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Incunabulum

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 by sky

I had a dream last night (one of those generic opening lines that is a writer's challenge to catch the reader's attention about dreaming).

The NHI marker describing the ambush of Doña Aurora Quezon and company 56 years ago sat in the middle of a Zen garden, raked pebbles, the works. Then the ground started to swallow it, I looked in horror and with my camera I started taking pictures, fighting back my tears to capture what was left of the marker. I woke up on a pillow drenched in tears and sweat, catching my first breath before it strayed into the morning window.

I was trying to remember the past, or what was left of it in vain, as my co-editor jsc interpreted. But why? What was my connection with Doña Aurora except that my hometown is named after her? This NHI marker is planted on a dirt road a few kilometers from the Aurora-Nueva Ecija border, and quite a number of times I have genuflected on this spot when we were stranded somewhere in the Sierra Madre several Novembers back as the mighty mountain range shields the rest of Luzon from Pacific-borne tempests. Although the virginity of the place cannot be denied, it is one picnic from hell as the storm's fists pound on the muddy mountain pass, its crackling sound a death knell for a foolish traveler standing in its way.

I tried to do some research and never found the Ephialtes to this Thermopylae, but realized that the battle between the Huks and the government had been going on since after the war, down to this generation that would make Leonidas' batch shy in comparison. The former were demonized by Magsaysay and Quirino. The latter collected its wage of death via the Quezons.

Was there an Alvarez, a Lopez, a Peñamora or a Guerrero within those bandit ranks? How about the driver, Adiong? I hope there isn't a score that I should settle with MLQ3. I'll never know, and it is an exercise in futility.

There are several histories in our families that need to be reconciled and perhaps this was the message of my dreams. What happened to the Lopez residence in Pasay when Tatay Pedring and Tita Cing walked all the way to Baler via guerilla lines during the outbreak of war, my aunt dressed in man's clothing to fend off attention? Who were Hanring and Natnael, blue-eyed sons of my grandmother who died during the war and were buried in unmarked graves? And why were they blue-eyed in the first place and all the while I am denying any Spanish lineage because our only proof is my brother's aquiline nose and the unusual shade of brown of my mother's eyes which I also have?

What is the story behind my father's mother, who we visited dying at the provincial hospital only to come out walking again the next day, because she has not spat her anting-anting, a spherical matter found in the patella of human skeletons? Is it a form of validation when my grandfather coughed up his at the threshold of death and proceeded anyway?

I have been listening to all these stories but never bothered to ask. Old people know when they will die, and that is when they start to be generous. I was bequeathed with an antique dining set that must have seen the glorious days of copra farming and an unrestorable photograph of the first Peñamora settlers in Baler via Infanta from Mama, a sister of my mother. Tita Cing is giving her properties away even if she can dance the spaghetti song all this time and it leaves me depressed.

I can fathom the relationship between gold and aluminum at the nanoscopic scale but not how my ancestors treated the earth. The proof of their existence have been erased by the war. When they die all their stories jump by batches to their graves rather than rot in this humid tropical weather.

And I am left with mediocre copies.

Bookmark this: Warmbodies.fil.ph

Monday, August 29, 2005 by sky


WWWarm Bodies goes live today! Go here.
Maraming salamat kay Angela sa paggawa ng website natin.

Becoz imma proud daddy

by sky

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

Friday, August 26, 2005 by sky

The Achilles Heel of Extra Challenge right now is its pitting of celebrities to take on "challenges." The objective is cloudy, probably to humanize our concept of celebrities. Look at Belinda Bright. I thought she was a pair of boobs with legs. Look at Sunshine Dizon, and tell me that cosmetics is a serious science.

I thought my clamor would die down when they invited ordinary people to become challengers. Unf, that concept died. Better play it safe and sure, even if it means one celebrity will appear time and again on another EP. Flashbacks will do the trick.

the filipino audience deserves a real reality tv show. not a glorified parlor games show like extra challenge.
--the natureboy
I rest my case.

Call for submissions: Nostalgia Galore!

