Saturday, December 23, 2006

On Assumptions, for Lack of a Flashier Title

"You can't judge my brother because he's not a book."

-Melanie Marquez

Outside any religious belief, what is an assumption?

My attention-deficit hyperactive disordered "pious" classmate has made the error of raising his hand to the question posed by our high school chemistry teacher. As expected, he expounded on the spectacular event where the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven. As expected too, our teacher, along with several other students, rolled their eyes. Like a teacher speaking to a mentally backward trilobyte having difficulties understanding what she is saying, she repeated the "outside any religious belief" clause. My classmate had the audacity to dispute that the assumption of Mary, who, for all I know, may or may not be blessed and may or may not be Virgin, is not a mere religious belief but a historical fact.

Suffice to say that this pleasant story ended with a chemistry teacher raising her voice and, contrary to a lot of clichè cheesy movies, the holy and divine forces of good beaten back by the evil of a strong science teacher.

An assumption, according to a handy black dictionary I have, which could well be mistaken for a cultist's handbook, is something taken for granted or supposed to be correct. For example, "I'm working on the assumption that all blondes are stupid," means pretty much the same as, "I believe my existence is heavily dependent on the stupidity of the blondes, therefore I exist."

Of course, a lot of assumptions are completely wrong. A very close friend of mine quite surprisingly and most appallingly assumed that all geeks are technophillic elven trekkies cursed with an eldritch lingua obscura spell, which is the reason why people rarely understand them. While I do agree that geeks are, in general, sometimes difficult to understand, not all of us are fans of Tolkien's LOTR or the Star Trek Series. I, myself, do like Star Trek Enterprise, although I have no idea who James T. Kirk or Spock is.

Another assumption I have had anguish encountering was that all written prose fantasy works are elven. I've had some people ask me what I'm currently working on, which, in itself, is quite a powerful balm to my ego. However, I am very much irked that, mentioning I'm working on a fantasy setting, over-enthusiastic fangirls would gush, "Oh, like Lord of the Rings?" Seriously, what's with this remarkably unhealthy obsession over white-haired elven archers who, what with their pointed ears and all, could just as well have been citizens of a primitive Vulcan civilization? Why, oh why, do people assume my fantasy stories take place somewhere in Middle Earth when they do not even have orcs, dwarves or elves? Why am I unfortunate enough to be assumed a proud and conceited writer who is too snub-nosed to admit I have been inspired by Tolkien's works when I absolutely abhor them?

Allow me, too, the audacity to point out a flaw almost innate in half the humans I encounter: females. Seriously, they think it's alright to be touchy-feely all about you. They put their hands on your thigh, on your arm, on your shoulder and, for the more aggressive ones, your butt as they give it a playful slap. We, men, on the other hand, don't have the same benefits and, with the exception of those on the extreme side of the gay scale, the softest of whispers, the merest breath of wind on their napes or the slightest touch on their arms could very well be enough to provoke some of these penisless harpies into screaming bloody rape or sexual harassment.

The other half too, shalt not be left unscathed. Aye, ye men. Think ye I be forgetting 'baout all o' ye now, hrrr?

Men have always been known to be sexual creatures. It is thought that in the same way our mouths helplessly salivate when we think about food, men, too, have organs that react at the dimmest spark of imagination regarding sex. A stereotype commonly thought to be true is that biological males are more sexually aggressive and biological females are more soft and romantic. Surely, a lot of you have heard of the quote, "Boys will be boys," used on males of all sorts, straight, bi or gay. To a degree, I am inclined to agree.

However, I do beg to differ when people just assume that males like me would love nothing more than a hard, rough climax with no strings attached. Indeed, the saying, "Dog is man's best friend," very nearly plunged into oblivion when a new saying, "His hand is man's best friend," more accurately described the picture. Not all of us, however, are any these sexually-crazy wolves always on the hunt for their prey. Some of us have our softer sides too, and no, we don't have to be gay to want for a warmer, more intimate and more romantic relationship.

A Broadway musical by AvenueQ, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, quite accurately depicts another form of presumption: racism. I am inclined to agree with the aforementioned artists that everyone's a little bit racist. I also agree that maybe the world might be a better place if we just all admitted that we are, indeed, flawed with racism and that it is but a fact of life. However, I will not agree to being subject to stronger forms of racism. You may be familiar with the sort of talk that runs along the lines of, "Oh, you're from the Philippines? Is that where people eat frog's legs, chicken's intestines, matured duck's egg or pork blood?"

While I do tend to abhor pork blood, I can see nothing wrong with eating frog's legs, matured duck's egg or chicken's intestines, which are in fact, quite delicious, if you ask me. The thrill of the utter shock radiated by other people quickly grows old and, in its stead, appalling annoyance tends to give me that sharp look in the eye and the ruffled feathers.

I could probably rant on and on about the horribly stupid things people assume about everyone else. Doing so, however, might drive away what precious little audience I have. I'd now be better off ending this transmission.

Okay, put 'er on Warp 3.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Go Ahead. Impress Me.

I once had the glorious opportunity/terrible misfortune to watch a copy of the movie Happy Feet. Really, there was nothing much about penguins that really strongly interest me. The plot was altogether cliché, the musical scenes were not to my taste and, probably, the only thing that really moved me so much was the twisted face of a penguin as he gasped for dear air while he was continuously being choked by the plastic rings of a 6-pack. Even then, I was hoping they'd just kill the guy and hope he has moved on to a happier place. I did like the superstitious approach to winter; all throughout that dark and frosty winter, the penguins were singing to bring back the sun.

Mumble Happy Feet, as an egg, was accidentally dropped by his father during a very cold and dark winter: a deed so severely disapproved by anyone who finds out. As it is, Mumble turned out to be slightly extra-normal; he was born feet first into the world, he danced instead of sung when he was happy and, in general, had happy feet. In his community of penguins on Emperor Island, everyone was expected to find his or her own heartsong: the special something deep within their souls that will find them their mate. Mumble, however, was not gifted the least bit with the harmony of voice; every time he is seized by a happy thought, an important fuel to the penguins' heartsongs, he breaks into dance.

Allow me to leave Antarctica for a while and bring you closer to heaven. Sir Richard Bach, an aviator, writer and fan of Antoine de-Saint Exupery, once wrote a book called The Gift of Flying. Well, that was one of his books I do not mean to discuss right now, instead, let me call your attention to another of his works: Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Yes, the main character is named Jonathan Livingston and yes, he is a seagull.

Jonathan spent most of his life in breathtaking isolation. Unlike all the other gulls, he didn't bother much to fight for breadcrumbs, screech with fellow gulls or be content with the rudiments of flying. Instead, he perfected flying, as an art; he is able to pull off maneuvers like rolls, tumbles, stalls, glides and other discombobulating terminologies an actual aviator might be able to better detail to you. For his efforts, he gained a better life; a high-speed dive brought him fish that schooled ten feet below the ocean while, riding the high winds inland, he was brought to new places and feasted on crickets there. He rode the evening wind when every other gull dared not fly in the dark and he rose above the fog, into clearer skies, when all his fellows just sat miserably in the beach, expecting nothing but rain.

His discoveries, however, were not without a price. For what the elders deemed reckless impudence, he was outcasted by the seagull society.

A lot of us people are special. There are those of us capable of "breathing" fire, running through shards of glass or capable of eating raw chickens that may or may not look ill and may or may not have come from Eastern Asia. There are those of our fellows who are stars of their own freak shows, wrestling arenas (Curse you, King Booker), concerts, movies and TV shows. Indeed, it would seem that we, as humans, thrive not only on food and water but also on attention.

When I was young, I was not particularly gifted with stage talents. I could answer a Math or Science exam good enough, bring my daydreams to life or weave stories that, strangely enough, no one but me seemed to understand. When I grew up into who I was now, I could sketch some objects fairly well, program a database application in Java or even write blogs, prose, fiction and other written compositions. However, I could not, for the life of me, sing or dance in a manner acceptable to our society.

I could dance some ballroom dances, yeah, but I bet it is not exactly the type people would like to see on impromptu performances in their pathetic Christmas or birthday parties. I could sing comfortable well in the safety of my own bedroom or under the comfortable blanket of anonymity in a sea of strangers but I doubt it is how people would like to know me better.

Sometimes, it's not always about the people who do something exceptional in public. A lot of us are not gifted with the penchant for histrionic arts, sleight-of-hand magic tricks, a soulful heartsong or a pair of happy feet. It is sad, though, that at social gatherings, people would point at other people asking, "Isn't that guy the fashion model you've been telling me?" but the moment you hear someone ask, "Isn't that the Internet's nth Blogger of the Year?" a lot of uneducated peasants would simply murmur, "Geek."

A past teacher of mine once said that programming is not a spectator sport. Commentators simply cannot tell their audiences, "Whoa! Mavi from Team Philippines has ditched recursion for an iterative approach!" or "Team Green Three, from UP Diliman, has unsealed what they called the Forbidden Quiwa Algorithm!" Even a momentary suspension of belief, like that employed by the cooking contest Iron Chef, does not, methinks, remotely allow for a programming contest a crowd could cheer on.

I am not bewailing my lack of stage talents; I would very much rather be writing this blog entry well into a carpal-tunnel syndrome rather than bend and contort my body into breathtaking postures in front of a crowd of screaming fanboys (fangirls too, but I have a lot more fanboys) I am probably just commenting with an indifference how some parents, including mine, coerce their untalented children to sing a pathetic cheesy song or dance a pitiful seizure during social gatherings. The poor children are often under pain of death, should they dare disobey, which, thankfully enough, they never do. The unwilling spectators, on the other hand, would simply say, "Oh, nice," or ejaculate, "Sugoi! Amazing!" more to the benefit of the poor child than that of the ridiculously ambitious mother.

