Thursday, June 25, 2015

After The Dust Has Settled From ToyCon 2015...

.:Didja Miss Me?:.

Well, I missed you.

I haven't blogged in months, and it's easy to understand why, what with all the places I'm writing for professionally. Recently saw my work not just in the 8List, but even in UNO, my consultancy, and a few other places I didn't expect to end up writing for. It's been a whirlwind. A whirlwind that went undocumented like a huge gap in my life or something, but a whirlwind I really have to be thankful for, regardless.

Toycon 2015 is pretty much the perfect point for me to (try) jumping back on the blogging wagon, because it was definitely a great experience hosting Toycon after being out of circulation in the cons circles for a while. And what a way to come right back! First off, I was paired with a debuting host in Rence David, who is a natural onstage!

Something about this year's Toycon was just so positive, so smooth-sailing, that it really felt so easy to just jump onstage and do our thing this year. The audience was unbelievably hot even after Alodia and the cosplay competitions were already long done, which is something I don't think I've ever experienced before.

On top of that, the segments really did bring the goods to the crowd! You had something as simple as the Minions showing up onstage causing an immediate feeding frenzy...


You also had the dance number by Doraemon, and the rambunctious Damulag...

The mascots were pretty huge.

Then you had, of course, the cosplay competition(s), and even I got in on the fun, for once...

Follow the buzzards, 'Arry.

Considering that this was Toycon's swan song in Megatrade Hall, it was pretty clear sir Cholo, sir Vic, Az, and the rest really pulled out all the stops to make it a very memorable event. It was pretty fun when Alodia even went and challenged the audience to beat her in Mortal Kombat X at her booth. I would've taken her up on the challenge, but alack and alas, hosting duties were in the way.

And, oh, a couple of fun facts:

1. Ashley's "Thinking Out Loud" cover was played a total of 12 times on Saturday and Sunday. This was still significantly less than the amount of times you would hear the Ed Sheeran original on the air during its peak.

2. "Watch Me Nae Nae" was used onstage for skits and performances a total of 7 times in two days. I learned to hate the song about the second time in, although the metal version almost makes up for it. Too bad nobody used that.

It was a great time reconnecting with old friend and even making a few new ones. It's also fun to note that #TitoJokes were all the rage over the weekend, and pretty much anything we did during Saturday and Sunday went over well with the crowd. Heck, I even went back to basics and did some magic for that evening.

But my personal highlight that didn't involve cosplay at all? It must have been when the boys from Philippine Wrestling Revolution showed up.

Ken Warren has better things to do than pose for the camera.

So yeah, it was definitely a great ToyCon, and something I'm very proud of, as far as hosting gigs go. I'm really grateful for the opportunity, and catching up with old friends like Kristell (who gave me an awesome Superman Hoodie!) and Lizette really only made things even better.

.:And The Rest?:.

It feels like I'm in a state of flux, what with my consultancy wrapping up, and having people question me after years upon years of consistent behavior. I would laugh if it weren't so pathetic.

There's so much going on behind the scenes in my life lately. It's hard to sit down and write about it all, if only for the fact that over the years, I've learned to keep more to myself, but I've also decided not to really care about my Livejournal nearly as much while doing it. There's a whole host of things to look forward to, and the future is bright. Ultimately, if people are going to burden me while I reach for the stars, then I would only find it easier for me to just unburden myself of the people and things holding me back.

For now, I'll leave it at that. It's a wonder I even got to blog at all this month, so that's something to be grateful for, at least.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whoah. It's Been How Long?

.:So... Life:.

I haven't been writing here for so long, and it's a bit embarrassing already.

Anyone still reading this probably knows what I'm up to, though: I'm still doing comedy at Burger Company every Thursdays (alternating between standup and improv), and I've also been doing consultancy work for the past couple of months. It's been very good, and I've found myself really discovering that after years of shying away from it, I am not half bad at management work at all. But yeah, that's neither here nor there.

