Monday, January 19, 2015

The Cult Of Personality

.:The Cult Of Personality:.

Look in my eyes, what do you see? The cult of personality.

It isn't like I hate the Pope, or anything of the sort. In fact, unlike most other Filipino Freethinkers, I actually outright like the guy. I just didn't think it was very smart to project what I think makes for a great Pope on a person who was still going to be irrevocably Catholic.

Was he going to approve of gay marriage? Of course not. Was he going to say contraception and family planning is the key to a good life? Dream on. However, it was good to know that for every single time he would reinforce these Catholic positions, he would talk about more pressing issues ten times first: corruption and opulence in lieu of sexual immorality. Compassion and understanding instead of denouncing contraception. It may just be me being optimistic, but that's the case of someone who's finding it in him to agree to disagree. Which, I realize, is sometimes the best way to settle things.

Although I agree that this stupid meme should have died years ago.

It's not going to happen, guys. The Catholic church will not sanction marriage equality, nor will they promote contraceptives as a way to manage a growing family. But you know what can be done? For them to not stand in the way of a secular society who wants it. Teach what you want to teach in church. That is your right. But to demand the government fall in line, lock and step with your values that are not necessarily shared by everyone else, even if the others are a minority? Then yes, we have a problem.

Notice that most of the time, when the Pope makes a statement that could potentially earn the ire of progressives, he makes it to the clergy? That makes a lot of sense to me. He emphasizes this for their benefit, but sees no purpose in doing the same in the general public. Some might say that's a cop-out for him to do. I say, on the other hand, that it's a good idea to do it that way.

I know your anger, I know your dreams. I've been everything you want to be.

It's high time we stopped projecting on the Pope, as progressives. This is no different from projecting on our leaders, be they PNoy or Obama, to do the things we want for us. It's nice if they could, but it does appear that a lot of the legwork still ultimately hinges upon our initiative, more than anything else. And when secular society has finally decided that the church is not to be listened to when it comes to family planning and who should be legally allowed to marry whom? Then they will be forced to re-examine themselves and ask themselves if these particular issues they have been holding onto for so long really matter in the grand scheme of things. Are they relevant, really? Or is the church simply risking irrelevance by turning a blind eye to these changes?

Is it really a deal-breaker to a Divine being if two dudes like each other enough to promise to live as one? Or two ladies? Is it really a horrific thing to consider that raising a child when the parents are ready is infinitely more responsible than the typical "lay and pray" method (and I don't mean the MMA thing.).

I can understand why it gets confusing, though.

So no, I don't think that's his job. I do find that he needs to step up on being harsh on punishing members of the clergy who molest children, though, because while defrocking and laizing a priest as punishment may seem like a big deal to the Catholic church, the rest of the world hardly gives a damn, because what they are looking for is a way to send these assholes to prison. Not removing their priestly powers and privileges. Not house arrest. Prison. Where they certainly deserve to go if proven guilty.

It's also his job to tend to the poorest of the poor: a job that he has been doing fairly excellently, so hats off to him for that.

Ultimately, I like Pope Francis because he is willing to shelf an issue in favor of more important things. Sometimes, not fighting a battle is more important than trying to win it, and he has chosen his battles well, for the most part. Is this a calculated PR move? Most likely. That doesn't invalidate it, in my eyes, though.

If people hear less about condemning gay people and contraception and hear more about compassion for the poorest of the poor, then maybe we could actually be doing more positive things. If people focus on the more important issues the Catholic church has on its plate, then maybe these sticking points could gain traction in the secular world, where the Catholic church should, in theory, not dominate.

It isn't that progressives are trying to say that they know better, though admittedly, some could fall prey to that. It's simply an openness to the possible that there are valid options here that shouldn't be thrown away all for the sake of currying the favor of religion. I'm not here fighting for marriage equality because I don't think gay people can do it themselves. I'm not here advocating reproductive health because I think poor people shouldn't procreate and I find it my business to tell them what to do in their bedrooms. I advocate these things because it's the right thing to do. It isn't a special privilege to do the right thing. It's a categorical imperative.

I'm the cult of personality. Like Mussolini, and Kennedy.

And yes, we should heed the Pope when he reminds us that he shouldn't be worshiped. Because he really shouldn't. Nor should we worship the altar of SCIENCE! for that matter, as if it were a religion unto itself, either. It's simply about finding that sweet spot where we can all agree: we want people to be happier. We don't want anyone to get hurt. Isn't that where we should work towards, before anything else?

