly two years now since I blogged about how wonderful it is to belong to a group like the J-Boys precisely because one CAN belong to such a group without some kind of requisite, like having passed a professional exam or paid some kind of membership fee. Now, apparently there's some kind of residency requirement, or at least someone would like there to be.

It's wrong to begrudge those of us who are abroad their chose to build their careers or lives there. People should be free to live where they want and in this economy it's hardly any wonder that some people would want to try to earn a living wage elsewhere. It's grating to work eight hour days and barely have enough money to support one's own family, so I can perfectly empathize with the people who would search for greener pastures, but more than that they have the freedom of choice which no one should try to take away from them.

4-J is NOT an exclusive boys' club, and that's what's made it such a wonderful group of people for nearly TWO DECADES. What has made us so special is that we were bonded by our years together in high school (and college, for some) and that this bond persists because we CHOOSE to keep it alive. The voluntary nature of the bond is one of the reasons it's so special and is defeated when some of us start dictating things the group should do, or, even worse start giving "my way or the highway" ultimatums.

I'll admit I get annoyed when certain people show up on mailing lists and start talking about their bully-boy high school days like they were the shizz (whatever that means), but for better or worse, those guys are J-Boys and I'm no about to begrudge them their memories of what 4J was like. I think it's even worse to hold the fact that someone has chosen to live abroad against him, but that's what appears to have happened lately.

I think if there's only one rule that should govern the J-boys, it should be that the door will (or at least should) always be open.

ramblings again

i'm a little disturbed i'm the only one contributing to the 4j blog.
business-wise, i have wished for some sort of collaborative effort so that my friends and i can enjoy the good life. right now, i think we don't need to be billionaires, just have enough money to live a quality life.
back when i was younger, i was thinking we would form the 4j economic bloc, but now i see it would never work. hardly anyone likes my ideas. despite my proof of (very) small business success, no one rallies behind me.
nowadays, i'm afraid i provoke envy rather than inspire.
even now, i consider my life unsatisfactory, though i can see how it may seem glamorous to other people not in the know.
with the passing of time, people grow in separate ways and it saddens me that i don't know what's happening with everyone else.

lately, i have come across an email from rj, wherein he is excluding anyone not in manila. i have never encountered such divisive actions before.
considering he was never part of the barkada up until recently, i found it quite surprising. who were his friends in high school anyway? because i can't think of anyone. well, aljay, but i think we all know how he made fun of him behind his back. this is the side of him i have always seen, that he is not a true friend that you could rely on. and it is why i have never appreciated his company.
it of course disturbs me that i am not apprised of the goings on in manila. i couldn't speak as to how other people abroad consider jay t., but i would think that they too miss him, and would like to know how things are back home.

in its earliest years, the barkada would watch movies.
later on, the barkada got larger as more and more people warmed up to each other.
we played billiards and bowling at paeng's, and the video games around the corner.
those were the days.

public art

the first one is an eskinita decorated with tiles from around the world (Lapa district, Rio. also seen in Snoop Dog's "Beautiful" music video)
the second is a bubblegum wall (seattle, wa) anyone can contribute to this disgusting piece of artwork
the third is a strange geometric tower made of glass bottles and other items (watts towers, LA, CA)
The first and the last are the work of single artists that just started expressing themselves


some more pictures

in a rare starring role, my car re-enacts a ripley's believe it or not illustration

circles of latitude

in the one picture you can see my car