There's still the 8List, too. That's been pretty fun. And when I find the time to breathe, you just know the Cracked thing is looming in the wings.

In the meantime, I've discovered that I really, really like wearing Erick Rowan's sheep mask...

I follow the buzzards.

That creepy-looking sheep mask has been getting me so much mileage lately. I don't particularly think I'm gonna end up wearing it for my website when it finally goes up, but whatever. I really, really like it.

And, oh, that shot of Ludo: Boardgames Bar and Cafe there was taken during their second Murder Mystery night, where I came as a Space Captain.

Of the Space Loveboat, I guess?

It was a great event, although for the second Murder Mystery in a row, the murderer managed to get away with the crime. I even did a bit of rules lawyering that night, just to see what would happen, and it's pretty funny how Jay Mata set the precedent that he was going to willfully ignore people who did that when it comes to awarding achievements. At least, we don't have to worry about people doing that to "win" in future installments of Murder Mystery, right?

But yeah, I've been talking about Ludo: Boardgames Bar and Cafe mainly because one of the biggest shows of Switch Improv is coming up there soon. It's something that is near and dear to my heart, having been a huge fan of "House Of Cards" for the past three seasons it's come on. After all, 2016 is coming. We have to choose wisely.

Move over, Winter!

So yes, if this premise interests you, please, please, please, come on down this May 19 for one of the most ambitious shows Switch Improv has ever done. We're very, very proud of this.

Overall, as you can see, life has been pretty good. Just... don't ask me about my lovelife, if you know what's good for you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spanks, But No Spanks

.:Spanks But No Spanks:.

So sometime last week, I conducted an interview with a former member of the local BDSM scene, and put the story up on the 8List. It wasn't really a comedy article in the strictest sense, but I tried my best to put a balance between telling people BDSM isn't a sick and perverted activity in and by itself, while fully recognizing that it isn't exactly a low-risk endeavor, either. The funny thing is, I didn't even bother naming the community, even if that's far from a secret. I wanted people to make up their minds after being given information that was neither mollycoddling the lifestyle nor outright condemning it.

Next thing I knew, I was suddenly informed that I have ruffled some feathers. And based on what the FetLife thread had to say, a lot of it had to do with the fact that I interviewed only one person, and I painted a lot of broad strokes based on that.

Funny, you would think they would say none of this stuff happened, rather than to say it doesn't happen as often as I make it "seem." It's almost like someone there looked at the #GamerGate playbook for defending themselves against accusations of harassment and misogyny, and decided that those guys were doing such a good job.

I figure it's pretty safe to say that I didn't destroy the local scene's reputation that, based on their reactions, was apparently sterling before I wrote my list.

"There's more to us than meets the eye!"

After all, everybody just wants to do their own thing in peace, and that's cool, but when not an insignificant number of people are inspired to get in on the action thanks to Fifty Shades Of Grey, I find it necessary to put up even just the most rudimentary of introductions to what goes on in the community. And I would be loathe to give just a positive piece when there are so many risks people need to be made aware of first.

You want a positive-slanted version of my list? Go to Cracked, and they'll have you sorted out by most of the unfair mischaracterizations that the subculture has to put up with on a regular basis. Inasmuch as they laugh at how someone as thoroughly uninitiated in their subculture could look at what seems to be the simplest things to them and just find them "shocking," I guess it's safe to see that they're equally uninitiated with the 8List and Cracked culture of having titles that don't 100% match the content of the list. Not every Pinoy-themed list on the 8List will deal with things that are exclusively Pinoy, but neither will every list in Cracked even make sense in light of the title they end up getting after their fickle-minded title guy changes the article's title around thirty times in the day.

Be thankful we haven't found the need to resort to Buzzfeed-style clickbaiting, where we tell you "8 Things You Couldn't Possibly Have Guessed About The Pinoy BDSM Community (#3 Will Blow Your Mind!!!)." Yet.

