Friday, August 31, 2007

Warmest Regards

It's hard for me to write letters.

Writing a letter is a lot different from writing a blog post, much less writing a short story. It's more... personal, for one. When you hunker down to scribble something on that clear sheet of paper, you have to realize that you won't be talking to an audience anymore. You'll be speaking to one other person from the wellspring of your heart and mind, and that's a strangely terrifying prospect.

I'm not a personable person as much as I am an audience person. I find it far easier to talk to audiences because they tend to think in certain directions: Every member of a crowd will have a higher tendency to act and think like the rest of the crowd does. (If you don't believe me, try asking a question during an open forum sometime -- doesn't it feel easier to walk up to the microphone if at least one other person has done so?)

In contrast, I find one-on-one exchanges to be far more difficult. There's no general mentality to read in these, no quick references that can be used to your advantage. Compounding the issue is the fact that I wouldn't even want to look for such things in a personal exchange -- that's why it's personal, after all. You don't treat a close friend as though he or she were just another part of the crowd.

Sadly, that's usually how I end up addressing matters. So far I've been accused of being distant, unrelatable, and difficult to know... and this is probably why. It's an odd twist, but then again, there are plenty of odd things in my life.

So I can't write very good letters. In the past, people have somehow managed to put up with my halfhearted attempts at personality, or with more than a few tries at creative literature as poor substitutes. I'm grateful for those who have somehow managed to recognize this disability of mine, although knowing that you can't do something and not being able to do it at all are two completely different... things.

So if that recent letter that I wrote to you sounds suspiciously like a corporate memo, or if I sent over a full-blown tapestry of a message complete with its own Greek chorus, then you must accept my apologies here. I can't help it right now, and it'll obviously take a lot of practice for me to get where I want.

At least I know that I'm trying. That notion at least gives me some comfort, despite hours of staring at a clear sheet of paper with absolutely no idea what to say.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Maids are Watching Wrestlemania Again

My family is upper-middle-class in a lot of ways. For one, we earn enough money to pay the bills and leave something in the bank every month. We have access to constant technology upgrades, yet still remain thrifty enough to make our appliances last longer than their warranty periods. We all go to work and/or school regularly, we see movies at least twice a month, and we maintain the average 2.3 cars in a single garage. (One car works only about three-tenths of the time, so the use of the decimal point isn't too far-fetched.)

We also watch TV, for that matter. In fact, what amazes me is not merely the fact that we watch TV -- it's the fact that we somehow manage to share what few television sets we have in the house.

I suspect that my general resistance to TV has something to do with it. My inability to keep to a regular viewing schedule effectively takes me out of the household's unified schedule. While everybody catches their favorite programs, I usually stick to the PC and end up watching whatever everybody else watches.

My mother, for instance, is a news junkie. That is to say, she tunes in to CNN and all the other news channels on a very regular basis -- say, three or four times a day. The beauty of her arrangement is that she can literally catch her media interests any time; Even if she only has five minutes to catch whatever's on the tube, there's always a readable sidebar running along the bottom of the screen.

My sister, on the other hand, is a sports watcher who thrives on both professional and college basketball games. The seasonal nature of these programs, however, means that we're usually forced to make room for her only at certain times of the year. Otherwise she mostly does her homework and watches what we watch.

CSI, however, is a notable exception. My siblings consider the show to be one of the cornerstones of their existence. While I do admire the form and style of the show, I don't think that I would contemplate suicide if it ever got canceled, and I must therefore be less of a fan than they are.

Apart from the aforementioned forensic investigation hour, my brother also pinpoints specific shows for his personal attention. That is to say, he watches a lot of cartoons, divided evenly between episodes of Justice League Unlimited, and series of the pure animé persuasion. We actually share similar tastes when it comes to our programming; I just mind missing my shows a lot less than he does.

This leaves two members of the household help who've each been with us for at least twenty years, and they get the bulk of the TV time. While they do consume good helpings of the local variety shows and reruns of Pinoy Big Brother, most of their fare consists of knock-down, drag-out WWF Wrestlemania. They can outline a laundry list of favorite wrestlers from the mid-90s onwards, and they knew about Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit long before their tragedies hit the headlines. I suppose I should be counting our blessings, though -- at least they haven't started openly discussing flying scissor-locks, cannonball death jumps, and signature moves. Yet.

