Monday, November 9, 2009

Of Course. What Else.

While eating alone in Kenny Rogers (for some reason I always have interesting seatmates whenever I eat alone in Kenny Rogers. There was that one gay hotel corporate powerful person who was leaking interview secrets to a male applicant who was muscular and wearing a tight shirt, and then there was the kid who brought a huge amount of toys and went on to destroy them, both stories I've already blogged about and I'm sure no one remembers), so, while eating alone in Kenny Rogers three days ago there was this 7 or 8 year old boy wearing his school PE shirt eating rice with gravy, for some reason he only wanted the gravy, and he was reciting some math stuff that he'd learned, some spelling stuff that he'd recently memorized, and then the mom went, "hey what about the new poem?" and I nervously told myself, obviously, the poem couldn't possibly be, I mean it couldn't possibly be....

"Alms, alms, spare me a piece of bread! Spare me your mercy!!!" the boy started to recite. Complete with facial expression and hand gestures at that.

I think he's gearing up for a declamation contest. He would lose, he doesn't look at all that poor. Unless of course his mom gets into Stage Mum mode and smears his face with uling. That would get the judges. For sure.

Infinite Crisis

Recently read a Facebook note by Lloydie about missing certain things. Lloydie is presently in Malaysia or Singapore or somewhere searching for himself, training in the various modes of Asian self-defense. He is travelling the world for all sorts of spiritual fulfillment and discovering his chakras or something, like what Batman did after the events of Infinite Crisis. You would think that after 70 years of existence there is nothing left for Bruce Wayne to learn, but he leaves Gotham nevertheless in the hands of the reformed Two-Face, the Birds of Prey, and such. And now he is gone again. Why? Because he is dead. Or trapped in the past after being hit by the beams of Darkseid in Final Crisis. Or something. For sure he doesn’t appreciate The Black Hand licking his skull.

In Infinite Crisis #4 Batman torments himself in the Bat Cave as he watches his own creation the Brother Eye wreak havoc in the universe. He hits his giant computer screen with a chair, keels over, and cries in anguish. He remembers the pivotal events in his life—the death of Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker, the shooting of Barbara Gordon at the hands of the Joker, the death of his parents. He cries “I wish I could go back”, at which point the Superman of Earth 2, Kal-L, shows up and says that indeed he can.

Been recently finding—or losing—myselves in such a state, the desire to go back. Memory can indeed be confounded. Obviously I wouldn’t want to rotate in OB again, but memory works in such a way that the past always seems much simpler, much funnier, much more comfortable, such that I only have fond memories of being with Ditz the Titz, Mrs. T, Smoketh, Ol, and the rest in the backdrop of a strong lochia stench. Or the memories of childhood. We would always get annoyed when the then-adults would tell us that we were lucky that we don’t have worries, that we shouldn’t rush to adulthood. They were right. The bullies, the boredom, the annoying Hanabishi family computer cartridge that wouldn’t work—they are fleeting, they go away after a while, they are inconsequential. But not the confusing crossroads of career or non-career. Or being in a genuine financial rut. Or the torments of relationship or non-relationship. Or the diseases and the deaths. Or the intangible yet very real crisis of self-discovery. And we are not Bruce or the thousands of DC heroes and villains who would die, become Black Lanterns, and somehow manage to live again to be in new ongoing story arcs once more. We wish we could go back, but we don’t have the Flux Capacitor, do we.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Learning. Is Overrated.

A few months ago I texted my friend Vampirella inquiring about the cellphone number of Ysmault, and after a few minutes she replied with the number. Genuinely grateful I texted back, "Gee, thanks!" I know, must be all the comic books I've been reading. Incensed Vampirella replied with, "Why do you have to be so sarcastic? Nasa ER ako and ang daming patients, etc."

Hurm. Come to think of it, putting a "Gee!" on something may indeed sound sarcastic, unless you live in Riverdale and are ordering something from the Choklit Shop. And it probably didn't help that Vampirella was in the ER. I told this once to Smoketh, and whenever I would use the word "Gee!" she would immediately reply with "Whydoyouhavetobesosarcastic?!?" Working on the concept of learned behavior, etc. I started to automatically say the entire exchange whenever I have to thank someone for something. For instance:

Me: HIV, paabot ng asukal.
HIV: Here.
Me: Gee, thanks, whydoyouhavetobesosarcastic?!?!

or

ME: Smoketh, pwede bang ikaw na ang magrounds. Tinatamad na ako.
Smoketh: Sure.
Me: Gee, thanks, whydoyouhavetobesosarcastic?!?!

