Sunday, October 06, 2002

Stories about ticket insanity, before I kick off what happened yesterday:

Tickets were already going for 5k and above. Chris had lined up at Ateneo on Monday and was 201 when they only had 200 stubs to give. So he lined up that night at 3 AM outside Araneta with Ernan, Carlo, and Joey, surrounded by scalpers. Quark and Mich followed later but weren't able to get tickets. On Thursday, Ateneo would sell tickets at 7 AM. Wednesday afternoon there was already a line. You had to contend with dormers, of course, who were prepared with sleeping bags, shorts, slippers, etc. There's a story that someone flew in from the US just to watch the game and was lined up there. Mark Lavin didn't go to the Wednesday Group because he went home from work, changed, and went to get in line. At 1 AM they announced there were no more upper box tickets. And I think Mark was alone. Hardcore!

Yesterday, I parked at Mich's building around noon-ish, because we were all going to ride one car on the way to Araneta for the big game. I checked the workroom, and she happened to be there, having a fight with Miss. Mich was giving instructions on what to do with some fabric, and Miss said "What if we do this and this and this (insert unintelligible fashion jargon here)?" While the sentence was still being said, Mich looked at me with a helpless scrunched-up look on her face, and after the sentence was finished, Mich said in a loud booming voice "SINO BA ANG DESIGNER DITO??"

No self-esteem problems there, haha.

Miss looked like she'd had this fight before, so it wasn't really a big deal. Of course, since it was my first time to see such a thing, I noted it down as BW (blog-worthy).

So began a great day.

I went over to Chris's flat while Mich prepared to go. Chris was still in Megamall, even though he said "Be here at 12 noon, because we'll leave at 1215." Maggie was there, so I waited for Chris. Maggie was reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, and we had a discussion about the disadvantages of socio-political tracts being housed in narrative constructs/delivery devices (mainly that the narrative isn't too good because it plays a subservient role to the message the author wishes to communicate. Ooh... how Brechtian). This conversation serves to illustrate the difference between Chris and his siblings, because it's more intelligent than my conversations with him, which are usually derivations/variations on "Dude, that chick is SO hot." I suppose this is why he and Alexis get along so well. Or do they?

Suffice it to say, the plan went to hell (bummer, because I’d wanted to have lunch with Neva but didn’t want to be late). Alia arrived before Chris did, to give me her ticket. That's right, Alia gave me her ticket to the game, the ticket that Joeybrash lined up for at 3 AM to get, and gave to her on her birthday. It's a real shame that Alia had to give it up, but she had reasons of her own that may be personal, so maybe you should just go on over to her blog and find out why. Anyway, bless her heart, she kindly and generously gave it to me. We spoke with Chris's mom and her nephew, a doctor from Camiguin. Some embarrassing Chris stories naturally surfaced, and then finally he arrived. We all convinced him to change what he was wearing, because he had on a blue sweater over a black shirt. I say, "Aren't you roasting in that?" to which he says, "Yeah," and I say, "And isn't that going to be hotter when we're in Araneta?" to which he replies, "OK lang. I wore this in Game 2 also." Normally my reply here would be "Did you at least wash it?" but instead I said "But why do you have on two shirts?" And Chris says, "The collar's too low on the blue one."

So ensues me, Alia, and Chris's mom telling him to just wear a blue shirt. Jesus, it's not like Chris has any cleavage to be cautious about.

We meet Mich (whose car we're using) but apparently Quark and Lia's riding with us too, so we wait for them to arrive while the women (Mich and Maggie) get some lunch. I believe Carlo was supposed to ride with us too (according to Alia) but he didn't wake up until around the game began.

It is decided on the way to Araneta that the name of the t-shirt line will be Boiled Sprat. Yay! Because if Mich wasn't going to use that, I was. I also came up with a new shirt, that maybe only I will be willing to wear. It just jumped into my head while eating my double-chee, and I started cracking up to myself, possibly scarring Mich's driver for life since I was riding shotgun.

