Friday, December 09, 2005
Really. We should. There are quite the number of disco-loving skeletons in there, having a party with vinyl aparel and music from a banged-up eight track. There's a serial killer there too, maybe a couple of perverts and people you don't want to know.
Monday, November 28, 2005
As usual, I have somehow f_cked up whatever was happening between me and my friend. I tried to be careful, I tried not to screw it up, but I must have somehow. Because I 'm male and it is always--without fail-- a male's fault.
That aside, I am irritated because people are still tossing fireworks carelessly in the street. Despite high prices. Despite the decline of the local fireworks industry. Despite the fact that it's common knowledge that behavior like that causes people to lose fingers, hands, legs and feet.
I'm mad because we're never going to bridge the gap between men and women, and that many of us local males will wind up with gay men or priestly vestments, or worse: become gay men in priestly vestments. Because our women just. don't. want. us.
Because there's always something wrong with-, missing in- or better than you.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Don't believe 'em when the tell you "things just happen." It's always somebody's fault. Maybe you were busy, maybe you cheated, maybe it's a million other little things that snowballed into the giant mess that killed whatever shot you had at forever. It's still somebody's fault because somebody let it happen. Be that as it may, punishing somebody, random acts of vengeance, don't accomplish anything in situations like this. They don't address the central issue: they don't bring the loved one back, they don't restore the old order of things.
What's true is that people want. I can't stop that any more than I can stop the sea from touching my feet on the beach.
So let 'em want.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
American Idol alumnus Constantine Maroulis, he of the infamous pout, is coming here to tour the malls. Great news for gay guys, women and diehard Maroulis fans—make a guess which category yours truly belongs in. Having been an ex-rocker myself, I say “More power to ya.” Maybe I’ll even stop by one of the rather high-end malls just to (figuratively) say hello, and support a brother in music.
It’s too bad that he doesn’t have his old band with him though. I would have liked to experience firsthand the sound of Pray for the Soul of Betty.Rape
…is never funny, unless the situation is so out there that the idea of it becomes hilarious. Case in point, the burly but sexually inept man, who cries Rape! after being “forcibly seduced” by a woman half his height, weight and mass but more than twice his equal in appetite and aggressive behavior.
What happened to the 22-year old college student from Zamboanga does not the above case make. Even if she had been a sex worker specializing in group activity--which I doubt-- she deserved better treatment than being more or less discarded like a rag doll out of the side of a van after the deed was done.Uncle Sam, our collegialas are neither pigs, nor slabs of meat who exist to be shot or ravaged by overstressed GIs.
Maybe the Visiting Forces Agreement has its merits. I’m even willing to concede that it may have been bad medicine we needed to swallow at the time, what with Uncle Sam being vengefully stingy with aid for his long-suffering ally. But crap like this should not have happened at all. Crap like this should not happen again.
And While We’re on the Subject of Rape, Uncle Sam…
It’s bad enough that one of your boys performed an NLP-assisted Jedi mind trick on my then-fiancee to convince her leave me. It’s worse when said boy stands idly by while his black ops buddies make her life inconvenient.
I’m Asian so I can understand the need for states to protect themselves. But my ex has never given you reason to question her integrity. If I recall rightly, she single-handedly streamlined one of your most annoyingly mired-in-red-tape departments.
Slay the Father
I owe Uncle Sam a lot-- for English, for my formation as a freethinking lover of philosophy, of the sciences, of art, poetry, prose, comics, Star Trek and Buffy. But if the gifts he gives have the kind of pricetag that involves us selling more and more of our souls to him every time he comes a-knocking, then maybe it's time to figuratively stake him and live life outside his shadow.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
You'll be happy to know I kissed her.
No, not in the way you wished.
That path frees you from me and
I will not willingly take that road
Until every street, shortcut
and footpath to your heart is
Hopelessly, irredeemably blocked.
But if it comforts you when you lie
With that man, in your highway raodside
Motel dreams or out of them, know this:
Last night, I loved her; I barely thought
My eyes moved across her expanse
Noting the topography that I
Once willingly overlooked for your sake.
From space I recorded the landscape
Of skin, broken only by clouds of
Cotton and urban constructs of leather.
I held her, extracting pleasure
And comfort from her geologics--
Every heat spike, every sigh,
her tremors, her subtle tectonic
I longed to descend into the wet
Depths beneath her smile, explore firsthand
Her teeth with my tongue. To loose her hair,
Measure the dark foliage of her crown
With fingers that before ached only
To touch you.
When we parted she touched my cheek.
I simply held her hand and kissed it.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
When my girlfriend lowered the boom on my unsuspecting head that she was leaving me for Mr Right, I was... well, you know what that's like. I had thought I could forgive and let it all roll off of me like water off a duck's back. I surprised myself, strangely pleasantly, when I found out that I could still feel angry. "Hurt" and "Betrayed" were familiar feelings but angry... angry was almost welcome, one of the signs that pointed to my still being human.
Then I became a misogynist. I'd see a beautiful girl and then just when my appreciation would kick in, so would the little voice in my head that sounded a lot like Emperor Palpatine. Uncle Palpy would start ruining my day by telling me what biological timebombs all women are, that they will leave me for an Alpha Male as soon as I let down my guard... Mostly bullsh!t, of course, but I was vulnerable and God only knows I woulda listened to the mushrooms in my backyard if they grew mouths and started to speak.
The Japan trip did a lot for me by shutting Uncle Palpy up. I guess even his nasty dark side powers couldn't stand long against my natural sunny disposition, especially now that the impossible had happened and I'd set foot once more on foreign soil. I saw Japan the way most people never do, by literally being driven across almost two thousand kilometers worth of countryside. I remember falling in love with the greenery, the well-maintained roads, the hotels and the ramen. I came back from that trip a changed man. I had a greater feeling that I was indeed coming into my own.
