Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Project 52 (51/52): On This Year's Blogging Output (And Why I'm Not Content About My Content)

.:Project 52 (51/52): On This Year's Blogging Output (And Why I'm Not Content About My Content):.

When I started writing this post, I thought it was my last post for this year's Project 52, and then I slowly realized that I may have missed my count by one.

And I did.

Sure, my count was off during 2010's Project 365, but hey, with 365 posts to handle, that was perfectly excusable. This year, I was blogging just a tad over once a week, but I still found myself mindless and careless enough to label week 42 as week 43. This is why my count was off by one for the rest of that time.

That being said, I'm really not too pleased about my blogging this year, because I know that while the quality of my writing has held steady or possibly improved, the amount of writing I do is a crying shame. Sure, I try my best to make sure I have a decent post once a week, but beyond that, I didn't really have much to offer. And I can't say it's because of my emotional state, seeing as whether I'm happy or depressed, the frequency of my updates didn't really make much of a difference.

I guess it helps that my writing is everywhere else on the internet, from the POC to the Freethinkers to the 8List and a bunch of other unattributed stuff. Still, I do feel like I've been neglecting my blog lately, and on my tenth year of doing it, no less. No, don't worry. I don't think this will be a moment for me to call quits on blogging altogether, seeing as I don't wanna hurt all four of my loyal readers.

But still, I guess this year, with all the things I've gone through, I've gone to do a lot of thinking. It just sucks that very little of that ended up on the blog. Whether it be my thoughts on things and people I've encountered, or it be about the RH Bill, or comedy, or even my still non-existent lovelife, I've given snippets of my thoughts on them here and there, but I haven't really tried to commit myself to anything altogether. I haven't really just gone out there and really written in a way that made me feel I've exhausted all my sentiments on the matter at that point.

It always feels I have so much more to say.

Then again, that may not necessarily be a bad thing now, is it? For all I know, I could simply be looking at it from the wrong perspective: that having so much more to say means I'm not being as diligent with my blogging. Maybe I'm becoming a bit more selective in writing, rather than lazy. If the reason for the lower frequency is that and not laziness, maybe what I need to do is to refine the selection process itself. Not every thought that crosses my mind needs to be committed to the interwebs, after all, especially not thoughts that could be very fleeting and just brought about by the spur of the moment, only to be quickly regretted afterwards.

This has been a good year, and I don't even know if I can make the proper traditional year-end things I always have done before. This is weird, when you consider how viral a lot of the things I've done has gotten, from the BaYo thing to the Cybercrime Law article. I never wrote mainly for the money, so this blog not being one designed for profit isn't the reason, either. If it were, then I should be writing on a weekly basis for the POC, at least. But I'm not.

I guess there's just so much I want to say, but also so much I feel is best left unsaid. When I'm too hurt, when I'm too happy, when I'm too anything but contemplative, I feel very suspicious of the words coming out of my keyboard, and I cut myself off at that point.

Nowadays, I also hate writing nothing but a wall of text without a picture somewhere in the mix to at least catch people's eyes as I write.

Have I caught them yet?

So I guess we'll see where we go from here. I'm just really at a point where I have no idea why I'm meandering like this, but I can't say I'm so unhappy, really. It's been a good year, I'm grateful, and I'm still alive.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Project 52 (51/52): On The Filipino Political Mind (And Why I Insist It's Maturing.)

.:Project 52 (51/52): On The Filipino Political Mind (And Why I Insist It's Maturing.):.

So mature, you guys!

This is quite a momentous time to be a Filipino, and I don't mean it because of Nonito Donaire or Jessica Sanchez or Janine Tugonon. They're cool, and I'm pretty happy for them, but I'm much happier about this country when it comes to something that involves more of us than individual talents.

When I was younger, I saw things in black and white in politics. It was so easy to pick a side and ride it out 'til the end. Cory was the hero. Marcos was the villain. Erap was the villain. Gloria was the heroine. 

Then Gloria became the villain. And FPJ became the villain, too. It started becoming much clearer to me that things aren't really as set in stone as we insist they should be, and more glaringly, it became more obvious to me that the church I followed and agreed with time and time again politically were actually turning a blind eye towards Gloria's mistakes.

It was then that I realized that the narrative being spun is binary in nature so that it can easily capture the imaginations of people, at the risk of polarization. In politics, that seems to be a necessity, since you don't really have an option to half-vote for someone. You either vote for them or you don't. And for the longest time, we've learned to side with one politician and ride them out all the way no matter what.

But then, just this year alone, it seems that the narrative has shifted to shades of gray.

Not that many, though.

Just for example would be the whole Chief Justice Corona brouhaha. Yes, people either believed he was innocent or guilty. But both sides weren't spared from criticism, even by their allies. The overall bungling of the case from both prosecution and defense truly resulted in some memorable tidbits, as Miriam ended up really reading the riot act to both camps, making it clear that she was not particularly on anyone's side, regardless of how her vote turned out.

The discussions were nuanced. Sure, we had your typical sob stories and attempts at family reunions to elicit some drama, but in the end, when CJ Corona was impeached and removed from power, the reasoning was clear, and avoided the heavy-handed "Us vs. Them" spin despite multiple attempts to have it become so.

And then the RH Bill passed, and the Sin Tax Bill passed, too. So did another law about unenforced disappearances, and the FOI Act is also on the verge of passing, while the Cybercrime Law is not only on TRO, but is being counterproposed with another law meant to be more protective of netizens than punitive.

It's a good time, and a lot of it is brought about by genuine dialogue going on between people. When even the poorest of the poor and the lower ends of the middle class can actually have a genuine say and understand an issue and make up their minds, when people can think to side one way while fully cognizant of the imperfections of the side they chose, we slowly mature as a people when we learn to think less and less about absolutes.

Because only the Sith deal in absolutes, but believing that means you just did, too. Ergo...

