A picture is worth a THOUSAND words? Maybe. But…

Check this out. Nice view of pristine Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand, on the surface of which is a reflection of the distant Southern Alps.

What’s curious about this is it took probably just a few seconds for a photographer to pic a spot, adjust his camera, and click to take this shot. J.R.R. Tolkien, on the other hand, to paint the same picture in one’s mind, would have expended a long paragraph composed probably of just under one thousand words, written, proof-read, and rewritten to his satisfaction; a process that would have taken at least 30 minutes.

That probably explains why in these days of advanced technology that serves both the desktop and digital camera industries, there is still only about one writer for every 20 aspiring (read: amateur) photographers. Writing takes a lot more work than photography, and admittedly, a greater degree of wit, imagination, and patience. While a good photographer sees things that normal humans often miss while equipped with equally acute eyes, a writer has to record such things in his psyche and make it appear almost identically in the minds of his readers through words.

Me? I probably will never understand photography. But a weaver of words I could always relate to, and appreciate. The truth is I lament a little bit about the ratio I mentioned above (exempli gratia Multiply, sadly, is sorely lacking in the better blogs that enrich the mind). But hey, the world needs both wordsmiths and picture crafters. One provides satiety of the soul while the other delights the windows of the mind. I just wish the ratio could be a little more even…

Oh well, I’m going to bed now. Good night.

(A little trivia: New Zealand’s Southern Alps is the actual location of Middle-earth’s Misty Mountains, as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy)

“If you die, I’ll kill you!”

Really. Some people are so subterraneanly stupid that it’s okay to laugh at their misfortune. This list courtesy of my high school chum Bingle. Enjoy!

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2007 Darwin Awards

Yes, it’s that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us. These are true factual events that have been mostly taken from Newspaper clippings from around U. S. A.

They do say that the evolutionary process has slowed down considerably there over the past couple of hundred years. Here is the glorious winner:

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach , California , would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

And now, the honourable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and, after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the
mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer …. $15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he’d just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti , Michigan , at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away. (*A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER)

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had.

In the interest of bettering mankind, please share these with your friends and family … unless of course one of these individuals by chance is a distant relative or long-lost friend. In that case, be glad they are distant and hope they remain lost.

Why thinking about you makes me crazy

One for the road. Those who have time enough to burn to read my blog may have noticed my fondness for writing (fondness, not talent – I leave it to other people to declare if I do have talent). I’ve been thinking about writing a book. Fiction. But my 3-month hiatus aside, I don’t have the time to fully devote to the craft (wish I have 39 million dollars so I could afford to not have a day job). But I still dabble, once in a while.

Also, obvious is the fact that I have taken a liking for Persona 3, and you may have noticed me rambling randomly about it in the form of quotes and posted Youtube videos here and there. What most non-gaming muggles don’t realize is hardcore gamers normally set aside short-timers like Tekken, Need For Speed and other non-story based games. Hardcores indulge in the more immersing genre, for example, RPGs (short for Role-Playing Games), those massive masterpieces that usually take at least two weeks to finish one run. Notable luminaries of the genre are the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series. Shin Megami Tensei is a fast-rising title that threatens to dislodge most of these old favorites. I won’t go into detail, suffice it to say that Persona 3 is one of the newest rages, owing mainly to its unforgettable characters. Like Akihiko and Mitsuru (pictured).

So, when a person combines his penchant for writing and love for these fictional characters, what usually results is a fan fiction.

Now don’t scoff. Many fan fiction writers are better than most published writers. And from my experience, some of the best fanfic writers in the internet have strutted their wares in a site called Final Fantasy Online, specifically its fan fiction forum. Now I don’t say this because I post my writings there too, I’m just stating the facts.

So, one for the road, my Persona 3 fanfic featuring Akihiko and Mitsuru (and a song most of you probably know).

“I didn’t know you did something creative!”

Something I have been dabbling with… for about 8 years now :p

———————————-

He could still recall the time when the walk towards his college building was, for lack of a brilliant streak in the witty term coinage, a pain in the arse. How he almost despised always having to be compelled to get up every five in the morning and wait the long line for the shower, only to find out the chillingly hard way that the water heater had broken a regulator. Such pathetic exercise was just a start. Francis never liked crisp bacon, but the dorm mistress always insisted on serving this on account of it being healthier, with all its cholesterol melted out and all. Why couldn’t she just serve greased cucumbers or something? At least it didn’t leave tiny bacon bits and oil on your fingers.Â

A litany, that’s what he used to have in the mornings, and it was usually composed of a series of dirges about the regular morning migraine, the foot traffic along the busy catwalk on the way to the annex, the heat, his dilapidated shoes, etc etc etc. Upon emerging from his building, he would normally see his fiancée, Rachel, waving at him from her dorm building. That would be the first passably pleasant sight his eyes would gaze at, before she had to meld in with the teeming crowd of squealing, semi-mature (or so they said) denizens of the university’s prissy population.Â

