Thursday, June 09, 2005

[Blog Entry] Where Did It Go?, For Life, Memories, Rollerblades, Good Charlotte

Where Did It Go?

For one thing, the Fruit Magic branch in Mega Mall doesn’t sell the soya milk sold in bottles. Probably due to SM’s policy. Oh well, I guess the closest place for me is Robinsons Galleria, which gets refills every other day.

Another shocking surprise was the fact that Balut Express is not in Robinsons anymore. I’ll have to go all the way to Glorietta.

For Life

Strangely enough, I don’t think I can quit my current job. It’s not because there’s a contract, nor is there a bond, nor is there a fee if I quit. I guess it’s partially family loyalty (since the publisher is friends with my mom). And the other is… pride. But I think it’s more of the former.

I just find it amusing the irony of the situation. Physical chains (i.e. contracts, bonds) didn’t stop me from quitting my last job, but emotional and intangible chains are the type that’s most binding.


Certain sounds, certain tunes evoke memories. I was listening to my mp3 collection last night and some of them were songs which I was listening to when I was still working in a call center. For brief moments, I felt the fear, the tension, the anguish, and then the relief. When I went to another song, I remembered the days when I was a bum, roaming the streets of Katipunan and lounging in an Internet cafe. While it was partially a carefree experience, it was also one without direction, without purpose. Suddenly, I’m grateful for my current disposition.

Just moments ago I was transcribing an interview for the magazine and there was a certain tune which for some strange reason brought me back to my childhood. It was summer again, and I was in California, bored but relaxed. I can even faintly remember the smell.

Of course it’s amusing to see them from this perspective. Perhaps one flaw of reminiscing the past is that we idealize it. In comparison to the present, the past is often better. But I think it’s only “better” because it’s already been done, torn away from the present. Nothing erases the pains of the past more than the pains of the present.

In the case of the call center, it was a horrible experience for me, not because of the workload, but more due to the emotions it evoked from me. And perhaps that is the impression it will always give me, that of something more horrible than my current state, until I come back to it in the future and conquer it.


I need a big favor. One of the companies that will provide us with rollerblades for a photo shoot might not be able to do so (I’ll find out later today). Just in case, does anyone have rollerblades or rollerskates? We’ll be using them on Monday so I can hopefully borrow them over the weekend. And I need three pairs (size 9, 8 and 6) so multiple offers are welcome.

Good Charlotte

Pulp presents Good Charlotte: Live in Manila on July 8, 2005 at the Folk Arts Theater. Opening performances by Kamikazee, Chicosci, Typecast and Mayonnaise. Buy specially marked copies of the June 2005 issue of Pulp Magazine and claim your free ticket to see Good Charlotte: Live in Manila, available only at Odyssey for P250.00.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

[Blog Entry] Tension, Current Wish, Almost Six Months


Getting a bit overloaded with work, specifically the photo shoots. I mean what happens when one of the models you’re getting backs out at the last minute? And the arrangement with the company you’re pulling out clothes for doesn’t go as planned? And you only have one day to shoot the talent: it’s a do or die scenario.

Hopefully things will work out. God will provide, but I got to do the leg work.

Current Wish

I missed putting some money into my savings account last month. Right now, I just have one wish. It’s not even an unrealistic wish. I’m not asking for a million dollars or anything. I just wish that people would pay their debts, whether they’re a few months or a few week’s overdue. It’s not like I don’t have debts of my own and I do make an effort to pay them on time (and I do). I’m not asking for much, am I?

Almost Six Months

I’ve been working for nearly half a year. Is it due to skill or talent? Not really. After being traumatized by my short stint as a call center agent (which a part of me actually misses), I’ve resigned myself that anything else is better than that. And in this case, it’s not like I have anywhere else to go. And my work does have its perks. Although more often than not, I feel I’m undeserving of the position I’m in.

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[Blog Entry] Got Tagged Again

Got Tagged Again

Things you enjoy, even when no one around you wants to go out and play. What lowers your stress/blood pressure/anxiety level? Make a list, post it to your journal... and then tag 5 friends and ask them to post it to theirs.