Why do I suddenly raise my family's strange viewing habits, you ask? Well... let me put it this way: In every middle-class family, somebody's got to pay the cable bills. Exactly how that duty fell to the person who watches the least TV is something for the books.

But hey, it could be worse. I mean, I could be driving three-tenths of a car.

Friday, August 24, 2007


For the past couple of weeks, the Malu Fernandez issue has made headlines in the local blogosphere. What happened was that Fernandez, a travel and lifestyle writer, wrote up a summary of her recent travels to Boracay, Greece and Dubai in People Asia magazine. The article, however, turned out to contain some... interesting... statements about Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), which caused an uproar in the local blogging community.

It's difficult for me to summarize the entire situation right now, so I'll refer you to Anton de Leon for the whole morbid timeline. Anton's site also does us the benefit of providing scans of Fernandez's published article.

"Seething With Anger": The offending passages

"Let's Grab Her and Bang Her Head": Blogger reaction comes to light

"Malu Fernandez on Everyone's Mind": High-profile reactions

"Malu Fernandez, Let Me Show You How Many...": The initiative

"Malu Fernandez Finally Resigns": Surrender and apology

While part of me is glad that everything reached a fitting conclusion, part of me remains appalled at the developments.

I engaged in a little blogging activism back in 2005, when an incredibly offensive IT "beauty contest" started making the rounds of the business community. After the initial shock and reaction, I was surprised to learn that the organizers were willing to sit down and discuss the offending circumstances with us. I actually went to their conference, sat among other bloggers to debate both sides of the issue, and came away thankful for the opportunity we had all been given. I liked to think that the organizers knew exactly what they had done wrong, and that they learned a valuable lesson from the experience.

Two weeks later, the organizers canceled the contest completely. It was not because they were convinced by sound logical arguments, though. It was because they began receiving grave threats from any number of anonymous sources. Someone went as far as to say that he was going to throw acid on the contestants.

I read their official press statement and couldn't believe the words that were right in front of me. I had pressed for civilized discussion, after all. I had tried to show them exactly why they were doing this wrong, and I had tried to drill the lesson into their heads: It wasn't enough for them to know what audience reaction was -- it was important for them to know why their terms were offensive, and to prevent themselves from doing anything like that again.

Now they learned nothing. Now they only knew that they couldn't hold such a contest because people would hurt them for it.

This is intimidation, plain and simple. This is not a "blogstorm", or a "cyber-counterculture movement", or whatever crap you choose to call it.

This is mob rule.

Read Malu Fernandez's apology again. Here -- I'll reproduce it for you from Anton's site if you don't remember where to find it:

"I am humbled by the vehement and heated response provoked by my article entitled 'From Boracay to Greece!' which came out in the June 2007 issue of People Asia. To say that this article was not meant to malign, hurt or express prejudice against the OFWs now sounds hollow after reading through all the blogs from Filipinos all over the world. I am deeply apologetic for my insensitivity and the offensive manner in which this article was written, I hear you all and I am properly rebuked. It was truly not my intention to malign hurt or express prejudice against OFWs.

As the recent recipient and target of death threats, hate blogs, and deeply personal insults, I now truly understand the insidiousness of discrimination and prejudice disguised as humor. Our society is bound together by human chains of kindness and decency. I have failed to observe this and I am now reaping the consequences of my actions. It is my fervent hope that the lessons that Ive learned are not lost on all those who through anonymous blogs, engaged in bigotry, discrimination, and hatred (against overweight individuals , for example).

I take full responsibility for my actions and my friends and family have nothing to do with this. To date I have submitted my resignation letters to both the Manila Standard and People Asia, on that note may this matter be laid to rest. "

Did Malu Fernandez learn anything from the experience? Maybe. For all we know, she'll never write another statement of "acerbic wit" again.

What disturbs me is that she learned it from looking at us.

