Friday, September 26, 2003

All Alone in the Kervin Cave

I'm curently in Los Banos. I have to go home later this morning as I have a promise to keep. I also have to check on a few things in Manila and Quezon City-- namely, the status of my backdrop project, the status of my application for work at PHILPOST and the status of training for my indentured slavery to a ...(GASP!) call center.

Front and Call Center

Training! Blasted thing's already started and I knew absolutely squat about it. Let's point the finger of blame here: 1) nobody at home ever tells me about my unreceived phone calls and 2) a routine cleanup of my celphone inbox may have wiped out any messages from my prospective faceless corporate employers. The way things look, I'll have to indenture myself to another call center and soon. Yes, go ahead and laugh.

Dex for Sale

Let's not make this any nobler than it's not. "Dex gets job at call center" is symptomatic of he times-- the world is following the United States by dumping industry (manufacturing) and concentrating on service. It makes sense, given that government can't really provide better alternatives, and absolutely nobody wants to abdicate being a consumer. The job, assuming I get it, is "just another means to an end," which happens to be my financial liberation.

I understand the viewpoint that some of my employed friends take when we speak of these things. Indenture yourself now, get your nest-egg and draw, paint or act after you've made your first million. Catch is, some of these friends are past retirement age and still pushing pencils in the name of their kids' future. The questions I'd like to pose to them, especially to those artists-turned-advertisers are: "When was the last time you held a brush?" and "When are you likely going to hold a brush?"

Still, Dex bows to the gods of practicality.

What I'm doing is called sliding further and further into the quagmire of compromise. I was a bum and I am now, officially a sellout. I know, I know: the job you get must challenge you, must be fun, must bring the best out of you, must provide for your monetary needs. But all the jobs I've taken are always lacking in at least one of these criteria: most notably, steady money in respectable quantities.

It's come to the point that I don't dare to have a specific, concrete answer to "Just what is it you want to do, Dex?" In a world where you've been unwittingly taught that you cannot trust or shape the future, you can't promise yourself anything.

I remember being at the UPLB auditorium, watching Gino Padilla give his all for the crowd waaay back in '92. I remember telling myself, "I want this." But I didn't know who to see, or talk to about it. Besides, what was it that made me so different from the thousands of Filipinos who haunted the halls of Channel 2 and Channel 7, looking for that one big break that came only to a few? What made me better than them? You had to be better, if you were going to get noticed.

I remember being a skinny high school sophomore discussing the X-Men with my friend Leonard, way back in '88. I had cheekily declared that if I were to die, my parents were free to sprinkle my ashes over the venerable edifice that housed Marvel Comics. I'd even sent Stan Lee et. al. letters about an issue of Transformers I liked, as well as how Peter Parker was such a role model. And being enamored of Illyana Rasputin, I was also dead-set on sending her a love letter. I so wanted to be in comics --and we all know how that worked.

So what do I want to do...?
Oh For the Love of Pete!

A friend sent me this. If he did it to get my attention so I would write him back, he succeeded. Chopping it up for brevity...

One day, a girl named Jessica went online she started talking to another girl.
it started out normally.........

Jessica: Hey person.
Other girl: Hello
Jessica: You've been a really interesting person to talk to.
Other girl: Really? Thanks. You really mean it?
Jessica: Yea... My name is Jessica. What's urs?
Other girl: I can't really tell u.
Jessica: Why?
Other girl: Because I'm dead.
Jessica: What? How can u be dead? I mean, dead people don't i.m. living people
Other girl: Yes they can because I can.
Jessica: Ok then, so ur dead. Ok. So what's ur real name now that I know that u are dead?
Other girl: Mary, or at least it is now.
Jessica: So where do u live 'dead person' and what's ur last name and ur real name?
Mary: Do you really want to know?
Jessica: Yea, duh. I mean, ur probably lyin and I wanna know who u really r by lookin in the phonebook.
Mary: You really wanna know?
Jessica: (Feeling Frustrated) Yes. I DO! Now just tell me ur dumb name!
Mary: I"m not dumb.
Jessica: (Calming down a little) Fine then. Ur not. So tell me ur name.
Mary: I live in mirrors and travel by them, and my full name is BLoody Mary.
Jessica: (Laughing) You can't be bloody Mary. There's no such thing!
Mary: Are u sure about that? Do you wanna find out the hard way? I know everythin about u. I know where u live, what u like, who u li ke, ur favorite color, ur full name, and I know what u are scared of.
Jessica: Ok, ur really freakin me out now. Stop it!
Mary: I won't. If u don't copy this conversation down and send it to 15 people, I will come to you.

The Next Day...

