Mornings and Things, updated

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In March 2015, I was a newly married man, teaching Theatre part-time at an international school, and finishing up my academic courses as a graduate student in literature. One of the requirements of my final course was a “short” 8-page-minimum creative non-fiction piece.

What I ended up submitting is one of the funnest things that I’ve ever written. It was a playful way of indulging in my love for things—sometimes expensive, often beautiful, and ultimately trivial material things.  I’ve decided to share the piece with you in its entirety (minus the footnotes, which was basically just information about where to purchase some of the things I write about—very little essential or creative about them). It sounds younger, somewhat raw, and I cringe at some of the parts, but, I guess, it was me then. No use denying it. I’ve also decided to annotate some parts with updates from me now. In some weird way, it reinforces the strangeness and wonderfulness of ephemerality.

I’ll try my best not to try and save face by editing the parts where I cringe. Annotations are in boldface. Highlights within the original text are underlined. Also, consider the piece a State of Hurry up the Cakes Address, since it hits all of the points I usually talk about over here anyway.

So. Here I am, or was, on a weekday in March 2015:

Continue reading “Mornings and Things, updated”

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Life is happening

My name is Mikey Llorin. I’m happily married to the craziest woman on the planet. I perform, I teach, I eat, I podcast, I watch wrestling, and I follow the tech industry for fun.

Oh, and one more thing…

I’m going to be a father! To a baby boy! A smart, kind, funny, wonderful, awesome, and hopefully fat baby boy.

Here is my son showing off his pee-pee for the first time the other day:

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My son’s very first dick pic

Char is 23 weeks in, and she has been chronicling her pregnancy journey over at Squishy Days. I’m on there, sometimes. Do check it out. It’s my favorite blog.

I’m going to have a son. Still can’t believe it. I can’t wait ’til the day I get to bestow him with my World Heavyweight Championship.

If you don’t mind, please keep us in your hearts and prayers—that Char will have a safe and happy pregnancy, and that my son emerges from the womb a healthy, happy, fat baby boy. Hopefully while Motörhead’s “The Game” is playing.

Squishy Days predicts the Hurry up the Cakes WrestleMania experience

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“Dear Jesus, please bless the Internet and WWE Network. Amen.”

I asked my very pregnant wife to send in her WrestleMania predictions a few days before the big event. Instead, she decided to send in something a little wackier. Ladies and gentlemen, I present: Char’s predictions of me and my behavior during WrestleMania weekend. (My own comments are bold. Also, they’re in boldface.)

WrestleMania isn’t my thing. I’m a Royal Rumble girl (I like the nostalgia and the organized chaos).

To be honest, whenever I watch anything with Mikey, I spend half the time watching him and his reactions. More often than not, his reactions are far more entertaining than whatever is on the television—more so for WrestleMania.

Yeah, especially if Roman Reigns is in the main event.

My predictions start on Sunday morning. WrestleMania will air Monday morning for us, so the excitement will begin on Sunday morning in our humble home.

Unfortunately, my wife forgot that WrestleMania weekend this year started on Saturday morning, with NXT Takeover: Dallas. I forgot too, and ended up scheduling a lunch with a few friends. Thankfully I was able to watch it live all the way to the end of the undisputed match of the year: Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. I mean, holy cow, right?

Sunday morning:

  • I wake up first. I check to see if Mikey is awake. He’s not. I go through my my repertoire of please-wake-up tactics (usually arranged from cute to annoying). Lately though, “I’m hungry” has been the most effective way to get him to wake up.
  • He wakes up, grabs his phone, checks twitter, looks at me, and smiles with his mouth open and teeth showing. He bounces up and down. His cheeks jiggle. He will say: “Can you smell that? It’s WrestleMania.”
  • He will use words/phrases like “palpable” or “my body is ready”, and he will refer to himself as the “boy”.
  • Our day will go on as planned, but during the quiet moments, he will bounce up and down on his seat to express excitement

She also forgot that the Hall of Fame ceremony aired live Sunday morning on the WWE Network, which means that I woke up first. I turned on our little bedroom TV set and let old-time speeches and tributes act as the white noise beneath our early morning stupor.

The cobwebs cleared up by the time The New Day went onstage. I switched over to the WWE app on my iPad Pro so that I could watch and prepare breakfast at the same time. By the time Michael Hayes overstayed his welcome sang Badstreet, the table was set. Delimondo brand chili-and-garlic flavored corned beef, sautéed pork and beans, and hot white rice.

