Friday, August 31, 2007
Well, I guess I have to count my blessings that I did fairly decently and I acquitted myself well enough, truth be told.
It's been a rough week, and with all the stuff I've been going through, I'm thankful to have a respite of a weekend for myself, although I still have the Parents-Teachers Conference that I need to attend to, actually...
At this point, I need the silence. I'm glad to be teaching and I'm loving my students so far, but I guess I need to work some things out of my system right now. It makes me feel so guilty that I'm acting this weird... it's just not me.
Monday was indeed another holiday, but thankfully, it was still time I managed to spend with my Beloved, after close to two weeks of not having seen her. It would really appear that the amount of times we argue or have misunderstandings is really proportional to the number of times we meet up, so thankfully, we managed to see each other, if only to support Pau and Jem, two of Row's friends in UST, who were part of the pageant for the school that day.
Jem handily won the male category, so I guess that's all good...
Ever since the snag we hit last weekend, my Beloved and I have been more affectionate with each other. But now, knowing how much more sensitive she is to the slightest things, I end up becoming very paranoid, and it's doing us more harm than good.
I can't breathe easy, because I keep on thinking I'm royally messing up.
Saturday and Sunday were days meant to wow the crowds in SM Megamall, as I went and took part in the 3rd Music And Arts Festival over the weekend, armed with my mentalism routine that's normally not meant for walkaround. That being said, both days were really interesting, albeit cosplayers were present during Saturday, but I managed to do magic for much more people on Sunday, even when I went down to the Neutral Grounds tournament area and did a blindfolded Rubik's solve that attracted the attention of a lot of people. I was genuinely surprised when I took the blindfold off and found myself practically surrounded, and soon enough, I displayed quite an interesting mentalism repertoire that I managed to pull off solely because I finally managed to be seated on a table to rest.
Saturday and Sunday were fairly fun days, to say the least, albeit I definitely wished I had better opportunities to approach people. I found myself on camera a couple of times, particularly when I ran into people from UniversiTV and JackTV. It was all good, really, and I can't wait until I start getting some new items for my walkaround to be a complete package and with as little props on me as possible. While I love using props since it proves to yield extremely visual magic, I think being able to come to a walkaround session with only a couple of decks of cards and maybe a few billets and coins and the like can really help minimize the clutter I feel when I do walkaround, since my walkaround involves bringing a book, a white board, a rubik's cube, two different blindfolds, and a gaggle of other props. Definitely one of the most elaborate walkaround routines money can buy, but obviously because it's almost a stage show brought down from the stage to the walkaround level...
Anyways, after everything has been said and done, it was a very fruitful two days for me as far as my magic goes. There were very appreciative audiences all around, and I'm definitely glad that I found the opportunity to really hang out in Megamall and perform to really just get my name out there in the open...
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I'd like to think I acquitted myself well enough on my first day of teaching classes in Reedley today. I did fairly well in getting them to understand different ideas for the most part, and after everything has been said and done, I have to say that the students have acquitted themselves fairly well all the same.
Anyways, I did a seatwork for my students in Yale, and it went well enough as I managed to cover figures of speech in a short time frame but rather exhaustively. The same with sound devices and so forth, as well.
Nonetheless, things have been working out pretty well in dealing with the students so far, so even if some of them prove to be a bit too boisterous for my tastes, they're manageable enough. As I always say, they aren't anywhere near the caliber of my DBTC days, so it's all good.
Well, it's just a matter of making these weekly plans work in my favor. Right now, I'm a complete mishmash, and I'm really worried about pulling it off just right...
Today was the first actual class I taught in, and it was quite a challenge, to say the least. Columbia was quite a handful, admittedly, albeit I managed to comport myself well enough to keep them manageable enough to deal with.
Anyways, it's all good, really. The students have been very cooperative when asked to pipe down, and with a little bit of nudging, I'm sure I can keep them in line without having to resort to extreme methods.
For the two periods I was with them, I just took the time out to really get to see what their temperaments were, and to really understand what makes the class tick. It looks like they're really a close and relatively united bunch, although I'm still unaware as to how the undercurrents are in the class, really. Despite that, I don't think it would present too much of a problem for me in due time.
In any case, I'll be dealing with them again after an hour, so it's best to prepare myself for what's going to happen next. Heh. It's all good, though, and one can only hope that it's going to be an interesting turn when I talk to them about Literature this time, since my first class with Columbia involved me doing Language with them.
This is going to really take a lot of effort on my part, but I'm up to the challenge.
Naturally, they know by now that I'm a mentalist... heh.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Last Friday was the venue for The Story Circle's Mentalism Workshop, and considering how much I devour material on mentalists, that night was a refeshing and reinvigorating time for even the more veteran mentalists among us, like myself, TJ, Lei, and Nomer.
It was all about getting people used to the basic concepts of mentalism, and how it stands apart from the rest of the art, as I outlined in The Mentalist's FAQ, as taken from Richard Osterlind. So we talked about four of the most commonly used aspects of mentalism:
1. Telepathy - The ability to read a person's mind.
2. Clairvoyance - The ability to foresee something that has yet to happen.
3. Psychokinesis - The ability to move objects without employing physical force.
4. Suggestion - The ability to control or influence another person's mind, including but not limited to hypnosis.
Anyways, we talked about a lot of general concepts, such as the Q and A segment, the Book Test, the prediction, the 1A/1B principle, and so forth. What was really amusing was the fact that when they tried doing a representative version of Psychometry, and someone was thinking of a celebrity.
Turns out, I got it right when I made a guess... was this celebrity Maria Ozawa? Yes it was.
The funny thing was, I wasn't exactly the performer at the time. It was Lei who was doing the routine, but I just tossed an offhand joke which turned out to be a hit... heh.
Aside from that, we went about demonstrating a whole bunch of classic effects, and what really made the night awesome was the realization that mentalism really has a lot of hard work needed to make it work, because if the criteria for magicians would be technical skill and presentation skill, mentalism's technical skill requirement is so minimal, but the presentation skill requirements are astronomically high. In any case, it all works out for people who really put a lot of work into their craft, as would be the case in pretty much anything one would want to do, to begin with.
