Monday, May 30, 2005

Rants: A rant

I picked up a book by George Carlin in Booksale. One hundred and forty pesos. It's called Braindroppings. I bought it because I thought it would be funny. George Carlin always makes me laugh when he guests on Leno or Letterman. But right on the first chapter, right on the Preface, I knew I wouldnt like this book. It's a book of rants. I never liked reading rants simply because most rants are ranting about what I myself would be ranting about and who wants to hear himself rant? Rants are probably the most boring reading anyone could come up with. Some people like it though. Somehow they find in reading rants a validation that what theyre ranting about is worth ranting about. So they applaud heartily about rants on the horrendous EDSA traffic, or the runaway corruption in government, the insipid fare on local TV. If someone else is ranting about what theyre ranting about in real life, then somehow they feel better because theyre not alone in the universe. Which is a nice feeling, I have to admit, but personally I wouldnt want to read a rant about what Ive been ranting about. Iba naman, pare. Echoes are interesting at first, but they get tired really, really fast. I would love to read someone rant about something original; about something no one has ever thought of ranting about. A rant about Mother Teresa for instance would be interesting, and if done well, could be hilarious. But why write a rant about someone ahead of you in a supermarket line who uses his credit card to buy gum? It's so... normal to rant about that. Come on, George.

Writing an entertaining rant is so difficult to pull off I would think, but I could be wrong. I know Im wrong. I think the vast majority would welcome the validation of their inner rants by hearing someone famous rant publicly about the same things that piss them off. It gives them a sense of community in the ever-increasingly impersonal world they live in. The angst generation in the Brotherhood of the Rant.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Merman =koff-koff= Mer-MAN!

You scored as Mermaid. Mermaid: Mermaids are also known as Sirens. These creatures were beautiful women who tricked sailors into becoming completely entranced by their haunting voices and found death soon after. Not all stories of Mermaids are about gentle loving sea people. They are mystical, magical, and extremely dangerous. They have a way about them that brings anyone they are around to seem enchanted. They are very mysterious creatures and to meet one... would mean certain Death. Let the song of the Sea fill your soul, for you are a Mermaid.













What Mythological Creature are you? (Cool Pics!)
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Friday, May 20, 2005

May the Force always be with you

After not having been impressed by The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, I wasnt too optimistic about Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. But I knew I'll be seeing it, even right after walking out of the theatre after the forgettable Episode II. (I fell asleep in the movie theater while watching Attack.) George Lucas mustve placed some sort of Jedi mind trick on me. It was inevitable. The circle had to close.

So off we went to GB3 for the 11:20 screening, May 18th, the first day of its regular run. There was the usual smattering of geeks in black robes in the queue, and this never failed to amuse. Cinema 2 was almost packed when we got there, the monitor indicated most of the seats were red, but we found 4 seats (there were 4 of us) not too near the screen. Not 4 seats in the same row, so we split: 2 in row K and 2 in row L. A geek was waving his light sabre all throughout the trailers, but he respectfully turned it off and stashed it away as soon as the yellow letters on the screen spelled 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...' There was a moment of reverent silence. Then as the strains of John Williams' rousing Star Wars theme played, a jubilant cheer erupted from the crowd. I cant help not being caught up in it myself. This was the culmination of a saga almost 30 years in the making, the stuff of childhood dreams and fantasies. But I caught myself and kept from cheering. I was with my office colleagues, the people who work under my department, and I had to maintain a certain level of decorum. It wouldve been different if I saw the movie with Grifter, Delphi, and the Dude. I wouldve whooped it up with them, even though I admit I wouldnt have out-geeked those three.

As a movie, it was just OK. I wouldve liked to have Anakin have a more convincing reason to turn over to the Dark Side. I wouldve loved George Lucas to have consulted with his pal Francis Ford Coppola about how to surprise us with the perfect, elaborate mafioso-style plot during the turning of the troops against the Jedi, and not the anticlimactic one they used. I wouldve loved more development in the backstory between Obi Wan and Padme (maybe Obi Wan was in love with her, but he couldnt be with her as this would interfere with his being a Jedi.. awwwwww). I wouldve loved to see more emotion in the acting instead of the detached and wooden performances. I expect more from my movies.