Jessica woke up in the mornin after sendin a copy of her conversation to 15 people. She went into her
bathroom and turned on the lights. She looked into her mirror and all of a sudden, the lights went out.
She looked into the mirror and saw a person standing next to her with a long blood covered knife. She
was holding it up over Jessica's head. Jessica looked around and felt around but felt nobody else in the
room. She turned around and turned on the lights. She turned around and there was no person beside
her or in the mirror anymore. Then she looked on the ground and saw something red. She bent down and
felt it. It was wet and looked like blood.

Bloody Mary didn't hurt Jessica only because she sent the e-mail to 15 other people. Now you have to
too or Bloody Mary might get you. Send it to 14 or lower people, and you never know what might happen...


Another pitfall of modern communication technology. Sheesh.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

I Have a Weakness for Blondes and Hybrids I

Amazing. Uma Thurman was brought up a Buddhist.
"Uma" is the name of a Hindu goddess of light and beauty.
(Funny, Hindu goddesses seem to be aspects of the same entity--
Uma's other names are Kali, Durga and Parvati among others...)
A friend of mine is flattered that I refer to her as "Ms. Thurman." She deserves the comparison.



Indulging in personal fan service. Apologies.

Check out the oldest extant Uma Thurman Fan site if you have the time and inclination.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

The Return of Purpose

Dearest Ms. Eisley,

How have you been? Waking up to coffee and warm toast, I suppose.

Life has been, well, life. I've earned money and lost money, prostrated like crazy before prospective employers and jumped through their hoops like a circus monkey. The girlfriend and I have survived early the months of living together. I bought her a toaster with the first batch of money I got from teaching kids. She bought me a cabinet.

I've recently signed a contract with the people I work with. In sum, I'm their main backdrop man. I am to be paid such and such an amount for painting four walls (remember your wall at the College?) and spiffing them up so they appeal to theatergoers.

You crossed my mind since the last thing you were up to, if I remember correctly, was also painting walls. I feel the hand of some strange but welcome serendipity in this.

I feel alive again. Not that I didn't feel alive when I saw my girlfriend's smile upon her receipt of the toaster. That was a "for Honey" living moment. The contract was a living moment reserved "for me." I'm actually looking forward to the headaches that the new job will be flinging my way.

By the by, the walls will be shown in a play in the WOW PHILIPPINES area of Intramuros on the 27th of next month. Would be nice if you could make it there but I know what happens when I invite you to any of these things.

I hope you are doing well, wherever you are.

Your Poet

Kirk

From Carver Carl's Blog...

Some of you might be curious about us folks who draw comics. Have we tried drawing erotica? Sexually-oriented imagery? Intercoursing skin drenched in bodily fluids? Have we, in our own secret batcaves, explored the workings of certain private members of Club Anatomy through strokes (pun very much intended) of pencil or pen?

Interesting for both comic book artists and readers alike.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Words for Next Week

double entendre n. -an ambiguity with one interpretation that is indelicate

equivocation n. -a statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth

euphemism n. -an inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive

evasion n. -the act of eluding or avoiding, particularly the pressure of an argument, accusation, charge, or interrogation; artful means of eluding.

lawyer n. -one whose profession is to give legal advice and assistance to clients and represent them in court or in other legal matters; a specialist in...

...obfuscation n. confusion resulting from failure to understand

devil n. [from the Greek, diabolos, meaning liar, slanderer]
1. The Evil Spirit
2. just another evil spirit
3. an evil person
4. an energetic, mischievous, daring, or clever person
5. just another person
5. lawyer
6. marketing man
Bodega Quickbytes

Been ill on and off the past week. As I am working on the backdrops for a play, I cannot tell when, or if this will pass. Been wondering if it's the onset of Mad Piolo. As I am not frothing at the mouth yet, I'm hopeful. This is just another case of Systemic Viral Infection. Then again, rabies is a virus... and hypochondria is a sickness of the mind.

Speaking of Piolo, he's grown from a bitey puppy --the length of my forearm to fingertips-- to a veritable big economy size DOGGIE. His bark is, yes, as big as his bite. If he wanted to, he could lacerate my arm and come away from the experience with a few of my digits.

I wait with some concern for the time he reaches monstrous proportions. I gotta convince my mom (she's a cop) to purchase silver bullets for her '38.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Shameless Plug

SEPTEMBER POETRY READING

Date: Saturday, September 27, 2003
Time: 6:00PM - 9:00PM CST (GMT+08:00)

2/F PowerBooks Arnaiz
Makati City


See you there! That is, if your other name isn't "Snuffy."
HASH(0x83d18ec)
Seer


The ULTIMATE personality test
brought to you by Quizilla

Took it twice. Must be me.
As if Things Weren't Bad Enough

I woke up bleary-eyed and hankering for my second breakfast. Mom was watching the telly with the Maid. And like a dry sponge, I soaked the program up too. And felt my IQ fluctuate, dropping from ___ to 30 in the long minutes it took for my body and mind to synchronize. I suddenly remembered why I don't watch local noonday variety shows.