This was a really great seminar for people with a mild interest in mentalism, as well as veterans who'd want to share ideas and give themselves a chance to remind themselves of old gems they may have discarded only because they forgot about the effect already.
Kudos to the organizers of this seminar, Lei and Nomer. Kudos as well to all the people who went to the workshop and made this one a hit, since your thoughts and ideas are precisely what allows the craft to evolve into an art that is uniquely your own. It was a really great time for all the people involved, and who says mentalism is boring?!? Let this stand as living proof to all those naysayers:
I rest my case.
Monday, August 27, 2007
... if you guys run into my TV appearance, can you guys let me know how it went? I'm supposed to appear on either or both of those channels because they caught me on camera while I was doing my walkaround magic at the Music And Arts Festival... =P
Just to let you know what's been happening during the past weekend, here's what I was up to, before I mention details...
- The Mentalism workshop with The Story Circle.
- Did some walkaround magic for the 3rd Music And Arts Festival at Megatrade 3.
- Spent time with a colleague at work, just bonding.
- Had a smorgasbord lunch buffet at Cafe Ysabel for my mom's graduation from Culinary class.
- Did more walkaround magic for the 3rd Music And Arts Festival. =)
Friday, August 24, 2007
These answers are taken from the site of one of my biggest influences in mentalism, the world-famous Richard Osterlind, although I changed some answers to suit me personally, which I will note in blue font.
This is the resource to refer to if you want to know exactly what a Mentalist is.
What is a Mentalist?
A mentalist is an individual with the ability to identify and manipulate one or more of the parapsychological elements of the human psyche. I, like Osterlind, have specialized in the areas of ESP (Extra Sensory Perception), Mindreading, Psychokinesis and Suggestion.
Is a Mentalist a magician?
It's difficult to answer that question without raising some very tricky questions. Yes, most mentalists are also magicians. Yes, both mentalists and magicians seem to achieve things that seem to be outside the realms of reality.
But if the definition of a magician is one who "tricks" people through illusion or sleight of hand, then a mentalist is not a magician. When you watch a magician, you know he is fooling you, and the only barometer by which you are entertained is that you, despite knowing full well that you are being fooled, cannot pinpoint how he does it. A magician's implicit promise is a challenge to you: you will not catch him.
A mentalist, in contrast, is someone who "collaborates" with people to achieve their feats. If the person is in the least bit unwilling to aid the mentalist as he attempts to undertake a particular test, then there is a good chance that the mentalist will be unable to achieve what he intends to achieve. A mentalist's implicit promise is a collaboration with you: you will help him achieve the seemingly impossible.
Is a Mentalist psychic?
The term "psychic" has been a bit overused and abused in today's media. It conjures up everything from carnival fortune tellers to the infamous "Psychic Hot Line." I think it is fair to say that everyone has the potential to exercise some level of extrasensory or non-physical power. Much like a sense that can be sharpened to compensate for the loss of another sense or the way human memory can be expanded and sharpened, one's psychic potential is always an unknown until it is revealed and explored. The ability to focus on that potential and to expand its boundaries is at the heart of a psychic's extrasensory power.
Like Derren Brown, I emphasize that my skill in being "psychic" is less about being psychic in common parlance, and more a display of psychology, insight, suggestion, guesswork, misdirection, and showmanship. While I will make no claim of having special gifts that none of us can tap into, I can safely say that I am one of the few people who actively choose to tap into the vast well of the innate potency of the human mind, both as a Philosopher and a Mentalist.
Can you "read my mind?"
I have yet to see anyone outside of Hollywood who is truly able to read someone else's mind. Having said that, I believe - and demonstrate to an audience's delight - that it is quite possible to detect individual thoughts or thought processes, to explore them in context with other indicators or clues (verbal, non-verbal, historical, etc.), and influence what a person will think. This is called suggestion or "Power of Suggestion."
Can an individual prevent you from reading specific thoughts?
The human mind is an amazing thing. Just as there are widely varied levels of intellectual capability, people vary greatly in the degree to which they open themselves up verbally or non-verbally, consciously - or unconsciously. We always hear about how certain people are more susceptible to the power of suggestion. Others are reluctant to open themselves up to the concept of psychic energy and paranormal phenomena. The truth is, without someone who is willing to meet me halfway on stage, the mind retains its secrets like an iron box.
Do you ever use illusion in your show?
I am an entertainer. I love mystery and creating mystery. I always try to give the impression what I do is extraordinary. That involves using illusion in the same way as theatrical productions, movies and television. The goal of my performance is to create an environment that includes humor, awe, and wonder.
Are you ever wrong?
Mentalism is an art that requires a lot of attunement, and to say that I have a hit rate of 100% would be absurd. In spite of that, I would say that over the time since I have gone public, I have been steadily improving my skills to a very reliable rate, as most of the people who have seen me perform would know.
Do you ever teach any of your skills?
As a friend of The Story Circle, a good deal of them are privy to some of my work and my insights, albeit I am not alone in that department insofar as the members of TSC are all very aware of the workings of the mentalist. However, I am a teacher by profession as well, and welcome the opportunity to impart my skills to those willing enough to learn, and have used my skills to aid my attempts at elucidation in seminars and classes that I have been involved in.
What do you wish to accomplish?
As a Philosopher and as an educator, I am after the unlocking of wonder within those whom I do my mentalism for. In a world of cynicism where we seem to know how everything works, it is comforting to know that the very thing that tries to make sense of our world, our minds, is the very thing whose potency we understand the least.
As an entertainer, I desire nothing but the utmost entertainment of my audience. Whether through a humorous performance or a nerve-wracking crescendo, I am willing to pull out all the stops to make my mark as a Filipino mentalist, as an "ambassador" of sorts to the rest of the world in the realm of mentalism.
Hi. I am Dan Michael. I believe that with magic, there is nothing impossible to the naked eye.
To see is to believe, and to believe is to dream, and to dream is to survive.
That is why I am the Master Magician!