To be sure, I am quite against robbing children of the joys of their childhood. Many are the times I have seen hopelessly misguided mothers cajole an unwilling (and untalented) child to sing. Many are the crappy performances I have seen during social gatherings. Also, many are the stifled laughter I have observed among audiences at the sheer lack of skill being flaunted. I mean, if we are not meant to sing or dance, then just leave us be; if someone believes in our talent only because they're our mother or blood-relatives, then forget it. Sure, we may not be able to brag anything during the Christmas party but you could usually call us anytime you need a graphic artist, an accountant, a doctor, a cook or even just a friend.

For instance, a friend can usually find me more than willing to help him/her build his/her own web site. I may not have the blessing of a heartsong or a pair of happy feet but I do happen to have, geeky as it may sound, a heartblog, a heartprogram, ten happy clickers and happy typers, fleet feet (you never know when you need me to run for something extremely urgent) and a single, hyperactive happymagination.

I can program for you a CMS
but not advise you on PMS.
I can shampoo, but for the life of me,
I cannot braid thy hair for thee.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Any Last Words?

Two or three days ago, Maestro Bacarra had posed a question that pretty much goes along these lines: "How would you spend the last remaining days of your life?" I never really took that question seriously 'coz my days of adolescent angsting, gothic witching and aloof depression were long past. It did, however, strike me as disturbing that I no definite answer instantly popped into my mind. For a person who spends most of his daydream-time conjuring worst-case scenarios, I came up clueless with what I actually wanted to do.

True, I could easily imagine how I'd react if I were assaulted in a public transport, attempted to be kidnapped or caught in the crossfire between good and evil in the legendary battlefield but I had no idea on what I'd do when faced with the assailant known only as the Grim Reaper. It was unsettling to realize that, though I have changed from a dark brooding person, I have also lost a few precious parts of my character.

Yesterday, my mother had fallen into one of her rare nostalgic moments once more. She had been filling us in on the twists and turns of my dad's courtship and, while most of the time, I find the contents of my stomach churning at the mere cheesiness of it all, there were also times I had to giggle like a high school girl, titillating at the mere cheesiness of it all. Then came the question that strikes fear and unrest into the heart of every closet gay student: "Do you have a girlfriend at school?"

I did manage to successfully evade the question, just saying that there were a few persons that caught my eye but none that have smitten my heart. Oh! If they only knew, but this pain, I am cursed to bear alone! Woe is me, pitiful is my life and pathetic is this digression of mine!

Just earlier this evening, I guess I had one too many sips of Sol de España, Sangria. I did acquire a sweet disposition during dinner; for some reason I cannot completely fathom, leftovers seemed to taste quite good. Three hours later, I found myself tossing and turning about my bed in a fitful sleep. Sleep is not even an accurate word to describe it for I have been hovering to and fro between states of dream and consciousness. Random thoughts popped into my head, sometimes more than once. A single voice, however, overwhelmed the rest by the immensity of its message: "What are you going to do with your life?"

There, in my slightly inebriated haze, I had the answers, but it was a grim revelation.

Life had never seemed so short when the time left is compared with the sum of the time it will take one to do all that one wants to do. It seems that one lifetime is never enough and, if that were not bad already, some people do not even get to live up to as long as the average human lifespan. I could die tomorrow; you could die tomorrow; he or she could die tomorrow. Heck, we all could even die now!

I wanted to be happy; everyone does. However, not everyone knows what will make them happy. I have a few good ideas but even I am not sure if it will truly fetch me happiness in my life.

I wanted to learn to ride a bike; it has been very embarrassing for me to have reached this age without knowing the basics of riding a bicycle. I also wanted to learn how to skate or use the roller-blades. I wanted to drive a car I could call my own. I wanted to eat dishes from various cuisines and generally have fond memories of each dish.

I once wished for a boyfriend and my wish came true as though the Wishmaster himself, a Djinn, granted it. I did not wish for true love for I conceded that it might be the remotest dream that could ever fall into my hands. I did wish for a close approximation of true love, however; I wanted to have a boyfriend that could make me happy and whom I could also make happy. I wanted to dance with him, watch movies with him, laugh with him and generally share intimate moments together, sexual or otherwise.

I wished to be free of my inhibitions even just once. I seek the uncontrollable fog that drapes over an intoxicated man's eyes; I wanted to be drunk outside the confines of my own home; I wished to act as I please, without thought of the repercussions of my acts.

I wanted to have broadband Internet access so I could download all the Uchuu Keiji Shaider episodes I could watch. It has also been very embarassing for me not to remember anything about the sentai series of my time like Shaider, Maskman, Bioman and Masked Rider Black. I wanted to participate in the Neopian stock market and earn a million neopoints or more. I've always wanted to win something from a raffle or the lottery, be it five hundred bucks, an iPod or some other MP3 player, a silver ring, belts, beads or a lifetime supply of boys; I don't really care. I just wanted to be reassured that I am not entirely without luck.

There are a lot more dreams I have, but not all of them may be realized; I am aware of that. I am working towards fulfilling some of my dreams but I'm afraid time is just too short to reach them all. I wonder, though, the moment I die, will all my unfulfilled dreams be hiding between pages too?

We're here right above the dust
seeking human warmth from you.
Care to stoop down and reach for us
or shall we remain dreams never true?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Internet Killed the Telegraph Star

There was once a song about video killing the radio star. Up 'til now, I'm still wondering whether I should take the literal meaning, where the "radio star" probably died, being sensitive to the glaring flashes of light anime series are known for, or the deeper one, where the radio star's career was ended by the proliferation of music videos.

There's no denying it, however; the world is swiftly changing and the rate of change is probably accelerating. Where before, it would take about ten or so generations before a technology is declared obsolete, nowadays, numerous gadgets grow old in a matter of months. In some progressive Southeast Asian countries, it seems as though people replace their mobile phones on a weekly basis.

I, too, have a mobile phone: a measly Nokia 3310 bought back in late 2003. Everywhere around me, I see a lot of phones much "better" than mine, which is no great feat since almost any phone out there is, apparently, "better" than mine. Those units have sleek black cases, colored LCD's, multimedia capabilities and candy-colored interfaces. Meanwhile, mine only had a pleasantly scratched surface, binary LCD with a sick green backlight, ringtones composed of monotone beeps grating to the human ear, B&W pictures and logos, primitive menus and equally primitive owner. I have a tendency to dispute the last one, ever and anon.

Still, however, I do not remotely yearn for a new phone. I don't need to listen to music all the time, I find it muddling my thoughts and I could "hear" myself think. I also don't need video and polytones, all I ever use my phone for are calling, sending and receiving text messages. I don't even want a smooth and shiny cover; my unsophisticated handling of phones will probably scratch those anyway at one point or another. All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with my ancient phone and, as I have observed, so are a few other people.

Not all technology has been as lucky as my phone, though. Back when I was a kid, I was fascinated by the mere fact that people could write to each other! I had always thought that if people wanted to communicate, they have to haul their @$$ over to the person they wish to talk to, paying a visit, pleasant or otherwise. When I finally got to the idea that the postman (or postperson, for the more genteel of you) is being paid to deliver letters, my astonishment was switched to telegrams.

Of course, back then, I thought postpersons always walked on foot, paid their own fare and, generally, walked hither and thither, back and forth from all islands in the archipelago; I believed postmen were little different from medieval couriers; if you wanted to send a message anywhere around the world, they'd have to book a ticket themselves.

I now know better, though and, unless there is a hidden conspiracy I am not aware of, my ideas concerning snail mail and telegrams are pretty much the same as everyone else. Or is it?

It is quite possible that just a mere 5 years from now, snail mail and telegrams will be something relatively unknown for future generations. At the present, snail mail is only being used to contact persons in areas unreachable by Internet or as a formality, where SMS and email messages may seem too dubious a medium for communication. Postmen still walk around, albeit with reduced physical burden, as a lot of people now resort to other electronic means of communication.

Telegraph operators, on the other hand, may not be so lucky. With more and more cell sites being planned, built and operated everyday, it does seem that anyone who has a working cellphone can never be totally isolated from humanity. Who needs the telegraph's speedy few hours when all it takes is a few seconds for a message to be sent from one mobile phone to another, almost anywhere?

It might be a dark thought but it does seem that computer programmers are the Grim Reapers of people like telegraph operators.

Hear me, call me, get in touch!
We need to talk, please hurry! Rush!

-Witch's Salt Spell, Dorothy Morisson

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

He's Murdering Time! Off With His Head!

The Mad Hatter once admonished the young Alice, "If you knew Time as well as I do, you wouldn't talk about wasting him." The poor fellow must have been under a curse quite terrible; it is always time for tea.

Every one of us has most probably suffered such a curse, at one point or another. I'm sure there'd be those of you who might be complaining that for them, it is always "time to hurry" because there is "not much time," which is probably why greetings have evolved from "Hello," or "Good day," into, "Bah! It's about Time!" Surely, more than one person wishes that Time would turn back its hands, reverse its sands or, at the very least, stop in its tracks.

We are all victims of time, that much we can be sure of, and, until we figure out a way to slow down the progress of time without involving near-light speeds, we just pretty much have to surrender ourselves to our fate. The only thing we can do to alleviate our sufferings is figure out a way to speed things up, while we still can't slow down time.

