I think it’s safe to say it here since no one reads this blog anyway.
My dad has cancer.Â Funny, I’ve always felt sorry for people who had expressed thatÂ a loved one has cancer.Â I know it is difficult for them, and my heart always went out for them.Â But to me it has always been like knowing that a broken bone is painful.Â I know it is, but I have no idea just how much.Â I have no graphic description of the pain since I’ve never had my bones broken.
Â Now I know.Â Words can’t describe.Â Even though my dad and I had never been super-close (I’ve always been closer to my mom), it’s still indescribably hard.
Helpless.Â Hopeless.Â Impotent.Â Alone.Â Those words seem meaningless next to this.
All other problems seem so inane and insignificant.
And God seems so far away.
I know He’s here.Â His words say so.Â My wife says so.Â But I just couldn’t feel his care and protection right now.
Right now, I feel exposed, unsafe, undefended, and alone.Â Right now, I feel that my enemies have won.
What’s more, the female respondents are loud and clear on the point that men do not need to be madly in love to send a woman a spontaneous gift of flowers — any form of fondness, including friendship and fraternal, is appropriate.”
I think the need for mentioning the sentence I quoted aboveÂ represents a small indication of a bigger problem.Â While in a discussion withÂ some friends, I was told that society in general considers
“Wanna go for coffee?”
as a pick-up line.
My reaction: WHAT?!?
So if the aforementioned flower article blogger asks me to go out for coffee, or vice versa (whichÂ we did a few times in the past, though none actually pushed through), does that meanÂ she or IÂ wants something else to happen between us?
Stupid, diba?Â I’m a coffee lover, she’s a coffee lover.Â Heck, millions of Filipinos are coffee lovers.Â So where does that leave people like us when the most straightforward way of expressing one’s intent to enjoy a steaming cup of brew at the nearest Starbucks with a friendÂ is regarded as something that carries a deeper (and to some, more sinister) meaning?
I think today’s society has adapted a more profound and, mightÂ I add, totally unnecessary sense of paranoia.Â And that’s a very bad thing.
I mean, most people have bad dreams about going out half-naked, being attacked by a horde of vampires, or seeing themselves in a casket.Â I get some of that too, particularly the horde of vampires variety.Â But in my case, it isn’t exactly a nightmare since in my dream, I’m a legendary vampire slayer, and I always manage to obliterate the thousands of vampires I fight (don’t ask me how – there’s a reason it’s called “dream”, wahaha).
Sometimes I have nightmares not of the terrifying type, but those that are so sad they’re debilitating, where I’d wake up almost to the point of tears.Â Usually about certain people that are dear to me but I haven’t been speaking to because of some conflict beyond my control.
But lately, I’ve been having the apocalyptic type.Â Like asteroids crashing down to earth.Â There was this one where I saw a weird pattern of clouds in the sky – weird because the clouds are arranged in a neat row stretching from horizon to horizon, moving perpendicular to its length.Â And everything on the ground freezes instantaneously as they pass overhead.Â I remember frantically running to the nearest McDonalds shop and turning on all stoves and ovens to prevent myself from freezing.
Last night, every building in Makati was toppling over to its side while radios scream of the worst terrorist hit ever.Â I was running like mad trying to avoid a storm of debris heading my way.Â At first the debris were small pieces of metal and glass which somehow I was able to dodge.Â But then they turned into large chunks of concrete.Â No way avoiding them.Â I was faced with certain death.
So I woke up, with my heart racing twice as fast and my stomach burning with the mother of all indigestion pain.Â Was the nightmare so lucid and terrifying that my body manifested the horror physically?Â
Could be.Â At first I wanted to call Mike, Markku, Pao, Leia or Hana and ask them if they were also suffering from indigestion from last night’s Meatshop sisig, but eventually decided off it when the furnace in my stomach died down after a few minutes.
It was the nightmare, no doubt about it.
I wonder what’s next in my nocturnal apocalyptic itinerary…
Cold shoulder, silent treatment do more harm than good
Ostracism is more powerful now than ever because people have fewer strong family and friend support systems to fall back on when faced with exclusion in relationships, the workplace or even Internet chat rooms, says a Purdue University social psychologist. “The effects of ostracism are a health concern,” says Kipling Williams, professor of psychological sciences who researches ostracism. “Excluding and ignoring people, such as giving them the cold shoulder or silent treatment, are used to punish or manipulate, and people may not realize the emotional or physical harm that is being done. Some purposely hurt others by not inviting them to a party or ignoring them at work, and others may not even realize they are ostracizing someone when they ignore a new temporary employee or a friend after a disagreement.