ANYWAY, to move things along, we were at Araneta Center pretty early for the big final match between Ateneo and La Salle, who were tied. Even though we were technically early for the game we were there to see, the stadium was pretty full already, so full we couldn't find seats and resorted to reserving space in the aisles. A lot of people were already there: JV, Jofab and Doranne, Julia with her family, J and Camille, etc. Ernan, Mark, and Pado caught up with us later. Sir Mark (whose birthday is today!) and his wife (who I finally saw and met) were there, too. Amazingly, Mark wasn't wearing his everyday uniform of white polo and black pants! I saw bald man Ruey on the court, and assorted high school and college teachers scattered throughout the bleachers. We had to sit through the first game of the day, a women's basketball match between Adamson and La Salle. Naturally, Ateneo cheered Adamson on, simply because they weren't La Salle. I kinda felt bad for the teams, because it was kinda obvious no one was there to watch them. Hell, Adamson's entire contingent (including their Babble band) was way up on the bleachers and to the side, and you'd only realize they were actually cheering when La Salle finished theirs. I will say, though, that they have some cool beats. I thought they were a kupow offshoot of our own Babble until someone told me it's Adamson's.

Haha La Salle lost that game too, so it was portentous. The place really got filled up, and it was standing room only, people packed like sardines, and when someone would weave between everyone else it was hell. Going to the bathroom and getting food was minimized as much as possible because it was such a hassle. Of all people, we saw Hajji from Mustang, with her parents, cheering for Ateneo. I wonder if her parents know what a good dancer she is, and that she does it on top of a bar in Makati. Heh.

So the game begins, everyone's anxious and antsy, pretty much the whole game everyone's standing. We lead pretty much through all the game, though whenever La Salle's score crept closer to ours we'd start freaking out and pulling our hair out by the roots and screaming louder and getting paranoid and wanting to shoot poor defenseless animals (cue Neva's response here).

A sampling of La Salle wit: banners saying "We Do Chicken Right", "If It's Blue Then It Must Be Toilet Duck", "One Big Five (a variation on Ateneo's "One Big Fight," since La Salle were looking at a five-year winning streak as UAAP champions)" and the classic "Taeneo." My favorite was "We're Behind You," to which I replied "You bet you're behind us. By about 12 points."

What I never get used to is how loud these games are. And it's just the people screaming, really. But with these circumstances it was insane. Here was Ateneo, who hadn't won since 1988, finally smelling blood in the water, really chomping at the bit to see a win after so long, and against LA SALLE! Here's La Salle, who're looking at a record 5-year winning streak (as it is they're tied with UST), but really just want to make sure that they don't lose because IT'S ATENEO. So it's an ages-old blood feud (that I don't particularly give a shit about; both schools are comprised mostly of idiots anyway. I'm Atenean, by the way). It's a cool situation for us because we're the underdog. If we lose, it's "Well, what did you expect? La Salle's got a great team, etc.," but if we win, HOLY FUCKING SHIT. So you've got a packed stadium with people very passionate and fervent and screaming their lungs out and waving their fists in the air. The drums are loud, booming, tribal. It's a magnificent display for someone who doesn't really attend these things (like me). I remember the last time I attended a game: junior year high school, against UST. I was shirtless, with my class, with white/blue face paint and some letters painted on my chest saying UST and then an arrow leading to my crotch. Even got on TV for that. Heh. Of course, when you're in high school and with your classmates you have the confidence and foolishness to go shirtless because you don't care about anyone seeing you so long as with you're a bunch of other people. But more on that later.

Here I will insert the fact that actually I don't have much school spirit. I don't follow the games, I didn't watch Game 1 OR 2, and knowing some of the players and their reputations, it's kinda hard to root for them when you know some of the sordid stories (they can park anywhere in school, get academic breaks, cuts, cheat on their girlfriends, get an allowance from certain alumni). So I felt kinda bad accepting the ticket from Alia, since she's been following everything and has a ton more school spirit than I do, even if she did spend her high school years sleeping with the enemy. But all the more, I have to thank her (and Joey) profusely for allowing me to go. Because what happened is I ended up SWIMMING in school spirit. How can you avoid it inside Araneta? It's in the air, it's infectious and contagious and viral. Mark "Le Sexy" Lavin and Chris looked like they were about to start baying for blood during some bad calls by the refs. Quark kept shouting even after fouls had been called. Mich, who had been cheerleader captain once, panned the performances of the cheerleaders for BOTH teams.

Long story short (ha ha), WE WON. Once Quimpo (or was it Chua?) sank that 3-pointer around 2 and a half minutes to go in the last quarter, it was all over. Ateneo knew it and La Salle knew it. Which is why they clammed up and started sitting down, preparing to absorb the shock of a crushing blow to their collective inflated ego. Which is why Ateneo started screaming like madmen, not even words, just screaming for screaming's sake, for adding another hoarse voice to the din filling up the arena, for making it as loud and uncomfortable as possible for the Archers.

