brianitus at work

Tales from my day job

How to Start Your Day

I woke up at 5 AM with a nasty rumbling in my tummy.   I get up and follow what natural biological processes dictate. It looks like it is time for some drugs again. This is definitely not the way to start my day. I go back to bed only to get up more than twice because of the same thing.

Around 7:30 AM I start sending text messages to my team and colleagues,”I cannot make it today.” Honestly, that is something as rare as lightning hitting a human being more than twice (except for this sad chap). This is far from my usual morning.

The usual morning would be:

  1. Open eyes, shut off the alarm 6:30 AM
  2. Get up 6:45 AM
  3. Drink a glass of water. I read that it is supposed to be good for you.
  4. Do my morning exercises (yes, I do)
  5. Take a shower
  6. Get dressed for work
  7. Have a bite to eat and run out of the door to avoid coming in late for work.
  8. Repeat same process next day

That sounds like the life of a typical worker, no BS in the morning. Sometimes, I like to believe that I have matured this much.

At around 8:30 AM, I asked one of my teammates if she was already in the office. She said that she was already on her way. Knowing that she lives  less than half a kilometer away from the office, I just thought: What a good little growing girl she truly is!

…and then she sent me this message:

“Ginising ako ni ______ ng 6am. Bangon ng 6:30, ligo. Luto. Hugas ng pinggan. Plantsa. Kilay. Hahaha”

Here’s the whole routine:

  1. 6 AM – boyfriend wake-up call
  2. 6:30 AM – actual wake up time
  3. Take a bath
  4. Cook (breakfast or lunch pack)
  5. Do dishes
  6. Iron office clothes
  7. Do eyebrows (magkilay)
  8. Repeat the same thing the next day (maybe except on Sundays)

Wow! I guess that’s the true power of a goal-oriented millennial. Do all of that under two hours, with ironing and “kilay” to boot.




Noodles Should Rule the Earth

Noodles.  I believe that noodles have the best chance of making it as “universally acceptable” food.  If the Earth conquered the rest of the known universe, its warriors should bring noodles with them as peace offerings to different planetary inhabitants.  Noodles will bring peace and stability to the war-torn galaxies.  The trend can start among the nations of this planet…

…aaaand that’s jumping way ahead of our lifetime and sounds too inspired by hallucinogens.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my job entails a lot of traveling to the different provinces of the Philippines.  Generally, the experience has been very gratifying for me.  I get see the country, work and enjoy it.  One habit I picked up over the years of working as a regularly traveling marketing person is checking out the local specialty dishes wherever I go to.

Tony Bourdain

I wish my job was kinda like his — Tony Bourdain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I am no Anthony Bourdain in an episode of No Reservations but I try to be — I emulate as far as the beer every meal will take me.  So far, I’ve tried crickets, dog, frogs, and a cobra for dinner (a little Zimmern there).  None of them give the same feeling of comfort as noodles.

Back to the noodles.  I’ve written about Charlie’s Wanton,  Tuguegarao‘s Batil Patong and probably about Pancit Cabagan from…well, Cabagan, Isabela.  If I can remember the name of the noodle place near the Ambassador in Chinatown, where my friends and I ate late after imbibing a lot of alcohol, I’d write about that, too.  Honestly, I used to tease an old co-worker about his love for noodles.  I never thought I’d become a noodle freak myself.

In my last trip out of Metro Manila, I ended up in the city of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro for a week-long work activity.    Since it was all work, I really did not have the time to check out what the area had to offer.  Tamaraw Falls can wait for me in an another visit to the island.  I am thankful for one of our professional staff members for bringing me to a good source of food kryptonite that made me want to eat some more until the last minute I had to leave Mindoro.

With a name that sounds like an old place that my uncles used to frequent to sow their wild oats, Mabuhay Panciteria in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro was certainly worth the stop for me.

Mabuhay? Just damn delicious noodles.

It was worth the stop that I had to bring my entire team there for a “take it or leave it” Thursday dinner — lomi or pancit as the only food choices.

Lomi vs Canton — both are winners

Believe me, the team was full ’til midnight, as starch swells up in tummy really good.  It was worth the stop that I had to come back to eat Sunday lunch before I boarded the Ro-Ro boat going back to the Batangas port.

Round 2 for moi!

I remember Mario Batali mentioning in some of his shows, while cooking pasta, that the noodle is the dish.  I don’t know exactly what he meant but THIS had to be it.  The pancit canton in Mabuhay was just that — it wasn’t the GENEROUS amount of toppings or the sahog that got me.  It was the taste of the noodle PLUS the toppings.  The sauce was not overpowering and offered you room to play around with additional condiments.  The taste and texture of the noodles, prepared in-store, got me going to eat more and more.  I liken it to the experience of eating a lot if one has well-prepared steamed aromatic white rice, an appetite inducer for most.  I also felt like that food critic in Ratatouille.  You’ll end up eating a lot.  If the place wasn’t so far, I’ll eat there every week.