- Walking. Long distances. Under the hot sun.

- Taking a long, warm bath. (I don’t have a tub though, and the shower’s broken, so for most of my life, I’ve settled for tabo [basically a small pail]).

- Writing/typing (which can be as complex as venting my feelings, or as simple as copying text).

- Meditating

- Praying

- Running

- Reading (but depends on the subject material)

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

[Blog Entry] Innovations in the World of Blogging, The Future of Comics, Orange and Lemons

Innovations in the World of Blogging

I mean what if we lived in a world where nearly everyone was blogging, but comments were disabled? (Hey, it’d be a real chore to surf everyone else’s blogs just to check for their replies. Or it might mean giving away your email to the public [and spammers]. And of course, other people replying to someone else’s comment is almost nonexistent.) Here are some hypothetical scenarios which might daze fellow bloggers.

1) Blogging becomes online journaling: all the blog entries in the world are kept private, or at least friends-locked. It’s a mad-dash to acquire friends (ala Friendster) just to read someone else’s post, even if they’re total strangers. Obviously, referring to someone else’s entry gives you no guarantee that your readers will be able to access it unless they’re also friends of the person you’re referring to.

2) To protect the interest of people’s acquaintances and the people they’re working for, all proper nouns (including your own identity) is in code. We don’t call Charles Charles. He’s person #113. Mega Mall isn’t Mega Mall. It’s Mall type AAA. In addition, people can comment on your entries, but they must similarly remain anonymous. A program gives them a random identity number whenever they comment, and all proper nouns or attempts at an alias are censored.

3) Blogs have a time-limit. You must post at least once within 24 hours, or your account will be permanently deleted. There are enforces out there that scout for blog-bots, programs that exist for the sole purpose of posting a nonsensical entry every few hours or so just so that people can maintain their accounts.

4) People have lost the ability to meet each other in real life and talk to each other on the phone. All we have left are people’s blog entries, and that’s the only way we can perceive the other person. Pictures and vital stats become less important, because I mean what use would they be in a world where you’ll never get to touch or see the other person? Blog content and aesthetics become the main motivation for coupling in the world.

5) Blogging becomes an effortless experience of uploading your memory to the database. No need to think of what to write, how to say things, and screen what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate. A super-intelligent computer does that for you, and even makes a layout that suits your tastes (and changes it whenever you feel it’s time for a change). However, doing so comes at a cost. Once someone reads your blog entry, you forget the experience, and the only proof you have of actually experiencing the event is via reading your own blog. To spice things up, blog-hackers pop up, and these are people who are capable of hacking into another person’s account and making up their own blog accounts. When you start reading your own blog entries, who’s to say what really happened, and which are stories inserted by blog-hackers?

6) You can upload blog designs from your mind to your blog account in a blink of an eye. What makes life difficult though is the fact that everybody’s blog template changes every day, so the same layout never remains for more than 24 hours. Failure to create a new layout in 24 hours results in a monotony hell, where you end up with a white background and black Times New Roman 12-point text.

The Future of Comics

Scott Kurtz of PVP online has this blog entry about comics. Suffice to say, he basically mentions that print comics haven’t been “shutting doors on creative and innovative voices”, and that the web is not where the future of comics lies.

Objectively speaking, both Scott McCloud (whom Kurtz is criticizing) and Scott Kurtz do have a point. Web comics does have a potential to benefit everyone, whether you’re the artist, writer, or reader. But similarly, as Kurtz pointed out, it’s not currently the most viable of mediums.

Doesn’t the Internet promote free speech better than print? In a certain way, yes. But of course, because anyone can say whatever they want (or post anything they want), there’s also little assurance of quality control. I mean for every web comic that’s worth the bandwidth it’s consuming, there’s probably a dozen others that plainly suck in one way or another.

But of course I’m not closing my options on the e-publishing either. The Internet is still young, and it hasn’t yet reached the point where it becomes essential to everyone else’s lives (in the same way that a light bulb or a ref is essential to most people’s lives). Ten, twenty years from now, who knows? But as Kurtz pointed out,, right now it’s the oil field that many want it to be, and print comics does have lots of alternatives rather than just the mainstream titles (although admittedly, no one ever said that road would be easy or convenient for people).

