Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Project 52 2014 (15/52): Don't Look Back In Anger

.:Project 52 2014 (15/52): Don't Look Back In Anger:.

Slip inside the eye of your mind, don't you know you might find a better place to play?

Ah, yes. The daily grind. The crunch of the routine. The ennui that consumes us all, and keeps us from looking at things in a different way. It isn't crushing or overwhelming so much as it permeates every aspect of our life to the point where it is inescapable and we take it for granted and stop asking questions.

It's the norm. It's what's expected. That's exactly why it's so easy for us to go around here in circles and just take it as fact without really thinking about it for a moment. We are so used to things just working their way in and out of our lives with little consequence, and only begin to take notice when something big is coming our way. That's really how it works.

You said that you've never been, but all the things you've said, they slowly fade away...

Oh, I know. I realize all too well that the things people say and do are things we all just commit and then forget. It's so easy when we're all walking around here, running purely on autopilot. That's how it is. That's how it's always been. We take things for granted. We take things as they come without a second thought, because everything feels so ridiculously normal and routine.

And that's how we all fall apart, really. People always think that relationships collapse because of one big thing, when it's a million tiny things nobody thought was worth bringing up. When putting up becomes less sensible than giving up, simply because all the tiny details are too much of a fuss to work on. Whether in friendship or in love, that's always how it's been.

It's a war. An invisible war nobody realizes we're fighting. But the casualties still remain at the end of it all.

So I'll start a revolution from my bed, 'cause you said the brains I had went to my head. 

I can only fight what I can see. But it's there. It's really there, and it's so hard to open my eyes to realize it happening. How does one arrest a death by a million pinpricks? How does one even begin to stop it?

Step outside, summertime's in bloom.

So maybe the reality is, I have to do something far more meaningful, far more substantial, than to just patch up something after it has been damaged. Is it time to be proactive? But how can one be proactive when what is essential is indeed invisible to the eye?

And so, Sally can wait, She knows it's too late as we're walking on by...

There's a pressing need for change. There's a sense of urgency. But it shouldn't distract us from what needs to be done otherwise, in the meantime. Do it, but do it right. Don't rush into it. Don't force yourself when you can't even think straight at the moment.

Wait, if you have to.

And only when it's too late would there be room for regret. But that time for regret isn't here yet, so it's best to keep on keeping on, rather than to paralyze yourself in despair.

Her soul slides away...

As they drift apart, maybe you begin to realize there's a reason for that. Some people in your life come in for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, after all. That's really how it works, and that's really where it all ends up.

So much to do, so little time. So much to think about, yet in the end, when we walk away, when we end up going our own ways, the biggest challenge would be...

But don't look back in anger, that's what they say...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Project 52 2014 (14/52): I'll Remember

.:Project 52 2014 (14/52): I'll Remember:.

Say goodbye to not knowing when the truth in my whole life began...

Reality. It's such a loaded word, as we try to make heads and tails of what reality is, and what exists and what does not.

2014 as a year seems to be terrible so far. In the middle of all the things going on, so many people are no longer with us, and it just makes me go numb when I think about how we still have over eight more months to go, and it's been non-stop bad news, all the time, all the way.

So when I try to say goodbye to people I've known, to people I've cherished for one reason or another, it becomes very difficult to have to come to terms with the fact that I'm doing so within mere weeks, if not days, of each goodbye.

Say goodbye to not knowing how to cry, you taught me that...

And whether the tears come because of the pain one feels from the twist of separation, or tears of joy, those tears come even if you don't want them to. I know it sounds overly dramatic, but a part of me died when the Streat was conquered by Brock Lesnar on Wrestlemania last Sunday. The end of the Undertaker's dominant winning ways at Wrestlemania was a shocker and completely took the wind out of the sails of any Undertaker fan, which I consider myself to have been for almost two decades.

But that was overshadowed with the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Not my favorite wrestler or even person, by any means, but when you look at him and how happy he was in the last few days of his life, it was clear that he was turning a corner and mending bridges that were burn over years and years of hatred and resentment. It seems that when people bury the hatchet with Hulk Hogan, as was the case with Randy Savage a few years back, people feel at peace already.