Thursday, August 25, 2005 by sky

Call me a publicity pimp. This is definitely shameless, but you can't blame me for the increased traffic that the previous brouhaha has ensued. And if two entries after almost a month after announcing makes me worried about the survival of Warm Bodies, I therefore plug the call for submissions to Warm Bodies 3: Nostalgia Galore.

Dali na, submit na. Now na! Deadline is on September 15. Send it to warmDOTbodies3ATgmailDOTcom. Everything is gratis, but your contribution will be returned to you a thousandfold in spirit and good karma credits on your next step to nirvana.

Get your guidelines here.

A prayer on the side: Lord, give me a rich benefactor who can sponsor a real Warm Bodies book next year. Selling my body isn't enough as there are no takers. Amen.

Let it out, ladies. Let it all out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 by sky

Whoa whoa. I was about to make an entry orienting my three-year old son on Philippine cosmology and something came up. Clicking on a link elsewhere on this page is like opening Pandora's box. The term was passe, I know, but there's a lot that can be made sense out of it. You never know it, but you're sitting on top of a volcano right now.

I was one of those people who submitted to Dean's call for spec fic pieces and got the ax. I let myself bleed upon receipt of the slip and made sure Dean knew about it. The good thing that came out was, I am now officially a writer (which I megaphoned to every soul who critiqued my work prior to Dean) and got an honorable mention on top of that.

I had full knowledge that I will be compensated with two copies of the anthology once accepted, and had planned who I will give them to. I even had a quid pro quo with a writer-friend to give one a copy if one of us turned up. Unfortunately he met the ax too. Money or any freebie was the last thing on our minds, and I am speaking for the two of us. I'm sure every soul who submitted thought of that too. We didn't consider it insulting. If we treat every opportunity such as this as Halley's Comet, we would rather take our shot at immortality than waste a very short life. We wanted to add value to our work and to the Philippine literary scene in general.

If it weren't for my fixed salary right now I'll be a poor and hungry writer. It would be hypocritical to say that I have my safety nets and money has no bearing. It has. Money is money. Call me noble, and all the bromide that you can spray rather than be the proverbial sound of the tree that fell in the forest that nobody heard. I couldn't say anything for the other writers, but this is my anthropocentricity at its finest.

In fairness to Siege he has a valid point, which seems to be the unifying kvetch of the workforce in the Philippines--just compensation. Even highly-paid managers outperform each others' whining scenes day by day. Not that several injustices that it seems to be the norm makes it right, but that's the way it is here. It doesn't take rocket science or even an MBA degree to understand it.

How just is just compensation? My European principals were quiet for three weeks because of their mandatory vacations. In a previous company my Shanghai counterpart receives thrice my salary and Americans have their two-month sabbaticals and my annual gross pay is just their monthly. Yet I still continue my day job, strive for a patent and be a good employee (when I feel like it). If I wait for the Philippine compensation system to reach first world levels I would have been in pajamas and adult diapers and not in shirts and an office cube anymore.

As far as I know Dean is also a businessman, and he will take calculated risks. Producing a spec fic antho would limit it to those who want to read spec fic, which is not a significant chunk of the Philippine population. With a budget of PhP70,000 and an assumption of PhP100 per bookprint, that would produce 700 books. Thirty would be given to the accepted participants gratis, assuming Dean and Nikki would hold off their copies. A markup of PhP30 per book (assuming Siglo: Freedom current price, hardbound at Powerbooks) would produce a paltry PhP17,100 profit, if all 670 books get sold. The assumptions are very arbitrary given the country's inflation performance.

He could have invested his capital in retail treasury bonds and receive 10.75% interest per annum which is a lot less riskier than shelling out on something which assures no guarantee. If the shelves get empty a few weeks after launch, call him lucky. If he promised to share his profits and the antho didn't sell, I'll bet my balls he'll be on the first boat to Surabaya via the Sulu backdoor.

The contribution to this country's social capital, however, is immense, whether we like it or not. I haven't seen anybody uncovering a sector of the literary scene so alive and full of potential that it sits side by side the nationalist paragon unconsciously imposed on us by Rizal's Noli and most Martial Law novels.

