Married Life

My wife and I have been trying to settle down, but gosh darn it, there's a lot to do. Furniture and appliances to organize, expenditures and finances to plan, and lots of little details to deal with post-wedding...

Still, the gifts we've received and a couple of purchases have made things easier. One is the fridge, the other is the TV / DVD set. Woohoo! Now we gotta focus on getting stuff to make the kitchen a bit more manageable.

On another note, I STILL haven't finished my short story Gunsaddled. I have begun making my way through the Philippine Speculative Fiction Anthology, and have finished the Project Hero and Siglo: Passion anthologies. Good stuff, and will post my faves another time.

Merry Christmas to all!
Hawk and... Dove?

Just a short note: hectic work schedules and the wedding preparations are cutting down on my blogging time. However...

Kate and I were watching the Justice League Unlimited episodes I hadn't seen yet... and saw the episode "Hawk & Dove". The episode focused on two characters from DC Comics: super-powered brothers who held different views on life. Hawk tended to favor aggression and conflict to solve problems, while Dove was, predictably, more inclined towards peaceful methods. I've always felt that Dove had the weaker of the two names, always belonging to a tandem name set "Hawk and -".

When Kate heard the name of "Dove", she let out a yelp of disbelief.

"Dove? Did they say Dove?"

"Yes, why?"

Then in a voice full of astonishment and derision, she said "What does he do? Poop on people?"
Prayers and Paperwork

The long process of getting my Catholic Wedding papers in order is still going on. It's become something of an adventure... an epic adventure.

It started innocently enough back in January when I discovered that all this wedding paperwork we were starting on had to be delayed. The required Baptismal Certificates and Confirmation Certificates must be stamped "For Marriage Purposes". They only issue one copy. Ever.

And the must be prepared 4 months before the wedding, otherwise they expire. Kate had already gotten hers; I hadn't.

Flashforward. We've already resolved that issue by having her documents reissued so they won't expire. Now it's my turn.

The parish that we're getting married in (located in Quezon City) doesn't accept my Confirmation Certificate. My second name is not on the document, but my middle name is. They require me to partially change my Confirmation Certificate. After losing my temper, I realize it doesn't get me anywhere. I ask if I need to re-do my Baptismal Certificate as well. They tell me only my Confirmation Certificate needs fixing. I take my Confirmation Certificate back to have it changed.

The parish where I was confirmed (located along Katipunan requires me to sign and submit an affidavit requesting changes. I have to go to the Chancery office (located in Cubao) to do it.

At the Chancery office, they tell me that I have to re-do my Baptismal Certificate as well. My FATHER's name is different from the NSO documents and from the Confirmation Certificate (it's a second name issue again). I lose my temper, but it resolves nothing. The plodding bureacracy doesn't believe my father is necessarily the same person. Though they agree that I am.

The parish where I was baptised (located in Makati) valiantly struggles to understand what has happened to me. They almost cause me despair when they indicate that they can't change what was set down in the books many years ago. They realize they're going to need prepare an affidavit to change my documents too and that's not a problem. What IS a problem is that I'm going to have to get the Confirmation Certificate that they released to me back from the parish we're getting married in (located in Quezon City).

When I return the document to them, they can prepare the affidavit and have me send it off to the Chancery Office of Manila (located in Intramuros) where it can be processed. Then I can give it back to the parish (located in Makati) so they can release the new Baptismal Certificate. Then I can bring it back to the Chancery Office of Cubao (located in Cubao) so that they can process the request. Then I can give it back to the parish where I was confirmed (located along Katipunan) and get my new Confirmation Certificate. ONLY THEN, can I give all these documents back to the parish where we're getting married (located in Quezon City).

