Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
- bleeding off their restlessness and resentment so they don't kill themselves, rape people or otherwise become inconvenient to the rest of us;
- contributing to art and culture (useless pursuits that keep the rich in their belief that they are intrinsically better people) when the writer hits occasional literary gold.
This is story zero. This is everyone's story.
This pretty much keeps the masses pacified and intellectuals entertained, so no one gets any funny ideas about upsetting the status quo, which frankly, needs a little tipping over.
Speaking as a cynic, that's the first story. Speaking as a writer, thinking like this makes me sick to my stomach. Time for my medication.
The Ninth (Or Zeroth) Original Story
Click here to get to the other eight. The gist of that article being, that every Hollywood movie on God's green earth is based off of at least one of them. I submit there is a ninth story, or story meme, that informs the rest of them. I'm loosely calling it the Fall.
In every story is a status quo and then something happens to upset it. Sometimes that something is a villain, like Brainiac trying yet again to put Metropolis in a bottle: Superman must fight him to prevent Metropolitans from being very inconvenienced by the villain's shrink ray. Sometimes it's a natural disaster-- think Titanic. Regardless of what that something is, the characters have to fight it to get their status quo-- or a semblance of it-- back. They've fallen out of safety, contentment, out of Paradise and they have to struggle to return to it.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Finally finished that draft I’ve been slaving over on and off the last six or so months. I just hope I won’t wuss out and change it again before I finally have it sent.
If you cannot invest in a spiritual refuge, invest in a physical one. Security and complacency will not necessarily follow, but at least you’ll have one contingency covered.
Zombie: Been There, Done That, Ate Brains
I'm way past that point when you wake up and realize that you've been one for the longest time. You realize that you've walked around with a gaping (figurative) chest cavity and infected everyone else with terminal ennui and existential angst.
The question now is what you do about it, when traditionally, there's no real cure for zombie-ism.
[Insert how much you miss your ex here. No, still no reconciliation in sight, there will never probably be one. One caveat though: it does get better, even if only in tiny little bits, over time.]
I Saw No Zombies
...but there's always next year. (I've always found them charming in a camp way, you see.) I did see my dead relatives (and those who survived them) when Mom decided to shanghai me on her road trip with Pop to Batangas. Saw granny on my mother's side on the trip back. I must have been on the road for a total of seven or eight hours.
I'll be making a few more road trips as Christmas approaches. Quo vadis, indeed, Dex? I don't know, I've only got the most vague plans. But that's what makes these lifelong road trips fun.
Friday, October 31, 2008
- he flexes his muscles and waves the flag
- he purports to respect life and represent the godly
Sunday, September 21, 2008
This has been happening for a year-- I cry in the night. I cannot sleep except when I exhaust myself. I detest weekends because I know everyone else is having fun and I do not have any kind of work with which to keep the feelings of loss, inadequacy and despair at bay. I can't even write about this (catharsis therapy) without some well-meaning friend coming down on me about how my writing inconveniences them and would I please just stop because I'm driving them crazy.
The grand irony is that a good marriage is all I have ever wanted since I was 10 or 12. The best I can reasonably hope for now is canned intimacy-- the kind of companionship you pay for, time bound, cold, counting peak experiences in units of motel hours or "How many times did you orgasm?" I have not yet taken this road but my feet are guided inexorably to it.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
If it works and the world doesn't burn, great. We learn more about the Universe as God first saw it. What's dark matter? Do Higgs particles exist? We finally get closer to answering these questions. If it works and it does start the world off on "an accelerated heat death," that's fine with me too. In my book, the universe may need to be rewritten anyway.
I said in the last post one need not wait for world-shaking events to help them mark changes in their lives. One only needed faith and an event to attach significance to. Personal drivel, I know. I promised not to indulge in it, but methinks events top-billing supercolliders are a special case.
They're firing up that potentially world-destroying super-supercollider.
But one doesn't really need major events like that to usher in a much-needed change. We already do that at the beginning of every year; at the end of every significant relationship, romantic-, business-, legal- or otherwise.
All we need, all we have to go on, really, is a little faith. Or in publisher Kennth Yu's case, a lead-lined bunker, bug spray and a sh!tload of chips.