As we grow and mature politically, we learn to make wiser choices in who we put into power, and we learn to question everything the government tells us while also not ignoring the times they do right by us. Today, I can safely say that President Aquino is on a roll. Maybe he's really lazy, but he's not too lazy to pick up his pen and sign these important bills into law. The preparedness for Pablo was there, albeit the weather simply had no plans of cooperating with all the precautions taken. Despite that, everyone came together to help, not out of some blind sense of patriotism, but simply because they know it's the right thing to do.

Maybe I'm looking at the current political scene with a lot more optimism than I should. True. Despite that, I can't help but think we're getting better, even if it isn't perfect. The trick to recognizing and appreciating this is that we should then stay vigilant to keep this positive change going for our own sake. We, the Filipino people, stand to benefit the most by staying vigilant, which is also why despite my misgivings with the anti-Epal movement, I'm much happier to see it in existence than not.

Surely, I'm not alone in feeling very optimistic about our political future, not because my immediate surroundings reflect this positivity, but simply because these changes for the positive are actually happening, and we are all in a position to actually do something about it.

And unlike how it was when we were kids, or even college students, where our very own teachers in school told us our secondary stereotype is how apathetic we were? This time, we are doing something about it. We totally are.

I put a lot of stock in the hope that this simply means that the generation after mine will be doing even more that way, because we are now having a genuine revolution of the mind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Project 52 (50/52): On 12/12/12 Again (And Why It's Still Special)

.:Project 52 (50/52): On 12/12/12 Again (And Why It's Still Special):.

As the world turns...

I remember it like it was yesterday when I made a wedding proposal to no one. It was sweet or creepy, depending on your mood for the day, but it was the hopeless romantic in me, just aching to break out. It was quite a coup, and I even talked about it last Monday on the air with King DJ Logan and Dani on The Rowdy Empire, which is the title of Logan;'s new show on WAVE 891. Feels like a weird homecoming to me, but hey, I'm not complaining.

In any case, after abandoning the 12/12/12 plan and even sounding rather ambivalent about it when I started 2012, I never really thought that I would actually find love again anytime soon. It's not for a lack of trying, for that matter. I just realized that as time went by, I was more sure about what I was looking for, and I didn't find the need to keep running around anymore, trying to find it. I felt that when the time was right, it would come to me.

And come it did.

Who would've thought that what was lost would be found once again? Who would've thought that any of this was even possible? I sure didn't. I was resigning myself to my fate that this was the end of that chapter, and yet lo and behold, I was pleasantly wrong.

She's a bit of a paradox, in that she doesn't want to be named, yet she doesn't want what I have to say to be vague. So I guess here's the easiest solution to that...

I love her.

My Beloved came back into my life after three years and I couldn't be more thankful. And as such, on 12/12/12, I declare, for all to see, that I love her with all my heart. She has always been my once in a lifetime, and that will never change. I guess it's just perfect that she finally knows how much she means to me, and at exactly 12:12 AM of 12/12/12, no less.

I really can't do much else but thank her for being there by my side once again. And slowly but surely, I know that we will get there. No matter how difficult the road will be, I know we can make it. Because we have each other.

In the end, 12/12/12 is truly a special day for her and I. Despite that, aside from the number, this isn't a day that stands out among all others, because we've made each day special for us. Who can ask for more at this point, really?

Thank you, Beloved. I'm not going to screw this up. I love you so much.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Project 52 (49/52): On Honesty Being The Best Policy (And How It Should Be The Norm, Not Special)

.:Project 52 (49/52): On Honesty Being The Best Policy (And How It Should Be The Norm, Not Special):.

Allow me to do something that borders on self-aggrandizement. It's fine, really. It's a story worth telling.

Earlier this week, I bought a few things for my consoles: an XBox 360 Controller, a PS3 Controller, a PSN Card, and even the Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale game. It was pretty cool, really: I pretty much always buy my original stuff from Datablitz, as they've been nothing but awesome people.

I mean, what did you expect me to do, something unbelievably stupid like support, say, an unscrupulous, money-grubbing company that doesn't understand the concept of a free market and fair competition practices?

Picture unrelated.

Well, anyways. That being said, I made my purchase, and I was charged about 5,000 bucks or so for the whole mess. I paid up, then left, all the while with a nagging feeling that given my purchase, all of that for under 6,000 seemed a little, I don't know... cheap.

So when I got home, I checked my receipt, and noticed that Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, a 2,000-peso game, was nowhere to be found. Yep, Datablitz undercharged me a whole 2,000 bucks.

I won't pretend I'm a saint and tell you that I immediately went and did the right thing. Hades, I didn't even come back to Datablitz until the next day and not before asking some of my friends for second opinions whether or not I should go back to pay them or return the merchandise. I mean, they gave me a receipt, I paid them, Datablitz will profit from the money I "saved" since I will come back and buy more stuff from them anyways, and nobody gets hurt, right?

Well, wrong. I immediately realized that when they do an inventory check, whoever was in charge of the store at the time I made my purchase would end up paying for that 2,000 out of his or her own pocket, and knowing I was still gonna go back to that store many more times in the future, that idea didn't sit well with me, since they were bound to trace the whole mishap back to me, what with the receipts and all. And sure, I could play dumb and say I didn't know, but I'd be lying if I said that. I knew it, and it didn't sit well with me to just take the game and run.

So I went back the next day, explained the situation, and paid for the game. The lady who actually manned the store when I made the purchase thanked me, but no big deal was made about it.

As it should be, actually.

See, I shared this story not to tell you I'm the paragon of virtue. I honestly had a genuine struggle during the whole morning the following day, thinking maybe I shouldn't pay for the game anymore, as it's their fault for neglecting to get it right, anyways. But then, if I wanted to screw people out of their much-deserved funding, I think I would've just stuck to pirating games (I also have an XBOX 360 aside from a PS3, and you will notice I never mention buying games for that console...) instead of technically shoplifting from one of the few stores in this country who actually make it easy and feasible to buy original games.