Something was awfully wrong about this morning, Francis began mind-mumbling as he passed by the infamous Mi-Lard convenience store – the only such allowed within university premises – which he swore specialized in high-fat foods and snacks (hence the name?). No, his so-called gut feeling didn’t particularly link with the store, but then, it never did whenever he thought like this, which was practically every day. In fact, he seldom thought of anything even remotely ‘good’. Though he tried to hide it, Francis Tracer was a cynic and a chronic self-hater – and those were his good points. His fiancée, Rachel, was a veritable ray of light and salt of the earth. Pretty, cheerful, hospitable, kind, patient, and the best listener this side of Gaia, Rachel could cause a group of astronomers who, after waiting five years for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to observe a supernova within three light-years and then seeing them all squashed like a squad of squirming squeegee by wrongfully forecasted thunderstorms, to turn into a There’s-Always-The-Next-Supernova-To-Watch-Out-For (a.k.a. We-Forgive-The-Weatherman) party with her presence and almost mystically charged words of encouragement. If Francis didn’t know better, he’d think he was affianced to the goddess of feel-goodness.Â

Of course, that was ridiculous. She was simply what the doctor ordered for Francis ‘Mr. God-Hates-Me’ Tracer. You see, this guy was quite fond of bad-mouthing himself as though he deserved it. Francis, due to an aforementioned crippling lack of self-esteem, considered himself to be at the bottom rung of the top 1% ugliest males on the face of the known planet. This was, in all practicality, contrary to the truth. He wasn’t exactly ignorant to all those girls who at the very least gave him a double-take whenever he passed by. By all respects, he could actually become a campus heartthrob if he wanted to, so said his friends. All he needed was to be more conscious with the clothes he wore everyday. Nothing of the t-shirts, torn denim jeans and canvass shoes he seemed to be so fond of. But Francis would never hear of these things, or the stories of that junior high hottie – Anna – who reportedly followed him to his dorm room one night after an impromptu introduction at a nearby pasta place. The why? They could only speculate. Francis must have undergone something superlatively traumatic as a kid to consider himself as the world record holder Mr. Hideous Toad. Needless to say, Rachel disagreed, every time vehemently, while still managing to shine through with her trademark feel-good smile.Â

No one in his outer circle knew about his ‘The Overlord of Misanthropism’ attitude; Francis didn’t dare tell his classmates for fear that his already pathetic and socially malnourished existence would look even more like a baby stricken with Beriberi.  He had what one could say tons of friends, but none did he maintain closer than what he had with Rachel, and one other person. He went out with the guys occasionally, sure. He lunched with his project peers and even went sightseeing in Balamb with fellow members of Thrill-Seekers Inc – a school club that endeavored to promote extremism in outdoor activities. But Francis never did grow intimate with any one of his peers and colleagues. He either didn’t want to or didn’t know how. He used to have several friends that could be categorized as intimate, but they all lived in Esthar now. Rachel had always believed that being left behind in Deling City while his friends achieved skyrocketing scholastic accomplishments in Esthar had something to do with her fiancé’s confidence crisis. She’d always tell him that he shouldn’t worry too much about this, that he was among the smartest people she ever knew and the only reason his friends made it and he didn’t was they were more interested.Â

That, and something more that always put a smile of appeasement in Francis’ face; that he stayed in Deling City because God wanted them to be together.Â

Francis may be an insufferable cynic, but his day always looked up whenever Rachel was around.Â

He was talking to his friend, Amber, and telling her how wonderful Rachel was and how lucky he had been to have been the one for her. Amber, who knew Rachel since childhood, agreed. How could she not? The two had been talking over the phone for the last fifteen minutes, a rarity for Amber, a person who was always on-the-go so much that people sometimes thought she’d be electrocuted if she stayed on one spot for more than a second. For the past fifteen minutes, Amber hadn’t heard much more than Francis showering his fiancée with well-deserved praises. But it wasn’t really that which had been keeping her glued to the phone, it was the fact that Francis sounded distraught while talking. She could tell that he was trying to camouflage it, and she couldn’t shake off the stinking feeling that he was about to confess a sin.Â

Francis spoke of how suddenly he stopped seeing university as the most profound torture chamber in the civilized world, and how much he had lately been enjoying his normally burdensome walk, as though Deling City’s superfluously warm weather was a heavenly blanket that suffused every cell in his body with happy energy.Â

Happy energy?Â

Amber frowned: what ever kind of nonsense, droll, cheesy, Power Rangers-worshipping lame drivel was that?Â