But this isnt just a movie. Anyone approaching this as if this were an ordinary movie would be missing the point. The Star Wars saga gave two generations the capacity to dream and to imagine. It gave it a sense of honor, and chivalry, and hope against all odds. It gave it a sense of wonder. George Lucas's vision had such a profound impact that 70,000 people in Australia declare that they are followers of the Jedi religion. That was in 2002.

Star Wars gave each of us the chance to rediscover the magical years of childhood when everything was new and filled with wonder; when a clothespin was an X-Wing rebel fighter and the cover of a BIC ballpen an alien starship. It reminds us that that sense of wonder is in there somewhere, covered by the veneer of 'maturity' and 'proper adult behavior' but is just aching to get out every chance it gets. The Star Wars movies gave it that chance. Thanks, George.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

Graphic from Outremer

Finally got to see Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. I wasnt going to, but curiosity got the better of me. Mainly, I was curious about what licences Hollywood was prepared to take in tackling the story of the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin. It turns out Hollywood took a lot, but on the whole, it was compelling story if you are at all interested in what probably was the first instance of large scale Holy War in the last millennium. And I use the term 'holy' rather loosely.

Balian of Ibelin, the hero of the movie played by Orlando Bloom, led the defense of Jerusalem. The movie got that part right. But the real Balian was not a blacksmith from Europe. His family was already there in Palestine and have been there since the First Crusade. He was part of the Old Guard of knights, and was on the whole an honorable man who took his faith and his vows of knighthood seriously. After Saladin conquered Raymond of Tripoli's city of Tiberias (Raymond was played by the always-competent Jeremy Irons in the movie), Reginald of Chatillon urged that the Christian armies march to try to take it back. Balian and Raymond urged restraint even though the latter's wife was trapped in the besieged city. Balian and Raymond wanted to wait for more favorable conditions since Saladin controlled the sources of water near Tiberias. But the hawks in the council headed by Reginald ridiculed them as cowards. In the end, Guy of Lusignan, nominal king of Jerusalem, was swayed to march to Tiberias with disastrous results. As the Latin army marched from their last water source, Saladin's army moved in behind them to cut off their access to water. It was no contest after that. The Latins fell in the Battle of Hattin. King Guy was taken prisoner along with Reginald of Chatillon. Balian, by some miracle, was able to escape to Tyre with a handful of knights.

Later Saladin's army surrounded Jerusalem. Balian's wife and kids were trapped in the city and he asked Saladin for permission to get them. Saladin gave his permission on the condition that he leave the same day. But when Balian got there, the people of Jerusalem begged him to lead the defense of the city. Balian asked Saladin to release him from his oath. Again Saladin agreed and even saw to it that Balian got his family our of the city first. And the battle for Jerusalem was on.

In the movie, Saladin was portrayed as a wise, compassionate, and noble leader. Some Christian fundamentalist groups criticized the movie for this portrayal of Saladin, saying he wasnt such a nice guy, mentioning his threats to kill every Christian in Jerusalem. But there is a compelling reason for portraying Saladin as a nice guy. That's because he really was a nice guy. Of course he could be ruthless when needed, but on the whole he was compassionate toward his enemies to the point that even his advisers criticized him.

His threats to kill every Christian, judging by his actions after he took the city, were mere bluff to get a more favorable position during the negotiations for the terms of surrender. But Balian trumped him. Balian said that they would kill their Muslim prisoners and they would destroy the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest shrines in Islam, where the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. Balian said something like, "You wouldnt want to be the general under whose command such a thing as this happened, now, would you?" So the terms were set. The citizens of Jerusalem could walk out of the city unharmed if they could pay a ransom. No problem for the rich people, but what about the poor? Balian ransomed several thousand out of his own pocket, and Saladin, well, he set people free just because. Any reason he could think of, with no ransom being paid. Of course some citizens remained and became slaves, but they fared much better than the Jews and Muslims who were in the city during Godefroi de Bouillon's First Crusade. In some accounts, the streets of Jerusalem were ankle deep in Muslim blood. The Jews were slaughtered in the synagogues where they sought refuge. In the movie, Saladin said, "I am not those men [the first crusaders]." He certainly wasnt.

