Archive for the ‘ General Musings ’ Category

A Meaningful Repost

I posted the following entry two years ago on Facebook and I think it’s a great thing to repost. Aside from the reference to the election, there’s no outdated reference that you wouldn’t get. I mean, shit, if you think something from two years ago is obscure and forgetful….I don’t know anymore.

If you happen to be a friend on Facebook, you can check out the comments section too. Really great stuff, though I may be biased in saying that.

Anyway, learn more from this list of eleven things.

———————–

11 Years: Something Completely Different

Hi all. With the elections looming in even closer, I thought I’d try something different before we all go out and vote.

For all of you reading this and also being registered voters, May 10 is a significant date. Yet for a small few, May 10 was already an important date even before The Great Choosing. Obviously, this was the day, 11 years ago, that mom died. During her last days, I always believed that she chose to go on May 10 because May 9 back in ’99 was Mother’s Day.

Now here we are 11 years later and the dates seem to be falling into place as they were back then. Every May 10th, I try to do something unique on her day as my way of remembering her.

One thing I loved doing (and still do) was to collect all these little stories and anecdotes about my mom. Over the past 11 years, the stories I’ve heard from everyone about her created this persona that I wish I was around to see and get to know more. With the connectivity Facebook offers, I think I can do something cool.

This is my request for everyone tagged (or those reading who know what to do. Also, I couldn’t tag the entire family so if anyone wants to share it with others, please do.): Leave a comment here with some of your best and fondest memories of my mom. I want to hear all these stories about her, trivial or not. From what I’ve gathered, she was quite a character (and a helluva partier too.) I only knew her well as a mom, and I want to hear more stories that showed the side most of you saw.

So as not to feel so left out, here are 11 little stories/tidbits about my mom that I picked up over the years, be it from you all or from my time with her.

1.) We were near NAIA one time and I asked her who her favorite Beatle was. It was Paul.

2.) I got my affinity for spicy food after I noticed she kept asking for sili with her food.

3.) My love for computers also stemmed from sometimes picking her up in the office and as she got ready, I tinkered with her work computer by typing names of my favorite cartoon characters. Maybe also where I learned to type.

4.) She thought Matt Lauer and Mel Gibson were sexy.

5.) During the 1991 Baguio quake, she got mad at me for “shaking the bed.”

6.) Dad once mistook her snoring for a monster he thought he had to fight in a video game.

7.) Speaking of which, she may have been adamant about it, but mom was the one who bought me my video game consoles up until the PS1.

8.) Not only was she good as jackstones, but supposedly Tetris as well. Have a hard time believing the second part of that, but I know the first one to be very true.

9.) On one of her birthdays, she told me that I was “legally” allowed to have my first beer. Of course she also didn’t explain the concept of “pacing” and after my first, I went to bed.

10.) She was a Bulls/Michael Jordan fan. This may not seem much, but other than the UAAP games, I don’t see or hear much about mothers these days who are way into teams.

11.) Most of you know my affinity for Rick Astley when I was younger. My mom noted this and, for fun, she would play “Never Gonna Give You Up” and, as if by reflex, I would start dancing and singing it even if I was close to sleeping (This supposedly happened in Baguio one time).

Mother’s Day is tomorrow and to all mothers, I hope you get the pampering you deserve. My dad, Pips, Javi and myself have made it this far and I can only assume that mom’s been the one pampering us.

100 Wishes

First off, thanks once again to everyone for the birthday wishes last week. Being 28 for about a week still hasn’t yielded any differences but these things do take time. I know I took a very serious tone in my pre-birthday blog entry but I did have a few things I wanted to get off my chest while also not being too explicit on detail. So to make up for it, I’m making things a little more on the upside here. Which means linky links and the occasional funny picture.

So like plenty of great things in life, I am inspired by science and the people that do science.  Those that know me are familiar with my love for science shows like 3-2-1 Contact, Mr. Wizard and Mythbusters. Particularly, I enjoy the talks Adam Savage has given over the years as he is easily one the most likeable, relatable and personable people on television. His talk about obsession and failure were big on me when I first saw them and in my own profession, I try to get my students to learn through his talks and have so far been successful.

One of my favorite talks he did was back in DragonCon when he gave a list of his 100 Wishes. An idea that seemed fun, creative and simple, but really tough to do one you get it started. After I had my birthday noodles, I thought about that talk for awhile and thought: Why not? Let me have a shot at making my own list.

So without further delay, here’s my version of Adam Savage’s 100 wishes.  If you’ve seen the video, I do have similar wishes to him but I did say that he’s one hell of a relatable guy. Most of these start the same way so unless it’s stated: I want/I would like to….