Malu Fernandez never got a rational discussion of why her article was wrong. We never sat down and talked with her. Instead, we pelted her with whatever scraps of mud and excrement we could find. We called her terrible names and made horrible parodies of her work. We jeered, and grinned, and dared her from our own little recesses of anonymity.

Malu Fernandez didn't apologize because we taught her to become a more sensitive person. Malu Fernandez apologized because she saw a disturbing reflection of herself in our words and actions. Malu Fernandez apologized because she did not want to sink to our level.

I don't care if you're merely comfortable with the results. Contrary to what you might think, results are not everything.

We intimidated her with insults, with threats, and with violence when we could have invoked a perfectly rational response. Maybe we were just angry. Maybe we were working under duress. Maybe we just became completely hostile at the mere thought of her words.

Whatever the case, Malu Fernandez saw exactly what we were: a mob that was intimidating her into submission. Maybe she just wanted no part of our epithet-spewing mess. Or maybe she only apologized because we had threatened to do terrible things to her family.

We may be happy with what happened, ladies and gentlemen. But I've also seen how we were able to make this come about. I've seen the threats, and the humiliation, and the rows upon rows of horrible little words.

I now ask how high the cost was, and what kind of people we've become. I don't like any of the answers.

Tell me that this was not worth it.



Thursday, August 23, 2007

Short Cuts

There's something to be said about short posts. Sometimes, when you don't feel like slogging through a hundred words just to hear one argument or another, a short read looks a lot more attractive than some stodgy long essay.

The situation isn't the same from a writer's point of view, though. I suspect that a lot of us just sit down and let the words flow out of our heads, piling onto the computer screen in row after row of text. In short, I don't think that most of us are conscious about the length of our writings -- and by the time we wrap up a piece and see that it has gone far longer than we intended, our first instinct definitely does not involve cutting it down in size.

Sometimes it's a thinly-veiled method to mask our own insecurities. Not all of us find it easy to make a good point from the very beginning, so we end up spouting any number of random arguments until we do hit the right nerve. Empathic authors somehow manage to do this while sounding completely organized and believable. Other authors might end up offending people with some of their scattershot offerings.

I'm not sure when I stopped writing brief excerpts and starting writing the truly long stuff. It could be that I wanted to squeeze as many points into my work as possible -- this, in fact, would have resulted in some really thick paragraph blocks if it weren't for my penchant for standalone text fragments.

Or, if I were to take the reason given above -- I'm probably more insecure than I look.

Now there's a comforting thought.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sugar, Sugar

She stared at the box.

Every day she had to go through this. It was ridiculous. It wasn't even as if Higgs & Meakins did good chocolates. They were just butter and sugar and--

She scrabbled amongst the sad little scraps of brown paper inside the box and pulled out a chocolate. No-one could be expected not to have just one chocolate, after all.

She put it in her mouth.

Damndamndamndamn! It was nougat inside! Her one chocolate today and it was damn artificial damn pink-and-white damn sickly damn stupid nougat!

Well, no-one could be expected to believe that counted. She was entitled to another.

- Terry Pratchett, The Thief of Time

No, my liver problems haven't gone away yet. In fact, I've been running under a new restriction for the past couple of months or so -- I'm supposed to drastically cut down on my sugar intake. This entire recommendation came about because my doctor noted that I had a fatty liver... which meant that, under the right circumstances, all I had to do was to lose some weight.

"So you have to cut down on your sugars," he told me. "Try to avoid most cakes and pastries. Continue avoiding carbonated drinks unless they're diet or sugar-free. Minimize contact with coffee, candy, or chocolate."

"No problem about that last part, doc," I told him. And it was true... there are plenty of candy and/or chocolate people in the world, but I'm neither. I will sing the praises of sugar about as easily as other people will... but my involvement usually only goes as far as carbonated drinks and tiramisu. After that, I don't know.

A few people do scratch their heads and wonder what I was like when I was a kid. The answer is simple: I was pretty much the same as I am now, with the same dislike for sugary confectionery. I did get a piece of candy stuck up my nose once (long story), but I assure you that it did not affect my psychology in any way.

