Friday, April 02, 2004


It's my brother's wedding tomorrow so I'll be disappearing from the face of the earth for the whole day. Only regret is that I can't go to the Animax Convention and see all my pretty friends (errr, at least I hope they consider me a friend).

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Thursday, April 01, 2004


Friendships can be classified under several categories (some of them even overlapping). There are friends whom we hide nothing from and can truly be ourselves. There are also those whom we talk to about our problems or confide in. There are friends whom we hang out with every day, the specifics of which doesn't really matter as long as we're with them. There are even friends which we keep at a distance, since we fear knowing them too well or keeping them too close might ruin the relationship. And a lot of other types of friendships which we really don't dwell too much on, because "friendship" is more of an emotion and feeling rather than an intellectual exercise (although we can focus on the latter... but to me at least, there is something disturbing when you calculate too much or rationalize your friendships; would you stop being someone's friend if you came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be "convenient" for you anymore, or if you had nothing else to obtain from him or her?).

Lately though I've come to appreciate the kind of friendship that could easily be misunderstood. I mean when we talk about friends, the image we have is of someone always being there for us. A friend is someone whom we are frequently in dialogue with (even though words are not necessarily said), someone whom we can sense, someone tangible and "real" to us and not an abstraction. I think we can all appreciate that kind of friend, and it's perhaps one of the first bonds we establish with others, and perhaps in the end the one most cherished. But that's not the kind of friend I want to dwell on.

Ever since I started blogging, I've made new friends. Some have kept in touch (either personally, via email correspondence, or blog commenting). Others have gone. And then there are those whom you don't always "maintain" (i.e. email, meeting up with, etc.) and who don't always make their presence felt, but support you nonetheless. Right now my best example is Vern (although not necessarily only her... but right now she's the first one that popped into my head). We used to email each other frequently but that stopped. Yet she still reads my blog (and I hers). We don't necessarily make comments on each and every entry, but rather comment during the times we feel we actually have something substantial to say. I'd like to even extend this to a high school friend of mine, Tim. Tim and I haven't called up each other for the past four years. But either one of us can literally just show up at each other's house and be welcomed just like that. We don't necessarily chat whenever we see each other (aside from the hi's and hello's), but there's that kinship, and at times when you do need to have a serious talk, he'll be there, despite what's happened or what's changed over the years.

Now I'm not saying this kind of friendship is superior or better. It's just different. After all, the idealized friendship most of us have involves perseverance and maintenance (i.e. taking the time to catch up with each other's lives). But whatever this type of friendship lacks, it makes up for in trust (or faith, or even love as some would define it). There's trust that the other person would be your friend despite what's happened (in both of your lives) and what's changed (again, for both involved). Time, distance, and experience is not really a hindrance in this scenario. There's also no real need to continually "prove" your friendship with the other person (and many people, myself included, fall prey to this insecurity). Each one has their own space, and there's no pressure (make no mistake, I'm not necessarily advocating a pressure-free relationship; friends can make certain demands of each other and vice versa because of just that; we care about each other and what one does or does not do affects the other). All that we do and say is voluntary, and there's a certain "leap of faith" involved (after all, an insecure person would often ask themselves why he or she is still considered a friend by the other person despite all that he or she has done or not done).

Of course what I've described is not necessarily the scenario with Vern or Tim. This is, after all, just my perception. Perhaps Vern sees things differently (or some psychologists might even say this is just my projection of the relationship since I barely know Vern and haven't even met her in real life), or Tim has other reasons for his behavior (but since he doesn't know I even have a blog, we'll never know). But the theory still stands. It's great to have a friend who's still you're friend despite the apparent lack of "maintenance" on each of your part. And just because I greatly appreciate this kind of friend doesn't mean I don't appreciate the other kind of friendships that I have. Especially considering I'm insecure, and contact or dialogue is usually the easiest way we allay our insecurities (which takes the form of the friend who's always there for you or someone you freqeuntly talk to).


More of a follow-up that a totally new topic, insecurity plays a part in our relationships. I mean if the human person was totally secure in the other person (and with themselves), there'd be no need for contracts or promises. I mean if we had total confidence, we'd be like Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, who told his fellow conspirators that oaths were not necessary since their action was just and needed no coercion on each other's part. But there's always a certain level of mistrust or lack of faith. And many people also project their behavior to other people (i.e. I'd do this given the chance so he'll do it as well given the chance). The best we can come up with are social laws and universal ethics which we hope everyone follows, and in the event that they don't, someone will be there to enforce it.