 100 Wishes

  1. Have my own TARDIS
  2. Own a house in the mountains and live the cold life.
  3. Run a record store in a small town.
  4. Draw!
  5. Build my own Mass Effect N7 armor and M-23 Katana prop.
  6. Go on a good old fashioned American road trip.
  7. Attend a genuine Gospel Choir show.
  8. Hang out with blues musicians at Morgan Freeman’s blues bar.
  9. Do voice over for a video game.
  10. Have the greatest bowl of chili in the world.
  11. Go to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and blow things up with the Mythbusters.
  12. Learn how to parkour!
  13. If I could choose a super power, I would like the following abilities: Cellular regeneration, flight, perfect fighting skills, the ability to speak every language and to speed up time by turning everything into an 80s training montage.
  14. Have my own man cave.
  15. Make that said man cave be accessible only via a fake bookcase entrance.
  16. See the edge of the world, otherwise known as Patagonia.
  17. Experience the Aurora Borealis in person.
  18. Join Rush on tour.
  19. In this lifetime, see Earth from outer space.
  20. Hang out with the cast of Community.
  21. Learn a magic trick on a Penn and Teller level.
  22. Prepare a meal starting from the wild.
  23. High five a freakin’ walrus. That shit looks so fun.
  24. Dance like James Brown did.
  25. Sail on a pirate ship.
  26. Write a worthy Twilight Zone episode.
  27. Participate in sketch comedy.
  28. Go hiking in the Canadian wilderness.
  29. Swim with sharks while in a cage.
  30. Go camping in a desert under the stars.
  31. Be the English voice for dubbed martial arts movie from Hong Kong
  32. Score a huge goal during the Stanley Cup finals.
  33. And what the hell, carry the Stanley Cup.
  34. Have dinner with someone I admire but disagree with.
  35. Have a very lengthy conversation with Cameron Crowe about anything.
  36. Unearth something that’s been lost for centuries unexpectedly.
  37. Skydive like a missile.
  38. Build my own armor set for any potential LARP event.
  39. Attend the Late Show with David Letterman.
  40. Perform good standup for half an hour.
  41. Own a fucking light saber.
  42. Stay in Sweden for a month.
  43. Explore Morocco.
  44. Forge my own Buster Sword from Final Fantasy VII.
  45. Have a 24 hour adventure that ends with pancakes at dawn.
  46. Drive around San Diego California with Tom Waits.
  47. Jump from one moving vehicle to another.
  48. Be in an episode of Doctor Who. Even if I was in a rubber suit and barely noticeable.
  49. Pilot my own spaceship.
  50. See George Carlin’s stand up.
  51. Spend a day recreating some of my favorite movie scenes.
  52. Create an original LEGO ship from scratch that children will build.
  53. Have my own functioning Portal gun.
  54. Wear one of the original Godzilla costumes and stomp all over a fake town.
  55. Participate in a wrestling angle where I get beat up for fun!
  56. See a printer that ACTUALLY cooperates.
  57. Sit in on one of Kevin Smith’s podcasts.
  58. Visit temples in India.
  59. Ride a motorcycle on an American highway.
  60. Be sent on an international spy mission.
  61. Plan a trip through riding a train.
  62. Attend high school during the 1980s. Movies made it seem fun.
  63. Drive and use a forklift.
  64. Be one of the Muppets’ puppeteers (Specifically, Beaker).
  65. Spend a full season in Tokyo, Japan.
  66. Explore a cave that’s hidden by a waterfall.
  67. Intern at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.
  68. Go bowling with Chris Hardwick.
  69. Have an action figure of myself.
  70. Experience watching all my favorite TV shows for the first time again.
  71. Go water skiing/wakeboarding while being pulled by a cruise ship.
  72. Be in a John Woo action scene.
  73. Learn knife throwing.
  74. Have a beer with Mike fucking Rowe.
  75. Watch all the musicians who posed in the famous A Great Day in Harlem photo.
  76. Stage dive/Crowd surf.
  77. Compete in a game of Curling! I don’t think I could lose….right?
  78. Be behind the scenes on a Jackie Chan movie.
  79. Properly produce a stop motion animated short.
  80. For a month, I want to know what it feels like to be a woman.
  81. Participate in the Running of the Bulls.
  82. Operate a chainsaw.
  83. Be in my own Motown-style singing group.
  84. Experience flying on a charter jet.
  85. Get into a legitimate and cafeteria wide food fight.
  86. Play the piano! Lounge style.
  87. Build a blanket fort like Troy and Abed did.
  88. Learn contact juggling.
  89. Be part of a Haka. Goddamn that looks so badass.
  90. On a lighter note, I’d like to watch some Native American dances.
  91. Join a competitive gaming tournament and not be knocked off in preliminaries
  92. Escape from any given situation by using a smoke bomb
  93. Watch all the movies during the greatest summer ever: 1985.
  94. Do something either dramatic or badass during rain.
  95. Hang out with Robin Williams for a day
  96. Receive a letter from every continent (even Antarctica. Get on it people)
  97. Be in a musical! Because why the fuck not?
  98. Create my own sci-fi universe.
  99. See how my mother is doing even for just one day.
  100. Everything that I do professionally and personally, I do with my friends.

Do see if you can make your own 100 Wishes list. It’ll be refreshing. Thanks again for making it this far.

Wreck Collection

When I first went to New York in 1993, I didn’t realize then the impression the city would have on my then 9 year old psyche. As I was just interested in toys, Sega Genesis and colder weather, I had almost no interest in a city I barely knew about other than “this is where King Kong died.” Looking back on the ’93 excursion as I got older, it was a trip of many firsts and still remains as one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, even though I was not aware of just how much it meant to me. Aside from learning streets and taking public transportation, I tasted the simple joy of a sidewalk hotdog and pretzel, discovered that paradise is called “FAO Schwartz” and most of all I fell in love with a wonderful game.

The reason I bring this all up is because a few nights back, I found excerpts from the travel journal I wrote in during my trip. Most of the pages are gone sadly but having kept some mementos like bus maps, brochures and even receipts from that trip, a good part of the ’93 Life Changer was literally pieced together that evening. This time capsule buried underneath plastic and instruction manuals instead of dirt and erosion still managed to, for lack of a fitting term, encapsulate some of my thoughts, most of which immature and/or gullible, over the course of a full month or so.

I turn 28 in just under 24 hours. Depending on when this goes up or when this gets read, I may have already finished my year long run as a 27 year old. I chimed in about this on Twitter and it gave me one hell of a brainstorm/brainfart combo. If you told this to my teenaged self, who was still knee deep in learning about the music he wanted to appreciate while trying hard to be “film critic,” he probably would have balked at the idea. Back then, there was this almost self-obsessed belief that being 27 was THE year to do it all, and the year to supposedly end it all. While of course never (that) serious, not a month went by where my friends and I would rib each other, saying that we should all die in about 12-13 years so we could just burn out and not fade away. Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison, Cobain all did it, so it’s probably cool right?