I still was ambivalent about women though. Uncle Palpy was exorcised but I was still, to quote a friend, "damaged goods." I'd gotten a greater understanding of the kind of woman I wanted to be with-- not a doll-- I was still unsure as to whether I wanted to be with a woman in the first place. Y'know, with marriage and male-female relationships being the sordid, messy things they are.
Until Wednesday night the week after I arrived. A friend of mine reminded me then, subtly-specially, why a woman's smile, her touch, her regard were worth all the crap men go through just to be with one or more of the delightfully maddening creatures.
Digression: I still want Anna back.
Get by with a Little Help...
Anyway, I couldn't have made it this far out my dark tunnel of personal crap without some of my friends who've helped prop up my battered ego.
And so, my next few posts (likely every other post) will be tributes to my friends. Because many of my friends are delightfully maddening creatures themselves, I'll be featuring quite a few of them.
Please. Indulge me.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Dominant Personality: Understanding
Good Traits: You gravitate towards people,
and are a shoulder to lean on. You give advice
at any given time.
Bad Traits: You aren't close with any one
person. You immerse yourself in other people's
problems and forget your own.
People see you as: Friendly, secretive, and
popular. People envy you, and may try and use
you as a tool
You're most like: Grace. You both have
positive relationships with people. Neither of
you have close friends, but unlike graceful
people, you try to help people out and aren't
You need more: Solitude. You hardly get the
chance to breathe when you take on the world's
problems. You can't take other's
responsibilities or put them before your own.
Be selfish once in a while and discover who you
What's your dominant trait? (10 unique results)
brought to you by Quizilla
Monday, October 10, 2005
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Assuming she decides not to come back to me after all, that becomes the pertinent question. For her, there is certainly life after Dex, and that knowledge comforts as well as chills to the very marrow.
As her best friend, I can't help but be happy that she can seemingly recover so easily from the pain of a breakup. (Yeah, yeah I know jack sh!t about women and how they feel. Rooiiight. But I do know that women are a hardy bunch, sometimes more so than men.) In my capacity as the newly-designated ex though, that sucks. 12, maybe more years relegated to the attic of personal history-- where all the baggage is stowed away and gradually forgotten. I'll be lucky if I even get an attic. I'll be lucky if I'm even "best friend" after all the dust settles.
"Let go. Move on." That's the advice I've been getting from quarters left and right of me. I will, eventually, if I cannot prove you pundits wrong. I lock most everything important to me in amber. Some things exist that I wish to forget, but things like love are locked away where I can revisit them and cherish their memory. The comforts and palliatives you offer me are sadly, what's the best word for it...? empty.
Please understand: I've built my life, my very identity on proving the assumption that two people can love for years upon uncounted years. I'd sacrificed my grades, my career choices on the blind chance that the rest of the things I want would come my way if I'd gotten one thing down pat: more important than wealth or fame or even narrow concepts of Godhead, it's the unwavering caring and support of someone who gives a damn about your life-- someone, in fine, who loves you. Someone, in fine, that you support and care about unstintingly.
It took me years to forget about ｱﾝｼﾞｪﾘｶ and ﾋﾙﾀﾞ and ﾏﾘﾚﾝ. When the dust from each aborted courtship settled there was only Anna. I am not about to waste any more time trying to forget her. She's the One (cue movie soundtrack here).
I love her. I can shout it on every mountaintop--not that it would matter much now. The point is I can wait. I am still waiting. If and only if I have exhausted every means to facilitate a change of heart and the One is not cooperative, I will have to plagiarize lines from another movie and contemplate the words: "There is another."
There is life after Anna because there has to be. If the pillars that support your old identity crumble from underneath, you are responsible for building a new one. I choose to rebuild later as I still have room in my life for her, despite the exotic changes said life is undergoing.
Check back with me from time to time. Maybe we'll have gotten back together. Or maybe I'll have hooked up with someone new-- I don't want to, of course(hint, hint). Or maybe I'll do a McVie and be committed to single blessedness for the rest of my natural life.
Written at the Toyoko Inn in Kofu, Japan. The hotel's great and use of the Internet is free. I'm checking in here the next time I'm in Japan.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I believe in God.
I believe He created the Universe, or perhaps caused it to create itself; God stands outside and within causality.
For the most part, God is good, or as close to Good as Man can comprehend.
God is not bound by gender, or by convention; paradoxically, the human need for order and convention also come from God.
God is absurd. The gift of humor comes from His absurdity.
I believe in evolution. I believe there is no conflict between biblical accounts of creation and evolution in itself. I see the hand of God in the evolutionary placement of mankind as this planet's dominant species.
I believe in self-determinism. God gave man a will, and hands with which to implement it.
I also believe in destiny.
I believe in the perfectibility of Man. He is always aspiring to be greater than himself.
The world Man lives in is the biggest learning laboratory ever devised. It is here that he can test his beliefs, his assumptions about himself and his place in the Universe. It is here that he suffers, loves, grieves, celebrates. This world too, is his jumping point into the hereafter.
The Problem of Evil
I believe in a devil.
I believe him as a symbol and symptom of the Problem of Evil. He is also an active will, wreaking pain fear and chaos in the Universe, or at least within the world of Mankind.
I believe in sin. The possibility of sin comes hand-in-hand with man's ability to think outside the box. There can be no saints where there are no deviants; no genius where there is no madness.
I believe that evil is necessary. No one truly wants to be visited by crime, sickness, natural disasters, but everyone can learn from these if they so chose. In a perfected world, though, it should not exist: we as a race should strive for this to be so, even in the face of our perpetual failure to bring evil to a final decisive end.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
Ian tagged me. So there.
1. I started spelling my name with an "h" (Dhex) back in my Culture Crash days, at first to gently mock parents who inflict kitsch names like Rhose, Jheffrhey and the like on their unsuspecting kids.
2. Amazingly, "Dhex" grew on me. I have good friends who address me in loving and irate letters as "Dhex." Amazingly I do not mind.