I'm not saying that it's wrong to be insecure. We are, after all, human. But there is such a thing as being too insecure. And it's easy to get carried away with this; there's the parent who doesn't allow the child to do something on his or her own (due to either a lack of trust in the child's capability or a lack of trust on society in general), the jealous boyfriend or girlfriend who must always keep tabs on the other (Malcolm in the Middle said it best when the ever-logical Malcolm gave his girlfriend a pager to solve his insecurity rather than opting to give her the benefit of the doubt), and the couple who makes plans for their prenuptial contract (because they either have plans or expect the other to have plans for a divorce). But one must also remember that insecurity is an emotion. Just because we feel it does not mean we have to give in to it. Human beings are able to swallow a lot of emotions; their pride, their anger, their fear, sometimes even their hopes. Sure, we feel it, but it doesn't mean we have to give in to it. I mean I'm sure boyfriends and girlfriends don't have to call each other up each and every single night (although it helps). And it is pretty disappointing when couples get into a quarrel just because the other person didn't reply to his or her text message (and sometimes they're justified, such as being busy at the time because they're at work or having an exam).

Insecurity also manifests itself in our lifestyle that is not always apparent. For example, there's the boyfriend who always calls up his girlfriend and picks her up from school/work. On one side, the reason could be genuine concern and pleasure to see his significant other. On the opposite side of the spectrum, it might be just to make sure she's not seeing anyone else (and not having the opportunity to do so). But more often than not, it's a mix of both ("It won't hurt our relationship if others knew that I'm her boyfriend. And I have an excuse to see her as well!") There's also the whole chaperone and curfew system. Yes, they're part of society's norm, but they're also reflections of society's lack of trust with each other (again, I'm not saying these restrictions are necessarily bad... just pointing out some of the possible reasons [but definitely not the only ones] for their existence).

I'd like to end with the long-distance relationship. Many say it's impossible. It's not. Extremely difficult, perhaps. But impossible? Well, for starters, it takes a lot of trust and faith (which should be there in the first place). If you don't have a lot of that (note: not a lot means you have some of it), then you'll need to exert lots of effort and perseverance (some of which we aren't really willing to endure, but can endure, hence our conclusion that "it's impossible", when we actually mean "it's not worth the effort"). Having said that, I'm not saying everyone is willing to put up with kind of relationship. Some are easily distracted, others just not dedicated enough (because relationships are always a risk, and to expend such amounts of energy and effort to something so chancy might not be lucrative to some). And when I mention those two descriptions, I'm not really criticizing you. I mean people can be dedicated in certain things, but not all of us can be dedicated in everything. Some have a knack for this and that, others find this and that interesting enough that it's worth the sacrifice. The same goes for long-term relationships. Some have the tenacity for it. Only you can tell whether you have such zeal for the other person (although I must point out that if you're not willing to overcome this difficulty, what else in the relationship are you not willing to overcome?), and whether it's all worth it.

Of course my other consolation regarding long-distance relationship is that in this era, it's easier for people to communicate. Even if you're half a world away from each other, there's telephones, mobile phones, email, friendster... I mean half a century ago, all people had to depend on was letters and telegrams at best-- yet long-distance relationships worked (but obviously, a lot has also failed). But technology is a double-edged sword as well. It's also easier to get carried away by your own insecurity. One could request the other person to perpetually carry a webcam with him or her, or you could easily come in contact with a detective to follow your significant other around in the foreign country that he or she is in. And let's not forget mobile phones. Someone with a lot of money could conceivably call you every hour of the day just to check up on you (and let that be a lesson to you youngsters who are eager to obtain mobile phones from your parents... they're just as glad to give it to you as you are to receive them, because that way, your parents can track you down wherever you are and make sure you're up to no mischief).

A bit of insecurity isn't bad in our lives. After all, if we had none of it at all, we'd probably border on being arrogant. But too much can be as destructive as pride, anger, or hate. Learning to keep tabs on it can go a long way, especially when we have many (false) ways to allay our insecurities, a number of which offends the other person.

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Anime Rants

It's surprising but Animax actually showed all twenty eight (and the last two weren't part of the original TV run) of .hack//sign. Of course they did screw up a few days ago when they showed episode 26 before 25, and while they were at it, was airing episode 25's subtitles on episode 26. It's a good thing I know a bit of Japanese. They're also going to show the OAV in two weeks! And a marathon during Holy Week.