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to conclude that the things you say and believe in tend to change over the years. Yes, as you get older, you look back on the things you said and did when you were younger and it’s often true that you laugh about how shortsighted you once were. Along with those laughs are also cringe-worthy moments that you either want to forget for the rest of your days or even deny that they actually happened. We do a lot of stupid shit when we’re younger but we often straighten out by the time we reach 18. When the country you live in has a legal right to execute you for doing even stupider shit as an adult, I think it’s about time you reassess what you do for fun around your parts of the woods.

This also means I am less than 24 hours away from being officially an adult for 10 years. That’s going to apply to many of the once kids in “my generation” who have now since leveled up into working adults. We now have every right to preface many of our stories with “10 years ago” and they rarely are exaggerations. This exciting yet anxious reality started to weigh on me in the past few days and funny enough, it was that passing Twitter Thought that put it way out in the open for all to see (All 260+ people following me there.) Personally, 2012 has been crazy so far and I admit has had more downs than ups with me. Not quite the same comparison I had hoped to have with the 2011-2012 Rangers season, but I know it can only get better (or even worse) after I put this blog post up.

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s only now that I’m realizing things I probably should have earlier on. As a late bloomer in life, I wouldn’t say I’m last to know things, but rather I take my sweet time in assimilating myself to things I should have knowledge of already. But I won’t dwell on that since I’ve spent a lot of my life catching up on things and this should be no different. With nearly a decade of legality under my belt and gut, I thought I’d share 10 things that I’ve learned as an adult in those 10 years, either right away or the hard way. Most of these will be painfully obvious to everyone, but that’s really not the point. This isn’t meant to be mind blowing or thought provoking, but rather a progress report or summary of things I’ve been picked up over the years, all rolled into 10 points that are probably similar to the next one. So maybe you can see this as my first step to being the neighborhood crazy old man dispensing his first bits of life advice to the youngins he’s surrounded with. Many of these points tie in with each other.

I’m sorry there’s no TL;DR version. But I came up with this list in a few hours so I hope you take the time to read it. Christ, I’m writing this while Rodan is tearing ass all over Japan. But anyway.

1. Never forget what (and who) brought you to the dance

We certainly outgrow things from our early years, not just physically, but many of our hobbies and interests as well. We sometimes lose the excitement we once had for things we loved, or just one day wake up to realization that we need to find something new. Think of it like transferring from one school to a new one you’ve never heard of. You leave your identity behind your old school and you reboot your life according to things that you’ve learned from it so you can start over. If you were made fun of in your old school for liking Pogs or Magic: the Gathering, you make it a point not to bring it up in your new school over fear of getting stuffed in a locker or threatened in a school hallway for being the weird kid.

But the truth is that there are some things that are just so engrained into your identity and character that they can better your life if celebrated instead of forgotten or discarded. Even if there’s an interest decline at some point, the things you loved the most as a kid can also grow up with you. There has to be reason why you gravitated to unusual things and you’d be surprised how much happiness you can get out of it.

I’ll give you an example. As unlikely as it sounds, there was a period of about two years where I stopped watching ice hockey and pro wrestling at the same time and I couldn’t call myself a fan. At the time, wrestling was in a decline and my interest waned greatly with repetitive matches and lack of development with certain talent. Meanwhile, my hockey team was going through a serious slump and the press began to give them holy hell for it. Even as I began to branch out and appreciate other teams and players, ESPN stopped showing hockey games. And really, It’s also hard to find fans of an ice sport in a tropical country. So I quit on both and I tried to get into basketball and American football instead since I knew more people who were into it. While I did pick up and did become a fan of some teams, my heart and mind were still were on the ice. Thanks to the Internet I managed to keep track of seasons and slowly got my legs back. After the lockout, I was back in form and haven’t looked back since. I still feel the same exuberance I felt back in ’94 when I made a crude sign for the Rangers out of an unused folder that I kept flashing to my screen.

As for pro wrestling, the product did eventually get better and it won me back. While I do have gripes about the current product and wish for many changes, there’s nothing I would trade it for ever again.

 

2. Time is not always on your side

No matter how much the song wants you to believe in the opposite, it’s not always true that time is your friend. Call it Doctor Who’s influence or just “one of those things” where you catch yourself in deep (cynical) thought, one of the biggest things I came to terms with in my first ten years as an adult is that time does not advance every second. It advances every important moment in your life that you come across. What counts as “important” is up to you in the end. The point is that the more you get used to them, the less of them you will have and suddenly, as you get older, time just passes you by. I don’t like the clichéd expression “where did the time go?” as people need to pay attention to life happening around them. It’s better instead to believe that you just have to keep up with the pace and live out what you want to do at the speed of time.

Each day, week, month or year is a vessel of fixed capacity, to be filled with memorable incidents and stories. Every day can be observed in a way that is worth sharing-A birthday party, a baptism or even a 5 hour conversation you fantasize having.

Living doesn’t start when you’re born. It starts when you know for a fact that you’re alive. Find what’s good and make it last. Because there’s nothing else. One life, one chance.

3. There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure

I am a big fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. You’d already know that if you’ve seen my occasional tweets and reblogs about the show. If you also saw the new shirt I bought AND Twilight Sparkle messenger bag, there’s no other way I can make it clearer. I’m not going to get into a discussion over the Brony community or what makes the show so great that you should watch because I’m not here to do that for this point. But I will say now that it’s not a guilty pleasure at for me to say that I like a show catered to little girls.

Be it Friendship is Magic or what you would call a shitty movie, I honestly think that none of them are (and should be) called guilty pleasures. We’re taught early on that nothing is perfect and that even the most universally acclaimed things don’t appeal to everyone’s tastes. There are some folks that think The Godfather’s a terrible movie, or that the Star Wars prequels were actually better than the original trilogy. You don’t necessarily have to agree with them, but if it genuinely makes them happy and prevents them from hurting anyone, then more power to them. It’s crazy that we get so defensive when people like things we hate and love to tell them that they’re wrong. Then when everyone loves what we love, it doesn’t seem so appealing anymore.