*sigh*
Top 100 Songs Meme: 1990 [part 1]
  1. Hold On, Wilson Phillips - Pleasant listening and good KTV fodder... nice harmonies, now that i think of it. Sadly, it never really left a mark in my psyche as something significant.
  2. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette - Liked this song. Excellent for KTV if you can belt the refrain out.
  3. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor - Ah, another angsty song. Loved Sinead's voice and delivery. Written by Prince, I think. The "2 U" bit gives it away.
  4. Poison, Bell Biv Devoe - Good dance tune. Catchy.
  5. Vogue, Madonna - Catchy lyrics and hook, but never really liked it.
  6. Vision Of Love, Mariah Carey - Uh? I lost interest in Mariah when her vocal acrobatics erased any sense of soul in her songs.
  7. Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins - a social commentary song, meant to tug at the heartstrings. Felt forced to me, and a little bit too catchy in the hook department.
  8. Hold On, En Vogue - 1990 will forever be known as the year to HOLD ON. Another girl group (with some serious diva factor) sings a song with the same title. Liked this one more though.
  9. Cradle Of Love, Billy Idol - Uh, no. Very pop, not punk or rock at all.
  10. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi - Ah, I think of the Young Guns movie when I hear this... and always sing the refrain when I have to "shot down" my PC. In a Blaze of Glory. I liked this song, but knowing it was made for the movie makes me wince.
  11. Do Me!, Bell Biv Devoe - REALLY? 11th place? How come I don't remember it? And no thank you Bell, Biv and Devoe.
  12. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Michael Bolton - Excellent KTV fodder. And I actually had his album. It fed my angst during those years. Oh, the shame.
  13. Pump Up The Jam, Technotronic - Haha! Dance music. I enjoyed this one.
  14. Opposites Attract, Paula Abdul - I think of the dancing animated cat here, and remember them raving about how great it was. Didn't really like the vid. Or the song, now that I think about it.
  15. Escapade, Janet Jackson - Catchy and fun. Like.
  16. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You, Heart - I liked this song. Interesting refrain, given the context of the verses. I think that it caused a furor in the U.S. because of the storyline.
  17. Close To You, Maxi Priest - Uh? Was this a re-make of the "Why do birds" song?
  18. Black Velvet, Alannah Myles - I liked this song. She was a belter, and a sultry one at that.
  19. Release Me, Wilson Phillips - Similar reaction to the number 1 song.
  20. Don't Know Much, Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville - nice vocal performance, but the tsismis regarding something goin' on between the two singers was more intriguing.
  21. All Around The World, Lisa Stansfield - I don't remember this.
  22. l Wanna Be Rich, Calloway - I don't want to remember this.
  23. I Remember You, Skid Row - Well, I don't remember you.
  24. Rub You The Right Way, Johnny Gill - Er... no thanks, Johnny.
  25. She Ain't Worth It, Glenn Medeiros Featuring Bobby Brown - When did these songs play on the radio?
  26. If Wishes Came True, Sweet Sensation - "..."
  27. The Power, Snap - Double "..."
  28. (Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection, Nelson - *scratches head*
  29. Love Will Lead You Back, Taylor Dayne - I know this one! Yehey! And it was one of those songs that sounded iffy on radio but probably rocked in person.
  30. Don't Wanna Fall In Love, Jane Child
  31. Two To Make It Right, Seduction
  32. Sending All My Love, Linear
  33. Unskinny Bop, Poison - I think Tom liked this one a lot. I don't remember it. Maybe if I heard the intro.
  34. Step By Step, New Kids On The Block - Corinne denies she ever liked them. I didn't like 'em at all. Thank god some of them tried their hands in other fields.
  35. Dangerous, Roxette - Not quite so memorable for me.
  36. We Didn't Start The Fire, Billy Joel - Yes, I liked the clever history lesson. I also liked the video.
  37. I Don't Have The Heart, James Ingram - You rock, James Ingram. Incredibly difficult to emulate the style and the soul of the singer.
  38. Downtown Train, Rod Stewart - I love the song, and I like the singer. Fed my angsty years too.
  39. Rhythm Nation, Janet Jackson - Enjoyed this era of Janet! Plus, my sister says the dancing & choreography rules!
  40. I'll Be Your Everything, Tommy Page - Hm. I'll pass.
  41. Roam, B-52's - Fun song. Half-funky and half-anthemic for parties.
  42. Everything, Jody Watley - nah.
  43. Back To Life, Soul II Soul - I loved this song! Go, Soul II Soul! I wish I still had a copy of this.
  44. Here and Now, Luther Vandross - I remember I did like this song. Sad, yet optimistic.
  45. Alright, Janet Jackson - Janet Jackson ruled in the video for this! Along with all the other dancers from bygone eras.
  46. Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice - Stop! Collaborate and LISTEN! Or something like that. Should Karaoke this with Vinnie sometime.
  47. Blame It On The Rain, Milli Vanilli - catchy song, sad performers.
  48. Have You Seen Her, M.C. Hammer - the downward slide began here.
  49. With Every Beat Of My Heart, Taylor Dayne - Why isn't this higher up?
  50. Come Back To Me, Janet Jackson - uh... isn't this a church song?
CraftWatch: Another Open Call for Submissions

It's currently titled A Time for Dragons: An Anthology of Philippine Draconic Fiction.

Check out the link here.

I guess it's time to sharpen my pencils again.
HobbyWatch: Keep your eyes peeled for... Shining Gold!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Ner has told me that he's just gotten copies of a comic book he did the art for.

From what I can piece together, it appears to be a story set in the comic book "Golden Age", and concerns a whole bunch of mystery men who fought in that era.
But no one remembers them.

Why?

I guess we'll find out when this comic book gets released.
I Think I Think, Therefore I Think I Am: An Evolution of Thought

I believe it was only in high school that I chose to "think my way through school". In grade school, I think I relied on my natural intelligence and what meager memory skills I had to get through school. I don't remember being particularly cunning during that time, and seemed to have been content with doing what I'd always done to get through school: paid attention in class, memorize what I could, anything that escaped me... well, tough.

When I had to study, I basically did more of the same. My parents started introducing me to other ways of studying of course, but I never really thought much about it. Drills and lists of stuff to memorize were cool.

I don't have recollection of consciously puzzling things out when I was younger. The closest I can remember was being pilosopo, and being fond of riddles. However, even these were examples of my fondness of the literal meanings of words and often exaggerated my inability to comprehend that conversations often held meanings beneath their literal topics of conversation.

Strangely enough, my hobbies excercised this "thinking" thing. Choose your own adventure books, figuring out how RPGs worked, games like chess, and puzzles like Rubik's Cube. I do seem to remember that I actually learned to reason things about by asking other people how they figured things out and then tried to follow similar paths of logic.

In high school, I took A.P. English, and the instruction and drills we endured in analyzing poetry and short stories really helped hone that critical factor in this brain of mine. However, I had already been prepared by Onofre Pagsanghan's method of reading... identify MP's (memorable passages) and be ready to quote and explain each one of them.

Around this time, I drifted into a group of gamers who were pretty sharp themselves. These guys were, on the whole, tactically sharp, had a wide range of interests that overlapped with mine, and were fond of wordplay, puzzles, political and social commentary.

I'm sure there were other factors, but I credit some of my current habits in thinking to these influences. It IS an evolution, because I can remember terrible habits that I acquired then dropped later on.

The worst of these was accepting that I couldn't figure something out without first figuring out why. I would give up without really trying. I would make excuses that a child could poke holes through. This habit still raises its terrible seven-headed visage from time to time.

THINK! THINK! THINK!
Palanca Virgin

So that's what Palanca night is like.

