That Nice Greek Boy

Constantine Maroulis is coming to town.

Who? He’s that nice Greek rocker boy from the latest season of American Idol. He was one of the early favorites (and my personal favorite), but the one week–the ONLY week–that he fell into the Bottom Three, he got eliminated. Some people said this was stage-managed by American Idol’s producers, who felt that if he didn’t get eliminated, the singers they had pegged to advance to the final would exit. Others said that Constantine purposely wanted to leave because his band, Pray for the Soul of Betty, was already releasing their own album. In any case, I stopped watching American Idol after he left.

And now he’s going to be in Manila next week. Drool. Swoon. Shriek. Rub shoulders with hundreds of people who want to see him as well. To that I’d say, “No, thanks.” I love Constantine dearly, but I think I could handle not actually seeing him live.

The embarrassing thing about this post is that I accidentally entered it into my tennis blog. The poor people who subscribed to the RSS feed from that blog must be wondering what in the world Constantine Maroulis would be doing in a tennis blog. Oops.

Kicking Back Too Long

So yes, again I am cramming. It seems to be a genetic predisposition, as both my parents are expert crammers. Ü But yes, I am rushing on my thesis. I didn’t set myself any deadlines earlier, and now the last sem of my residency in UP is upon me. My adviser has limited time, I have limited time, time to get cracking.

So what the hell am I doing writing here?

(I’m taking advantage of Robinsons Galleria’s free WiFi access.)

BURASTTO FUROMU DA PASTTO

I rarely mention this nowadays, but back in 1999 I was heavily involved in anime mailing lists and consequently the local anime community. I actually was introduced to Charles (of Stalking Manila) at monthly anime screenings in UP Diliman; I also met several other lovely and loveable people there. (In fact, I can take credit for introducing two people to each other at these anime screenings. Their relationship is still going strong. Hi, Paul and Sheila.)

The reasons for my drift (or should I say abrupt break?) away from anime are detailed in the graveyard for my anime-related ramblings and creations. However, I didn’t exit without leaving some sort of legacy. In those two years of anime madness, I had gotten into cosplay and had started Pinoy Cosplay, the first Philippine-based cosplay mailing list open to the public.

I handed off moderation duties to trusted friends, and so far I hadn’t heard a peep from them–until lately. Apparently, a forum with a domain had been created in October 2005 with the name “Pinoy Cosplay,” and this had the lead moderator up in arms since the name had been taken without my (and the mailing list’s) permission. I felt I was the last resort, so I contacted the founder of the domain and worked things out. He could keep his domain, but the mailing list would remain a separate entity with claims to being the first and original Pinoy Cosplay.

This got me thinking that we can’t totally leave the past behind. As we move through water, we leave ripples in our wake; in the same way, as we go about our own lives, we affect other people’s lives whether we mean to or not.

Car Troubles

Remember that little crash into a manhole I had? Well, apparently, the car didn’t escape unscathed. Today the damage reared its ugly expensive head as I drove the car up into our driveway. Something cracked in the front right wheel assembly, and a nut popped loose. Plus it made a horrible groaning noise and I screamed in fright.

There was no particular reason to scream, but I had been left jumpy from something that had happened only a few minutes earlier. I was at the intersection of two main roads, and there were pedestrians crossing. They had already stopped when they saw me approaching, so I drove on. Just as I cleared where those pedestrians were standing, a red blur of a boy crashed pell-mell into the left rear portion of the car. My jaw agape, I slammed on the brakes and threw the car door open to check if I’d hurt someone.

A man standing at the corner was looking at me. “Andun siya o! Tumakbo!” he told me, and pointed at the boy in red running across the street and onto the sidewalk. He seemed fine and in one piece, and he just kept running away from the scene of the accident.

I closed the car door and drove away. And then came the groaning tire.

I hope that kid didn’t hurt his internal organs from slamming himself into my car. Otherwise, that’s an ugly injury waiting to rear its head.

The Quest for a Sugar-free Treat

These days, I only go to two coffee shops: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Starbucks. See, I don’t go to expensive shops to drink brewed coffee or sample their pastry selections. I go to have their specialty drinks. I only have one single rule that must be met: what I drink must be sugar-free.

Ever since I discovered that CBTL gave its customers the option of using No Sugar Added vanilla and chocolate powders to flavor their drinks, I have been an avid fan of their Ice Blended drinks, particularly the Pure Chocolate and Pure Vanilla Ice Blended. Recently I added the Hot Chocolate to my repertoire for days when I’m not feeling particularly in need of a cool drink.

Starbucks came out with the Frappuccino Light series this year, and I thought the Frapp Light drinks also used sugar-free ingredients. At least, that was what I was led to believe when I first bought one. After what happened today, I’m not sure I’ll be going to Starbucks again in the near future (tampo ako).

Today was the last day of Starbucks’s Halloween treat: a free upsize on all drinks. I had decided to order a grande Caramel Frappuccino Light, which would be upsized to Venti. They handed the mixed drink to me without the whipped cream, so I requested some. Unfortunately, they also drizzled caramel syrup over the whipped cream, which led me to ask some questions.

Me: Is this caramel syrup sugar-free?
Barista: Uh, no, Ma’am.
Me: Oh. So what makes it Light?
Barista: It has 60% less calories than regular Frapps, and we usually serve them without whipped cream.
Me: But it’s not sugar-free.
Barista: No, Ma’am.
Me: (looks at the drink) I can’t drink this.

The barista offered to help me change my drink, but she kept showing me options I wasn’t familiar with–and frankly I had my heart set on a Frapp. Confused and a little bit cranky, I just asked her to give me the drink anyway. I didn’t want her to go to any more trouble when it was my fault.

As I left the Starbucks, though, I started steaming. Now that I knew my Frapp Light wasn’t sugar-free, what was I to do with the drink I held in my hand? It was Venti size, too…

I ended up giving the drink to the housekeeper when I got home. I hope she enjoyed it; I spent a third of my weekly allowance on that drink and got nary a taste of it. Oh, well. I think I’ll go make a late-night run to CBTL and get myself a nice Ice Blended. Na-udlot kasi eh.