The same can be said for music. Actually, this does apply more to music if you think about it. Backstreet Boys, Air Supply, Hanson, Survivor, Sheena Easton, Lady Gaga. These are people whose music I enjoy. I don’t necessarily look for their music on a daily basis but if a song comes on and I know the words, I’ll go along with it. When someone tells you Air Supply sucks, it doesn’t mean you should hate them too. People who genuinely love Air Supply or Survivor don’t feel guilty about loving them. It’s just great music that they find a connection to. Never feel bad about something that makes your life a little less shitty. Own it and embrace the supposed cheesiness the music brings, or that one movie that starred those American Idol finalists. Normies will never understand what makes them special.

On the other hand, when it comes to Nickelback or David Guetta, then I may have a problem with you.

4. Your worst trait can be your best teacher

Having grown up the way I did, I knew I was already set for a childhood and adolescence full of teasing. It was bad enough then to be that one boy who had no interest in playing sports and just wanted to instead play video games and read in grade school, but being the resident fat kid as well? In an all-male school to boot? Shit, the closest thing I can describe it is like being hit with a buff that meant twice the damage to my already fragile self-esteem.

As an outsider already physically, I have a lot to be thankful for. When I consider how traumatizing growing up was, I never stopped to think about the positives it had on me as a person. With the beating my self-esteem took nearly every day (there was a point where I never wanted to go to school because of it), I made a promise to myself that I would never want to rob anyone of their self-esteem. My go to response to this has always been:

I know about rejection. Because of that, I endeavor to not let people feel rejected. It’s the fucking bane of my existence…..I am “that guy”. I’m a guy that understands what it’s like to be rejected. I don’t care who you are. It’s not like you walk through that door, I’m going to rob you of your dignity or anything like that. I’m pulling for you. Even if you suck, I won’t let you think you suck to your face. If I did you would never fucking know it.

I know what it feels like to carry a lot of weight in a society that’s very image conscious. It’s a thin person’s world, and we try to navigate within it without being made fun of.

I also never got into smoking of any substance simply because I thought I wasn’t really in the right physical frame to take it as a habit. My belief was that I was already eating my way into a heart attack and adding cigarettes and/or any recreational drug would speed up that process. And the minimum you should get out of life aside from not punching people in the face is to make the most of what time you have here because, again, it isn’t always on your side.

I’m currently the lightest I’ve been in the past few years and I’m still going. I should be on track to be the lightest I’ve been in the past 10 years (see what I mean about things connecting?) Let’s face it; you can only be cutesy about this whole thing until it starts to get real. You can only ride the “I don’t care how I look, it’s character that counts.” train for so long, that eventually you’ll need to hit a train station and switch cars to a better ride. The story of what turned it around is going to have to be told some other time, but I’m doing my best to feel better physically. I don’t see it yet because I’ve been this way forever, so I’m just going to keep on moving more and doing whatnot to get myself more active. But even if I finally become a normie and society fully accepts it, I’ll never forget the lessons I picked up when I wasn’t one since they’re the ones that brought me to this dance.

5. “Fuck” isn’t the worst F word you will ever hear

Yes, it’s kinda silly I make this a point after being called the fat kid. It’s just me trying to be clever really. There’s a great spoke word piece by Jack Wagner that’s often misattributed to George Carlin or Monty Python on the word. Why call a word that not only essentially means to both feel pleasure and procreate, but is the most flexible word in the English language, the worst of the bunch? “Failure” is much worse. So is getting “fired,” but only if you’re part of the work force. Having an attempt called “feeble” isn’t all that encouraging.

The worst would have to be being called a “friend” by women you really really like. That stings the most and it’s hard to respond to that when you’re called it.  Just heartbreaking really.

I guess what I’m really driving at here with this quick point is that not only do they make me feel bad, but in any medium, written or spoken, words are the foundation of reality. Mean what you say and your sincerity will reflect on them. Even if the things we want to say the most are sometimes the hardest to do. It’s obvious when you think about, but that doesn’t stop it from being difficult. Well that and the fucking Friend Zone needs to be destroyed.

6. There is no Number Six

I just thought having a list of ten sounded psychologically satisfying. But I could make up a point right here about things don’t always go the way you want them to. Even if something or someone tells you how it is, that “expectations vs. reality” graphic from 500 Days of Summer should always be on your mind. It sure as hell stays with me and quite frankly, that too also stings and hits right in the jugular. But it comes with the territory of taking huge risks and flying blind into certain situations. I may be taking the whole “why not?” mindset a little too far, but the unpredictability of adult life continues to fascinate me.

Or, you know, this is just some elaborate Battlestar Galactica reference. We’ll never know.

7. We are all after the same thing         

Belief is always going to be a touchy subject and I knew I had to get here sooner later. Out of respect, I’m not going to disclose where I stand because I don’t have an argument with anything, nor do I want any arguing to take place. What I can say though is that I’m satisfied with myself spiritually and I know many of you find solace in a belief system appeals to your senses and moral character. For that, I admire you because you’ve taken steps to not only sleep better at night but also making sure that you don’t harm others. I’m of course not talking about those extreme nutjobs from any side since I know whoever’s reading this is a good person and most definitely deserves good things.

That seems to be trend doesn’t it? Everyone wants good things to happen to them so they live by a moral code that makes the world better. Sure, it varies from one belief to another but the overall theme still stands. Yet there are still some people that think you’d be happier if you believed in the same thing they did because you’re wrong. This goes back to the earlier point on guilty pleasures. There is no one thing that is universally loved and it takes different strokes to move the world. We’re all after happiness, but it has to be stressed that not all paths to happiness will appeal to others. No one has to force the other to believe in the same thing they do just because they want the other person to be happier (or saved). If you find something that works and it means not wanting to kill or harm others and it gets you to sleep better, then go with it. You will be doing the world a great service by making it just a little bit better to live in for future generations.