I'm a sucker for kiddy shows and two new kiddy anime just made its debut: Daigunder on Animax and another robot-collecting thingie on Cartoon Network (forgot the title... Megabots I think). Of course it's only now that I realized why the later afternoon timeslot of Animax has its anime dubbed rather than subtitled: the target audience is kids. And apparently, Animax doesn't really expect kids to read (because reading is an active act... you won't get to the next word unless you make an effort to read; pretty much everything else, in comparison, is passive--music will move to its own beat regardless whether you listen or not, and the same goes for TV).

Anyway, regarding Daigunder, if you're a fan of GaoGaiGar, you should watch the show. Because it's one of the first Yusha titles in the early 1990s, known for its multiple-transforming robots combining into one super-powerful robot. The most popular of the series is GaoGaiGar, and Daigunder is its predecessor.

Oh yeah, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles starts airing on Sunday, replacing the second season of Beyblade. The latter show is extremely terrible. The first season was good. This one is just *blech*. It feels that the second season is more of an afterthought more than anything else. And formulaic of the first season too. But with extremely horrible characterization.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Web Updates

I think it's about time I bury some of my blogs, because honestly, I haven't been updating them (and have no plans to do so in the future). Why waste precious bandwidth? My only loss is that I can't archive it, but then again, not all of those posts are really worth archiving.

Aside from putting in something that's worth mentioning, it's also a person's responsibility to update their web pages (and a lot of us, myself included, are guilty of this). Yes, putting up a web page is the easiest thing to do. Maintaining it, on the other hand, is the more difficult task.

On a side note, just updated my links, killing off dead blogs and those that haven't been updated for a year.

I'd also like to mention that my LJ links is quite long, so I really didn't bother posting them each individually in my links. That's what LJ's are for!

Public Emails

It's only recently that I've been wary of giving my email out in public. And the biggest reason for me to do so is because of spammers. And spammers today have diverse emails, from plain text to those with images (and even viruses!). I foresee in the future when it'll include other forms of multimedia as well, from sound clips to movies, etc. And the worst part is that you have no say in it. It'll just pop up in your mailbox and it's instant advertising.

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God is in the Details

I've come to realize that one's own faith or religion cannot be a mere abstraction. It's not enough, for example, to say that "I'm a Christian" and that to be a "Christian" is to just believe in God (and perhaps Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit). My father has a belief that that is enough. It doesn't matter whether you're a Catholic or a Protestant; in his eyes, they're all the same. You're a Christian and you serve the same God. That's all that matters.

While to a certain extent that's true, our faith should be as detailed as we ourselves. Because faith is not just a either-or situation (true or false, yes or no, etc.). It's expressed in our lives, and our lives are quite unique. Religion is an extension of ourselves and vice versa. There is a difference between religions; it's not always the same. And even if it differs in the most minute of details, it matters, just as having a mole on our face might change the way people see us, or that single strand of silver hair that marks out a person in a crowd. Charles would not be Charles if he didn't greet people with "Boo!" instead of "hello". If it's the details that characterizes our person, the same can be said for our faith.

Of course just because I mentioned that the specifics matter when it comes to religion, I don't mean you follow and believe every precept of your religion. In the end, your faith comes down to you alone and not what others believe. There might be some points regarding your religion that you want to highlight, while there are others that you plainly don't agree with. Whatever the scenario, the details of your own personal religion is detailed, at least to yourself if not to the public. It's perfectly possible to get two practitioners of the same belief, same sect, and even in the same location, yet you end up with two, vastly different people. Because as I said, it's the details that matter, and in the end, you determine the details that matter to you.

Another point that revolves around this topic is how we should behave around those of differing religions. Just because I'm qualifying my religion does not mean I'm against tolerance for other religions. That, in the end, is up to you and how you see yourself and other faiths. For me personally, I accept that there are multiple paths to salvation. Whether you're a Catholic, a Jew, a Buddhist, etc., there is a way for you to transcend. Religion, after all, is between you and your God. Who am I to say who goes where? But I am answerable for my own actions, and I would be the fool if I didn't live up to my own moral standards (or at least strive for it). It's the details that matter, and if I'm aware of the unique path my faith has taken, I can also appreciate and respect the path that others have taken as well (or realize that they are different in the first place). To know one's own faith (or lack of it) is part of knowing one's own character, the journey of self discovery. And I also think that each person's faith is as unique as him or her. I think it's quite likely that no one person has an identical faith as another person. But that's just a theory, and only God knows for sure.

Religion is Business

On a more personal note, my father sees religion as business (the stereotypical Chinese man coming to play here). Suffice to say, he started as a Catholic (because that was the religion in his grade school), shifted to Protestant (again, the alma matter coming into play), and then finally shifted to plain "Christianity" after an incident in our church.