All in all, our efforts were not all that bad. After all, our microwaves can zap meals in an alarming fraction of the time it took our ancestors to boil water in a log fire. Our SMS messages, IM's and emails reach their destination in a matter of seconds, or minutes, at most, when the fastest our predecessors had took hours using the Pony Express or even days, by carrier pigeons. Maglev trains, light rail and jets have rendered wagon trains a thing of the past, if not completely obsolete.

Not all of humanity, however, had been able to benefit from this evolution of technology. While I am also tempted to share my opinions concerning the more traditional methods of cooking employed by our unfortunate brethren in impoverished areas, allow me to be selfish enough to rant about dialup connections.

In my world, before there was WiFi, there was DSL and before there was DSL, there was dialup. Sad to say, I am still on dialup, which probably means I live in an uncomfortably small world after all. True, broadband Internet connections have been available to a wide range of users but, for us who live in the periphery known as the suburban, we often suffer the lack of these tempting services.

A local mobile phone carrier once advertised on TV that its WiFi has the "nationwidest" coverage. I am not inclined to agree or disagree, however, I would like to point out that they have failed to add the "unfeasible in certain areas" clause. We attempted to avail of this service, unfortunately, we had too much taller structures nearby so we'd only get the same connection speed as dialup, if not slower. The technician had kindly explained that their antenna needed a line of sight with their "cell sites" in order to provide us the speed promised by their advert. Up 'til now, though, I was wondering why they placed our nearest cell site on lower ground.

We would have gladly welcomed a DSL connection but it was not offered in our area. Augh! The price we had to pay for a relatively quiet, peaceful and serene environment: longer and more tiring travel time, frequent disruption in phone services and now, lack of access to certain "luxuries".

Nonetheless, I am more than content with my dialup connection. They say you only know how much something is worth when it is taken away from you. Considering the fact that unscrupulous individuals pilfer great lengths of phone cable ever and anon, suffice to say that I am constantly reminded that a slow connection is better than no connection at all. Besides, it is also probably a wiser choice. See, my parents did not subscribe for cable TV, in order to limit the shows available to us. In effect, it also limits the amount of time we spend in front of the TV: a decision I am thankful to my parents for. Analogously, dialup also restricts my access to sites whose content I don't really need.

The angst, however, kicks in when the sites whose contents I do need, consume high bandwidth. It appears that ever since Web 2.0, almost all the sites people go to cater only to users with broadband access. It does irk me when a close acquaintance asks me to visit a page, which, more of than not, is a large page in YouTube. I have nothing against YouTube, except for the fact that it caters to broadband users. I often find myself rolling my eyes at sites that are flashy enough to be attractive yet also large enough that I'd have to wait more than 30 seconds for the page to load. Most of the time, I find myself clicking the Stop button.

Really, it's as though the whole world is comprised only of broadband users. We, dialup users, have been forgotten as a minority. Large file sizes, tons of graphics and fancy animation do not necessarily make good sites.

Here in the Philippines, we have a saying, "Ang di lumingon sa pinanggalingan, di rin makararating sa paroroonan." (He/she who fails to look back from whence he/she came shall also fail to reach wherever he/she would go) I would be sure to remember that saying when developing web pages. I would never forget that there once was a time in my life, when I had a slow Internet connection.

Might I add, that time is now.

The young hare zooms to the buffet
and returns more than thrice a day.
The aged turtle takes steps so slow,
and so do I, that much I know.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Phoenix Reborn; Be My Shooting Star

Our eyes had met, fleetingly, once more,
And my gaze travelled to your lips again.
I don't know you but I wondered, as before,
if you could smile as you did back then?

Your little baby boy Mavi has changed and with him, changed his blog, his website and his personal outlook in life and love. As a saying goes, "Nothing in this world is permanent but change," which is kinda stupid because it also means the veracity of that statement is not so immutable either. Nonetheless, the point is that I have changed, not with the thunderclap that heralds a butterfly's metamorphosis but rather with the silent growth of a crab that had just shed its old exoskeleton. Frankly speaking, I like my new shell better.

This "new" me may not be too different from my former self; it does retain certain recognizable features difficult to erase. However, there are others that are so different, long-lost relatives would often say, "There's something different about you... but I could quite put my finger on it," and long-lost friends, meanwhile, would ask, "What the hell is wrong with you?"

Lessee, first there were the philosophies in life. Where before, I would simply have enjoyed the thought of chucking children into the basement incinerator, de-bumming the world with lvl-2 bolt spells and eradicating poverty by eliminating all the "indications of poverty", I now find myself thinking, "I wonder what he ate for lunch today," "What does this guy do for a living?" or even "Does this bum have the means to visit my website?" True, a friend of mine once said life would be simpler if we didn't think of such complications but I do find it rather unsatisfying to spend the rest of my life rolling a katamari of guiltless genocide, although I still would enjoy chucking children into a furnace.

I also found myself stepping outside my selfish confines (for I have not the audacity to claim I am entirely free of it) into the harsh selfish reality of the outside world. It does rock my boat, having to think of matters that don't concern me at all, like war, politics, poverty, higher dimensions and cosmological theories but it's also what rocks my world.

Once a nocturnal creature, I am now, well, honestly speaking, still a creature of the night. However, I do not have the same unhealthy obsession with darkness as before. The sun came into my life and even now, though the reign of the sun is over, I still feel the warmth that was imparted to me. Like a vine, I probed with my tendrils, seeking the light.

All around me, I saw that the universe was not as dark as I had thought. Maybe, if we all took the time to let the tears flow, we'd see much clearer with all the dirt washed away. If we cared enough to weather the storm, we'd find the air much cleaner and less opaque, when all the smoke and smog has been blown away. I suppose if we even just opened our eyes, we'd see that the night is not as dark, hollow and scary as we thought, that even in the absence of the sun, there'd still be the moon and stars and that even on overcast nights, there'd still be streaks of lightning to illuminate our world.

I guess some of my old acquaintances would scorn me for becoming "weak", "human" and a creature of my emotions. The Vulcans would shake their heads and declare me hopeless. Still, however, I, like the renegade Vulcans, am not controlled by my emotions, rather, I am empowered by them. Where before, I would wield the pen (or keyboard, to be more accurate) only in moments of great passion, I now find the word flowing more freely, now that I embraced my "humanity" and the "weakness" they call emotions. (It is, however, not evident in the lengthy time it took me to write another post, I concede. Your little baby boy Mavi has been busy, indeed.)

The Kaleido Star, Layla Hamilton, once realized that to be reborn as a phoenix, one does not always need to step forward. Sometimes, when we reach a dead end, the only way to move forward is to take a step back into the fork in our roads. Our progress does not always lie in eradicating our weaknesses; sometimes, it is in acknowledging these shortcomings that we come to learn how to deal with life even more.

The sorcerer looked up to the night skies and wondered if he'll ever have all the answers. Maybe the fool was not such a bad companion after all. The sun had long set, but oh! there is so much more beauty behind the glaring radiance. To the east, a comet lit the sky, heralding a new era.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Horoscope Hoax

It all began with the summer solstice. I was born in the daylight of June 21, the day the sun ruled the sky for the longest time. I grew up in the belief that my birthdate falls under the House of Gemini. I read the papers and I found my birthdate marking the posterior limits of Gemini. The day immediately after that, it was the turn of Cancer, the crab, to rule the sky.

When I have read enough papers, I was startled one day to find out that my birthdate has fallen under Cancer and that the day before that marked the end of Gemini. The summer solstice, this time, turned out to mark the ascension of the crab. I was positively mirthed and convinced that such was simply an error on the side of the newspapers, probably the typesetters, not that I had any idea of what typesetters really are back then. True enough and as I had expected, a year later, I believed the newspaper had admitted their error and reassigned my day under Gemini.

However, as I came across other circulation materials and, with the discovery of the Internet, web pages, I found varying limits on the twelve houses of the Celestial Zodiac. Some ended and started the reign of a sign with the dates 21 & 22, respectively. Others used 22 & 23, 20 & 21, and even as far as 19 & 20 or 23 & 24. While this would normally not pose a problem, it is quite a conundrum to people born on those dates.

So many people take their Celestial Zodiac signs for granted. "Who, me? I'm a Virgo." "Oh, I'm a Libra." "Hi, I'm a Leo. Rrrr." Meanwhile, people born on those boundary days get asked, "So, what's your sign?" and those who are aware of it would often stammer, "I'm Gemini-Cancer," or "I think I'm either Libra or Scorpio." Other people who don't know any better would simply answer off the top of their heads, "I'm a Pisces," only to be met with a hard rebuttal along the lines of, "Weren't you born on March 22? You're an Aries," or worse, "No. You're wrong. You're an Aries."

At first, I attributed such abberations on the 21st day of the month. After all, I knew that the soltices and equinoxes, also known as the Four Lesser Sabbats, fall on the 21st day of their respective months. It is not too illogical to assume that the Zodiac has been mindlessly set with these dates defining a quarter of a year. They probably chopped each quarter into convenient bite-sized months 'coz having just four signs of the zodiac was simply too boring. Then, when they were done slicing time, they looked up into the sky during each division and said, "You know, Moe, that group of stars sure look like the number sixty-nine." "Really now, Larry? I think those stars look more like a couple in the sixty-nine position." "That's odd," someone named Curly would probably say. "I thought I saw two fishes." Voila! The constellation of Pisces was assigned to the group of unfortunate, ambiguous stars.