Orange and Lemons

I honestly know next to nothing about music (well, except anime BGM’s), but many people lately seem to be raving about Orange and Lemons. Normally, I’d just ignore it but since I do work in a music magazine, let me plug our May issue of Pulp (the cover of which was Jerome Abalos). Don’t let the cover fool you; Pulp did do a feature on Orange and Lemons and it was written by our staff writer Jason Caballa (of Twisted Halo and Pedicab). And uh, I was in charge of their photo shoot, so grab a copy before our June issue ships to your local newsstands.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

[Blog Entry] Finding the Time to Write, Call Center Anthropology, Food Trip

Finding the Time to Write

I have several excuses not to write (it’s not like I get lots of readers anyway). For one thing, there’s my job, six days a week. And then there are the two RPG games of my friend (which I enjoy, BTW), which takes up two of my evening slots. Then there’s personal time, which is spent on either documenting the RPG games that I’m playing, making characters for the RPG, or reading for pleasure (and I must admit, there is a big temptation to just read rather than write).

But as I said, those are just excuses. Actually, the real reason I haven’t been updating much is that I’m hesitant to do some writing at the office because the computers with Internet access aren’t mine so there’s no guarantee that I’ll get to upload what I write. That and I don’t want to mess with the cookies and passwords that are already set up with my computer at home. I mean every time I log in to blogger at the office, I have to log it in again when I get back home. Not that I get any writing done there as well so might as well make the most out of my office time.

Call Center Anthropology

Honestly, the call center culture fascinates me. I mean sure, every country has employees that are call center agents. But aside from India, the Philippines churns them out by the thousands.

It reminds me of the fast food industry, where you have student-employees applying for various positions just to get a job or a source of income. A good number often leave or quit after a period of time. In a certain sense, the same goes for call centers. There’s lots of attrition, some of its agents perpetually wandering, jumping from one call center to a another.

But perhaps the starkest difference between the two is its audience. I mean most fast-food outlets are being run by the masses, those in the lower to middle-class range. Call centers, on the other hand, have the middle-class to some of the lower upper class as its employees. Ten years from now, I can imagine people of my generation having their own stories about their experience as a call center agent.

Food Trip

One guilty pleasure of mine are the fried quail eggs that’s being sold in Balut Express. They have a corny tagline, “eatlog everyday” (a pun since “itlog” is egg in Filipino) and I have serious doubts whether eating them every day is healthy. Of course while I do indulge in that, I’m still retaining my body size and weight.

One of my coworkers discovered soya milk that’s being sold at Fruit Magic. For P45, you get a 500 ml bottle and they come in five flavors. The only one I drink is almond, although their Belgian Chocolate soya milk looks tempting.

Another indulgence is probably Ice Monster, but since it’s expensive, it’s something I should sparingly eat.

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[Book Review] The Best of Fantasy 2004 edited by Karen Haber and Jonathan Strahan (2005)

No Doubt The Best

Every year, several fantasy anthologies are published. In this, The Best of Fantasy 2004 is not unique. Of course the selection of stories depends upon the editors, and the best advice I can give any reader is to find an editor whose tastes are more or less aligned with yours. Once you do that, the anthology will seldom disappoint. Of course Karen Haber and Jonathan Strahan are strangers to me. But I thought that I might as well give them both a shot. To my shot, not only did I like most of the stories in this anthology, I liked every one of them.

Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire is a concept story by Neil Gaiman. To be honest, some of Gaiman’s stories are either hit or misses for me. In this case, it was a good hit, at least in the fact that it is a concept story rather than some complex thing that explains the meaning of life. In this story, Gaiman narrates the life of a writer who lives in a world where fantasy is juxtaposed with reality. Of course the writer contends with writing realistic fiction, a joke on the reader’s part because what he is writing is fantasy to us.

