Friday, October 28, 2011

Burning Bridges When We Get There

.:Food For Thought:.

Fewer things upset me more than cutting ties with people I consider my friends, and yet there comes a point where you have to do it.

Now, realize I do it not out of some stupid sense of personal pride. Nor do I do it just to delude myself into making a statement unto a person who probably isn't the least disturbed that I cut them out of my life, to begin with. I do it for my own emotional well-being, because I know that being broken up over it for a few days or so would be much more preferable to being forced to pretend everything's hunky-dory with that person on a regular basis. It isn't, and chances are, it never will be.

Alternatively, here's what happens when you CAN'T pretend it's all hunky-dory anymore...

We always say that love means never having to say we're sorry, but in reality, burning bridges means never having to say we're sorry. It doesn't even matter anymore who's wrong or who's right in the thick of a fight: just cut the ties that bind, and let go, no matter if they promised to be there for you for as long as you need them, or if they reassured you they will always be your friend while they betray your trust in them right in your face, or if they simply turned you into an emotional punching bag for so long, and found it shocking that you apparently resented it when it went on for two years too long.

I have found that as time goes by, it has gotten easier and easier for me to just ignore the resentment bubbling up inside by simply cutting off the vexations to my soul. Truth be told, I'm probably doing them a favor all the same by distancing myself from them: I no longer give them an opportunity to delude themselves into thinking that we're okay and we can get along just fine, when in reality, the crack in the armor has gotten larger and larger until it can no longer be ignored.

I write this in the hopes of reminding myself why I burned these bridges in the first place, and to keep myself from letting my sense of regret over the years I've invested in these people get in the way of the undeniable reality that I am flat out better off without them in my lives at this point. I shouldn't really care how this makes them feel, because they obviously didn't care enough about how I felt before everything just went up in flames. Neither should I care whether or not they feel regret over the whole thing, for that matter.

It's food for thought because for an emotional packrat like myself, I find it difficult to let go of people, in general. I always feel that pang of regret that maybe I didn't do enough to fix things between me and them, and perhaps I should have been less hasty about burning bridges with them. Half of the time, I actually give in to the weakness and outright apologize, even if the sensible part of me knows it wasn't I who was at fault.

Each and every time, those efforts blew up in my face. Apparently, I have yet to find a burnt bridge worth rebuilding, simply because many people have gotten this nasty habit of misconstruing an apology as an excuse to assume they were right and the apologizing party was wrong, when in reality, it was simply the fact that the one who tried to reach out with an olive branch simply wanted to do the right thing.

Mending fences shouldn't some stupid game of "chicken" where the first one to actually try to make things better is actually the loser. Personally, when attempts to become the peacemaker become mistaken for that, it makes you wonder why you even tried, in the first place. It just ends up becoming more fodder to make matters worse, rather than an opportunity to finally set things right.

I guess, ultimately, that's a sign that some things aren't really meant to be set right. And when that's the case...

... I think that you should let it burn.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Project 52 (43/52): Walang Natira - Gloc 9

.:Project 52 (43/52): Walang Natira - Gloc 9:.

The brain drain, in rap form.

Mainstream Pinoy rap has gotten a bad rap for a long while because aside from the late Francis Magalona, who did the country ever have who had a deep message behind the lyrical calisthenics? Andrew E certainly didn't, nor did ::shudders:: Carlos Agassi, so yeah, that was a problem for quite a bit.

Thank heavens for Gloc 9, then, because he has certainly done more than his fair share of uplifting mainstream Pinoy rap to something laudable and not just a plain attempt to ride the gravy train of hip-hop.

This song is one of those songs that really speaks about the Filipino situation, how it seems that this nation has gotten so bad that the best opportunities for Filipinos only ever come outside of the Philippines, and you do end up wondering why this is the case. Third world problems? Maybe. Real problems? Absolutely.

"Walang Natira" bluntly addresses the fact that the best and the brightest among us are more likely to leave this country, and yet, we can't really blame them when they do so, can we? It's a vicious cycle, and though many of us cannot deny the good that globalization can bring upon all of us, few of us can also deny that it is an inconvenient truth that the Philippines itself is not good enough to entice the best and the brightest among us unless a tenuous appeal to a sense of patriotism is used.

