So much stuff have happened over the past few days that I’ll need separate blog posts about each of them. My fifth and final post in the series: Bon Voyage Joon.
Tomorrow will mark seven years to the day that I met Joon Guillen, my best friend. I promised him I wouldn’t give him any sap until after he moved to Hong Kong, and it’s been a week now since he left, so I think it’s safe 😉 (Joon: Sap Warning! Mwahahaha!)
Though I first met Joon online, I officially met him in person on Sept. 2, 1999, the eve of my 18th birthday. In two days I’m turning 25 and it’ll be my first birthday without our obligatory birthday dinner together. Also, this post may be a bit of a surprise to others, as I’m the best friend nobody knows about. I never hang out with Joon’s other friends or show up at any of his parties 😛 I’m like Danny, the gnome in Mulder’s top desk drawer. So consider this my coming-out post!
I don’t really know where this entry is going. Okay, I shall attempt to summarize the reasons why I will miss Joon.
Shows. The reason Joon and I met in the first place was because of two common interests, the first being The X-Files. I started a pinoy X-Files club in high school and was recruiting people on PinoyExchange. He joined my club, which grew to strange proportions, and eventually he ended up being president. In the very first local sci-fi convention, we set up the X-Files booth together, and he lay on the ground pretending to be dead while I drew a chalk mark around him. We eventually shared other shows as well, like Band of Brothers, Boomtown, and Veronica Mars, but never in as geeky a form.
Music. Our second common interest online was the Dave Matthews Band. I was active in PEx’s Music and Radio forum, waaay back in high school up to early college. We ran into each other on the DMB thread. A couple months later, he told everyone that he had a band that was looking for a guitarist, and they play mostly Dave Matthews Band covers, and instantly I was like, ‘Oh my God! Me! Me!’ So I auditioned, on the eve of my 18th birthday, and there you have it. Joon then introduced me to a whole slew of other bands, most notably Ben Folds Five who are now part of my all-time favorites, though he tried influencing me towards stuff like U2 but failed hahaha. I, for one, also kept sending stuff his way, though I don’t think any of them hit home either.
Bands. Joon was in all my bands. He was the one who got me to audition for his band Mr. JiL, aka my first band ever, and also the first time I ever laid my hands on an electric guitar. He was there when I bought my first electric guitar and when I bought my first effects (the Zoom 505, which we called Puppy). He was in Silme and the Sugardrops and we both quit at the same time. Then he was in We Kick Ass For The Lord and that was the beeeest. There was even a time that we did a Joon and Luna thing, playing for friends at parties. I also saw him play even before he got famous hahaha, like when he had a jazz phase and he was in Fish Trio with his upright bass, and then when he sessioned for the Itchyworms and the Purplechickens, and then when he first heard about Outerhope and was raving about them, and of course Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man, the title of which he got from The X-Files.
Songwriting. I was lucky enough to witness the transformation from Joon “I am never going to sing! Are you crazy?” to Joon “I now record original compositions with my voice at the mic”. I was there when Joon first started composing music on his PC (it was a rendition of the LOTR theme, I think), and I got to hear his songs before they came out so I could tell him what I thought. Also, he never, ever wanted to sing. When we composed “Bite the Bullet” together, he finally agreed to sing but not after processing his voice so heavily you wouldn’t know it was him. Now he sings even at gigs and I’m proud of him 🙂
Filmmaking. Joon and I are huge film buffs and it only made sense that we wanted to make our own stuff. We would cook up all sorts of crazy ideas (like shooting Neil Gaiman‘s story, “We Can Get Them For You Wholesale”, or shooting a horror flick with a shadow as the killer). I helped him make a stop-motion film for his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. We did The Juan and Dream Systems together and spent sleepless nights shooting and editing until we were finally satisfied. Making films was always a dynamic-duo thing and now I don’t really have any desire to make any more without Joon at the helm.
Filmwatching. Joon still holds the record with me for most movies watched together, largely in part to that Cinemanila 2003 festival where I saw 14 films, I think. I would drive all the way from Alabang to Makati after work to watch films with Joon. Our friendship also started with him inviting me to watch films at his house, which, at 18, I thought weird at first (“You mean just us? Without the other bandmates?”) He’d introduce me to art films and quirky films and anime and black-and-whites and stuff. We both loved the same movies, only occasionally arguing over things like Infernal Affairs, which I LOVED and he HATED. We also have a movie with sentimental value.
Nicknames. We’ve had the most absurd nicknames for each other. There was a time we called each other Charlie and Donald Kaufman, the half-fictional writing duo from Adaptation. For the longest time, he called me “mom” and I called him “son”, because in 2000 or so there were bomb scares in the malls and I texted him not to go to the mall and he answered, “Okay, mom”, and it stuck. It stuck so bad that we’d never call each other by our real names anymore, even in public. Lately we just call each other “fartass” and its variations (assfart, fartknocker, etc), and I’d just like to say that wasn’t my idea.
And others. Honestly, everything I just said is the fluff, not the meat, because the real meat of our friendship is what happens in between things. Like him being the only friend my parents trust enough to let me sleep over at his place, and him being the only friend I trust to drive my car. Like the fact that he does these ridiculous sales to earn cash for other purchases, and I end up buying from those sales, so my TV’s from him, and my phone’s from him. Like how he set up my home and office networks and also helped set up all my PCs. Like how his house is my home away from home, where I used to crash for no reason, and I’d just invite myself in and go upstairs without explanation to wake him up. Like how he’s seen me through several boys and I’ve seen him through several girls. Like how we had this rule, that when we met someone new, we’d tell them, “Okay, just so you know, I’m going to keep seeing my best friend. We’re gonna keep watching movies and going out alone and stuff. And I’m not going to change my mind so you better be okay with it,” and how our significant others sometimes didn’t like that. How his family brings me home chocolates from the US and invited me to one of their family affairs as their photographer. How we almost missed the Best Animation award for Dream Systems because we were in Tapa King across the street, so we ran in formal wear through traffic just in time to hear it being announced. How we’ve seen each other through very difficult times, stuff that I wouldn’t tell other people about. How he has patiently put up with all my shit. How the guys I dated used to ask him questions in order to better understand me, hahaha. And how, I suppose, even if Joon and I aren’t as close as we used to be a few years ago, I know that he’ll always be there for me at the drop of a hat, and he knows I’d do the same.
Hahaha emo. That’s enough sap, I think 😛 Joon, are you still alive? What’s 911 in Hong Kong?