Never been to one before, you see. Wow, it's a posh affair (sorta). It's got good food, bottomless drinks, and lots of literary people there.

I got to watch my friends Dean & Nikki Alfar get their awards. I got to listen to poetry and listen to a funny one-act play. I got to meet up with Chris Millado, an old acquaintance from San Francisco and the theater group I used to belong to there...

I got to wonder along with my beloved Kate what we'd have to do to get ourselves one of those neat awards next year.

Sadly, I don't know much about the local literary scene. Dean & Nikki and Andrew and Vinnie seemed to know everyone and their works, while I was in the dark as to who was being applauded and so on and so forth.

Time to start, I guess.
We Are A Brown Race

I was just looking at my birth certificate and I noticed the Nationality and Race of my parents. Nationality: Filipino; Race: Brown.

Race: Brown? WTF?

Lest you think I'm ancient, Kate's birth certificate lists the same thing for her parents.
CraftWatch: Writing

I suddenly realized I'm writing a lot more than I used to. I write a semi-regular column for a news magazine, I've just written a short story for Dean's anthology (rejected, for being... ah... more than meets the eye), and I'm rewriting the script for a 10 page comic.

Techie that I am, I keep thinking about a way to systematize writing things up. I think that a notebook full of story ideas and storytelling techniques would be good thing to keep... just the thing when people say "write something... anything!" I think that a good archive of all written short stories would be good (rejected or not). You never know when you'll be called upon to rewrite your story into a given format.

Speaking of formats, I've found that for writing quick comic scripts, the following method works quite well:

  1. write a brief paragraph about the setting of the story, and note any visual elements you'd like the artist to make;
  2. write one brief paragraph about each major character in the story, especially the protagonist(s);
  3. write a short summary of the plot flow and any special flourishes you want in the story;
  4. go through the summary, and break it down by pages into a page summary;
  5. go through each page summary and modify it by breaking down the number of necessary panels without bothering with the actual panel layout on the page;
  6. go back through each page summary add captions, SFX and dialogue;
  7. read through the entire 1st draft of the comic script and check for EVERYTHING: plot holes, pages overcrowded with panels, panels overcrowded with captions / word balloons / sound effects, realistic dialogue, unrealistic expectations of the artist, and so on.
Back to work. Apparently, my comc script has to be in Tagalog...

HobbyWatch Comics

HobbyWatch: Comics

DC Comics has been my favorite publisher for the past 10 or so years. I’ve always collected at least one DC comic series such as Legion of Superheroes or Teen Titans or some funky Elseworlds thing. They came out with the Swamp Thing and Sandman stuff that eventually become Vertigo, and they’ve shown they were willing to make major changes to the world for fairly lengthy amounts of time.



I’m very excited about the Infinite Crisis storyline, which seems to be revitalizing the universe. It seems that the Big Three (Supes, Bats and Wondy) will no longer be seeing eye to eye, and generations seem to play a role.

I really like the George Perez cover showing several generations for the different superhero “houses”. You have Superboy and Supergirl for the Superman clan, Robin and Nightwing for the Batman clan, and Wonder Girl and Troia for the Wonder Woman clan. I like the re-emergence of the Green Lantern Corps and the Rann-Thanagar War (with L.E.G.I.O.N. playing an important role). I like the Villains getting their act together and uniting (somewhat). I’m kinda iffy on the supernatural ‘verse, but I’m willing to see where it all goes.
Top 5 Things You May Not Know About Me:

1. My mother saved my life twice (that I know of): At around age 8, I was swimming in a pool, but was pulled underwater in the deepish end and panicked. I began to drown. My mom, leaving the life guard in the dust, waded in, clothes and all, and pulled me out. Another time, I was around 6, and I was given hard candy to stop crying. I began to choke. My mom, not yet familiar with the Heimlich manuever, held me upside down and hammered my back hard until I spit out the offending treat.

2. I had very thick hair on my head when I was born: It was thick enough that my Dad could easily pick me out, face unseen, out of all the sleeping babies in the hospital nursery. Yes, I miss it.

3. I used to sing & dance & act on stage: In grade school and in high school and in college, I used to be a part of a variety of acting / performing groups. I was with Ateneo Children's Theatre, Dulaang Sibol (one year only), Serra High School's theater performances, and with a now-hibernating San Francisco group called Teatro Ng Tanan.

4. I used to be a big UFO nut: read everything I could about them. Knew names, places, incidents, etc. Forgotten 'em all now, after the abduction (just kidding).

5. I believe in but avoid the supernatural: I know it's out there, occasionally get curious and read up about it... but I try to keep it out of my life as much as possible.
BLOG Filler: Main Causes of Liver Damage

Well, all my writing energies are focused on work and preparing my submission to Dean's anthology... so, here's some blog filler based on an e-mail. I learned this technique from my old friend Amos. Enjoy!

Warning: I cannot confirm the accuracy of the following statements. I am not a doctor, nor do I portray one on TV.