Eventually, people began asking, "So when does the Celestial sign of Pisces rule?" and these would simply answer, "Oh, from February 21 to March 21." And Aries? "Oh from March 21 to April 21." Now, different people, occultists and astrologers alike, began making their own convenient zodiac mechanisms just so a person doesn't get two Zodiac signs while others have only one. It is, after all, not healthy to be greedy.

Of course, such a trifle tale did not, by any means, diminish my frustration everytime someone asks, "Eh? How is it possible for you to have two star-signs?" When I stepped into college, I had access, with the help of the University's libraries, to a wider range of reading materials compared to the limited, " systematized and orderly" knowledge stored in the high school library. Unlike the time I was enrolled in the Catholic high school, I now had access to books that could very well be considered heretic, paranormal or just plain weird. From these books, I was enlightened that a person's celestial zodiac is not really determined by dates or such, rather, it is defined by the constellation, or house, if you will, the sun is in at the time of birth.

Things began to get dull for a while for, with no means to travel back in time just to observe the skies at the moment of my birth, I had given up and was generally content in lording over people the fact that I did have two star-signs. I could never be sure which one I belonged to. When GoogleEarth was released, I could remember sighing, "Oh! That's pretty handy. Now if only they also had GoogleSky..."

I didn't get GoogleSky, which is probably a good thing because the name sounds so atrocious, in my humbled opinion, but I did find out that an encyclopedia software we've had for years now also carried numerous additional interactive features. Among these was a sky map, which, as you can probably infer from the name, maps the skies and the celestial bodies contained within it. Furthermore, it also had options to views the sky from different parts of the world and from different points in time. This is the starfield simulator I have long been looking for!

Great was my disappointement when I adjusted the starfield date and time to that of my birth, only to discover the sun in Taurus, approaching Gemini. I shrugged my shoulders and assumed it was an error on the part of the computer, considering the fact that simulations have limits too and I probably happened to push beyond it by giving a date twenty years back. I tried simulating the sky at the present year giving the same date and much was my chagrin to discover the same shit. I simply heaved a sigh back then and, assuming the zodiac was just a bit out of alignment, I'm probably Gemini.

This morning, I came upon another book on Astrology, one of my least-favored topics when it comes to the paranormal. Halfway through an hour of yawning and stifling yawns, I came across an interesting tidbit, "Celestial signs generally shift about one degree everyday." It sure did make sense, after all, I have been acquainted with the fact that the moon gets delayed about eight minutes everyday. "The celestial zodiac itself shifts by one degree every 72 years." Big deal, so the sky was not as static as we once thought. I think Galileo already proved that. "The earliest horoscopes were in existence as far back as 114 B.C."

Let's see, it's been 2000 years since some guy named Christ was born, the time indicated was at least a hundred years back. That gives at least 2100 years between today and the earliest definition of a horoscope. Dividing that figure by 70 years, for easier computation, and we come up with a deviation of at least 30 degrees. Fact: each house of the Zodiac occupies a 30-degree arc of the celestial sphere about the equator. In other words, the Zodiac back then has been moved up by one house! (and a fraction of it). Thus, it should have been nowhere near surprising to find my sun on Taurus, nearing the border between that and Gemini.

Then again, I could be very well wrong to believe a starfield simulator. What better way to verify such abberations than to look up at the sky at midnight? If all goes well, I should be seeing, directly above me, the constellation of Aquarius; the sun has been in Leo for quite some time now. Unfortunately, the hypothetical midnight anti-sun has just recently left Sagittarius and entered Capricorn. The sun is crossing the stars of Taurus only in the time defined for Gemini.

Of course! It does makes sense. It is perfectly reasonable and does not really defy the law of physics in a most spectacular manner. What is surprising, though, is the fact that we are still using the aged system! We often hear from "expert" and "certified" astrologers especially during auspicious dates like the Gregorian and Oriental New Year. We are acquainted with fortunetellers diving the future of "Capricorn" or "Aquarius" with as much air of authority as the dirtiest gasbag in the government. We sometimes read our horoscopes saying, "Today is your lucky day!", "Your lucky numbers are..." and the worst "Your lucky color for the day/week/month is..." Do these guys actually look at the sky? Or do they simply use aged models that say, "Oh, by this date, the sign of Leo will probably be here and Aquarius, over there."

We've been fooled, ladies and gentlemen. I could only wonder now why nobody has ever called attention to this before? Seriously still, I am irked by the possible answer to the question, "Do these astrologers really look at the stars?" I was about to add "...or is the glitter of being paid or captured on TV just so overwhelming?" but that would simply be too much.

Oh well, at least I can shrug my shoulders in apathy now. My innate distrust of astrology has not been in vain.

Time given, time taken,
time present and time past,
time delayed and time stolen;
space collapsed really fast.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Empty my Coffers. Rock my World. Feed my Maw. Fuck me. Fly.

What would a fellow have to give
that this hour would ne'er depart?
What, too, is one to bribe
to the fellows who have seen my heart?

Reading has been a very valuable skill to me, as it has enabled me to navigate the world in a relatively safer way compared to one who knows as much as I do with the exception of the aforementioned skill. It has granted me the power of distinguishing whether a flask of spirits contained the most wholesome liquor or the most noxious poison. Knowledge I have gathered this way has given me the pleasure of directing mortals to drink such liquid, lulling them into a sleep I am quite aware they so direly need.

There are, however, limits to the readily apparent omniscience offered by acquiring such a skill. For one, navigating the streets of an unknown place, while reading street signs, building signs and other signs attached to public structures and transport crafts, it is most severely affected by factors that ruin visibility such as fog, rain, sun and strato-cumulus, among others. Even shrugging off these manifestations of the Earth Mother's might, we, humans, have also introduced smoke, smog, posts, other buildings and even ourselves into the system, obscuring other people's sight of a particular sign, which, for all we know, may or may not be vital. Grant me the audacity to also point out the genetic factors, such as having two parents in need of viewing spectacles that it is naught more than a given fact that we, their progeny, would be wearing glasses or an assortment of lenses as well.

Still, reading was of great use to me at night when, after my daily excercises, I am still too hyper to fall asleep. Sometimes as powerful as some nightcaps I have imbibed, reading a novel, no matter how explosive and interesting, would, after sufficient time, lull me into a repose, likewise explosive and interesting.

I once have been thrust into the unknown world of Makati City; were it not for my reading skill, I should have been utterly lost in an ocean of particles wearing coats, jackets or wielding umbrellas. Still, as it turned out, I have hailed the wrong bus, got off at the wrong stop, walked to the wrong rendezvous, wandered about the wrong area and almost stepped into the wrong building. None of those mistakes could have been averted simply by reading stuff one sees about one's self. After all, a good sense of direction and forehand knowledge of the area might have helped me more in my predicament.

Not knowing any better, I had agreed to be at rendezvous an hour after my last class. The day was quite gray, dismal and rainy. Allow me to digress and share the dream that coursed through my neurons when the clock struck midnight and started that particular day. I dreamt of two people who were not the least bit close to me back in high school. These two were of almost no significance to me other than the fact that they managed to appear in my subconscious on the day of a very interesting event in my life.

Sure, these two were very attractive persons and the innocent and gullible part of me that believed in destiny foolishly hazarded the notion that an acquaintance from back then would make its way into my life. A girl, a boy, my best friend, the fag hag, a vicious social shark, a loud printer, an undead friend, a mystic witch, perhaps, or her loyal satellite? These people, and then some, were key to the development of certain parts of my life, molding some of my personality or shaping my, raw, and pliant, philosophy; surely, if anyone from back then turns up that day, it'd be them, right?

However, none of the sort turned up and on that bleak, misty morning, who should I find but, not too surprisingly, another neutral acquaintance, for whom I have not felt any strong feelings. Of course, the usual forced pleasantries were blurted out until the topic of the makeshift conversation eventually drifted into the subject of graduation. As it is, I have had a hard time trying to explain that I have had certain "academic difficulties", the euphemism I constantly use. He, however, was either quite perceptive, quite prejudicial or quite lucky with his guesses that he had hit upon the truth frighteningly almost immediately. It was, what I'd probably look back on in my future life, as a cosmic slap of galactic proportions. I tried my best to curtly dismiss such faux pas and move on to a much more refreshing topic: nothing.

Still, the impact of that comment echoed far into the day and, later in the afternoon, lost in a flurry of wild and colorful images so vivid yet so detached, I found myself asking myself whether I'm making another mistake in my life, right before I succumbed to an explosive moment of blasted fulmination. As of the moment I'm writing this, the sonic boom generated by that slap still reverberates quite intensely within my skull.

Of course, I have realized, just a few months back, how young, how foolish and how selfish I have been. This morning, another slap was directed to my other cheek as I lost a petty competition to a bunch of strangers. A day gone wrong, I shall spare thee the gruesomely boring details but for the fact that I just realized, at the moment, that my approach to life has been the fuck-you-jump-in-head-first-talk-later methodology. Coupled with innate habit of lying, I can say that it has gotten me so far but, believe me, wherever that so far may be, it's not a nice place at all.

Talking of places, I have, two days ago, had renewed the boyish thrill of riding a train. The last time I rode one was when I was four or five and had to take my shots someplace far. That day, I have had the pleasure of looking down on motorists stuck in traffic and, had I been unseen by anyone, I'd probably have laughed in such a demonic manner over such sheer joy of finally defeating the transport system that had once held me in its grip for two long hours. My initial apprehensions of getting off at the wrong station were dissolved when I noticed that each station has its name printed in large, bold letters quite improbable for anyone literate to miss.