They've got kids dressing up as members of F4 now; kids singing (and badly, at that) F4's songs, whose lyrics same kiddies do not understand, as these lyrics are all Chinese. Bad enough that the tv show already had a segment entitled sommat like "Feeling F4," which featured young adult males aping the chinovela stars in what were intended to be glamor poses...

Are times so hard that people are now doing really dumb things for a buck?

Wait. Don't answer that. I already lived through segments called "Conan the Beautician" on the defunct Sang Lingo nAPO Sila and "Jackass" on MTV.

Yellow

Doesn't it bother the local viewing public that they used to not watch Chinese shows on RPN Channel 9's "Beautiful Sunday?" (I was an avid fan in my childhood. Shocking!) That they used to laugh uproariously at all the Bruces Li, Lei, Lin and their movies ad nauseam? Or call those slant-eyed students from Xavier unflattering names? Granted, that people from Xavier make steadfast friends and that people like Ang Lee and Donnie Yen have done wonders for Chinese cinema. But doesn't the viewing and buying public ever notice how utterly stupid it looks, surrendering its will to its prejudices and fads, as well as to the jerks who trot out new prejudices and fads for us to swallow?

There's a reason why the Fil-Chinese community is perceived to be rich enough to draw the attention of gun-toting kidnappers (Bang! Bang! Budda-budda! PING!). The locals used to deride the Chinese taho (tofu) vendors, the noodle-makers, crockery salesman and merchants back in the day. These residents of the Parian took the abuse with a smile. They also took the locals' money, as the non-Chinese had to pay for all the taho, the noodles, the crockery and the gahstly decor they conspicuously consumed.

Now, the locals' descendants work for Henry Sy.

We all laughed at our Fil-Chinese at one point or another in our lives. Yes, we called the transferee from Xavier unflattering names. Very few of us bothered to look at them as people, or respect their contribution to Philippine life (No Chinese, no Ma Mon Luk!). Our ancestors excluded them from social circles, penned them and shot them when their numbers threatened to inconvenience narrow minded people in power. We stereotyped them, cruelly lampooned them in our movies and tv shows.

Along came F4 and Barbie Xu. Along came their concert entitled simply, "The Event."

Guess who bought up all the tickets. Guess who wound up begging to get in.

We can learn a lot from our Fil-Chinese.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Cultured

It's out of the closet-- the new copy of Culture Crash Comics, that is. Get off your ass and get that comic book for your collection today. It's worth your money: I know. I used to work for these guys.


Available at ComicQuest, Filbars and maybe the local 7-11's and National Bookstores. Be sure to check out this site while you're at it. Lotsa laughs. Lotsa kikiam.
Stuck

I'm at the SharonMall banging away on a computer at a rental place called Netopia. It took a long time for me to get here as Makati traffic is a b!tch especially on rainy nights. My journey from Manila would been faster if I did not have to fight the damn crowd at the Metro Rail Transit's Ayala station. Granted that any time between 17:00 and 21:30 is a guaranteed cramfest conflict, it would have made life easier for all involved if-- passengers didn't treat the coaches as if they were jeepneys. Had there been handholds on the train, I am sure some enterprising locals would be dangling from the coaches by now. And getting electrocuted, crushed, or falling from heights no pedestrian has business being in.

Welcome Back Mom

My mom has returned safely from the 'States, and will no doubt be ready to divulge tales of living life in a superior country. She wants to see me today, but I will not oblige her-- the girlfriend still harbors the heebie-jeebies from last week's break-in at the condo. She needs the house-hubby to be with her tonight.

You Know What Day it is Today?

That's right. Two planes crashed into what were the twin towers of New York's famed World Trade Center, two odd years ago today. I was home and all set to travel to the US to join my aborted poetry contest, when I saw the video footage; thought it was some sort of Hollywood promotional stunt. Wish I was right. More on this in another column.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Culture Crash Comics should be out about now. I have not spoken with the guys from my ex-office but the Kubori Kikiam "Massage" Board drips with anticipation. Prove me right (or wrong) by going to the nearest Comic book/Game/Specialty shop and asking for your brand spanking new issue 12. If they don't have it, threaten them with strangulation.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Macho-nurin Ka Ba?

The new cabinet arrived today, at around the appointed time. I'm a little disturbed by how much light the thing blocks, the way it's been positioned. Now, all I have to do is (horrors!) clean my QC room and reposition the thing so as to get the best compromise between light and privacy.

As the girlfriend paid for this five-foot monster, I am almost beginning to see myself in an apron and dress jumping up and down with typical early 20th century housewife glee. (Brrr!) Someday, somehow, I shall return the favor.

