Saturday, March 13, 2004

Book-Return Day

Last Friday was Book-Return Day was I had to go to school not because I had any requirements to satisfy but rather I had to meet various people to claim my books back. Of course it wasn't the most productive 6 hours of my life but hey, it's not like I have a life.

Escapist and Unnecessary

In a mailing list I'm in, those two words have been used to describe one of my favorite genres: SF&F. And to a certain extent, I agree.

Writing, after all, is a form of art, and art is usually enjoyed not for its utilitarian aspects (in fact, it's anti-utilitarian since it usually consumes money and space yet usually has no practical purpose) but aesthetic qualities. (Of course there are exceptions to this rule and there are some objects which blend art with practicality... such as that flat-screen LCD monitor, which looks really cool yet serves a purpose at the same time.)

The genre of fiction is also an exercise of imagination. Some read it to escape the world. Not every person in the world has to read a particular work of fiction, not even the Bible (okay, hard-core "Christians" will probably flame me now). So in a certain respect, it is *ahem* *ahem* escapist and unnecessary.

But so what? Not everything in life has to be necessary. And fiction tells us as much about the world as it is escapist.

Also, compare a how-to-do book (work of nonfiction) compared to a fiction book. If person A was reading the how-to-do book of, say, building a house, he'll either find it useful (if he's building a house) or he won't (if he's not building a house). A fiction book, on the other hand, (to a certain extent), doesn't really care if person A is building a house or not. The fiction book tells a story and person A might have various reactions to it. It might make him laugh, cry, smile... the whole gamut of feelings. He also might attach a religious meaning to it, might remind him of a childhood memory, or simply relate to it in a specific, certain way unique to him. Sure, he doesn't find it useful per se, but it does provoke from him certain feelings, emotions, and thought (some might even relate this experience to philosophy) which characterizes himself as a human being.

To put it in another way, I'll use the overused statement "we eat to live, not live to eat". One might say part of living is part of reading (although not limited to feeling). I mean we've been described as social animals. And while reading as an act might strike certain people as anti-social (since we do it alone and don't want to be disturbed by others when doing so), it is also one of the most social acts a human being can ever do. Why? Because we're engaging in a conversation. The author (and some might even say the book or narrative itself) is conversing with as many people as there are books printed. And similarly, the reader is reacting to the author in various ways. The reader might even react to another reader in different ways. We're actually interacting with the world hence denouncing the escapism usually associated with fiction. And of course, it's also necessary because we'd probably go insane if all we did was eat, drink, and sleep.

Fiction is part of living (although by no means is it the only means that we "live"). There are also several reasons why we read fiction. We can't just be robots, doing only work and stopping only to rest and recharge. And the experience of reading a particular book is unique in itself and can only be done by ourselves and no one else.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Reset Button

Sometimes, I long for more than a second chance; I want to start over. Maybe it's the perfectionist in me. Or maybe it's me shying away from tying up loose ends. Or simply because it's easier to start over rather than to fix things as it is.

But life doesn't have a reset button unlike video games. And maybe it's for the best (at least in the long run). With adversity comes the opportunity for growth, learning, and/or understanding. The reset button is sometimes akin to running away. And while running away isn't necessarily a bad thing, we can't always be running away from our problems, from our lives, from ourselves.

It occured to me that when I long for that "reset button", I should be focusing more on finishing what I started rather than looking for a fresh start. Resolution can bring many things (some of them unpredictable). It might solve the situation, or it might open up new problems. But either way, it's an opportunity for growth.

Of course in retrospect, while the reset button is a no-no, perhaps everyone needs a change of pace once in a while, or a vacation. And perhaps I should take the time, even if just for a week, to take a break from everything: TV, Internet, gaming, the books that I usually read, etc. (I'd put in the "people I always hang out with" but unfortunately, I don't have "people I always hang out with" but it's more of "people who take pity on me from time to time". But I'm really grateful for people who's stuck with me up to the present [so far] like Vin and Vern.)

On Something Less Serious

Got stuck in traffic from Ateneo on the way to Ortigas, which makes me grateful that I usually commute and with commutting, I don't have the hassles of driving a car (paying for gas, paying for parking, the concept of bribery, etc.).

Of course it was also one of the rarer events in my life that I was hitching a ride with a girl (apparently, there's this chauvinistic side of me and in the four years that I've been hitching rides, the ones driving the car have for the most part all been guys, with the exception of the kind and beautiful store owners at CCHQ [domo!] whom I occassionally hitch a ride home with). *ahem* A cute girl. And then it all comes crashing that maybe the girl won't like me because I don't drive and since she does, she has a right to it.

On the other hand, being stuck in traffic with a cute girl isn't such a bad thing... =)

TV is Rotting my Brain

For the past few days, I've been glued to the TV for around four hours a day. That's like three more hours than my usual dose of television. And in the end, it makes me as dizzy as staring at the computer for several hours.

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Monday, March 08, 2004


I've always been the spontaneous type of person, making decisions at the spur of the moment. Of course lately, it doesn't help that my friends are as, uh, unorganize as I am, and they only keep tabs on me at nearly the last moment (one day in advance).

Yes, deep down inside, I'm really an obsessive-compulsive person who wants things planned and organized.

On a side note, a few months from now, things will be more "chaotic" for me since employment in a call center not only means having a screwed-up biological clock but an inability to plan a week ahead as well.

Animax Con

April 3 at Glorietta. Won't be there, so I'm sure a lot of people won't be missing me.

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Sunday, March 07, 2004

Blurry Eyes

Just woke up and my left eye is still "waking up". It really surprises me that I can still read it at this rate.

Oh yeah, also felt something "snap" in my left eye last evening. Hopefully no long term damage. Blindness is one of those diseases I wish I'd never get (because I can't read anymore!). Losing my hands is a close second, because that means I can't type (and believe me, my voice is far from fluent or understandable). And I sound smarter when I write (I just tend to be a goof or an outcast in real life). =)

Red Tape

It looks like life in Ateneo is still full of red tape. Got grades, and suffice to say, there are stil subjects with asterisks.

TV Shows

Life as a bum has re-introduced me to the mysterious corrupting device that is called the television. Hana Yori Dango is airing on Saturday mornings (10 am) at ABS-CBN, while Enterprise premiered last night on Star TV, and it would have been okay if it weren't for the obvious and gratitious fan service.

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