Friday, November 11, 2005

[Blog Entry] Workaholic, Writing


Yes, I'm one of those people who comes to work on Saturdays. Because it's required. So I actually work six days a week, plus the occassional overtime that comes with working in a publication (overtime can consist of handling company-run events, interviews, or photo shoots).

Of course I have mixed feelings about working on a Saturday. On one hand, I have free Internet all to myself. Usually there's little to be done, and my main task on Saturdays is to guard the place (yes, I know I'm not much of a security guard thanks to my lanky body) and answer the phone. Occassionally, there's something that needs to be immediately done, and I will get a call from my employers. But aside from that, it's time to reflect, write, and download stuff off the Internet.

While that might seem like a good thing, I still have to be at work at 9 am. That means no Friday overnights, no partying 'til the break of dawn, and well, coming to work on time despite wanting extra hours of sleep.


I stumbled upon a certain blog who linked to me, and what caught me off-guard was that my site was the first blog he ever read. I feel I have much to live up for.

Of course what's frightening is that people read your old posts. And well, I can honestly say I've grown in the four years that I've been blogging. But you know, reading old entries is like friends and family showing strangers pictures of you from two decades ago, whether it's your now-embarassing hairstyle/outfit, you in diapers, or simply seeing a younger you that's very different from who you are now.

On a side note, I recently saw an ad by Seattle's Best. Originally, I had mixed feelings about the ad, but currently, I'm enjoying its corniness and simplicity:

i Drink
i Win

Read more!
[Plug] Siglo: Passion Bulk Discounts!

Siglo: Passion Bulk Discounts!

In case you don't know, you can now make pre-orders of Siglo: Passion from either Comic Quest or Fully Booked, and avail of a huge discount (P500 instead of paying the P850 retail price).

If you're buying three or more copies though, you can get a bulk discount and pay P400 for each copy. But it's an offer that can only be availed if you order directly from Nautilus Comics. So contact either Jaime or Elbert directly if you're interested.

On a side note, friends (and by friend, I mean someone that's not a stranger and not just someone that links to my blog or livejournal) interested in getting Siglo: Passion as a Christmas present can leave a comment. Amidst plotting revenge and world domination, I'll be giving away some free copies (coming from my own pocket, mind you, and not a promo of Nautilus Comics). I'll probably do an electronic raffle or something (I'll assign you a number and use the random number feature of the calculator). Depending on my mood on Dec. 10, I'll be giving away at least 2 copies. =)

Read more!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

[Essay] Since When Did I Become An Optimist?

Since When Did I Become An Optimist?

You know the person who’s present at public gatherings, yet does nothing but sulk in a corner? And when you attempt a conversation, you sense the lack of enthusiasm, and the person seems to be more concerned about his or her own personal problems rather than the topic at hand? Perhaps it’s so emotionally painful to talk to such a person because you feel your spirit seep out of you, as if the he or she was slowly leeching at your life. While sycophants prey on the popularity of others, this one does the reverse: no matter how humble you are or how optimistic you’re feeling, you simply get drained.

Not so long ago, I was one of these people. When people speak of auras, mine was several meters long. Whenever I’d see people, depression would kick in because of the loneliness I felt. This, in turn, would drive other people away, causing me more grief. Thus it was a self-perpetuating cycle, an ouroboros of self-pity. Any rational person would see how illogical this behavior was, yet emotion never subscribed to reason.

What I noticed during this time is that, well, negative emotions are contagious. When you feel sad, other people can’t help but feel sad as well, unless they distance themselves from you. As much as other people determine who we are, we also determine who we are, and how other people treat us. If you want to be treated with pity, then feel pitiful for yourself. Perhaps a tactic some beggars use in this poverty-stricken country of ours is to look and feel sorry for themselves, as if fate has been cruel to them and all that’s left are the scraps the benevolent are willing to give. With such an attitude, you can’t help but feel sorry for them (being the “benevolent” person that you are), and they in turn won’t change their lifestyle short of divine intervention.

Of course it’s also strange to see a happy, well-off man in constant company of such a pessimistic fellow. The old adage birds of the same feather flock together ring true more than opposites attract, despite what soap operas on TV might profess. Perhaps a better example would be who do you go to when you want to mad or angry at someone? Do you hang out with optimistic people, who might make your concerns seem trivial, or unjustified? Or would you rather be with similarly angst-filled men and women who can relate with your rage, and provide input of their own? Angry people in the company of other angry people make a very angry crowd.

