Sunday, June 29, 2003

i'm baaaaack!

After trying all sorts of things, I finally got the stupid new blogger thingie to publish my posts. Apparently, it had something to do with some FTP issue, so I fiddled around with my site and addresses and numbers and somehow (and even I find it hard to believe given the fact that I'm a moron when it comes to tech crap), I got it to work. Just when I was about to abandon this blog to the dust in the wind. So let me say thanks to Marco and my other friends who tried to help me.

Blogging, despite what people like William Gibson say, has become an important part of my daily routine. It isn't a tool to refine my writing. It is aanother medium to write in.

And it kills me when I can't post (is that sad or what, I don't care). Given my poor memory, if I don't write about things big or small, I will forget. And I believe that writing makes a precise man (unlike speaking which is riddled with erratic nonsense). And precision is important when you want to communicate an idea or three.

table talk

After Vin so kindly helped (van, cart and muscle) move a PC, chair, box and other stuff, for me, we joined the rest of the gang over at the inevitable Country Waffle for a very very late dinner (any closer to midnight and it would have to properly be called breakfast). We spoke about the difference between creator and publisher rights (given the now-old brouhaha with Waid and Marvel), marveled at the Amazing Monotone Waiter Who Spoke To His Invisible Wee Friends, the non-event that was Gay Pride, the mysterious Kumon Method of teaching (one school guaranteeing a 30% improvement on IQ), a bit more on homage, Twilight Empires, the upcoming Hinirang graphic novel, Epic submissions and a whole carload of other stuff.

Earlier that evening, I explained to Jason why I went out of my way (and budget) to purchase the Essential X-Men volumes at Fully Booked. The reason is two-fold and simple: first, I grew up with those stories; second, they are among the most entertaining I've ever read. Granted that Claremont wilts under any degree of critical scrutiny, they were still kick-ass story, void of namby-pamby pretensions. But if there's anything I'll defend, it was the way the characters were presented. To me, they were fantastic (ugh, I feel the stunted fanboy in me leaping in delight). Witness the exquisite dialogue of any baseball game stories of that period. Sheer wonder.

The problem with developing taste and a critical faculty is the loss of the ability to simply shut up and enjoy the damn thing. Once in a while I can still do that. But really, I'd rather read Bendis' work on Alias (I picked up a couple of the trades from Vin - man, his dialogue skills are really top-notch) Or Rucka's Queen & Country rather than the current creatively-bankrupt capes-'n-tights comics going around. But I'll be the first to defend the superhero comic as a worthwhile, valuable and wonderful genre (because there are still some good things coming out). Sometimes, we just have to accept that not everything tries to (or must be required to) talk about the human condition. Sometimes. But that is no excuse to candy coat expectations. Sounds contradictory, but I know you're smart and will figure it out as you go along.

wonder versus awe

While waiting for a room at the videoke, Carl, Vin, Nikki and I watched a significant chunk of David Copperfield's 15 Years of Magic (during that time that Claudia was still with him). Blow-dried and limp-wristed, Copperfield flew, made snow, made the Statue of Liberty vanish, walked through the Great Wall of China, whathaveyou, all with the traditional showman's flair and flamboyance. The audience reaction was, of course, wonder. As in "ooooohh" and "aaaahhhh" and "wow".

In direct contrast, you have the street magic stylings of David Blaine, who, bereft of stage, lights, music and multiple assistants, turns coffee into coins and levitates a foot away from you. The audience reaction is quite different. A kind of awe quickly shifting into fear as people struggle to come to turns with walking headon into the unexpected (in my case, my friends know I'd run for the hills if he just floated in front of me).

The difference has to do with expectation and audience preparation.

Copperfield's show is a show. You pay and expect to be dazzled, and you are. Same with the Las Vegas duo with white tigers.

Blaine assaults you - ambush and surprise are key elements of his street tricks (his ice coffin and similar feats are more traditional though).

So which works best - magic you are prepared for or magic that surprises you?

thank you for the music, the songs you're singing

Perhaps the most unexpected song requested was Just Like A Pill, which Nikki sang - so...unsettling. Followed closely by Carl's stunning rendition of a French song I can't even spell.

But it was great to finally have a chance to just sing in the company of friends and just have fun (thanks to Martin Nievera, Basil Valdez and Freestyle).

Next time, Tobie and El should be part of the show though.

do i dare disturb the universe?

Why, yes. Certainly.

The National Commission of Culture & the Arts will be handing out writing grants of P200k each for the following divisions: short story, novel, essay, poetry and translation. While nothing like the P1M Centennial Prize (bagged by master Cyrilo Bautista), I have nothing to lose by sending a ton of stuff their way.

Who knows, right?

So you should give it a shot too. You know who you are.


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