I've used this around five times once with Cheapo around. She snickered the first time. Asked me to elucidate on its origin the second time. Made kebs the third time around. By the fifth time she wanted to slap me.

As a project during our Behavioral Psychology back in college Groin wanted to cure me of my attention deficit, so whenever I would turn my head to watch people while in Jollibee Philcoa she would feed me some hot sauce. I must have consumed half a hot sauce bottle, but up to today I still could not sustain attention for more than ten seconds. In return I sought to cure her of her fear of snakes. I proposed to our instructor that as a first step I would surprise Groin by throwing a bunch of fake snakes at her face while she's studying. It didn't get approved.

And For Today's Psychotherapy: It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference

We can think about these things, think of them as needles slowly burying themselves in our heads and in our hearts and in our spirit and feel unable to escape and rise above these obstacles, think of them in the middle of work, in the middle of conversations, in the middle of our daily tasks and tell ourselves we are in pain, unbearable and unrelenting, or we can physically draw deep cuts on our body so we would feel this, this pain, because we need to express this melancholy and this rage and this torment, place ourselves in a widening gyre, jump in between giant, interlocking gears, or we can drown ourselves in alcohol and drugs and sex to shield ourselves from this pain, or express them in art or music or writing or psychotherapy or sertraline, or we can do all of them at the same time, all at the same time, but it wouldn't change a thing. It wouldn't. Change. A thing.

Trainspotting With Renton, JAPT, RBTDS, Namtab Pots, and Ruth Marx

I arrived quite late for Namtab Pots’ birthday party. I was told that some of my closest high school friends were coming and I haven’t seen them in a long time, and I needed to see these people. Namtab Pots, RBTDS, JAPT, Ruth Marx, and Renton have been some of my closest friends since high school, but in the recent events Renton hasn’t been showing up. We haven’t seen him since 2004 but Ruth Marx did see him once back in 2005 in Puerto Gallera, and he said that Renton was terribly inebriated and dancing on the sand, totally red, half-naked, and seemed to be in another plane of consciousness. No one has heard anything about him ever since and he wouldn’t reply to any text message or email. He would occasionally send us some new cellphone number, which would again be unattended after a week. By 2007 he just suddenly vanished, physically and from our collective consciousness. But this time, Namtab Pots said, Renton suddenly promised he would come via a Facebook message. We all waited in anticipation at what sort of person Renton is now after five years—Is he now totally wealthy and would just attend to patronize us lowly employees? Is he now married with five kids? Is he now a druggie? Is he now a girl with huge boobs?

In he came, wearing a black beret. He was thinner than before, but not asthenic enough to be categorized as AIDS cachexia. “What happened to you? Are you now wealthy and just attending this party to patronize us lowly employees? Are you now married? Five kids? A druggie? Huge boobs?” we asked in quick succession.

“Nawala ako nung 2007,” he started. “Dahil pumasok ako nun…”

“Sa rehab?!?!” we gasped collectively. But it was a totally fake gasp. Because we knew. We knew all this time. How dare he not share those drugs, I thought in annoyance.

“Pumasok ako… sa seminaryo,” he said.

This was totally out of character, but Namtab Pots suddenly related that back then Renton was corresponding with him regarding the prospect of being a priest. This was quite surprising, as I would have thought it were more possible for him to be, let’s say, dead than being a priest. But apparently back in 2007 he had decided to be a Jesuit and entered the seminary where he stayed for an entire year, with no connection whatsoever to the outside world. This of course begged the question:

“ Bakit ka lumabas? Dahil sa tawag ng laman?” one of us asked. I think it was me.

We then proceeded to a coffee shop where we interrogated him on his missing five years. I noted that his five years were very interesting, trying, significant, full of relevance. That in those five years he found love, lost it, found love again in the arms of God, but decided to rediscover Him elsewhere through a more mundane existence. That those five years were dedicated to finding clarity, and a sense of self, and a sense of hope. That those five years are, in short, very bloggable. Write a blog, Renton, write a blog.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blackest Night Updates