The main causes of liver damage are:

  1. Sleeping too late and waking up too late are the main cause.
  2. Not urinating in the morning.
  3. Too much eating.
  4. Skipping breakfast.
  5. Consuming too much medication.
  6. Consuming too much preservatives, additives, food coloring, and artificial sweetener.
  7. Consuming unhealthy cooking oil. As much as possible reduce cooking oil use when frying,which includes even the best cooking oils like olive oil. Do not consume fried foods when you are tired, except if the body is very fit.
  8. Consuming raw (overly done) foods also add to the burden of liver. Veggies should be eaten raw or cooked 3-5 parts. Fried veggies should be finished in one sitting, do not store. We should prevent this without necessarily spending more. We just have to adopt a good daily lifestyle and eating habits. Maintaining good eating habits and time condition are very important for our bodies to absorb and get rid of unnecessary chemicals according to "schedule."
Because:
  • Evening at 9 - 11pm : is the time for eliminating unnecessary/toxic chemicals (de-toxification)from the antibody system (lymph nodes).This time duration should be spent by relaxing or listening to music. If during this time a housewife is still in an unrelaxed state such as washing the dishes or monitoring children doing their homework, this will have a negative impact on health.
  • Evening at 11pm - 1am : is the de-toxification process in the liver, and ideally should be done in a deep sleep state.
  • Early morning 1 - 3am : de-toxification process in the gall, also ideally done in a deep sleep state.
  • Early morning 3 - 5am : de-toxification in the lungs. Therefore there will sometimes be a severe cough for cough sufferers during this time. Since the de-toxification process had reached the respiratory tract, there is no
  • need to take cough medicine so as not to interfere with toxin removal process.
  • Morning 5 - 7am : de-toxification in the colon, you should empty your bowels.
  • Morning 7 - 9am : absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, you should be having breakfast at this time. Breakfast should be earlier, before 6:30am, for those who are sick. Breakfast before 7:30am is very beneficial
  • to those wanting to stay fit. Those who always skip breakfast, they should change their habits, and it is still better to eat breakfast late until 9 - 10am rather than no meal at all. Sleeping so late and waking up too late will disrupt the process of removing unnecessary chemicals. Aside from that, midnight to 4am is the time when the bone marrow produces blood. Therefore, have a good sleep and don't sleep late.
Techno-Integration and Water

I recently submitted an article concerning managing your electronic information, and I was thinking about how, at a certain point, I had both a Palm Pilot and a Cellphone that could use Infra-red to send addresses to each other. It resulted in a highly synchronized address book on my Palm Pilot.

Both those devices have long since perished. The cellphone did a face-down plop into a puddle of water. Corrosion set in within hours and my cellphone was dead. The Palm Pilot slowly perished, with its mysterious need to constantly HotSync draining my battery and rendering it unusable anyway... possibly caused by corrosion. I used to keep it in my pants pocket and it must have eventually succumbed to the humidity of this location.

Someday, I will have these integrated toys again... someday.
Great Goonie-googoos!

Man - it's so hard to wrestle with actual stories after writing only vignettes and RPG adventure modules for so long. I've got a pseudo-outline that always morphs tries to morph into "something more ambitious" at every turn, I'm grasping for vocabulary with the right connotation, I'm struggling with speech patterns and exposition and non-cinematic action.

I've missed this!
THE WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Saturday

This past weekend was a busy one, and more than a little bit tiring. It was, however, quite enjoyable and exciting as we shall see...

Early Start

Despite getting to bed late after the Friday night Isle game, I found myself awake at around 630 am. After a quick shower and no breakfast, I stumbled out to the elevator after checking three times that all the books I wanted signed would be with me. (Later I would find out that the Sandman TPB I was planning on having signed was left behind).

For those of you wondering why I was up so early... it was because of two things: Neil Gaiman's 3 pm appearance and book signing at Rockwell, and the need to pick up the things I'd left at the office before swinging by Kate's place for breakfast with her family at 730 am.

I'd been asked several times (and by several people) why we were planning to be there so early. I really didn't have an idea, other than that Neil Gaiman was a BIG THING in the circles that I ran, and given the nature of the local rabid fandom, showing up at that time seemed to be... early enough to be a true fan, but not too early so as to be cool about it.

Of course, I was nervous that no one else would think the same way since Neil (wow, first-name basis) had 3 other scheduled appearances, and my beloved Kate had a habit of complaining about the days I woke her up too early for certain events...

I checked my e-mail at the office before I shut down the PC that I'd left on overnight... the yahoo groups list of the Neil Gaiman events in Manila had a file that indicated that they'd be giving out the queue stubs at 1030 am.

What are queue stubs? Well, the event and signing would still be at 3 pm, and would be open to ALL who attended. The queue stubs were little numbered stubs that indicated the order in which Neil would sign your books.

Suddenly, being there at 830 am seemed just about right.

Nearing Kate's place I rung her on the cell, only to find out I'd just woken her up. We were going to be late. It was already close to 730 am.

Flash forward to just after breakfast at MCS McDo. Kate has me back the van out of parking, and we switch places. It was time to practice her driving.

After an eternity of giving careful and half-nervous driving advice and narrowly avoiding an argument over driving styles, she parked at Rockwell.

Lines

The lines were long, but not too long. Too many people were confused about the procedures, and everyone was trying to be helpful to everyone else, but this sometimes muddled things further.

In the end I got my queue number from the even-numbered line: 252. Kate got her number from the odd-numbered line a little after I did, but managed to get 229. Go figure.

After enduring the intriguing but sadly unannounced and consequently unwelcome performance of a band, Neil finally showed up with apologies and an amusing story about not being able to get the printer to work. He told us anecdotes, answered a few questions, shared a screening of Mirror Mask, and then got to the signing.

And lo it was a long signing. Neil seemed to have been genuinely shocked about signing for 700 people (I'd thought they'd only allowed 500 for that day), and the fact that folks could have up to a maximum of 4 books (depending on how many purchases you'd made from Fully Booked). Still he only took a brief dinner break and signed all these books.

It was after 9pm when I was finally in line. Just before I went up the stage, Neil had the organizers announce that children (15 and younger) would be given priority so they wouldn't be out so late. They'd alternate with the other folks already in line. I was so tired I didn't even get momentarily annoyed by it. And seeing some of the 6-year old kids at the event already asleep in their parents arms, I felt some of the same sentiments he did.

Then I heard the announcement concerning women in an advanced state of pregnancy and began to chuckle softly.