Amber had known Francis for five years, and she knew him enough to realize that only one thing could possibly be making her 200+ I.Q. friend talk this nauseatingly idiotic.Â

A girl was involved.Â

“Francis,” She said slowly, “I’m pretending that Rachel isn’t my friend since she was ten and I was five. I’m trying to forget for the moment that she’d always been there for me whenever my parents had to go away on those archaeological trips. I’m not trying to recall how she was the only one there for me when my no-good boyfriend dumped me for a guy.”Â

”That is so sad.”Â

“Shut up, please.”Â

”(muffled snort).”Â

“So you know that I’m your friend too, and I’m here for you. And whenever you say that you need to talk to me about something, I’m ready to listen to you. You know all those things, right?”Â

”Yeah, but…”Â

“I promise not to tell her anything.” Her would be Rachel.Â

”… You sure?” Was his delayed reply. Amber couldn’t avoid shaking her hear at what seemed like skepticism on his part.Â

“Yeah.” She said reassuringly.Â

”All right. Here goes…”Â

“You did something stupid, didn’t you?”Â

”Amber, good listeners don’t exactly butt in in the middle of the FRIGGING SENTENCE!”Â

“Heh. Sorry about that.”Â

”I FORGIVE YOU.”Â

“Thank you so much, my friend.”Â

”Now, do you mind?”Â

“Not the slightest bit.”Â

”Thank you. Now, where was I?”Â

“You were about to tell me whether you did something stupid or not.”Â

This was the part where things would start to get serious and heavy, Amber thought when Francis grew silent at the other end of the line. She wondered if he was drinking something with cyanide in it, or if Rachel was holding his head up with a boa constrictor and making him drink something with cyanide in it. Nah, couldn’t be, she thought. Cyanide was expensive.Â

Amber waited. But Francis didn’t come back to her with ’You’re probably thinking I’m drinking something with hemlock in it.’ They had known each other for so long that they had begun to think alike, at least when the need for sarcasm arose. The fact that he didn’t unleash a similar rejoinder told her that he was now, genuinely, deadly serious.Â

“Francis, you okay?”Â

”I almost did.”Â

“What?”Â

”I almost did something stupid.”Â

“Stupid as in ‘stupid’ stupid?”Â

”Yeah.”Â

“With whom?”Â

”You have to ask?”Â

Amber didn’t.Â

“With… Rinoa…?”Â

”Yeah.” Â

To be continued…

Just because I feel batty…

Unlike many superheroes, Batman has no superpowers and instead relies on “his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess.” Batman is physically at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, notably martial arts, acrobatics, strength, and escape artistry. Intellectually, he is just as peerless; Batman is one of the world’s greatest scientists, criminologists, and tacticians, as well as a master of disguise, often gathering information under the identity of Matches Malone. He is regarded as one of the DC Universe‘s greatest detectives.”

“Rather than simply outfighting his opponents, Batman often uses cunning and planning to outwit them. In Grant Morrison’s first storyline in JLA, Superman describes Batman as “the most dangerous man on Earth,” able to defeat a team of superpowered aliens all by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates.”

– Wikipedia

Liars go to Hades!

Anyone know William Moulton Marston? Well, if you know Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, co-creators of Superman, and Bob Kane, creator of Batman, chances are you also know Marston. He (together with his wife Elizabeth Holloway) created Wonder Woman.

The interesting part is together with the creation of the most famous female superhero in history, Marston was also the one who conceptualized her main weapons: the bullet-deflecting indestructible bracelets and the Lasso of Truth – a rope made from the Girdle of Gaia that, when looped around a person, renders that person unable to tell a lie.

So?

Well, William Moulton Marston was also the inventor of the polygraph.

Hehe, you don’t run into convergent facts like that everyday

CHORVA-rable

“Sir, baka ma-chorva tayo dyan sa endorsement.”

“Guys, cho-chorva na kami, gabi na eh.”

“Joy, chorvahin mo na, uploaded na siya.”

I hear this word every single freaking day ever since starting with my current job 2 months ago. It’s one of those really admirably peculiar words (and there aren’t very many) that instantly change meaning depending on the context of the sentence. And also one of those words that either sound amusing or annoying, depending on who’s saying it. Coming from my team members, it’s amusing. I guess I haven’t really heard anyone who’s thundered it out to the consequence of my getting annoyed, though. Well, maybe this one person I know, but I haven’t heard from her for a long time (and I say that as a good thing  )

It’s also one of those words that I know, given my age, I will never, ever find myself uttering. It’s not because I think it’s jolog (irony intended, ahahaha) or cheap or unbecoming. Just… inappropriate. I’m a 38-year old overweight unsightly geezer who elicits an automatic “po” from everyone younger than me by 1 year, so don’t you think it’s kinda weird if I say something like that?

