Sunday, June 29, 2008

Francis

...wasn't someone I knew beyond a few simple facts. He's a close relative's son and by all accounts a very loving one. He lived in Batangas and as with most sons was close to his mom. He liked hair gel.

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

Duff

Events have again caught me flat-footed. Thad Reantaso's ashes have by this time made their way to Don Bosco in Makati. The exigencies of being an online eigokyoushi prevent me from honorable leaving the workplace to see what's left of my old friend. I'm waiting for word as to what will happen after the urn hits Don Bosco.

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

I lost another one

My personal icons are dying around me.

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

Getting Around...

...is tough when you're carrying a lot of stuff and leaning on a cane. I've been using it on and off now, in part on account of what looks like a bad right leg. Of course I'm almost sure that if push ever came to shove I'd be able to stand on it enough for a two minute fight.

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.

Vedic Parable

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

ToyCon '08 (02)

Cosplayers! and Cosplayer Chicks!

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, what was I going to tell these kids? Hi, I think you're beautiful and I admire your costume and the way you look in it and this music's catchy we can dance to it wanna try? and ohbytheway I'm old enough to be your father? (Brrr!) I can see the Eeeewwwww getawayfrommeyousickpervo coming from a mile away.

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.

Movie

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

Vacation

"No pining for idealized women, no absurdist sisyphean striving against a God and Devil who love watching sitcoms starring you. No cosmic jokes or accidents involving Eros messing with your life and your friends, indirectly causing self-imposed exile and hours upon hours of crying prostrate on floors of holy places...."

Escape me there any day.


Monday, June 16, 2008

ToyCon '08 (01)

Well I did promise my inner child comics and a fun time.

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.


So who did I see?

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.

Fan Clubs

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. :)


...to be concluded

Friday, June 13, 2008

Math Metaphor

Asymptotic

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

"Be the Bigger Person, Dex"

I'm not sure if I can pull it off anymore.

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

toy-con, toy-con, TOY CON!

Looking forward to Saturday. I tell you, immediately after our monthly meeting I am bolting to the Megatrade Hall. This is when I can let out my inner child. With any luck he will not be carrying his chainsaw and his hockey mask.

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

Yes they can run on water

Here's the link: http://www.gas-water-car.com/

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 realize that the time will come when I will grow incredibly weary of this interminable hoping. I have been trying with the requisite gentility to stave this off. But the heart cannot feed on itself forever, even now when it cannot find the strength to face up to one more act of dismissal.

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

Lose a Lover, Find a...

...fish.

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.