Later, his advisors were urging him to destroy the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Latins' holiest church, but Saladin refused. He allowed the Christians to continue visiting the Church. He also invited the Jews to return to the city. During a battle in the Third Crusade, he saw Richard Coeur de Lion, King of England fighting valiantly on foot after he lost his horse. Saladin dispatched one of his trusted lieutenants to deliver a horse to Richard as a gift with the message, "Kings shouldnt fight on foot."

In the movie, Richard was travelling overland on his way to Jerusalem. He didnt. He and his armies got there by ship together with the French forces headed by his one-time boyfriend (ahaa-a-aaay) Philip Augustus, King of France. It was the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa who travelled by land with his 100,000+ Germans. And it was the German army that caused Saladin much concern early on. He knew Frederick was a formidable leader. But as luck would have it, Frederick died in an accident when he fell into a river with all his heavy armor on. He drowned. Leaderless, his army disintegrated. Only 5000 were able to make it to the Holy Land. To the Muslims, it was Allah who smote the German army. If Frederick hadnt died they wouldve lamented "Syria and Egypt once belonged to Islam," as one Muslim chronicler wrote.

The lesson of Saladin is probably lost on those so-called warriors of today who target civilians. A deeply religious man who meditated on the Quran before his major decisions, he would have frowned on such acts of cowardice. And the most convincing endorsement for Saladin's compassion is the fact that he won. He was able to take on the best armies of the West and triumphed. Try telling that to those 'freedom fighters' in Iraq who are working to get the Americans out... by killing Iraqis.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Celebrity Skinned.

[I sent this to a small e-zine after it asked for submissions and I happen to have this lying around and it was posted on that website in--I dont remember--2003? Or was it 2004? I dont know. So does that mean they own it? When I gave it to them, did I waive all my rights to it? Anyway here it is.]

The guy at the end of the bar was oddly familiar; the red vest, the backwards cap, striped shorts, red boots, and the white feathers. Even in the shadows, I felt I've seen him before. He ordered another double Jack Daniels and a San Mig Light and saw me looking at him. He gave a semi-chuckle and raised his shot glass in mock salute before downing the Jack in one gulp.

I don't know what came over me but I walked over to where he was. There was something about him and like I said he looked familiar. Probably a former classmate, I thought to myself. Wouldn't hurt to chat. I sure needed someone to chat with that night. Idle chit-chat to take my mind off the fact that my girlfriend left me for her yoga teacher, after maxing out my credit cards and secretly pouring Omega painkiller in all my underwear.

"I'm sorry, but have we met before?" I asked. "You look familiar."

"I doubt it, but I get that a lot," he said, chugging on his beer without looking at me, still with that half-chuckle-half-smirk on his face. His body language told me to get lost and I started to, but he shot me a sideways glance, faced me and said, "I'm Chucky," putting out his feathered hand/wing.

I guess my jaw dropped because he chuckled. A full chuckle this time. I stammered a few times then managed to say, "The KFC mascot?" No wonder he looked familiar. Here I was, a paid-for-eight-hours-but-works-for-twelve regular Joe Schmoe and I was chatting with a genuine celebrity.

"Sit down, kid," he said. He turned to the bartender. "Bok, give..." (He looked at me. Ecrutil, I said. He nodded.) "Give my pal Ecrutil here another one of whatever he's having." (Cerveza Negra, I said to the bartender, sitting down next to Chucky.) Chucky turned to me, "So what's on your mind, Ecru? You don't mind if I call you Ecru, do you? Call me Chuck. I hate that name Chucky." Then to the bartender, raising his empty shot glass, "Keep em coming."

You have to understand what was going on here. I consider myself a nobody. A has-been. No. Strike that. I'm a never-was. I wasn't always so down on myself. That realization grew gradually. Failed business ventures, failed projects, failed relationships. I always blamed other people for them. But my partners, bless them, some of them, anyway, all went on to bigger and better things. It was me all along. That's what my last girlfriend tried to tell me. Not in so many words, but when I think about it, that's what she was trying to say in her own unique, coded, roundabout, endearingly female way. If I remember correctly, her exact words were, "Get the heck out of my life, you loser." So what I was trying to do, and you may ridicule me for saying this, was to sit and talk to somebody I considered a success, in the vain and fruitless hope that maybe some of that success would rub off on me. I was basking in Chucky's - excuse me, Chuck's - glow, hoping I'd reflect some of it to the casual observer, which included, incidentally, that hot chick in the halter-top and belly button ring playing 9-ball with Ronald McDonald.