Everybody gets long life — Mabuhay!

Price-wise, the pancit canton there is relatively inexpensive at PhP 95.00.  Throw-in a super cold bottle of Coca-Cola, 12-oz please,  and you’re all set for a great meal.  If you feel like it, you can also order rice to go along with the pancit.  Pancit + rice, a true Pinoy belly-busting eating tradition.

Belly busting makes you feel good. (Belly borrowed from a good friend.)

Climbing Up from the Bottom of the Barrel

The past few weeks had been…well…disappointing.  I realize that we all hit bumps and go into slumps.  My excuse had always been “it happens to the best of us.”  However, there will come a point when that excuse gets really really old.  Mediocrity hits when there’s a sudden loss of momentum to deliver more “Wow.”  Frankly, I am not happy being mediocre.  I hate it with a passion.

In my opinion, to the average person, which I really am, this can happen due to a variety of reasons.  This can be a mix of purely professional or even personal reasons.  Those who feed on– no, addicted to —  positive emotions are bound to crash from a high in a rather disgustingly distastefully disastrous manner.

So, you’re there.  You’re at the bottom of a dark pit looking up.  What do you plan to do?  Of course, I am going to climb out of it.  I tried looking for meditative techniques to quiet my mind.  I know that I still have a lot of good ideas that I can scare out of my mental bushes if needed.  I still think there are still a few items I need to get me going.

I realize that I have to write some things down to remind me to quit being normal again.  Thanks to a little talk we had in the office today, I write this manifesto from the bottom of the barrel.

  1. Inspiration does not pay the bills.  The longer one waits for it, less paid work gets done.
  2. Distractions do not pay the bills.  Simplify; do not overload oneself with useless thoughts.
  3. A to-do list is basic in being productive.  Writing it down is easier than trying to memorize it.  It beats looking stupid when something essential is forgotten.
  4. Procrastination IS THE DEVIL.
  5. When things get boring, find something productive to do.
  6. I will be critical of the things I do.  I will always ask myself “So what?” or “Then what?” before I pat myself on the back.
  7. At the end of the year, results, not plans, matter.  It’s what’s on the bottom-line of the spreadsheet that counts, not the fancy picture on the slideshow.
  8. Easy is usually cheap and does not add value.  Stay the hell away from it unless schedules permit it.

Just in case…

Just in case you decide to marry your job, make sure that it stays sexy and wears the right “lingerie.”  That’ll come in handy once you start feeling bored with the “relationship.”

Silly idea.  But that’s just it, jobs and careers don’t suddenly decide to put on a sexy show to “excite” you when you start showing loss of energy.  In a practical and a real world sense, it’s always the other way around.  You should always stay sexy and attractive for that job.  I’m not being literal about this, of course.  That is, unless you’re in the porn industry.

(I blame this line of thinking on that round girl at the PXC fights last Saturday.  Awwrr!)  

The Thought Parking Lot #9: Thoughts on Multitasking

Alright, true believers.  Your friendly neighborhood wall crawler  Oops.  That’s from my alternate universe as a self-proclaimed superhero.

Speaking of superheroes, where, when and how did that tag “Pambansang Kamao” for Manny Pacquiao start?  He’s overloaded with titles.  He’s a champion in 8 divisions.  He’s a congressman.  He’s probably darling, sweetie or whatever to the missus or some other chick.  He’s also a recording artist/actor/ game show host.  He’s also an army reservist.  Not only that, he’s also a Lieutenant Colonel by rank.   By all measures, the guy is one hell of a multitasker.  He’s boxing champ to some.  A national hero to others.  He represents every single working Filipino’s aspiration to get all the material possessions that he desires in his natural lifetime.  He’s  a frakkin’ superhero!

Here’s an idea.  Why not just call him “Colonel Philippines”? We’ll throw in the shield for free.  The Marvel Zombie Universe had a Colonel America.  I see no reason why this universe can’t have a Colonel Philippines.  That’s just me being silly.

In other related thinking, multitasking isn’t for everyone.  At one point, you’ve got to have the right support to free yourself up to do other things.  That includes the right equipment and the right people.  I think the Pacman has himself surrounded by the right people.  By right people, I mean people who are genuinely interested in keeping their prized bull alive.  It’s a pretty good symbiotic relationship.

But what about lesser mortals?  How do they pull off the juggling act?  From what I’ve gathered so far, it all boils down to being organized and setting up a good system to let you do more in less time.  However, one has to be careful not to fall into the trap of assuming that everything works and functions to appease the system you’ve set up.  One also has to be prepared for the occasional quirks.  Keeping a level head during these times will help a lot.

Always remember that you are not a boxer/businessman/actor/singer/army reservist/congressman.  Things should be relatively manageable. 😀