This is not to say that I don't eat candy at all. I can consume the stuff as much as other people can... I just don't do it beyond a certain limit: say, about one piece at a time. How people can finish entire lollipops in one sitting or keep entire rolls of Life-Savers in their purses still astounds me. I mean, don't you get sick of this stuff?

The whole matter could also be related to the fact that diabetes runs in my family. But I didn't know this way, way back when I was a kid... and in any case, I'm currently not in danger of developing the condition. My lifestyle simply doesn't center around sugar all that much, short of the massive doses of Mountain Dew.

Then again, I suppose that it's a matter of "to each his own". If you're the type who eats a lot of candy, then I won't fault you for it. I'll probably write an entire piece of fiction about you someday, but I won't fault you for it.

And in any case, my disdain for the sweet stuff usually leaves a lot more candy on the dish in the middle of the living room. More for you, I suppose. Take it with my compliments.

Monday, August 20, 2007

26 Miles on a Single Disc

For some strange reason, I've been hearing quite a few suggestions for a DVD marathon over the past couple of weeks. With all the talk about stringing a bunch of movies together for a day of popcorn and wide-screen TVs, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to run into a serious get-together one of these days.

One of the interesting things that have come up is the possibility of holding a "focused" DVD marathon -- that is, watching a bunch of movies that all have a single thing in common. Marcelle seems to love the idea of a Frat Pack marathon, for example: That means that everything we watch should involve some combination of Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Steve Carell and their fellows.

While I'm generally okay with the idea of a Frat Pack marathon (in fact, I'm looking forward to Ferrell's and Carell's stuff), it does strike me as a little monotonous. A bunch of Frat Pack movies will almost definitely be equivalent to a handful of comedies, and I usually like a little variety to my marathons. I don't want to start laughing at the first movie, only to be totally sick of their brand of humor at the end of the day.

In the end, this got me thinking about other possible ideas for DVD marathons. I mean, there are about a million possible focal points out there; Which of these go across different genres and touch various ends of the spectrum? I want to experience some combination of comedy, drama, action and whatever else when it comes to my movies... if I can somehow find a category where all of these can fit in, then so much the better.

As a result, I came up with a few ideas. You're welcome to suggest anything else that's good with the criteria, by the way -- I'm just considering the following topics below.


Short-of-Best-Picture winners: Sometimes the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sure can pick 'em... and sometimes they can't. There are a few movies on my "must-watch" and "must-watch-again" lists that were nominated for Best Picture yet fell short of the mark for whatever reason. Although dramas are usually singled out for the Best Picture statuette, the nomination finalists are far broader in terms of genre: There are light comedies (The Full Monty, As Good as It Gets), a few mob movies (Goodfellas), action flicks (The Fugitive), animations (Babe), and even a Baz Luhrmann musical (Moulin Rouge!). That would make quite a program, in my opinion.

My contribution: Dog Day Afternoon. This 1975 nominee stars a young Al Pacino in what was supposed to be a quick bank robbery; Instead, everything goes terribly, hideously wrong, and we're there to watch every second of it.


Martial Arts demonstrations: I grew up watching the chop-socky, and I get pretty jaded with a lot of the mundane modern-day stuff. So whenever the martial arts even so much as appear in a movie, I feel that the picture must be interesting enough for me to even consider it redeemable. With that said, I would be glad to see stuff like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Matrix, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Shaolin Soccer on a marathon playlist. Even dogs like Kung Pao: Enter the Fist might be worth watching, if only because they're such curiosities.

My contribution: Kung Fu Hustle. It's not your typical martial arts comedy, because it takes everything that's absurd about the genre and somehow attempts to play it straight. That, and the humor is remarkably insightful.


Tom Hanks movies: The thing about Tom Hanks is that he started off as an actor working in comedies, then somehow moved into doing dramatic roles. What makes his career interesting is that a lot of his movies actually turned out well... which means that a Tom Hanks marathon would probably hit a certain level of quality. You could run award-winners like Philadelphia, or 80's comedies like Big. You can even run into romance (Sleepless in Seattle) or animation (Toy Story). As long as you don't get tired of hearing his voice all the time, I suppose that this would do fine.