And the thing is, the fact that no big deal was made about what I did was, for me, something I hoped for. I didn't want a parade in my honor. Maybe the store manager, had he or she been there, could have offered the game to me for free as a sign of good will, and I'd have been cool with that, but see, I'm not entitled to that. I think that people in general have gotten so used to dishonesty and general meanness that when people actually do the right thing for once, it becomes so praiseworthy that the act almost seems less worthwhile in and by itself as opposed to the acclaim and adulation that comes with doing what is right.

I've been Kantian for years, and the notion of doing the right thing as a means to an end never really jived well with me. I'd rather live in a world where people returning lost items or not taking what isn't rightfully theirs is the norm rather than something that makes the news on TV Patrol. And that's why I share this story with you: not because I believe that I deserve any praise, but I believe that this is a very normal thing that I did, and I hope you agree with me that it isn't a freak of nature to be doing the right thing.

Praise me for an achievement if I have accomplished one. I will accept it graciously and perhaps even with pride. But please, don't applaud me for doing the right thing, because that's exactly what I was supposed to do, in the first place. I share this story in the hopes that I find like-minded people who will actually tell me that what I did was nothing special, but something I should have done anyways, and believe me: knowing I'm not alone in that regard would be more than enough reward for me, because that, more than praise or affirmation, is definitely what I'm looking for.

It also doesn't hurt that I ended up getting this from Datablitz later on in the week:

Terrible haircut not included in purchase.

Due to credit card issues, it took a full two days before I managed to make the purchase. Can you imagine what they could have done to me if I bought that and they found out along the way that I screwed them out of a game? I don't think I have any desire to find out what employees can possibly do to you if they don't have your food to spit in the way waiters do when you deal with them again after being a douche to them.

I really didn't.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

.:Project 52 (48/52): On The Unicorn Effect (And Why We Keep Running After Them):.

.:Project 52 (48/52): On The Unicorn Effect (And Why We Keep Running After Them):.

Shun! Shun the nonbeliever!

A few years ago, I wrote about The Unicorn Effect, and it has always stood out as one of those very brief, underdeveloped, but ridiculously true ideas I’ve formed through experience.  I’ve never really taken the time out to think about the topic more thoroughly, until today.

There’s always an appeal, after all, to “the one that got away,” to the point that we tend to be so hung up over the notion and we wish and pine away for that very person, even if we know very well how and why they got away. Hell, sometimes, they even deceived us and pulled the wool over our eyes, but because we loved the illusion so much, we just keep on going and holding on to the lies.

And yet, let’s face it: if the one that got away were to come back, would it really be the awesomesauce we built it up in our heads to be? Maybe, but most likely? Probably not.

The fact of the matter is, the Unicorn Effect has an addicting and very endearing effect for as long as the mystique of the Unicorn remains: for as long as we don’t have what we want from them, be it a relationship, sex, a green card, or whatever else. The Unicorn will always fascinate us until we either catch them, find a new Unicorn to run after, or recognize that there are more sensible goals to aspire for, really. And honestly, maybe, just maybe, the Unicorn really isn’t worth it.

But how does one know if they’re running after a Unicorn, or if they’re really going after something or someone worth pursuing and keeping? Well, I suppose that’s where it’s a good idea to come up with, say, eight simple signs (Oooohhh! Like an 8List?) that it’s the case. Maybe I’ll do that some other time, but I think the first and simplest sign that someone is a Unicorn is if you have no endgame plan with him or her in case your plan works and you win him or her over. If, after that, you have no idea what you’re supposed to do, then it’s pretty clear that the thrill is all in the chase for you, and maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t be relying on that rush to be the foundation of a sensible, mature relationship.

Case in point...

At the end of it all, if the one you want is more than just a Unicorn, then you know what you truly want, and it’s not merely the hunt that gets you high. It’s no guarantee that the person is not a unicorn, but it’s a genuine start in the right direction. After all, the absence of an actual plan means that consciously or subconsciously, you simply don’t expect things to become reality for you, and that will definitely throw you in for a loop when you magically succeed where you did not expect to.
 So what then, should we do with the Unicorn? Why, what mythology always did hope of us to do: to leave it alone. It’s better off that way.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Project 52 (47/52): On Proportion And Sanctimony

.:Project 52 (47/52): On Proportion And Sanctimony:.

In the completely authoritative website Cracked, David Wong wrote a very insightful piece, giving 5 Reasons Why Humanity Desperately Wants Monsters To Be Real. Reason #4 on that list was a load of food for thought, and I must say, explains how the cyber lynch mob has become such a reality for us now.

I certainly don't think that cyberbullying is an exclusively Filipino pastime, but given how being confrontative is still not the norm in Philippine society, there's nothing like the passive-aggressiveness of an anonymous entity hiding behind a computer screen to really shatter our faith in humanity sometimes. Any chance we could go nuts and make ourselves feel better by making someone out to be a monster we're so totally better than, we take it upon ourselves to go the whole nine yards and really act every bit as deplorable as the "monster" we claim we're trying to slay.

To my mind, Blair Carabuena was proof positive that the Filipino cyber lynch mob doesn't know the meaning of the word "overkill." Of course, Christopher Lao would be another one, and I find that the only thing that made these unfortunate but everyday situations for the Lao's and the Salvona's of our world would be the fact that they had a camera to catch them while they're at it. Of course, Carabuena's actions went past just words when he hit the MMDA officer, and of course, Sotto plagiarized with impunity then gave the most passive-aggressive "apology" this side of Michael Richards.

It's nice to feel morally superior to people we hate. You do it. I do it. Very few of us don't, really. It's why the average sanctimonious Filipino never found a hate bandwagon they didn't want to jump on. On the 8List, I believe Rico Mossesgeld really hit it on the head when he got to #7 on this 8List.

Which brings us to the unfortunate #AMALAYER video that went viral, and allowed the Filipino nation to come together in hatred to lambast some woman who was probably having a bad day, making a national issue out of a private issue that could have been settled between her and the lady guard with little fuss or incident.