The incident? Well, basically father was insulted at how our church couldn't match our pastor's salary in the US. We could only afford a tenth of his salary and our pastor settled for that. But my father didn't and so he stopped actively participating in the church ever since.

Unfortunately for my father, he really doesn't have the gift of empathy. He's narrow-minded. He admits that (but he thinks of his single-mindedness as a gift rather than a flaw). He doesn't even attempt to rationalize things. No reasons are given. What he says is final.

And since father thinks that money is the one thing that really matters in this world (i.e. his concept of equality with his children is giving them everything he wanted... everyone, for example, must get a car once they graduate, regardless of whether we want one or not, much less use it; obviously, this is wrong because each one is different and have different needs-- brother might need a car but I need something different, as well as my sister needing something altogether different as well), he doesn't understand where the pastor is coming from. Because for the mentioned pastor, it's not about the money. It's about his faith, and spreading the Good News. Sure, his salary isn't as much as it used to be, but that's not the reason why he became a pastor in the first place.

If you treat religion as a business (and when it comes to the Philippines, it is quite a lucrative business, and many "religious" people do treat it as a business), then it will be a business. But first and foremost, religion is about one's faith (and all that entails, which while it may cover the spectrum of "business", is not merely about "business").

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Smoke has once more managed to creep into the house. No place is safe! And I can't run to Starbucks since they're showing C.S.I. tonight.


One of the weirdest crossovers I just saw today was Static Shock and Justice League vs Brainiac. And with a cliffhanger ending too!

Runner up is probably the Batman Beyond and Zeta crossover.

On a side note, one of the more intriguing crossovers I've seen is The Pretender and Profiler (too bad they didn't go full throttle with it).

Actually, the crossover that just doesn't mix is an old one. It's the Hanna Barbera Scooby Doo crossover with nearly everyone during that era of cartoons from Batman (with Bat-Mite!), the Addams Family, to the Three Stooges.


Courtesy of Dragon Magazine. Ninjai: The Little Ninja in its Flash glory.

Red Tape

Which is probably a good reason to go freelance.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Would You Rather This Be A Blank Page?

Let's face it. With my limited budget and me a self-imposed prisoner in my own house, there's really not much to tell. So you'll have to put up with my philosophical ramblings. At least until I get a job. Then you'll hear me complaining about call centers...


Me being paradoxical, last Monday I did manage to gather the enery to go to Fully Booked (which is legally known as Sketch Books, Inc. according to their receipt). And since their newer books are reasonably cheap, I thought I might as well get a discount card. At P700, I'll need to spend P7,000 worth of books to break even (since 10% of 7,000 is 700). Well, I'm a quarter done...


It's March and I've only read three books. And all of them happen to be leftovers from the previous months (i.e. read it before and only finished reading it this month).

Hopefully Two Books Doesn't Take Forever

Robert Jordan Interview.

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Monday, March 29, 2004


I think it's a given that there will be high points and low points in our lives, happiness followed by suffering and vice versa. Many people though only want the happiness without the suffering. One is tempted to ask "why can't it always be like this?".

First, I'd like to talk about the cycle. Joy and pain are both part of the human condition. We really wouldn't be able to empathize with others if we're not familiar with both conditions. I mean how could someone who's never been hurt in his or her life sympathize with someone who's experienced many trials in his or her life? The former might claim that "everything will be all right" when the latter knows that isn't true (I'm the type who doesn't believe that EVERYTHING can be solved by your friends, although A LOT can be shared with your friends).

Second, these polar opposites (and everything in between) gives us variety and it is because of these that we come to appreciate them. Joy, for example, wouldn't be as cherished if sadness did not exist. Another way to think of it is this: Among high school and grade school students (and even some employees), there's the popular saying "TGIF" (Thank God It's Friday), marking the start of the weekend. If the entire week was just that, weekends, then Friday wouldn't be so special. They'd probably be so bored that they'd want to set up the entire institution that is school.

The variety of experiences also makes us want to strive for what we want. For example, if we want to look for happiness (and each person has a different concept of happiness), we must strive for it amidst confusion, despair, and the other states of mind. And as often mentioned, it's not always about the destination but the journey. In the end, we might not have found our goal, but that's not always what's important. It's what we've felt during the whole process, how the relationships we have had changed (and how we made new ones), and how it's personally changed us. Falling in love and failing at it is like that. It's perhaps one of the most painful experiences we can feel, yet the realization that we can be in that state and the self-awareness we obtain is almost worth all the pain (to some... there are naturally those who end up fearing the pain too much that they give up all attempts to obtain happiness in order to avoid feeling hurt).