We were back in bed for Sting’s induction speech. I did not expect him to retire, which means I was thoroughly worked by his appearances in which he teased a match with the Undertaker. I was saddened by the announcement, but I took this as a good sign—after repeatedly increasing my jadedness for years, WrestleMania can still surprise me.

Throughout the day, I bounced up and down several times. My cheeks may or may not have jiggled. I did not say “Can you smell that?” because that questions is too associated with The Rock, and his WrestleMania appearance did not really excite me, even if he was my childhood hero.

Monday morning/afternoon:

  • Mikey will wake up first because his schedule dictates our departure time (an unspoken rule at home–whoever has to leave earlier is in charge of wake-up duties).
  • He turns off internet access on his iPad and phone. “I don’t want to be spoilered. If you get spoilered, don’t tell me.”
  • Our day will go on as planned. Mikey will be quieter than usual because he won’t be connected to the internet in any way (no tweets, no FB messages, no iMessages). Unless of course he does get spoliered—in which case I will receive a very angry call. He will vent and he will use profanity.

All accurate. I did call her in the middle of the day to tell her about something important that happened at work. She picked up the phone and continued giggling the whole time I told the story. When I asked why, she said was fully expecting me to use profanity because I had been spoliered.

My wife forgets that I am a gentle soul. I would not rage—I would weep.

  • He will pick me up at 4:30 PM (work on Monday ends at 3:30PM). I will joke about wanting to go somewhere before we head home. He will begrudgingly agree (because I am carrying his child), I will take it back and watch the joy unfold in his face.

I picked up my wife in record time. I pulled up to the gate at 4:15 PM! 

She did, in fact, joke that she was craving S&R Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. Since I was fully prepared for the ribbing, I snapped back: “Nope, we are going home and ordering a pizza.” Then she said that she was serious, and pretended to sadly agree to go home instead.

Then I felt guilty. And then she laughed.

My wife is evil, I tell you.

  • When we get home, he will turn off the wifi on all of our devices (Mac Mini, laptops, phones, and iPads). Only the PS4 that’s connected to the television will have access to the internet.
  • He will order pizza and chicken because he has no time/desire to cook and clean up.

This is exactly what happened. Thankfully, the WWE Network PS4 worked perfectly—no lag, no skips, no buffering.

We ordered Yellow Cab Pizza. Large Four Seasons pizza and a Charlie Chan Chicken pasta. Char offered one can of her coveted San Pellegrino Arranciata, presumably to make up for her evilness earlier that afternoon.

WrestleMania Proper:

  • He will load WrestleMania on the very legal WWE Network and he will say: “oh myyyyyyy! This is it!” He will quickly hug me, kiss me, and tell me that he loves me. I will be playing non-internet based games on my iPad.

This ended up being wrong. She played non-internet games during “America the Beautiful” and the wonderful Sideshow Bob voiceover intro, and then she became fully engaged when the Ladder Match started, yelling and cheering and jeering alongside me for the entire four-hour and fifty-one minute show.

WrestleMania is a special time of the year for wrestling fans the world over. My life was never the same after I watched that VHS tape which featured all the main events from WrestleManias 1 through VII twenty-six years ago, and I make sure to try very hard to mark the occasion every year. I’m a very lucky boy to be able to share this with the craziest woman I know—and that she actually enjoys it!

(And apparently, someone else was enjoying it with us, too. ❤️)

I was an Avenger once

No, seriously. I was an Avenger. I had the identification card to prove it. It was this beautiful blue and white ID card, you know, like adults had for their workplaces, except mine said I was a member of the mighty AVENGERS, with full security clearance granted by the National Director of Security, or Tony Stark, or Nick Fury, or whoever.

The ID card came free as an insert within an issue of WIZARD–the magazine that once served as the required reading for every comic book fan on the planet. As soon as I showed my dad the card, he immediately offered to have it laminated with my picture on it. I imagine he was excited that his son was going to be a superhero.

Two days later, I had in my hands certifiable proof that I was a member of the greatest superhero team on the planet, and I showed it off proudly to my classmates. Most everyone thought it amusing, I think, and everything went well. The world accepted my new status as one Earth’s mightiest heroes. That is, until, I showed my ID to the cool kids.

The bastards. They made fun of me for having the audacity to become one of Earth’s mightiest heroes. They preferred their Mikey to be less dork, more “normal”. They wanted me to be more like them… so I obliged. I tossed my ID card–my superhero identity–into the garbage bin. And with it, a big part of my childhood.