And if I follow Siege's argument with the quarterly Warm Bodies which do not offer any compensation at all, and Dean is pond scum to put it in a Julia Roberts line, we editors are the bacteria lower than pond scum.

Did Rizal consider just compensation for his bulky Noli that could have saved him from execution instead had he padded his back with it? And would he write tomes considered a Spanish grammarian's nightmare that will snuff his life in the first place? What about prison stuff like Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol and Marquis de Sade's Justine? Surely no one would buy and recompense these convicts during those times.

Time. That's the keyword there. Dean's, Danton Remoto's and other literati's endeavors, no matter the compensation are Philippine literature's watershed today and we're keeping up. We're undergoing what the authors of Kama Sutra and Alice in Wonderland experienced in the past, and I'd rather sacrifice, nay, volunteer my current work today than never be heard at all. Why wait for perceived justice? It's as frustrating as receiving fire from Prometheus for the first time when the rest of the world is already in Renaissance. Compensation or no compensation, we are too blinded by commercialism that adding value to the social capital is not in our dictionary anymore. We're too afraid to circumnavigate the earth unless we are assured that we won't fall off its edge, and a palliative that it is indeed round.

One can consider it prostituting or theoretical rape, but the argument there is its consensual nature. I chose to submit my piece and was not turned off by what Dean had to offer the instant he announced the call. In my opinion, the value-add far outweighs the compensation. Who said having a day job is like whoring when you willingly applied for it in the first place?

Dressing up

Thursday, August 18, 2005 by sky

I decided not to submit the story of e, my parody on the presidential campaigns last year, to Dean's spec fic anthology. Changing the characters' names a bit would lose its mood, retaining them would invite libel cases for me and everybody else involved. No matter how I dress it in beads and sequins my heart is not sold to the idea of suiting it up and stepping into the political circus ring.

Its first appearance was more than a year ago in an inactive blog, so technically it can't be included. When I got hold of Murakami's The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, I got the consolation that the elements of my story are legal. Only engineers can have their licenses revoked.

This is the unfinished dressed-up version:


To be a victim of the Cassandra Complex is to see misfortune coming and yet be unable to stop it. Because no one would believe me even if my arguments were real. Yes, there were lapses, but these are far outweighed by what could have been missteps in our young republic. I could have been a disgruntled engineer until now, braving half-meant jokes from foreigners in a Pu Dong hotel sauna. Perspiration would cover my tears like a transparent umbrella braving the rain.

A year later and my impression was confirmed. She will find every means to win, even in the strangest ways possible. My dream talked to me like a phone call from outer space, very much away, but eerily vivid as yesterday's photograph.

1.

Error detected: please enter a body.

Body identified.

I fell asleep while browsing through Food Magazine's Step-by-Step cookbook. Bummer, the last time I fell asleep was on a vintage 1976 copy of Penthouse after three rounds of masturbation. I just don't know why it occurs on such an interesting read. A fatigue that's fundamental perhaps, that shuts my brain like a pawnshop vault at 7 pm.

The tiles hummed as my mobile on the floor in silent mode, vibrated to the incoming call. No other name registered, except "e."

"Who's this?" I asked.

"It doesn't matter, Castro. I need to ask you a favor. Walk to the sari-sari store in front of your house right now and get the envelope. Make sure that nobody sees you." said the female voice, with a thick southern accent akin to that of the famous seer to the stars Madam Soraya reading my fortune for the day.

"Mmph mm, mm mph mm." I buried my face into the pillow. "Can't it wait until daylight?" She hung up.

Bitch, I mumbled as I piled myself out of bed. I'm risking life and limb from drag racers and drug users at this unholy hour. I dressed to my boxers not knowing why I had to and what is in store for me.

The neighborhood videoke bar is still open as I made my way across the street, and some drunk is having his pharynx ripped wide open to the tune of Kastilyong Buhangin. Surprisingly, the street is empty except for the streetlamp highlighting the sari-sari store like a neon-yellow marker.

In the distance I saw the drunk's score flash on the video screen. 98. Damn videoke brains. I'll make a perfect score just by shouting and gobbling the mike like an oral sex performance. I reached for the envelope with a blue lining. A metallic sound sliced the night like a sword on a captor about to be beheaded.