2. Yes, I'm an elitist --albeit dyolog-poor-- dandy.
3. Yes, I used to work for Culture Crash Comics, not that it really meant anything then, nor now.
4. No, you've never seen my work. I am perpetually at the cusp of fame and notoriety, but like the average Filipino, I cannot seem to make it past the damned glass/class ceiling.
5. I've only had one girlfriend; many near-relationships.
6. I am not marriageable material. Otherwise, my ex would have kept my cheap "ugly" silver wedding ring. And I would have replaced it with something less kitsch.
7. I am really married to my mother and to my family. This is likely one reason why my then-girlfriend decided she'd had enough of me.
8. I must be a good Catholic boy. I cannot un-marry my mother until one of us dies.
9. I am an avid appreciator of women. I have a crush on someone new every day of the week.
10. However, I no longer want to date. Neither do I want to marry. I am not putting myself through the possibility of being cuckolded and rendered obsolete anymore.
11. Education was the best gift my parents gave me. What I got from education was priceless. This world sadly doesn't recognize "priceless."
12. I really don't want to be rich, but I'm tired of being dyolog-poor.
13. I often operate out of trust: I am therefore often stepped on and stabbed in the back.
14. I've found the secret of youth-- you simply cannot get it back. Best you can do is enjoy your youth and age gracefully, accepting the gray hair and liver spots as they come. I've been practicing being an old man since I was 12. I'm going to be a deadly but randy loveable old rake when I hit 60.
15. I love Bill Shatner. And Adam West. We are all theatrical hams.
16. I shoulda been a priest. Woulda made a great Benedictine scholar, Franciscan monk, Jesuit paranormal researcher, or a randy Dominican confessor.
17. Under all my snideness today, I am really a very loving individual. Corporately incompetent, but affirming and supportive, willing to even kill parts of myself that do not conform to the loved one's world-view, if only to prove by any later failure that there is always room for compromise.
18. I used to sing. I used to paint. I used to be a poet.
19. Now I can go back to all those things I used to do. I'd still give them up to spend every Christmas toasting the new year, in bed or at some seaside restaurant with Honey. And only Honey.
20. I've learned lately that you should just do whatever the hell you want. Even if your wife or parents stop nagging you because you've stopped doing what you love, they'll always find other things to nag about.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
--Today's forecast lifted from my Friendster Horoscope (emphasis mine)
Someone somewhere has got to be laughing.
" the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."
--Rick Blaine (Casablanca)
Happy 33rd birthday, Martial Law. Argued by some as the best time we ever had. It should please them to know that the good times are back in fits and false starts that slowly become more confident incursions into someone else's legal rights: specifically someone "poor" or "inconveniently biased against the Administration" (Sedition, anyone? A justice secretary is so desperate to stamp it out he'd find it anywhere). Not quite Marcos's smiling martial law-- he could enforce it better thanks to the absence of the Internet and his stranglehold on the mainstream media-- but someone is likely trying to get us there.
In those days Marcos would publicly blame the communists for the bombings and sedition threats that his own men were carrying out. Remember that the "last straw" that broke Marcos's "tolerant" back had been then defense secretary Enrile's staging his own ambush (under Marcos's orders). He'd even drum up the Philippines's role as the United States' right arm against the Global Red Threat in an effort to get more funding from Uncle Sam. (Sidebar: you all know where that money went. )
The Commies at the time had only a few (30? I forget) men hiding out in the mountains with about as many rifles. When Marcos publicly made them his whipping boy, his goons started making inconveniently biased people disappear. People like farmers protesting the loss of their money in a government bank that was supposed to help that money grow (Hello? Hello, Danding?).
The painful irony is that Marcos would piss off so many people that they turned Commie Red in droves. He helped create the NPA we're still trying to get rid of now.
A new-made acquaintance of mine asked one night why we were "celebrating" this mess. I knew she wanted to forget what it was like in those days; so did my mom and pop. I didn't have the words-- too tired, too grateful for a roof over my head that night, too preoccupied with the dissolution of my relationship with a woman I will forever call Honey.
We weren't celebrating Martial Law. At least I'm not. But we have to remember. We as a people forgive and forget far too easily to learn from history. This is why we keep putting the same jerks back in office to push us around.
Getting rid of Gloria --any president-- isn't the end, it's just the beginning. But as a people we have yet to learn the meaning of the words "follow through."
I miss her so much. The night she broke it off with me for good ("There's someone else now; I'm not offering you hope." I told her I would wait) , all the clocks I could see in the houses I visited slowed down or stopped completely. So much was amiss but there was a feeling of hope that things would turn out better.
At the wake I attended, I ran into so many old friends from Los Baños that my heart was near to bursting. Here in this now-hallowed place, illuminated by a full moon, old friends who weren't on speaking terms had put aside their differences and were peaceably coexisting for the duration of their stay. Someone lent us a guitar and Coke and I sang to honor our pain and the loss of our loved ones (Coke for his mother, I for my wife-to-be). Also to celebrate the people we still had with us.
I spoke at Coke's mother's casket. Not to Coke's relatives but to her. The last time we'd seen each other we argued about where my life was supposed to go. She was right, but I had needed to make my mistakes at the time. I could swear she was listening, and giving me motherly encouragement untainted by the insecurities and fears that plagued the living.
There was magic that night. The kind that soothed. It was like living in a Dragonlance novel, the kind penned by Weis and Hickman, the kind that spoke about how everything and everyone fit in some divine tapestry.
I saw butterflies the following morning. One lingered near me and flew away, flying above the sidewalk pavement, moving along the path it made faster than I could follow.
Honey, I miss you so much.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Peter Jennings, Doreen Fernandez (comforting constants though I never really followed their work); Walter Matthau (one of my favorite cranky old men), Nick Joaquin, Karol Wojtyla, Raul Roco, yes, even Fernando Poe. Very much dead. Add Haydee Yorac to the list.