My Neil Gaiman story

So I went up the stairs and handed over my two books for signing. I thanked him for hanging on for so long for all the fans, and responded with an enthusiastic but weary "you're very welcome!"
He still had his wits about him, and noted that the Fantasy anthology I was having him sign was quite possibly the first time he'd signed it anywhere. He also realized he'd never seen the anthology and wrote a big "#1" in the book.

Then he signed my Books of Magic TPB, and we shook hands and I was off rather quickly to allow the other folks in line their shot too.

I had rehearsed a witty remark or two while in line, but after the announcements concerning children and pregnant women, decided that it was best to just thank him, get my books signed and get the heck outta there.

Everyone was tired - no sense in stretching things out.
PNP Presence

I get antsy when I see tons of PNP personnel crowding the streets of Ortigas. On my way to work I saw a number of them at key intersections (not really directing traffic, just hanging out...) a couple of vans... and a big truck with K9 personnel on it.

Is there a big rally in Ortigas slated later today? Or will there be a buncha VIPs here later? Who knows?
A Brand New Spin

And so, to further defuse any arguments that our little President had done anything wrong in calling him up, Garcilliano now calls (from a place of hiding) to claim that both opposition and administration candidates called him up to ask how they were doing.

If everyone does it, then it's okay.

It's also done to bolster the argument that even if PGMA called, it is not tantamount to asking him to coordinate any rigging of elections.

Other people have admitted to calling up Garcillano, while other folks have denied calling him.

It would have been so much easier if we had all of them on tape, but alas... there are only so many voices on the evidence currently circulating on the Internet...
Awash in Ideas

As an exercise I've been trying to catch snippets of ideas here and there. Today, something funny came up - what if (the cornerstone phrase of speculative fiction...) we became a telepathic society?

Perhaps not entirely telepathic (I sense great anger in you), but capable of messaging everyone certain thoughts. Yes, it would be great to do so without talking and all... but if you merge that with the concept of computer e-mail...

"My dear, I have something very important to tell you... 100% off Vi(A)Grahhh now. Ask me how!"

Yes, mental messaging would collapse under the weight of telepathic spam, phishing, and virus attacks!
Writing Habits

In sharp contrast to my old "fire-and-forget" tactics when writing stories, I'm actually collecting my story ideas and concepts in a notebook again. I'm taking down storytelling devices and character ideas in the hopes that they'll all percolate in my thoughts so when I do sit down and write, it'll all flow from my thoughts and fingertips.

I've tried writing from outlines before, but I tend to veer away from the original storyline I plotted into new and unexpected (or old and tired) story voices and directions. The same thing happens when I try to write stories "piecemeal".

Hopefully I'll be able to cobble together a little story of wonder set in a strange dystopian future Metro Manila in the near future.
Admission and Omission

Well, she came out on TV and admitted she was the voice on the tapes (well one of the voices, anyway) and said she was "sorry" that she was talking to a Comelec official during the time of election counting. She did not identify who she was talking to. She did not admit that she was orchestrating an exercise in "dagdag-bawas". She's asked everyone to move on.

She still insists that she won the elections fair and square. She points to the polls and her margin of victory. Yet she does not mention that the tapes contain portions that point to activities involving more than "confirming her lead". She does not mention that polls favored FPJ at one time, and the favored her at another time. She does not mention that her margin of victory was one of the smallest margins of victory in the history of Philippine elections.

By the way, Garcilliano is still missing. Garcilliano is probably the "COMELEC Official" on the tapes. Unless some other COMELEC Official has a nickname "Garci".
Watch 'em Circle Them Wagons

Well, the recordings are certainly causing a stir. Which recordings? The ones that allegedly have our President GMA talking with some undisclosed COMELEC official about how the election returns are being fixed in her favor. From what I've seen on the news and the papers, there are certain interesting tidbits that piqued my interest:
  1. The Palace revealed the existence of the recordings first, perhaps in an attempt to discredit them as fakes. [Not a bad move, PR-wise. Transparency and all that.]
  2. The Palace, for some inexplicable reason, claimed that the recordings were really of PGMA but were spliced from various conversations. [Okay, this may have gone a bit too far with the transparency bit.]
  3. The Palace later claimed that the recordings were not necessarily PGMA after all. [... and this really makes 'em look suspicious...]
  4. The Palace is now threatening legal action towards anyone who seeks to disseminate copies of these recordings. [... and even more suspicious. A complete 180-degree turn.]
  5. The Palace claims that the rumors claiming that the source of these recordings as coming from someone the U.S. government is part of destabilizers seeking to indicate that the U.S.A would support the fall of PGMA. [Wow, I didn't even hear that rumor yet! Maybe a return to transparency?]
  6. The Opposition claims that the whole recording brouhaha is merely a Palace attempt to distract everyone from the jueteng allegations. [Interesting.]
  7. There is a prominent spread in today's Philippine Star indicating the close ties between the PRC and the Philippines, which could be construed as either diplomatic PR, or a warning to U.S. interests in the Philippines. [Now THIS was a nice move.]
  8. Some dude has come out saying "Hey, that guy she's talking to sounds like me!" but has not confirmed (or denied) that it is him. [WTF? Is he looking for hush money or attention?]
  9. Some analysis of the recordings seem to indicate that they have some basis in truth:
  • the voice, phrasing, and vocabulary of one of the speakers has been identified by some experts as PGMA;
  • the election returns being discussed (wins, losses and related margins) seem to tally with the actual election results reported;
  • there is supposedly no indication when electronically analyzed of any splicing.
We'll see how the story develops further. It's interesting to compare the various types of news reported on the Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer websites. I leave that as an exercise for you intrigued folks out there.