The Warrior was a phenomenal wrestler who achieved so much despite spending so little time at the top of the wrestling world. You can't take that away from him, and seeing how he was becoming an even better human being made it easier and easier to appreciate him as a performer.

But no more. He has left us too soon, like all the other wrestlers who came before him.

Inside, I was a child that could not mend a broken wing...

And no, 2014 hasn't been kinder to any other aspect of me, either, as I continue to take beating after beating in that regard. I don't think I could ever really catch a break, and 2014 has not really made me feel like it will look any better for me anytime soon.

So here I am, still walking wounded and coping with tragedy, and I realize that standing in the face of adversity is something we all have to learn and appreciate that while I have my own worries and cares, I'm still here to face them head-on. Day in and day out, it's all I could do, really.

Outside, I looked for a way to teach my heart to sing...

All the platitudes in the world may not make it easy on me to really come to terms with the things that have been happening so far this year, but as I keep trying to look on the brighter side of life, I can help myself see things in a better light. It isn't easy, really. Last week, I lost my last living grandparent, and it was something I never quite expected to come when it did. It shook me. It moved me. And ultimately, I still don't quite know what to make of it.

For now, I could only continue to go on and stay strong as I can so that I don't get swallowed up by the overwhelming feeling of despair that just washes over me every time I am left alone with only my thoughts.

And I'll remember, the strength that you gave me...

So whether in the shallowest of ways the Streak gave me cause for joy and anticipation, to the realization that life is so short as the Ultimate Warrior passed away at such an untimely moment, and all the way to the many lessons I have learned from my grandmother while she was still alive, the best I could do to honor them is to never forget them.

I find strength in adversity not because it's cool or exciting. I find strength in adversity because that is what the examples I choose to honor and remember have likewise chosen to do throughout their lives. It is that fervent desire to become better, to become worthwhile, that keeps me going even if everyone else tells me otherwise.

I can't forget them because they always reminded me of that.

Now that I'm standing on my own...

So now, I need to believe in myself more. To believe in myself the way I believed in them before. I need to learn that not everything that comes out there to challenge me is a mountain that has to be climbed, because there are some mountains that simply do not deserve any climbing whatsoever.

I remember you all, because you won't give me a chance to forget any of you.

I'll remember the way that you changed me...

I can safely say I have grown over the years thanks to the many influences in my life, and though some of these influences may no longer be with me, I will remain steadfast to the way they have helped shape me. They changed me in ways that helped me. They changed me so that I may become a better human being. And yes, if I end up losing even more people dear to me as 2014 goes by, their memories will continue to sustain me this way.

I remember...

Of course. How can I not? Thank you for the memories.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Back In The Swing Of Things...

.:About Damned Time:.

I've pretty much sidetracked myself for long enough, and if last Tuesday's show was any indication, I do believe I need that aside from improv, I ought to go back and focus on magic and mentalism more, especially since hypnosis is now also a part of my repertoire.

The show in Route 196 was a blast. Wish you guys were there, but every Friday, we still do improv shows in The Fort, around 8PM or so in the Jamba Juice area. Do drop by us, and if things work out, you just might hear about another show featuring Switch Improv, Mike Unson, Ony Carcamo, and yours truly coming up again one of these days.

Teresita Gopez-Timbol: 07 October, 1933 - 04 April, 2014

.:Teresita Gopez-Timbol: 07 October, 1933 - 04 April, 2014:.

I will always remember Lola Tita in a way nobody in my family probably expects me to: she really knew how to make me laugh. Unintentionally.

And that's really what made my grandmother stand out to me, more than anything else: she was so set in her ways, so clear and deliberate, that you couldn't help but smile in spite of yourself when she started acting according to script. She was predictable, and the most predictable thing about her is that she would love her children dearly, and dote on her grandchildren just as much. She was a beautiful human being that way.

But boy, did she have a fun way of showing it. And it was her innate ability to be self-cognizant and to see the occasional absurdity and usual quirkiness of it all that allowed her to not take herself so seriously. It's interesting to think about it this way, but you might say that Lola Tita was the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl before the archetype was even born. No wonder my grandfather was so utterly smitten with her for well over half a century!