Haydee Yorac, having graced the Commission on Elections and the Presidential Commission on Good Government, has recently passed on. In her recent Philippine Daily Inquirer front page picture, she looked... well... beautiful. In almost all her old pictures, she looked like a fright wig. I guess leaving government service does that to you. Makes you wonder what happens when you're trying to serve the government while not trying to serve yourself.
This just in: another of my constants just up and shuffled off the mortal coil. Today. My friend Coke's mother -- a woman I admired, loved and greatly disagreed with concerning the direction my life was taking-- passed away after a short battle with (I think) a literal troubled heart. I'll be taking some time to pray for her easeful entry into the afterlife. For Coke too: he's inherited a business that will need all his attention-- as the old duties were the purview of his mom. Please pray for strength, resolve and clarity-- for my friend, for all of us.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
If you've got a robust sense of irony, might I recommend never getting romantically attached? It's too painful, feeling the irony kick in when the loved one kicks you out of his or her life.
Congress finally killed the impeachment complaint.
I've had mixed feelings about this (impeach Gloria movement) since somebody leaked the "Hello Garci" tapes to the public. Gloria isn't going to be impeached despite the likelihood of her lying and cheating staring us all in the face. At least for about a year, which is exactly what she and her supporters want. And that leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
warui aji no moto
It's hard enough getting people to care about the state of the elections after the fact. It'll be much harder to gather that kind of momentum again and top it next year. If she is to be ousted, we have to do it now before any more damage is done to the country in the name of making it a "Strong Republic" while transforming our hard-earned tax money and Marcos's sequestered wealth (mom's and dad's hard earned money) into congresional pork.
The road to hell...
I'm sure Gloria means well, but then so did Erap when he started his presidency. When in a position of heavy responsibility, intentions alone cannot carry the day. Marcos, for all his evil, likely had good intentions-- the country would prosper so long as he, his family, his province and his cronies would prosper first and foremost, in that order. (He did give us roads and highways and Masagana 99 after all.) But the evil things they did far outweigh the good-- people disappearing, dissent being bludgeoned in the name of the state, public policy shaped according to the will of big (usually gambling-affiliated) business, badly handled servicing of the national debt, to name a few.
(Digression: Marcos had the most finesse and bothered to hide everything behind a mask of legality --a Marcos-controlled court and legislature. Erap blundered like a bull in a china shop. Gloria, doing the same things now that Marcos did then, doesn't quite have it down pat, even if she's seemingly turning into his spiritual successor.)
She has to be impeached-- meaning to go through the impeachment trial-- if only to prove she didn't cheat. Of course, she's avoiding it like the plague, likely for the same reason Erap tried to delay his own impeachment trial and keep that fateful second envelope closed.
There's the Rub
Assuming we do get rid of her, though, the one question scaring the bejeezus out of our Makati businessmen and our middle class is "Who the hell are we gonna replace Gloria with?" I could swear the eager presidential jobseekers come from Batman's rogues gallery.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
My dream, she flew to Italy
on white-silver wings,
our floating pillows,
our hushed morning telephone calls
and the baby fat beneath
the round softness of her face
and shoulders I had wanted
She sends all her dreamers
photographs and there are days
when I wonder if she looks at mine
with her eyes a-twinkle, wondering
how I've been
I'm older, dearest, if you cared to know.
I sometimes miss you and I'm slightly envious--
I had once hoped to take you to Italy
and marry you there.
On the off-chance that you leave me,
know that I will never take another to my bed.
It does not mean I will not love--
Far, far from it.
She will probably be younger,
all perfume and lace, warm, open
invitations staring up at me
with Go Go Yubari's knowing,
playful predatory gaze.
She will want me, this woman-child.
She will threaten me with with spikes
and chains if I do not satisfy.
(and when I think about it, that's not such a bad idea...)
But I still can't carry her over our threshold
nor ravish her on our bed.
That space next to me will always be yours
Until I break the threshold and burn the bed.
And playful Go Go will have to wait
until the off-chance that I do.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Crazy 88 Headquarters
August 26 2005
Dear Ms Yubari,
You're going to stay young forever and I'm not. So please pardon my being forward. If you don't feel like literally spilling my guts over strong drink, we could go out. It would do us both some good. It will take you away from the tedium of killing everything that isn't O-Ren or that bald guy you both hang out with. Too, I believe that the proper type of medication can help you quell certain episodes that involve slashing someone's belly open.
Underneath the hair and the psychoses and the school uniform, I am sure you are a wonderful, beautiful person. I would like to get to know you without the knives, whips and chains (though those can come later, after we've gotten to know each other very very well).
I have admired you for your physical beauty, your fighting skills and that loyalty to O-Ren that some of your male subordinates wish you'd lavish on them.
If it helps you make up your mind about me, I am learning Japanese as well as the ins and outs of dealing with people in black suits. I love Japanese food and I would love the opportunity of exploring ...something with you.
You can take your time, as I've suddenly got a lot of it on my hands. As with one other person for whom waiting is likely too late, I can wait for your reply. Though not forever.
I look forward to your affirmative response.
With much admiration,
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
An Old Forgotten Post
It's like old times. People have been trying to reach me, and as usual, I have been nigh-impossible to find. There isn't too much backlash, because everyone knows by now that I?ve ?donated? my cell phone, laptop and CD burner to "the needy."
I kind of like being unplugged and hard to find.
It is good to have someone sweat a little while looking for me every now and then. It strokes the ego; makes me feel wanted. I tend to get lost in the estimation of my friends amidst the routines and concerns of their existences.
I know, it's shallow, but allow a thirty-year-old his little foibles.
Too, people are usually not looking for the simple pleasure of my company. While I'm almost always available to lend a helping hand, the lending itself is almost always inconvenient. I get in trouble with my job, my family, my girlfriend-- even as I race off on my invisible steed to right the very visible wrongs the world has-- rightly or no-- inflicted on my friends.
There are days when I almost no longer care that a friend's love life is being flushed down the toilet, or that his parents are being anal and controlling. This kind of counseling I've been doing since college and I have long since recognized a need for a welcome respite. "Physician, heal thyself!" has often silently been thrown in my face. It's about time I took that advice.