I gotta get back to work.
De-stressing

Well, I was a bit miffed this morning because they're cementing off the fricking pedestrian pathways through the center island of the street formerly known as Emerald Avenue. It forces us to walk further away to find an open path, or to use the horrid overpass-crosswalk monstrosity over at the corner of Emerald and Julia Vargas.

It sucks.

Still... eh. Here's some destressing mindless nonesense:



Your Linguistic Profile:



65% General American English

20% Yankee

15% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern


Stories Untold

This past weekend, Kate and I went up to La Union to meet with one of the grand old matriarchs of my Dad's side of the family. We enjoyed our lunch, dinner and breakfast with her a great deal. We did not lack food (at least 5 viands per meal [including breakfast] plus dessert).

It struck me how many stories will be lost to time when she finally joins the rest of the clan that has passed on.

She mentioned how she lived in Zamboanga City for 4 years, and how one of her sons was born there (earning him the nickname "morito"). Why did she go there? Perhaps to get away from her mother, she says. Now, it's hard for me to believe that this 80-year old serenely smiling woman could have harbored difficulties that would have kept her from her mother... but I didn't know the full story, and we were all young once.

She still works at the bank she helped start, clocking in early in the morning and then again after lunch at around 2 pm. She's been working there for 50 years - but she prefers working over staying home!

I remember helping her down from her van a few years ago, and she told me then "I'm not so old that you need to help me walk." That made it difficult for me to see her in the wheelchair most of the time we were there.

She has diabetes, and the whole family has tried to control what she eats... but as she puts it... she's 80! She's not afraid of "graduating" to the next life.

When we were leaving, she told me that I reminded her of my Lola Iday who was "beautiful both in the face and in her character". I've always thought so, but coming from someone who was, in all the ways that matter, her sister, I know it to be truth.

She urged us to come back often (and soon). Perhaps we'll take a few more people with us then too.
Shattering Patterns

Once in a while I actually notice my pet phrases being used as verbal crutches. Verbal crutches are things that you say when you're trying to think of something to say. (By the way, I applaud anyone who attempts to think before saying something - even if you're terribly slow at it.)

In my case, I've shifted my crutch phrases a couple of times in my life. My current ones appear to be "interesting", "what's funny is that...", "weird", "that's disturbing", and "jumpin' jehosaphat!".

Okay, I made up that last one.

I like shattering these patterns because it breaks up the lazy thought patterns in my head and makes dem inta shiny nu wunz. F33r my l33t skullz! Anyway, thinking can be tiring but thinking along new lines can be quite invigorating... other options include:

- avoiding the use of adjectives in writing;
- using as much alliteration as humanly possible;
- selecting metaphors tied to a specific theme (food, animals, noble gases...)
Riot Shields

I work in Orient Square Building, and sometimes park in the parking lot across the street from El Pueblo.

Today, when I parked there... I was surprised to see many riot shields propped up against the hurricane fence. Then I noticed that some 20-odd blue-clad police there with riot batons idly sitting in vehicles or standing around.

I was surprised because I saw lots more of them there yesterday (in the early evening), some enjoying a meal in Red Table, the rest waiting around in the same way. I'd assumed they would have left by now... but they remain there... No one will say what they're doing there...

Very ominous.
Gulaman, Dumbells and Boleros

Fr. Prudencio Macayan, S.J. passed away just a few days ago. In my 1st and only year of High School in Ateneo, he was my math teacher. A very stern and demanding one too.

He would grade an answer to question wrong if he couldn't understand the handwriting. He would not check the back of the paper for the rest of the answer to the questions (even if the questions he gave numbered in the 50s) if you didn't write "turn to the next page, please" at the bottom of the first page. He would go on a terrible tirade if you damaged any of the trees in the AHS area.

I just went to the AHS chapel and paid my respects. It's funny, but I still felt the remaining awe and deference to him as I stood beside his coffin. I was irrationally terrified that he would sit up and begin interrogating me on what I'd done with my life since he'd last seen me... peppering his speech with well worn pet phrases like "Are you a man, or a gulaman?", "Are you a dumbell, Mr. Osias.", or "I think you're all boleros."

Well, all I can think of is now that he's passed on... God help the folks who mess with the trees in the AHS. He's probably guarding them full time now.
Fanboy News

I'm a fan of many things... so here are a few things that I've got off the top of my head...

- American Idol - Scott is out. It was about time. I think he's a good singer and all, but I didn't think he was at the caliber of the rest of the folks there.

- Dr. Who - after a long hiatus, the BBC series lives again! After the first comeback season, however, the actor portraying the good doctor decided that he was in danger of being typecast and quit. There's a new actor portraying the doctor for comeback season two!

- Forgotten Realms - this D&D setting is returning to Undermountain! The uber-dungeon of Halaster Blackcloak in Waterdeep is getting some attention from the website. They're outlining some of the contents of the first level, and the entire first level map is available for download from the site.

- George Perez - this brilliant comic book artist has signed an exclusive 5-year contract with DC Comics (after a heated bidding war between the Big Two). I'm excited to see his work again in DC, though I thoroughly enjoyed his work in Avengers.
American Bridle

As I anxiously await who has been eliminated (heard it was a shocker) from the show, I wanted to pause and go back to the misheard lyrics of some folks near and dear to me... you are not alone!

Here, taken from the am i right website are misheard lyrics from Heart's "Alone":

Misheard Lyrics:
'Til now I always got by on my own
I never really cared if you loved me, too.

Correct Lyrics:
'Til now I always got by on my own
I never really cared until I met you.

Misheard Lyrics:
And now it chains me to the phone.
Correct Lyrics:
And now it chills me to the bone.