She taught me how to laugh at myself and to never take myself seriously because she did that to herself, no matter how much gravitas and depth she actually possessed as a person: after all, like Lolo Nor, she wasn't a Fulbright scholar for nothing, and her keen mind was only matched by her devout spirit. I am humbled to have had a grandmother like her, and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing some anecdotes of my fondest memories of her.

I was probably around 9 years old or so when I saw some guy on Home TV Shopping selling magic tricks. I think his name was Anders or something, and he was the original guy hawking stuff in that old Megamall kiosk. I asked Lola Tita, for my birthday (Or was it for Christmas?), to buy that magic set for me, and she did!

Except she completely misheard me, and thought I was asking for "magic shet." But despite mistakenly thinking her grandson of under 10 years of age was cursing right in front of her, she went ahead and ordered it anyways, although I had to clarify that I said "magic set," and I, being the sheltered kid that I was, still had no idea what "shet" meant.

I could almost hear Lola Tita say it in her distinct voice we always tried doing impressions of: "Yiiiii! Lorraine, yung anak mo, humihingi ba naman ng magic shet! Hindi pa karagul, aba, kung makapagsalita na!"

Despite misunderstanding me at the time, did she get angry at me? No. She took it all in stride, and still ended up getting me that magic set, complete with Macky and Wacky. And as the years would go by, she would always look at whatever I do with wide-eyed interest and the biggest smile she could muster. Through all her hurts and cares, she would always shield her grandchildren from the worst of it, and make us feel treasured and cherished by her, and that was no mean feat on her part, I'm sure.

It's hard to just laugh at Lola Tita, because she laughs with you. She's self-aware enough to know when something unintentionally hilarious has just happened, and even if she caused the uproar in laughter, she never hesitated to laugh with us. It was that gift of mirth that I will always remember about her, because for some reason, that's something that really stuck with me about her through all these years.

So I guess it was a shocker for all of us to see her pass on so suddenly. She was still well. She was still strong. There were some problems here and there, but nobody saw this coming. Except maybe her.

Ever since Lolo passed away nearly four years ago, you can see it in Lola's eyes how much she missed the love of her life. She pined for him for the rest of her days, and though she made it a point to not let her grandchildren see her in her moment of weakness, we knew how much she missed him, because we missed him, too.

So there I was, on the road, en route to the hospital, when I got the dreaded news from my brother. Like Lolo before her, I was spared from the sight of seeing her last moments in the same way. I don't quite know how I would have taken it if I were there, so maybe that was for the best.

And now, we miss her, too.

One more thing about her, though: unlike my other grandparents, Lola Tita took to texting like a fish to water. She enjoyed it, and I remember how funny it was when Lolo would tell us that there was a time he didn't want to disturb Lola because she looked like she was fervently praying and clutching a rosary, but the minute he heard those telltale keypad sounds from Lola's trusty old Nokia, he realized how mistaken he was. We had a good laugh about that, back then, and I chuckled over the realization of how "with it" Lola Tita was, even if she wasn't really trying very hard to be so.

I guess the biggest regret for me would be the fact that I never texted her enough. She used to send us quotes on a daily basis, and I knew that was her way of reminding us she cared. I would text her every now and then, and remind her how special she was to me, but you could never do that enough for someone who really holds a special place in your heart, can you?

Wouldn't it be nice if I could text her just one more time? Maybe text her something schmaltzy but sincere, like "Thanks for all the smiles we have shared over the years. I know I will see you again someday. I love you, Lola!"

I wasn't kidding.

P.S. Of course, a few seconds later, I get a reply from the phone. Apparently, my mom held onto Lola's phone for safekeeping, and we ended up laughing over the fact that for a brief moment, I thought I received a literal message from beyond the grave.

P.P.S. Somehow, I'm sure Lola Tita was laughing with us, too.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

.:Project 52 2014 (13/52): Say Goodbye:.

I really don't like Chris Brown, but this song does cover what I want to say today better than nearly any other song I could think of. I'll hold off on the sordid details for now, but let's preface this by making it very clear: this is not an April Fool's joke. I don't even see the point about making an April Fool's joke as vague as this would be.

.:Project 52 2014 (13/52): Say Goodbye:.

How do you let go when you, you just don't know what's on the other side of the door when you're walking out?