I quoted Penn Jillette earlier this year saying

Whatever or whoever you choose to believe in, the highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.”

It’s an idea worth taking to bed at least.

8. The internet isn’t full of dickbags that pick on you when you’re down

I first encountered Internet vitriol some time in 2000. I don’t remember the circumstances but it was still a pretty alien thing for me to be called a stupid motherfucker by someone I’ve never met. While I know the Internet will always have a bad rap of slandering people anonymously, just remember that a total stranger can give you a pat on the back as opposed to calling you a Niggerfaggot while playing World of Warcraft (True story by the way).

Thanks to Twitter, passing thoughts like this:

Can be met with this:

And then germinate into something better.

It’s a nice reminder that for all that negative shit thrown it’s way, you know that humanity still exists online and that someone you will never meet face to face is pulling for you to be a better person.

9. Sometimes our big splashes are just ripples in a pool

I should put this out already to save the trouble: You will fail in life and you will fail on such spectacular levels that it isn’t even funny anymore.

The universe, both romantically and historically, has not really obeyed us as we layer on to it our own philosophical requirements to behave the way we wish. We often leave our fates in the hands of the universe and sometimes, even our best intentions and hopes don’t go the way we want them to. We can invest so much into something, be it financially, emotionally or mentally, and to have it come crashing down despite the efforts can be the worst feeling in the world. We’ll have maybe one perfect day out of thousands that are good, average or really bad. My most perfect day was back in June 2006 in an oft repeated story I probably won’t tell here. It’s one of those things that you have to hear from me.

In To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus tells his children something about courage that I absolutely adore.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

On a personal level, 2006 was probably the worst of my first 10 years as an adult. Those who were around during the LiveJournal days are more than aware of this. Amidst that one perfect day, I’d call the ’06 period the Wilderness Years as I spent a good part of it finding myself. I failed on such a spectacular, colossal level that I had no idea how I’d recover. Eventually I did and the ride has been pretty good ever since, with a few bumps along the way.

The funny thing is that six years later, I never thought that I’d be reliving some of 2006’s best and worst times. Have I learned anything since then? Definitely. Am I anxious about facing the worst parts of it again? Oh indeed. I don’t exactly know what’s going to happen and I curse myself for having this preconceived idea of how ’12 will play out. It has made me miserable just thinking about it because the old ghosts and insecurities from that year suddenly came back. Yet the glimmers of hope and VERY cautious optimism are there as well. I think I think too much, as the song goes.

I guess what I’m really driving at here is that: Holy crap it’s 2006 all over again. But I’m older and hopefully wiser, so I sincerely hope nothing explodes in my face again. Figuratively. I shall wait also to laugh about this down the stretch.

10. “Know more about the world than you knew yesterday”

And lessen the suffering of others along the way.  Because you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning and they generate their own motivation.

There are two ways into any person, body or soul: through the heart or through the head. The eye is less reliable, because it only sees – and what we see changes every day. But shit that’s lodged in your head or heart? That never goes anywhere. It’s not visible, so it’s an image that’ll never corrupt. The flesh decays, but memories of a feeling, an insight, and intellectual or spiritual impact? They only burn brighter with time.

++++++++++++++++

The second half of 2012 is just around the corner and as said earlier, I’m honestly approaching it with more caution than I ever did. Things could all change tomorrow, or they could stay as they are. I probably just need time to recover from the past few weeks and I guess this pre-birthday blog entry shows that. No matter how close I’m cutting it to the actual date. I have something pretty cool to post after this but when that will be, I’ll eventually decide on. Even if I didn’t accomplish much with this, I’m kinda glad I put a lot of things out on Front Street. Maybe when I get back here, things will be different as the worst case scenario would be me being a blubbering mess.

Hank Green once wrote that sometimes, the world is a wish granting factory. I’ve seen it happen for others, I have yet to see this come way this year. I’ll hold out for that for however long.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I have a hockey team to support. Let’s go Rangers.

Vaultus Five

I know I said that all blog entries here would be at least a thousand words and I promise whoever’s reading this that I am working on that. But I dusted off the old blog recently and found a conversation transcript that made me laugh. Given everything that’s happened these last few days, that’s pretty rare.

We’ll return to regularly scheduled blogging. For now, enjoy this flashback of the silliest conversation I have had about family members (and why I am forever going to be single as fuck.)

==============================

This Place is Haunted? House-o?

Pumanaw lola ni Jon Huwebes kaya ilan sa amin dumalaw sa lamay. Ayaw din aminin ni Miko na nagandahan siya sa isang pinsan ni Jon habang naroon kami. Kaya hindi ko alam ko paano (o bakit) nagsimula ‘to:

M: May lakad ba tayo Lunes? Walang pasok tsaka trabaho.

C: Di ko lang alam. Pero alam ko lahat ng may irog at sinta di libre. Pag-isipan ko pa.

M: Sige. Pag-wala, hibernate lang ako sa bahay. Inuumaga ako madalas dahil Lola’s Trip to Heaven

C: Sa bagay. Kahit di natin nakilala, pagdasalan natin lola ni Jon…..COUSIN heaven there is no beer. PINSAN lang totoo.

M:  AUNT that the truth. And FATHER record, that was a good one

C: It was one INA million. sAMA lang. Humihirit tapos DADbol* lola ni Jon.

M: Napakagrim nga. Di taya naka FAMILY ng magandang topic at timing sa biro natin. Buti kung di PAMILYAr sa atin yung namatayan.

C: It’s kinda UNCLEd for to talk about the recently deceased like that huh? Sana di tayo mumultohan. It’s KU, YA?

M: It’s cool. ImpoSIBLING di tayo magkaintindihan dun. It wouldn’t make anINCEST if we didn’t agree on that.