Still, like I said earlier, reading is not everything. So is a knowledge of trivial facts. I have long been gloatful of things that are so overrated, even though they hardly count solely in determining a person's substance. Virginity is overrated, it does not immediately equate to fortitude or chastity. Memory is also overrated, it does not mean wisdom or intelligence. Skillful subterfuge is simply the inability to deal with the truth. Paranoia and self-consciousness are just manifestations of the lack of capacity to stare at life in the face and say, "Fuck you."

In a world where I would have liked to remain apathetic, I was thrust quite low I almost have grazed the ground; such a feat makes apathy almost impossible, no matter how much I would have liked to. This afternoon, I saw the indignant mage of shock, a friend of mine, with a partner. While I, of course, could not help but notice the outward shell, I was severly wounded by the sharp sting of jealousy in seeing him with someone else that cares deeply for him. Be not mistaken, I have no strong feelings for him but envy; where before, I would have said, "Oh those grapes were sour anyway," I found myself looking on as other foxes leap higher and sigh, "Oh how luscious those grapes are, lucky are everyone else in that they can leap high enough to reach them."

To anyone who might have made the error of reading this in the first place, I could offer nothing more than the apology for writing something while under the influence of a nightcap. However, I would also like to offer the advice to not follow my example. Be not too emotional; be not too apathetic either. Keep lying to a minimum but be not too stupidly honest, either. Life is short, do what you can, what you want and what you must. Deprive yourself not for the sake of keeping a false front because in a short span of time, such would hardly matter. Gamble not with something you don't have, spend not riches you have yet to acquire and count not your eggs before all have broken. Be not too arrogant and slyly put on a shy mask for whistling as though nothing had happened would not change the fact that something has. As Mr. Micawber, an acquaintance of Charles Dicken's David Copperfield once said, "Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!"

So yeah, there you have it guys. I've been bitch-slapped by life a lot of times, but I do remember three megaton bashes. I would love to turn back the hands of time but, as it is, I can hardly do anything 'bout it except to live through it. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to walk into people's lives. Would I find out anything that I could have used to better my own?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

First Day Fever

Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub
and who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,
and all of them, gone to sea.

Storm, yes, very rainy. Downpour. Cold aches. Head night. Hurts? Not much, initially. Good, great. Dinner, yes, please. Dizzy. Thoughts very much. Dizzy? No, very much something. Fragmented? Yes, very much. You? Likewise. First? Yeah. Really. First ever. This is crazy. Dizzy, yes. A lot.

Rain, washy. Wet. Of course, it is. Cold, freezing. Fever? Slight. Bus, frigid. Wavy, bumpy. Bus? No, road. Dirty? It's fine. Just dizzy. No, bumpy. Bumpy. Wavy. Cold and frosty. Misting? Not yet. Sounds colorful. Not music. Noise. Very random. Not radio. TV. Vibrant. Colorful noise. Head aches. Dinner, good. Not cold, thank heavens. Chicken. Salty but tasty, nonetheless.

Paracetamol? Good. Dessert. Why? Hate pharmaceutics, yes? Usually. Not now, head aches, something hurts. Slight fever, probably coming. Must build resistance. Meningo-something virus. Someone died. News. Night before last. Very random. Must build resistance. Danger? Maybe. Hope not.

Very colorful, whilrwind. Dirty? Hope not. Dunno. Proud? No. Not proud. Not ashamed, either. Horrible? Atrocious? Hell no. Good. Great. Warm. Dizzy. Impulse? Doubt it. A lot. Very random. Dunno. How great? Glorious? Not really. No bells. No singing angels. Stupid angels. Curses. No stars. No sparks behind my eyes. Fireworks. No, none, haha. Spectacular, no. Good, hell yeah. Great, yeah. Okay. Alright. Fine.

Euphoria? Dunno. Probably still not. Maybe exact opposite; empty glasses. Empty mugs, despair. Gone. Empty glasses, gone. Opposite? Yeah. Not gone. Here. Warm. Great. Alive. Once dead? No, just numb. Good, nonetheless.

Regrets? Oh, very far. Three hour trip. No regrets, for now. Who knows? Time changes. People change. Very different from before. Three years. Strange. Unique. How about pain? Hurts a lot. Very much. Three hours after. During sleep. Cold night, dizzy head. Sharp pain. Biting towel. All night. Soft. Fluffy. Yellow. I hate yellow. It hurts. Can't be choosy. Soft. Fluffy. Warm. Clean.

Lovely. Unique. Detached but alive. Motion. Movement. I guess.

Insecurities? Still many. One less. Thank the Fates.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Chasing Butterfly Dreams

Dispel my great anxiety
and allay my untold fears.
Undermine the enormity
of troubled, unshed tears.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us have yet another moment of silence to send up a message to the omnipotent being(s) of our individual beliefs, that the death of yet another mother may not be in vain.

One week ago, I was in a nervous wreck for I had to demonstrate the prototype version of an inventory management system to a group of people who were, to the best of my knowledge, total strangers to me, save for the fact that they know I was their nephew's friends and that I know they are my friend's aunt and uncle. These two people brought along with them an aging lady who introduced herself to me as the primary user of the system.

Though I managed to hold up a facade of jovial personality and expressively colorful attitude, inside I was trembling and nervous, in fear that they might say something along the lines of, "Mr. ____, your prototype is very lovely but I'm afraid it does not meet the purposes and/or designs we have in mind," or the more blunt, "What the #3|| is this $#!+?"

My fears proved to be an exaggeration for the meeting did not prove to be the vivid horrifying ordeal my lively imagination has conjured for me, although there still is the tinge of anxiety a producer feels, held in doubt whether one's customers are satisfied with the product or not. Additional comfort came in the form of the touchy-feelly cheesy-squeezy gestures of the aging woman.

Still, my sorcerous alter-ego did not fail in remarking to me that the female half of the population, in general are so presumptuous. They would put their hands on top of a guy's thigh, wrap an arm about a guy's waist or squeeze a guy's upper arms with a playful hug, assuming such actions are acceptable for the receiving parties. Meanwhile, if we do that to them, we'd either be labelled as perverts or misinterpreted as flirting. If we did that to one another, we'd be called gay, queer, or worse, faggots.

The world really seemed to be unfair. In an online forum, a guy once remarked that when his sister caught him "playing with himself" she screeched "Pervert!" However, when he did catch her, a week later, doing, more or less, the same thing, she was just as quick in covering herself up and screeching, "Pervert!"

Three days ago, I came upon a butterfly that had made the mistake of entering our house. Truth be told, I thought it was a moth because its wings were spread out instead of folded in, like most butterflies do. Its wings were black, spotted with white and it had a singular speck of red at the bottom of each lower wing. Like I often do with water beetles, grasshoppers, mantises, snakes, cats, frogs, toads, other butterflies and most of the other wild creatures that happen to make the mistake of entering our human abode, I gently took it in my hands and let it fly outside.

No, I don't take snakes in my bare hands, I lure them into a jar before setting them free outside. I don't pick up clawing cats, slimy frogs or warty toads either, I gently shoo them out of the house by stomping my feet and making violent motions. I handle only insects, with the exception of rare cockroaches; these creatures make it out of the house in a number of pieces.

See, when dealing with roaches, just stomping on them is not enough, you have to grind your footwear back and forth to tear them up into pieces. Cockroaches' brains are spread throughout their body, like most insects do; decapitated roaches often tend to run around blindly for two weeks before dropping dead from exhaustion or dehydration. Yes, their rich, white, gooey fat can sustain them that long.

In getting insects out of the house, my unknowing human brother would use liberal fumes of insect repellent, like he did with a poor butterfly just five days ago, until I rescued the poor creature and brought it to freedom. My evil sister, on the other hand, would shoo these insects away, with the exception of water beetles; these she would literally kick out of the house, knowing thay have a hard carapace anyway.

Anyway, this butterfly I recently set free did not fly away as I had expected. Instead, it clung on even as I was gently blowing it away. In the end, I had to settle with leaving it on a leaf of an orchid, hoping it would fly away to some better place after it had rested.

The next day, as I was practicing the routine spell of hastening the process of entropy on a pile of garbage, I espied the same butterfly again, in quite a dangerous proximity to the, now burning, pile. I gently took it upon my hands again and, as though recognizing the unique taste of my fingers, my touch, the scent of my hand, or my unique set of fingerprints, it willingly crawled into my palm. To someone like me, it was a moment best described by, "Awww."

I ascended the stairs to our terraces and placed it on a group of flowers by the plantbox. I surmised that the poor creature might be starving and, with the lack of blooming flowers in our backyard, assumed that it had not the strength to fly. By putting it on top of the flowers, I hoped, if it was, indeed, a butterfly, that she would at least manage to feed herself. Later in the cloudy day, I also had the foolish thought that the creature might be solar-powered, not quite unlike some species of lizards, snakes and geckos that bask in the sun.

Yesterday morning, before I departed, I check up on the flowers only to find the butterfly still there. Inspecting much closer, I could see its proboscis but it doesn't seem to be interested in eating. Working on the assumption that the flowers were completely devoid of nectar, no thanks to the minute, ant population thriving in our plantbox, I got a teaspoon of honey from the fridge, warmed it to room temperature and tried drip-feeding the poor creature. There still was no response from it except for the shifting of its crawling limbs; I had noticed it tried its best to remain in an upright position.

Thinking that, perhaps, a gigantic teaspoon is not exactly the best feeding implement for a small creature, I settled for dousing the open flowers with the sweet mixture. I replaced the creature upon this arrangement and left for my engagement, hoping that it would eat, bask in the sun and fly. Heck, I even talked to it, gesturing to other houses in our neighborhood with gardens of blooming yellow flowers; yes, I did feel silly later on, not that it matter much, anyway.