I can make jokes all I want about how the BDSM community wants to hurt me now, and not in a sexy way, but that would be me overestimating the significance of what I've done. With less than 2,000 views on the list as of this writing, I think it's safe to say that more people cared about what I had to say about Gloria and Amal Alamuddin, which, admittedly, thoroughly surprised me.

To me, it's rather simple: you can argue with me all you want that it doesn't happen as often as I make it seem, but given that I never gave actual numbers, that's a matter of perception, and you never disputed the validity of what I had to say, merely frequency. And with that in mind, if a single instance of rape ever happens because of the lapses that exist that clearly weren't denied, if trust and consent are turned into punchlines instead of the most important foundations for any relationship and especially for a BDSM relationship, then that is one rape too many, and those are two punchlines too tasteless, even for me.

Does every single writeup need to be this happy-happy joy-joy fluff piece about how totally fun and welcoming the BDSM community is? You can get that stuff in so many places! You can also get the polar opposite: the ones who decided to condemn the BDSM subculture as "immoral," nearly everywhere else. I didn't want to offer either extreme. I wanted to offer something a little more even-handed than that.

"Don't mind me. I'm just hanging around."

And just like the Xian Lim fans who think I didn't defend him hard enough because I pointed out that his fans insulting Governor Joey Salceda and calling him names wasn't helping anybody, I don't think I could have pleased everybody unless I decided to go full submissive and write a piece singing the praises of the BDSM community. But why would I do that if doing that meant I would have to ignore the things I find very problematic about the current situation?

Is my source "unreliable?" Why? Do you think my source would feel the need to lie about her experiences and how unpleasant they were? You might say that her experience isn't representative of the entirety of the community, and even I would probably agree with you, but you can't dismiss the stuff she felt and experienced as fiction, because it did happen around her and to her. Argue about degree or frequency. But you clearly are in no position to argue about validity, and by extension, reliability.

Or maybe I'm just after attention? Oh, please. I have all the attention I could ask for when I poked fun at PNoy's mishandling of the Mamasapano encounter. 250,000 views as opposed to what? Under 2,000 views for the BDSM article? Please. Don't flatter yourselves. I wrote it because I saw it was worth writing about, and you can keep trying to shoot the messenger, but that only adds "argumentum ad hominem" to your litany of logical fallacies, starting with "no true Scotsman," moseying off to "ignorantio elenchi," all the way to rampant strawmanning. And leave us not forget the countless non sequiturs littered in those arguments. All because you think I "generalized" when it was pretty clear that if you read past the headings, all those conclusions are qualified and not left to stand without further clarification.

And sure, you can call me a "bad journalist" all you want, even if at no point do I purport to be a journalist. And you can call me a "narcissist" all you want because you decided to take my writer profile on the 8List at face value (Hint: my dogs are named Cassie and Furby. My cat is named Boris.) instead of realizing I was being facetious. You're entitled to all of those. In turn, I'm perfectly within my rights to point out that I have every right to interpet the data I'm presented with in a way that is appropriate, which I can say without trepidation I have done.

'Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it.

Nananananana come on!

This isn't the first time I've been given pretty stern feedback about one of my 8Lists, even someone messaging me privately to warn me that I really got some people riled up. I've received death threats before, which does make you wonder if it's only a matter of time before I end up telling one dick joke too many. That's got to be an achievement of some kind, being killed over a sorta-comedy article, right? I'll at least have that on my tombstone or something.

Straight to the point.

I'm not here to tell you whether or not the BDSM subculture is for you. All I could ever do is tell you the experiences of one person who opened up to me, and you can see for yourself whether or not those risks are acceptable to you. Obviously, everyone's experiences will vary. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with consenting adults engaging in BDSM. But like I said: if your only foreknowledge about BDSM came exclusively from Fifty Shades Of Grey, then you know as much about the subculture as much as an elephant knows how to do a backflip.