I don't think I need to say anything else beyond that. Just watch and weep. Tin siykunds!!! =P
After this post, I am considering if I should post exclusively in my magic weblog whenever I will do any magic-related press releases. When I do that, I will simply direct you via link to the Magikel blog, which I am hoping to make far more interesting in the coming weeks, albeit I'm still very iffy about showing a lot of my magic on video.
As much as I want everything to be found on my main blog or my LJ, it seems making a semblance of a break between my magic and the rest of my life would keep myself from ingratiating myself to readers who don't want to see me shilling myself for gigs, which I feel justified doing in the Magikel blog.
In any case, whether or not I will do this to establish a clean break remains to be seen, but do let me know what you think, because I really am unsure about doing what I intend to do, since I personally like finding all my posts in one place.
.:A Request To My Blogger Friends:.
For those who are willing to spare me some pictures, I am in the process of creating a brochure of my magic and hosting work for potential clients. If it wouldn't be too much trouble, I would like to request anyone willing to send me pictures if you've ever taken a picture with me in a blogger event, whether it be for magic, hosting, or just plain hanging out. I've been very shoddy with documentation, but I'm hoping I can still scrounge up some pictures and the like for a brochure.
Please provide me with a name and a website so I can fully credit you if the picture you send me ends up in my brochure. Furthermore, if anyone would be willing to make testimonials for me regarding my magic, that would also be much appreciated, be it via e-mail, or over the blogs itself.
I know this is a pretty big request I'm asking of you, but I really need it to get my publicity machine going. My e-mail address is at firstname.lastname@example.org, so anyone who's so kind enough to help me out a bit would very much give me some cause for joy. =)
Thanks to everyone, in advance!
As I was hitching a ride with Shari, this song just had to play.
All At Once
by Whitney Houston
All at once,
I finally took a moment and I'm realizing that
You're not coming back
And it finally hit me all at once
All at once,
I started counting teardrops and at least a million fell
My eyes began to swell,
And all my dreams were shattered all at once
Ever since I met you
You're the only love I've known
And I can't forget you
Though I must face it all alone
All at once, I'm drifting on a lonely sea(notsee)
Wishing you'd come back to me
And that's all that matters now
All at once, I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Holding on to memories
And it hurts me more than you know
So much more than it shows
All at once
All at once,
I looked around and found that you were with another love
In someone else's arms,
And all my dreams were shattered, all at once
All at once
The smile that used to greet me brightened someone else's day
She took your smile away
And left me with just memories, all at once
This is the last non-teaching day I have in Reedley, so now is a good time to make sure I acclimate myself to how a weekly lesson plan ought to look like.
Unlike Philosophy and unlike college teaching, high school teaching has an inherent amount of difficulty to it, marked by its incredibly rigorous way of dealing with students, in contrast to the generally more laissez faire method employed in college teaching.
For the longest time, I always said I will forever hold elementary and high school teachers to a different level of regard from even my favorite college teachers. Yes, my favorite college teachers are all brilliant and shaped me in unbelievable ways, but at the end of the day, what Ms. Rivero did for me in high school will forever be on a level all its own, regardless of how huge an influence the likes of Mr. Bulaong or Mr. Calasanz have managed to exert on me.
And now, I'm heeding one of the most challenging vocations on Earth: teaching high school. I can't even begin to tell you how daunting it is to someone like myself, but it's a challenge I will myself to face.
.:Taste Asia 2: When Sequels Outdo Their Predecessors:.
Picture taken from Aileen Apolo. Marcelle the host, and Sorsi, the head-banging rock star? You be the judge!
Taste Asia 2 was a success, much kudos to SM Hypermarket and Aileen, and I'd like to give a shout-out to my co-host, Sorsi, as we just really enjoyed hosting the event for the 400++ strong crowd composed of bloggers.
It was a fun-filled night, and congratulations to all the winners, of course including the likes of Anton Diaz, and the grand prize winner himself, Anitokid!. With so many raffle prizes to give away that we ran out of calling cards to draw from our fishbowl, practically everyone who came there did not leave empty-handed, or at least did not leave with an empty stomach. As I always do, I did some magic for the people there, although Tiffany promptly made my jaw drop by showing me how to really solve a cube. Turns out Tiffany is a speed-cuber, and she can solve cubes in a minute, flat. My best time, whether blindfolded or otherwise, is a mere two minutes, so much respect to Tiff for that feat.
In any case, it was an awesome night, and funny quips left and right were thrown throughout the event. The food was really great as usual, and the people were a joy to perform for, particularly when I actually did magic for the Taste Asia people already, including even the waiters, along with the management. It was a really good run, as I did a bit of Liquid Metal, some Ultimate Transpo, and of course, the Closeup Illusion. The Wizard Manual also served its purpose, and all in all, I was really on a roll, and hosting the event was quite an experience in itself. It did my heart much good as well when someone from SM Hypermarket told the people watching me perform that I wasn't a magician: I was a mentalist. Finally, the notion *is* catching on!
I hung out for a while even after the party to just talk to friends here and there, and it was all good. Much thanks to Shari for letting me hitch a ride home, and a happy birthday to her dad as well.
Again, a big shout-out to everyone who was there, and it was a really great experience! One can only hope this is just the second of even more events courtesy of SM Hypermarket.
You can be sure I'll be around to support them in any way I can. =P
Thursday, August 23, 2007
... your students really pay attention.
I just realized how effective it is today. Heh.
.:Heart On A Sleeve...:.
With all the crazy stuff I've been going through, it's kinda hard to keep my head out of the water.
It's a phase. I'll make it through this.
For my sake, I'd better.
.:I'm Excited To Teach!:.
That's all I can really say at this point...
See you in a while!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I don't want to do much in the way of linking in this post in the hopes that my opinions, while put in the public for all to see, will not draw nearly as much attention from the Philippine blogging community as most other entries on the recent spate of controversies that have been cropping up as of late.
I just want to have my say, then leave it be, because I'd like to think that I'm still in good standing with all parties involved in either controversy, and I want to keep it that way.
So let's tackle the first issue on the chopping board: that apparently, a certain blog has come under fire for allegedly having been ghost-written under the guise of a thirteen-year old boy who just so happens to write the same stuff his father writes about online: money-making.