That day, I once again met with the aging woman to receive some sample of forms such as invoices and delivery receipts. Once again, my "good boy" facade earned me the torture of squeezy hugs; even her husband, who was there, seemed amused by his wife's antics.

On my return, that afternoon, I found it dead. The butterfly was a female, if sex does exist in these flying arthropods. It was pregnant and numerous yellowish eggs were bursting out of its lower body. It was at that moment that I realized that this mother has given her life for her children. Not wishing this sacrifice be in vain, I lifted the corpse, carrying the eggs stuck to it, and placed it near some weeds. Even to the dead, flowers of consolation are of no use, but the lush foliage of the weeds would be invaluable to the progeny awaiting life's awakening touch.

It was probably a butterfly and it probably had not enough strength to keep its wings up. Due to gravity, the weight of her wings pulled them down into a spread-out position.

Later, that night, I came across the thought that the reason behind that aging woman's presumptuos gestures was a child she never had. Maybe her baby was stillborn, or died some time later. Maybe her children didn't grow up to be the respectable citizen my facade supposedly represented. I shrugged, turned over and continued to sleep. She, too, may have been a child of the beloved Earth Mother but she is human; in my opinion, there are too much of our species inhabiting this planet.

The only thing I can hope for now is that my treatment did not hasten the poor butterfly's death.

For the orphans she had left behind, I beseech thee, dear reader, once more to lift your hands in prayer to the gods of your respective beliefs.

Though your light will not be mine
nor your warmth be my shelter,
just tell me everything is fine.
Just tell me I am stronger.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Salamangkero 2

They say history repeats itself. At first, I thought the conjurers of such a notion were total idiots.

Once again, the summer solstice has come to pass. By itself, it was a very remarkable day, where the sun reigned in the sky for the longest time. To a sorcerer in a not-so-distant land, it was not only magical but also personal for it marks the day that he first began the slow process of dying. You see, while some optimists view birthdates as the moments when an individual begins living, some negativists maintain that it is actually the day a person begins dying. It's as pointless, really, as arguing whether the glass is half-full or half-empty when they both mean the same thing.

Though there were difficult times in his life where such a day is met with dread, for it marks yet another year of slow death, he, nonetheless, celebrated its annual return, in the hopes that the next year of his existence might bring more sunlight into his life.

You may very well remember that around these days, last year, a sequence of very dissapointing events flung a self-righteous sorcerer unto the very earth he stepped on. Today, the Fates, in their fair and just judgement, decided that one has had enough of their benevolence; the Earth Mother rained on his parade, so to speak.

Once more, one or two guests quite so suddenly dropped off the face of the earth. A family of five surmised that they could not make it and said so only at the last moment. With one or two others doing the same thing, the guest list was already halved. Not that the sorcerer minded but forehand knowledge of their absence might have prodded his satellite to move the gathering to a much more savory and appetizing environment more conducive to appreciation of the culinary arts.

Even before that unfortunate news, the guest list itself was quite pathetic. One comrade was out of town and could not make it. One acquaintance responded not to the invitation; it was quite the same with another friend. One particular person, who had such a mighty influence on his life declined, leaving only one other guest left. That last person, who was also of great, but subtle, influence, to the sorcerer's craft, could not make it for the Earth Mother was pissed off.

In their place were several unexpected guests. There was one family the sorcerer's satellite had summoned, whom the sorcerer totally despised, not only that night. There was also a young woman who was quite friendly, charming the sorcerer into divulging some of the tenets of his craft. While the sorcerer initially presumed that it was because of his rather peculiar attire and hoped this woman believed that clothes make the man, he was most sorely disappointed to discover that the impetus of this interest was only the fact that the craft was unfamiliar to this young lady. With that, the hopes of perfecting the art of charming a potential life partner flew out of the window.

Finally, his best friend (Coca Cola and Sol de España, red wine) was not present at the celebration. In its stead was a stranger (Pineapple juice and Finlandia, vodka). Though he abhors pineapples, despite their high bromelein content, he, nonetheless, gave it a shot. In moments, liquid fire began coursing through his innards, leaving a sweet after-scent contrasting a bitter after-taste.

I'm not blaming the Fates; had they not smiled at me in one crucial moment of my life, I would have greater problems like food and shelter. I would not hold a grudge against the beloved Earth Mother: she who gently blew a cool breeze whenever I'm broiling under the sun. I would not judge vodka as an Ersatz friend; perhaps pineapple juice was not its best companion. I'd rather not spit venom at my senpai; he probably was telling the truth and, otherwise, I still would have understood the awkward scenarios he might have conjured. It would be best not to brew acrimony towards my mentor; I've done far worse to him. I really wouldn't perform a guilt trip trick on my friend; I'd most probably mildly worry and ask her, "Where the hell have you been?" and I'd probably add an "Are you okay?" depending on my mood.

Still, I could not help but feel resentful of the fact that this horrendous day was an encore of a similar date. In Straight Time, a novel I once read, a criminal fugitive by the name of Max Dembo once robbed a Chinese shop simply due to a dire need of funds. Later, in a dark and secluded alley, when he counted the loot, he came up with a very small figure. He wanted to scream in the frustration that he had robbed the downtrodden. While I may not share the same sentiment, I could recall one emotion I shared with his this day: he cried out into the night, not because of some evil her recognized but simply because of the complex tangle of human existence.

A joke from an online forum once read: Nobody dies a virgin, because life screws everyone.

In this great unholy hour,
impelled by your vast power,
I indulged my secret whims
whilst you trampled on my dreams.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gloria Hallelujah!

It's the wind blowing free, it's the end of a slope,
It's a bean, it's a void, it's a hunch, it's a hope.
And the riverbank talks of the Waters of March,
It's the end of the strain, it's the joy in your heart.

-Waters of March

Simply put, everything went well.

Two days ago, I was trying my best to muffle the rapid sound of thump-thumping somewhere within my ribcage, lest it be loud enough that I bring people into a fitful sleep, causing my untimely demise. I believe that, had I been Catholic, I would have been praying the rosary then, with all its fifteen mysteries, twenty if you count the Luminous mysteries I have only sor ecently discovered. However, I was very much without religion that, in these terrible times of terryfying tumultous turbulent torrential troubles, I am deprived of the blissful enjoyment of clinging onto a fictitous entity.

I did, however, make a wish upon some unseen star, whispered my dreams to the wind, pleaded with the Fates and even bargained with the Earth Mother herself. I do find it disturbingly strange that I, skeptic of the Roman Catholic religion for lack of convincing proof of the truth they so love to preach, would be given to the same habit not by detail but by principle. I, however, digress.

I did get re-admitted back into the College of Engineering and given a second chance. Truth be told, it was, as I have been explicitly informed, my last chance. Nonetheless, I am so grateful that my elation has overwhelmed whatever sarcastic comment I probably would have brewed back then. Oh what a great relief flooded into me, that I would no longer have suitable cause to run away from home, not that I really wanted to. It was as heavenly as a strong laxative is to one who had been so plagued by constipation for the last three days.

With such a great weight off my shoulders and such a light-headed emotion pulling me by the ears into the clouds, I finally made sense of a very confusing song I have once heard before. The song Waters of March, while very much grating to the ears of the English purist in that most of the statements do not have any predicate at all, was very soothing, to say the least. Now, I know that an intense elation of this magnitude would also tend to spew random nouns and phrases in a very poor attempt to describe the indescribable.

It rained that afternoon and it literally soaked me right to the skin, despite the fact that I have an umbrella, for the raindrops slanted this way and that every now and then. Still, I was not disturbed by it because, if the Earth Mother herself were, for some unfathomable reason beyond the laws of physics governing the grand design, to have anything to do with me re-admission to the college, the least I could do was allow her the luxury of pelting me with high speed projectiles of water; I doubt anyone else imitating that stunt with water balloons would have long to live.

The Fates, too, were not forgotten at all. I also allowed them the privilege of raining on my happy parade.

A writer once wrote, as writers are very much prone to do most of the time, in a novel called Out, about a man called Don Italo Volpone. The capo, or head, of the Volpone Mafia, he was very much given to gambling. He always carried with him a miniature roulette, to while some of his precious time away. In his left shirt pocket, directly over his heart, was a deck of playing cards. A time once came when a knife was thrown at him; it could also probably be a bullet, I do tend to forget things after quite a while. In the end, his life was saved by that deck of cards, the knife, or bullet, sil vous plait, pierced the Ace of Hearts dead-on. A little while later, while dealing with matters of someone else's life and death, he was tempted to spin the miniature roulette but changed his mind; it was not wise to test his luck.

In another book named River of Life, there was a story about a witch named Manuilikha and her daughter, whose name I forgot although I'm positive it has the letters O and A in it. The young woman gave a charming young man a reading on her cards and politely informed him of her predictions. When the man asked her to repeat the fortune-telling, she declined, looking anxiously at the door, saying it was not good to ask the Fates twice.

I, too, abide by this principle, which a part of me recognizes as absurd. For now, I'm quite done with reading horoscopes for four signs a day and divination by rune-casting when in great distress. The busy schedule ahead would tide me over well into the next few day that I doubt I will spend that time worrying about predicting the undpredictable future, which cannot be predicted, mind you. I would be busy, but at least, I'd also be safe.

É o vento ventando, É o fim da ladeira
É a viga, é o vão, Festa da cumeeira
É a chuva chovendo, É conversa ribeira
Das águas de março É o fim da canseira

-Aguas de Março

Monday, June 12, 2006


Three feathers to stall the inundation.
One Naga to bring it forth.
A thousand islands on the brink of oblivion.
One mortal to prove her worth.