Why can't it always be like this? Would you change if things were always the same? Would you grow? What else could you learn from something static and stagnant? Of course changed is a double-edged sword. The events unfolding could signal of something better, or something worse (and sometimes, both). But either way, change forces us to adapt, to change as well. If adversity comes, we can only grow stronger by overcoming it (but of course, sometimes there are prices to pay to achieve this). If pleasure arrives, it is made more enjoyable by the realization that it was previously unavailable or inaccessible in the past. And without the ability to change, we wouldn't have freedom. To exercise freedom, after all, means that we alter our circumstances. It's not in the "possibility" that we have freedom, but in the "actuality", of exercising our so-called freedom.

So all of this begs the question, are there happy endings? I like Dean's stance that it applies "only to a certain point". Because after a certain point, reality intrudes and the cycle begins once again. If I end my narrative or story here, sure, you have a happy ending. But if I push it farther, the ending might not be happy (and similarly, if I cut it short, it also might not end up with a happy ending). One example is the prodigal son in the Bible. If I cut my story short when the prodigal son has ran out of money, it has a sad ending and will probably be used as a didactic parable to discourage rebellious children. If the story ended at the point when his father accepted him into the family again, you have a plain happy ending. But the point it did end was after that, when the elder son complained and the father reprimanded him. Here, we see that the story is bittersweet. Once sympathizes with the "good son" who's worked hard all these years yet gets nothing out of the entire incident. We feel his angst. Yet at the same time, we see God reprimand him. As well as know the greater future in store for us because of God's generosity (all of this in the context of the story, mind you). (It even begs the question which son are you?)

Happy endings? Well, from my point of view, there is no grand storyteller to say "it ends here" and "no it doesn't end here". We decide whether a chapter in our lives ends or not. No one can really say to us "this phase of your lives ends here". They may try but in the end, it's up to us to believe what they claim or not. I mean many might even profess "this phase of your life has ended already... you've just graduated!" but when you look at it, graduation is an imposition by society. It's really up to me to accept what society is claiming to be true or not. I can easily refute "graduation was not the end of that chapter of my life but the beginning", etc. I make the decision where it ends and where it starts. It is actually in our hands to decide whether we have a happy ending or not. (And as I said before, sometimes, it's not the end that matters, but the journey.)

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Sunday, March 28, 2004

Monopoly on Pain and Suffering

I think it's obvious that we don't have the monopoly on pain and suffering. Yet when we are hurt or depressed, we feel that the whole world is against us, and that others have no right to judge us because they don't know what we're feeling.

And to a certain extent, that's true. They don't know how we feel. But the opposite is also true. We don't necessarily know what others feel. Just because we suffer does not necessarily mean others aren't hurt as well. Or that ours is more painful which is why people should be more considerate to us or pity us.

In fact, my view of suffering is that it should enable you to empathize more with others. Because everyone gets hurt, and when you're hurt, you have an idea of what the other person could be feeling (even if he or she is not feeling it at the moment). As I said, one does not have the monopoly on pain and suffering. Sure, we could rant and rant, but what good would that do? It won't help yourself and it certainly won't help those around you.

And in the end, only we can solve our own problems. We can't really expect others to solve them for us. But we can be there for others (and others for us)-- not to solve their problems, but to share in their pain, because we're quite acquainted with pain as well. Sure, being there might not directly help the other person, but when a person tells his or her problems to another person, sometimes, there's some relief. It could be catharsis, it could be letting it out, etc. Whatever the case, it does help to know that someone's there.

But perhaps what's more important is that being with others who suffer forces you to grow. Because we can't all be strong all the time, and when others are the ones who are faltering, sometimes, we are empowered to be there for them, despite all our weaknesses. And perhaps it is because we recognize we have weaknesses that we are able to understand them better, and that we are able to help and aid them. The cycle can also be perpetuated, that when we are in our weak moments, they can be a source of support.

One concept from Theology I took to heart was that of "Wounded Healer". Yes, we're wounded. But just because we're wounded does not mean we can't change, that we can't help ourselves or those around us. In fact, it's because we are wounded that we are in a position to help others as well as ourselves. In this world, there are really no messiahs: no one's perfect and all powerful that they will come to save everyone. But there are wounded healers, each one of us, who despite are own weaknesses, manages to overcome the challenges that stand in our way. And we're wounded healers not just for ourselves, but for others as well. As I said before, we can't always be strong all the time. But we don't have to be alone, and others can be there for us when we falter, just as much as we can be there for them.

Of course that doesn't mean I'll stop whining in this blog...

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