C: Kung ganon eh di ATEn-ATEn lang mga hirit. The guilt won’t be much of a a BUN,SO that’s some guilt lessened.

M: Good call. SISTERiffic.

C: PAPAnget din tingin ni Tita Menchu (nanay ni Jon) kung nalaman niya humihirit tayo ng ganito. Basag ulo natin. Kita ko nga kanina may bote ng GRANDMAtador brandy.

M: MaLOLOka talaga.

C: BABY….or BABY not. We just shouldn’t say these ribs out loud. INFANT, she won’t know a thing.

M: …..concede.

———————

* Bihira mo na marinig ang salitang “Dedbol” ‘no? Sabi nga “Pang 90s talaga”

At The Speak Easy

A couple of months ago on the Twitter Machines, I had one of those “what if…” thoughts that always seem to be the origins of my strangest stories. I admit that it’s a bit eccentric on my part and I honestly am trying to curb it. For now, I suppose everyone has to live with my random observations and it’s my hope that someone does get a kick out of even the most mundane and borderline asinine tweets I manage to churn out.

For that particular day of tweeting, I entertained the thought again of what life would be like if we all had a narrator. I asked if we would be more self-conscious of our actions if we had a familiar voice talking ABOUT us instead of TO us. It would probably be the same as having a life bar over our heads or an HP/MP indicator outside of the LARP playing area. I still don’t know what others think, but I for one believe that life will get more exciting, not restrained, if we all had a narrator in our lives. Just having this voice that isn’t yours going with you on your adventures, both high and low points, will never make you feel alone at all. Or if you’re one who likes to keep to themselves, “thinking out loud” would be a pretty sweet experience if “out loud” meant Elvis singing every passing thought that you may have.

I try to celebrate artists as much as I can and I always want to give credit to the underrated as much as possible. I figured that it would be so easy to spout off obvious choices like Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, George Takei, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman or Jeremy Irons because those guys are just fantastic. If you’ve ever wanted to watch a movie that was two hours of a phonebook reading, those guys will make it the best two hours of your movie going experience.

So what follows here are my own Top Five choices for people I’d want to narrate my life. They’re not necessarily Morgan Freeman famous but they have the voice that can make them stand (or talk) side by side with everyone’s favorites.

5. Will Arnett

Image

Sample

I think a lot of us became GOB fans (and more importantly Will Arnett fans) because of the voice. We first heard it in action when he read appetizers to Lucille 2 and in various voice overs, all of which I was pretty psyched to hear. When you take Arnett’s comedic stylings, I assure you that everyday life will sound mildly entertaining on your worst days. Especially since the guy voicing your misfortunes and problems is wasting his day wearing a $3000 suit.

4. Sam Elliott

Image

Sample

My ever growing fascination and interest with Americana will need one hell of an American character. Known more to me as the Cowboy that befriends The Dude, Sam Elliott’s deep resonating voice fits everything I’d dream of hearing. Whether it’s a small town, the open road or a cool night in the desert, my exploring and adventures would be maybe about 20% cooler if all put into an audiobook narrated by him.

3. Penn Jillette

Image

Sample (and bonus Penn and Teller magic trick)

I grew up on the idea that Penn was a big guy like me but who did magic. Years later it dawned on me that the reason he was so loud had something to do with his height. Still, I’ve heard many stories told through his booming voice for many years and Penn’s expressiveness always made me want him to be a personal storyteller (or narrator.) Okay, so maybe he was Comedy Central’s voiceover guy for awhile, but his appearance on podcasts all told me that the man can tell a great story. Even the most messed up ones can sound interesting because of him. His intelligence can also help me when I try to be smartish as he.

2. Seth MacFarlane

Image

Sample

Though it is “cheating” to a degree, who WOULDN’T want to have a talented voice actor as a narrator, let alone Seth MacFarlane? You have one “core voice” for certain days, which can then change depending on the time of day. In the case of Seth, I’d love to have some of his characters chime in on my life once in awhile. What’s great though is his default voice is already a treat to have as a narrator and who knows? Maybe he might bust out some Singing In The Rain.

 

1. Mike Rowe

Image

Sample

The dudeliest dude on TV today. Whether it’s voicing his own show or serving as The Ultimate Fighter’s narrator, Mike Rowe’s voice commands attention. I talked to a friend one time just around the time both Dirty Jobs and Bear Grylls’ Man Vs. Wild came out and I still believe to this day that if I met Bear Grylls, I would love to have him just sit down and have him tell his stories over some wine or something akin to a fireside chat.

Mike Rowe on the other hand is the sort of guy you just want to have a cold beer with and shoot the breeze on anything. The man can tell a great story just like Bear Grylls probably would, but his voice feels more down home and probably the same as someone you know in your town. Just a hard working blue collar guy living the dream and whatnot. Despite dabbling mostly in these said blue collar jobs, Mike Rowe is more intelligent than he seems on TV and I’m sure he can hold his own in any of those deep thought situations I find myself in. I’d like to have someone of Mike Rowe’s vocal prowess to straighten me out occasionally. I’m pretty sure also that he can make my said mundane thoughts be the manliest thing you’ll ever hear about today.

And like Seth MacFarlane, he sings!

 

I know I’ve skipped over a few great ones and I’ll probably come to regret their omissions later. The most I can do is pick one of those five voices and have them read my thoughts that say “Nah. It’s cool that you missed a few. They at least have your respect just by simply considering them.”

Space Truckin’

Quick note: This entry is best read while listening to the title.

I love space. Between the dinosaurs and outer space stories, my childhood seemed like something creationists would no doubt frown upon. Living in a third world country, the prospect of being either an archaeologist or an astronaut was pretty impossible as it was.  But as an early follower of Sagan (and now Dr. Tyson), I don’t think I’ve ever stopped dreaming about the stars.