The sorcerer once wrote a story about an island beyond all mortal sight. Everywhere about it, the waters rose up to meet the diving sky. It was a world in isolation, until the birth of its princess named Mana. Due to the effects of a devastating fate set into motion when she was born, she was forced to leave the island at the age of sixteen, clinging to the hope that there might be somewhere else she could reach beyond the horizon.

I, too, might be facing a similar fate, although I must say that the Fates themselves have nothing to do with it. I do feel the need to reach out into the world once more and blog about this because this might be the last chance I'd have to do so; within 36 hours, my life could change radically.

Allow me to shed some light into the nature of this purported cataclysm. I am in grave danger of being dismissed from the college of engineering. Simply put, if this disaster were to occur, I would have to spend two or three more years before I can finally graduate. For others, this might have been of no problem at all but to me, it means big trouble.

See, I have already missed my graduation and, though my parents took the news quite heavily, I daresay, they were understanding. However, my mother did impart a stern warning that this upcoming year will be the last I'd spend in the university. Were I to be delayed any more, I'll be completely on my own for, of course, I do have other siblings who could make better use of the funds I would have squandered.

Needless to say, I am quite obliged to them and forever grateful that they allowed me another chance. To add to my guilt, my mother once mention, during the last summer, that when I graduate, she'd send me to Macau on a vacation. At the moment, I am blacklisted by the national police, due to a debt that must be paid to what once was my scholarship. Either I work for my country for three and a half years, or I pay up my debt, before I could be allowed to fly overseas once more. She shrugged it off and said she'd pay for it.

It was with a gleam in my eye and a song in my heart that I pranced out to enlist in my delayed subjects when I found out that the repercussions of my actions for the past academic year made me ineligible for enrollment. As a matter of fact, I am dismissed from the college and my only hope is to appeal to the college to re-admit me, with certain conditions, of course.

I now hang by a thread, so to speak. It is all out of my hands now and the best I could do is wish that Lady Luck would smile at me, not with the manical grin killer clowns sometimes employ, but with the kind-hearted smile that almost says, "You damn lucky brat, I'll get you next time!" or, preferably, something much gentler than that.

If it does not go as expected, I suppose I would not be blogging for quite some time. If terrible news awats me, I do have a half-baked plan. I'd haul my ass and my closet into a bag, run away from home, find a job, crash with a few friends for the first week, find an apartment, room or at least, a respectable shelter and juggle both work and study until I graduate, fall into a coma, die, get nabbed or otherwise, disabled from doing my everyday tasks.

I'd probably shift to architecture, for I have still retained some of, what I might humbly refer to as, my extraordinary drafting skills. By that, I meant that my talent is above average, though by no means superb. It will probably be as hellish as how one of my acquaintances described it but it's the best thing I'd have going for me.

I know it's gonna be a great leap for someone who's been living behind sheltered walls all his life. Heck, I don't even know some of the cities in our own metropolis! Still, I couldn't bear the guilt of facing my parents once more and telling them I had failed once again.

It is the cage that confined you.
It is the shell that sheltered you.
It is the hedge that isolated the forest.
It is the moments between work and rest.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Lost City of Antlantis

Ants are magnificent creatures. It is common knowledge that these arthropods can lift up to 50 times their own weight. In other words, a 110-pound person like me would have to lift a hefty 5500 pounds to accomplish the same feat. Put another way, a 120-pound person would be lifting 6000 pounds to duplicate the same task. To illustrate further, a 130-pound person should lift 6500 pounds of weight to be able to lift 50 times his or her own weight like an ant. Ain't it amazing?

This day, I discovered an anthill in our backyard. To be more precise, it was more sprawling than it was tall so the term ant-terrain might be more suited. It was early morning and I saw none of its residents running about, which is probably just as well considering the fact that being stung by numerous small creatures is of a very disagreeable nature, at least, in my opinion.

Did you know that, while most birds bathe in dust and water to clean parasites off their lovely feathers, a jay uses the acid made by ants. It stands on an ant's nest and lets hunderds of ants crawl all over itself. Another kind of bird, the Rufous woodpecker of Asia, lay its eggs in an ants' nest. I would have told you about the pangolin, a nocturnal scaly anteater, but revealing its relationship with the ants are something that is not to my taste. I really doubt anyone needed anymore of such flavorful data.

I had planned to get a camera to the scene, for I would really love to share it in this blog. Imagine, my first photo blogged ever! Unfortunately, I was deprived of this wondrous opportunity for, apparently, my mother had also discovered the same anthill. Later on in the day, I found the colony in flames, for my mother had summoned an underling to dump dry and flammable rubbish on top of the magnificent structure and set a flame to it, trash, organisms and all. I know my brows have always been knotted but I think I felt it furrow even more as it usually does when I witness the genocide of Mother Nature's children.

However, I believe the ants will survive. I know that a colony of ants is more united than the Government and the opposition. I know that their civilization will start rebuilding the former glory of their magnificent abode instead of tarrying by calculating how much monetary units' worth was damaged and then debating how resources and funds must be allocated. I suppose that a ravaged country would be more than pleased to sit down, have a cup of coffee (or tea, if you please) and talk how nice the weather is, before arguing whether funds should be swallowed by defenses (that disasters like these might never happen again), squandered by information campaigns (that everyone may know what really happened and what to do in case it happens again. After all, knowledge is power), guzzled by rebuilding efforts (we need our offices, right now. Without a proper working environment, the government cannot do its job) or simply declared non-existential (we don't need funds; what we need is faith, unity, prayer, a moment of silence, external aid, heroics, etc.) Ah, the complicated marvels made possible by the striking difference that our brains have more lobes and cortices than ants'.

Ants needed no form of identification to track the members of the same species worldwide so I doubt they really were that united. There are also wars between colonies when resources become scarce so I don't think they also understood the meaning of world peace. To them, such things are non-essential. Maybe it is their simple-mindedness that enables them to understand only one thing, they needed each other to survive.

These six-legged (five or four, if crippled badly) creatures are found almost anywhere. Perusing the special section of my room labelled "Paranormal" I unearthed, after a deadly battle with dust and crumbling pages, a note where I conveniently jotted down something I am now glad I jotted down. On September 8, 2005, I have found ants on my left shoe. Not just one, not two, not even three, not four, certainly not five, also not six, most probably not seven, I'm sure not eight, maybe not nine... I could go on and on. They nearly filled half of my shoe and had I gone ahead and put my foot in, I'm sure more than a hundred of Mother Nature's children would have been squished dead by then.

As it was, I ended up very startled so I threw the shoe out of my room, shook off the lump of ant-ness inside and torched the crawling mass. So yeah, more than a hundred of Mother's children died horrific deaths then. Still, I'd have been amazed after that genocide, I still find ants everywhere. They had the strength of Jews, homosexuals and political dissidents during the rule of der Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.

So go ahead, stop and crush that red ant that's been painfully bugging you between your toes and you'd find yourself overwhelmed by its comrades. Examine them closely through a magnifying lens during high noon of a clear sunny day and, twenty years from now, you might find yourself a case of spontaneous human combustion (yes, the ants are responsible for that. 'took me long enough to figure it out). Burn down their nest and your lawyer would be most delighted to file arson charges on someone who hates your guts, or vice versa.

Who knows, maybe thirteen millenia from now, ants would rule over the earth.

It was a gloomy sunny day
in the cursed month of May
when one of my moms burned my sibs
and the other punched her in the ribs.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Narcolepsy: Addiction to Dreams

It was a humid summer night that I once wished for rain. The next afternoon, I was awoken by deep rumbles of thunder followed shortly by sounds of water pelting our roof. In the haze of a sleep reclaiming my consciousness, my heart was, once more, crushed by the sheer weight of the body holding it.

When I was young, I was raised to be a devout believer in the teachings of the Catholic Church. I prayed before and after sleeping and eating. In my life then, I asked for a lot of things. Sometimes, I got what I want but most of the time, I had to haggle, bargain, deal and, often, give up getting what I wanted. Sure I would pout and stomp my feet, following the instinct of uncivilized children but a quick, stern glare would pacify me. I would then turn inward to boil my anger away, sometimes churning milk into vinegar in the process but none of those grudges did last quite long.

At the age of four, I was amazed by the clouds. There were times I'd run, looking at my side to see if I could outrun the clouds. I had no such luck for the clouds always floated by as fast as, if not faster than, me. Finally giving up on the feat, I'd sit by the front door of our house, idly watching the clouds roll by. Some had really frightening shapes, no thanks to my lively imagination, and part of my childhood was spent battling giant imaginary monsters peeking from behind the clouds.

Everytime it rains, I had always been fascinated. Directly in front of the bedroom window, there was a panel of fine wire mesh. The streams of water from the raindrops would always create lovely square patterns as films of water were built and popped. The overall effect was as mesmerizing as Conway's Life.

At the age of nine or so, I, and the rest of the country, had the rare chance to witness a solar eclipse first-hand. Though we'd only see a partial eclipse in our area, I was, nonetheless, thrilled at the prospect of actually seeing a solar eclipse. In my mind, I had buried lunar eclipses as silent, boring events. I had spent the week in excited anticipation. When the day finally came, however, I was dismayed to find the sky dark. By noon, the firmament was completely overcast and a downpour had begun. At one in the afternoon, I had knelt down at the altar, praying fervently to my god, that I may yet witness the moon covering the sun. At two, I have completely given up.