This basic concept is what makes mob rule prevalent. You have angry people, agitated people, and apathetic men and women. In a span of a few minutes and after some bolstering on the part of the angry people, the entire group soon becomes, well, a mob. Even the apathetic ones are rallied into the cause of the wrathful, because emotions are contagious.

Yet what’s sad is that the opposite is not always true. While people do congregate to bolster themselves in positive ways, have you ever had a scenario where someone you now fared significantly better than you? It could be a relative, a good friend, or an acquaintance. While we feel happy for them, a tiny spark in us feels selfish. It’s called jealousy. We ask ourselves why it didn’t happen to us, especially if it’s a peer we’re more or less familiar with. Celebrities, politicians, and heroes are someone we elevate ahead of us. When a local athlete wins an international competition, we feel happy for him. When a friend becomes that athlete and gains the acclaim of our fellow friends, it might be fair to say that we feel both happiness and jealousy. The problem with the latter is that if we repress it too much, it spreads like a malignant poison. It’s not evident at first but later on, happiness makes way for jealousy. We become spiteful of the positive emotions around us; in other words, we become a cynic.

But jealousy is not the only emotion that keeps us apart. Do you have friends whom you can’t really relate to? I mean one girl I know is full of bubbly cheer. She always smiles, is often positive, and speaks in a high, perky voice. While acquainting with her is fine, the moment I rant, it’s simply brushed off by all her enthusiasm. And what I mean by brushed off, you explain your case yet you don’t get the reaction you expect. Human beings really want yes-men as their companions. Or at least someone who can relate to your struggles, even if they won’t always agree with your opinions. In my previously mentioned scenario, she completely circumvents that because our emotional thresholds are too far apart (she’s too far on the positive side, while I’m too far on the negative). So expectations can also keep people apart, in the long term if not in the short term.

So where does that leave us? Are human beings destined to live our the rest of their existence lonely and full of negative cheer? One fact many people forget is free will. As much as external factors can affect how we feel, we can also choose what to feel. Now some people might point out that emotion isn’t something we control: if someone scratches you, you feel pain. It’s not a choice of whether you feel pain or not. Well, let me clarify. Emotion probably has two levels: an immediate effect and a lasting effect. If a mosquito bites you, the first sensation you feel is pain. That’s what I call the immediate effect. You feel the pain. What happens next is the lasting effect, and is perhaps what we can control. I mean one common reaction we can do is bitch about the insect bite, and talk about it all day. How it ruins our skin, how it makes our arm itch, how it was unlucky of us. That, however, is merely one perspective we can take. Other people can move on, and simply view it as a daily fact. That’s a more neutrally-centered emotion. Or some people can even see it as a blessing, that they’re still capable of feeling and staying in touch with the world (and a rare few will probably be happy that they were able to feed an insect). Now those three emotions are something we can control. Granted, our “default” emotion might be different (the first time I get bitten, my instinct might be to rant about it), but we can always alter our perspectives. I mean I still get bitten by mosquitoes, but instead of complaining about it all day, I usually do something more practical, such as swatting it or rubbing my skin with alcohol (mosquito-repellants aren’t really for me). Did I feel pain when I was bitten? Slightly. Did I let it affect my whole day? No. Which goes to show how self-control, and perhaps optimism can carry you to another level.

But wait, what does that have to do with our topic? Well, as much as negative emotions are contagious, a strong will can negate the pessimistic feelings other people are exuding. Just because I’m with a grumpy old man doesn’t mean I have to be grumpy too. Granted, that’s not always the case. Even the most stalwart of human beings might give in to mob rule or peer pressure, given the proper circumstance. In such a case, what’s there left to do? The answer is to simply avoid such situations. I mean if you’re prone to drunkenness, don’t go to a bar, even if you tell yourself at the start you won’t drink. Or in the case of short-tempered friends and you want to keep your cool, don’t hang around with them too much (note that I said too much… ostracizing friends isn’t exactly the best recommendation you know).

As for my aura of despair and depression, well, I do follow my own advice. Which is probably why there’s always a hint of hope in whatever I write. As far as emotions go though, be wary of them. Because they’re infectious, and you’re not just affecting yourself, but other people as well.

Read more!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

[Blog Entry] So You Think You're Conservative?

So You Think You're Conservative?