Disclaimer: I've been known to look people up to pester them for favors. But I've been trying my best to cut down on asking for them. Sometimes, I no longer bother. My friends are living their own lives, battling their own ogres and scaling their own prince/ss towers. The very act of taking up their time only adds unnecessary weight to their current burdens.
Being unconnected to the outside world allows me to focus on the stuff I'd normally be neglecting. When was the last time I'd been cozy with Honey? Yes, you get a gold star-- just in the last couple of days when absolutely no one could reach me via cell phone, email or that dratted Yahoo Messenger.
Still, I don't relish being unplugged for longer than a glorious month of peace, quiet and uninterrupted PC gaming. I will soon enough have to discharge my obligations to my colleagues and friends-- who will no doubt continually wonder where I am or what I am about.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
I live in a place where my socks are almost always mismatched; where the stuff in your cabinet isn't yours because someone else higher up on the food chain has decided that you don't need the extra space; where two consenting adults can't live together without wearing the scarlet letter unless they grease enough palms-- money is apparently better than Tide at getting rid of dirt.
Down here-- the operative word is Purgatory-- equipment always breaks down because people think they can plug just one more appliance into a wall socket already groaning under the demands of an overloaded electrical system. They don't know the damage they're causing and they sure as hell don't give half a damn until said appliance breaks down or the fuses blow up. I'm the guy who has to fix the mess they made over my strenuous but stifled objections and they have the gall to ask me why I didn't give them a lesson in the care of electrical systems.
When anyone here shows a modicum of talent or initiative, he is run ragged by people who expect him to know everything and solve their problems NOW, never mind that he has his own problems to fix and his own life to lead. If he hasn't already lost half his native energy to entropy, he will the be forced to break the Third Law of Thermodynamics (a first in Physics!), as critics and vultures and social vampires will inevitably reduce him to a psychic state of Absolute Zero. After which he either expires or becomes another member of the soulless working dead who haunt the private workplace, the government office and pretty much every place where humanity gets a foothold.
In the place where I live, 1+1 is always 3 or any other number someone higher on the food chain wants it to be, damn the real number system, the laws of motion and damn the torpedoes... which, by the way, whoopsie, I will have to take for the team.
I don't want to live like this. I want a clean pair of matching socks.
Monday, June 20, 2005
The acid test of any language course is when the necessity for speaking it slaps you in the face like The Girlfriend You Forgot You Had after you stupidly decided to flirt with The (Younger) Girl from Ipanema. Or Tuscany. Or Sienna.
The foreign partners decided to stop by the office and there was no one on hand to greet them but me. It's pretty safe to say that most of my three-or-so months of language training flew out the window. There were awkward silences on the parts of all parties punctuated by a palpable desire (you could feel it in the air) to reach out and communicate.
Happily there was a modicum of cross-comprehension as one of them could speak some Tagalog and I could speak some Japanese.
I recalled an old college joke about the Japanese language student who could only (proudly) tell everyone else that he was a book. I'm very glad that guy wasn't me.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Half the country feels it knows that Gloria rigged the elections so she could be president for an uncontested second term. That half of the country, though, is just too tired and too freaked out by the aftermath of "EDSA 3" to launch another People Power Revolt.
Comes now a very incriminating allegedly bugged conversation between the president and one of her underlings. If she was in deep doodoo at the time her husband was accused of signing for huge amounts of money under a fake name, this is deeper doggy doo.
Happy Independence Day.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Monday, June 06, 2005
(A delayed post)
CBS's The Amazing Race
Ian has since always taken upon himself to make his comments about the Amazing Race. Now that season 7 has just ended, allow me to get on the bandwagon and spout Race-relatied speeches from my soapbox.
You didn't win! Haaaaaaa! Serves ya right, Rob!!!!!
Seriously, I have to congratulate Survivor alumni "Boston" Rob and Amber Brkich (labelled by some in a fit of J-Fleck nostalgia as 'Romber') for making it as far as they did in the Race.
What upset me and probably many other Race fans about Rob was that he should have left his "Survivor" skillset back on the island. The way he played--brilliant, if evil, and disturbingly riveting-- set new precedents on just how far you can push the ethics envelope on the Race.
The good news is that the Race itself is still like Shroedinger's cat. Despite Rob's cutthroat playing and team Romber's celebrity status --people were actually going the extra mile to help them because of their Survivor recall-- Rob and Amber didn't make the finish line before Uchenna and Joyce, deserving of the million dollar pot by dint of hard work, perseverance, luck and heart.
Meantime, Rob and Amber have finally wed. I wish the Survivor stars all the best on this joint "immunity challenge"... keeping a marriage healthy, interesting and fruitful all the days of their lives.
Fox's American Idol
... is finally ending. Surprise, surprise: we lost quite a few good candidates along the way, but neither can I complain about who's left standing to duke it out for the grand prize.
Scott Savol should have lasted longer, on the strength of his voice and his "everyman-who-makes-it" image. He showed us great things about setting a wider (no pun intended), older age range for a contest like Idol.
Contrary to a certain animated cartoon's problematic propaganda, just because you're old, it doesn't mean you're out.
I was also rooting for Constantine Maroulis. He didn't ooze as much cool as Bo Bice did in the rocker department, but he did play up his looks --the infamous pout-- and his stage presence. He was in a rock band after all. I've a soft spot for rockers and ex-band members, as I've been either at different times of my life. If I close my eyes tonight, I'm almost sure I'll wake up a geriatric rocker, and that's usually not a good thing career-wise unless your band was really really big.
That said, it was most lovely seeing rocker Bo Bice survive the weeks of uncertainty to make it this far. My money's on him, but I've had my doubts about the soundness of the American vote since Bush got reelected. Too bad, I was right (sigh).