Monday, September 08, 2008
A new car means "you have arrived." A new dress means "I can now give myself permission to feel beautiful." A new SVMS 01E Flag model kit means... I don't know what it means. Perhaps it means my feeble attempts at reconnecting with the friends I've neglected --because I've been futilely trying to reconnect with my ex-- may work. Perhaps it's just another way to fill the void my ex has left in me. Perhaps it's another palliative (God, I hate these things. Meaning? think "placebo"). But I am coming to terms with an existence that, potentially, will not include someone with whom to whisper nothings in the middle of the night.
Welcome to the new new celibacy, Mr. Lira. And surprise surprise, you don't have to be a priest to take part in it.
Damn it, where're the exact-o knife and the super glue!?
Tina, I love you. Without you my life is crap.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I am hoping he and the American people do not screw this opportunity up. The world is a mess and as much as I dislike the idea of Globo-cop America, I acknowledge that the world needs Uncle Sam as a stabilizing factor.
Tina, I love you. Without you my life is crap.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I know myself better; I know what I need; I can define the forces that drive me.
Useless drivel, I know. It won't feed me, won't clothe me, won't lend me a pair of soft arms to stay in. But I feel better about myself now.
That has to count for something.
I love you. Without you there is no meaning, except that which I have to build for myself, one faulty messy crumbly stupid brick at a time.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
At a glance, any evil opportunistic marketing man will know my preferences (sexual, purchasing, political and what have you), my demographics and --with the help of the almighty NLP manual-- create a plan for a life-long relationship designed to part me from my money. (Still, one cannot live in this society without making concessions to the Marketing Man. Why does Mammon figure so prominently in my stories after all?)
At a glance, any shyster worth his law degree will be able to pick the contents of my mind, and in cop show parlance, "use [them] against me."
At a glance, any HR executive will be able to pick my brain and find all sorts of defects and impediments to hiring me if I ever decide to change jobs.
I don't have much to hide really. I do want the world to know that I care about this or that person, for example. I do want the world to know exactly what I think of how it (mis)handles its relationships and its priorities. I do want friends to know what I'm about. I just don;t want the rest of the universe to think that just because my view of human existence is by turns dark, joyful, full of unnecessary b.s. and pregnant with real meaning, I should not be allowed to hold this or that job, or I should not be allowed to love or express that love.
My blogs are pretty much public because I operate under the assumption that very few people really give a rat's behind about what goes on in Dexter's head. Most people-- even marketing men and lawyers-- will give my blogs a look, get lost in my drivel, and move on to something more interesting.
I've been wondering of late if I should be more secretive in the stuff I serve up on-line, considering that there are a boatload of links and entries that directly reference me or any of my other on-line personas. But I've found that editing and re-editing my online contact filters is tedious.
A quandary, yes. But one that is not worth losing sleep over. Not yet, at least.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
You reach a point where you're sick of having more classes, as each one can potentially turn into 30 minute therapy sessions with students who cannot help but bring their troubles with them to class. I was looking forward to the lull in my calendar of activities for each weekday.
Lo and behold, management slaps a new class on my schedule. What surprises is that I must really have been doing something right-- this student was formerly enrolled in our "coupon class" program, for students whose schedules are as frayed as Britney's domestic life. She normally bounces from one teacher to another in the course of her training until she finishes a month's worth of classes. That she decided--even if tentatively-- to stay with me on a fixed schedule is ...flattering.
I'm not looking forward to the inconvenience of hand-holding another novice as she makes the pilgrimage from Engrish to English. But she already speaks well; has the markings of a sharp mind. It would be a shame if a damned band score slaps her in the face with the word "inadequate."
To be told by your exes, your bosses, to be told by a stupid test that you're just not good enough-- It's happened to me a lot over the last three years and I am far more tired of that.
Let this never have to happen to the people who matter.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
The Mighty Thor, after all, was hiding in the body of one Donald Blake, lame physician.
At a moment's notice I could probably stand on my bum leg, collapse my cane, use it as a rather clumsy blunt weapon. In recent days, I've kind of been spoiling internally for a confrontation that would require me to do just that, to force my leg to do what it's supposed to. But I know better than to truly ask for it. I was already robbed at knife-point once.
I am missing something, something important. I have been for the longest time. That I am hobbling with a cane is just another manifestation of that loss. There are some disadvantages to feeling things in stereo.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
1. Look for the interpretation where you end up screwed the most: that's always the one that comes true.
2. Don't fight it. The sick perverted being living in non-linear time that your oracle is channeling has already taken your struggle into account. He is watching your life and laughing at the utter futility of your actions. Corollarily--
3. Give him the finger and tell him "So what?" Then live your life the way you want.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
New Francis factoid for the day: he's dead. At age... six?