Of course she did something wrong. Of course she lost her temper. You have to be an idiot to ignore that. That, however, doesn't mean that her mistake gives you every right to treat her as subhuman, or to be as classy as this:

In this picture: Nuanced discussion and proportionate reactions.

Let's get one thing straight: she didn't hit anyone. She didn't plagiarize Robert Kennedy. Yeah, she raised her voice, but at what point does that give us the right to treat her even worse? If we pride ourselves in being so morally superior to her, where is that moral superiority when we wish for her to get run over by a train?

And seriously, guys, why is our rage against her almost on par as the rage Althea Altamirano is getting for freaking murder?!?

The words of a calm and rational person.

Disproportionate, much?

Feel free to condemn what #AMALAYER did, but for you to wish violence upon her the exact same way we wish violence upon Althea Altamirano? I mean, wow. Considering how the obvious sexism and rape culture-centric commentary going on in that Althea thread is disturbing enough being done to a murderer, why are we allowing people to heap the same level of abuse on someone who just raised her voice? And if the word going around that she got expelled from school is true, are you seriously saying that someone's life deserves to be ruined for... losing her temper? Seriously? Then how the Hades did Robert Jaworski get a Hall Of Fame nod if that's the case?!?

Social media has given us so much power. But with great power comes great responsibility. I bet it makes us feel so nice and warm that we're not such horrible people because we're better than an #AMALAYER or a Blair Carabuena, but the minute we cyberbully them? We lose that moral high ground we were proud of. 

Remember Boyet Fajardo? Remember how much we hated him because he was so haughty and sanctimonious? Well, we are now a nation of "creative outbursts." We've been that way for years.

Sadly, I doubt it's going to get any better as time goes by, because if there's one thing we've proven without a shadow of doubt, we crave the high we get when we think we have the right to be every bit as horrible as the so-called horrible people we despise as much. This "right" to sanctimony is our drug. And we just can't get enough.

Welp, onto the next lynch mob, then, people. All in a good day's work!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Project 52 (46/52): On Emotional Rollercoasters (And How Hard It Is To Get Off Them)

.:Project 52 (46/52): On Emotional Rollercoasters (And How Hard It Is To Get Off Them):.


Here's a secret that isn't really much of a secret about me...

You see, I'm a drama queen.

For the longest time, conflict seemed to bring excitement to my life. If I was arguing with someone, there was a rush that I couldn't explain and I craved that rush. Maybe it's a holdover from my debating days, but I realized at some point that I craved for that rush so much, I was willing to push myself into situations where I need to confront someone, and at no point did I consider that there could be no possibly good aftermath for me in indulging in that kind of behavior.

With that whole #AMALAYER thing on Twitter today, I realized that a lot of the time, I'm just a video camera away from making a fool of myself forever for the whole world to see, although I'm willing to be this blog is doing a fine job of that already, to begin with. Nonetheless, I realized that while there is a rush to be had when drama takes over my life, the consequences are never really worth it, especially when you discover that no matter how much you want to rectify a mistake you've made, the other person no longer wants to have anything to do with you, not just because you did them wrong, but because they feel that the drama has drained them so much, there's no reason to ever go back to that, again.

Self-improvement is, of course, a laudable thing. Unfortunately, no matter how self-aware I can get, I tend to slip sometimes, and all I'm left with is to pick up the pieces and try to figure out how to bring back what once was, when I could have avoided the whole mess had I simply not tried rocking the boat and had I simply saved the drama for my mama.

Sometimes, even when I know for a fact that I wasn't being a drama queen about something, I realize that my past is haunting me to bite me in my posterior, because the other person feels so anxious about the drama starting all over again, they head me off at the pass. Or worse. I don't know, really, but one of the worst things you could ever feel is that sensation of being left hanging by someone, despite all your attempts at reaching out. The anxiety is murder.

So now, I'm left to wonder if it's too late to turn over a new leaf, and if it's not, if it's still possible to right what was once wrong, no matter who caused it. There are certain things, to my mind, that I would be much more at peace with if only I managed to resolve them one way or another.

Don't make my mistake. Don't let drama be a necessity in your life. Seriously.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Project 52 (45/52): On The US Elections (And Why I Don't Care As Much As I Thought I Would)

.:Project 52 (45/52): On The US Elections (And Why I Don't Care As Much As I Thought I Would):.

Obama self. Don't wanna live. Obama self. Anymore...

I still feel mildly annoyed that I am disenfranchised yet again, and this time, I feel like I don't have any excuses this time.

That being said, it's why I really didn't care too much about the US Elections, even turning down an invite by the US Embassy to the election party, although let's be honest: I was kinda expecting Obama to win a second term, really.

Whoever is president of America invariably affects the Philippines one way or another, but I think I'd be pretty glib if I thought that the POTUS would affect the Philippines nearly as much as the next bunch of senators we are going to put in power next year. And all I could do at this point is make a push in the right direction, and I can't help but think about that a lot more than Obama or Romney at the moment.

So pardon me. This is a really short essay week, but I think it's pretty easy to see why: I really can't be bothered about this whole thing too much. I figure there were about a few moment where I wondered if Romney would actually pull the upset, but overall, I didn't really fret, nor would my opinion have really mattered, anyways, since I realize how marginal it all will be to me, and how the more I see the Philippine conservative society backlash violently against progressives, the more it shows how irrelevant what America is up to on that point, and that's really where my interest lies, anyways.

Maybe next week, I'd give more f***s about the topic, but sorry, this one? I'm not too concerned.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Project 52 (44/52): On Deja Vu (And How Disorienting It Feels)

.:Project 52 (44/52): On Deja Vu (And How Disorienting It Feels):.

It feels strange, really.


There are things that I went through in the past, and now, I unexpectedly find myself going through them all over again. It's been a recent spate of things that I never really thought I would ever experience again. A touch of one's hand. A look in one's eye. A timbre in one's voice. It all seems so familiar, yet so foreign because I missed them all for so long.