“In the past, people who were ostracized at work or by a friend could seek support and control through another significant relationship. But because people report growing more distant from extended family and relying on fewer close friendships, they might lack the support to deal with ostracism.”
“Ostracism is one of the most widely used forms of social punishment, and some see it as more humane than corporal punishment, as when used in a time-out, but there is a deeper psychological impact that needs to be taken seriously,” he says. “We know that when people are ostracized, it can affect their perceptions, physiological conditions, attitude and behavior – all of which sometimes can lead to aggression.”
Ostracism, like the silent treatment and cold shoulder, are very common for two reasons, Williams says.
“First, they’re powerful,” Williams says. “And second, you can get away with them. If people are physically or verbally abusive, they can be punished. But it’s hard to punish someone for not making eye contact or ignoring another person. If the person is confronted by asking, ‘Why are you not talking to me?,’ the person can easily deny the accusation.”
Sometimes ostracism is unintentional. Temporary employees, for example, report that they are frequently ostracized.
“They feel invisible,” Williams says. “Other workers don’t want to make friends or even introduce themselves because that person is not expected to remain with the company for long. Temporary workers feel ignored and excluded, and this can affect their performance in the office.”
“Ostracism is present in the animal kingdom and is often used to increase a group’s chance for survival by basically excluding the weakest link,” Williams says. “For example, if a lion is hurt and holding the pride up, then that lion may be pushed away.”
However, humans use ostracism for more complex reasons. The people who are ostracizing often feel a strong sense of belonging with each other, as well as feeling empowered, Williams says. People who are excluded react one of two ways. The most common reaction is to try to improve a person’s characteristics or behavior so they are included or fit in. Or, people who are excluded frequently become destructive and vindictive.
Many people also use ostracism as a tool to gain control of a situation.
The silent treatment also can be an asset when you are trying to argue with someone who is more articulate.
There was this joke that became popular right after the Gulf War ended.Â A CNN news correspondent reporting live from the battlefield was describing the U.S. led forces attack against Saddam’s Air Force and the difficulties they were having.Â First was how the U.S. sent a fleet of 1,000 F-15 Eagle fighter jets but they were still having a hard time winning against Saddam’s planes.Â Then the British sent 1,000 Eurofighter Typhoons, but they were still having a hard time.Â The French followed suit and deployed 1,000 Mirage fighters, and that didn’t help either.Â The Allied forces were becoming desperate because Saddam’s Air Force was too powerful.
Then a report came that Japan has entered the battle.Â Everyone was hopeful at first, but their hearts sank in despairÂ when theyÂ saw that Japan sent only five fighter jets.Â Five.Â What the heck are mere five fighters supposed to accomplish when 3,000 planes have already failed?
Then a voice was overheard through the radio, coming from the five Japanese fighters.
That corny joke aside (though it made me laugh when I first heard it), I guess that for our generation,Â nothingÂ defines “Unfinished business” more clearly and meaningfully than that old anime series Voltes V.Â Flashback some 30 years ago when we still resided in Bulacan and I was nothing more than a rubber band-bearing, spider-fight watching snotÂ who couldn’t go home from school until the tricycle my mom paid to ferry me home arrived.Â The routine was play time after school, every day, when my playmates and I would clutter the dirt roads of St. Martin’s Subdivision (beside present-day SM Marilao) with our cheap and “classless” toys and playthings like wooden guns, “tex” and the aforementioned rubber bands.
And when it strikes 6 p.m., we’d allÂ zip home, like clockwork, leaving the streets emptier than a proverbial ghost town.Â We did it so efficiently that a visitor could mistake it for a scene from a John Carpenter movie.Â Eerie.
Why?Â Voltes V is on.Â “He” and “his” contemporaries.Â It was the time when Voltes and gangÂ – Daimos (Tuesday), Mazinger Z (Wednesday), U.F.O. Grendaizer (Thursday) and Mekanda (Monday) – lorded over prime time TV to provide us kids of our generation with 30 minutes of utter TV-viewing bliss.Â Unbridled TV heaven at 6 p.m. every school day, amen.