Nice try.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Micetro: Survivor Meets Whose Line Is It Anyway?

.:The Micetro:.

If I moved a bit closer, I would look even fatter than I already do.

I don't think I've ever felt happier to be in the improv scene than I did during last night's Micetro.

It wasn't because I came in second, with the extremely talented Ariel Diccion rightfully winning the Micetro that night. It wasn't because I had a breakthrough night where #hugot became the order of the day, and in telling the truth, I was connecting with audiences in ways I never have before as a comedian, whether in standup or improv.

It was because after the first elimination of participants to the final six, four of them were from Switch.

And therein lies the rub: as Gabe Mercado himself put it, even winning the Micetro doesn't necessarily mean you're the better improviser. But getting that far in Micetro means that Switch Improv is here to play, and here to contribute to this burgeoning improv community in its own way.

After all the growing pains of Switch Improv, the most important statement we could make is "we're here to play." Whether it's within the group or with the rest of the improv scene both here and abroad, it's that willingness to just throw yourself out there that really marks the turning point for our group, and I couldn't be happier.

There were times where playing was something we feared. Oh, no! Could we remember the rules? Could we memorize our lines as we're asked to reverse our scenes? Could we make a scene without just standing around like aimlessly talking heads?

Recently, though, a lightbulb collectively went off in our heads, and we realized that asking "could we?" was the wrong question. The right question to ask was "why couldn't we?" and then we proceed to not answer the question. Ever, because apparently, we could.

And yes, it's obvious we have a lot more growing to do as improvisers, but the growth we've managed in recent months really showed how hard work pays off. A few months ago, I was never comfortable with making myself feel so vulnerable onstage, with everyone seeing me for the bag of issues I can sometimes be. But that's my truth. I am a self-aware Reader's Digest, with possibly even more issues, but it's that self-awareness that allows me to learn from it, and impart what I learn from every misadventure my life inadvertently finds itself in.

You had to be there. Even if I put the entire show on video, it wouldn't do justice to the moment that has already passed, when a chance reference to "cheesecake" in the middle of a conversation about Sugarfree led to a perfect retort. Or when "sexism" gave way to "gender racism," because improv isn't about being always correct. Or when a person who only took improv workshops debuted in impressive fashion in front of a live, appreciative audience for the very first time. These were moments that you could never quite recapture again, but they will remain in the memories of everyone in that room for a very long time.

SPIT. Switch. One And A Half Men. The Katipunan Improv Collective. Anthony from New York. It was a night where improv utterly lived up to its own name, as nobody watching that night knew if the people playing onstage have been playing with each other for years or only for the first time in their lives. Everyone was in sync. Everyone was about making their partners look good. Everyone was about building something. The so-called star players weren't just scoring 30 in a night. They were dropping 20 dimes and collecting 20 boards, triple-doubling their way to making everyone onstage look great, and not just themselves. And yes, I can safely say there were 13 star players that night.

But allow me to dwell on my #hugot night, not because I managed to become the runner-up Micetro for the night, but because everything I drew from that night came from, believe it or not, a good place. It came from a place of hurt and hope. A place of shadows because you need light in your life to find shadows. A place of despair and optimism. And it was through Switch improv that I felt a kind of trust in laying it all out there with my improv partners and the audience, without fear of rebuke or exploitation, but only in perhaps touching someone's life in that manner. Maybe they would laugh. Maybe they would hold back a tear. Either way, that connection comes from something deep within all of us, and that is the magic of improv.

When I was left heartbroken earlier this year, I was hurt. Angry. Devastated. But it was the first time in my life, where I looked forward to rebuilding myself instead of just wallowing in misery and self-loathing. So each time I drew from the most bitter of moments in my recent history, it wasn't me reliving the pain so I could just stew in self-pity. It was me laughing in the face of it, because I knew I was better than that, and I deserved better than that. It's in all of us: the pain. The pessimism. The cynicism. These are part and parcel of us, but in channeling that energy towards telling the truth, towards telling the world, "this is real, this is me, and I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be now," we create something beautiful from that morass of wretchedness.