I say “allegedly”, because just a year or so ago, Ateneo welcomed a thirteen-year old who was a freshman Philosophy major, so yes, no matter how unthinkable, prodigies do exist, and it would be unfair to dismiss such talent if it were truly the case. I have yet to speak to the thirteen-year old blogger in question, but since he has caused me no slight, I have no inclination to cast the first stone upon him.
But you see, the problem here runs far, far deeper than just a case of bruised egos and lamentations over identity falsification. Despite the fact that one of my branches of choice in Philosophy *is* ethics, I can assure you that in a time where the online norm is bereft of ethics, imposing a standard on the community without due ratification is, despite the noble intentions, still an unreasonable imposition. It's easy to say that the pioneers or the heavyweights should have a say how the communiy should be run, because after all, they are the ones who are incredibly invested in the community, but despite this fact, it cannot be ignored that if you play the numbers game, the pioneers and the heavyweights only account for a miniscule minority of the actual Philippine blogging community. Hades, the active, vocal members of the Philippine blogging community are a miniscule minority all the same, and to say that only these people have a say just because random Juan De La Cruz at blogspot just wanted a small corner of their world to blog and blog to their heart's content than to dip their feet in the water of the more visible community does not mean the random Juan De La Cruz should be subject to the same standards agreed upon by what may be termed as an oligarchy.
Hades, even those among the vocal minority are far from coming to a consensus with regard to an ethical standard for the Filipino blogging netizens out there. To impose such judgment on people for, assuming but not conceding, unethical blogging, while still their right, should not be an act that should be taken as representative of a prevailing standard in blogging ethics, when currently, there is no prevailing standard in blogging ethics, for better or for worse. Any pronounced judgments of support or condemnation should be merited in their own right, rather than as an attempt to impose unratified standards on the entirety of the community. Note that I am not in the least against personal opinions regarding this issue, as I myself am declaring my own opinion, all the same. What I am against is an attempt to dictate the standards of blogging for every Tomas, Diego, and Pedro out there when the only voice currently being listened to is that of an outspoken minority, myself at times included.
If the blogger is indeed using a ghost writer, then shame upon that blogger. But to say that the Philippine blogosphere is ashamed of that blogger when majority of us never even heard of his name until after the influential blog awards is just painting in too broad strokes for my tastes. If what they did was wrong, then what they did was wrong, and is just once or twice removed from all those “ekspand your pekn!s” marketers out there who spam your blogs and tagboards. Nobody's saying it's right, but to demand a sweeping morality check on the Philippine blogosphere is being a bit hasty, as the act, in my opinion, has mostly just been an impulsive one, completely oblivious to the fact that after everything has been said and done, a thirteen-year old kid is still being put through a harrowing experience, and we aren't doing any good by shouting over each other in an attempt to be heard.
When Hulk Hogan won the WCW title from Kevin Nash via the Fingerpoke of Doom (Google it to find out. I said I won't link in this post at all...), do you think he would ever be proud of his so-called title win? Even in a scripted “sport” like pro wrestling, there is still pride in capturing the top belt of your company after a good, satisfying match, even if you knew you were going to win that belt beforehand, even if every punch and kick you throw is pulled, every slam is staged, and every high spot is worked. If the blogger's win was deserved because he made that blog his own in his own way, then congratulations to him. If not, well, I guess that's just one of those Fingerpokes of Doom we will always look at in derision.
For now, however, the moral outrage is just being much ado about nothing. Not to throw the cliché that there are more pressing matters to address in the Philippine blogosphere or even in the rest of the Philippines at the moment, but that really happens to be the case. A thirteen-year old with an alleged ghostwriter, even if allegations would be true, is, quite frankly, not representative of the blogging community of the Philippines, and in the same way we tolerate other firebrands and controversy mongers in the community, there is no need to be especially scathing towards this offender in particular when we cannot even agree upon a concrete standard that is being used unilaterally, because if a thirteen-year old blogging about money-making is frowned upon, why do we laugh with and cheer on a blogger pretending to be and parodying a Cebuana maid? Why the double-standard?
.:The Misrepresentation Of Lauryn Hill:.
And, we find ourselves in yet another can of worms: the issue of misrepresentation. Now, I've seen a more blatant attempt at misrepresentation by another blogger when he attempted to turn a personl attack on him into a unilateral “terrorist” strike on bloggers at large, and while that may have been qite a punch in the gut to take (No pun intended.), hardly any furor was raised over it, save for a few who took personal offense to it, myself included.
Now, was this latest instance a misrepresentation, or was it a clash of egos, or was it the Pinoy Blogger Mafia in action, or what? Quite frankly, I think that discretion could have been practiced by not bringing the issue into public light, but now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, I'm glad that the parties concerned have at least smoothened that hump over. Still, there were valid points on either side, but when you get down to it, I believe that someone who has been as supportive of the blogging community as the one who was accused would not have done such an act maliciously in an attempt at self-promotion. It wasn't self-promotion, and to some extent, her grasp on the matter qualified her to speak about Philippine blogging, and unlike a Filimon Barbassa whom news outlets blindly turn to whenever comics are being talked about (What?!? You call Filbar's representative of comics?!?), she has earned her stripes to be able to say something about the Philippine blogging community.
Whatever the case may be, there was, I believe, no malicious attempt on her part to misrepresent the Philippine blogging community. She gave examples of the steps the community has made, and of course, what would she be more qualified to speak about but the steps she herself has been directly involved in? Is this ego, or simply a matter of choosing your battles? Would it not be a greater injustice if she decided to subsume other projects and feign knowledge about them, only to be jeeringly called out by those who feel that they weren't given a fair shake? Akin to how the WWE gave a tribute to Chris Benoit immediately after knowing about his death, she was in a no-win situation. Had the WWE not given Benoit a tribute, wrestling fans would crucify them for their insensitivity to the loss of a great wrestler. Since they gave Benoit a tribute, fans crucified them for honoring a killer.