I don't know where to go from here, because the only life I've known has been one with you there. You were a constant I almost took for granted. And to this very day, I still don't want you to go. I just don't know if I have any right to ask you to keep on staying, when I know that in your moments alone, all you could think of is moving on.

But then, what comes after this? What would waking up the next day without you there bring? Would it really shake me to the core, or would it just be business as usual soon enough? Maybe I don't want to find out. Maybe I'm too afraid to.

Talk about it, and everything I tried to remember to say just went out my head So Imma do the best I can to get you to understand Cause I know...

But that's the thing, isn't it? There's no more room to talk. There's only room to do things. To let go. To try to ease the pain of goodbye by bracing against it because it is so imminent, so inevitable, even. It feels like it's coming, and there's not a damned thing anyone can do to stop it.

And all I could do is pray for a miracle. Even if I'm not the praying type.

There's never a right time to say goodbye...

Too soon, and you're classless. Too late, and you're insensitive. Saying goodbye is never easy, no matter how many times you tell yourself you're ready for this, and it was all just a matter of time, to begin with. It's a question of when now, not if.

But can you blame me for hoping against hope?

But we know that we gotta go our separate ways...

I hope that wherever you go from here, you will be in a better place. a happier place. I don't know what else to say, really, because as I try to think about you and about everything we've shared with each other, I realize how generous a soul you truly were. And now, I have to say goodbye to all of that.

And I know it's hard but I gotta do it and it's killing me, 'cause there's never a right time, right time to say goodbye... 

And I will miss you so. And I will cherish you so. But how much longer can I truly expect you to be with me, when our time is running out, yet there's still so much left to say, so much left to do?

So all I could do now is say "thank you."

Friday, March 28, 2014

Project 52 2014 (12/52): As Long As You Love Me

Technically, now that I think about it, these posts follow my classic blogpost formula for lyrically speaking scribbles. I realized that just now.

.:Project 52 2014 (12/52): As Long As You Love Me:.

Although loneliness has always been a friend of mine, I'm leaving my life in your hands...

I'm not going to ruin things by getting ahead of myself. I'm not going to make the mistake of overplaying my hand when there's still so much ground left to cover. Despite that, I have to admit that with each passing day, I learn to appreciate things more and more.

It was a slow build, really. I didn't quite expect things would get to this point this abruptly, yet despite that, I like where things are headed. It's humbling to realize that not everything we want, not everything we plan, will always fall into place, and sometimes, the universe has better ideas.

People say I'm crazy and that I am blind, risking it all in a glance...

But what *is* crazy, really? The notion that if I keep doing the same thing I've been doing these years again and again, somehow, the results would magically change? I'm so through with that self-delusion. I think it's time I started doing things differently.

I think it's time I really started doing things my way.

But how you got me blinded's still a mystery, I can't get you out of my head...

It's been hovering over me non-stop. How did I get here? Why am I lost in this haze now? I've been walking around wounded for so long, I didn't really think I was going to find myself in this state so abruptly. Manic-depressive, am I? Maybe. But there is no denying that I'm on a high, and it's the kind of high I have never expected to find myself in for a long time already.

It's new. It's exciting/. But it also feels that it could very well last.

Don't care what is written in your history, as long as you're here with me...

And anyone can tell me that I don't know much. There's a chance that I really don't understand much, either. It's all just a blur, and I'm trying to process everything that's been happening to me.

But I do know enough. And I do understand enough, and I do believe that counts for something.

I don't care who you are

There are things I need to find out over time, but it won't change the way I feel right now. Those are things we leave behind, not things we weigh ourselves down with in the here and now.

Where you're from

There are places I have yet to see, but its beauty won't be tarnished by what came before. All that matters is what my eyes can see when I'm there. All that matters is that there is a bridge I can cross when I get there.

Don't care what you did

Skeletons? Everyone has skeletons. I know that rather intuitively. But I don't care about that, because I care about the fact that there are no closets to speak of now. The skeletons may lay bare for all to see, but it doesn't dissuade me one bit.

It's so easy to bail out when the past catches up with you. But why would you want to, when you find something worth fighting for again when you thought you simply never would? It doesn't matter. None of it matters.