He died of an aneurism in his brain. Yesterday. To hear my cop/doctor cousin talk, it was congenital.
* * *
I've been avoiding my relations in Batangas mostly because of family politics. Not that they were fomenting it: often they were caught in the crossfire among bickering siblings. Me, I had enough problems dealing with the politics among my multiple sets of friends.
I want to be pithy and mouth off some moral lesson gleaned from the day's events. I'm not in the mood, though. We all know what the lessons are. We're just unwilling to apply them until we're faced with absolute loss or the prospect of an imminent-maybe-tomorrow death. I look at Francis's dad and I tell myself there are worse things than the chain of lost friends or and loved ones who look at me and see a cockroach or a cage.
I'm okay, people. I'm just trying to absorb all of this, sort the information out and maybe pull off finding some meaning from all this that I can use to better myself.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Please don't store him in some vault yet. Not until I've seen the others.
* * *
There are other things happening which I neither have the time nor the intestinal fortitude to blog about in detail here, now. I'll only say that my faith in humanity has been stretched again to the point where it threatens to break.
I'm praying I'm wrong about what I think is happening. And if I'm right I'll be saying requiems for at least two more friendships.
I've no time to be bitter, no time to lock myself somewhere like the office restroom, or a room in the nearest Hotel SOGO. As usual I cannot yell nor smash my fists into a yielding wooden surface. And my twisted nobility pretty much prevents me from indulging in the canned intimacy that is expected of rooms in such hotels.
God help me, I'm so damned close to doing just that.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The latest to go is Thad Reantaso, who apparently died when typhoon Frank cut a swath through the Zambales area recently. And here I thought I was insulated from having to mourn the loss of yet another friend.
I need to make some phone calls.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I think. Well, you could say I took this infirmity upon myself when I bought the cane. Some inner wisdom, some inner childlike desire perhaps?
I'm may have to get my leg looked at. I bought the cane on ToyCon Saturday, same day I got my new pair of glasses. Office colleagues are already calling me Lolo Dex. Lucky me.
There didn't use to be infirm people-- the halt, the blind, the deaf, the disfigured. But the gods decided to see how far they could push the envelope of human design. They fashioned people with polio; people with cataracts; people with short tongues; mismatched limbs.
Those selfsame gods would also (on a whim) descend to earth and clothe themselves in human guise complete with some form of infirmity. It was a role they loved playing; a mask they enjoyed wearing.
The gods still walk the earth clothed in familiar infirmity. They struggle (all in good fun) to look beneath the masks and recognize each other.
Would that we both didn't have to struggle so hard...
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I haven't felt this good about being surrounded by womanity in a long time. Even my own Misogyny was on vacation that day. My inner child and my inner William Shatner were in a rare alliance. No, the id would not win the day: there would be no missions beyond the good-natured ogling--er, admiration-- of the lithe and lovely feminine form.
Serious knightly "I've got Andalusian nobility roots" killjoy superego Dex wouldn't allow anything beyond it.
Which is why my inner child and my inner William Shatner are beating him black and blue right now. Their plaintive mantra being Come on Dex, would it kill you to stop thinking about Tina for three godforsaken hours and ask some young lovely for her name and number? It's not so hard! You can dedicate the rest of your idiot life to Tina but what about us?
Well, Jim and little Dex, when you put it that way...
I'm still kicking myself because I could have turned on the charm and worked my little section of the crowd. It would have been great for the ego. But then again I really wasn't in the mood. I was happy enough silently critiquing the costumes and listening to the other more vocal elements in the crowd cruelly tell everyone about how the Edward Norton Hulk looked like he had a bad case of dwarfism and acromegaly. And taking pictures of these ladies with my paparazzocam had assured me that all my old photography and er, "espionage" skills were still available to me on the off-chance that I would want or need to use them. I still haven't regardless of what my ex may think.
Besides, the guy cosplaying Hard Gay was already working the crowd. Against that kind of competition my seventies geriatric smarm--er, charm-- would be hard pressed to make itself felt in any meaningful way. Mayhap I'll put on a costume and make a fool of myself next year?
Just you wait, Hard Gay...
Kicking for Quasi
I was very glad to have run into an old friend from my Los Banos days. Wanted to kick myself because I couldn't be in two places at once-- hanging with her and hanging with J and Marko (who had by that time, wowed the crowd and worked his way to my location). I rationalized that there many next times, and there was always the upcoming comic con.