It’s going to be clear from this point on that I am attracted to anything with the word “space” in it (Except for you MySpace. You wish you were as cool as me and my 950 Asari and Turian friends on Spacebook.) None of which are bigger than the Space Opera genre. I do love sweeping epics that take place on Earth or some distant planet, but nothing tickles my fancy more than with what happens above them. Whether it’s the planets some ragtag crew explores or the interaction of different alien species treated as an everyday occurrence, . In the same belief that “anything is better if you add dinosaurs or zombies to it,” you can change the setting to “space” to most anything and it will be better. Can you imagine reading about Abraham Lincoln’s life and times as America’s greatest president….in space? Or if a train to Hogwarts meant going to Space Station 9 ¾ into the 6th dimension? Hell, I’ll go so far as to say that I’d probably enjoy a story of sparkling space vampires.

One of the best things about space tales are the ships. In the years I’ve been privy to different stories in different mediums, you can never really go wrong with space battles and travels. For a lot of them, the real story was never about the ship itself, but the people inside them. And maybe there in lay my constant fascination. It may be in space, but people and even aliens all have problems that they need to sort out within the titanium alloy walls traveling through hyperspace.

What follows here is a list of my ten favorite ships. They don’t all necessary belong to the Space Opera genre, but I thought it was a fun look at why I have my head and eyes in the stars. You also get to see some pretty and sexy pictures.

Honorable Mentions:

The Galactica from  Battlestar Galactica

The Phantom Cruiser from Space Ghost

The ship from Kacho Oji (don’t remember the name but it was a Flying V guitar ship.)

Every Lego spaceship I’ve ever built

10. The Righteous Indignation

Image

First appearance: Bucky O’Hare (1991)

I had a lot of fun watching Bucky O’Hare growing up and while I never had any of the toys, the coloring and activity books more than sufficed. While the crew was led by Bucky, it wasn’t exclusive to just lagomorphs onboard. The Space Opera genre has always taken pride in interspecies interaction, so it was a cool thing for me to see a cat, a four armed duck, a gorilla and a human boy battling an evil race of toads. I do wish the show lasted longer, but it won’t be the first the ship on this list that only stuck around for one season.

And really, how can you go wrong with a ship of that name? And the theme song was pretty cool.

9. The Mirage

Image

First appearance: Silverhawks (1986)

Before the X-Men or even Thundercats, the Silverhawks were the first superhero team that I dug. During the 80s cartoon boom, these guys were seminal favorites growing up, so much so that I got my little hands on a Mirage toy at some point.

Image

Bluegrass

While the Silverhawks were known for their ability to fly, the Mirage’s pilot was the guy I dug most. Might be because of his cool name, or maybe because he had a pretty unique weapon that caught my childhood’s eye.

8. Swordfish II

Image

First appearance: Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Cowboy Bebop will always be synonymous with “cool.” It’s hard to fault a show that used great music and some pretty fluid animation that still stands to this day. But really, Cowboy Bebop is a show about “Space Bounty Hunters” so they pretty much were doing what Boba Fett was doing, only slicker and more Japanese.

I do feel odd choosing Spike’s Swordfish to be on this list though. But I always linked its quickness and ability to get him out of pinches with Spike’s own practice of Jeet Kun Do.

7. The Arcadia

Image

First appearance: Space Pirate Captain Harlock (1977)

In the eternal debate over Pirates vs. Ninjas, I always sided with the pirates. My frequent trips to Makati Cinema Square and their DVD stalls are all part of my track record. That aside, Captain Harlock was the first show that brought together two things I loved. If Cowboy Bebop was Boba Fett, Harlock was Han Solo. Space Pirates will forever be the best kinds of pirates.

Thanks to the Arcadia as well, I got to see firsthand the aforementioned interactions of different alien races and species and how they all saw each other as equal. Sure, the “aliens” looked human still, but I had to start somewhere.

6. The Enterprise

First appearance: Star Trek (1966)

I don’t talk a lot about Star Trek but I have a deep respect for the show. I admit I haven’t seen as much of the Original Series as I should, but I always made it a point to catch The Next Generation when it was on Channel 9. As a kid, I always saw plenty of Enterprise parodies in different cartoons and sitcoms (A In Living Color era-Jim Carrey did a great Kirk once) and it never occurred to me then that it was a sign of how popular the show was.

5. The Planet Express Ship

Image

First appearance: Futurama (1999)

I admit that when word got out Matt Groening was doing a space show, I didn’t jump onboard right away. I am glad to say that I was wrong in thinking it was a bad idea. The often witty and clever Futurama has since been included in my personal list of favorite shows of all time thanks to the great writing for some truly clever episodes over the years. It can pull at your heartstrings in one episode, then also actually create a mathematical theorem in the next.

4. The X-Wing

Image

First appeacance: Star Wars (1977)

Oh X-Wing. You are the staple of starfighters everywhere in my opinion. While there are far more superior ships to her in the Star Wars universe, none of them have a video game in their honor.  I just love everything that the X-Wing is, especially the sounds of its lasers (sorry for being a turn off ladies).

One of the first “big boy toys” I ever owned was a model of the X-Wing that Micro Machines came out. My dad painted it a little to enhance some of the colors and even made the R2 model on the co-pilot seat stand out more.

3.  Serenity

Image

First appearance: Firefly (2002)

I never had any doubt on who was cooler between Pirates and Ninjas. But in the talk of Space Pirates and Space Cowboys, I am often conflicted. Firefly didn’t make things easier.

Image

Swoon

Yet another victim of something cancelled before its time, Joss Whedon’s space western was the very definition of short and sweet.  Not since the likes of Bravestarr and the adventures of Brisco County Jr has the Space Western been so cool and so damned good looking at the same time.

