Wednesday, August 24, 2005



Philippine Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyuukai (Phigen) and 74x Japanese Pop Culture Mailing List proudly co-present HELLO! HELLO! TOKYO!

Featuring an exciting line-up of activities:

Phigen Screeening Area
Phigen/74x Media Library
74x Nihon Bunka Kyoushitsu (Japanese Culture Lessons)

Venue: Centro Plaza Basement #49 Scout Madrinan corner Scout Torillo.

Time: Sept. 3, 2005 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Admission: P 150 (10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.) *includes lunch P 100 (1:00 p.m. - onwards)

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[Essay] Immortality

Strolling down the video game arcade of the local mall, I took a trip down memory lane and thought of the games that have been popular over the years. Looking at today’s games, one common element they have is the fact that you can now save your games. I mean one of the more popular racing arcade games right now is Initial D v.3 (well, at least it was so a few months ago). Aside from the fact that it’s based on a popular manga/anime, perhaps part of its allure is that you actually keep track of your best times and get to customize your vehicle (by playing more games of course). There’s even a shoot-em-up game where you can save your character as well and unlock hidden surprises in the various stages depending on what your level is. Which brings me to my next point: why are such video games popular?
Surprisingly, the answer isn’t really a new one, and is actually present in classic games be it Pac-Man or Gradius. Why is the save feature so important, be it in RPG’s, shoot-em-up games, or racing games? Perhaps in each and every human being, there’s a desire to be remembered, to be noticed, to be immortalized. Why do games feature high scores? Aside from having a goal to beat, it also broadcasts to everyone else that hey, somebody’s achieved this record, and we all get to see the initials of the person who did it. The save feature is actually a more complex form of this, as more details can be added, and results in a more unique calling card.
Breaking records wouldn’t perhaps be such a big deal if it weren’t publicized. Sure, you have a psychic victory, knowing that you accomplished this. You’re a hero, except only you knows it. You can brag about it, but not everyone would believe you. That’s why scoreboards are important, be it The Guinness Book of World Records, the high score on the local arcade machine, or the memory card you keep tucked in your pocket. I’m not saying this is everyone’s motivation for accomplishing something, but people feel appreciative whenever they’re remembered. To a certain extent, that’s also why some people get offended if you don’t remember their name.
Because mobile phones and text messaging (or email) are popular in this country, I often hear the statement “somebody loves me” whenever they receive a phone call or text message. That statement isn’t necessarily true every time you get a text message, but in the absence of love, most people will settle for being remembered.
Whenever I visit the poor and rural communities, some of the people there make one request from me. They’re not asking for money or goods, but to be merely remembered. Some of them ask me to write them letters, or to visit them some time. I never do. Instead, I honor them in my writing, with these stories of mine. I don’t always name them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t remember them. And perhaps the beauty of writing is that once it’s put down on paper, it’s forever there. No matter how much I’ll deny its existence, it’s proof to everyone else.
With each word I pen down, I immortalize myself and the subject I write about. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be remembered fondly, but writers can console themselves that they’ll be remembered at least.

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[Blog Entry] From Dusk to Dawn

From Dusk to Dawn

Several years back, I was Mr. Nocturnal. You know, the type that would sleep at something like 3 am (and it’s not because I was working in a call center) and get up slightly before lunchtime. That also meant that most of my writing time needed to be done at the evening. And I was fine with that. In fact, I was “in the zone” during nighttime whereas all I’d have in the morning was a drought for words.

Nowadays though, the moment I get home, I’m already feeling sleepy. It’s not conducive to writing anymore as it once was, even if I’m full of ideas. The mind is willing but alas, the mind is also sleepy. That also means I go to bed early, so that means no 10 pm calls!

That leaves me with two opportunities to write. One is during work hours, when I’m not out on a shoot. Unfortunately, the atmosphere isn’t conducive either because during peak hours, it’s a competition between who gets to use the computer that has DSL access. There’s also the numerous phone calls that I usually answer, even if it’s just someone trying to sell us something (and believe me, I get phone advertisements everyday, whether it’s a bank or PLDT). And then there’s the air conditioner, which is the bane of my existence. Honestly, my optimum working temperature is 38 degrees, but well, summer is nine months away. My fingers literally freeze as I begin typing the words. And let’s not forget about doing some *gasp*actual work.

So if I want to get some writing done, I have to do it before dawn. But you know, getting out of bed is always a Herculean struggle. One’s tempted to go back to sleep and get additional shut-eye (at the very least).

Writing in the morning has some benefits though. It’s when you’re most awake, when you’re most active. I can easily churn out 500 words in under an hour. Your day hasn’t begun yet, so you can’t yet be stressed out (well, at least in the case of most people… the moment I wake up, I already start thinking of what needs to be done in the office).

Life this year has brought some interesting changes. Hopefully, my writing actually improves thanks to the shift in schedule.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

[Blog Entry] No Time for Guerilla Writing

No Time for Guerilla Writing

There’s a lot of things I want to write about, but the computer with Internet access is not my own, and I’ll be leaving for a photo shoot in a few hours.

On a side note, here’s a list of pending items I have to do once I get home:

1. Finish a short story for another, currently hush-hush anthology.
2. Finish another short story based on a D&D campaign I played two months ago.
3. Transcribe the Neil Gaiman interview from MTV’s Hanging Out which I just got today courtesy of someone who emailed me a link to a video file (but the computers at the offices are Macs, so I haven’t seen it yet since it’s in .wmv format).
4. Transcribe the rest of the Neil Gaiman interview from NU107, which actually should have been done a month ago.

So as a diversion, here are some facts that most people don’t know about me:

1. I cut my nails “manually”. When I mentioned this to an acquaintance, they asked “is there any other way?” What I mean by “manually” is that I don’t use any tools to do so. Which means I cut my nails using, uh, my other nails.
2. I don’t buy clothes. I inherit them. The last time I went shopping was back in 1996. Everything else was either given to me, or clothes I already had prior to that date.
3. I have just one hair style. Or rather, I have a default hair style. The good news about this is that no matter what I do, it’ll more or less look the same. The bad news is that my hair is impervious to most types of hair accessories, like gel (or rather, it doesn’t last long enough… an hour is its longest). Even my barbers cut it just one way. The only variant I have is whether my hair’s long or short. You’d be surprised at how much change that can accomplish, and people stop recognizing you. It’s still the same hair style though.
4. I actually won the “Master Stalker” award during my senior year in college. Not that I was there to attend the event and claim my award…
5. In grade school, to fend off the bullies in school, I’d use my handkerchief to stave them off. Of course it must be mentioned that I had a perpetual cold back then (I still do now, but my daily exercises hold off the symptoms) so my handkerchief was very very wet with snot and mucus. My other secret weapon was my spit, because along with colds, I had no shortages of phlegm in its greenish and yellowish glory.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

[Blog Entry] Where Has My Weekend Gone?

Where Has My Weekend Gone?

Left for Subic Saturday morning, and didn’t get home until Sunday evening. After a few hours of sleep, guess what, it’s Monday already. Unfortunately, much work still needs to be done, whether it’s in the office, with my writing, or my reading.

The company had lots of surprises, and I even found moments when I enjoyed myself. But alas, much of the work I do is confidential (I’m secretly an undercover spy who’s cover identity is that of an editorial assistant), which is why you don’t see me blogging much about work aside from vague and general statements (and why I often describe work as “stressful” and nothing more than that).

I honestly wish I could write more, but my guerilla-writing time is up.

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