Thief! Update

We've talked to the bulding administrator. Affable guy; been assigned at this particular condo for about a year, to save it. Too bad for us, he started with the condo's accounting system, which --I will admit-- looked like it needed major resuscitation, fast.
At any rate, the cops are likely going to rummage through the condo unit and dust the place for prints come Monday. I keep thinking the only prints they'll find in there are honey's and my own.

Mountains of Garbage

It's 8:00 p.m. and I'm still cleaning up my room (I started at 1:00 p.m.). My pores are open, releasing huge amounts of sweat and embedded dirt. I'm sneezing and snuffling. My nose must look like a damn prune by now. I feel bad. I cannot believe that one room can hold so much waste paper.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Thief!

The girlfriend and I thought we'd spend a cozy night at one hotel along Roxas Boulevard. She, to work without distractions; I, to lounge around on a decent bed. We returned to the Pasay condo to pick up clothes and sundry bathroom items, only to find that our shared living space had been burgled. The lights were left on, the drawers and boxes were opened and left that way. Someone had attacked the doorknob-side of the door with a chisel, and only God knows how he bypassed the deadbolt. The thief had run off with Honey's busted camera.

We think someone on our floor did it, someone who knew-- from casing us or overhearing Honey discussing her sched with other residents-- that no one would be staying at the condo unit Friday night.

Right now, I am wracking my memory, asking myself if any of my previous behaviors brought this on. Leaving a window open allows people to see into the unit, but I had judged the risk worth the ventilation it provided. Ditto with leaving the main door open and locking the outer screen door when I am inside, cooking.

My darling is understandably very upset. She feels raped and I am left with feelings akin to what dogs must feel when they've been consigned to become their master's dinner. I am upset. What did I ever do to this jerk anyway?

Friday, September 05, 2003

Update

I haveta stay away from the effing PC. I need to have my eyes checked so I can get a new set of corrective lenses. My eyeballs' optical properties cannot be accurately measured and compensated for, if I come to the optical shop as my post-midnight PC marathon alter-ego.
Another Look at Meteor Garden

It's finally happened.

I can sit down in front of the telly with the Maid and the Sister, to catch a new installment of Meteor Garden, without wanting to throw a god-for-real red brick (from the Muse's house-cum-gallery) at the faces of the show's main protagonists, the eponymous no-band, F4. Reasons?
  • Cast member Vaness Wu and I no longer share hairstyles. That should finally stop the catcalls from the neighbors and local passersby

  • The show's second season, dubbed Meteor Rain, is no longer set in a school

F4 School Ain't So Cool


F4+1 ASOS's Barbie Xu (who shares a weird resemblance to my friend, Rez) is in the middle, lest you cannot tell male from female in the photo. I don't blame you.

The school was a necessary prop in the first season, mainly because the manga that the show was based on was really set in one. The school also provided a nearly hermetically sealed social environment for the characters, forcing their antics and emotional needs to take on unnatural urgency and gravity. Here were a bunch of twentyish-looking teenagers selling the drama-- sending death threats, picking fights, indulging in public displays of affection-- in a school seemingly without teachers, guards and other administrative personnel, who by all rights should be coming down hard on student malefactors. And that was mainly why I could not suspend my disbelief and stomach the show.

Now that F4, San Cai (aka Barbie Xu of singing duo ASOS) and their sattelites are out of the school, their interactions are more ...ah...relaxed(!), and bearable(!) to look at.

The Dexterian Constant

Somewhere a reader friend of mine is coughing "Bullsh!t" because he doesn't believe me.

Q. So what's the real reason why you've been caught watching the show?

A. Main protagonist Dao Ming Si's new albeit temporary love-interest, Ye Sha (Michelle Alicia Saram).

Getting on the Runecasting Bandwagon

Your Name: Omar Dexter Sebastian Lira
Your Date of Birth: 02/01/1974
Your Question or Information: My work as teacher, writer and artist

Past

Lagaz - Intuition, imagination, success in studies, creativity, vitality and passion (especially for women).

Present

Ing - Fertility, successful conclusion to issue or situation, ending one cycle and beginning another.

Future

Othel - Material possessions and protection of those possessions, inheritance (can be genetic traits inherited from elders).

Cast the runes here:Rune Caster

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Assessment

One of your problems, Dex, is that your life is too internal, too examined. You're forever beating yourself over the way events in your past have wound up shaping your present. You're also too obsessed with the immediate future, to use your words, you're always too busy number-crunching it. So you have things to do, loose ends to tie up-- do them and damn the consequences 'cause you're always walking between a rock and a hard place. You don't need anyone to hold your hand while you're at it too. Try living, really living. You know the benefits 'cause you've done it before.