Wednesday, August 14, 2013

30 (updated)

Thank you for the messages, prayers, and words of encouragement. :-)

Lolo peacefully passed away at 6:05 p.m. today. He has lived a full and good life at 94.

Original post, 8/7/13 10:47 PM

I haven't written much. Emotionally, it's been a tough year: my lolo is dying of cancer, and even if we're not close and even if I know he's my only remaining living grandparent, I'm finding it hard to process my feelings about it. There are periods when I'm plunged in depression––seeing my lolo, seeing my mother go through it all––but then most of the time, I make myself numb.

His state deteriorated rapidly. At 94, he didn't require glasses and he rode a bicycle to farm his land, two facts that were always a source of pride for the family. Then cancer made itself known, and now his sight has been reduced to light and shadows. His body is almost lifeless, except for the labored breathing and the occasional tremors of muscle spasm. His medication includes morphine and he fears the moving shadows that creep above his bed at nighttime.

Two weeks ago, our dog died. I last saw him more 20 weeks ago when I forgot the keys to my apartment and I had to go all the way to the family home to get a spare. We have a photo of our last night together: my head turned away from the camera; Chokichi staring directly at it, smiling as Samoyeds are wont to do. He was five.

The Conjuring is why I slept at 4 a.m.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Hai Chix & Steaks

Last night, we had an impromptu dinner at Hai Chix & Steaks*, an unfortunately spelled yet stylish-in-a-hipster-way restaurant in Home Depot, Ortigas.

Porterhouse steak

The rain was hammering Manila at this point, so naturally, we found ourselves alone in the resto.

Two waiters were standing idly after having set our table. We asked for the menu; there was none—you have to go to the counter, about 10 steps away from our table, to read the menu from the chalkboard, parts of which were blocked from our view—so instead, we accessed Looloo from our devices.

Buffalo wings

Then we told them we were ready to order: the waiter standing by the counter, again about 10 steps away, said we had to go to her to place our order. When we sort of protested about the pointlessness of going back and forth and paying for every order, the other waiter said they can arrange for an "open bill," meaning, as with normal sit-down restaurants, you pay at the end of your meal.

Given this "open bill" scenario, there were a number of choices:

    a) Since we were the only customers, idle attendants could have just approached us instead and place our orders for us. 
    b) We could have just announced our orders out loud—it was that near anyway and there were no other customers present. 
    c) Move our asses and go to the counter.

We opted for C.

Butter garlic shrimp

I understand the concept of self-service: I gladly stow my tray back to the designated area (when available), whenever I'm in Jollibee or McDonald's; I bring back the newspaper and magazines to their rack when I leave coffee shops. But I could not understand why Hai Chix and Steaks could not make the effort to walk 10 steps and place orders on our behalf; they were already standing anyway and they had nothing to do at that point. (And this restaurant is no Jollibee or McDonald's either; their steaks are north of P1,500.)

All of this is too absurd for me to even complain about but I felt I had to write about how some people are so wired to do exactly what they're told to do, they wouldn't dare break them even if it means extending courtesy to other people, being nice, or more importantly, earning more tips. Hai Chix & Steaks, as expected, has no service charge so I'm not sure how else the waiters expect to earn their remuneration.

To be fair, they did eventually get orders from our table for the rest of our orders (I guess after overhearing our grumbles), and the staff were nice throughout our other requests.

* * * *

The food, thankfully, was excellent as if the troubles we went through—the weather, the lukewarm service—were mere nuisances, an initiation rite that would eventually lead us to fraternal glory.

I took a bite of the buffallo wings: Yummeh.

The garlic butter shrimp: Jesus Christ.

The porterhouse steak, served medium well: Yesss! 

Together with the 'beef rice' and buttered corn and carrots, it was a sumptuous meal worthy of converting vegetarians back to being vicious carnivores. The oil, garlic, and fat make it all the more rich—top them off your meat, rice, bread, or even fries for a decadent experience. It was a beautiful meal.

Beef rice

*Hai for Hainanese and Chix for chicken.

Hai Chix & Steaks
Ortigas Home Depot
Dona Julia Vargas, Pasig

11:00 am - 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
+63 917 507 5773/ +63 2 661 7695 for reservations, except Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Denim dilemma

My decade-old denim looks like it's been abused by a sadist cat: it has cuts and tears, and holes in places a stripper would be proud of. I've retired it to the far end of my closet when last week, I decided to wear it to work; it got raves from my friends.

And so I wore it again yesterday. While waiting for them for lunch, I sat on the chair in our lobby and I felt the cold kiss of leather somewhere near my butt. My friends arrived to see me seated with my hand squeezed under my derriΓ¨re as I tried to assess the damage—needless to say, I looked weird.

I had to explain myself: "I think there's a hole at the back of my jeans."

They made me stand up and turn around. There was collective gasping: in this context, the gasping wasn't flattering—it was worrying.

The hole, it turned out, was exactly below where the mound ends. While it didn't show skinjust an inviting black hole to vertically challenged sodomistsit was unacceptable in a professional environment or any outdoor environment for that matter, aside from Makati Avenue. Or Malate.

I left my friends and went straight to Glorietta 2I only had one hour to shop and I didn't want to spend much. The first stop was Mango HE which has pants for sale, for as low as P1,000 (colors: yellow, red) and P1,500 for the safer khaki, gray, and black. They were advertised as straight cut and yet, my foot could barely fit into the leg of the jeans.

Pucha. Are skinny jeans the new straight cut?

I fit one leg and didn't even bother to wear the otherit was so temptingly soft (and so tight) that that scary word flashed in my head: JEGGINGS! Man, they look awful, but damn, they felt real good.

Next was Folded & Hung. One of my ultra favorite jeans is from F&H. I took a look at the jeans on display and most of them look like my ultra favorite jeans. Nothing much has changed.

I then moved to Penshoppe, whose window display and interiors are just way too young for me. I remember their beautiful store in Megamall with the wooden floors and bachelor pad props, but now, the lighting is garish and One Direction is playing on loop in the background. It's interesting how they're limiting their market to tweens when they're supposed to be competing with Bench, whose aesthetics and models span a wide age range.

Nevertheless, I tried their straight cut jeans, which again, made my legs feel like sausage. Props to their dressing room though: the lighting was perfect for selfies. It would also look perfect for music videos.

Bench didn't offer any wash variety: it was all black and dark blue.

I took a break for lunch and that's when I had an epiphany: Uniqlo. How could I forget? It's the pants that make my colleagues give a second look and say, "Felix Bakat." (Disclaimer: it's the front fold that's giving the illusion.)

How I wish I made it my first stop. It was a breezy fitting: they are perfect and they are NOT SKINNY! I was able to go back to the office and no longer give a peep show from the back.

Always check your behind before getting out of the house.


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