So what can be learned here? What can be learned here is that while we are a community, we are still a community of individuals. While we, to some extent, represent any affiliations or leanings we count ourselves in, the best thing we can truly represent would be ourselves, and that should be respected. I've been blogging for five years already, I've won the 2003 Best Philippine Blog in the Flying Chair Asia Blog Awards, but I never took it upon myself to be the icon of Philippine Blogging, even during my best years of blogging.
Even as a mentalist, and even as the only mentalist who is an active member of the blogging circles in the Philippines, I still do not take it upon myself to be the be-all and end-all of mentalism in any shape or form, contrary to my aspirations to be the “Ambassador” of Philippine magic may tell you. In wanting to represent the Philippines in magic in the online world, I do little in way of praising myself, and will always point back to my contemporaries, without whom I would be a lone crusader for the elevation of respect for the art form in a country that regards it as child's play.
In writing this post, do I make an attempt to grab the limelight and pontificate in a way to draw attention to me? It's easy to say I did, despite my deliberate avoidance of using links to aid in making this post searchable, but again, I point back to the two points I've been trying to make regarding these controversies:
1.I am very ambivalent towards any attempt to impose a standard by an oligarchy on anyone, and:
2.The best representation I am qualified to make is a representation of myself, which is why I persist in relating my explicitation to myself.
Now is the time to ask ourselves why we do what we do for the blogging community, and the moment we find slight or envy or greed or resentment in our motivations, it is time to reconsider why we do what we do. As a Kantian, I believe that doing the right thing is a motivation in and by itself, and so while I persist in this belief system, I in no way find it conducive to impose my standards upon others, because that would undermine their motivation to do the right thing.
With that, I get off my soapbox, and I hope to see some of you guys around on Thursday.
For someone who wishes to write a dissertation on the ethics of deception for his doctorate, it's a bit odd that the particular branch I specialize in would be mentalism, which is just a stone's throw from the charlatans of our times, the mediums and the quacks who try to pass off their abilities as genuine supernatural abilities that make their clients hang on to every single word they have to say.
While I do enjoy mentalism, I deliberately keep the opportunities for my audience to be influenced beyond my performance to a minimum, because I really do not want the kind of responsibility that comes with shaping people's lives through a reading of their personality that, while most of the time accurate, is still never foolproof. Reading a person involves psychology, insight, and quite an amount of guesswork, so the fact that you will influence a person, and unlike a teacher, cannot follow up on the effect you managed to catalyze in them.
As a teacher, if I would shape a student, I would have the ability to guide that influence in the proper direction, because I know I would deal with my students often enough to be able to do so. As a mentalist however, I have no such capability since more often than not, that will be the first and the last time I would ever meet that person. Thus, that being the case, I cannot help but underscore that while I certainly have the potential to read people to a tee when I do mentalism, I have little choice but to not rely on it as much lest I influence people adversely.
Despite that obvious conflict, mentalism is still arguably my favorite branch of the art, because it stands as arguably the last bastion of the art, insofar as in a world of special effects and made-for-tv magic, mentalism still holds the morally ambiguous distinction as one of the truest forms of the art that still remains, because of the simplicity of its nature and its dependence on an audience that is not out to see the performer fail.
I choose mentalism because it taps into the unexplored realms of the human person's abilities: it taps into the sense of wonder, yet at the same time is grounded in reality because in a time where everything can seemingly be summed up handily by science, the small nagging questions about clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and telepathy, still hold an allure all its own that few other things in this planet can hope to even approximate.
Mentalism may not require you to have knuckle-busting skill, but the kind of mindset you must constantly and consistently will yourself into when performing does not come easy, even for those with an innate gift for it, as it were. It requires restraint, subtlety, and showmanship all at the same time, and the mix one needs to endeavor into these three factors are unique to mentalism all its own.
Ultimately, as someone who wishes to specialize in ethics for Philosophy, mentalism proves to be a lived example of the fine line that only it manages to cross with much aplomb, that fine line between ethics and deception.
It's Wednesday, and while I was introduced to one of my classes today, aside from the fact that I might be way in over my head in dealing with high-school kids, it would appear to me that I don't really start teaching until next week.
That being the case, I'm going to make the most out of my breathing room at the moment. I really am enjoying the company of my co-workers so far, and meeting the German intern Sven was really fun as well. I hit it off pretty well with most of the people here, especially with Benj, who also owns a PSP, and Audrey, who I just find so easy to talk to about anything and everything, considering we've really only been around each other for three days.
I like it here. And things have been making interesting turns left and right the last few days, so it's all good...
.:That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles...:.
Last night was the launch for the Mrs. Fields Cookie Cafe branch in U.N. Avenue, as organized by Jayvee, and it was definitely a success. As always, the usual suspects were there, such as Ms. Noemi, Shari, Sorsi, and Karlo. I even met a few new people, like Nikki, who happens to be the niece of one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Dy-Liacco!
Anyways, I went there as I was tapped by JayVee to do a bit of mentalism for the people, and I came through with all-new material. I want to do another effect over, and I may get a chance when I get to host this Thursday for the SM Hypermart event tomorrow, as requested of me by Aileen, but at the end of the day, I was just glad to have entertained people that night, and slowly but surely, opportunities to take my show on the road have been slowly presenting themselves to me.
Blindsight, Liquid Metal, and of course, the Wizard's Manual were huge reaction-getters that night, even if I was actually using Liquid Metal purely for walkaround at that point, and no longer for stage. The owner of Mrs. Fields was visibly impressed by the effect, and even Nikki and I exchanged souvenirs: I got a copy of her book, The Yellow Paperclip With Purple Spots, and she got a Liquid Metal fork in kind.
It was fun hanging out with all the bloggers, truth be told, and the quote of the night just simply had to be:
Hindi ko naman kelangan ng lalaki, eh. Masaya na ako sa sarili ko.
So pinapaligaya mo ang sarili mo?
Pure gold, and to protect the identities of the culprits of this dialogue, I shall stay mum about it. Heh.
This week is definitely a loaded week for me. On top of my current gigs as listed in one of my recent post, I'm also going to do a children's party for The Ranch in Tiendesitas next Saturday. There are a few more projects here and there waiting in the wings, and it's all good, considering how just a week ago, I was lamenting the lack of gigs coming my way.