I have to admit though that because of La Salle, it was a great game to watch. They fought well, and I think it was graceful in the end how both sides clapped during the other's alma mater song.

We grabbed a quick bite at Mickey D's, caught up with Carlo (who'd arrived in time for the last 5 or so minutes), and headed back to Chris's building. After decompressing and crashing from our victorious high, we visited Mich's new digs on the 4th floor, then left for Rockwell to meet up with Joey, Alia, Alexis, and Lara. At Rockwell we checked out the improving comics and screenplays sections, but I forgot to look for Neil Gaiman's Coraline, which is available there already. Then saw Sir Mark again, back in his uniform.

The plan was to go to the Smallville launch at Enterprise, then go to the victory bonfire at Ateneo. While we were at KryptonNite, though, we'd learned that the bonfire was over (but there's another one next Saturday). I was wearing a Tom Strong shirt, the closest thing to a costume I had. Mich and her Interns Formerly Known as Freaky were in full gear, Mich with a Chibi Moon outfit complete with pink wig and heart-shaped thingamajig, and Goldie in a school outfit with machine gun (a la Battle Royale).

This is very much not my thing. I don't think it actually qualifies as a rave, though. It's not that I have a particular thing against these kinds of events, it's that I tend to hate the kind of people it attracts more often than not: the freaks and geeks and posers and pretentious and nouveau riche and annoying. People with too much money, too much time on their hands, and too little common sense, or shame.

But it's different when you're there with friends, and with friends who don't normally go to these things either (excepting Mich and the popettes), and when your school just won the championship, and when you don't care about anyone seeing you dance. So I danced, horribly, awfully, gracelessly. While it was obvious to my friends and most anyone else looking that I didn't know how to dance, maybe they didn't know that I'd never danced like that AT ALL. And definitely not in public. So I danced, to the best of my ability, and it felt great, and I didn't care that I looked like a boob. It helped that, since it was a costume party, a lot of others looked far, far worse. Chiko and Mikey showed up, both of whom I hadn't seen in a while. Both looked great, and danced, too. Your life is not complete until you see Mikey Amistoso dance. Not to be outdone, Chris was actually waving his arms around, eyes closed. Joey was dancing up and down, drink in hand. Alexis followed girls with his camera. Goldie and Hannah screamed obscenities.

I had to take a leave for a while and get Neva some medicine, because the poor dear was sick at home with fever. She had class that morning, got sick, and then had to pick her brother up at the airport. She didn't even get to watch the game at National Sports Grill, where Alia, Alexis, and the Brash siblings were.

Quark was there when I got back, and all of us walked around and talked and drank some more, until it looked like Goldie was sick. She could barely stand up and seemed wasted. It freaked Mich and Hannah out for a good while. Some guy had offered Goldie a blue drink, and then boom, her body turns to rubber. When things came to a head, we decided to bring her to Quark's house since it was closest.

On the way out, Mich gets offered a blue drink from a friend who got it from some guy she didn't know, and Mich actually goes and drinks half of it. Why do people drink stuff given by unknown strange men? Anyway, in the car on the way to Quark's, down goes Mich too.

At Quark's, I'm helping Goldie out the car to get to the house when Mich just collapses on the sidewalk, like a Sailor Moon who'd just lost a fight with an archenemy (a description that had Neva in stitches), or at least been hit with a giant fly swatter.

We carry our casualties into the house, where we try to get them to puke, drink, eat a granola bar (very tasty, thanks), etc. It's amusing because no one expected this to happen to them tonight. Certainly not Chiko or Mikey (who had to catch Mich a few times, too) or Carlo or Joey or me or Alexis (who had to give them rides home).

Finally, we all watch The Chukk Mabaya Project, our gift to Chiko. Then go home groggy and sleepy.

P.S. Maggie, The Fountainhead tops the list of Mensa’s favorite books. Or was it Atlas Shrugged? Hmm… Watchmen’s on the list, too. :)

P.P.S. Carlo, that Doisneau photograph? Well, he kind of resented that while everyone celebrated that particular picture, the rest of his oeuvre wasn’t getting any attention. Anyway, shortly before he died, he revealed that the photo wasn’t candid but staged. Astig.

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