Was it good? Was it bad? Truth be told, while it was a mix, I started off by remembering the bad, and when I finally knew I will survive, all I could remember was the good. I did nothing but recall all the good things and with each passing day, I missed it more and more. I longed for it more and more. And now, nothing but that which is so familiar yet so foreign is the only thing that could ever satiate me.

I thought I would never find this again. I thought it was never coming back. I thought that only the feeling would remain, but it would forever be hovering on empty.

I was wrong.


Deja vu hits, and it all feels so good again. The highest of the highs. Even the lowest of the lows. The devil I know is back, and I'm loving every minute of it. No regrets. No fears. Only true fortitude in the face of uncertainty. It's really hard to explain how I feel, really. All I know is I relish the feeling

I'm happy. I'm confused. I'm elated. I'm anxious. But through it all, I can't quite shake the disorienting feeling that comes over me because it's overwhelming. My whole life is out of sorts because of something... familiar? How strange is that?!?

But that's exactly how it works. Deja vu strikes you with its familiarity then throws you off because it's also unexpected. It comes over you, and while it might be a glitch in the Matrix, it simply means that while it's the same, something is also essentially different. Considering all of that, isn't it a wonder how what is the same is so jarring?

Well, it is.

And it's awesome.

Meow. That's right!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: End Of The Line

.:The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: End Of The Line:.

Wow. What a ride that was, and I never thought how emotional it was going to be for me to go through every single moment like that, but here we are.

I'm not going to recap 2012 because clearly, it isn't done yet, but so many big changes have been happening this year, from a new job to living my life in a new perspective, and to someone coming back into my life so unexpectedly. The jury's still out as to what's going to happen with that, but I'm pretty much prepared for anything that's going to go down because of that.

In the end, it's been a very quiet celebration of ten years of blogging for me. I didn't really have too many people outright tell me that they read my blog and enjoyed what I've had to say, whether it was about politics or humor or relationships or anything else. I haven't really had anyone point out to me how my writing style has subtly evolved into something you could expect to read on Cracked half the time. Quite frankly, I don't care, because when I started my blog, I wasn't ever writing it because I had an audience to serve: I was writing it for myself. And it's staying that way.

If you read and enjoyed this retrospective, well, thank you. It's pretty much the last ten years of my life, documented as best as I can, and like I said when I won the History, Society, and Politics award for the Philippine Blog Awards, I'm just lucky, maybe even blessed, that my life has intersected with so many things of consequence even if I myself may be nowhere nearly as consequential as the things surrounding me.

Anyways, here's the masterlist for the other posts in this Retrospective series:

The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2011

.:The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2011:.

Yeah, I think this was a better year than 2009 and 2010 combined...

Hmm... 2011. A perfectly good mix of a year, in all honesty. It wasn't overtly amazing (Except for the part where I met Kim Chiuuuuuuu!!!), and there were some clunkers along the way, too, and yeah, losing several friends along the way also proved to not exactly be a great experience, for that matter. Despite that, I think 2011 was a turning point for me because that was when I began to learn how to live my life without My Beloved, assuming that I was never going to see her again.

It was the year where I tried to finally open myself up for life beyond her, but the mistaken notion was that a life beyond her needed someone else to fill the void. Maybe that's where I was wrong: because the attempts I had to fill in that void were pretty regrettable looking back, to say the least. There were very few bright spots, and no, a pretend-relationship via mostly Facebook with Lovey Dovey probably wasn't one of them, nor was the mistake I made sometime October. 

Project 52 in 2011 was all about music. I had a song of the week, reflecting my regular lyrics posts in 2003 or so. This time, I managed to put more impact in doing those music-related posts simply because I had to justify why I was sharing each song in question. This is also why I ended up performing for the Itchyworms several times, including their 15th anniversary show, which has to be one of the biggest highlights of my year as a performer.

The amazing thing, though, is, after January, after CamSur, I discovered that making mistakes isn't such a bad thing anymore. I found out that I had the capability of walking away from mistakes now, and I wasn't going to stick by a mistake until it hurt so much that it was doing far more harm than good to me. I opened and capped off my year with Philo-Sophie, and I realized at that point that I was just being used, much in the same way I allowed myself to be used in 2009 by various people.

2011 was a turning point because I learned better than to let anything bad happening to me stain me permanently. It was when I started seeing how I could turn any lemons my way into lemonade. I also started contributing to Filipino Freethinkers this year.

The low points of 2011 came when Sugarfree disbanded, and AJ Matela passed. And probably the horrible April Fool's day joke bloggers received. The less said about that, the better.

Geekfighting, OGM, these things became part of my life this year all the same. I started opening for Mike Unson, culminating in me being part of Rex Navarette's November show in The Fort. Overall, I was trying so many different things to fill in the void, as I attended the weddings of one of my closest friends, as well as someone I almost got involved with romantically. This is why my first blogpost of the year is also probably the one I'm most proud of having written in 2011: the wedding proposal for no one. And yes, it doesn't matter if in 2012, the first thing I did was contradict myself. When I wrote that post back then, it was really something so true and heartfelt.

Winning a second time in the Philippine Blog Awards wasn't too shabby, either. I must say: 2011 really had a lot of good moments, and it all started when I realized that no matter how much my past still matters to me, I can walk away from it all. 

The sweetest or creepiest gesture I ever received in my life. Let's go with creepy.

And really, that's all there is to it: nine years of blogging in 2011, and I finally learned perhaps the most important lesson of my life: I am resilient. And sometimes, though something may mean the world to me, I need to turn my back on it because what good is holding on to a world going down in flames?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2010

.:The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2010:.

Ah, 2010. The year I decided to try and do a full-scale Project 365, and succeeded at it. Somewhat. It wasn't easy, really, especially since I was coping with so much during this year, and I had to bury myself in work just to stay alive. One guess why.