2.  The Normandy SR-2

Image

First appearance (as the Normandy SR-1): Mass Effect (2007)

The Mass Effect series recently gained a special place in my love for the Space Opera. I don’t recall the last time I was so engrossed in a space trilogy since, well, the original Star Wars. Having it as a video game added a layer of interactivity it gave me a chance to shape the story of Commander Shepherd as I wanted to.

This included

Much like the Planet Express ship, my love for the Normandy is not necessarily rooted in what the ship can do, but the crew that that’s onboard. Seth Green and Tricia Helfer do a fantastic job as the Normandy’s pilots (even if EDI is technically part of the Normandy). Her crew may have changed over the span of three games, but it will always be THE ship of the Mass Effect universe.

1. The TARDIS

Image

First appearance: Doctor Who (1963)

The funny thing about naming the TARDIS as the number one “ship” is that it’s barely called as such. The First incarnation of The Doctor called it a ship and a capsule at times, but has since endeared to just being the TARDIS (or Sexy for you fans reading this).

What isn’t there to love about this beloved blue box? It’s a dream for both minimalists and the entire cast of Hoarders by just being “bigger on the inside.” While the interior has changed over 49 years, the exterior has retained much of its timeless shape and feel.

That’s really all just filler to the fact that it travels through motherfucking time and space.

As a show, Doctor Who always took pride in celebrating “intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.” The TARDIS, in retrospect, is the least assuming of all the ships listed here. It has no guns to speak of and while it did not always go where The Doctor wanted to go, it took him where he needed to.

At the risk of sounding uncool (if I am already), I hope I never get tired of these space stories. They keep me up at night and never stop me from dreaming.

You Miss 100% Of The Shots You Never Take

If there’s something futurists from the 1980s got right, the triumph of the nerds is now evident more than ever. The same people that used to bully Melvin in grade school or those brainless jocks that made him cower in fear pee now have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, use smartphones, iPads, DSLRs and sometimes spend their weekends in front of a console playing whatever latest edition of sportsball is out. They even know what 3G means. The rivalry between nerds and jocks is long gone because the nerds have won.

Image

NEEEEEEEEEEEEEERDS!

One quality that is always endearing to me about nerd culture is how they are always hyper self-aware. Nerds obsess over things, down the very last detail and take pride in seeing things that other don’t. Nothing is trivial to them and anything worth knowing is worth remembering, all for the sake of being more knowledgeable. When I was young, I was occasionally teased that I was always in my own little world, created by my obsessions with video games and The X-Files. The truth is (hey X-Files fans!), those little worlds some of us had weren’t just little getaways from the real world. For some of us, they actually amplified the real world, making it easier and just a little bit more fun to live in. I often like to quip that living life a video game, complete with life bars and stats, would make everyone a little bit better. There’s a good amount of humor to that, but also a dose of seriousness. Nerds have an ongoing monologue (and sometimes dialogue) going on in their heads when they look at the world, and I often wonder how much of it is devoted to turning the real world into one big augmented reality app.

These are things that I thought about 3 days ago, when 2012 finally rang in.

Image

Seriously, would it be fun to have a life where you can see personal stats like that?

I suppose if I had to start making resolutions for the new year, I’d have to go with “do something that works.” I’m a little older now from when I used to be in my little world, so I can’t always play pretend. I can’t walk around school, thinking I’m as good looking as David Duchovny and as skeptical as Fox Mulder was. But what I can do is use the things that I love and make me happy to serve as metaphors that amplify what my year can become. Turning your life into an RPG for example, complete with experience points, achievements, item quests and boss battles, can make 2012 all the more interesting and a lot easier to take.

Find something you like and turn it into your guide for the year. It can’t always be perfect, but since when has anything ever been such?

And as I’ve learned over the past two years, it’ll always be about hockey.

Image

I know the same can be said for a few other sports and their fans will faithfully defend it, but when I hear someone say “hockey is life,” it always rings as being the truest of all. I decided that for 2012, the metaphors that the game has will make the year a lot more fun and exciting. What hockey illustrates on the ice can easily illustrate what life is like off it.

  • We are determined by our need to accomplish goals and whenever the opportunity is there, we decide if we want to take our shot. Sometimes we score, most of the time we don’t. But if we work hard enough and never lose sight of the net, it happens. The more chances you take, the better a player you become.
  • Our shots, however, can only come if we help others. If we make assists for our team, they will reward you by assisting in your goals. Gretzky did it well, which made him The Great One.
  • Because we can’t do things alone. You can’t play every minute of every game and you can’t win it yourself. Even boxers and fighters need a string of coaches to improve themselves.
  • It doesn’t matter if you have the talent for something or not. Regardless of what line you’re on, when it’s your turn to go over the boards, you contribute to your team. Hockey is an exhausting game, making it best played with heart.
  • Remember that even the greatest of players get penalized occasionally. Take in your mistakes while in the Sin Bin, then you’re free to skate again.
  • Expect all manner of shit to come your way when you want to score your goal. You will take hard hits, get checked constantly, and have different things in front that will stop you from taking your shot.
  • But if you stay away from the corners and avoid major scrums, you can outskate your attackers to the net.
  • Most of all, keep your head up to avoid the hardest of hits, and stick down to stay focused on that puck. Be determined to know where it’s going to be, not where it was. When it finally comes your way, be ready to move with it.
Image

Happiness in just a few words.

If the way the Rangers are playing is any indication, 2012 looks to be a great year ahead. I already have some ideas on where it will go and if I can just shoot that puck top shelf, it may just happen. I’m not ready to call it a “banner year” just yet, but this newfound determination and much more relaxed demeanor certainly helps the cause. I think 2011 helped kickstart something inside, and it would be a shame if I just let it slide. I try to both look ahead and take it one game at a time as I don’t want to jinx myself, like any superstitious player would. But something in me says that the ride is only going to get better this 2012, and I will hold myself accountable to that with this first post of the new year.

Whatever or whoever you choose to believe in, the highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.

And as always:

Image

Happy 2012 everyone.