My contribution: Punchline. This forgotten movie has Tom Hanks as an unknown comedian, mentoring Sally Field on the skills of the stand-up act. But when everything comes down to a single contest for discovery and stardom, their line between friendship and individual achievement gets placed into question.


This doesn't cover everything that's floating in my head right now... but it's a good reference.

Of course, I'm open to other ideas or feedback. If you want to suggest something, or figure that my taste in movies somehow appalls you, feel free to sound off. You know my wants here -- I'm looking for a focus that can cover multiple genres, or at least a few interesting pictures that won't necessarily blur together after eight hours.

Heck, you're free to suggest anything, just as long as it won't obligate me to track you down for a marathon or two. :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wanted: Proofreader

Yes, I'm looking for a proofreader right now.

No, it's not for me. I like to think that I can proofread my own stuff, which makes it all the more painful whenever somebody finds the inevitable grammatical error in one of my writings. Nevertheless, the need is not mine. Rather, it's for an acquaintance who's putting out his first book.

Yeah, that's right. You get to be part of an author's first foray into the world of self-publishing. If this book makes the bestseller list or wins a national award, then your name goes down in history as the grammatical expert who made this work fit for publication.

Or maybe not. You'll just be proofreading it, after all.

But you will relish the feeling of a job well done, and you'll still feel proud of yourself when you realize that the book that you helped out has made the shelves. Perhaps you'll even get a copy.

Whatever the case, I'm looking for a proofreader right now -- not to mention, wondering where all the good proofreaders have gone. Let's be honest here: Just because you're good at writing doesn't mean that you'll be good at editing. I'm not looking for somebody who's merely had exposure to the writing world... I'm looking for somebody who has had actual experience piecing together the nuances of the English language. If the names "Strunk" and "White" aren't familiar to you in some way, then you're probably not who I'm looking for.

Your job will require you to look over a little less than 200 pages' worth of work. That's not as long as some of the thick-headed novels out there, and it's obviously not going to be an elephant on your back.

There won't be much pay involved. Aw, come on... you knew that I was going to say this at some point. This shouldn't stop you from making a deal with the client at all: Maybe you can get a share of the royalties. Maybe you can trade services at some time in the future. Maybe you can just waive the fee completely, knowing that at least your hours will be appreciated. Whatever the case, you can just name your terms.

If you're interested in taking this on, then feel free to contact me. You can leave a comment down here if you like. You'll most likely speak to me via e-mail, though, and that's why you should send any messages to saito_ichikawa at yahoo dot com.

I'm just the middleman here, so I'll probably only check up on your background and portfolio, introduce you to the client, and then step off to the side. From there, the quality of your work should be entirely your responsibility.

There you have it, then -- I've given you the scenario, and I've given you the setup. I'll just be waiting in the back corner if you find yourself willing to play.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Time to Proselytize

One of my cousins once found herself receiving religious text messages from a family friend at a regular rate. The messages came about once a day, and they started out as simple quotes taken from the Bible. Later, these messages slowly graduated to religious insights gleaned from extra-biblical references. And after that, the sender began placing sermons from one reverend or another, interpreting various biblical passages each day.

From my cousin's point of view, she was originally quite neutral to these messages. Then, as the passages started adding up and interrupting her normal workday, she began to hate them. By the time she finally confronted the caller and ordered him to stop, she despised them so much that civility was no longer an option.

At that point, the caller professed naiveté: He said he was unaware that these messages were bothering her, apologized, and promised that he would stop sending her his daily missives. Now, you may assume that this discouraged him from doing the same to anyone else. You'd be wrong, though: It turns out that, to this date, he still sends these same messages to his circle of phone contacts. Regularly, too -- about once a day.

This is not an argument against the enthusiastic religious, mind you. I suppose that people have a right to be religious. You can believe in whatever you want, whether it's a higher deity or a level of enlightened mastery or a black sock puppet that sounds like it's talking to you. You can even dedicate any amount of your life and time to any of these core faiths, black sock puppet notwithstanding.

No, I won't argue against the religious here. What I will argue against, however, is the psychology of unwanted messaging.