Misheard Lyrics:
How do I get you a loan?
or
How did I get to alone
Correct Lyrics:
How do I get you alone?
Late Night Blog

It's yet another late night at work. I'll be signing off in a bit, hoping to work faster and sharper early tomorrow morning.

Before I sign off, I'd like to touch on several things:

  • reading and writing;
  • asking questions and seeking answers;
  • getting on with it.
In a country like the Philippines, it's difficult to guesstimate how important reading and writing are. My experiences indicated that while the "common" Filipino has difficulty understanding complex or specialized English, they can get by (thank you, pirated cable TV and imported TV shows). This is wonderful, considering that a cursory review of the daily broadsheets evidence a number of articles that would drive English grammarians to despair.

At least we try to read and keep abreast of things...

A lot of Filipinos are also conspiracy theorists at heart, possibly due to constant exposure to life in the Philippines. After being beset with perpetual illogical behavior and events, we tend to craft the strangest (and sometimes eerily accurate) explanations for them.

As a people, we should temper this tendency with a bit of journalistic discipline by trying to identify and verify sources of information. Independent witnesses and hard evidence should have greater weight that the latest texted rumor. It might help turn the country around were we to become less subject to publicity and psychological manipulation, and more critical of the news we are fed.

In the end, it's a matter of hurry. We're too busy trying to make a living, trying to support our loved ones and set aside a nest egg for the future to dedicate a large portion of our lives to muckraking and activism.

Until the next time that our collective outrage overflows and we take to the streets.

Bah! It's time to go!
Makati Tickets and Ninoy

I lost my driver's license to a Makati traffic aide this past weekend and had to go early this morning to pick it up (after paying my fine).

They had an interesting mechanism there - you're supposed to drop your ticket in the basket, and wait for them to find the matching ticket with your driver's license. Then you wait for your name to be called out, and go to the window number assigned to you.

I arrived early - around 7am. The common wisdom from the taxi drivers and delivery truck drivers was that things would get started around 8:30am. I went off to have a healthy Burger Machine breakfast... then returned to my position in the mass of people waiting.

I heard some unusual humor from the drivers who were trying to get change for the various fines that had to be paid. Oddly enough, because of the number of P500 fines, the picture of Ninoy was much in discussion. There were jokes about the fact that the bills weren't real because "walang butas ang ulo ni Ninoy", and comments thrown in concerning the hardness of Ninoy's and the disapproval of Kris and Cory to all the joking around.

I suppose he's much in the news again after the recent ruling...
Writing Committments

Let's see... long-lingering things that I've got to finish include:
  1. the revised Sandugo issue #1 script
  2. the outline & script to Sandugo issue #2
  3. the outline & script to Sandugo issue #3
  4. the outline & script to Sandugo issue #4
  5. the Hinirang RPG ruleset
  6. the Hinirang RPG sourcebook
... and not necessarily in that order. I've also been wanting to write short stories for each of the subgenres listed in Hero Games' Star Hero.

Sharpen those pencils, my boy.
Finding Purchase

Every day is a constant battle to get things done. Scads of work piling up and trying to cut through them... trying to organize my personal life so that I can make sure nothing slips through the cracks... trying to keep in touch with old friend... trying to do all things for the upcoming wedding.

It's freaky how I know there's probably enough time... but where does it all go? Back to the salt mines!
Catch-phrase Cut-ups

Every so often, we play a game after lunch at work called Catchphrase. A randomly selected word (or phrase) must be guessed by one's team mates... you can give verbal clues or gestures, but you cannot say the word or a part of it.

The game lends itself to some funny moments... here are a few:

Team A Lead: What's the opposite of dry?
Team A Members: Wet!
Team A Lead: Hindi pa.
Team A Members: Not yet wet.
(The answer was moist)

Team A Lead: Sa Superbowl, you eat this kind of... *buzzer sounds and opposite team has a chance to steal*
Team B Members: Hotdogs?
(The answer was Chinese Food. The team leader was referring to the name of a chinese restaurant: Super Bowl)

Team A Lead: Who was an enemy of James Bond in the 60s?
Team A Members: Dr. No!
Team A Lead: Ay! Talaga? Um, Dr. is right but the second word is... World Health Organization.
Team A Members: Dr. WHO!
(That's right!)

I guess you had to be there...
Balanced Imbalance

I always hear about the importance of a balanced lifestyle. I hear about it enough times that it tends to go in one ear and out the other.

What is a balanced lifestyle? It suggests that one's time is to be spread evenly between the various "must do's" and "might do's" that vie for one's attention. However, this is seldom simple or easy.

Determining how much time should be allocated to one's various interests is often a complex exercise. For example, deciding how to split time between work, family, friends and personal growth cannot be solved by allocating a fourth of all the hours in a day to each aspect. Depending on your priorities, some will inevitably command more time, and rightly so.

Even after having decided on this allocation of time, it is often difficult to stick to. Work has a tendency to overwhelm you if ignored. Family often makes irresistible demands on time that cannot be shackled to quotas. Friends are much the same way, and tend to slip away if not given the proper attention. Finally, if all your time is dedicated outwards, you may find that you've lost a sense of self... torn this way and that by various competing priorities.

Despite the complexities and difficulties of planning and implementing the allocation of your time, it is a task that must be undertaken with gusto and relish. Otherwise, your life's story may resemble a random stumbling about rather than a series of stages towards ever more profound and meaningful physical, mental, relational and spiritual transformations.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog.
It's time for a revamp!

We've been working on the current version of www.hanapbahay.com.ph for a while now, and it's time to modify certain things as we begin to prepare and plan for a sales and marketing drive. If you've never gone to the site of our entrepreneurial venture... drop by!

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
Who Will Watch the Watchmen?