So thank you. Thank you, Switch, thank you, SPIT, thank you, Ariel, thank you, Agnes and JR, thank you, Katipunan Improv, thank you, One And A Half Men, and thank you, Anthony from New York. Thank you, "One More Chance," thank you, "English Only, Please," thank you, "Starting Over Again," and thank you, "That Thing Called Tadhana."

And yes, thank you, to the people who broke my heart, and I don't just mean that romantically. The people who have hurt me have only proven the saying that what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, and I will keep on keeping on. And I say this with no hint of regret or even ill will towards these people. For the chips on my shoulder, for the monkeys on my back, for the fire in my gut, thank you.

If there was one thing I have won last night, it was my never-ending battle with being my own worst critic. That, in and by itself, is something I treasure from Micetro night.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015



Insert penis joke here.

It's easy to rage and to hate the president not for what he has done, but for what he has not done. To say that the legacy of President Noynoy Aquino is one of omission would be a massive understatement.

For the longest time, I have been nothing but even-handed with how I would critique the president's performance. He was handed a huge responsibility, practically on a lark, after his mother died. Mistakes will be made. This is natural and par for the course.

What I never expected, though, was his apparent inability to correct these mistakes. And his uncanny talent of repeating them throughout his term. And true, nobody will probably ever accuse him of the same kind of horrors Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was routinely battered with, but his obstinacy and refusal to do even the most common-sensical of things in the face of crisis speaks volumes about his woeful lack of leadership qualities.

There is an upwelling of outrage against PNoy lately: one that simply cannot be handwaved any longer. It is an upwelling of people who felt betrayed after they were told that they were the boss. It is an upwelling of people who believed with all their heart that the son of Ninoy Aquino and Cory Aquino could not possibly be so backwards that he would practically disgrace the not-even-blameless names of his own parents – despite the fact that Kris Aquino is already running around as a realization of this possibility.

And in the infinite wisdom of the palace, they decided to dismiss this upwelling as “microscopic.”




Which leads me to ask... what the hell are you smoking?!? Let's assume for a minute that this anger fomenting over the president's sins of omission truly were microscopic. Does this in any way invalidate that anger? Does saying only “a few” people were peeved at what PNoy did or did not do mean that these few are absolutely wrong? Do we not protect the majority and the minority alike? Or do we only give a damn what most people are saying?

It didn't matter at all if only one person felt put off by what PNoy did, if that one person had a valid point. Especially not if that person were one of the men who almost did not live to tell the tale of what happened to the #Fallen44. Or if that one person were a family member who did not choose to wait for the president anymore. Or if that one person was someone who was supposedly the “boss” of this president, as his own words indicated.

To this very moment, there is this sense of impunity and even smugness emanating from the Aquino camp that you can't help but notice. After all, even at his worst approval ratings, he is still leaps and bounds better off in public perception than Gloria ever was, once she assumed the presidency. But therein lies the rub: setting Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as your bar is so ridiculously and insultingly low to the Filipino people.

We expected better than that. Much, much better. And let's not mince words here: we were promised that by the president himself. “Daang Matuwid” was supposed to be a battlecry to right the wrongs and to change the system from within, but it became clear early on that this attempt at righting the wrongs affected only those on the wrong side of the party line. If somehow, you were on the president's good side, you can be every bit as terrible as you want, but a slap on the wrist for you is already pushing it.

So when the Palace says that this anger is “microscopic,” it doesn't change the fact that this anger is valid. Neither does this change the fact that the anger is not microscopic, by any means. When my 8List alone gets 200,000 views and an unprecedented number of outraged comments whether or not they understand the real intent of the list, then you can't just ignore numbers like those. And that's just me. Imagine how much more mileage other more established writers had as they eviscerated the president for a job not done.