Like it came not from my hand reaching the envelope, but from a hindsight, where my eyes turn blind and my ears tune to the exact frequency.

I went back to the house and opened the envelope. Numbers and an address. 7112252. 7268543. Joe Kerr Entertainment, Espana. In front of a Catholic university. Like I was some fool to believe that there really exists a Joe Kerr stand-up comedy bar in that address. A phony phone number with an equally phony address.

Ha ha. This is just a dream. Maybe I can permutate the numbers to bet on this morning's lotto.

"Whatever happens, don't give that envelope to anybody." It was Daddy. He was awake the whole time and has been observing me as I got back home. Mom was beside Daddy in her robe, still groggy. It was 3 am.

Swoosh. Somebody knocked on the door. "Quick! Out of the house!" Daddy hushed me as I jumped from the kitchen upwards into the empty sky. My heart instantly switched to a techno throb. In a snap I saw who was coming.

It was her. The Candidate.

What the f...she was wearing a Men-in-Black costume, slick as a devil in Prada. Funny thing was, it's just past 3 am and she's wearing signature Dior sunglasses.

I couldn't contain my laughter as I flew upwards. And it was then that I realized I was flying. No, I jumped fantastically, reminding me of Eternity: A Chinese Ghost Story. Dry leaves, a cigarette stump and a dead cat collected at my feet.

So I was skimming the stratosphere with nothing on but my boxers and the envelope. This is not a matrix dream, I suppose. I'll drop by Ninno and wake him up.



The first version of the story of e is available upon request.

Navel-gazing

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 by sky

When thou art alone in thy cell shut thy door, and seat thyself in a corner; raise thy mind above all things vain and transitory; recline thy beard and chin on thy breast; turn thine eyes and thy thought towards the middle of thy belly, the region of the navel; and search the place of the heart, the seat of the soul. At first all will be dark and comfortless; but if thou persevere day and night, thou wilt feel an ineffable joy; and no sooner has the soul discovered the place of the heart than it is involved in a mystic and ethereal light.
Time was when I would check on Sitemeter on how my blog is going, hitswise. Since then I've graduated to Technorati and exploring what Yuga has recommended. Seems that linking knows no boundaries and no nationalities, as one of my skythologies on artificial intelligence was cited in another foreign site. Sometime ago the death of Tet Antiquera sparked visits to my blog and I was forced to look into news items concerning the actress. Enough of the segue:


Somehow somebody from a local air force community would like to see some Carlo Maceda skin. Hmmm. What you see, what you hear, when you go, leave it here in my site tracker. I wonder what they use the cockpit for.

Gym, starbs, Harry Potter--none of those as of the moment.

True to the spirit of navel-gazing, however, I've found that I have a treasure trail too, thin-haired ones that you can connect-the-dots all the way down there. Looks good with the retro-print undies I bought one size smaller.

I still feel Bruce Bethke's rebuke as the red-colored voice on my left side.

*This (dubious, according to some wiki contributors) quote is the source of the recent slang, navel-gazing, which is used to indicate a supposed pointless form of activity.

The future (issue) is Electric!

Monday, August 15, 2005 by sky

Spread the word. Here are the guidelines for Warm Bodies 3.

We have exactly one month to go for submissions. Nostalgia galore!

To burst upon the city like fireworks

Friday, August 12, 2005 by sky


A mystical fog envelops the city, mixed with continual rumors and an air of superiority, a hangover from the time of the shili yangchang, the foreign concessions. This hint of smugness affects me: I both love it and hate it.

Wei Hui, Shanghai Baby
Shanghai Radio Tower, viewed from Jin Mao's 88th Floor. November 2002.

Ouch ouch ouch

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 by sky

Bruce Bethke:

"I had great hopes that the Internet would lead to a wonderful efflorescence of human creativity, but ten years on, in terms of information content, the non-commercial parts of the Internet are rapidly decaying into white noise.

"I never realized there were so very many people out there with so very little to say, and a burning, unquenchable desire to say it."

Belle de Jour


"It seemed like other bloggers were happy to have anyone in their club, so long as your hit stats don't outnumber theirs. But once they do, me-ow."