It was mortifying, really, but February 14, 2010 remains to be easily the worst day of my life. I even remembering writing this because the pain was just so palpable and I couldn't contain it. For nearly an entire year, I did nothing but cry myself to sleep. Hades, just remembering the pain I went through makes me misty-eyed all over again, and not in a good way.

It was an ordeal, and I still twitch whenever I remember what I went through, especially looking at the present, where we find out exactly what I made that sacrifice for. What a joke, really. What a load of crock, after everything has been said and done.

I hated 2009, but going over 2010, I didn't expect to discover that I may actually just happen to hate it even more.

Especially when you consider that instead of graduating, I ended up being suspended for a year from my Masters in what has got to be one of the most disgusting displays of gross negligence of due process.

Especially when you consider that this was the year that my grandfather passed. I was blogging up a storm in a reversal of what I went through in 2006. I was doing it to pretend that the pain wasn't there. I was doing it so I could drown myself out from having enough moments where I can sit down and recognize that my life was miserable.

You know, overall, I think I can only be grateful that on this year, I got to know Denise. She's an awesome person, and if you knew her, you would agree with me. Totally.

Well, damn. This was exceptionally short, and mercifully so. Ending the year by meeting Philo-Sophie wasn't exactly pleasant to remember, either...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Project 52 (43/52): On Second Chances (And Why They're So Hard To Give To Exes)

.:Project 52 (43/52): On Second Chances (And Why They're So Hard To Give To Exes):.

Appropriate, isn't it?

Eh ano nga kasi ang problema? 

Gusto mo ba talagang malaman? Ako! ako yung problema! Kasi nasasaktan ako kahit di naman ako dapat nasasaktan. Sana kaya ko nang tiisin yung sakit na nararamdaman ko, kasi ako ang humiling nito, diba? Ako yung may gusto. Sana kaya ko nang sabihin sa iyo na masaya ako para sa iyo, para sa inyo. Sana kaya ko. Sana - sana kaya ko, pero hindi eh. Sama-sama kong tao kasi ang totoo, umaasa pa rin akong sabihin mo. Sana ako pa rin. Ako na lang. Ako na lang ulit... 

Mahal ko si Trisha. 

Alam ko. 

She had me at my worst. You had me at my best. Pero binalewala mo lang lahat yun. 

Popoy, ganun ba talaga ang tingin mo? I just made a choice. 

And you chose to break my heart.

- Popoy and Basha, One More Chance.

"I just made a choice."

These words echo in my mind to this very moment because this is really how I feel about second chances. It's all about making a choice, and these choices have consequences. I guess it's really up to one whether or not they will make that choice to give something or someone a second chance, because let's face it: there's a reason why the first chance didn't work out in the past. And sometimes, when you let the worst elements of yourself bubble to the surface, you even indulge in petty vengeance, if only in your mind.

Pins! Pins! My kingdom for a handful of pins!

It's always a matter of choice. No matter how hard we try to ignore it, no matter how we may pretend that it's nothing, it's definitely a matter of choice. We choose whom we give our heart to, even if we can't really choose who to fall for. We choose when we leave and how long we stay. We make our bed and we lie in it. Ultimately, we may choose to break somebody's heart. And yes, we choose things that turn out to be wrong sometimes.

Alack and alas, we are thinking, learning people, and when we learn something once, very rarely do we ever want to walk into the same mistake a second time. Even if, all things considered, it could no longer be a mistake the second time around. Let's be blatant here and talk about love (yet again), if only to make the point clear: sometimes, the right love can indeed come at the wrong time. But what if finally, the right time does come along, and the love is still there?

Second chances entail risk any given time, but when it comes to love, the risk seems higher, even if the tradeoff is the familiarity just might actually be there. Sometimes, that familiarity, that he or she is the devil you know is actually a pretty nice feeling, and it can lead you back to the same places you've plumbed before, and you can't help but ask yourself, "well, why not?"

There are a million and one reasons why not, but in the end, it remains up to the both of you to answer the more important question: do these "why not's" even matter? Is he or she worth that second chance? If you answer a negative to the first and an affirmative to the second, then I guess you really should be working on it at this point.

I'm a firm believer in the saying "kung gusto, may paraan. Kung ayaw, puro dahilan." It's really the only way I could justify being where I am today, and still standing strong after all the adversity I've encountered in my life. It's all about the choices we make, and all about us acting on those choices decisively. Because I chose to live on and trudge along despite everything I've been through, I find myself in a position to fall back into what is familiar. I find myself in a position to meet once more the devil that I know.

And I couldn't be happier about it.

A second chance is familiarly unfamiliar territory: you go through the same roads, traverse the same paths, but it isn't quite the same. The moments of deja vu, the moments that harken back to what once was, they're all well and good, but when the differences come, they jar us to the core. When the familiarity comes, and along with it, the familiar wrongs, we are reminded why we left in the first place. On top of that, because you've been there before, the excitement isn't quite the same as it used to be. We go down the road again because we believe, in our heart, that it's worth another shot.

Maybe I really am being a hopeless romantic,  but I can only speak the truth. I made a choice, and that choice was to love with all my heart because anything less would be a travesty. And with that in mind, I guess it's why I feel that she's worth a second chance.

And that I'm worth a second chance.

It's no longer a question of circumstance. It's a question of choice.

Para hindi mo makitang nasasaktan ako.

The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2009

.:The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2009:.

One of the best shows I've ever been involved with.

2009. Just... just screw this year, really.

I mean there were great things, definitely. For example, this is when Bound And Gagged happened, and that also means I managed to stumble upon the happy crew of the Disenchanted Kingdom, which became my radio home for the next three years. I started working in Nuffnang in 2009, so that's a pretty awesome thing as well. This was also the year I started getting into standup comedy, and I still enjoy doing that to this very day. Can't say I could complain about any of those, even if Grin Department scared me out of a year's growth because of their antics. I also went to Ad Congress for the first time ever, and began writing for the Philippine Online Chronicles on this year.