This evening, we had to stay to cover for a blunder one of my people made. My guys and I allowed ourselves to take a few minutes break before diving into the grinder again. Then I finished my McDonald’s fried chicken, stood up, and said “Tara, chorvahin na natin ‘to.” The looks on my teammates’ faces were priceless.

Question: how could you tell when I’m overworked, staying too long in the office and spending too much time with my team? There’s your answer

“I miss the things you do”

 I miss…Â

  • San Francisco Bay Area (this is Melvin’s fault)
  • A nice slab of rib-eye steak (I’m currently on a fish-and-veggies-only diet)
  • Videoke with the gang (and Tiff singing My Immortal)
  • Serving in the music ministry
  • My second car – a 1998 Nissan Maxima Sports Edition (I call her Jet)
  • Pumping iron (it’s strangely incompatible with boxing)
  • The FFO Fanfic forum community
  • Driving to Elorde at Gilmore with Shy and Markku
  • BOXING (haven’t boxed for more than a week now)
  • SUBIC (and feeding tigers)
  • Petiks (huhuhu, always toxic heeeeere)
  • My brother (been 8 years but sometimes I still think I’m only dreaming)
  • SVI (loyalty is not dead yet)
  • Final Fantasy VIII
  • 01
  • and the rest of the gang
  • free throws (wahahahahaha!)
  • watching Michael Jordan play
  • WALNUT CREEK 94596 (long story)
  • and last but not the least…. YouÂ

Better friends. Better people.

Last Friday wifey and I were at Megamall to have my NBI clearance renewed for my new job. The day was a little horrendous, with the mall packed with a lot more people than usual because of the 3-day sale. Anyways, having accomplished our mission, Joy and I decided to stroll around a bit, and one of the stores we visited was Comic Quest. Now I haven’t been buying comic books for more than a year now, ever since those bigwigs at DC Comics opted to imitate Marvel by turning their superheroes into drama queens while introducing all-new inconsistencies to continuity (really pissed me off). But hey, all back-issues were 50% off. One of the books I picked up was Justice League of America #0.

There was one thing that Superman said there that immediately drew my attention:

“As in any social setting, your friends are the ones you consider your equals. But your best friends — your closest friends — are the ones you consider your betters.”

One of the marks of a good writer (in this case Brad Meltzer, who I still call a good writer despite my hating his work with Identity Crisis) is being insightful enough to recognize the more subtle truths in life that most of us mere mortals overlook or totally miss out on. I reflected upon this quote and realized just how true it is for me. That whenever I look or think of my closest friends, the very first things I see are the ways they are better than me. To illustrate:

Rollee, best friend since high school – the better artist

Oyee, best friend since high school – the more streetsmart, the better dresser

Rachel, UCPB best friend – the better judge of character

Archie, UCPB best friend – the better programmer

Cathy – the better organizer

Shy – the better singer, the (much) more physically fit (but them, almost all of them are)

Mike – the better housekeeper, the more disciplined

Markku – the better bachelor (meaning he’s making much better use of his time than I ever did when I was single)

Charina – the more insightful, the more mature person (yeah, don’t let her down-to-earth behavior fool you)

Hana – the more compassionate person

Ellen – same as Hana

And of course, my best friend in the whole world, my wife, Joy – the more patient, the emotionally stronger, better money handler, more polite, more likeable, more kindhearted — in a nutshell, the all-around better person.

(and no, we haven’t been fighting so the above weren’t some lame excuse so I could avoid being outside-the-kulambo =p )

It’s a double-edged sword, actually. It is always good to consider others better than you. And when it comes to closest friends, I realized that thinking of them as my betters comes naturally. Why? Let’s face it, wanting to be someone’s close friend means there’s something about someone that we like very much, and more often than not this is a something that we don’t have in ourselves. Simplifying, your closest friends become your idols of some sort because you admire them for the things they have, or do, that you don’t, or couldn’t.

The downside: idolizing your close friends too much could be harmful. Two reasons:

(1) No matter how good a person a best friend is, he/she could still let us down. They’re humans, after all, and therefore are as prone to human mistakes just like you and I. Only Jesus, our best friend in the universe (even though we neglect to acknowledge Him as such) could never let us down. So try to avoid looking at your closest friends as the reason for your existence.

(2) Sometimes putting someone on the pedestal involves putting ourselves down, i.e. it makes us feel inferior, and therefore could lead us into a gnawing sense of insecurity. Which really shouldn’t be. We may automatically see our best friends are our betters, but we must also remember that the attitude is more than likely reciprocal — they also see us as our betters one way or another.

So. Welcome to the Mutual Admiration Society =D