To put this in perspective, only about 5 of the 400 or so 8Lists currently published on the site have ever broken the 100,000 barrier. When something hits that number on the site, you just know it hit a nerve somehow, for whatever reason. When 200,000 people direct their outrage towards one venue, nobody would ever call that microscopic.

What is microscopic, though? Is it the viewpoint of the Palace? Is it their “mercy and compassion,” which only highlights how utterly meaningless the Pope's visit was to them, no matter what they ay or do? Is it Mar Roxas's chances of winning in 2016? Or is it PNoy's odds of finding a date this February 14?

I don't give a damn. Because all I know is that this anger and this outrage is not microscopic and to dismiss our grievances so cavalierly is a slap in the face of the people our president claims to be his “boss.” And I will keep on harping on that point until I turn blue because he said those things himself, and no matter how much he can try to handwave that statement as merely a figure of speech, he can never undo going back on his word as unequivocally as he has when the Palace decided that there is no need to care what a “microscopic” number of people feel – not because their points have no merit, but only because they aren't “significant” enough.

This is something you would never say to your boss, no matter how small the power she holds over you may be.

And ultimately, when you say that hundreds of thousands of people being angry is merely “microscopic” in scale, do you not subsequently imply that the deaths of a “mere” 44 policemen is even more “microscopic?” Do these lives somehow not count?

If so, then there is no discussion left to be had: this is not the mentality of a statesman. This is simply the kind of thinking of someone who has successfully fallen for his own hype.

A Few Good Men

A Few Good Men
by Kel

“We live in a world with walls, and these walls need to be guarded by men with guns,” said he.
Who's gonna do it? You? You? Me? Me? Do we?
And in the middle of every bribe and abuse and indiscretion we see
We forget that when push comes to shove, a few good men will rise inevitably
Forty-four lives lost! Forty-four, forsooth!

And so the least their noble leader can do for you is to honor
That none may forget the #Fallen44 and the horror
That only comes from strife and the unavoidable human error
Yet instead, absence. Neglect. A cavalier sort of tenor
Forty-four were discarded, belated balms can never soothe

We use words like honor, code, loyalty for a life spent defending
And now, one of you wonders, “was the sacrifice worth making?”
Where was he, o great one, when the forty-four were needing
Little more than your compassion; a few good men lost to politicking?
Forty-four lives, microscopic? Ridiculously uncouth!

We are not he. We cannot pretend to be great, but we benefit
From rising and sleeping under the protection of your blanket
And though from time to time, we may question it,
Today we forget for a moment and instead thank a few good men, we cannot ever forget:

To the forty-four we thank you; we can handle the truth

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Cult Of Personality

.:The Cult Of Personality:.

Look in my eyes, what do you see? The cult of personality.

It isn't like I hate the Pope, or anything of the sort. In fact, unlike most other Filipino Freethinkers, I actually outright like the guy. I just didn't think it was very smart to project what I think makes for a great Pope on a person who was still going to be irrevocably Catholic.

Was he going to approve of gay marriage? Of course not. Was he going to say contraception and family planning is the key to a good life? Dream on. However, it was good to know that for every single time he would reinforce these Catholic positions, he would talk about more pressing issues ten times first: corruption and opulence in lieu of sexual immorality. Compassion and understanding instead of denouncing contraception. It may just be me being optimistic, but that's the case of someone who's finding it in him to agree to disagree. Which, I realize, is sometimes the best way to settle things.

Although I agree that this stupid meme should have died years ago.

It's not going to happen, guys. The Catholic church will not sanction marriage equality, nor will they promote contraceptives as a way to manage a growing family. But you know what can be done? For them to not stand in the way of a secular society who wants it. Teach what you want to teach in church. That is your right. But to demand the government fall in line, lock and step with your values that are not necessarily shared by everyone else, even if the others are a minority? Then yes, we have a problem.