As the event wound down we all got hungry. J had left and Marko was going to meet friends. I got dragged into watching The Happening at the Mall of Asia. No spoilers, but I slept through a good section of it. When we finished I realized that it was the day after payday and I had to be traveling back to Quezon City with thousands of pesos worth of equipment.
I asked Marko and his buds for a lift to Bicutan, where I could safely take the bus to Los Banos and crash at a friend's place. If anyone was trying to reach me last Sunday, I'm apologizing for the long silence. I spent most of Sunday comatose.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Escape me there any day.
Monday, June 16, 2008
God knows I deserve it considering the thoughts I've been having lately. So I dragged my colleague J along last Saturday to the megaSMall while secretly poking fun at my cosplayer workmate Marko (that day he was known as Maxi) to--
- see my old comics friends and hobnob with whatever crowd I used to belong in;
- marvel at costumes and toys I'll never afford in ten years of hard Siberian labor; and
- ogle cute cosplayer chicks.
Lucky for me, my inner sixteen-year-old did not put on his war paint and take his shotgun out of the locker and go on some Virginia Tech-style exercise in delayed catharsis. After all, I'd been strung out more than usual. But much to the delight of my friends who watch Oprah, read Cosmo and preach self -help, even the inner nihilist was on a well-earned day off.
I guess he was busy ogling his own dark and nihilistic chicks.
Comics & Toys
The happy bunch of culture crash staffers-- Taga-Ilog, Ika-Siyam and Jon Zamar were manning the Point Zero comics booth next to Lyndon Gregorio of Beerkada fame. Next to their space was (and I finally get to meet this guy) Joemike Tejido and his Foldabots.
It was worth the blowing three hundred bucks to buy an indie comic (a compilation of the Cresci Prophecies) from Ika- Siyam, considering that she's a good friend who deserves a break (she's got a nice smile too, worth seeing anytime-- Ilog, you lucky dog you.)
Surprise, surprise, someone still remembered me from my days as Culture Crash's Evil Dex. He's, ah, Lucifer Ulrich, actually Marius, the dark and brooding guy with the long hair and the upside-down cross. Next to the pretty goth chick.
See the red stuff on that comic book he's holding? That's his blood on the damn cover. He's still in comics-- which says a lot considering the business environment in the Philippines. His stuff's actually very good, barring few grammatical and spelling errors. I was moved by his latest piece: The Man from the Planet of the Masochists (I have a signed copy). He's come a long way from his debut comic series Satan High from that last C3Con waaaay back in '03.
Talecraft had a presence there too and I took the time to swing by several times. Talecraft's a good game and a good story aid. Game creator Ria Liu didn't recognoze her '07 comic con winner. Maybe it was my hair and the glasses. Bad news to Talecrafters everywhere: the new cards were printed on bad stocks so Ms. Liu and co. wound up giving away free book markers. Here's hoping she can turn this little setback into gold.
And I saw some of my old friends from Via Astris (Star Trek fan club) and the other fandoms. Almost the same guys I hang with when I'm playing Viggo van Gogh, Nuisance Caller. It was a shame I couldn't hang with them long as I was busy laughing at-- I mean supporting-- Marko.
Yeah, that's him in the pic, getting away with a photo op with a cute cosplayer chick. But "Maxi"impressed me with his nunchuckskills on the stage, so he deserves a little groupie adulation. :)
Friday, June 13, 2008
There is precious little in imagery that quite sums up the human condition than a point slaloming down a curve asymptotic to the zero line. No matter what value you plug into the stupid function, you always come up Okay, blank looks.
I'll save you the mental energy needed to make sense of the metaphor.
The distance between you and what you want keeps decreasing, but you never... quite.... get there. And I can't help but feel that in my universe, where the score is always for myself, all or nothing, asymptotic is not enough.
The pertinent question becomes how one deals with conceptually interesting exercises in sisyphean futility.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I was at the chapel again, kneeling before the Host when it hit me like a punch in the face. The way things are going I'm going to be kneeling here, every goddamned night jumping through a novena writer's hoops for the next twenty years. Meanwhile the world would turn without me.
Through it all I'd have to smile and bear this crap like a good little boy. Watch the world dangle what I want in front of me and then take it away as soon as I reach for it. Then listen to it tell me over and over again in smug tones that (heeheehee) I'm not ready yet, or (hohoho) I don't have enough faith or that (guffaw guffaw) I must be deficient in some fundamental way because I'm not manifesting or channeling or visualizing or whatever recycled new age bullshit the pop psych gurus are spouting.