For better or for worse, when it rains, it definitely pours.
Highly recommended movie for those who want to park their brains at the door!
.:I Miss My Beloved...:.
It's been a while since I've seen her. Sigh...
In any case, I'm just really glad that I manage to talk to her often enough and that she's been very supportive of me lately when it comes to the twists and turns my life has been taking thus far...
Monday, August 20, 2007
The past week has been exceedingly difficult days for me to blog mainly because I've been depending on Ateneo for my internet, but since classes were canceled for three straight days, it was pretty obvious why I had a hard time actually getting online.
All week long was a week that consisted of me lazing away on my PSP, and just spending time with my Beloved over the phone, or even in person, as was the case when I met up with her last Wednesday at McDonald's.
Anyways, Friday was my first day at Reedley, where I was going to find myself oriented, even if there were no classes to speak of, since DECS canceled classes. Still, I got there, and it was really nice that getting there, I was feeling very welcome despite being “the new guy”, as it were. It was easy to mesh in with the rest of the faculty, and it was really a great time to start the day off. It was really easy to get along with the faculty, and I find it rather easy to gel with the people, especially since I finally found a PSP buddy, for one. The faculty was wacky, and it was only galvanized with the stuff we've been talking about.
After a bit of orientation here and there, I hung out for lunch with the faculty, and soon enough, I was doing magic for them. They were particularly stunned by Liquid Metal, and I really made quite an impression on my first day.
Given how my schedule will not involve graveyard, I can tell I'm going to enjoy my work here a fair bit more than my last job. While pay will always be a bit of a consideration, it's still all good, after everything has been said and done..
Days like these, I wish I had a scanner.
Ummm... a list of the offenses in the Reedley student handbook proves to be quite interesting.
Sure, you have the usual offenses like vandalism, forgery, cutting classes, and truancy, but you just have to be shocked to no end of this one particular offense, that due to a simple typo, is worth a laugh and a half:
ImmorTality: punishable by dismissal regardless of frequency and/or gravity of circumstances.
So apparently, you can't fall from the fifth floor and survive or else you'd be expelled because you're immortal.
Sorry Ranulf and all the McLeods out there, you are not welcome in this school. =P
.:Saturday Night Magic:.
It was a fairly quiet night for the TSC last night, but it was all good. I did a bit of crashing for a few people at Megastrip, and my first go was when I did magic for some Persians at the behest of Drac, and as soon as he was introduced, he never let go of those spectators.
Meanwhile, I crashed for a couple more people, but I was also doing some magic for a new TSC member, Marla, who was particularly amused by mentalism, and towards the end of the night, me and the rest of the guys were just having fun doing comedy magic for each other, and unbelievably, Marla was actually amazed by the levitating ballpen effect! Heh.
I was tempted to do magic for Quentin Tarantino when he was in town as well, but that would've solely been for bragging rights. It's not like a guy trying to get a drink in the Philippines while on tour would be particularly helpful to a guy like me... =P
Despite that, I ended up doing the unthinkable last Friday night while I was waiting for Sean: yes indeed, I hung out at Pilita Corales's restaurant, and I did magic for her and Kuya Germs! At this point, I'd like to think I impressed them well enough, and Kuya Germs was telling me he'd want me to guest at his show, Walang Tulugan, sometime soon.
Shameless self-promotion FTW!!!
This week is a particularly loaded week for my magic, so anyone who's interested in seeing yours truly in action would be pleased to know that this is what I have lined up for the week...
21 August, Tuesday: Mrs. Fields relaunch at UN Avenue, 7PM.
23 August, Thursday: SM Hypermart, Mall Of Asia, 7PM.
24-26 August, Friday-Sunday: Music And Arts Festival, Megatrade Hall 3, 3PM onwards (Except Friday, where I'd probably be there only during the evening onwards.).
Hopefully, things would really pick up from here, because I've been going out of my way to really plant the seeds for me to really break into the scene, and with nothing but the best magic and mentalism effects in my repertoire, it's not a matter of how far I can go, but how far I'm willing to go.
... Don't you just love being able to celebrate two monthsaries with your Beloved in a month?!?
Advanced happy monthsary to you and me! Mwah! I love you, my Beloved!
Yes, I know it’s delayed. But still… you have to realize the obvious... SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows:
Well worth the long wait.
The seventh book was pretty much the culmination of the Harry Potter epic, and I must say that they pulled out all the stops...
First of all, the seventh book has an exceptionally high body count. I don't want to do a shopping list of who kicked the bucket, but I can't even begin to explain how disorienting it felt to realize that guys you took for granted like Fred Weasley just suddenly dropped dead, or how Hedwig or Dobby ended up as casualties all the same. I figured the Marauders would end up being wiped out, so Lupin was no surprise, much less Wormtail, and redemption for one of the characters seemed more satisfying with his death, so all things considered, the deaths didn't feel out of place at all.
I liked the storyline a lot. I honestly felt that it was a satisfying way to wrap up the entire saga because they finally tied up a lot of loose ends, although it felt weird that a character as significant as Aberforth Dumbledore would be introduced in the series only now. You'd think Aberforth would figure into the series more than just the last book itself.
In any case, it was a showdown of epic proportions. A lot of subterfuge was at work and the infiltration of the Ministry of Magic by the Death Eaters was a nice touch to keep the tension simmering until it comes to a final boil at the end.
I really liked the characterization of the main players in this one. While there was a bit of angst in the air, it was definitely not an overload the way it was in the seventh book. The epilogue seemed rather contrived, but it at least answers a lot of questions, albeit I'm a Harry-Luna shipper at heart.
My details about the book are murky, but if you've read the first six books already, there's simply no reason to miss out on this one. It's got epic battles, intrigue, and stunning characterization. Is this book perfect? No. But it's incredibly satisfying for a conclusion to one of the most popular book series of our generation.
Marcelle's Evaluation: A-
Well, I just really wanted a witty title, so I guess this will hopefully suffice. Last Friday night, I hung out with Sean at Greenhills, where we had dinner at Little Asia. It was a particularly amusing time, because for starters, Sean's mom thought I was a girl and Sean was “going out” with me. I have to admit I saw that coming once Sean brought it up, but it still got me.