As long as you love me...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Project 52 2014 (11/52): Starting Over Again

.:Project 52 2014 (11/52):Starting Over Again:.

Starting Over Again
Hey, look! A Project 52 entry and a film review!

Need I say it? SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

And when I hold you in my arms, I promise you...

So I asked a new friend to catch a movie, seeing as I haven't been to the cinemas in ages, and lo and behold, she suggested that we watch "Starting Over Again," despite the fact that she's already seen it thrice before.

I can see why she caught it thrice.

"Starting Over Again" is a tale of love lost and a chance to regain it, initially framed around the conceit of a fictional website, LetterLater.com, which is based on a real one. With LetterLater, you get to send an email to someone at a scheduled time. Five years after their breakup, Ginny (Toni Gonzaga) receives an email from Marco (Piolo Pascual), asking if there's still room for a second chance.

The problem was, in the five years that have elapsed, Ginny and Marco have been as far apart as can be. Ginny starts hoping, and even reminiscing about the past that they had.

You're gonna feel a love that's beautiful and new...

Next thing she knew, Marco came back into her life, asking her to convert his ancestral home into a restaurant. Marco, from being her teacher in college, ended up becoming a chef: a dream he pursued and finally succeeded in, after so many failures. Was this the sign she was looking for? It seemed to be that way, until in came Patty (Iza Calzado), Marco's fiancee.

As the days went by, it was clear that Ginny saw things that simply weren't there. She deluded herself into finding signs that didn't exist, all brought about by a letter written five years before, working her way back into her life, just as Marco himself did the same. Where was this headed?

This time I'll love you even better than I ever did before...

As her hare-brained scheme to get back with Marco got crazier and crazier, Ginny started being completely disconnected with the reality: Patty was still in the picture. And at her most brazen and most selfish, she ended up almost stealing Marco right back, and even begged Patty to let him go. It was rather uncharacteristic of a Star Cinema film to make their protagonist almost downright unsympathetic, but they went there.

After a mishap, things come to a head. Why did they part ways five years before, to begin with? Why did Ginny choose to turn her back on Marco? Why did Marco move on? The reasons, piece by piece, slowly fell into place.

And you'll be in my heart, forevermore...

In what was the most satisfying ending after what was nearly a moral horizon crossing for Ginny, she realized that "starting over again" doesn't necessarily mean they have to be lovers again. Neither do they need to ever unlove each other.

That's how real life works, really. Patty said it best: their love may be boring and quiet, but it is sure. Sometimes, it isn't the whiz-bang gestures in life, but simply the fact that true love is there. Quiet. Strong. Constant. Not even the biggest gestures could sway what is real, and Ginny had to learn that. There was a reason Marco came back into her life: she needed to learn how to love and let go at the same time. For her own sake.

And now we're starting over again it's not the easiest thing to do...

I loved this movie, and I have to admit that I hold it in about as high regard as I hold "One More Chance," which is high praise. Piolo and Toni had an amazing kind of chemistry, and Iza Calzado more than held her own as a solid foil to Toni, making you see that no matter how much you might want to root for Ginny and Marco to get their second chance, Patty deserved her first just as much.

It's a movie about losing love and regaining it, only to realize that it doesn't mean the same thing anymore. And that? That's not a bad thing at all.

I'm feeling inside again, 'cause every time I looked at you...

If there's one thing I can't help but appreciate about the film, it's the fact that it takes the concept of the "one great love" and makes you understand that this one great love, no matter how powerful and all-encompassing, is never a guarantee. Sometimes, we tarry and look for the big gestures and the amazing grand moments that we end up completely forgetting that life isn't made up of one big gesture after another.

The plateaus of life make up far, far more than the highs and the lows. If you can't see that, and if you end up feeling compelled to always chase after the highs, then you really can never know for sure if that can keep going forever. It probably won't.

I know we're starting over again, this time we'll leave all the pain away...

Moving on doesn't mean leaving each other. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting everything. And starting over again sure as Hades doesn't mean going back to the same old story, as if neither of you learned the lessons from the past. In real life, there is no true redo, because we learned something. Thankfully, that is one advantage we have that Joel and Clem in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" never had: now we know better. Now we know not to make the same mistakes again.