This is actually an old entry from Kristine and Luis, but they do link to Master Ninja's reaction to Human Events Online's (a Conservative publication) Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Century.

Since I'm too bored at work but not in the right state of mind to write, I finally found the time to read the whole thing and the thing that caught my eye was that hey, Master Ninja's a D&D geek, mentioning CR 18 monsters and DR 15/cold iron beasties.

On a more serious note, the Conservative's choice's gives us insight into their (debatedly twisted) mindset. Obviously Communism is a big no-no, evident by their choices of The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, Quotations from Chairman Mao, as well as Marxist thinking (Das Capital). Sex and female indepdendence seen to be unpopular, with The Kinsey Report and The Feminine Mystique respectively. What surprised me was their less than savory opinions of free thinking, mainly by choosing Democracy and Education but then again, stupid citizens is what an oppresive institution needs. There goes philosophy (The Course of Positive Philosophy and Beyond Good and Evil). I guess the only thing Conservatives have in common with the rest of the world is that they hate their government and how they insist in manipulating market forces. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money should be banned!

And let's not forget the long list of honorable mentions.

Read more!
[Blog Entry] Blog Ethics

Blog Ethics

For something that’s existed for several years now, it’s only now that I realize there really isn’t a stratified blog ethics. I mean us mobile phone users in the Philippine have something called phone ethics, and chat rooms and mailing list have certain ethic conventions. For bloggers, there’s still much to be desired, and while I did find this blog ethics site, it targets more of the “professional” blogger rather than something more mundane, such as daily life.

Blogging, of course, has gotten me in trouble a couple of times. Of course whether I’m guilty or not depends on your sense of blog ethics, which currently has no real “standard”. I mean an instance someone flamed me is because I was narrating the day’s events which involved that person. Except I was using real names, and we weren’t really doing anything wrong or inappropriate. The other person probably felt it was an invasion of privacy, mentioning real people’s names in blogs. My view on the matter is that it’s a personal blog, and people do link up together from blog to blog because of the names they see and the people mentioned. Why bother with assuming an alias? But of course, that’s my perspective, and in such a big community, there are other differing, and even conflicting views on the matter.

Of course there are other debatable topics on what to blog and what not to blog. Should your deepest darkest secret be posted on your blog? Or photos you’ve taken of yourself (in whatever states of dress or undress you’re comfortable with), or of other people? How about airing a “private” matter, whether it concerns your family, a friend, or a fellow blogger? Should blogs be written as formally as newspaper columns, or could it simply be a receptacle for cursing and airing rants?

In a mailing list, the moderator would usually set down rules when a member joins the group. Same goes for chat room channels (frequently by typing !rules), and there are standards that need not even be written (such as insulting someone without due reason, ALL CAPS TYPING, spamming, etc.). With blogs, there aren’t any such convention, at least one that I know about. Which leaves room for all sorts of conflict, even if both parties are truly innocent.

Read more!
[Blog Entry] May You Live in Interesting Times

May You Live in Interesting Times

There's been (unwanted) excitement lately, and of course, it deals with people. How I wish people can be direct and blunt, but we all tend to mince words and be indirect about it.

The latest controversy is with and its aforementioned owner. To make a long story short, there's already an existing community with that name (a mailing list), and the "owner", which set up the website just recently, is claiming ignorance and wants to share in the pre-existing org's popularity.

Recently the owner applied for membership in the mailing list and I approved it. The ML, is, after all, open to all, and unless he does something illegal (or warranting of a kick/ban), shouldn't deserve to get kicked out even if a lot of people dislike him. He can plug his website all he wants, but I'm sure people will be monitoring what he posts. Slander, after all, is punishable...

On a side note, I uncovered this only entry of mine relating to the first Pinoy *insert name* franchise, although of course it deals more with Pinoy Otaku than the rest. And of course, it shows my dated writing skills, and I was far from mature during my early anime days.

Read more!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

[Blog Entry] Link List for the Week!

Link List for the Week!

A bit late, but here's WotC's tribute to Keith Parkinson. Farewell to an artist.

*Gasp* Manga on daily broadsheets. What is the world turning into? =P

Oh my God, someone actually attempted to patent a plot. Someone gives his views on the matter.

Ever read Terry Brooks's Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold? Not quite that, but you do get to own your own undergound city.

Fighting Robots. 'nuff said.

An interview with Alan Moore. For the comic fans of course.

Perhaps a guideline of what not to do, The Fantasy Novelist's Exam.