I have no idea what compels people to stick random messages in our faces and immediately expect that we read and enjoy them. You find these people everywhere, I think: They're the anonymous businessmen whose spam mail clogs your inbox, they're the sales agents who try to give you fliers at the entrances to malls, and they're the electioneers who leave campaign materials in your mail slot. They're the convention gamer who wants to tell you all about his Level 21 Orc Paladin, the screenwriter who constantly hounds you about his derivative manuscript, the self-declared critic who tears down your favorite stuff simply because he likes getting a rise out of people.

And what appalls me is that -- like the proselytizing young evangelist I mentioned above -- these people think that they are entirely justified in doing what they do.

I suspect that salesmanship has something to do with their motivations. We use conviction a lot: We use it to push forward our ideas, we use it to dispense advice, and we use it to consider alternatives. We can also apply our own convictions towards other people, however; This is why we have such things as "points of view".

What crosses the line into pure, unabashed irritation, however, is that point where we begin to focus more on the salesmanship and less on the empathy. We don't think of how people will realistically react anymore; We simply assume that they'll like whatever garbage we spoon down their throats, and send them whole reams of the stuff. I'm aware that human behavior can all too easily be taken to the extreme; This happens to be one of those episodes.

And if anything, what makes this so difficult to swallow is the fact that it's so hard to stop. My cousin took a few months to come to her senses and confront her unwanted correspondent; When I asked what took her so long, she said that she simply didn't know what to say.

I think that this is a common dilemma. I mean, assuming that you're still thoughtful about other people in some way, you'd hesitate before you tell off any unwanted solicitors. Why? Because you'd be afraid of hurting their feelings, of course. They may be on the verge of offending you, but you still wouldn't want to offend them. Not unless you feel you have no other choice.

So you put on a brave face, and wait for that straw to break the camel's back. It's not much of a solution, but the elimination of all civility does make it easier to cut things off with the person. Hopefully you won't have lost too much of your humanity to commit homicide right then and there.

Offending the person, after all, would result in quite a rough time. You could be called irreverent or blasphemous just for interrupting a caller's religious tirades. Or you could be accused of elitism just for saying that you find absolutely nothing of value in Level 21 Orc Paladins.

For that matter, this doesn't even take into account the possibility of the person completely ignoring your pleas. Complain to a spammer, for example, and you'll probably just get more spam in response. And those self-professed critics will most likely just turn up their noses and insist that they have better audiences than you.

That "homicide" option just looks so attractive sometimes.

When it comes to unwanted solicitations, the fault really doesn't lie with us -- it lies in the people who send them with little or no consideration whatsoever. Despite this, it's we who have to suffer for it and agonize over the possible consequences. Sometimes it's just difficult to be civil, that's all.

And then that's when the notion turns back on us and asks: "What if we're the unwanted senders? What if we're the ones who are trying to foist the unsolicited stuff on people?"

After all -- before you point out the speck in another person's eye, you've first got to remove the stick from yours. Just because other people can be irritating to you doesn't mean that you're not irritating to other people.

You could be doing some real nasty stuff, I mean. You could be pushing your works too hard. You could be doing some unbearably shameless self-promotion. You could be trumpeting your own strengths without regard to how much of a buffoon you look like.

Or you could be ranting about unwanted messages, when it turns out that you could be writing a few, yourself.

Just a thought.


I'm shutting up now.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Tired. Can't sleep.

Strange thing. Noticed once, very recently, that when brain shuts down I start writing like this. Not quite Yoda-speak, not quite gibberish. Strange, how modifiers suddenly disappear and you get distilled essence. Don't know where it comes from. Maybe fingers too tired to type; Maybe mind just takes over.

Sense in him much fear. Fear lead to anger, anger lead to hate, hate lead to suffering. Heh.

Probably cannot keep up this writing when lucid. Feels like thoughts passing from brain directly to paper. In real life, would have to add lots of frills. Would add more articles like "I" or "the". Would put much more adverbs. Writing looks different when you don't consider words.

Head buzzing. Have headache again, I think. Don't know if from before dozing off, or because of waking up in middle of night. Maybe both. Might even be sound of mind working overtime. Like infernal combustion engine.