In any case, dinner was good, and conversation was even better. While we were going around Fully Booked, we chanced upon a Harry Potter Book 7 speculation book, and it was nice reading it and seeing how much of the writer's ideas coincided with what actually happened in the seventh book. I was sorely tempted to buy it, but the fact that it's all moot anyways since I already read the seventh book made me feel like it would've been a monumental waste of money on my part.
Well, it's been a while since the JGL has been getting together, so a week or two ago, seeing us hanging out again was a great thing, albeit it was due to slightly depressing circumstances. Nonetheless, here's a shout out to Clair, Charo, Sean, Ranulf, Peppy, Dom, Sacha, and the rest of the JGL.
One can only wish that our schedules magically coincide once more so that we'd have the time to hang out with each other every now and then...
For the uninitiated, it's also known as the Just Geeks League... =P
A few weeks ago, Carlo from TSC and I went and did street magic around Ortigas in the middle of the night, and it was definitely a hit! We went ahead and just walked around, and the reactions we got from the people was just awesome.
Nights like these, I’m reminded why I do magic in the first place… here’s hoping we can do more of that in the future.
.:And Finally, Sightless Vision Is Here:.
I finally got the Richard Osterlind blindfold and it just simply works like a dream. Last Saturday night, I demonstrated O.R.B.S. at least four times in a row at Starbucks in Araneta, and at one point, I solved the cube while being observed by a speed cuber, who was thankfully at least impressed from what I did.
That being said, I had a good run last night. Following after Leonard's magic really works out well for me, mainly because our routines are so widely different that the audiences don't feel bored despite seeing close to half an hour of effects already. I don't think Nomer and I would have the same kind of luxury.
Leonard's over the head routine was incredibly fun as well! It was really amusing seeing him floor his audience with the simplest of effects, and the high energy level of the performance really gives people quite a rush.
In any case, I've been designing a few effects, one of them involving Talecraft. Here's hoping that I can ask permission from the makers of Talecraft to feature the effect in a magic video. That'd be really awesome, since there's nothing quite like a mentalism effect where you construct a short story prediction from Talecraft cards your audience would pick.
Anyways, Starbucks Araneta was an awesome venue for The Story Circle. One can only hope that there's more where that they came from in the future.
.:Book Tests Galore:.
I'm currently going over the new book tests I acquired last Wednesday, and I think I'd like to give a review or two for the books I got. They're really awesome, for the most part, and I think it's high time I did some product reviews of the magic items I've been acquiring over time. It's the least I can do.
That being said, I got my hands on the following book tests:
1. The Wizard Manual, by Docc Hilford
2. Double Coincidence, by Devin Knight
3. The Dracula Book Test, by Black And Cherry
4. The Sherlock Holmes Book Test, by Black And Cherry
Those are the four book tests I got, in order of preference. I really like the Wizard Manual a lot, while the fact that the Sherlock Holmes book test doesn't stand on its own turns me off a bit. Regardless, it's all good, but I should've really gotten my own copy of the Dracula Book Test. I just ended up keeping it warm for Jay, really.
Hanging out with the TSC people and Jay Mata has been giving me a lot of ideas for new effects, so we have the likes of a Talecraft story prediction effect, which just really goes over pretty beautifully, if only I can figure out one little hitch in the method...
In any case, Jay and I are considering how to improve stuff for our shows even further, and we kinda resolved to work on a better book for the Wizard Manual, as well as working on developing homemade versions of some other Osterlind effects, like Transparent Forces.
It seems to me that every single Monday that we have class with Mr. Calasanz for advanced metaphysics, we end up talking about love, since it's one of the easiest ideas to use to illustrate certain points Heidegger and Balthazar bring up regarding metaphysics.
With each passing week, it allows me to get a better handle on why I love the way I do, and it emphasizes that at the end of it all, no matter how hard you try to rationalize love, it will always come down to the plain and simple fact that love involves a blind leap. A commitment, after all, is a promise made to the unknown. And when we love, while there are things that attract us to the one we love, to say that these qualities are what makes us love her are put into question because it would mean we stop loving once these qualities are apart from the substance.
Yet how can we love the substance? What is there in the substance, apart from its accidents, that makes it lovable?
Precisely the fact that we love is that which makes the substance lovable. Precisely the fact that our love ought to be a love freely given to a substance that has never even done a thing to merit its existence in the first place. If all of us exist by the goodness of One, then should we not pay this goodness forward by learning to love as a gift freely given?
We can never truly understand what love is all about. All we can do is make an attempt to say what it means to us to the best of our abilities, and almost immediately, proceed to unsay it and simply act on it.
.:I Start Teaching Tomorrow! Gah...:.
Well, Reedley finally hired me, and while I could use a higher salary than what they're offering, it's still a job, and the hours are definitely better than my last one. \My obvious worry at this point though is that I can't be too sure how good it'd turn out to be if my work ends up delaying my finishing my Masters by yet another semester. That definitely wouldn't bode too well for me, to be honest.
In any case, given all the stuff I had to go through for the past couple of weeks, this is a welcome reprieve. I'm certainly glad that things are looking up for me after a couple of weeks of gloom and doom, and things are slowly beginning to stabilize again. Who knows, maybe I can *finally* blog the way I normally do again, albeit I must admit I haven't blogged this often since 2004, so I guess I should already count my blessings as is.
My Beloved joined me as I went shopping for pants and shoes in Greenhills two Fridays ago, as she took it upon herself to be my fashion consultant. Knowing full well that I'm not the most patient man in the world when it comes to shopping for clothes, I relied on her to give me her second opinion whether or not this pair of pants or this pair of shoes would be the one I'd be getting for myself.
It was a really great time, to say the least. I know we had very little time to spend with each other, but we made the most out of it as we shared our time with each other, just really enjoying each other's company. We even had lunch at this place called Won Ton, and I loved the food there. It's arguably one of the best Chinese restaurants I've run into as of late, although in my opinion, for the price, Wai Ying is still going to be one of the toughest ones to top, when it comes down to it.