Notice that most of the time, when the Pope makes a statement that could potentially earn the ire of progressives, he makes it to the clergy? That makes a lot of sense to me. He emphasizes this for their benefit, but sees no purpose in doing the same in the general public. Some might say that's a cop-out for him to do. I say, on the other hand, that it's a good idea to do it that way.

I know your anger, I know your dreams. I've been everything you want to be.

It's high time we stopped projecting on the Pope, as progressives. This is no different from projecting on our leaders, be they PNoy or Obama, to do the things we want for us. It's nice if they could, but it does appear that a lot of the legwork still ultimately hinges upon our initiative, more than anything else. And when secular society has finally decided that the church is not to be listened to when it comes to family planning and who should be legally allowed to marry whom? Then they will be forced to re-examine themselves and ask themselves if these particular issues they have been holding onto for so long really matter in the grand scheme of things. Are they relevant, really? Or is the church simply risking irrelevance by turning a blind eye to these changes?

Is it really a deal-breaker to a Divine being if two dudes like each other enough to promise to live as one? Or two ladies? Is it really a horrific thing to consider that raising a child when the parents are ready is infinitely more responsible than the typical "lay and pray" method (and I don't mean the MMA thing.).

I can understand why it gets confusing, though.

So no, I don't think that's his job. I do find that he needs to step up on being harsh on punishing members of the clergy who molest children, though, because while defrocking and laizing a priest as punishment may seem like a big deal to the Catholic church, the rest of the world hardly gives a damn, because what they are looking for is a way to send these assholes to prison. Not removing their priestly powers and privileges. Not house arrest. Prison. Where they certainly deserve to go if proven guilty.

It's also his job to tend to the poorest of the poor: a job that he has been doing fairly excellently, so hats off to him for that.

Ultimately, I like Pope Francis because he is willing to shelf an issue in favor of more important things. Sometimes, not fighting a battle is more important than trying to win it, and he has chosen his battles well, for the most part. Is this a calculated PR move? Most likely. That doesn't invalidate it, in my eyes, though.

If people hear less about condemning gay people and contraception and hear more about compassion for the poorest of the poor, then maybe we could actually be doing more positive things. If people focus on the more important issues the Catholic church has on its plate, then maybe these sticking points could gain traction in the secular world, where the Catholic church should, in theory, not dominate.

It isn't that progressives are trying to say that they know better, though admittedly, some could fall prey to that. It's simply an openness to the possible that there are valid options here that shouldn't be thrown away all for the sake of currying the favor of religion. I'm not here fighting for marriage equality because I don't think gay people can do it themselves. I'm not here advocating reproductive health because I think poor people shouldn't procreate and I find it my business to tell them what to do in their bedrooms. I advocate these things because it's the right thing to do. It isn't a special privilege to do the right thing. It's a categorical imperative.

I'm the cult of personality. Like Mussolini, and Kennedy.

And yes, we should heed the Pope when he reminds us that he shouldn't be worshiped. Because he really shouldn't. Nor should we worship the altar of SCIENCE! for that matter, as if it were a religion unto itself, either. It's simply about finding that sweet spot where we can all agree: we want people to be happier. We don't want anyone to get hurt. Isn't that where we should work towards, before anything else?

It's easy to fall into the cult of Pope Francis's personality. Regardless of his flaws, here's a man who genuinely means well. But it's also easy to just point at him and call him the devil. What isn't hard is to find that there is a nuanced tale in between, and that narrative is something I hope to find and follow.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Unsent Series, Volume 5, Part I: One And Done

.:The Unsent Series, Volume 5, Part I: One And Done:.

Dear Downline,

Betrayal. That was the only word that came to mind when you did what you did. After talking up a storm about how amazing things are. After telling me again and again how you valued us and what we had.

You claim you respected me, yet you never respected me enough to deal with this face to face. It was as impersonal as can be. It was done while you were having the time of your life, because you didn't want to really deal with the aftermath, did you? It was selfish and painful and I can't help but feel contempt over that.