I gushed all over Chuck. About how big a star he is. About how, as a youngster, he was just a regular rooster trying to make a name for himself until Col. Sanders saw something in him, something different, and decided to make him the KFC mascot. Now he's the richest chicken on the planet. Limousines, mansions, wild parties, hobnobbing with the rich and famous: that's his life. "What was it? What did the Colonel see in you?" I asked, oblivious to the fact that I was probably embarrassing him, and equally oblivious to the fact that I was certainly embarrassing myself.

"It's all about finding the thing that makes you unique and improving on it," he said. "It's self-promotion, kid. Shameless self-promotion." He was smirking again, a bitter half-smile on one corner of his beak. "You know how all roosters go 'Cock-a-doodle-doo'?" I nodded. "Well, I bucked millions of years of evolution and tradition and went 'Cock-a-doodle-albacore-tuna.'"

"You understand, kid, that when I decided to do that, it caused, to put it mildly, quite a stir. Chickens are deeply rooted in tradition. It's how we survived as a distinct cultural entity. The elders of my community were outraged. A rooster didn't go 'Cock-a-doodle-albacore-tuna' gab-dummit. I was shunned. No one wanted to talk to me. Even my family didn't dare talk to me in public. But I wasn't going to go cock-a-doodle-doo like the other roosters. That's just not me. I continued to go cock-a-doodle-albacore-tuna. Repeated warnings from the elders, notwithstanding." By this time, everybody in that bar was interested in the story. Probably because Chuck was downing Jack as fast as the bartender could fill up his shot glass and was getting a bit loud. And, if I might add, Ronald McDonald stopped playing pool with the chick and sidled his way to the bar and stood next to us.

"The elders decided to report me to the High Council. And soon enough, an edict came down from headquarters in Antwerp. I was being excommunicated. No longer could I call myself a chicken. By law, no one could talk to me anymore, or even be seen with me. Not even my family. I was kicked out of chickendom. But..." He fell silent with a pained expression on his face. A tear ran down his cheek, quickly wiped away, "My baby sister, Pamela. She was too young to know what was going on. She kept wanting to play with me. She would run to me and hug me and... Well, my mother put a stop to that. She wouldn't allow Pamela to see me. I don't blame her. The elders, they're pretty powerful. I miss my sister. But heck, I wasn't going to be just another chicken. I wanted to be somebody. I left our community and wandered the countryside, crowing my crow and that's when the Colonel found me. I sure made something of myself, didn't I?"

Chuck looked and saw everybody was listening to him in rapt attention. That brought him back to the present. He went back to his jolly, devil-may-care persona, and asked for the check. He paid for my drink too. He was about go out the door when he stopped, turned to me and said, "Hey, kid. Wanna go for a cup of coffee?" Sure, I said.

We went to a nearby Starbucks and when we sat down at our table he was quiet. I decided to respect that and kept silent with him, nursing my coffee. He just wanted to be with somebody, I thought to myself. Then after a while he said, "You know, kid, I bought a condo in the French Riviera yesterday. I wonder why I did that. It turns out I'm not ever going to use it anyway." He shrugged. "A lot of people wonder why I work for KFC. It's a place that kills chickens. Ironic, what? My image is posted on every KFC branch in the world. I'm smiling. I'm happy, while inside, they're chopping up my fellow chickens and pressure-frying them with the Colonel's secret recipe of eleven frigging herbs and spices. Did you know that KFC kills 700 million chickens a year? They raise them in cramped quarters, jammed together in their feces until it's time to slaughter them. They hang them upside down for hours, and run them on a conveyor that chops up their heads. Ker-chop-chop! Just like that. They're fully conscious when they kill them." Chuck fell silent again and stared out the window. I could see he was crying but he didn't bother to wipe away the tears this time.

"They excommunicated me, right? Officially I'm not a chicken. Do chickens own mansions and limousines and friggin condos in the French Rivi-friggin-iera? I'm not a chicken!"