You can't ask me to "let it go, be the bigger person, because it won't matter in 20 years" after you've just robbed me, raped my wife and sold my children and beaten me to within an inch of my life while you were at it.
Okay, that's an extreme case, but it does illustrate my point. This is the kind of horse puckey that turns people into me.
Yes, the world is what you perceive it to be. Yes, you can only blame yourself for your woes. Yes you have to take responsibility for your life. That's all well, good and true ...to a point.
Sometimes taking responsibility for the course of your life means looking what vexes you--yes, something outside yourself-- in the face and telling it to get bent. To shout. To break things, until someone listens and does something. Anything.
My problem is I've forgotten how. I can no longer take risks. I can no longer shout for fear of upsetting everyone else's peace. The best I can do in times like this is to turn the anger inward and vainly try to keep myself from imploding.
I can only write.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Yes young man, I promise to discreetly ogle the very pretty cosplayers and pay some polite attention to those who aren't. Yes young man I will not think of Tina... Yes young man, I am lying the way grownups do to shut you up. What? Look, at least I'm being honest with you now. Um, no, we're probably not going to buy that model kit you've been pestering me to get. Er, you don't want to know where that money went.
But there will be comics. I can promise you comics. And little friends to play with.
Friday, June 06, 2008
It's great that someone's finally been getting the word out that this can happen, assuming the ad is true. What gets my goat is that someone in the Philippines had already done this as early as the late 1980s.
I remember hearing about it, seeing it on the evening news. All you needed, the inventor had said, was a small amount of gas to get the car started. Then the water fuel technology kicked in and the car would run on your everyday tap water.
The scuttlebutt was that while Cory's government did make noises about wanting to really look into developing this, there was pressure from some quarters-- car making, oil producing, maybe even military base-leasing quarters-- to drop that line of research.
Then the whole promising issue died a natural media-starved death.
I repeat, that was the scuttlebutt at the time, as best as I understood it.
Now some Americans, demonstrating typical American go-getter initiative, are getting rich off of what may likely be similar technology. Nothing wrong with that. I just wish that this had happened to our inventor-- it's been so long I can't even remember his name anymore. But then this method of marketing that the Yanks are using-- internet ads-- didn't exist then. It could have helped our inventor (whose name escapes me) and put this country on the map for reasons other than the occasional EDSA, domestic help, Filipino cookies and Miss Saigon.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I have only to breathe and I know where she is. I will feel a tug, and sure enough she'll be where I am. But it is seemingly never enough, when all one seemingly elicits is fear. I can't bridge those final few meters that keep me from her doorstep, from that space I used to occupy in the hollow of her arms.
I cannot proceed, I don't know how to, not without a sign. And one day soon I'll do it anyway because I cannot keep this vigil. Not like this.
And then I'll fall and break and burn the way I always have, the way I always will.
And then I won't stop myself, I'll damn all of you. Because when you look at me you see only a cage.
Monday, June 02, 2008
I think that's a Roman saying; since I got it from a teen romance novel from waaaay way back I can't guarantee its verity. But it lodged itself in my memory well enough that I find the aptness of it in yesterday's events.
Lose a lover, find ...God
I wasn't seriously expecting to assist in a Mass but then I wasn't expecting to have to accompany my mom to a retreat house to speak with a priest. I wasn't in a state of grace but something came over me and I asked for absolution.
Can't handle the tools of communion without clean hands... metaphorically speaking.
It's going to be harder to write the Mammon stories now because the Writer character isn't exactly going to a happy place. It's hard to do that when you shouldn't be sinning in thought. And where the Writer's going, he'll be mired in a lot of sinning...
Lose a Lover Find a ...Family?
Mom went to that novitiate compound in Novaliches because she was bitten by the "Where do I come from?" bug. Turns out Mom's got a family that traces its roots to Spain. Damn, we even have a coat of arms. It makes sense, considering my bone-headedness and my misplaced chivalry... For someone who chucks dice and loads his poetry with medieval imagery, this lineage is quite a revelation.
Of course I tried to play it cool-- can't be too excited about a family who may not even recognize you. But then the character I played most memorably was a bastard son of a bastard branch of a noble family. I guess however these people receive my mom and me, I'll be right at home.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Context: a common friend died ten years ago on 26 May. The foggy pink lenses of nostalgia may have colored my assessment of him, but I'll go ahead and say he was the best of us. 25 May 2008 had me sharing a ride with two people who swore on separate occasions that they would never speak to me again.