Why is it that the only ones left to make this nation better are the very people we really wish were not within five hundred miles of this nation's political institutions? It is what it is, and Gloc 9's lyrical gifts illustrate these questions very handily, and make us ask of ourselves the difficult questions we would otherwise be wary of.

I guess that kind of lyrical genius more than justifies why Gloc 9's song is the one I'm featuring on this week's Project 52.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Another Magic Monday: Alodia's Fantasy And Then Some

.:Just Another Magic Monday: An Enchanting Weekend:.

This weekend was marked by three straight gigs to my name, which, of course, I have no complaints about whatsoever.

No complaints, whatsoever. Photo from source as indicated by logo.

So yeah, it was pretty enjoyable, to say the least. Tack on the fact that on each gig, I managed to perform a bit of magic doesn't hurt my chances of writing about it and passing it all off for Just Another Magic Monday. So sue me, this year hasn't had nearly as much magic as 2010, obviously, so I'm less inclined to flat out do reviews of magic videos and the like, but that's all right.

In any case, opening for Mike Unson is one thing, and performing in Wack Wack Country Club is another, but ultimately, being a part of history, being the host of the first ever interactive cosplay show, Alodia's Fantasy, is just on a whole different level. Yup, that's the title, and no, I have no idea what else it could possibly mean.

A lot of preparation went into the show, truth be told. Weeks upon weeks of rehearsals, pre-screenings, and pre-production meetings. On the day itself, rehearsals were being rigorously conducted just to make sure that everything was in proper order. To say that all the cosplayers and performers really pulled out all the stops would be the understatement of the year, although I guess Alodia would be more capable of discussing all the work that went into the show than I personally would.

Technical glitches aside, there was one glaring sore spot throughout the night, but the less said about it, the more likely we'd forget about these unremarkable and unsavorable factors. Someday. Maybe. One can dream, after all.

That being said, once we went live on Flippish, we were greeted by hundreds of people all online at the same time, just wanting to catch a piece of history, as the show fired on all cylinders, with everyone just putting on the best show that they can. If you wanted details about the results, you could check out Fritz's Photo Recap, but all I can say is that the rehearsals before the show was hilarious because all the side comments I promised myself to put a lid on, I brought out in full force while the cameras were off.

It was pretty interesting as well that I managed to bring up people like Kring and Mike Abundo with his lady companion Itel (Of Best Of Anime fame.) for impromptu interviews that night. They did have some awesome stuff to share, not to mention the fact that there were a whole bunch of people in the audience that made me feel right at home. The chatbox for the event was burning up, though, because there was no reading a full sentence before it would end up scrolling out of the screen. I had to ad lib my way through the entire thing.

Seeing as this wasn't the first time I co-hosted an event with Alodia, we had our banter just down to pat already. I pretty much knew when to toss her softballs and when to toss her curveballs, and I was impressed at her ability to keep up with me. Looks like her stint in L.O.L. has really given her the chance to step up as a host, and I, for one, am proud.

As usual, I paid tribute to Zack Ryder during my closing spiel. Woo woo woo, you know it.

Ashley's performances were splendid, as always, and it was pretty cool to finally meet Eric Salamat. I joked that I stopped watching ADMU games because ADMU seemed to lose everytime I did. I also mentioned I stopped watching ADMU games for the past four years, so maybe there's something to that theory.

Seeing Ranulf at the event also gave me a nice surge of confidence, but it still paled in comparison to my true highlight of the night...

Cookie and Pancakes 2011!

Backstage, Alodia was poking fun at me when a different picture had the three of us together. She told me that she pretty much photo-bombed a couple pic and I'd probably crop her out the first chance I got. She might be on to something. Heh.

The after-party was fun, too. I met Karen, Joy Bordador's sister, for the second time ever, as Chris Tan proudly introduced her to us. At some point in the night, I ended up doing my signature psychokinesis act. So yeah, despite not doing a single routine onscreen throughout the night, enough people still remembered that I am a mentalist.