But think about it. I mean, let's even set aside the personal tragedy that this was the year I lost My Beloved. 2009 was just. A. Horrible. Year.

First of all, this was the year Francis Magalona and Michael Jackson passed away. So did Cory Aquino (Quite a tragedy.), which led to us having Noynoy as president (An even greater tragedy.). Considering the fact that more than a few well-loved people also passed on in 2009? Well, wow.

Secondly, this was the year Ondoy happened. I mean, really. screw Ondoy. My mentor in high school, Ms. Edna Rivero, passed away around the time of Ondoy, and I never even knew until 2010.

So really? Screw this year. The good things that began in 2009 carried onwards to better years, and I'd rather think about those years than this dreck.

Still, if I had to pick one favorite entry from 2009, let's go with this one. 2009 marked the year that I won my first PBA trophy, after I hosted it in 2008. It was a crazy year for blogging, truth be told, especially since I coined the term "Patay-Gutom Bloggers" around this time, and unfortunately for other people, they popularized the term, and ended up receiving flak for it.

Man, this year was really the pits.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2008

.:The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2008:.

It was a year of Rickrolling!

Wow. 2008. I mean, I don't even know where to begin here, because it was such an eventful year, to say the least. 

First of all, considering I had my Masters to do, and I decided to leave Reedley at the end of the schoolyear, which was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make. Going over my letters to my students in Reedley, I actually felt a tad choked up, which is probably the first time I got misty-eyed while doing this retrospective while not reading an entry that involved My Beloved. And yes, she still figured very significantly in my blog in 2008.

Let's face it: she figured in my blog significantly since 2007, and even if I hardly wrote about her from 2010 onwards, there's no denying how much she still figured. I guess that's how it really works when someone is your once in a lifetime...

But anyways. This was the year when I was, for all intents and purposes, balancing my Masters with apparent unemployment, relying on purely magic shows to make my money, which was made possible thanks to Sir Freddie of Neutral Grounds and Ms. Heidi of Big Red Balloon (Formerly Balloon Creations.). I definitely managed to make a name for myself, and I even capped off a highly successful year of magic with an awesome show helmed by Kel and Jay, Wanlu the Ventrillusionist, and of course, the lovely Giselle Sanchez...

And then I learned the value of buying longer pants...

But while yes, you have the awesome mentalism, among other things, and you even have so much going on for you, this was really a year that marked the fact that I simply could never quite just go and leave radio. Campus 99.5 came on the airwaves, and I jumped onboard! 

Still, I had an especially soft spot for 2008 because in August, Rick Astley actually went to Manila. That was one of the biggest highlights ever, in my book. I met him in person, then even had some of the best seats in the house during his actual concert. Hard to complain about that, really.

Having said that, with a year of magic, music, mentalism, and My Beloved, it was definitely one of the most challenging years of my professional life, seeing as I had to pay for my own M.A. through my gigs, since I didn't have a regular paying job to speak of.

Ironically, that year may very well have been the most profitable year of my life, seeing just how many shows I ended up doing. I practically completed my Power 9 cards during 2008, give or take maybe a Mox Emerald and Pearl. Of course, I could be mixing up my timeline, but whatever.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2007

.:The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2007:.

Not pictured: blatant product placement in a soap opera.

2007. Wow. What a year, really. This was the year when I ended up being a teacher in Reedley International School, so needless to say, it was quite a wateshed of a year for me, because it was when I got back into the thick of teaching and the academe.

Yeah, I still had my pipe dreams of being a PhD or something. So sue me. Heh.

This was the year when love was in full bloom and I thought it would never end! Oh, how giddy I must have felt when this happened, and I thought that everything was just perfect. Then I wrote this, and all I could think was wow, she really is my once in a lifetime! 

And I guess she always will be. And it felt so right, because she couldn't help but say how much she loved me, too!

But I guess it's easy to say you love someone so much when you actually can't compare it just yet to the point where you truly, honestly did, eh? But that's a story for another day. Maybe in 2012, or when I do a retrospective in 2022.

The year was pretty amazing because this was when blog events started happening. We had a Blog Parteeh in 2007, and from there onwards, we never looked back, to the point that events left and right saturate the blogosphere nowadays. And I mean saturate: it brought out the best and the worst of the blogosphere, but whaddaheck, it was a natural progression of things, really. After meeting Sam Oh in 2006 and getting inspired to become a magician, I ended up hanging out with The Story Circle, who really became a huge part of my life for several years hence.

2007 was also the point where I was super crazy about Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson, so "Sana Maulit Muli" was my favorite TV show of all time. It was pretty funny, and My Beloved just went along with it, no matter how much she rolled her eyes over the fact that I'm just super crazy over the Kimerald tandem. Yes, that's the actual tandem, and not just Kim Chiu. I was seriously a fan of the loveteam. It was also the time when I was a majorly active user in the Comic Book Resources forums, which I moved to when the Ragnarok craze killed the activity in the Otaku Boards.

Because of the fact that I hosted TOEI in 2006, though, I started becoming a presence in conventions because I tried to do my magic out there. Having said that, this was the point I met and became friends with Alodia, Ashley, Crissey, and Tricia. I would end up friends with Domz in the year after that. I don't know about you, but that was a pretty interesting time, because slowly, I was transitioning into really being a regular fixture in cons as a host.

You know what my favorite entry was, though? I think it's the one where I did the math. I still grin from ear to ear when I look at that entry. It felt even smarter than all those crazy Philosophy papers I wrote for Mr. Calasanz and everyone else.

That being said, huge things happened this year, such as being a speaker during iBlog 3. It was my first time speaking during iBlog, and it was definitely given rave reviews by everyone who watched, as it set the tone for my magic career for quite a while. That being said, not only was it a success, My Beloved was actually there.

