Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend 2005

The whole of last week was a training session for me in the new law firm. Lots of reading and writing. Unfortunately, I still don't have a computer and a phone so I have had to try and squat upon other people's stations to get some stuff done. The firm is a huge law firm with somewhere between 1000 to 1500 people. It is not really a law firm as much as a beureaucratic automaton. After spending time in a photofinishing firm and wearing jeans and all that easy stuff, I have had to try and dress more conservatively.

Two of the cousins of the SO visited last week. They were the younger cousins, aged 21 and 19. Both are in college and trying to establish some semblance of a life. It is interesting to note how different the cousins are from each other. These two were particularly nice and laid back. They were so laid back that in some way, they really need to learn how to speak up when they are unhappy. I suppose that it will come with age.

We picked them up on Friday evening. The SO got the instructions from mapquest and it gave us this screwy, swerving, frightening road map to the house in SF. The house was located near Golden GAte Park, but it was not in the middle of anything. In short, there was nothing interesting in the neighborhood. No coffeeshops, stores or anything. It was like suburbia in the the middle of SF.

To entertain the cousins, we took them to Sai-Sai which is a Japanese restaurant in Oakland. We ordered so much food that in the end, the restaurant gave us some dishes as a complimentary gift. I ordered the grilled mackerel which has become my favorite. The SO ordered the cold buckwheat noodles with the sashimi. The younger cousins did not really eat raw fish so the SO and I had it for ourselves. In addition to that, we ordered three kinds of rolls which pretty much crowded the table with food.

Once we got home, the cousins saw how messy the place was and they began to clean. Talk about obsessive-compulsive. They first did the table because they were cooking kamoteng-kahoy cake (cassava cake). Then it spread. They had to put away the pens on the table. They saw the living room and they started in on the living room. Two hours later, the other cousin was not satisfied and she started in on the refrigerator. Talk about O-C!!! Man, she would not let me sleep until that fridge was clean. She was going to start in on the freezer until we told her that we had cleaned it two weeks ago.


Saturday morning was scheduled for the Asian Art Museum where a Maguindanao wedding was performed by members of KulArts and some visiting Maguindanao artists in front of nearly 200 people. Yours truly was the back-up groom. I actually got the call from the SO on Thursday that they needed as groom. On the one hand, I was flattered and wanted to do it. On the other hand, I was very hesitant since who was going to be the bride? If it were the SO, then it would not have been a problem. But if it were another person, well, all bets are off.

As it were, I was featured as the "Bintang" who carries the gold bars in a bronze container. The groom was the son of the datu and the successor to the principality. He was followed by a man carrying a sword; the man is the second in line to the succession. Then, it was me with the gold bars. Around the groom were two women carrying umbrellas, and another woman acting as a bintang.

We practiced the procession several times. Actually, we did it so many times that it was becoming a bear to carry the bintang. Holy cow, so this is how it is to be an actor. I had to be concious about how to act and where I was looking so that the illusion is not broken. As each procession occurred, the director fixed and manipulated the dancers and actors. There were so many changes that it was a wonder that we remembered what to do.

Usually, I watch the show behind the camera. This time around, I was the subject. It was surreal in the sense that it felt like being a character. I missed the camera and the shots that I could have made. I saw one of our friends trying to get photos of his wife. I started laughing inside because I was just trying to be in his head. Ooops, missed that one. Don't move!!! Oops, one second too late. Just missed that photo. Gotta reposition. Ow, that hurt. Where am I?

In the end, we (the guests and the performers) did pretty darned well. The set-up worked and people were lost in the illusion.

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