And I'd say thank you for the pressure.

A book meme

by sky

Tagged by her sassiness.

Total books owned:

Must do some inventory here. Since we've moved south last year we haven't officially settled yet as more books need to be unloaded from boxes. And have them stamped too, just in case I want to donate some to the college library. No specific number here.

Last book I bought:

Carl Sagan's Contact the first print, not the one stamped with "Now a Major Motion Picture." Characteristic of Sagan's integration of human dynamics, extraterrestrial intelligence, and how religion plays (undoes) its part.

Last book I read:

Should I say, heard--The Best Christmas Ever by James Patrick Kelly. About the last man on earth and how his robots try to please him by celebrating holidays one after another.

For the real book with all the paper smell, the works--Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke. Kept me turning pages back and forth. Either Clarke is lousy when it comes to Rama's interior details or my spatial intelligence stopped growing by the age of ten.

Five Types of Books I Read:

1. Sci-fi. What would you expect an engineering graduate would read? You have your romance novels, I have mine.
2. Slipstream and Cyberpunk. Technically I'm not a virgin to these genres if you count Alice in Wonderland in it. But I still have to pay homage to Gibson's Neuromancer.
3. "World Lit" (quotation marks in a Ptolemaic sense, America being the center of the universe), the Allendes, Nerudas and Marquezes. As well as Arundhati Roy, Ben Okri and Wei Hui.
4. Interior design, architecture and art books. I like pictures, I like colors, I like photography, especially the nudes. Legal porn ha ha ha.
5. Comic books. Had to give up after graduation due to their exorbitant cost. Love lost and found.

Plus a decent collection of cookbooks. I didn't include engineering or management books by the way.

(Five) books that mean a lot to me:

I wish I wrote myself, or dared to explore more of what I have so far:
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- The Elephant Vanishes by Murakami Haruki

Something to remind me that I am a cellular organism and not a floating ectoplasm:
- Cosmos by Carl Sagan
- The Ultimate Hitchhikers' Guide by Douglas Adams
- Siglo: Freedom by various authors
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

For beauty
- White Hot by Tricia Guild
- The Kama Sutra, author unknown
- Dana's Manual of Mineralogy by Klein and Hurlbut
- Digital Photographer's Handbook by Tom Ang

My former greatness
- High Output Management by Andy Grove

Brainfarts
- Dragons in Distress: Asia's Miracle Economies in Crisis by Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld
- No Free Lunch: Food and Revolution in Cuba Today by Medea Benjamin, Joseph Collins, Michael Scott
- Asian Drama by Seth King
- The Beginner's Guide to Ecology, author unknown
- Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

I can be electric too
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

(Five) favorite Filipiniana books:

1. Warm Bodies 1 and 2 by various bloggers, for obvious reasons.
2. Rizal Without the Overcoat by Ambeth Ocampo. Somehow history became interesting.
3. Twisted (the first one) by Jessica Zafra. Angst is so 90's and this is its encapsulation. I challenge everyone to look back and not see Zafra in the present tense.
4. Viajero by F. Sionil Jose. Old school Filipiniana, like a dog-eared sepia photograph underneath a glass table.
5. Lexy, Nance and Argus by Oliver Pulumbarit. As if the author was a secretary beside me jotting down everything I've been and everything I've seen.

and
6. Recipes of the Philippines by Enriqueta David-Perez. Adds pirurutung and tajure to your vocab.

Something I've added,

Five books I'd rather sleep on but not as plump as a pillow:
1. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
2. All Anne Rice novels
3. The Famished Road by Ben Okri, tied with Metamorphosis and other stories by Franz Kafka
4. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
5. And anything Harry Potter, until the hype dies down.

And books I'd like to have (a wishlist limited to five)
1. Damiana Eugenio's folklore series
2. An English translation of Urbana at Felisa and Si Nena at Si Neneng, if such works exist
3. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (not the version polluted by Disney, but the one similar to what I bought at the M/V Doulos and lost)
4. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
5. Hinirang (does a hardcopy exist? the site is down)

I'll pass the baton to anybody who loves a meme.