Yet here we were on the occasion of a friend's tenth death anniversary, speaking.
I am humbled and thankful by the grace that brought us back together even as I am mightily pissed off that it had to take two deaths for this to come to pass. Rey's, ten years ago (the excuse that brought us all to the same place), and mine (a symbolic death), last year.
No one really wants to sacrifice friends on the altars of their own fear or their own self-righteousness. No one truly wants to be the lamb, or goat-- the sin eater who has to die (exile himself). But it happens. It happens all the time.
I'm just one of the losers who perpetually seeks to understand, and perhaps one day, coopt and subvert the dynamics of this. Someone who bothers to talk about it outside the permitted occasions (beer with friends, funerals and bedside death watches) and put the findings on paper. Because seriously, it doesn't have to happen.
[Digression: I should have studied to be a thanatologist.]
From where I sit and type, all of this pain was needless. None of us had to go through our separate calvaries, swearing that our paths would never again cross, just to find each other after a year or two.
No need for the self-righteous posturing. No need to make public declarations that the other person is dirt when you know he isn't. No need for the greek choruses repeating and reinforcing your own bullshit. No need to form your defensive barriers against friendships that need to be repaired. No need to take those courses of action to their logical conclusion-- another useless goodbye and good riddance.
People who love should not be made to eat of this pile of hot steaming horse puckey.
Look, guys, I know I should be happy, and I am.
But this theme is simply too important to me. Without the meaning I seek I simply can't let this go.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
It'll be a cleansing experience. Another venue in which I can let go of more baggage. I've carried the "Kick Me, I was a Monster to My Ex" placard long enough, and God knows it's been a millstone 'round my neck.
I don't know what kind of miracle is supposed to happen, but I'm expecting one. Rey was a good friend to me. He was actually successful straddling the line between coolness and geekdom. He introduced us to the Sandman, the rest of the DC Comics Vertigo line, and Mobile Suit Gundam long before they became popular on the Islands. When he died he brought a bunch of us closer together.
Not holding my breath but I'm hoping for something similar this year.
I'll have to warn everyone, by the by, that my next few posts will be Dexterian in their emo content. I've a lot to say and precious little in the way of methods to say them in.
The neighbors rang the doorbell this morning and dolorously announced that someone had stolen the side mirrors of both the automobiles of my siblings.
Idiots couldn't even get a simple theft right-- they left a souvenir.
It's happened before, of course. No point in filing a report. It'd be a lot easier to just cruise Banawe Street for our stolen car parts later today. Banawe street is a short walk from where I write. It's a mecca for car enthusiasts who want cheap parts and accessories. Me, I call it Car Parts/Chop Shop Central.
Considering the damage the thieves have likely wrought on the merchandise, they won't be getting any money for our side-mirrors Their junkie fix will have to wait.
Still, the motive could be territorial. My family's well-known in these parts and my siblings and I have likely been labeled as uppity snobs. One of us might have offended someone's sensibilities. Probably because we don't inflict A-kon or Soulja Boy on the neighborhood with the car speakers.
I didn't even have a music player in Hans, my borrowed Lancer. But he still lost a side mirror and got his windows tarred with only God knows what kind of gunk last Christmas morning.
See the pic? This is me no longer feeling violated. This is me being either being base-line pissed off or thinking "Hmmm. Curious."
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
1. You go bonkers and you kill yourself. Because after you dig and dig and dig with your mind you will find out that there is no meaning, no purpose, no heaven. We're all alone and nothing really matters in the end. You can't stand the thought of it, and you think to yourself, now's a good time to punch exit. Nothing's worth anything anyway. So you take the nearest window on the high floors and fly one-way to your final destination.
2. You go bonkers and you take it out on someone else. You stare into the depths of the unfathomable and you are surprised because the nothing has eyes and stares back at you. If you ever reach this point and you are scared sh!tless, now would be a good time to turn back and run like all the armies of Hell were chasing you. (You might not be far off the mark there too.) Because if you hold your ground and you cannot endure then you will find meaning, and you will find god.
They're just not the meaning and the god your grandmama is comfortable with.
3. You accept that your mind cannot extract meaning from life beyond a certain point. That not everything can be brought under your tight-fisted control. A light goes off in your head, and you find God. Or you achieve the enlightenment and positive engagement of life that some Buddhists and Nietzscheans find. Then you move on to do your job and eat your dinner the way all enlightened luminous souls are expected to.