In any case, it was an awesome event, and I cannot thank the people of Flippish, the Gosiengfiao's, the cosplayers, the performers, the bloggers, Pancakes, and everyone else who made that event possible, and for asking me to be a part of it. It was one of my proudest moments to see a very good friend, someone who's practically family to me, Alodia, do so well and flourish in something she passionately believes in.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Know I've Been So Quiet Lately...

.:I Know I've Been So Quiet Lately...:.

... but I guess that comes with the territory of being busy, busy, busy.

Last night, I had a last-minute magic show for an aunt of the awesome Andrada sisters. I was just as surprised as the people I performed for that I was there, but we made something pretty memorable out of it.

Tonight, I'm hosting and performing for Mike Unson's "Comedy Mayhem" in Capone's. It's absolutely free, and absolutely awesome. Mike will also be performing in Conspiracy Garden, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, on Saturday night.

On Saturday, I am doing hosting duties for Alodia's Fantasy, which should be a pretty highly anticipated event. People who wanna catch it can go to that hyperlink and watch the show for themselves at the very comfort of their own homes, from 8 to 10 PM.

It's been quite a blur with Pancakes as of late, but I couldn't think of any reason I'd ever want to trade all of this in for the world. Guess I'm a lucky man, after all.

Next week, there's even more insanity lined up for me, since I'm going to be performing on October 29 in Subic Lighthouse Marina, then Nickelodeon's Halloween show on October 31 in Mall Of Asia. All I can say is, wow. The hits do keep on coming, so after over two years of bad hits, I'm happy to note that the good hits are now on a roll.

But for now, I'm officially putting into the backburner my intentions of writing a satire about satire, and I'm in no rush to write about the Batangas sign by Vilma Santos for Taal Volcano. It's pretty memetic, though, and I was amused to have been part of the initial volume of people to notice it. Nonetheless, for the POC, I did write an article about that silly dragons article.

Universe, please keep this up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Project 52 (42/52): Count On Me - Bruno Mars

.:Project 52 (42/52): Count On Me - Bruno Mars:.

Some of you might know this by now, but last Saturday, I finally dived right in and am now officially in a relationship with Chanty. I won't gab too much about it lest I drown you in mush and all that goofy love-love feeling, but it was the most sensible thing I have done in the past two years, in my opinion. I'm happy, she's happy, and that's really what matters.

This song just so happens to be the song that I dedicated to her because it kinda fits, in all honesty.

Nothing more needs to be said here, except the fact that I sorta started saying we should call each other "Pancakes" and "Cookie", and pretty much on the same day we started doing so, we ran into Bobby Andrews.

It's a sign, I tell you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Just Another Magic Monday: Why I Still Think Penn And Teller Rule

.:Just Another Magic Monday: Why I Think Penn And Teller Rule:.

Anyone who has known me for long enough probably recognizes that I am one of the biggest fans of Penn and Teller out there. I really think that as a tandem of magicians, they really know how to get the most mileage out of their magic, and have mastered the art of the duo act by the way they have successfully delineated their roles and functions all throughout.

I've been a sucker for Penn and Teller for a while now, and I don't think that's changing anytime soon. While I may be recognized in the Philippines as a mentalist, I have no qualms shifting back into being a magician simply because Penn and Teller made it cool to be as old-school as I want as long as I know how to spin it in a way that's all my own.

While a few other magicians obviously aren't fans of Penn and Teller whether because they are brash and obnoxious, or because they expose secrets, I just can't help but respect how much they have elevated our fine art by being ridiculously visible outside of the magic arena. In fact, Penn and Teller have almost gotten to a point where they are as well-known for their political or religious opinions as they are for their magic, and that's quite an impressive feat in and by itself.

I do cite many influences for my performance style, but none of them have influenced me to the level that Penn and Teller have, and the way I look at magic effects has never been the same ever since. True, they may never be as famous as Blaine or Copperfield, but in being non-poster boys of magic, they have established themselves as people even non-magicians can aspire to, being quick of wit, funny, and outrageous all the same.

It is my hope that at some point, I would make the pilgrimage to Vegas and catch a Penn and Teller show and hopefully shoot the breeze with them afterwards, even for just a couple of minutes. A lot of what I do now, even in the realm of standup comedy, I certainly owe to them. That's just a living testament to how great they really happen to be as magicians in every sense of the word.

