Sunday, December 11, 2016

Weekend radio tales, starring Mama

[Before you accuse me of bullying the saint who brought me into this world, please know that I told her I'd write about these. And I told her I look forward to her bloopers because without them, my blog would be dead. OK, now you may accuse me.]

On Saturdays and Sundays, I drive my parents to tennis at an ungodly hour. I get to listen to the radio only when I drive, so twice a week, Mama and Dad have to bear with my station choices. This was a particularly good weekend ... for blog fodder.

Saturday, Mellow 94.7 FM (Hahahaaaaaajudgeme):

Just some random cute photo of a car radio ...
and the right station!
The Star Wax jingle is a song that's particularly hard to get out of your brain, which makes it a very effective, very irritating commercial. When Mama heard it (apparently, for the very first time) yesterday, her reaction was:

"Wow, I didn't know they had commercials like this now."

Which was a strange thing to say, given that most of the local brands feature original songs in their radio spots.

But I know how Mama's mind works. So I said, matter-of-factly:

"Ma, Star Wax. That's not an ad for STARBUCKS."

"Ah. So that's why."


Now sing it with Starbax in the lyrics. Go. I'll wait.

By the way, the previous link was an older version of the song. This is the newer one. If you click this too, I admire your courage. You're a star (wax). (I apologize.)

Sunday, Magic 89.9 FM (Throwback! I don't know if this station's as cool as it used to be.):

Speaking of "hard to get out of your brain," Nicki Minaj's Super Bass was playing softly in the car this morning. I didn't think Mama was listening until she heard part of the verse that said something like "yadda yadda yadda American guys."

"American guys again?! I heard a song yesterday with American guys. American guys, American guys ..."

I was just quiet, because I had a feeling this was going somewhere absurd. And of course, Mama didn't disappoint.

"Oh no wait. It wasn't American guys. It was QUEEN ELIZABETH."


Wrong country, wrong sex! Christmas came early this year! Thank you, Mama!


PS: I was curious so I looked for the Queen Elizabeth song. It might be this one. As to where and how Mama heard it, don't ask. Or ask her, and tell me if something funny happened. I'll need the material.

Friday, December 02, 2016

My first taste of Starbucks pee-et-el

In late 2015, I stayed with my sister Mia in New York for a few months to help her out with baby Carlie. Despite the long semi-vacation in the Broadway state, I wasn't really able to fit in much theater. So I was happy when Mia's friend from Chicago, Patt, was in town to watch one of her favorite musicals, multi-Tony-award-winning Fun Home, for one of its last shows with the original cast. My sister couldn't join us, what with motherhood and all, but relieved me of nanny duties and even treated me to a free ticket.

(L to R) Little old me; the amazing star of Fun Home, Beth Malone;
and the equally amazing Patt!

After watching and thoroughly enjoying Fun Home – which was, for something with "Fun" in the title, so unexpectedly heartbreaking and emotional – Patt asked me if I wanted to join the lottery for Hamilton. I had two questions: what was the lottery and what was Hamilton? What was HAMILTON?!? That was the same day I found out I was living under a rock. (I included the link for those who are still under it.)

As it turns out, theater ticket lottery is super fun. Every day, ultra-discounted seats are raffled to people who show up just before the show. Thrilling! Especially if you're on a budget and/or couldn't get seats for really popular plays (read: Hamilton) and just want to try your luck.

So Patt and I went to the theater venue and waited in line to drop our names into a bowl. There were 10 front-row seats up for grabs, so chances were slim that we were going to be picked out of the throng of people who were also there for the lottery (and, unlike me, actually knew about Hamilton and how impossible it was to buy tickets).

Oh and here's an important fact I need to stress about that fall day: It was effin' cold. If I remember correctly, it felt like about 5°C according to my weather app. And the wind was blowing because, apparently, the world hates me. Aaaand because my brain doesn't always work, I wasn't wearing a very thick jacket. Which was bad. Considering I'm a tropical girl who gets cold in Philippine malls.

We were outdoors for 2 hours.

Don't get me wrong – I don't regret a minute of that mini-adventure (OK, maybe I regret the choice of jacket). I loved the excitement just outside the theater, and I'm happy that Patt brought me to that lottery. But ...

Two. Hours.

In. The. Frigid. Wind. Of. Manhattan.

So after we found out we didn't get the tickets (aww), Patt asked if I wanted to get coffee because she knew I was freezing. There was a nearby Starbucks, and I got excited all over again because I'd never tried their pumpkin spice latte (PSL, if you want to be cool and acronym-y). And maybe more than that, my gloveless hands wanted to hold something warm.