Guess where I am hovering now.
Still, we work with the tools we have, no matter how poor. We can only pray for better ones we don't have to pay for.
So today I celebrate my friend and co-patient Patient X. Congratulations for staying on the wagon!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
- ...found out my colleagues are generally good people, if possessed of the Filipino, nay, Asian caution when taking a stand. I've found out that I can more or less trust my bosses.
- ...found out I was right about the interconnectedness of everything. The bosses of my company and the bosses of my grandkid's company have met, pledged cooperation.
- ...my bosses just found out just what kind of knife my old workplace handed them when it would not take me back. They know enough to wield me wisely, I hope.
- the jury's still out on yesterday's item 4.
- ...found out I could still swim
- ...found out I have a real reason to be working were I am. I'm just looking for a better one.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
- ...when I find out what kind of stuff my colleagues are made of.
- ...when I find out if my hunches about where we're all going (in the broad philosophical and physical location senses) are true.
- ...when I find out what kind of stuff I'm made of.
- ...when I find out just what kind of person I've pledged myself to.
- ...when I find out if I can still swim
- ...when I find out if I still have a real reason to be working were I am.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Let's grab a quote from these guys:
"We ended up with a very strong set of entries in the final round, but in the end the judges (singer/actress Lea Salonga, Tin-Aw Art Gallery owner Dawn Atienza, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Head of the Graduate Studies Office of UP's College of Arts and Letters Wendell Capili) were unanimous.
Read the story, check out the other entries.
I remember the many times I played in this scene: once in 1989, many more times in 1990. A few times in 1991 and 1992. I seriously thought that I would stop-- and I did, for four years. I would sporadically return when problems with the wife would threaten to overwhelm me, or when I would wake up to find that I had been overtaken by my own stupidity.
When the wife walked away in '05 the Almighty had been generous enough to let this happen when I was trying to run--and later try to save-- a company. It kept me busy. Kept me focused on something other than myself. I thought I'd found some respite after I returned from my first and only trip to Japan. I would still visit those same holy places with the usual vain hope. By the time I returned from my first and only conscious trip to Cebu, I was back in those places, seasoning my jasmine petal offerings with bile and snivel.
Flash forward to '07 and I'm in Baclaran: the same baggage wearing a different face. Like the people I studied in my anthorpology and sociology classes, I too, knocked on the plexiglass case. I, too, appealed to the Nazarene and dared to hope that my pig would fly.
I was back in those holy places throughout September, October, November, December of that year. I wept without shame until one day the glands simply quit.
In the time I spent walking from shop to shrine, I had retooled and rewritten the Novena of Confidence to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I simplified it, struck out the statements that insulted the intelligence of the reader (the ones that said "This Novena has never been known to fail") and replaced the requirements (make 81 copies and leave 9 at the shrine for each day you pray this novena) with something less ritualistic, less taxing and more reasonable for someone who wanted to level with God, and who expected God to level with him.
It worked, amazingly. I got my friend back sometime late December or early January. And for a short while I was as close to happy as when--
- I realized I could truly care about another person regardless of what she was or what she did;
- I realized that I truly loved and needed my friend in spite of myself;
- I won first prize in that Talecraft competition in November
When I finally went to the confessional I was able to resolve a few outstanding issues I had with my Maker. I somehow know that this latest snag is being handled by a higher power that means all of us well. I'm only asking that this time, once and for all, I be told that I can reasonably expect to end this labor when I push this rock up that hill once again.
Happy birthday, Tin.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Jessica Zafra didn't like this movie. Lola (Franka Potente) predictably does a lot of running here. She has to run to save her life, to meet her boyfriend Manni's deadlines when the whole world is seemingly stacked against her. I liked it when I watched it on cable but I totally hated the local live version.
In the local adaptation, Lola feels compelled to run seemingly to save her psyche from the man who wrecked it. It's an intricate choreographed ballet where she hides behind her friends, changes bus routes and pounds the pavement. The result is always a stalemate between Lola and Manni: she flees to the safety of her apartment and a contrite Manni lamely wishes her good night at the gate. He does not tell her he loves her because it is the last thing she wants to hear.
Run Lolo Run
I've noticed that my own endurance has increased of late. I can run faster and farther than I used to, even when I was in martial arts training. Granted that my training did not involve running faster, but I did build some endurance, flexibility and muscle mass back then. I've ruined several pairs of shoes running to work the way I have, from the MRT station at Shaw Boulevard, up eleven flights of stairs everyday.