How dare you die, Mr. Roco

Monday, August 08, 2005 by sky

Don't believe the Ides of March. Bad things happen more in August (aside from my birth, that is).

I just found out that Roco Jr. is my cousin's officemate at a BPO somewhere in Katipunan, transcripting dialogues for films converted to DVD formats. And if my source is to be believed, Roco Sr. left behind a mountain of debt after backers of his campaign sorties ehrm, backed out sometime in April when he left for the US to have his cancer treated.

He was booted out of DepEd, an institution being run like the mafiosi.

His legacy was not a namesake in public office. I was searching for another Roco in the public (dis)service roster and I came up with Goco.

He squeezed my arm. How dare you die, Mr. Roco.

CATCH THE SENATOR IF YOU CAN
posted Tue, 07-01-03

we requested a 15-minute interview with former education secretary roco when he visited our factory yesterday. our company's coordinator introduced me and k.g. to roco's personal assistant amid the din of the senator's speech. we were talking under the speakers and i was not even able to get her name. what the heck. abagnale strategy #1: get her name--unsuccessful. it was approaching 12 noon and she said we will just ambush-interview the senator.

spare us some dignity, girl. we are not papparazzi nor the pesky media that we used to watch on la law. we are the editors of a company newsletter whose goal is to know the man, politics aside.

no choice. we chatted with him as we walked past the rec hall. it did not appear like an interview, but it sure looked like an ambush as we caught him unguarded. the man was waving left and right. shaking hands as any politician could. signing autographs on philippines free press magazines with him on the cover. blatant politicking really, but it was roco doing it so there was subtlety in his blatancy, to paraphrase k.g.

"what were you doing when you were in your late 20's?" k.g.

he was already a lawyer at 24, a member of the constitutional convention at 28. at 19 he already aspired to be the philippine president.

it was all so awkward. k.g. was beaming and roco was answering in installments while waving, shaking and signing. he was also squeezing k.g.'s arm in a fatherly manner.

my turn. "when you were about to enter college, did you consider taking the engineering profession? what kind of engineer would you have been?"

by this time he was inviting us to join the lunch prepared by the staff. of course we were not allowed to join by default!

he said he was amazed by engineers who build dams and bridges. ah, civil engineer i said.

and airplanes too. megalomaniac. now he is a valid presidentiable.

and he was also squeezing my arm. it was uncomfortable yet fatherly. i have never been squeezed by a man before, and a senator at that.

i was about to ask if his life was to be made into a movie, i would like to know which actor would he prefer to play his role and who would be the leading lady. and if he wanted carlo j caparas to direct it. snips of awkwardly dead air flashed through and the supposedly light moment just went up the stratosphere.

all in all it was a mixture of:

(1) awkwardness because we have interviewed a prominent person in a trashy manner only a papparazzo can (un)do;

(2) anticipation of looking stupid because we walk and talk at the same time while roco is doing the campaign melange; and

(3) being star-struck with a larger-than-life potbellied guy in a hibiscus-print shirt who could be, a year from now, the philippine president which the educated elite look upon as the healer who can ably cure the sick man of asia. that's a mouthful.

item #3 kept us at bay as we watched him enter the luncheon room. we weren't even able to say goodbye and thank you sir. k.g.'s legs are shaking from roco's aura radiating.

after that, every engineer i knew was awed at how k.g. and i were able to rub elbows (pardon, he was squeezing ours) with the senator. my boss saw me did it, oblivious of the apparent humiliation that k.g. and i felt during the process.

bitin. k.g. and i weren't able to pick roco's brains enough to please our journalistic wants, politics aside.

When all's well, my love is like cathedral bells

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 by sky

I think I am deaf. I nod absently at a speaker two meters away and force a calculated smile as if I knew what he said. I keep on snorting like a seal in the shower. And I have this bad habit of forcing snot out instead of probing my nose with a cotton bud. I hear music all the time but not enough to make me a human iPod Shuffle. It's not because I am aging but because I have bad habits. Good thing I stopped picking my ears with ballpen caps. Because there's rarely a ballpen around and poking it with a mouse would be an incredible feat.