Also have urge to check e-mail. More from force of habit than anything else. Check e-mail every time computer is on. Could be compulsive now.

Awake for maybe thirty minutes. Strange. Have not yet lapsed into normal-speak. Should be name for this kind of speaking. Sleepspeak, you think? Sounds good.

Once heard that some people keep notepad and paper beside beds. That way, if idea comes in middle of night, they wake up half-lucid and scribble it down. Have not heard of any great work of art that comes from this, but don't knock it. If style works for them, then fine.

Probably not work for me. Might wake up tomorrow morning and not remember writing this, might wake up and not care at all. Just write, that's all. Don't care when you write, you just write.

Wonder what editor would think. Editor would probably have heart attack. This not easiest thing to proofread. Not even sure if I can read it.

Winding down now. Back to sleep soon. Headache getting worse, like cranium stuffed with minty-fresh cotton balls. Who knows -- might have better things to write about tomorrow. If work don't kill them first. If not too busy to put them down.

Otherwise, only alternative to wait for them and dream. And maybe one day, will sleepwalk to computer and put them down in state of half-drowse. Just like this.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Banner Says It All

Going over my sidebar earlier today, I realized that the little PinoyTopBlogs counter was suddenly active again. It's probably because it's still early in the month and the other blogs' fanbases haven't quite shown up yet... but at least I know that, for one brief moment on a Monday evening, this blog was in the top 200 of Abe Olandres's computer-generated list.

I also found that I had made a banner for this blog sometime in the distant past, and I had forgotten all about it:

There you have it, folks -- more evidence that I exist in a state of perpetual drunkenness.

Somehow, it makes me wonder what other weird taglines I can come up with.

*Opens Photoshop*


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Disclaimer: August 2007

[Scene III. The blogosphere. The lengthofwords web site.]

Enter Sean, holding a human skull.

Sean. Woe strikes as a shadow, for no man
May master grief without its hand upon his soul.
All men know darkness, yet darkness knows
That only man may hold aloft the torch of fear.

Enter a Visitor.

Vis. Good sir, have you not emerged from this vile depression?

Sean. Wise men counsel patience. I, though little more than a fool,
Seek the ancients' example, and see that mortal men listen.

Vis. Be well then, and see that illness does no more to foolish minds.
Exit Visitor.

Sean. Would that I know what manner of mind would fall
Beneath the mad blows of weakness! [Raises skull]
Does not every man seek to make his mark in a temporal world
And leave death's bed with some trace of passing
That all would know his steps, his breath, his words?
Lies are told by baser men, who shake and shiver and steal
And blow away when Aeolus's winds take land and all.
Does not a man have heart? Does not a man have mind?
Should he know none of fear and stealth that felled far lesser men?
I labored over my words; It is my right to keep them from criminal ways
Yet not shelter them from the eyes of the righteous.
[Lowers skull.] I am no rogue. I make my own words.
Those words I take from others I make due acknowledgement
Lest their spirits hound me in my weakness.
I welcome them to my home. I say to them, pray
If I transgress upon their noble efforts, then let me be damned
And let me remove the words to burn upon the ashes of my folly.

Vis. [Offstage] What of the weaker ones? Do you deny them passage?

Sean. I deny nothing.
But they must know that elder patience still has its threshold
And words, though paltry, are still of value and owned.
Does man not have a mind? Does man not have a soul? [Clutches skull.]
Does ethics trade with morals in ducats and gold?
I open my words to those who would ask for them.
They must resolve weakness with promises of fair use;
Such bravery banishes demons of context to the nethers.
But those who take without question, those who steal without song,
Those who would harm my words by hair or breadth
Deserve nothing but denial. There are enemies around us
Who cloy their promises with empty rights and sundered laws.
It pays to know what lies in their hearts.

Vis. [Offstage] And of their minds?

Sean. [Opens skull, to reveal nothing inside.] What mind?
For any man who would steal such words
Must not have mind nor words of his own.
If not now, then never. Woe follows the man who cannot
Make his mark upon a world that detests him.
The world makes its mark on him, and is lost.