Okay, I have a bias against country singers because they're usually stuck singing in two genres I can barely relate to: country and gospel. But I'm willing to give Carrie Underwood some leeway. After all, she is good and there are country and gospel singers who can straddle multiple genres.
Update-- If you don't already know, Underwood's won. The last great hope of country music.
Let's Talk About Music
I don't like Gospel music. I dislike it so much that if I call you a Gospel singer, I'm either telling the truth or I'm holding you in deep derision. I have, until recently, found Gospel too limiting. One is almost always forced to keep reusing the same old lines lifted from the Bible, that --gasp!-- the songs get tired. This practice has long poisoned the whole Gospel experience for me.
True, it may be argued that Pop songs are limited because most advocates limit themselves to the same word combinations used for expressing sexual love, but there is more leeway in what else you put in the song and how else you're to arrange and sing it. And not every pop song is about sexual love. Gospel is about God, period.
For lack of any other way to depict him, or his love for humanity, you're stuck with the same Bible-derived code phrases like "washed me in his blood." It's great for audiences who already know the idiom (the congregation), but it's potentially a very bad listening experience for, say... an unsaved non-evangelical heathen like myself. Too, there is also an apparent Evangelical Christian canon limiting how fast the music should be played and which chord combinations to use-- because until the nineties, the Gospel music I kept hearing sounded the same. Weren't there more creative, Pastor-friendly ways to depict the love of God for his mortal creations?
Strike two is that Gospel is uniquely American, Evangelical and Triumphalist. Pick any order you like, they apply as a set of three, singly, or in any group of two.
Triumphalism-- the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
God always wins, hands down. Finis. You cannot evoke interest-arousing tension when you're stuck singing the propaganda line of the Absolute. Sure, it's valid; it's needed at the church; people who want to celebrate the Absolute need to sing about God in those terms and they should. But it's almost the same as singing about Chairman Mao's communist dream: set against the backdrop of a frail humanity, their songs lose their ability to touch base with the rest of the unsaved inhabitants of the planet.
Evangelical-- I'm primarily Catholic. I can't completely relate to going to Sunday School or spending two to four hours at church service, murmuring "Amen" whenever Pastor Bill says something to wake me up, or responding to the mandatory altar call while the church organist tries to get me in the mood for repentance with his noodling. I can't completely relate to a church without any renaissance-derived Christian imagery, confessionals or holy water. I happen to like my parish priest in a nonsexual way, and I like it when he listens to me confess and facilitates my absolution. Contrary to public perception, not all Catholic priests live in the Dark Ages. Some of them deserve to be burned at the stake and there are some current behaviors at Mass that Evangelicals are right to scoff at, I know, but those are other issues we'll haveta talk about later.
American. Yes, I owe the Yanqui a lot. I've acknowledged that time and again with the way I speak, with the way I have embraced his products, with the way I love his political satire, and when I cheered Bush Sr.'s move to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's Iraq. But there is something about the chord patterns, melodies and idioms that is so... American. I'll take your English, I'll take your education but puhleeeze leave your Gospel singing at home!
Happily for Christians everywhere, we have Don Moen and his ilk writing Christ-inspired music that actually talks about God and the human condition in terms most of us unsaved pagan or unsaved "Pope-worshipping" heathens can actually understand. We've had Gary V. singing that way about Jesus for quite some time now, and Barbie's Cradle (not just Barbie herself ...sigh) is refreshing as the band turns what should be Gospel by all rights into something else entirely that is Pastor-friendly, artistically sound and easy to digest.
By the by, can anyone tell me the difference between Gospel and Praise Music? I tend to equate them. Even if both tend to sear my flesh, I'd still like to know if there is any kind of line demarcating the two. I've been avidly avoiding most music that have the words "Gospel" and "Praise" stamped on their labels for so long that it's possible that my reasons for not liking these music forms may no longer be valid. Thanks.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Cutting the narration out of my blogs leaves me with feelings of festering discontent and resigned disgust, which have already been mined for literary profit and cathartic release.
I suppose every blogger goes through something like this-- a near-reckless willingness to log everything of import the moment the blogging account is activated; later a growing careful refinement of content for entries; finally, a long period of inactivity for lack of documenting something new and wondrous. But I digress.
I have to leave this house. All are agreed it is a symbol of everything gone wrong with this family. With me. I will not have even the semblance of true peace until some key people leave-- through a convenient death or through a long delayed cutting of ties. Everyone means well. And that's the root of the canker.
My problem with leaving is that there is now nowhere to leave to.
Saturday, April 30, 2005
...when I wish I could write more, and as eloquently as I did during one of my ill-fated courtships. These days, I've too little time to write. All I can get away with are a few lines of incoherent meandering text, the scrawled letters leaning this way and that, like a drunken fool.
Back then I WAS a drunken fool, besotted with white shoulders, long chestnut hair, sienna eyes, thousand watt smile and alto speaking voice. I seriously DON'T want to be that way again, hanging onto another's every word and gesture like my life depended on it. But that's the way of all muses, so I'm told. Be they God, or Woman, Man or Art, one's muse is a jealous master. And I may have been bereft of one for far too long.
I long to be able to paint again, to feel linseed oil and charcoal and burnt sienna between my fingertips as I add one more correction to my depiction of an angel's face.
I long to... graduate, in almost every sense of the word. I want to transition from this perpetual fumbling and groping towards meaning, purpose and financial security. (Fumbling and groping are put to much better use in the bedchamber). I want my certainty but I sure as hell won't take it from someone who thinks he knows better, Hallelujah.
There are days when just how lost I am hits me like a stake to the heart. And there are days when I am simply too busy to care too much about it. This is, perhaps, the only real upside to working in an office.
Haydee Yorac Resigns
I'm not surprised. Often, the casualties of government service are well-meaning and competent people who rock the boat, or threaten to do so. The competent leave, the jack@$$es stay. The system perpetuates itself. There are times when I almost find myself tempted to buy into the Red assessment of my country's woes: "Our society is rotting from within and the cancer must be excised with a hot Revolutionary knife."