On top of all that, I resigned from WAVE in 2007. Yeah. It was a huge leap for me to make, as I was in radio for a good three years. Still, moving to teach in Reedley was one of the best things I ever did in my life, and to this day, I still cherish that schoolyear I had with my kids from Reedley. The mere fact I'm still friends with several of my colleagues and students from Reedley, as opposed to me mostly remaining friends only with Camilo in Ateneo should demonstrate the contrast, really.

This was an awesome year for me. I was so happy. I was so in love. And I was so fearless, as I came to grow as a performer by leaps and bounds. 2008 was simply a continuation of all the blessings I've managed to accrue in 2007. It also showed with how I blogged, as the academic bug clearly bit me again, and I had ridiculously detailed posts without being so transcript heavy. It was a subtle evolution of my writing style that I think stands to this very day.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2006

.:The 10th Anniversary Retrospective: 2006:.

Probably only the second or third best thing of 2006.

Wow. 2006. Talk about a pivotal year, because this was the year I blogged the least. Offline life was getting in the way so much that I couldn't help but have to really let my blogging take a hit, inevitably. Heartbreak near the start of the year, then followed by months upon months of career woes since I had to give up QTV11 after doing segment production for one season.

It was also the year when I got into professional magic and mentalism, which was definitely one of the biggest, most pronounced changes in my life. To think that it all started because I simply wanted to do a performance for Elbert Or, who was my best friend at the time. 

It was the year I got to meet Estelle, bonded with April, met Mick Foley, and yes, found out that National University actually existed.

Not photoshopped, rest assured.

So overall? I met new people and got to doing new things. I was really having a hard time dealing with heartbreak, so despite the misery I felt at the time, I found amazing friends who helped me weather the storm.

I was starting to be less transcript-based with my blog entries, and as I started to using more pictures, it really felt like my blog was becoming a lot more fun to write. Of course, I wrote so few entries during this year, and some of them were downright dark and disturbing, reflecting the state of mind and heart I found myself in at that point. I was down, and almost out. I couldn't thank my friends enough, but there was someone who made all the difference in the world that year, and she was simply unforgettable.

Towards the end of the year, My Beloved came into the picture. We saw The Departed,  and then things slowly started falling into place. That's why this was my favorite entry of 2006, because that very brief bit I had to say about her said everything I needed to say then... and now.

"I love you very much, and I hope that I would prove to be worthy of your time and attention. Sometimes, I worry when I catch myself not treating you in the best way I could, but at the end of the day, I know I will do whatever it takes to do right by you.

No matter what, we will find a way.

Thank you for making my life just a little brighter."

Truer words have never been said.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Project 52 (42/52): On The End Of The Disenchanted Kingdom

.:Project 52 (42/52): On The End Of The Disenchanted Kingdom:.

For a show called "The Disenchanted Kingdom," we sure had a lot of good vibes.

Well, damn.

It was 2009. I was at a point in my life where things were so down and out for me, and all I had to look forward to was the Bound And Gagged Kel and Jay show. It was why I actually went on a radio tour to promote my show, and when I ended up in RT, it was King DJ Logan's timeslot. He was back on radio, with 99.5RT, and he has a new team for his show, The Disenchanted Kingdom. They weren't around for a full month by then, really. I went sometime in October while their first show was in late September, at the height of Ondoy.

I've known Logan for years, since his KCFM days. I know he didn't really remember me much, but I certainly remembered him. I also got to know Marf and Cleo, his other two co-hosts, and I guested on their show, where I demonstrated to them my metal-bending act, which impressed them so much that KDL actually asked me to just keep on dropping by the show whenever I could.

For the next three years, that was exactly what I did, and I was pretty much an unofficial part of the DK team until the very end. 

And I mean until the very end, because last Tuesday, in what I thought was just another routine visit by me to the show, King DJ Logan announced that it was officially the final episode of the Disenchanted Kingdom. Marf, Cleo, Ana Q5, Maui, and Lu Skywalker weren't there to take a bow, but they definitely were part of the inspiration for that night's seemingly mundane show that ended somberly, but sentimentally.

I don't really know what their plans are for 99.5, and I'd feel bad that another legendary station is going the way of the dodo, but we've lost so many stations already, I'm beginning to feel numb when it comes to that. But yeah, don't ask me what they plan to do with 99.5 next. I have no idea.

We didn't have that month-long preparation NU had. We didn't have that candle vigil where people mourned our loss but were ready for it. People who cared were saddened profoundly because it all came with little fanfare. We went gently into that good night. We didn't go out in a blaze of glory. It was so quiet, and it was so hard to stifle a tear as it just ended right before my very eyes without us even having a chance to invite everyone by our side as we said goodbye.

But you know what? The Disenchanted Kingdom was a big part of the last three years, and it made a huge difference in my life, knowing how it kept me sane during some of the darkest times of my life. When I was miserable, The DK was there to ignore how I was feeling and force me to throw barbs back and forth with them. It was just like standup comedy, except things fell into place a lot more naturally. It felt like a family to me: y'know, the kind of family where you wanna strangle each other every other day, but you undeniably love each other? The kind of family where you will pick on each other, but if anyone else so much as tried to pick on your family, you'll give 'em hell? Yeah, that kind of family. I had one of those in radio, and I couldn't have been happier that I did.

When I saw that there were people saddened that the Disenchanted Kingdom closed up shop, I couldn't help but feel consoled in knowing that the joy and changes the DK instilled in me were paid forward to everyone who was listening to us. I couldn't ask for anything more, really: to be a part of a show that really just knew how to have fun, and to make those listening to us feel like they're part of that fun. I think my life would be radically different, and all for the worse, if I never chanced upon KDL, Marf, and Cleo way back in 2009. 

I am a better person today because of the Disenchanted Kingdom. And for that, I can never be more grateful than I already am. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know we will see each other again soon, but for now, I raise my glass to the Disenchanted Kingdom and to everyone who was part of our crazy and dysfunctional family for the past three years. It was a beautiful ride, and I wouldn't have traded any of it for the world.

Closing time. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

- Semisonic