Entering a building after being outdoors for 2 hours (have I mentioned we were outside for 2 hours?) was nothing short of glorious. I felt my body start to warm up and was happy to feel my forehead move again. Little did I know that some parts of my body had yet to thaw.

When the barista asked me what I wanted, here's what my frozen lips and tongue came up with, to my horror:

"A punggin spite latte."

"Excuse me?"

After a long inhale, I attempted again: "A pun ... kin ... spite ... latte."

I don't quite remember if Patt read my lips and helped me out, or if the barista saw my mouth desperately trying to function and guessed correctly that the cold foreigner wanted the most basic fall drink out there. Embarrassing? Maybe. Entertaining? Definitely.

And if you're curious, that latte, like that whole day, was za-may-zing.


(I remembered to blog about this because of my first taste of Korean bingsu in a cold mall. My stiff tongue brought back all the PSL-after-lottery memories.)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Family status is very quo

After a fun two-week vacation with friends, it really didn't take very long for the parental bloopers to come rolling in.

Oh by the way, the two conversations below transpired in Taglish, but for the sake of my non-Filipino-speaking readers who rely on the unreliable Google translate (I'm looking at you, Malinda), I've translated everything.

Story #1: On the night of my arrival
Me (showing some of my favorite pics on Mt Titlis): Look at how pretty the snowy mountain was! Nice view, right? 
A very. nice. view!
Mama: Wow! You rode on the SkyCable!
(As in the local cable TV provider) 
Dad: Hahahaha. SkyCable!?! Hahahaha!!!
(I think they take turns laughing at each other's booboos, just FYI.) 
Me: Um, actually ... it's called --
Dad (still laughing): SkyCable!?! It's called ... hmm ... wait ... *isn't* it called SkyCable? Seems right. Hmm. (then, convinced) It's SkyCable!
OK then. As long as they agree.

Story #2: Two days after I arrived
Dad: I want to watch the Batman v Superman movie. It looks good. And in the ending, Superman ... (PROCEEDS WITH WHAT I'M THINKING IS A MAJOR SPOILER BUT I'M NOT POSTING IT HERE IN CASE IT IS!!!) 
Me: Um, first of all, spoiler alert? I haven't seen it! Also, I thought you haven't seen it either? Why do you know?  
Dad: I read it in the newspaper. But you know, the person I really want to win is ... Robredo.
(As in Leni. A real person. Not part of any comic universe. The VP candidate. The *best* one.) 
Me: Well that was a big topic change.

So there's that. All's well in the homestead. Except no one has seen the movie yet. Maybe I can just wait for it to be shown on ... wait for it ... SkyCa --

OK, I apologize.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My memory palace is in ruins

I suppose very few people in the world can't relate to forgetting names. Everyone's familiar with that sinking feeling of meeting someone unexpectedly in a public place – or worse, while you're with a friend that should be introduced. You can forget the name of the person you meet. You can forget the name of the person you're already with. It happens. It's messy. It's hilarious and perfectly natural and messy. I've heard people who automatically move away from their companion when they encounter a familiar face to spare him or her the agony of introductions, just in case a name is forgotten.

I admit having a strange name means that people rarely forget it, but just in case they do, I often point to myself while saying "Orange!" Hashtag charity work. Hashtag toddler habits.

I've also become very comfortable admitting to people that I'm ... well ... old and forgetful. More often than not, I just blurt out the generic "Um ... I'm sorry I can't remember your name." There was one time though, when I probably got too honest. It happened in the mall, while I was striding down an escalator. From where I was, I spotted a very smiley woman who was waving to me and, as expected, I couldn't figure out who she was. I had half a mind to run back up the escalator but I wasn't feeling particularly confident in my grace so I approached her and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sure I know you but ... can you tell me why?"

*Sheepish grin*

The most embarrassing encounter happened a couple of years ago, after I accompanied Joemar to a chemo session. We were walking out when a really pretty girl turned to me and happily said, "Orange?! Hi!!!"

Aaaand, as you could probably guess by the way this blog entry is going, I couldn't remember her name. I knew I liked this woman from my past, and I so desperately wanted to make introductions because it was a good-vibe moment. Joemar – who knew all too well that I had a history of not recognizing people* – was just standing there quietly, no doubt amused and waiting for the comedy to ensue. As it usually did (does).

Seeing no way out of it, I said, "Please don't hate me, but I don't remember your name."

And this pleasant, wonderful woman said:


Her name was Orange. HER NAME WAS ORANGE!!!


I knew her from high school – she was a year younger than me. I remember I had to call her home phone one time (it would be futile to try and recall why I had to) and had so much trouble trying to explain that I was Orange looking for Orange. The person who picked up the phone was having none of it. I ended up saying I was Anna just to finally end our shared misery.