Well, if it ever gets made, I probably will! However, it's gotten a step closer to reality... check out the website for the movie here.

Weekend review: Isle, Pamanhikan, a baptism, a birthday celebration, and The Phantom (of the Opera)

Oh yes, a brutal "episode" of the ongoing Isle campaign. My character faced a nasty dragon (huge, nasty, with several breath weapons it delighted in using all at once), ran away like a scared child (along with the other members of the party), and was skewered by a sword called Weary (one of the 7 seven nasty, Craft-hating swords).

The Pamanhikan was a little nerve-wracking at the beginning, but at Prince Albert the conversation finally relaxed, and amusing little anecdotes shared between the in-laws (and the couple-to-be) allowed both sides to get some insight into the others' lives. Great food too!

The baptism (of Vincent Binhi Malaya) was fun, the child was unnaturally well-behaved (according to his mother), and charmed everyone by reaching out to grasp the priest's hand while a benediction was prayed over the child. After the baptism, however, the Jakjak Incredible look-alike soon threw tantrums, only to to be placated by the more... ahem... rotund members of the ninongs, ninangs, and well-wishers in attendance.

The birthday was surprisingly entertaining, due to the presence of the CQuest Usual Suspects. Kate & I enjoyed kibbitzing with Marco (who bought the same gift we did, darn it), Jason, Camille, Vinnie and the parents of Princess "I don't have any powers" Sage when the could get away from their parental duties.

The Phantom was enjoyable, though the voice of the Phantom was a distinct let-down. It was only near the end that I could understand their vocal choice for the Phantom, but even then I felt that a stronger voice should have been used especially during the "Music of the Night" segment. Some exposition scenes were painful to watch, particularly when similar exposition occurs later in the movie to reiterate what the audience may have forgotten.

All-in-all, an enjoyable weekend spent with my mahaw...
Planetary #22

I really enjoy this series. Like everyone else, I dislike the irregularity of releases.

Part of the attraction for me is the attempt to tie all these different genres of comics, novels, movies and serials together into a fascinating universe. I loved the idea of Island Zero (where I believe the shiftship is probably located), the HK Ghost Cop was just too cool for words. The Pulp characters and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen equivalent and the Jules Verne homages all mesh together for a fascinating romp...

... the whacked-out science sometimes fascinates me, sometimes irks me.

But all-in-all... excellent work!
1602, American Gods, Neverwhere...

I found this little paragraph on the web from a link passed to me...

Incidentally, I'm trying to organise (well, I'm not actually doing the organising) the promised signings in the Phillipines and Singapore before or after the Melbourne convention and Australian book signings this summer. The signing in the Philippines looks like it's happening, but I'm not sure about the Singapore one, as originally I was going be brought in with Dave McKean by the British Council, a plan that was scuppered by MirrorMask, and now I'm not really sure who to talk to. (If anyone in Singapore has any bright ideas, feel free to let me know.)
That's from some dude named Neil Gaiman.
Oshiasu - The Revered Wild Scholar King!

Yes, this is the "japanese" translation of my last name. See?


What about my first name? It's Wild Spirit-Air-Mountain Strike!

Beware the Wild Spirit-Air-Mountain Strike of the Revered Wild Scholar King!

Find out your name here.
And now... for something completely different

A funny little animation link. Go and see! Bunnies... and has everyone else had more sex than me? It'll make sense...
Rings and Things

Never thought that buying a ring or having one made would be so complex! Not only do you have to get the size of the ring right, you also have to take into consideration the metal (yellow or white gold), the design (thick or thin, fancy, raised stone, embedded or whatever the correct terms are), and the stones too!

The final design I chose was similar to a lot of engagement rings I'd seen... the classic narrow band with a slightly raised stone. However, I also asked that the design I'd seen on some rings my Mom gave me be put in it... a line of teeny diamonds running down the center of the ring.

It turned out really nice, and I'm glad. It'll match the wedding ring designs too... hehe.

Turns out that was a consideration, since the traditional way of wearing engagement rings after you're married is to wear both the engagement ring and the wedding ring. In our case, I think that it's just going to be some added flexibility for my mahaw.
Writing Wrongs

I'm usually stumped about what to write about on this blog. I want to write something that doesn't take too much time, but is something meaningful (more or less). At the same time, there's this paranoia (no doubt helped by the ads that appear on my site related to the topics I've written about) that I'm being profiled by THE POWERS THAT BE!

Well, that sparked an idea...

Let's take a look at the things wrong with the world and my feelings about 'em... helps me keep abreast of current events and all that...

Women in times of War

My inaugural hop is to the Amnesty International site, where we discover that women tend to bear the brunt of warfare.

"Rape is used in armed conflicts to intimidate, conquer and control women and their communities. It is used as a form of torture to extract information, punish and terrorize."

I was once a member of the Rape Education and Prevention Program at my college, and it was taught to me that in terms of rapes that take place in the United States, majority are NOT done by absolute strangers. Most are acquaintance / date rapes. Rape, of course, is forcing someone to perform sex acts against that someone's consent. I'm sure there's a more legally binding definition elsewhere... but the debate largely grew from what constituted "consent".

In the case of rape used as a form of torture to extract information, punish and terrorize... I doubt that there's going to be much nitpicking. It's immoral on three (and probably more) counts: rape (a crime of power) and torture... and the fact that it's against civilians... to shame the community, to sap hope, to reinforce contempt for the enemy.

So what's being done about it? How effective can protest marches and similar actions be in places that are at war... against armies that show so much contempt for life and the quality of it? Can this type of "warfare" truly reflect a group or nation fighting for worthy ideals or principles?

If I've piqued your interest, here's a link for you to peruse.