Punongbayan Dies in 'Copter Crash
Given that our bright minds are emigrating in droves, I have to ask: where are we going to get another batch of competent consientious scientists to replace him and the other five who died in the crash?
Most Students Drop Out Because of Poverty
So when did the genius writer find this out?
Saturday, April 02, 2005
This was the guy who apologized on behalf of Catholics for their centuries-old shabby treatment of Jews. This was a conservative prelate who, following in the footsteps of the previous pontiff, strengthened Church initiatives to reach out to our separated brethren (Protestants, Evangelicals, Anglicans etc.) and other people of goodwill.
I may not agree with him on certain issues, but I respect him all the more for sticking to his principles without having to play the Inquisition card.
Rest in peace, Karol Wojtyla.
Monday, March 28, 2005
(This article appeared in the maiden issue of Seguida!, the official publication of the Academia Tercia Cerrada Cadenilla y Espada y Daga. It came out this February.)
One of the more annoying things about studying and promoting Tai Chi Chuan when you're male, geeky, Filipino and under 40 is that the art and you don't get much respect. Friends who study other--harder--martial systems tend to nod sagely and then snicker behind your back, because they associate Tai Chi with infirm and senescent people "taking it easy" while waiting to expire.
You want to protest, but the only argument your macho martial artist friends will respect is of the direct and empirical sort: "Don't tell me, show me!" And you can't. Because it simply takes so long to reach the levels of competence you'll need to take these guys on and make them run home crying to sensei. Because you're not even allowed to "spar" until after you've gone through three years of form training.
You could bolster your argument by hunting for a "Practical Tai Chi" VCD and distributing it to your snickering friends, but the point is always better driven if you were physically making it. That is, if you're male, geeky, Filipino and under 40: proud, obstinate, secretly relishing and cheering the macho posturing, womanizing and lousy dialogues of Vic Vargas, Eddie Garcia or (for the younger set) Robin Padilla.
So why am I --male, geeky, Filipino and under 40-- still a student of Tai Chi when I can't carry it well enough to assuage my macho pride before my other martial artist friends? Here's the list--
No matter what my macho friends say, Tai Chi works. And I don't mean just the health applications. I didn't spend all those hours in an uncomfortable chokehold or arm-bar with my limbs hyper-extended and my face in the dirt because I wanted to make my teacher laugh. (He did, but that's another story.) I questioned the practicality of each new form and stance that I was taught and each time, I received my answers when my teacher used my own movement to make me kiss the floor.
I didn't take Tai Chi to be macho. There are many reasons why people choose the martial path: power, mastery, impressing girls, vanity and health among them. I did want to learn the martial applications of the art, but I'd always treated the subject as a set of "academic" problems: how far can I push my body? How well can I control my breathing, my movement? How well can I execute--the term is walk-- the forms? More importantly, how well can I discipline myself?
There are better ways to practice and promote Tai Chi than by beating other people with it. Thankfully, when challenged by my macho friends, I've always remembered that.
Yeah, my Sunday Tai Chi and Arnis group finally got itself a name. We meet on Sundays at the University of the Philippines lagoon area. 8:00 am for Tai Chi & 10:00 am for arnis. Everyone who can make the trip is invited to stop by. Talk or train, chill, or just watch me make a fool of myself. If you can't catch me anywhere else, you'll find me there.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
You are a four-sided die, a d4. Otherwise known as a tetrahedron, a "Caltrop", or (to a lesser degree) "Ol' Pointy". This crap bores you, so I'll get to the point. Others tend to see you as petty, conniving, manipulative, argumentative, defensive, greedy, and needlessly antagonistic. You see yourself as focused, effective, efficient, influencing, shrewd, tactical, and direct. Both points of view are in fact correct. You always know the best way to get things done, a fact that never wins sympathy with others. Whenever you manage to gain control of a situation, your solutions are swift and brutal. Unfortunately everyone else is convinced that granting you such power is, "a bad thing" and often conspires to keep it out of your hands. Such short-sighted fools!
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The long and short of why I'm in my funk: I was robbed two weeks ago. This is the last time I'll talk about this in as much detail, because it needs to be put down somewhere and somebody other than the cops has to know.
The Long Way Home
It was my last day at work for a Makati-based firm, and I had taken the usual roundabout route home-- eating with my boss at the UP and then going to his house in Project 8, where I could get a jeep-ride home. I'd just gotten paid and I was raring to buy the enhancements I needed for my laptop... which I was carrying in one of my bags, (a nondescript gray and black backpack) along with my other portable electronics.
My bald boss, you see, is also my martial arts instructor and my good friend. As per our routine, we discuss work plus visual and martial arts matters over the dinner at the UP. After that, we proceed to his house where we exchange computer files, or --on a Sunday-- watch real (old) arnis masters and real (cute) Tai Chi sword form practitioners on VCD, and then part ways. I then take the Quiapo-bound jeepneys or cabs that pass directly by his house.
Obviously, my roundabout route consumed a lot of time. The job ended at around 17:00-18:00 (five to six p.m.) and my training at the Hotel Intercon branch of Red Corner began promptly at 19:00 (seven p.m.) and ended at 21:00 (nine).
We'd rush to catch the last of the north-bound electric trains, get off at Quezon Avenue and proceed to dinner at the UP Arcade: the mideastern food place catering to the needs of the foreign students at the UP International Center. We'd get there at 22:00 and finish dinner and work-talk an hour before midnight of the following day.
And so it was that my boss and I found ourselves hailing a Quiapo-bound jeepney in front of his house in Project 8 in the middle of the night.
It's trite to say so, but I did feel that something was off. I had a strong desire to take a cab and I had the money to do so. But I also had debts to pay and I didn't want to bleed any more money than I already did on a regular basis. So I got on the jeepney, thinking I could take a nap and daydreaming of how the USB scanner I was to buy was going to complete my portable graphic design and rendering office.