Read more!
[Blog Entry] MRT Woes, Ooops

MRT Woes

Last night, I entered the Shaw MRT station hoping to get to Makati quickly. It was only then that I realized how long I’ve last used the MRT, with my photo shoots over, and I don’t have a friend to visit in Makati anymore (he left for the US). Of course the last time I boarded the MRT, my Stored Value Ticket was invalid, and the refunded me the difference. They also stopped selling Stored Value Tickets (prepaid tickets that have a value of P100.00) back then.

Of course that was several weeks ago, and I’m surprised they still don’t have Stored Value Tickets. But what was interesting about last night’s trip was that they ran out of regular tickets.

Lines on the MRT was long on both ends; one for those who have tickets, and another line on the opposite side of the exit, as people were paying once they reached their destination, not before. I said to myself wow, did the government suddenly trust Filipinos to pay the right amount and take their word that they got off at this and that station?

Once I reached Makati, the lines were even longer (it would put anime convention lines to shame). Apparently, ticketless victims paid a flat fee of P10.00 upon reaching their destination, which is cheaper than the regular cost (which is somewhere around P10.00 ~ P14.00). We were then issued new tickets, lined up again to exit and… freedom at last. I was going to take the bus home.

Okay, so what happened there? This is my hypothesis. One must bear in mind though that the MRT station was up and running during the presidential term of Joseph Estrada (Erap). At that time, the tickets had the face of Erap on them. The Arroyo administration though was probably less than enthusiastic to find the face of Erap on MRT tickets, despite the fact that Estrada had already been deposed (but they recognized how smart a tactic that was, and plastered GMA’s face on the LRT2 tickets). So they had the tickets change. Or rather, they attempted to do so. There was a news article a few months back at how the MRT tried to modify their tickets, but failed, either damaging the cards too much, or their machines not recognizing the card.

As a patron of the MRT, I sympathize with them. I was carrying MRT cards that had white scratches very evident on it (but managed to keep the portrait of former president Joseph Estrada), at least for the Stored Value Tickets. The Single Journey Tickets employed a smarter tactic on the MRT’s part, which had ads of sponsors on each side (so I assume if they stop advertising, the MRT will have to issue new cards again).

I suspect the MRT suddenly ran out of Stored Value Tickets as they’re planning to release new cards, probably with the picture of GMA on them. As for the Single Journey Tickets, there’s a different ad on the new one. My complaint with the new tickets though is that it doesn’t have an arrow on how to properly insert the card (although some people already have a hard time as it is inserting the card correctly even with direction arrows).

Does that mean once GMA’s term is over, we’ll have a similar fiasco again? If not in the MRT, the LRT2 then, as the next government will jealously promote is own regime? At least unless GMA manages to extend her term…


Get your copy of Siglo: Passion now. details can be found here. Of course there’s been a slight miscommunication with Fully Booked, and if you reserved a copy but didn’t pay the P500.00, well, go back and pay the said amount. The Comic Quest protocol, on the other hand, is working just fine (pay P500, get a reservation stub, and wait for the release date).

Read more!

Monday, November 07, 2005

[Blog Entry] What I Miss from LJ

What I Miss from LJ

Did you know LJ now keeps track of people's birthdays? I guess that means no more excuses for forgetting to greet people who "friended" you on their livejournals.

Of course one neat feature I like about LJ is how everything is centralized, and you can view the blogs of everyone you know in just one page (well, unless there's really lots of posts...). No need to click to each and every individual just to find out if there are updates.

Of course while blogspot is public, livejournal has a feature to make some entries private, that is posts that only certain people can view. I never thought I'd use it, but time has proven me wrong. When you're dealing with people, I guess one should be prepared for the unexpected. Because we're far from logical or rational. At least not most of the time.

Read more!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

[Blog Entry] Poof!


I never realized how easy it was to disappear from the blogosphere, especially if you don't have a stable Internet connection at home. And work has been busy as of late (not necessarily for me, but for the people whose computer terminals have access to the Internet, and it is upon their mercy that I manage to write my guerilla entries), and funds dwindling at the frequent use of Internet Cafes.

So if I'm suddenly gone, I'm still alive, albeit with diminished Internet access. My monitor at home is in its death throes (the screen's turning blue, and I'll suspect it'll turn black in a few weeks... longer than it would have taken if it was a generic monitor), so that doesn't help either.

Read more!