It's easy to fall into the cult of Pope Francis's personality. Regardless of his flaws, here's a man who genuinely means well. But it's also easy to just point at him and call him the devil. What isn't hard is to find that there is a nuanced tale in between, and that narrative is something I hope to find and follow.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Unsent Series, Volume 5, Part I: One And Done

.:The Unsent Series, Volume 5, Part I: One And Done:.

Dear Downline,

Betrayal. That was the only word that came to mind when you did what you did. After talking up a storm about how amazing things are. After telling me again and again how you valued us and what we had.

You claim you respected me, yet you never respected me enough to deal with this face to face. It was as impersonal as can be. It was done while you were having the time of your life, because you didn't want to really deal with the aftermath, did you? It was selfish and painful and I can't help but feel contempt over that.

But if I were to say that I never loved you, or that I regret everything we shared, I would just be lying to myself.

I never regretted a single thing. And though I know you never could meet me halfway, I gave you all I could, without asking you to give me as much in return. I was fine with that.

You say you have to find yourself. And maybe you do. I just wish you truly respected me enough to talk to me before you made up your mind. I just wish you realized you didn't have to go on this journey all alone.

I don't know how to look at you right now. I don't know whether to despise you or pity you. I don't know whether to open my door in friendship or cut you out of my life because of your betrayal. I don't know where to go from here.

But what I do know was that we had something good and you found windmills to do battle with on your own - and lost. And now, I suffer the consequences of that.

Story of my life. I'm used to it. And believe me when I say I understand. But understanding doesn't make it hurt any less. Understanding doesn't magically absolve you of all the things you did that you knew you shouldn't have. 

Was I not worth the courtesy? Was I not worth the effort? Because the way you act and the way you speak shows me that I was wrong to have given you so much credit. Did you simply not care? Did you simply never love me? Then why start anything at all?

I never expected forever and a day when I chose you. That is something you never expect. That is something you build. Together. For some reason, you lost sight of that. We could have worked through this. Together. And even if it wouldn't have turned out any better than this, at least I wasn't left in the lurch.

You never gave me a fair chance, Downline. You formed ideas in your head that you never truly put to the litmus test, and decided they represented the truth. And you know why I know this? Because you never had the courage to do this to my face. You had to hide behind another country and a computer because you were a coward. 

So please: don't go telling me you respected me. Because you didn't. Don't go telling me that we came so far. Because you decided to stand still. But don't go telling me that all of this was why you have to leave me. Because I didn't care either way. All I cared about was you and your happiness. And that's also why I'm not begging you to stay: your happiness is clearly not with me any longer. 

Someday, you'll figure it all out. Someday you'll have it all together. I may not know if I'll be there for you when that time comes, but I know you will figure it all out. 

I just wish you didn't have to break my heart this way before you did. Because I didn't deserve it. I certainly never did.

Downline, you were loved. You were cherished. You chose to throw all of that away, and much as it pains me, I will not beg you to change your mind. All I ask is you be honest with yourself with how you treated me. With how you treated us. Just come to terms with what you've done. Just understand why it caused the kind of pain that it did. And once you find that empathy in you, maybe, just maybe, you would come to see why I am hurting this much, and why I can't quite forgive you just yet.

We were supposed to be in this together. But you proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that you were just another one in the long line of people who never understood that. Just another used to be. You were no better. Heck, to be fair, you were no worse. You were just another one. Because you made it so.

.:Pare-Pareho Lang:.

Pare-Pareho Lang
ni Kel

Kahit saan magawi ang iyong diwa, pare-pareho lang
Sa kalawakan ng sanlibutan, iyong makikita
Ang katotohanan: tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang

Mga bituin, mga bulalakaw, noo'y sinamba at ginalang
Ngayon, 'di mabilang-bilang, 'di na rin magunita
Kahit saan magawi ang iyong diwa, pare-pareho lang.

Mga halimaw sa dilim, mga pusong halang
Manlaban ka man, ikaw pa rin ang maralita
Ang katotohanan: tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang

Mga pangakong napako, mga sumpang sumemplang
Araw-araw na lang, walang ni isang salita
Kahit saan magawi ang iyong diwa, pare-pareho lang.

Pag-ibig, pagsinta, pagtingin na nasasayang
Naghihintay sa wala, umaasa sa magandang balita
Ang katotohanan: tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang.

Sana, sana, hindi ka rin balang araw iiwan
Sana, sana mapuwing ka at 'di mo mahalata
Kahit saan magawi ang iyong diwa, pare-pareho lang
Ang katotohanan: tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Opening Up 2015

.:You Might Have Noticed...:.