You probably know how it all went down.Â The series (not just Voltes but all of the Super Robot series) was cancelled by order of the late President Marcos allegedly because it was too violent.Â Well, no arguments there, as I’ve compared this with other subsequent similar Sentai format shows that came out, like Star Rangers (the “template” of the Power Rangers) and Voltron, and it was clear how they toned the violence down -Â for example showing only streaks of bright light instead of the whole graphic enchiladaÂ of VoltesÂ slicing through the beast fighter’s body with his Laser sword.Â But then again, a side story ran rampant of how such shows carried heavy revolutionary undertones that could have endangered the despot’s regime.Â Still, one has to have a great deal of imagination and paranoia to even consider the possibility of a cartoon… er… anime show provoking an entire nation to rebellion (besides, we all know that the Edsa revolutionÂ was triggered by an entirely different event.Â But I digress).Â
We didn’t give a flying chicken of course.Â All we cared about was THEY CANCELLED OUR FAVORITE SHOW, just when it was leading to the final episodes! WAAAA!Â And we were left with nothing but a harrowing question – of how the series eventually ended – that lingered through the years, despite Voltes V and his contemporaries being revived dozens of times in its original home (GMA 7) and its bitter rival (duh).Â Nostalgia aside, none of the reshowings gave us the closure that we’d been longing for since the original program’sÂ cancellation on March 25, 1978.
Unfinished Business.Â Over and over and over again.
Happily, that’s over and done with.Â Thanks to the outfit that sponsored the showing of Voltes V: The Liberation in theaters back in 1999, we’ve finally resolved this unfinished business that lasted for more than 20 years.Â Ivan Chen maintains a fantastic Voltes V shrine and, being the incorrigible softie that I am, I couldn’t resist swooning out my personal sentiment after witnessing the resolution of this most classic anime treasure.
You have to understand, The animation technology may pale compared to the likes of today’s Gundam series, but my generation lived for Voltes V.Â The original showing may have lasted for only a little under a year, but the mark it left on us was indelible.Â And really, how many other anime series merited the number of reshowings that Voltes V had (notwithstanding that shoddy ‘Voltes V Evolution’ over atÂ Hero TV)?
This video is an excerpt from Episode 2, the very first show on TV that made me cry (I’m not ashamed to admit this because my brothers and sister were crying with me the first time we saw this).Â To my contemporaries, enjoy this brief trip down memory lane (“you have not seen an angry-as-hell robot until you’ve seen this”).Â To everyone else, discover why Voltes V is also sometimes called ‘a universe-spanning animated soap’ =)
Sometime around 2005 I realized that Final Fantasy does not have a monopoly to thought-provoking and emotionally charged stories in video games.Â Just now, my wife and I are enjoying Persona 3 – this is immersive-RPG-experience-outside-of-Final-Fantasy #2 for us.Â #1 was two years ago when we played Shadow Hearts: Covenant.
This scene in particular staggered me.Â Karin’s pronouncement came as a total surprise following Yuri’s expression of his resolve despite the personal crisis he faced.
Sometimes it’s just enough to say it out.Â When the situation doesn’t provide for any other possibility and you face a dead end, with no other option but to turn around, sometimes the hopelessness can be alleviated by simply expressing how you feel without any expectations.Â Just say your piece and then move on.
<Rant Rant Rant>Â You’d think when you have this much free time, finding time to see a movie would be a cake walk.Â But nooooooo.Â Wife playing badminton.Â Friends out of reach/touch for one reason or another.Â I know, this shouldn’t have been an issue since it has always been my style (except when Cathy’s around) to see a movie alone, but this usually works only if I’m seeing one of those fairly complex flicks where I need to focus and think.Â Not in this one.Â I mean, come on, who’s going to jump off the seat and grab my arm when an icky zombie suddenly leaps into the scene?Â Mike?Â That would be kinda weird… </Rant Rant Rant>
Irony: Grizzled video gamers normally AVOID movies based on video games.Â Why?Â Because they almost always SUCK.Â Street Fighter (Jeanne Claude Van Damme), too campy.Â Mario Brothers (Bob Hoskins), overall unworkable.Â Tekken the Movie (animated), said to be enjoyable only for Tekken players.Â Who the hell said that?Â We almost puked out the whole VCR out the window from the sheer painfulness of the experience of watching that crap.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.Â Huge, at least in theory.Â Reality bit back viciously, revealing how the movie was crippled beyond imagination, being utterly unable to satisfy both those who know the game (Final Fantasy simply doesn’t work as a 2-hour movie) and those who don’t (left with hardly a thought except a lingering “What the hell just happened?”).Â Mortal Kombat?Â Decent, to say the least, a welcome treat for those who suffered waiting along the long and arduous line of mediocre video game-based movies.Â But they should have quit while they’re ahead.Â Mortal Kombat: Annihilation?Â Could anythingÂ decimate a good start more effectively than this? I think not.