I sat complacently in the passenger compartment near the front of the vehicle. I had started to nod off when the jackass beside me pulled out his knife and announced the holdup. I vaguely heard another voice repeating the announcement, because my world had constricted to include only myself and the jerk next to me trying to alternately take my bags and poke me with his knife.
Time slowed and I was able to determine that--
1. the knife was old, had probably seen action in a war, to judge by the number of nicks;
2. the knife had two dull edges-- not a significant slashing threat-- and a diamond profile;
3. the knife was at least six inches long-- definite stabbing threat.
He had tried to intimidate me, tried to stab me (I blocked with my bag), tried to show me the logic of letting go of my stuff. Powerful reasoning, but in that primal moment, my mind was racing, trying to multitask between keeping hold of my bag, not getting stabbed and finding a non-violent solution that would allow me to keep my laptop.
If found it intellectually satisfying to discover that my initial analysis about the knives was sound. Bag-Grabber had managed, with a stabbing motion, to open a wound in my right arm, but the knife was just too dull to make the desired cut as bloody as he would have liked. Still, all that needed to happen for him to be sate his battle gods --his machismo and his typical Filipino pride-- was for one of the knives to wind up deep enough in any of the soft-but-vital areas on my person that were still unprotected.
It was then that I fully noticed the jackass's friend-- the guy seated in front of me, pressing the same type of knife on the jeepney driver's nape. The words "No Win" sounded in my head.
I had a silly mental image of myself as Robotech flying ace Rick Hunter--Captain by the time the novels got to this point-- caught between his duty to sequester a Zentraedi sizing chamber for the government and an angry crowd being stirred up by his civilian nemesis, Lynn-Kyle.
I let go of the backpack and the jerk in front of me hit me in the face for being stubborn. He also tried to stab me-- I'm uncertain of where exactly he was aiming, but I angled my body at the last second (I think that's what happened) and the knife made a heroic, if futile, effort to bury itself in my shoulder. Bag-Grabber had then begun a lecture on the futility of being matigas-- standing up to him and his ilk.
"Do You Betray Me With a Kiss?"
It's funny, but Face-Puncher looked a lot like my friend Pacs. It wasn't him of course. Pacs had fuller lips. I'd been betrayed by friends before, but even the "Judases" in my life never stooped to open and unfair physical aggression.
I tongued my teeth behind my upper jaw and was surprised that none were even loose. I'd seen stars when Evil Pacs-clone launched a sraight punch to my face, but I was surprised that there was very little pain. I was keyed for a fight, perhaps? Maybe if he'd hit me in the nose there'd be a different story.
Still, and I will get up on a mountain peak and shout it out for the world to hear:
Pacs-clone punched like a girl.
There were four robbers, I saw, when my world had finally expanded to encompass the jeepney, the other frightened passengers, the night. I was still in terrible danger because I'd seen the mugs on Pacs-clone and Bag-Grabber. Still, they were satisfied with their haul... or would be, once they'd open my bag to find a portable graphic designer's office among my personal effects. They ordered the jeepney to turn into a side street and promptly got off, admonishing us in dire tones not to look back at them.They disappeared into the night.
The other passengers got the driver to bring them to a lonely police outpost somewhere near the robbers's escape point. It was just too bad there was only one cop manning the desk. He called up the neighborhood watch, who arrived in a mobile unit and we made a futile search for lawbreakers on-the-run. We returned to the Bahay Toro outpost, where the incident was put on the blotter.
Remind me not to vote for the city officials who decreed that the nearest viable police station should be miles away from Bahay Toro. The lone officer manning the desk had told us, that was where we had to go to file a complaint and make a statement. We all lost the stomach for further pursuit, knowing that we had to travel dark roads again to get there and risk another assault and robbery.
The other passengers went home. I called my house-- I didn't memorize Honey's cellular phone numbers, and her home phone had just been changed-- and very, very, very reluctantly spoke with Mom.
I still had my money--four thousand hard-earned bucks--but I'd lost so much more. This had become a cop matter, and as with all things cop, Mom had to be told.
You'd think surviving your first knife fight would have slaked your own battle gods and fed your ego, but having to run back under Mom's iron skirt told me I still had a long way to go before I could fully consider myself a man.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
I'm sick of other people's blogs because most of the writers are either around my age (same angst, same problems, same interests) or they're just too young (been there, done that, please realize there is a life beyond high school, cell phones, clubbing and petty crime!).
I'm sick of other people's blogs because I'm sick of my own blogs. Really, who gives a shit about an opinionated has-been local comic book personality who only got famous because he was friend to Elmer, Jio, Ilog and James? I can hear my silent readers yelling "Get over it!" And they'd be right.
I am sick of blogs in general because writing simply takes too much time and energy. It's disappointing having to disappoint readers who want to know more about what goes on in one's head, when absolutely nothing occupies one's head for long stretches of time.
I want to write: something new, fresh and spontaneous. I want to love writing the way I want to love painting and comic books.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
I've been so busy the fact of it had snuck past me, blindsiding me like robbers in a Quiapo-bound jeepney plying the Project 8 route in the middle of the night.
How have you been?
I had to back out of a job at an art gallery-- pay too small, experience too little, job too big. Employer had best check back with me in three years.
Meantime, I've been working in Makati, of all places. Telemarketing, of all jobs. But one does what one has to to keep body and soul firmly rooted in the same spot. My contract's just ended. And with any decent luck, I should land a job with the same company doing their newsletter-- which I will redesign from the ground up, as soon as the funds get released.
I've had quite a year; and quite the new year's beginning-- I survived my first knife fight. I'm fine: the guy couldn't stab me because my bag was always in his way. I had to relinquish my bag though, because he had friends. Aside from minor wounds to flesh and pride, I am otherwise whole.
I haven't found impetus to write, not in a while. Though I think I'll be writing a lot in the light of recent events.
Please keep safe, dear. And enjoy the little surprises life throws your way. You are always in my thoughts, and I continually pray for your safety and happiness.