So ... permanent nametags? Discuss.


*While I was writing this, I started having doubts about whether or not Joemar was actually there when the Orange encounter happened. I think my mind, in an attempt to cope with his loss, has transformed all memories of him into unreliable mashups of scenes. I do know for sure that one time, he saw one of his friends at the mall and started talking to her while I respectfully kept my distance. I realized all too late that he was talking to one of our med classmates, and I was respectfully avoiding someone I actually knew. Again, NYAAARRGGGHHHH.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Yes, you may laugh at me. Namaste.

My regular lunchmate (AKA Apple, AKA older sister, AKA frequent housemate) and I ate at the Om Indian Kitchen a few weeks ago just to check it out (and, you know, hunger).

Butter chicken!
(From the resto's Facebook photos)
No regrets there. Samosas were OK, naan was good, butter chicken was grrreat. I'll try it with rice next time. (Accept me.)

But that's not why I'm blogging about that particular lunch. I'm not a food blogger, after all.

(Side note: Many people have urged me to become a food blogger, but I don't think I have an adequate gastronomic vocabulary or enough objectivity to write about food. My intimate relationship with food cannot be put into words. Or maybe it can, and I'm just lazy. Yeah, that's it.)

Our server's name was Angel. This piece of information will come in handy later. Just wait for the horror.
Our bill for the very satisfying meal was PHP 501.25, which was money well spent, I thought. I got a thousand-peso bill from my wallet and gave it to Angel. 

After more than 10 minutes, I didn't have my change yet. Which was perplexing because there were just two other tables occupied, and Angel really wasn't doing anything after I paid. She was just standing by the counter, looking around. This made my blood start to boil a little because, honestly, how hard was it to give me my change? Some people! So incompetent!!! I HATE THE WORLD!!! (My emotions escalate quickly.)

So with all the control I could muster, I asked Angel (in Filipino), "Excuse me. Why is it taking so long? Where is my change?"

And the poor Angel looked at me kindly and said,

"Ma'am, 500 po ang binigay nyo. Actually, kulang pa po yung binigay nyo pero OK na po yon."
(Translation: Ma'am, you gave 500. Actually, it's not enough, but that's OK.)

HUUUWHAAAATTT? Mwahahahahhahhahahaha. I felt a direct punch to the solar plexus of my ego.

In the middle of laughing my face off and apologizing, I somehow managed to get 50 pesos (yes, it was really 50 ... I think) to pay for the rest of my bill and leave a little tip. I felt like I should've given her my entire wallet to ask for forgiveness and redeem my humiliated spirit.

Angel (who could not have a more appropriate name) saw the money I left on the table and said, "No, it's really OK." Someone please give this woman a raise. 

Anyway, I said it was for the 1-peso-something and begged her to take it. Then we left. In shame.

Needless to say, my sister (AKA moral support) couldn't stop giggling, if you define 'giggling' as an open-mouthed, throaty cackling. I couldn't blame her. For the rest of that day (and for most of the next), whenever I thought about that Indian lunch, I burst out laughing uncontrollably. Fortunately, I was alone for my LOL explosions the next day. I've reached my monthly quota of embarrassment, thank you very much.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Martina and marriage. Again.

I think marriage is a concept that interests my 9-year-old niece Martina to an unhealthy degree.

Over 3 years ago, I posted about Martina harassing her then 6-year-old friends about getting married.

Even before that, when she was 4 years old, she attacked me with the WHY AREN'T YOU MARRIED question. I thought my answer appeased her at the time because she never brought it up again.

Just recently though, my sister (Martina's mom) told me that her daughter was at it once more. Oh no. I was told the conversation went like this:

Martina asked her mom, "Why isn't Tita Eng married?"

And my sister answered, "She hasn't found anyone she liked."

(Just FYI, I liked this answer a lot. Apart from it being true, it was slightly better than her latest sarcastic reply to a family friend who asked the same question. "She's too young," my sister said, which made her crack up like a drugged hyena. Sisterly love.)

Then my sweet, lovely, thoughtful niece said, "That's unfair!"

When I heard this, I almost teared up. A thousand dramatic thoughts ran through my head: Yes, Martina, I suppose it's unfair in a way. Don't be sad though. Not all societies look down upon single women. Thank you for implying the world is cruel to me. Thank you for the caring sentiment. I'm so deeply touched that –

" ... It's unfair because I have only one cousin on your side!"

Um. Oooookay then, Marteens! Thanks for teaching me never to assume that a question about my status is about me.


Martina in 2011, praying for the grace to ask the difficult questions