Then here comes RE: Extinction.Â Third installment of a so far above-passable series (at least compared to The Matrix trilogy).Â I’ve seen the first two films, and at this point I’m relieved that it didn’t require the RE gaming experience and ShadowLeggy‘s wit to convince me to like them out of pure sentimentalism.Â The first two Resident Evil movies were good, despite what those ignorant reviewers at Rottentomatoes say.Â The third one?Â I don’t know.Â But what does “grabbing no. 1 spot at the box office on its first week”Â tend to mean in layman’s term?Â Â For me, well, I lived in the U.S. for six years and in all that time, I haven’t seen a box office hit that isn’t good.
So where was I last Friday?
Never mind that.Â Suffice it to say that rectification will be made before the week ends.Â With or without you.
Because in another life (um… movie), he was a pilot.
(Pic: Adrian Pasdar as “Chipper”, sitting behind Anthony Edwards)
Come on!Â If this joke hasn’t already proliferated, it should!
(Truth is, from episode 1 I’veÂ already recognizedÂ “Nathan Petrelli”Â -Â Adrian Pasdar – as one of the bit role actors in the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun, the film that made Tom Cruise famous.Â But coining jokes from superficial stuff like this could be dangerous to someone’s health, which is why it took me this long to deliver the punch.Â Now I gotta get outta here before I’m the one who gets punched Â )
What is that one one thing that is common to all people of all classes, ages, denominations, nationalities, ethnic groups and races?Â
We all like to eat.
There is one thing, however, that we all hate to eat.Â Our own words.Â In the human psychological make-up, the revulsion to swallowing one’s pride and retracting on self-imposed dogmatic principle is basic and elemental.
(Why am I talking like a college textbook publisher?Â I don’t know, must be bcos of teh sexy gal in dat pic :p )
This morning someone called me about a job opening in an ABS-CBN-owned company.Â ABS-CBN.Â Â I told my wife about it and she started laughing.Â Why wouldn’t she?Â My intense dislike for that TV station is almost legendary owing to the sheer inanity of many… no… MOST of its programs (Kokey, anyone?).Â But hey,Â I shouldn’tÂ look a gift horse in the mouth.Â A job prospect is always a blessing and an opportunity.Â Even if it isÂ with a company that we dislike for whatever personal reasons we have.Â In this case, if it does come to a point when circumstances dictate that I work in ABS-CBN, what the hell else could I do?
For one thing, I could laugh.Â At myself.Â After all the times I bad-mouthed said broadcasting company, I’d end up working there after all.Â Wahaha.Â My wife is still laughing – it’s not often she sees me eating my own words.Â Which is fine, humiliating but fine.Â So what?Â It’s not gonna kill me.Â Who knows, this prospect might just lead to better things for us.
So yeah, I guess that’s the point I’m driving at.Â Pride notwithstanding, if you know retracting a sweeping statement that you previously declared dogma would result in things getting better, don’t hesitate.Â It won’t kill you.Â I’ve met a lot of people who won’t budge in their adherence to principles that they know had been leading them away from better opportunities just because they don’t have the balls to swallow their pride.Â Traditionalists.Â Cultured music aficionado wannabes who wouldn’t admit that they like alternative rock.Â “I can only work with this kind of people” pseudo-professionals.Â Subscribers to the people-in-a-relationship-should-stick-with-it-come-hell-or-high-water thought school.
Sometimes the opportunity one allows to pass just because of someÂ pointless principle that really doesn’t serve any purpose other than give someone a false sense of “I’m a man of my word” honor is so huge that the waste is almost categorically criminal.Â Like shredding a 1000-peso note.
I’m posting this knowing full well that to practice what I’m preaching, I have to welcome the prospect of working in an ABS-CBN company.Â I still don’t like the idea, but now I’m keeping an open mind, lest my wife starts cackling like a hyena all over again.Â No big deal, really.Â It only hurts a little.Â Kind of like birthing pains.Â Or breaking a few eggs to make an omelet.Â Or winning a Fear Factor contest.Â None of which would kill me, to say the least