I tried to calm him down. The best way to get a drunk to listen to you is to whisper to them, so I did that. I held him by the back of the neck and whispered, "It'll be all right, Chuck. It'll be all right." That was all I could say. But it worked. He smiled and said, "Yes it will. Of course it will. Why shouldn't it be all right?" He held my face in his hand/wings. "You're ok, kid. Let's go. Where do you live? I could drop you off." He did. I said my goodbyes and threw in a perfunctory "Maybe we could do this again sometime, eh?" He just smiled and said, "Yeah, kid. Maybe."

The next morning, the papers said Chuck overdosed on sleeping pills. Somehow it didn't surprise me. Chuck's suicide note was found next to a letter from his mother. The letter was about Pamela. She died. Pressure-fried in eleven herbs and spices at the Greenbelt branch of KFC.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Great moments in fatherhood

"Tatay, buy me a bike. I know how to ride a bike already."

OK, but not now. We still have to pay for your school and books and stuff. And we still have to have the house painted. And there are lots of stuff to fix before we move in.

"But you said..."

I know but we can't right now.

"Vacation's almost over and we won't have a chance to go biking once school starts. [Blank] and [blank] have bikes."

What do I always tell you? It doesnt matter what your playmates have, they won't be as pretty and as smart as you. And no matter what they have, you'll always have a better looking dad.


Cael: It's going to rain. Nanay, can me and Isabel go out and play in the rain?

Nanay: No. You might catch a cold. And youll make the living room all wet. Im tired of cleaning up after you.

[It starts to rain really hard.]

Cael: Nanay, it's raining. Can we go out and play in the rain?

Nanay: I said no. Stay inside.

Me (bursting out of the bedroom, twirling my shirt around my head.): Wooohooo! It's raining! Let's go, kids! Let's go play outside!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Red White and Blue Devils?

After its 3-1 thrashing at the hands of rival glamor club Chelsea, Manchester United faces a battle on another front. And this one's not on the pitch but in the boardroom, as American tycoon and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer has seized control of 70% of the club's shares. And Glazer is not through yet, as he launches a bid for total control.

Man United supporters (some of them at least) are voicing their opposition to the deal and are calling for boycotts... of their own club! I dont know but how long can they hold out? Would the vociferously loyal Man United fans from all over the world really abandon their club just because they dont like its owner? Im not too optimistic about their campaign. Professional sports is run by businessmen. It's all about making a buck, not about love-of-the-game. Sooner or later, theyll realize that and come back to Old Trafford and cheer the Red Devils on where their love of the game comes to fruition.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

"What was your confession?"

It's pointless.

"Tell me."

It's not important.

"Tell me anyway."

Ok. You know when we were talking about God and how he answers prayers? I asked God...

"..." end... us. Because I couldnt do it myself.


Told you it wasnt important.

Im from Buenos Aires and I say, Kill em all!

You are Optimus Prime! You are a natural born
leader, brave and selfless and you will fight
to the bitter end for peace and freedom. You
have extensive knowledge in just about
everything from art to the art of war. You
would be a better leader if you were more
ruthless, but then you just wouldn't be Optimus
Prime. Roll out with your bad self!

Transformers Generation One Personality Test
brought to you by Quizilla

If you were paying attention, when the enemy was attacking, I showed them no mercy--everything is fodder, and yelled 'KILL EM ALL!' That isnt ruthless enough for you, quizmaster? Im not Optimus Prime... Im Johnny Rico!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sacre bleu!!

France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Obsolete eh? Tell that to the French, the Cameroonians, the Cote D'Ivoirians, the Vietnamese, the Canadians, the Swiss, the Belgians, and most especially, lest we forget, the Fashionistas. Le Freak, c'est chic. Freak out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Is this a metaphor for something or what?

Photo from Solitary Bees and Things
Clinging to the cyclone wire that separates the service road from the South Luzon Expressway was a neon green crab spider. It stood out over the rusty cyclone wire fence. Crab spiders have always been my favorite spider. When I was a kid, I use to catch them for spider-fighting with the other kids' spiders. They pack quite a wallop with their disproportionately large front legs. And they look so odd, with their bright colors and sometimes spikes on their abdomens. They also come in red, pink, and ghostly white, but this one was the color of a yellow-green Stabilo highlight pen.