It's a shame that the Philippines doesn't appreciate the genius of Penn and Teller nearly as much, though.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Here We Be Cryptic...

I will go down with this ship
And I won't put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I'm in love and always will be...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Project 52 (41/52): All Apologies - Nirvana

.:Project 52 (41/52): All Apologies - Nirvana:.

What else should I be? All apologies.

Because really, what else is there to say? The past few weeks have been an eye-opener for me, and I've seen myself in a place I never expected I would be again: a place where I was happy. It wasn't something I was used to, and in all honesty, it was something I didn't believe I was deserving of.

This should've been one of my unsent letters yet again, yet I can't really bring myself to do it at this point. And it wouldn't be the only thing I'm apologizing for on this day, either.

I think Clair put it succinctly: something in me is wired to not allow me to be happy. It is what it is. I can't help it, but at the same time, that isn't the only reason I am the way I am at this point, either. Burning bridges, attempting to mend fences, all these things are just part and parcel of my life, and I doubt things are going to change anytime soon, for better or ill as that may be.

That being said, I recognize I have a lot of work cut out for me, and this song encapsulates how I feel at this point. I *am* all apologies, and I have no idea where I'm headed from here. I believe in my heart I did the right thing, even if it wasn't necessarily the best thing, nor was it the thing that could possibly make me happy.

Doing what is right at the cost of your own happiness and well-being. If that isn't insanity, I don't know what is. Despite that, it is what it is.

As I keep reminding myself, if there's a will, there's a way. If there's none, there's an excuse. It's up to me to understand where I am and where I stand right now, and for all the confusion going on right now, one thing was clear: I did the right thing this once.

I just pray that counts for something at this point.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just Another Magic Monday: Because I Keep Having Gigs Over The Weekend

.:Just Another Magic Monday: Because I Keep Having Gigs Over The Weekend:.

And the world can't erase this fantasy...

So yeah, aside from treating myself to an X-Box Kinect, I had a working weekend, hosting for the Alodia's Fantasy pre-screening event, and then Kathy's wedding. Overall, a pretty crazy hectic weekend, but one thing recently turned up that I'm pretty happy about...

... My De Ring is improving ever since I bought that awesome ring from Cosmania a week ago.

I haven't really been doing De Ring much beyond the normal ring-on moves, but now, with the new ring I got, I feel more and more inclined to show off, and I've been improving by leaps and bounds in that department.

I know, I know. Not much of a JAMM update, but really, it's been a crazy weekend, and magic isn't that high up on my priority list at the moment, I'm just glad I still managed to figure out how to talk about magic today, in fact. :P

Friday, October 07, 2011


.:Pretty Exciting Week, Really:.

Here, we get autobiographical again...

For the most part, this week has been pretty crazy, especially since I'm meeting up with old friends over the weekend, and hosting a wedding, as well as another cosplay event. It's been great, although honestly, things could be better.

Nonetheless, one of the highlights of my last week was when Carlos and I met up with a lovely couple for Australia who wanted to see some of the things Metro Manila could offer that you probably wouldn't get from a Lonely Planet guidebook.

We ended up taking them to Dampa in Home Depot that night, and needless to say, it was splendid. As always, the see food diet won out, and we had prawns, scallops, crabs, tuna, snapper, and then some. It was good to know that they enjoyed the sumptuous meal, because swapping stories with them really felt like a genuine cultural exchange all the same. As they would love to say, we totally smashed it that night.

Afterwards, I managed to take them to Tomato Kick, where they were treated to a mostly translated night of standup comedy courtesy of GB, James, Abe, Carlo, Jeps, Ryan, Richie, and yours truly. Practically everyone killed that night, by my estimate, so everyone had a pretty great time all around.

Had it not been for the fact that Steve Jobs passed away this week, this would've been as close to a perfect week as could be for me. Ah, well.

Here's to the rest of the weekend, then. :D

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Project 52 (40/52) : Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5

.:Project 52 (40/52): Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5:.

Just shoot for the stars, if it feels right...