After all, isn't it true that we can never keep laughing at the same joke, no matter how good it is? So why should we keep crying over the same tragedy, no matter how horrible it is?

Welcome home, my lover and friend. We are starting over, over again.

"Fun" Evaluation: A+ (Fun, heartwarming, and even tear-inducing. This movie had it all.)
"Critical" Evaluation: A+ (Stellar acting, stellar cast, and a storyline that cuts so close to home it hurts - in a good kind of way.)

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Normal Relationship? What Does That Mean In This Day And Age?

.:Normal Is Relative. Also, Overrated.:.

I don't really share this much because I don't find it a big deal, but I've been meeting people here and there recently thanks to Tinder, which is, for lack of a better term, a dating app.

Not to be confused with Grindr.

It's been great, really. At worst, I've made several new friends because of Tinder. I didn't come in with high expectations, but I must say, making new friends can't be a bad thing at all. Where's the harm in getting to know new people, right? It's not like going on Tinder means that from this point on, the only interactions I would have would be with people I meet through the app or something.

And truth be told, it's not like I'm in a rush to find anyone at this point. After the emotional beating my heart went through last year, I do believe that just letting things play out as they may would be the most prudent course of action for me.

But Tinder, for what it's worth, really rocks, regardless of that.

You see, I've met several people already that I would never have otherwise. Different points of view, different opinions, different mindsets, and the fact that romance isn't really the primary concern for me walking into it allowed me to really widen my horizons through it. And true, being a guy, I don't get inundated with indecent proposals from matches left and right, but it's not like I toss any of them around myself, so that about balances out.

Despite that, when I told a friend of mine about Tinder and how it's been great for me so far, she suddenly freaked out and told me that maybe I should try meeting people "the normal way."

She found it strange, because to her, women are meant to be pursued, and when it comes to Tinder, the woman has every bit as much agency as a man to pursue if they so choose to. I wouldn't even call it aggressive, because it isn't: it's simply showing that what is good for the goose should likewise be good for the gander, and the notion of gender roles dictating women cannot reach for what they want in a man the way Tinder enables them to is something I can't help but scoff at.

So I had to examine the meat of her statement: that I should try meeting people "the normal way." What does this even mean?

Back then, we had phone pals and pen pals. Complete strangers who randomly get to know each other by sheer randomicity.

Then in the age of the internet, in came the chatrooms. ASL? Yes, please. I know so many people who got to know each other through the internet, and lo and behold, a lot of them are married now.

And now, with the internet fitting in your pocket, the chance to meet people is now as simple as an app.

Yet somehow, anything short of meeting a person physically doesn't fall under "normal?" Or were pen pals and phone pals also "normal?" Were meeting a person and speaking to them through an app mutually exclusive for the latter to not be "normal?" Think about that for a moment, because to me, it doesn't make one lick of sense.

And has it ever occurred to anyone that because you spend more time communicating than anything else before you even meet for the first time, there are some very clear advantages to how people meet in today's internet age, which actually leads to better marriages in general for them?

I can't help but have a kneejerk reaction to the assumption that using an app to meet people is somehow not "normal" simple because it now exists when it did not less than five years ago, or that eyeballing a friend or potential love of your life is not "normal" because chatrooms were not exactly a thing two or three decades ago. And besides, is something being "not normal" necessarily a bad thing? If you met a new friend, or found the love of your life without having to be neighbors with them, or classmates, or officemates, or introduced by friends or family, is that in any way objectionable?

"But you can't know the other person as well as when you meet them in the flesh!" Are you kidding me right now? You have people married for decades, cheating on each other. They've had all the time in the world to get to know each other, but that clearly didn't do much, did it? It's not like you completely shut out the personal aspect when you meet someone through the internet. It's not like you just decide that yes, I will totally fall in love with typed words and not consider the person behind these words and the need to perhaps see them and find that wonder offline as well as I found it online. These things are not. Mutually. Exclusive. So stop treating them like they are.

The times are changing, for better or worse. Despite that, the ability to meet new people when you previously could not have, the opportunity to widen your horizons and explore new realms where you could not have gone before, apps like Tinder do not cheapen the experience or devalue them, at all. These things enhance our ability to find connections where none previously existed, so how could that, in and by itself, actually be a bad thing?