Unlike years past, I have no Project 52 lined up this year. I'm not entirely sure what I will be doing with my blog over 2015, but making a promise to post on a regular basis is not one of those things.

There's so much to unpack, and so much to think about. Writing for the 8List has been one of the best things I've been doing the past couple of years, but it does drain me creatively of writing about nearly anything else. That explains the blog, really.

But overall, it's a time for rethinking a lot of things. I've always wanted to write for Cracked, so I'm starting to look into making that happen, even just once. I've always wanted to travel more, so I need to start upping my income by being more consistent with my writing so I could afford to do that. I've always wanted to take a more active stance with the things I believe in, so when there's a chance to get out there and fight for what I believe in, I will be more willing to do so.

I realize there's like only 10 to 20 people regularly reading this blog or something, so I'm sorry to disappoint what little audience I have by writing so infrequently. That being said, it's been very difficult to keep that level of comic timing I do with some of my better blog posts, and finding pictures to caption with stupidity even gets ridiculously challenging at times.

I've been dealing with the Sword of Damocles from when it hung over me sometime last week. It's been eating at me. Ruining my mood for the most part. Threatening to overthrow the semblance of sanity I've managed to establish in my life over the past few years of walking around wounded. I wish I could promise that I won't let it shatter me, but the cracks are beginning to show, and it's taking all it can out of me just so I can keep it together.

It's inconsiderate, really. To put me in limbo while there you are, living the life of adventures and misadventures like Dora The Explorer on poutine. It's unfair, because you have all the time in the world to think about everything else, while all I have is the chance to think about you. And the festering wound that gets gouged with each and every moment that I am left to wait for the hammer to drop. Or not. I don't know, after all.

So you talk about your headspace, and what's going on in there right now is something I supposedly needed to now about. I talk about my headspace, and the clutter you just dumped on me. Way to go. Way to be different. Way to be not another used to be.

I'm not in the mood to be more cryptic than I already am. I'm not in the mood to sugarcoat what I have to say and what I have to feel. Just know that I am tired of this. I've been tired a long time, and you should know by now that my patience for drama runs short nowadays.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Project 52 2014 (52/52): Kwarto

.:Project 52 2014 (52/52): Kwarto:.

'Di ko na kayang mabuhay sa kahapon. Kaya mula ngayon, mula ngayon...

Magpapaalam na sa iyo ang aking kwarto. Magpapaalam na sa iyo ang aking kwarto. Magpapaalam na sa iyo ang aking kwarto. Magpapaalam na sa iyo ang aking kwarto.

Magpapaalam na sa iyo. Magpapaalam na sa iyo. Magpapaalam na sa iyo.

Magpapaalam na sa iyo ang aking kwarto...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The 2014 Year-In-Review Survey

.:The 2014 Year-In-Review:.

Hush. This is important.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?

Host a quiz night. And now, I do it every Wednesday, starting next year! I also headlined a comedy show for the first time ever.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any last year, and I don't plan to make any this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Isabel Lacson, I suppose, seeing as she was my housemate until last June or so.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My Lola Tita passed away last April 2, Tado Jimenez, Vic Palileo, and Coy Caballes. Yeah, this was a terrible year for me when it came to that.

5. What countries did you visit?

Thailand, and in a few days, Macau.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

A chance to re-establish myself as the comedy mentalist. I know I left my entertainment career by the wayside since 2009, but after quitting my office job, now's a good time to re-establish myself.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

September 20. Not only was that my brother's birthday, that was also the day I got together with C-. That's her rapper name, you see.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Headlined for the first time in my standup comedy "career," with much thanks to the 20-minute set GB let me have near the end of our run in Tomato Kick. I also got a quiz night going this year!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Did I really have to lose a friend just because I'm no longer pining for her? There's also the infamous Tinder mishap. And the fact that I could have done so much more this year, but I was terrible at finding the time for them all. And, oh. The fact that I'm no longer in radio now. Any chance I could change this next year? We'll see.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Still a lot of sore throats.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A PS4.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I would have to say Switch Improv, seeing how far we've come as a group. Also, my brother, as he really carved out a good thing with Burger Company. There's also the earlier half of my year, mostly spent enjoying the company of Marco and Mike, playing board games.

13. Whose behavior appalled you and made you depressed?

The Tinder Mistake. Yeah, the one who thought she should have the power to tell me what to say or not to say on my blog, even if I never once named her. There's also that other person who decided that we didn't need to be friends anymore. So much for "always a part of each other's lives," huh?