Years passed. Life happened. Found new friends. Refound old friends. Found gifts. Found applause. Found wrestling (many times). Found Jesus. Found Char. Found sheer brilliance in the most unlikely places. Found sadness is the most colorful of places. Found life. Life happened. Life happens.

You see, the truth is I quickly got over the aversion to geekery soon after I graduated from high school. I could’ve reclaimed my comic book childhood, my “superhero identity”, heck, even the old Avengers ID card, much earlier on. The problem was that there was no such thing as a Center of Relapsed Geekery–no place for me to come back and catch up and find out everything I needed to know about the ongoing storylines, the state of the Multiverse, and the Comic Book industry. Geek communities are notorious for being exclusive, especially these days when geekery and hipsterdom are culturally relevant, as evidenced by all the loveable-geek protagonists in movies and TV shows these days.

(By the way, remember my friends who made fun of my Avengers ID? They’re big fans of “Big Bang Theory”.) (I love you guys.)

Unfortunately, the impression that true-geek culture is impenetrable is perpetuated by most of the comic book shops I’ve come across. One of the shops I used to go to especially irritates me, not only because the salespeople aren’t very friendly, but because they are seemingly out-of-touch with geek culture. I doubt they’d be able to explain to me why one cover of Superman/Batman #1 is a thousand bucks, while the other is only eight hundred pesos. And why is it so expensive, when it’s such a new comic book?

They’re salespeople, and they look like they wouldn’t give two shits about what they’re selling. It was very discouraging. And discouraged I was.

Until one night a few months ago.

Char and I were out on one of our evenings together, and we walked up to Fully Booked, in Bonifacio High Street. There were signs all over the place, telling us that that there was a comic book shop on the fourth floor. When we got there, we saw a big sign plastered across long panes of glass. “Comic Odyssey”, it said. I wish I had noticed then how apropos it was.

I entered, expecting to find the same inaccesibility and hoity-toity attitude that I found in other comic stores. Instead, I found my childhood.

It was a back-issue bonanza. Dozens upon dozens of copies of comic books I had owned when I was younger, for reasonable prices. My heroes, villains, covers, writers, artists–they were all there! Wolverine, Thor, and Captain America; Scott Lobdell, Kurt Busiek, and Chris Claremont; Jim Lee, George Perez, and Jim mother-fricking Madureira. My raw, unmuddled youth, in comic book-sized clear plastic bag-and-boards.

And the walls! Good heavens, the walls. Lined with framed genuine collector’s items. Todd MacFarlane’s iconic Spider-Man covers. Iron Spider’s first appearance. Various #1’s of different comic books from wide range of eras. The same stuff I’d read about in old Wizard Magazines and only dream of seeing in person, let alone possibly purchasing myself.

I was delighted. It was like being a kid in a candy(-flavored comic book) store. After a few minutes of pulling out a stack of comics I was considering to buy, the lead sales guy introduced himself to us. I almost expected Simpsons-Comic-Book-Guy snobbery, but instead he engaged me at my novice has-been geek level, and helped me touch base with the goings-on in the comics world these days. I was thrilled not just because I felt like a comics dork coming out of my dork-averse shell, but because Kevin, Menchie, and co. were and are the nicest comic books sales staff I have ever met. Seriously, guys. Head on over there and introduce yourself, and tell them Mikey says hello.

So anyway, needless to say, I was hooked. I bought two comic books that night, and made a mental note to myself that this was going to be new habit. After all, buying a couple comic books a week are certainly cheaper than, say, buying a new gadget or iPhone case a week. Hell, they’re cheaper than lunch at Starbucks.

It must be said, though, that along with new friends, old favorites, and fresh takes on classic stories, what I received upon finding Comic Odyssey was the sense of warmth you get when you are transported to happy moments of youth. It was like finding an old favorite pair of jeans I thought I lost. I’m glad I can get that feeling again every week.

Now all I need is that Avengers membership.

The Soderno Report – Friday, February 17, 2012

Every so often, Team Hurry up the Cakes ventures off to the mostly-first-class land of Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, our old  stomping grounds in Alabang, Muntinlupa, to partake in the weekly celebration of gluttony, revelry, and sheer hedonism that is the Midnight Mercato Soderno food fair.

Last night was the last time Daryl, Charisse, and I would meet before our trip to Singapore this coming Tuesday. We decided to have a late dinner at Soderno–Daryl had a meeting early in the evening, and Char and I had a heavy lunch at Hurry up the Cakes favorite 2nd’s late in the afternoon. I was happy, excited, and starved.

First off I had… Continue reading “The Soderno Report – Friday, February 17, 2012”