You know right away that that spider was marked for elimination. It's just too gaudy, too flamboyant, to be hanging out there on the cyclone wire fence. I mean, I was able to spot it from quite a ways off. A predator would be able to do the same. It isnt as unobtrusive as a jumping spider, for instance. Jumping spiders come in drab gray or brown.

Im sure that crab spider didnt want to be there. It probably just landed there as a baby, slowly borne by winds after hatching. It couldnt have picked a poorer place to land. That area near the Magallanes toll plaza isnt exactly teeming with life. Crab spiders were meant to live in places that thrive with color. Crab spiders were meant to be with flowers. That's why theyre colored that way. Theyd hide out among the flowers, their four front legs extended and outstretched. Then if some unlucky insect came to land among the flowers for a sip of nectar, theyd slowly circle, then pounce. It spins no webs, no traps. It relies on sheer athleticism like its cousin the jumping spider.

It isnt its fault it's a pretty creature that stands out among the drabness. But it'll die soon. Prey insects would be able to see it easily and will stay away. Some bird will have it for a snack. Probably a eurasian tree sparrow. It's too pretty to be where it is. That probably made it happy for a while, being the cutest arachnid on the block, but soon it'll realize that all this cuteness won't get it anywhere. Maybe that's why it's hanging out there on the cyclone wire fence. It'll display its prettiness one last time before it dies.

What th-! Robin! What the hell's wrong with you?

You're Batman!
You keep to yourself a lot and act cold towards
others, but you actually do mean well. You're a
detective and great at figuring things out. You
regret a lot of things and have had something
tragic in your life, whether it was running
over an animal with your car or something
major. You don't try to make friends, but they
always end up finding you anyway.

Which one of the Justice League (cartoon) are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Right. And if you were paying attention, I said I didnt want a cape. Which makes me... Daredevil? Cept he isnt with the JL.

Monday, May 09, 2005

She's got it. Yeah baby she's got it.

I saw a friend of mine at the mall yesterday. I wasnt near enough to say hello and besides, she was on a date with some foreign guy. She used to be president of an international organization, so she has lots of foreign friends. We worked together on a project over a year ago, travelling to places, interviewing people--heads of corporations mostly--and we had a blast.

She has a pleasant, gamine face, but she was on the chubby si-... she was fat. But she had such charm, such an open personality, such a ready intelligence, that I found her attractive. Sexy, even. She had no airs, no arte at all, and I found that so refreshing, having gotten used to maarte women--the city's full of them. Ive known beautiful women who feel theyre entitled to anything and everything just because theyre beautiful. And sometimes, you turn a blind eye to the arrogance and shallowness because you wanted to get in their pants. But sooner or later, you treat them like adults, treat them like normal people, and theyd hate that, and theyd hate you. And you say 'screw this, Im done,' dust off your palms, walk out, and swear never to come back. Which isnt easy--not for me--especially if youve fallen in love with the chick, in which case you try to make it work, try to change things, then pray for some miracle to help you walk out and swear never to come back. Dont ask. Happened to me more times than I'd care to count.

Anyway, my finding her sexy was quite a pleasant surprise for me. It means I dont consider looks as a primary criteria. I usually didnt find fat people sexy. (Im sorry. Im being honest, if not politically correct.) But I mean I wouldve boinked her if I were allowed--she was that hot. That either means my tastes have changed, with the intellect and personality overtaking looks as a measure of boinkability, or Im getting old. As you mature, looks count for less and less since it's clearer to you that looks dont last.

I sometimes think how tragic it is for some people whose sole right-to-exist is their outer beauty. They can get what they want and people will forgive them for anything just because theyre beautiful on the outside. It's a powerful force. But what happens later? What happens when their skin dries up, when their faces get wrinkly, when their boobs shrivel and sag, when their asses droop? What then? Outer beauty is a great gift. It is a gift because it isnt earned. But at the same time, it's a great responsibilty, a terrible burden, if its owner puts a high premium on it. But it's not all their fault that they put such a high premium on it. We reinforce it. We let them get away with things that we normally won't let other people with less pulchritude get away with. Most of it's our fault.