14. Where did most of your money go?

Those WWE and NBA Card Battle apps, and yeah, video games in general. Especially NBA 2K15.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Working from home, and finally having someone I could safely say I'm happily in love with! My Thailand trip was pretty awesome, too.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

"Fancy," by Iggy Azalea. We can debate about whether or not she's in the right for co-opting the rap image, but I'll be damned if that song isn't so catchy it doesn't override everything else this year, including a really good Adam Lavine song and "Anaconda."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? – happier during the last quarter of the year, muuuuch sadder prior
ii. thinner or fatter? – thinner (I think)
iii. richer or poorer? – richer(-ish)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Gigs, and writing.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Reaching out to people who simply don't deserve it.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Quietly spent at home.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Finally, yes.

22. How many one-night stands?

Well, not quite any.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

The Flash. I ended up watching Arrow just by extension. Also, Agents of SHIELD and Hannibal.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Yeah, but I didn't know this person before this year, either, so meh.

25. What was the best book you read?

Well, damn. I haven't really read a book this year, have I? Need to change that next year.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The NBA 2K15 soundtrack. Damn, Pharell, you know how to pick 'em.

27. What did you want and not get?

A published article in Cracked. But that's really on me now, isn't it? I feel like I underachieved this year.

28. Favorite film of this year?


29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was in Thailand. Shopping and stuffing myself in duck.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Good health for both me and C-

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Outside of that so-called makeover I had with Uniqlo? Meh.

32. What kept you sane?, the 8List, Switch Improv, Comedy Manila, Comedy Cartel, DC Deckbuilding, and video games.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Would you believe? Ming Na Wen!

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

#Gamergate, if only because of the gender politics involved. And the PDAF scam, still.

35. Who did you miss?

That friend who decided we didn't need to be friends anymore. Not cool. Not cool at all.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

C-. End of story.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Life and love doesn't have to be as f*cked up as it's always been for you in the past.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"First things first, I'm the riles." - Iggy Azalea

And, oh, try this one on for size...

"There's a maniac out in front of me.
Got an angel on my shoulder, and Mephistopheles.
My momma raised me good, momma raised me right.
Momma said "do what you want, say prayers at night",
And I'm saying them, cause I'm so devout.
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out, yeah.

I got my mind made up and I can't let go.
I'm killing every second 'til it sees my soul.
I'll be running, I'll be running,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
And we'll start a fire, and we'll shut it down,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out."

- One Republic, Love Runs Out

Monday, December 22, 2014

Project 52 (51/52): A Perfect Christmas

.:Project 52 (51/52): A Perfect Christmas:.

Looking through some old photographs, faces and friends, we'll always remember. Watching busy shoppers rushing about in the cool breeze of December...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Comedy Mission: Accomplished!

.:Comedy Mission Accomplished:.

A few weeks ago, I had my first ever headliner set in standup comedy. I hit the stage for about three quarters of an hour, and somehow managed to hold the crowd's attention for that long, peppering the night with a lot of laughs along the way.

And it wasn't easy, I have to admit. I came in with a lot of mental and actual preparation. Unlike a lot of the veterans out there, I don't see myself just hitting the stage and randomly delivering a twenty-minute set or more without some serious prep time. None of this comedy ever came naturally to me, because I'm not a naturally funny guy.

But seeing a room full of people with different sensibilities, different things that they think is funny, all laughing in unison does instill a sense of accomplishment in a comedian. Top it off with a bunch of people who were just outside Barley that night, yet apparently still paying close attention to my set, and I realized the reason why entertainers do what they do, and why they have a place in the world, even while other people pursue more seemingly worthwhile things, like landing a spacecraft on a comet while wearing a tacky shirt.

It doesn't matter if what we do doesn't revolutionize the world as we know it. If I were selling taho, I'd probably be selling the best damned taho of all time. Or something. I don't know, really, but I'd just want to think that even the most menial of things can be made meaningful somehow. And maybe we don't see it as we feel stuck, but we owe it to ourselves to see it through.

It was a genuine surprise to me that I managed to pull it off, in all honesty. Almost a half-hour of standup comedy, punctuated by 15 minutes of my magic and mentalism. It was something

So another day another dollar for this comedy mentalist. Tonight, I'm performing again, and someone else will be headlining it. It doesn't matter. I will keep on keeping on, because after doing standup comedy for five years, I realize all too well that I really, really enjoy entertaining people, and that's a noble endeavor in and by itself, no doubt.

Thank you to every single person that night who went to support me. From my fellow magicians to my improv groupmates to the fine people of the Comedy Cartel to my friends from Geekfight to even one of my M:TG teammates, it was a night where I really felt that the five years I put into standup comedy were more than worth it. I felt a kind of affirmation that spurs me to push it forward. And so I will.