Watching the footages of the eclipse in Cebu and Tawi-tawi aired by a local network, I was really frustrated at having lost my solar eclipse. I could not hold back my tears and I sulked in a dark corner of the living room. I still held my faith back then, consoling myself with the propaganda that everything happens for a reason. Still, the first seed of doubt was planted and I started wondering if God really did exist or, if he did exist, if he really is exactly the way my religion has described him.

There were times that I'd wonder, how clouds are able to hold themselves up. I knew from my science classes that clouds are made up of water. I'd sometimes imagine what would happen if, by chance, an entire cloud fell on top of me, not as gradual rain, but as a sudden, humongous tub of heavy water. By that age, though, I have overcome most of my imaginary fears and I lived life without looking nervously at the sky ever and anon.

Growing up, I learned the joy of playing in the rain. The cold drops would pelt my body and the rivulets that ran in veins across the ground swirled and streamed in a beautifully random manner. At that time, the wire mesh panel had long been gone.

Stepping into college, I retained much of my immaturity but I never played in the rain again, or at least, not conspicuously. Hands in my pockets, I'd walk under a drizzle in my jacket, consciously catching the drops in my hair. I don't know why but, for some reason, I liked the feel of rainwater on my hair. To me, then, the rain was a source of inspiration, something abstract and romantic, something to write about.

I often fell into writing everytime it rains. Alone in my room, burning sticks of cinnamon incense, the rain and I shared something intimate in crafting my dreams into paper.

This romance, I soon found out, was to lead me into a downward spiral. It was with a heavy rain that I fired some shells into a relationship I once had. It was the same rain that made me wonder, if I really am in love or just in love with falling in love. The paranoia of thinking grew to be too much for me as I broke the relationship.

Things started going downhill from there. During the first few months, I would sometimes rush into the washroom to break into an uncontrollable fit of sniffs, sobs and stifled tears. The sky was as gray as I felt and when it rains, I feel an urge to throw up, bang my head into the wall or just give up and cry again. There was, in my life, a great hollow space; so integrated was that person to my life that to break away meant breaking some fragments from my everyday living.

In months, I began to heal by numbing myself. No longer was I afraid to interact with other people, although I became more cautious. I have been careful not to be involved with their lives and to keep them out of mine. The phrase, "I feel something for you," had been reconstructed into, "I am attracted to your looks." The words, "nice", "friendly" and "lovable" were conveniently replaced with "cute", "attractive" and "interesting." I vowed never to fall again, unless I was sure of what I was falling into.

That was my mistake. In ensuring that I'd fall into something soft, I, myself, had gone soft. What began as an inspiring attraction evolved into a deadly, lethargic infatuation, or something worse. I began blinding myself to everything else as long as I was close to that person.

I could clearly remember the night I crossed the line. It was raining then, no surprise in that. The two of use wore jackets, which, to the best of our knowledge, had limited water-absorption capacity. As the downpour really poured down, we soon got drenched, soaked to the skin and cold in the frosty night.

Climbing aboard our ride, I came in close proximity to the other that I could inhale their scent. Curiously, that person smelled a lot like crisp, white, sun-dried linen. Pressing slightly closer, I felt the same solar warmth radiating from their body. Turning my head, it was pure coincidence that the other also turned their head and smiled at me. It was in that smile that I saw sunshine.

Alright, this is beginning to get too mushy, even for my taste so I'd spare you the gory details. However, one thought remained in my mind that night: how the sharp contrast between the cold and wet environment and the warm and friendly person highlighted the very same warmth and friendliness. Since then, I was totally captured. Many times I strugled to break free but another part of me struggles to remain in the comfortable cage. Looking through the bars, I could see a quagmire slowly eating the metal stand. If I remained, I would also be swallowed alive.

In desperation, I tried something I had been planning for a long time. Tetrahydroziline Hydrochloride, also known commercially as Visine is an eyedrop manufactured by pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer. So long as it was used topically, it remains harmless. Ingested, however, it could induce diarrhea, drastically lower body temperature, raise, then suddenly lower blood pressure and cause someone to lapse into a coma. I was counting on the last one so wishing for luck, I downed a dose, along with some soda.

I had not the will to kill myself; I only wanted to sleep. Maybe if I did sleep for a long time, everything will be alright when I wake up. Maybe if I thoroughly submerged myself in dreams, I'd have the clarity of vision to realize them. Too bad, wakefulness came sooner that I had wished. As I was drawn from the other world, the first sounds I heard was the splashes of water landing on the trees. My mind conjured a vivid image of a single drop, falling down from the sky, hopping from branch to branch and gliding as surface runoff before finally returning to Mother Earth, beginning the cycle anew. It was in the darkness of the ground that realization hit me; it's tomorrow already and I'm still alive.

There were lessons I have learned from this. One is that suicidal people should not drink a glass of milk a day. Neither should they also regularly drink fruit juice. As a matter of fact, they should just quit taking vitamin pills or other nutritional supplements. One should also not go on a spending spree, splurging, shopping or food tripping before the attempt because if it fails, there will be more problems. Lastly, a failed attempt should not discourage you. As they say, "Try and try until you die."

While it was not quite suicide, I did learn those lessons well. Quite unfortunately, I was too weak-hearted to repeat the attempted poisoning. Maybe things did happen for a reason. With a heavy sigh, I went out of the house and faced the world once more, only to be swallowed by the mire. Bogged down, I found it hard to get out. The practice of subterfuge I had applied on my guardians began to backfire. The death of one lie led to the birth of two more. Still, there remained in me enough sanity to fight getting bogged down. As a dying star screams it death near the event horizon, I made one last move to gather up enough courage.

The sun was hot when we met, a stark contrast to the frigid cinema. After precious minutes of beating around the bush, walking from one end of the mall to the other and back again, I finally blurted out how I felt. Granted, the panic and pressure of dispelling a stack of lies dulled me but what came out was a lot less eloquent than I would have preferred. What resulted was the polite rejection I had been expecting.

As I walked out, the rain had just stopped, although the drizzling persisted for a while. Looking up, I could see no stars in the light-polluted night sky. Looking down at my feet, there were zeveral dazzling points of light reflected from the wet asphalt below. Eyesight blurring, I hurriedly got myself a ride home before I lashed out to the innocent world. I knew it was not love because I was more than ready to let go. Yet, I knew it was not just plain attraction because it hurt all the same.

As the King once said to Robin i' Hood, "Just because you are downtrodden does not mean you have the right to take the law in your hands," or something along those lines. I will do well to remember that, everytime I feel like lashing out.

The rain still pours in different parts of the world. Despite the events that had transpired, I still retained the love I had for the rain. Maybe now, it was time that I actually write about it once more.

The rain has always brought me grief.
The pain is eternal, the pleasure, brief.
Yet, frigid drops that fell before
I seek, that they may fall once more.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Love = Hypnosis = Mindwipe = System Crash

Pale wisps of mist and frost
cloud and curtain he who is lost.
Flaming light and burning fire
consume the one lost in desire.

When you're sick, there's not much you can do but take bed rest and medication. If, however, you are heavily inclined to push yourself to the limit, you could always go out into the perilous world and brave the adventures of daily life with pathogens coursing an angry path throughout your system. Of course, that is hardly a wise decision as it will only aggravate your body's defenses and worsen your condition but that is exactly what I did.

Granted, it was a temporary lapse in clear thinking but I suppose that a day or two of bed rest never killed anyone. As a matter of fact, it was during bed rest that I chanced upon an issue of a very interesting magazine. Alright, so it's a girly magazine but it sure is interesting nonetheless.

It said, "Love or the act of falling into it induces certain chemical reactions in your brain where the end result is euphoria. These chemicals are the reason why your stress melts away just seeing him smile." Okay, maybe those weren't the exact words but it is the gist of the article. Ha! Like I need some girly magazine to point out the obvious. Quite curious about the apparent stupidity, I read on.

"Love, however, can also produce negative side effects. The same chemicals responsible for euphoria also lower inhibit your alarmist side. Thus, you often find yourself saying it is perfectly alright to have a liesurely breakfast when you already are late for work." It was at this point that I found myself asking, "Why the hell haven't I subscribe to this magazine three years ago?"

See, I'm in big trouble. Well, not really *that* big, I mean, I still eat more than three times a day, have a roof over my head and thankfully, my organs are still intact, with the exception of my appendix and wisdom teeth. What I mean is that my academics have been in quite a dangerously low position. I have long accepted the fact that my graduation will most probably be delayed for, at most, a year. My parents, on the other hand, are being fed sneak peeks into a horror movie in the making. Two weeks from now, I'd say, "Mom, I'm not graduating this year," and Bam! The horror movie reaches its climax as the insane serial-killing mother slashes the blades at her poor unknowing miserable son.

I digress. The point is that had I known about these things about love, I probably would have known that I had been hurting myself long, long ago. Granted, I still hurt myself ever and anon but it's more like, "Take that you stupid jerk! Take that, and that! You rude, imprudent bastard!" instead of, "Hmmn, I wonder what knives feel like against my skin?"

I turned the pages and lo! Behold! A personality quiz! I never really invested much trust in those quizzes but I took it, nonetheless, curious as to what stereotype I'd be placed under. Three minutes passed and voila! I am the demanding date. Run and hide, all my crushes! Your pride will be crushed, your ego stomped and your wallet divestedof its contents!

I could not help a frustrated sigh. Clearly, I have underestimated girly magazines. It is as essential to me as the necronomicon is to a necromancer, or the bible to a priest, or the kamasutra to...

Err, never mind.