I dont know why God made some people more beautiful than others. It wouldve been easier if he made us all look the same. No freebies. One has to earn his own way based on merit and not based on looks. Unpleasant personalities would then have been eliminated from the gene pool long ago since we wouldnt have outer beauty to cloud our judgement on who we want to boink. Ask yourself: If people all looked alike, and they based their attraction on personality, would someone want to boink me? If the answer is no, you have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


In the shuttle, seated across from me yesterday was a familiar face. I dont know if he remembered me, but we had a run-in with each other about a year ago. This fella had a sociopathic streak in him. He would ride in the shuttle and complain audibly about anything that bugs him: the air-conditioning, the traffic--anything. He was one badass mofo, pardon my French. Usually our fellow passengers just didnt mind his tirades but somtimes someone would agree with him and theyll have a heck of a time complaining. But this didnt happen often.

About a year ago, I got into the shuttle and already in it was a, well, shall we call her big-boned? There was a big-boned lady already in the shuttle. This is going to be quite a squeeze, I thought. Next came our sociopath and he sat beside me. Then another lady came in. The shuttle seat usually sat four comfortably, but with the fat lady--let's just call her fat--we hardly had enough room. The shuttle filled up with passengers soon after and off we went. Just another routine ride to work. Later I noticed sociopath behaving rather oddly. He was mumbling and coughing and damn if he wasnt trying to cough right in my face. He'd turn his face to the side and cough. I let it pass. But he kept looking at me, look away, then mumble.

Later the other lady got to her stop and got out. At last, we had breathing room. But what's this? As sociopath was moving to the place in the seat where the lady was he elbowed me a couple of times. Just a couple of nudges; they didnt hurt at all, but enough was enough. "May problema ba, brod," I asked. Is there a problem, bub?

"Youre an asshole. You didnt give me room," he said. Yes he did use the word asshole. Asshole ka, pare, he said. He said it while glancing sideways at me, then looked away, then glancing, then looking away. Now I dont know about you, but when someone calls me an asshole, I want them to be looking right at me. So I made it easier for him. I leaned over and got into his face. "What?," I said, pretending that I didnt hear what he said, then I cocked an ear at him. I was about an inch from his face. He mumbled the same thing about me not giving him room. "Are you blind?," I asked. I was about to say, Dont you see this really fat lady over here?, but I caught myself. I just said, "It wasnt just you who was feeling cramped. We all were. So what the hell were you talking about me not giving you room? This is a shuttle, not a cab..." And on and on I went, trying to keep my voice calm and even and matter-of-fact. The fat lady tried her best to ignore us and she did a pretty good job at it. She probably had an inkling that it was her fault that we were cramped, but really, was it her fault she was fat? Anyway, after my lecture on the finer points on how to behave in a cramped shuttle, I settled down and listened to the music playing on the radio. But sociopath was still at it, mumbling, glancing at me sideways,looking away, glancing again, mumbling... This guy might try something, I thought. We'll see.

My stop came. Sociopath was sitting next to the door and he had to get out of the shuttle first so I could get off. I thought, if he was going to try something, this was it, and Im giving him that chance. He stepped out, and I followed, but I didnt go on my way. I stood there, standing squarely in front of him, looking straight into his eyes, hands on my side, with palms towards him as if to say, Let's go, bub. He stood there, too, but he didnt face me squarely, and I knew that if indeed he wanted to try something, he thought the better of it when he saw I was ready. He took a last parting sideways glance, and went back in the vehicle. Never saw him again for a year.

So yesterday, I sat right across him. But something has changed in him somehow. He had a lot less hair, was a bit gaunt, and he developed a tic. He was twitching all over the place. It was distracting. It was as if he was trying to find the most comfortable position for his head on his shoulders by adjusting the angle it rested on his neck. What happened to him? He wasnt complaining anymore. probably because there really was nothing to complain about that time, but I cant help but think that maybe, he was trying so hard to control his behavior, trying so hard to keep from being an ass, and he was successful, but he developed a tic instead. His need to bitch manifested itself in a really annoying tic.