But if I were to say that I never loved you, or that I regret everything we shared, I would just be lying to myself.

I never regretted a single thing. And though I know you never could meet me halfway, I gave you all I could, without asking you to give me as much in return. I was fine with that.

You say you have to find yourself. And maybe you do. I just wish you truly respected me enough to talk to me before you made up your mind. I just wish you realized you didn't have to go on this journey all alone.

I don't know how to look at you right now. I don't know whether to despise you or pity you. I don't know whether to open my door in friendship or cut you out of my life because of your betrayal. I don't know where to go from here.

But what I do know was that we had something good and you found windmills to do battle with on your own - and lost. And now, I suffer the consequences of that.

Story of my life. I'm used to it. And believe me when I say I understand. But understanding doesn't make it hurt any less. Understanding doesn't magically absolve you of all the things you did that you knew you shouldn't have. 

Was I not worth the courtesy? Was I not worth the effort? Because the way you act and the way you speak shows me that I was wrong to have given you so much credit. Did you simply not care? Did you simply never love me? Then why start anything at all?

I never expected forever and a day when I chose you. That is something you never expect. That is something you build. Together. For some reason, you lost sight of that. We could have worked through this. Together. And even if it wouldn't have turned out any better than this, at least I wasn't left in the lurch.

You never gave me a fair chance, Downline. You formed ideas in your head that you never truly put to the litmus test, and decided they represented the truth. And you know why I know this? Because you never had the courage to do this to my face. You had to hide behind another country and a computer because you were a coward. 

So please: don't go telling me you respected me. Because you didn't. Don't go telling me that we came so far. Because you decided to stand still. But don't go telling me that all of this was why you have to leave me. Because I didn't care either way. All I cared about was you and your happiness. And that's also why I'm not begging you to stay: your happiness is clearly not with me any longer. 

Someday, you'll figure it all out. Someday you'll have it all together. I may not know if I'll be there for you when that time comes, but I know you will figure it all out. 

I just wish you didn't have to break my heart this way before you did. Because I didn't deserve it. I certainly never did.

Downline, you were loved. You were cherished. You chose to throw all of that away, and much as it pains me, I will not beg you to change your mind. All I ask is you be honest with yourself with how you treated me. With how you treated us. Just come to terms with what you've done. Just understand why it caused the kind of pain that it did. And once you find that empathy in you, maybe, just maybe, you would come to see why I am hurting this much, and why I can't quite forgive you just yet.

We were supposed to be in this together. But you proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that you were just another one in the long line of people who never understood that. Just another used to be. You were no better. Heck, to be fair, you were no worse. You were just another one. Because you made it so.

.:Pare-Pareho Lang:.

Pare-Pareho Lang
ni Kel

Kahit saan magawi ang iyong diwa, pare-pareho lang
Sa kalawakan ng sanlibutan, iyong makikita
Ang katotohanan: tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang

Mga bituin, mga bulalakaw, noo'y sinamba at ginalang
Ngayon, 'di mabilang-bilang, 'di na rin magunita
Kahit saan magawi ang iyong diwa, pare-pareho lang.

Mga halimaw sa dilim, mga pusong halang
Manlaban ka man, ikaw pa rin ang maralita
Ang katotohanan: tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang

Mga pangakong napako, mga sumpang sumemplang
Araw-araw na lang, walang ni isang salita
Kahit saan magawi ang iyong diwa, pare-pareho lang.

Pag-ibig, pagsinta, pagtingin na nasasayang
Naghihintay sa wala, umaasa sa magandang balita
Ang katotohanan: tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang.

Sana, sana, hindi ka rin balang araw iiwan
Sana, sana mapuwing ka at 'di mo mahalata
Kahit saan magawi ang iyong diwa, pare-pareho lang
Ang katotohanan: tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang.