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.