I'm glad that my Beloved and I are learning to love each other better and better with each passing day. It's not the easiest thing to do, especially since neither of us are the easiest people you can ever get along with. Despite that, I can't say enough how much I really am thankful that after all this time, my Beloved and I are truly learning to make this relationship work out.
Whether it be the whole open relationship deal, or the fact that the both of us are simply just the undisputed king and queen or mood swings, or whatever other idiosyncracy we may possess, small moments like last Friday where she became my very own fashion consultant are always going to be special days in my heart. I can't help but feel that through these small steps we take, Rowena and I are building something wonderful together.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
To one of my best friends, Sacha Chua, belated happy birthday to you!!!
It was fun hanging out with most of the JGL last night, as I definitely enjoyed being with them after ages. We finally resolved to have a Brat pack movie marathon, albeit when it would actually happen is a different consideration altogether.
In any case, I'm glad because it was a great time spent with the gang. It was great getting in touch with Sacha again after all this time, all things considered.
Anyways, I'll post some more next time, but right now, I'm just bushed. I've got a heckuva lot on my plate, truth be told...
More next time, especially since I have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to my new stuff, and running into Edj and her mom and Ranulf, all the same, as well as stuff about missing classes, and the fully booked magic-filled week I have next week.
And oh, yeah. Performing for Kuya Germs and Pilita Corales as well, and meeting up with my Beloved today... lots of ground to cover indeed.
Monday, August 13, 2007
For a magician, hecklers could be the worst kind of people you'd ever meet.
However, I am inclined to think otherwise.
I truly believe that the worst spectators around are the ones who practically destroy your props, whether by sheer carelessness or outright malicious intent to ruin you.
Last Saturday, I was treated to the rare privilege of performing, upon request by another magician, for a group of people containing two of the worst possible types of audience ever: the said heckler who had something to say every five seconds, and the blithering nincompoop who heavily damaged my Wizard Manual finale.
I cannot conceal how annoyed I am at the one who asked me to perform for his friends, because he knew in the first place that I was going to deal with a mouthy know-it-all in the audience, when I wasn't even going to do "magic", to begin with. I was going to simply do mentalism, and the bloody fool, in her desire to be the star of the show, was too stupid to remember the two words I asked her to remember on the page. My only vindication was when one of the other people asked me if I could turn her into a monkey, and I snappily retorted, "It's been done already."
Nomer, friend or no friend, I'm never going to do magic upon your request ever again. That was a horrible experience that just pissed the Hades out of me. The Wizard Manual does not grow on trees, so I'm being exceedingly nice in not asking for a replacement.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
... Yet somehow, I feel I'm getting the short end of the stick. I'm actually going to making less than I was making from WAVE with my new job, but I guess the normal hours should at least make up for it.
But I just wish I had more breathing room financially. Now, having gigs isn't a "nice-to-have", it's turning into a must...
.:That Took Guts...:.
I approached Pilita Corrales and Kuya Germs last night in Greenhills to give my calling card.
I should've prepared a demo... =(
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Having come from a station that proclaims itself as “The Most Influential” station in Mega Manila, I have to say that an awards night for the most influential blogs piqued my curiosity, and be that as it may, I really have to agree with Shari on her evaluation: this was an awards night for Philippine blogs, and should've been labeled as such.
That being said, this was an event brought to us by Yehey, where I met people the week before, all the same, even someone whom I never expected to be nice to me offline, not after everything. It was jarring, but hey, that's that.
Running into the bloggers again was quite a refreshing reprieve from the sheer amount of schoolwork I've been handling lately, as well as a reprieve from a lot of problems I've been putting up with on the personal front as well. I did only a very small bit of magic for the audiences, but it worked out quite well, to say the least. Since it was a Wednesday, it was also the same day I got my items from Jheff, whom I order from a lot due to his very honest and reliable product reviews. If he isn't selling it, it's probably not good enough.
Anyways, my congratulations to the top 10 Influential bloggers who won last Wednesday...
Well, it's been a while since the JGL has been getting together, so a week or two ago, seeing us hanging out again was a great thing, albeit it was due to slightly depressing circumstances. Nonetheless, here's a shout out to Clair, Charo, Sean, Ranulf, Peppy, Dom, Sacha, and the rest of the JGL.
One can only wish that our schedules magically coincide once more so that we'd have the time to hang out with each other every now and then...
For the uninitiated, it's also known as the Just Geeks League... =P
.:I Wanna Watch Blades Of Glory!!!:.
It sounds like a riot and a half, so I'm sure to ask my Beloved out to watch it with me when we have our opportunity to...
Monday, August 06, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
After three years, I'm *really* unemployed.
It feels so weird being unemployed, even if I happen to still be a student. I guess it just feels so unnerving, as if this isn't how it's supposed to be for me.
And now, I'm feeling the crunch. Until September, I have no source of income whatsoever, and it's been rather disorienting for me, since for all of my previous company's shortcomings, they were still a reliable source of income...
I know this seems rather blatant of me, but I am really calling on anyone who can help me out of this pickle, because this month may just very well get the best of me otherwise.
Most of you reading here know who I am, and what I do. I am an accomplished host and master of ceremonies, as well as one of the more high-profile mentalists out there not named Sonny Minoza or Erik Mana. I would really appreciate help from any of you who might be able to give me leads and contacts I could use, because I really want to take the next logical step in this "career" of sorts.
I am very much available for bookings, and all you need do is e-mail me at email@example.com. I'd really, really appreciate it.
Thanks, guys. This is one of those times where I really can't just coast along. It's time for me to really step up...
Magic items arrived, and I even took the time out to meet up with bloggers in two different gatherings, both involving Yehey.
That being said, I'm too busy to blog properly, and I know I've been delinquent for the past couple of weeks. I can't help it, really, and I'm disappointed in myself, too.
I've been marketing my shows lately, and I'm hoping that I get something out of that this month.
In any case, my thanks to my two favorite guinea pigs for effects I plan to debut, namely, Crissey and Shari. You guys have been a great help in allowing me to gauge how to routine my new stuff.