I've had to run for reasons less urgent than Lola's. I simply don't want to be late. And running up the stairwell is a good way for me to build wind.
I'm not training to run people down with a spear in a fit of blind frustration. But it's good to know I can conceivably better chase if I truly wanted to.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
I was at my friend Carlo's place when they showed her in. She was a coy one, fresh out of community college and a bus from Albay. She was carrying several months of assembly line work in factories under her belt. She wanted to earn more and I was already uncaring of the reason: I'd heard variations of this story so many times I could rattle it off myself in my sleep. The gist of it was that Frances (not her real name) wanted to gain entry into a call center. Any call center.
I was somewhat a call center vet, and Carlo was once a team leader-- couldn't we help?
Yes we could, and yes we did. I'm biased towards women, and I just happen to have a pathological need to be a good samaritan.
Her Other Name isn't Ready
We looked at her sparse resume, concurred that the best way to make it better was to push her education and her willingness and ability to learn on the job. When we finished with it, that pristine single page was full of marker tracks. Put this section up here. Omit this. No need to give them your eye color and the color of your hair.
And then I had to interview her in English, backtrack, and give the same interview in Filipino.
...No, she wasn't ready.
I wound up giving her tips about putting up a brave front, putting her best foot forward and rolling with the crazy questions.
It made me think about my students: university graduates who couldn't get what they needed because of a damned language requirement. I thought of myself, too, and the people I share this work with. Long hours, crazy scheds, neural system meltdowns. Hearts too: broken, bleeding, listing-- lost and chasing pavement in the seemingly eternal night. (okay, cheesy, but it happens).
There must be something more that can be done to improve our collective lot.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I put this thought experiment to a friend:
I'm going to lop off your arms and legs. I'll stick hot pokers in both your eyes. I'll soak you in napalm and then I'll set you on fire. I'll bribe some neurosurgeon fiddle with your brain so that you cannot turn off your pain receptors and neither can you take refuge in blacking out.
Now, tell me honestly if you can still claim that the happiness in your life depends solely on how sunny you choose it to be.
Then my mom sends me this video: http://www.wretch.cc/video/ritahsia&func=single&vid=2282608&o=time_d&p
And I am laughing and shaking my head.
Monday, May 05, 2008
God should stop making conflicted people with built-in messiah complexes. They're great fun to watch, but it's not fun when you're the conflicted person with the built-in messiah complex.
2. Wishing Arjayne a happy birthday, and congratulations too. Arjayne's been a little-sister figure to me since our time at our Japanese classes. We haven't seen each other since '05, but we've kept in touch. She's also finished high school, so warm congratulations are in order too.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
When warm bodies are needed to stop the tanks, don't count on writers to be there with you. They'll be in their hotel rooms with their laptops and their notepads, writing. When you're busy making money the tried and tested way, yon writer will be busy wasting his time writing stories and filling his blogs: you're still saddled with the rent.
When someone is patently stealing your woman, writer, don't count on yourself showing up at their door and cracking skulls. You'll be at home, writing, adding one more neurosis to the ones you already have.
Cue the sound clip from America's Sweethearts. Hank Azaria's Spanish character turns to a really barely-holding-in-his-psychotic-temper John Cusack and refers to him, derisively, as--
You'll also have the bonus of showing your unwary reader friend that the bedrock upon which he rests his sanity doesn't really exist. And then there'll be two of you f_cking up the world by making everyone uncomfortable with life as they know it. She was right who said it best:
Keep only cheerful friends; the grouches pull you down.
The world doesn't belong to contemplatives, besides. Writers in general never see the fruits of their labor. For every Stephen King and Neil Gaiman there are thousands of frustrated writers married to their own misery and (in my Mammon stories) at least one who is dating his misogyny.
You may be the next Nietzsche, the next Kafka, the next Rizal-- but look what happened to them.
Nietzsche: nuthouse, couple of strokes, death by tuberculosis.
Kafka: nuthouse, tuberculosis, death by starvation
Rizal: exile, death by firing squad
And if you luck out and do a Thoreau ... well, okay, he didn't suck. He lived a full life, though he was felled by tuberculosis at age 44.
The point is very few writers ever live to see their legacy; fewer writers ever get to have one.
What's greatness if you never get to see nor taste it? I'm altruistic enough to care about my fellow man, but I've read all the books and seen all the movies: writers end up with the girl and the happy ending only in the stories they write. And I'm sick of watching everyone else's happy ever after.