I dont know if the run-in we had somehow affected him. I sure hope not. I wish the bozo all the best.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Culture Club

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View?
created with

Reason is over-rated. A life based on reason is an evolutionary step backward. We're defined more by our desire to search for what we cannot know than the desire to search for what we can know. Our own evolution is goading us to try to break through into realms where we know we're not allowed to enter. "Life has a meaning outside of the rational." Reason is not concerned with meaning because meaning cannot be sensed. It falls outside of its grasp. We need something more than reason.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Salvador Dali, Galatea of the Spheres, 1952

It's 1995 and Im lying on my back on the roof of the boat that's supposed to take us to Patnanongon island. It's around 2 in the morning and we won't be leaving for about 4 or 5 hours for the seven-hour trip. I cant sleep despite x bottles of beer, the cool breeze, and the gentle rocking of the boat. It's a clear, moonless night and Im looking at the sky for entertainment. Mauban in 1995 was a backwater community that made its living out of whatever was available, illegal logging one of the more lucrative areas where one could earn a buck. The streets didnt have the luxury of streetlights. And at 2 a.m. there werent any lights from the houses near the port where our boat was moored. In the sky overhead, like a luminous cloud, was the Milky Way; our home galaxy. There's just no way we're alone in the universe, I thought. But the sheer size of the spectacle overhead didnt make me feel insignificant at all. All I felt was a fascination at the immensity of the cosmos.

Fast forward to 2004. I was back in Mauban but it isnt the same Mauban of 1995. There's a huge coal-fired power plant there and it's the hub of the town's economic boom, providing jobs for the townsfolk, directly and indirectly. The power plant people gave us a tour. Nothing much to it. The plant is just a gigantic kettle boiling water and using the steam to run turbines that generate electricity. Later that night we had dinner, and then off we went to the plant's recreation house where we drank brandy and beer, played pool, smoked cigars, and videoke'd til the wee hours with our hosts. We closed the place up at around 3 a.m. It was a clear, moonless night as far as I can tell. The streets of Mauban were well-lit, the power plant saw to that. I looked up at the sky. The Milky Way was nowhere to be seen. I knew it was there but the ambient light made it impossible to see. I cant help but think of the Mauban kids who were born since 1996 when the power plant started operating. How theyll look up at the sky at night and all theyll see is the black sky with specks of light coming from a few stars here and there. They have electric lights for when they do their homework at night. They have their electric fans for when it's balmy. Theyll have TV. But they won't have the Milky Way.

You bastard! You killed my tee-e-eeaacher!

Revenge killer

You kill for

That is because you have lost something or
someone you held very dear. Now you can't seem
to get over the loss that marked your soul, and
the only solution is to go after the one person
who brought all this pain to you. Chances are
you are angry inside and you bottle everything
up and don't talk to anyone about it. People
may want to help, but you think that they can
never understand your pain and only get
frustrated because of this. But it is important
to see all that you have left and be thankful
of that even if you have lost something great.
It may not be true that Times heals all wounds,
but with time and talking about your feelings,
maybe the hurt will ease.

Main weapon: Yourself
Quote: "You can close your eyes to
reality but not to memories" -Stainslaw J.
Facial expression: Gritted teeth and
teary eyes

What Type of Killer Are You? [cool pictures]
brought to you by Quizilla

Those are the breaks, Blues

For the second year in a row, Chelsea crashes out of the Champions League semi-finals, losing 1-zip to Liverpool, care of a controversial goal from Luis Garcia. Ref ruled that Garcia's goal was good. And you have to hand it to the Mersey squad. They kept their cool amidst Chelsea's onslaught.

It was a good run. Carling Cup and the Premiere League title for 2005. Well done.

Monday, May 02, 2005

El Greco, View of Toledo c. 1597

Ive always admired Domenikos Theotokopoulos, better known as El Greco ever since I did a report on his life in high school. Looking at this painting of Toledo, youd think this painting is from the late 1800's, during the time of Van Gogh or the Impressionists. In fact, his paintings were 're-discovered' in the late 1800s after languishing in obscurity; he was simply ahead of his time. His bold renderings of landscapes and portraits prefigured Modern Art wherein the artist isnt merely trying to capture reality, but is seeking to add a transendence, an almost mystical quality, to his paintings, inspiring such Moderns as Picasso.