This year, Moves Like Jagger was on top of the Billboard charts when I turned 28. Needless to say, this makes it my song for the year, and what a good choice, really. I guess Westlife can wait another week, but hey, I'm a huge fan of Maroon 5, and I love how they never seem to run out of awesome songs to regale us with.

This tune is ridiculously catchy, and makes you want to learn how to whistle. The tune is stuck in my head, as it has been since last week, so yeah, I think it's hard to go wrong with Maroon 5 leading the charge for my 28th year. The fact that Christina Aguilera's part of this upbeat track doesn't hurt, either.

In any case, when I think about the lyrics a bit more, I find it pretty cool that tributes to Mick Jagger are being made in very creative ways. Nobody expected the Rolling Stones to live on as long as they did, and the music video itself pretty much told the story right there and then.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Just Another Magic Monday: Three Tips On Doing Magic In (Non-Magic) Conventions

.:Just Another Magic Monday: Magic In (Non-Magic) Conventions:.

After a successful stint of doing magic and even impromptu hosting at this year's Cosmania in SMX, I realized that I have ended up in a very strange niche that I don't see most of my other contemporary Philippine magicians doing at the moment, and that's being a (geek) convention magician. Or mentalist. Or escapologist. Whichever works, really.

I think it's a very different challenge altogether for a magician, particularly when they're not too cognizant of the fact that they're far from the reason people went to the convention in the first place. You are not the main attraction, and as such, you might find the audience significantly less on your side than they normally are when you are considered one of the main attractions.

The thing is, it's often a humbling experience when that happens. One of my first experiences as a performer was the mortifying tepidness I was received with when I did my bit four years ago in Toycon. Here was an unknown doing mentalism immediately after the cosplay event, and, needless to say, the audience didn't care at all. I mean, the main event was the cosplay. Everything else is secondary compared to that, and it would've been a soul-crushing moment for any other performer to have to face such a huge audience giving you nothing but blank stares and infrequent smatterings of polite applause.

Sure, over time, with the right combination of hosting, street magic tours, and onstage performances, I no longer have that problem connecting with audiences in your average cosplay convention, but what if, let's say, I found myself in the trade convention circles, knowing what I know now, what can I do to assure myself of a better experience as a performer than the first time I hit the stage? Well, I have a few ideas, really.

1. Make it clear what you're about to do the minute they see you.

This goes hand in hand with the kind of routines you choose, your performance style, your scripting, and even your introduction. The minute you are there for the public to see, do not assume they already know who you are, much less exactly what it is that you do. Even in the standup comedy circles, I've seen plenty of good comedians bomb solely because people didn't realize the guy onstage was telling jokes. It's good to let the people know what to expect.

2. Don't be a snob: connect with your audience!

This actually should be common sense to the magicians by now, yet I see so many novice performers just going through the motions of their tricks without establishing any rapport with their audience. Precisely because you're not the main event, you can't expect to be disconnected from your audiences and still establish your cred as a performer. It just won't work. You need to connect with them more, whether by chatting them up, or by working in more spectators into your act. The more people who could tell other people about your awesome performance, the more likely your name recognition would grow.

3. You can do intricately drawn-out, engaging, and memorable magic. Pick two of the three then move on.

Let's face it: even if you're an exceptional performer, people didn't come to see you in an anime convention. They came for the cosplayers. With that in mind, yes, you can do an intricate and drawn-out performance, but it will come at the cost of being engaging because of the alienation these performances tend to create with the audience. But that can be memorable, at least.

It's the same with engaging magic: because you engage your audience so much, you will be memorable, too. But don't expect to put on a sleight of hand clinic while trying to build a lasting connection with your audience. Focus on routines that are as sleight-free as possible, or have scripts that are so easy for the audience to understand that you can focus on the patter or presentation more than the actual mechanics of the routines.

I'm certain there are more tips, but hey, these ideas have worked for me over the years. I'd be happy to share any more if they come to mind, but at this point, it's best for you to simply understand the difference between being booked as a magician at a party, and being booked as one in a non-magic convention. It's rather commonsensical to everyone else out there, I'm sure, but in the Philippines, considering how rare it is, I guess I'm in a position to help out with my range of experience.