What sense would you give up if forced to?

For the love of Jove, I'll fight for the sense of sight till death. I like seeing colors and greys, and letters that file upon marching orders from an equally sweet-smelling, ink-infused, moldy-and-crackling or white, paper. I frame compositions in my mind, and wished that cameras have already been perfect to capture what I truly see and not what I want to look at. I see window greens peppered with chrome, and associate my nausea from long provincial trips. I see tan with a blustery June day and neon blue with adolescence.

The sense of hearing would be optional as I like music and choreography, at least a mind dance. But not door bangs nor a malicious whisper coupled with a once-over.

The sense of taste and smell, if they'd be gone they should go together. And so both of them should be kept. The tang of vinegar on fish is not complete without the requisite jiggle on my columella nasi. And umami is still a universal mystery that can't be ignored.

I therefore conclude that I'd forego the sense of touch as I would not want an attempt on my personal bubble anyway. Maybe it came with childhood, an instinct for self-preservation. Poke me with a stick. Lay out the radio telescopes first. A bite on my side is a death sentence that would elicit giggles, and a range of emotions from letdown to cuteness, depending on who is biting.


People say it's my birthday today.

Books du Jour

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 by sky

Closing the pages on Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes and still craving the smell of bookpaper, slipstream and sci fi, I began perusing Arthur Clarke's The Sentinel and Tales from Planet Earth again. A quick visit to booksales (one unknown in the ground floor of Festival Mall has cheaper and better titles, alas, they don't keep a master copy of what's in stock) yielded Carl Sagan's Contact in its original issue at 55 pesos and the 3/3 of a Mary Stewart trilogy on Merlin, which I declined. I also found William Gibson's Idoru (part 2 of the Bridge trilogy) and squinted. Oh no.

I hate trilogies and therefore sequels unless I start right at them. It's too frustrating to begin at the last and search fruitlessly for the rare prequels, unless I have the patience of a beaver. I therefore declare to read Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama and sometime continue with Tolkien's famous trilogy where I left off at The Hobbit. And initiate myself with the bible of cyberpunk, Gibson's Neuromancer (which strangely sells for about a hundred pesos at Powerbooks, zero stock of course) that can be hacked in e-book websites.

What's the love affair between the sci fi genre and sequels anyway?

Finally, a segue. What do you think an engineer would do seeing a scant offering on sci fi and fantasy shelves from his favorite bookstore? Go girly, go erotica. I've used Memoirs of a Geisha as my springboard and landed right on the laps of Shanghai Baby and Belle de Jour, the latter I consumed in one weekend. I just can't put my erection, I mean, the book down. Belle de Jour, chalked by an anonymous author (deduced by some to be Stewart Home, or Sarah Champion take your pick), writes smoothly that her words slide on paper. While others have qualms on its authenticity and its depiction of the London punting scene, it nonetheless provided wit and a happy room for doubt if a real call girl can actually argue with her client over Martin Amis. She has a blog which I've read earlier (along with favorite Rentboy Diaries, now blocked by corporate IT) and I can state the same for that too.

Down the aisle I've seen another blogger-turned-author, Washingtonniene but I wouldn't care. There's no shock factor in interns and White House anymore.

I wonder if Malacañang's got something other than Garci tapes. Hmmm.

Creed and crud

Monday, August 01, 2005 by sky

"Remember our school hymn? Can't get UP Naming Mahal into words." Wife.

UP Naming Mahal, da da da daaa da daa. I used to stop even at the middle of Beta Way when I hear it. Can you recite Panatang Makabayan? Me.

Wife stands up. Panatang makabayan. Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas. Ito ang aking lupang sinilangan. Ito ang tahanan ng aking lahi. Ako'y kanyang kinukupkop at...at...?

Me: nililiyag? binabayag? Google help us.

How about Ako ay Pilipino?

.

.

.

???

Would GMA and her kind know it? Dream sequence: Thunderbolt and lightning at the Batasan. Apostles' Creed scenarios likewise. Great Deluge follows, leaving an empty House. End sequence.

At least we don't know the Star-Spangled Banner either and wouldn't care. Fair enough.

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