Michael Swanwick follows up with The Word that Sings the Scythe, a sequel actually to a short story he had written the other year. No prior knowledge is necessary though, and it’s a quaint story with something more on the edges of gray rather than black and white. The story has a particularly nice twist in the end.

Gene Wolfe’s The Little Stranger was okay, although perhaps it’s not exactly the story I’d nominate as the best read in the book. It’s an interesting format, and how things turned out is amusing, but other than that, it’s a story that can easily belong to another anthology and not just one in the realm of fantasy.

Last year, Kelly Link disappointed me with her short story. She more than makes up for it though with The Faery Handbag. Lovely story and it’s really interesting to see reality and seriousness blended with a touch of fantasy, but the fantastical element is crucial to the story. Perhaps what’s more intriguing is the narrator herself, and how she reacts to the events happening around her.

Peter S. Beagle, of The Last Unicorn fame, comes up with an equally outstanding short story, Quarry. It actually reminds me of those Japanese folk tales and would similarly make a great comic or cartoon adaptation. The flow is lovely and the story will probably be one of my favorites in the book.

I have never heard of Deborah Roggie but her story, The Enchanted Trousseau is a fascinating story. The tale has lots of magic but it’s that of a different kind. I mean if Ursula le Guin had actually written it, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference. It’s feminist yet wonderfully written.

Just to illustrate how anthologies overlap, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Robert Silverberg is a love story I’ve already read previously in another anthology. And one that I enjoyed. The same goes for Tim Power’s Pat Moore and the endless numbers of Pat Moore’s in the world, as well as Elizabeth Lynn’s oriental epic The Silver Dragon.

The Annals of Eelink-Ok by Jeffrey Ford, for me, was mediocre. Nice, but honestly not the most memorable one for me.

Last is The Angel’s Daughter by Jay Lake which is told in fairy tale fashion. It also shows you that a story doesn’t need to be long in order to be beautiful. My only complaint though is how the story ended, and it’s a trick that I’ve seen used before. Still, it was a good read for me.

It truly surprised me when I finished reading this anthology, because I clearly liked all of the stories, or at the very least, I wasn’t disappointed. Of course that’s not to say that everyone will like reading this book, but rather it’s an anthology that was catered to my preference more than anything else.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

[Blog Entry] Interview


Here are The Official Interview Game Rules:

1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying “interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person’s will be different.
3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

If you don’t have a blog, I will still ask you 5 unique questions and you can post your answers here.

From Elbert:

1. You have been assigned the keeper of the Library of Alexandria, or something of a similar nature. What will you rename the place into, and what three books will you ban forever from entering the annals of said library (and, of course, why)?

I’d probably just call it The Collection. Me believing in free speech and all (and ignorant of all the body of work available in the world), no books will be banned.

2. What period in your life would you most like to revisit, and what period would you most like to just erase from your memory?

The period I will probably want to revisit would be my years in college. I was at the peak of my health, I had lots of free time, and yes, I had an allowance. Not to mention I had little emotional baggage (well, except during my first year).

As for erasing, I don’t think I’d like to erase any period from my mind. I’ve always believed that knowledge can lead to wisdom (but not necessarily all the time). I wouldn’t be the person I am now if it weren’t for my past experiences, both good and bad. If I forgot about it, maybe I’d act differently, probably for the worse.

3. Anime is scary, and you've just been transformed into a live-action anime-inspired freak of nature! Would you rather have massive anime peepers, or would you rather be superdeformed.

I’d have both, superdeformed during the comedic moments, and large eyes when I’m dead serious. It also makes it easier for people not to misinterpret when I’m joking and when I’m not.

4. In the newly-established utopian government of the world, you are asked to choose an integral high-ranking position. Fictional or otherwise, in which department would you assign yourself, and why?

I’d assign myself in the think tank department. Because that’s what I do best: look at existing scenarios, discover their strengths and weaknesses, and give recommendations. I wouldn’t mind being part of the think tank that was in charge of the world. Mind you, I’m there to advise, not to make the actual decisions.

5. Western medicine, or Eastern herbals?

Whatever proves to be the most effective. Or the least painful. I mean contrary to popular belief, acupuncture does hurt.

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