Self-serving comic book-related entry. Last chance to stop reading.
The Blackest Night series is now on its issue #4, and as with any huge event it is very interesting, very huge, very wide-screen, and as a consequence each issue seems very, very short. When they said that you can read Blackest Night without reading all the tie-ins from other titles they lied. You have to read all the tie-ins, all twenty or so of them so far, in order to fully enjoy this mega-blockbuster.
Important points, and therefore spoilers:
1. Garth also known as Tempest, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl were recently killed and are now Black Lanterns! They join Aquaman, The Elongated Man, SueDibny, Firestorm, and thousands of other heroes and villains who have been dead for quite some time in sowing terror in the DC Universe.
2. Mera, the widow of Aquaman, is now cool and involved in some of the cooler scenes in Blackest Night. This proves that with excellent writing and art you can make seemingly lame characters cool. Aquaman can stay dead and Mera can take his place in the Justice League after all this is over.
3. But one other female character is way cooler, and it is Indigo-1 of the Indigo Lanterns. And she can speak English, although most of the time she prefers to say “nuk nuk nak nok nek” or something. And she has a cool staff with a purple orb in the middle.
4. The Superman: Blackest Night tie-in is one of the best Superman stories in quite a while, with Ma Kent and Krypto being utilized excellently. The Batman: Blackest Night tie-in is also great, but inferior in art and pacing, though I really dig that scene with Oracle and Commissioner Gordon eluding the Black Lanterns. Titans: Blackest Night is also highly entertaining, and I am genuinely concerned about Donna Troy’s well-being after she was bit by the tiyanak version of her son. She can now see in the colored emotion registry! She will survive this ordeal, but I hope she retains this sort of power.
5. And in one of the best lines in the series, Agent Orange Larfleeze as he is being chased by Black Lanterns: “I want I want I want… help!” Hahahahahahahahahaha!
6. And finally for this update, the proof that Geoff Johns can strike directly at my beating geek’s heart: Firestorm Jason’s girlfriend is transmogrified by the Black Lantern Firestorm into… a pillar of salt! Aaaaaaaaaaieeeeeee!

Not Beating Around The Bush With Tits

Maybe because the end of the year is nearing, but I am feeling a terrible sense of ennui. It’s one of those blog entries, I know. Ennui ennui ennui. Whine whine whine. Be morose. Morose morose morose. But we can’t be joking around and being happy and facetious all the time, can we. Or can’t we? We can’t. Indeed. And it’s not a terribly good sign when I’m beginning to talk to myself, with confusing tag questions at that, in a corny blog entry no less. It’s not just the need for a better financial well-being, but I’ve been ruminating on some other career options. Things are just not rewarding anymore in any financial or emotional sense. Awww, look at the poor trainee, feeling sorry for himself. Why not try digging coals for a job or something and you wouldn’t feel these pretentious, fleeting feelings of self pity, I ask. Digging coals? Here? Of course, where do you want to do it, in 18th Century America? I’m no longer sure how many personalities are talking. I’m confused. I’m confusing myself. Myselves.

Anyway I’ve overheard Ruthie and Tits talking recently about this very attractive career move—being an apple picker in New Zealand. It would allegedly earn you hundreds of thousands of pesos in a much shorter while. They might be talking about mountains of apples here, but the phrase “hundreds of thousands of pesos” was enough to stop everyone on their tracks. This confused Tits, because it seemed more attractive than the initial prospect of milking cows.

“Apple picker,” Ruthie started. “But is there such a job as a cherry popper?” to which everyone within earshot snickered. Tits then put on a perplexed expression, which always happens to him in these sorts of conversation. “What cherry popper?” he of course asked. Sometimes we wonder if he’s just pulling our leg with this kind of naivete—he is named Tits after all—but no one really bothered to ask.

“Eh di cherry popper! Special Agent Fox Mulder, kindly elucidate,” Ruthie asked.
Now I was comfortably ensconced on the corner bed, reading the wonderful, extremely pleasant Superman: Secret Origins #2 by Geoff Johns featuring Clark Kent’s first meeting with the Legion of Superheroes. I had no time to beat around the bush, sidestep away from the cracks, or baste around with the garlic, so I just said, “First time fucker. To have your cherry popped is to be fucked for the first time.”
“Huh?” Tits said, facial expression getting more unconvincing. “But why cherry? Why pop?”
“It’s the hymen. The hymen is the cherry. To penetrate the hymen is to pop the cherry,” I said quickly, resuming my reading. I sometimes pity my friends whenever I become this profane and graphic, but issue #2 is just so great to waste time on metaphors, simile, onomatopoeia, etc.

More perplexed look.

Mental note: Bring colored crayons and an illustration board next time.