You Shall Not Pass [or something to that effect]

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It was a joke, really, something I keep telling myself when I’m reminded of something that happened several weeks ago. And I laugh everytime.

The line was made famous by Tolkien, having been uttered by none other than Gandalf, that rowdy wizard, whose fondness for pipeweed and wine is as famous as his powers and cunning. But the title Wizard fits him perfectly, an honorific bestowed on individuals with the skill and knowledge, the decisive actions, and the pondering of the consequences.

Titles.

Everybody wants one.

That group of letters that you write in front, or in most cases, after your name. The words that fill one’s profile page on any social network accounts. The phrases we use to direct people to our achievements and milestones. The taglines we thought would make us look cool and worldly. Stuff that project an image of being larger than life.

Even with my own issues with authority, I do value and respect those that have earned these titles – Engineers, Doctors, Professors, Sempai – to name a few.

But there are people who flaunt their titles, even temporary ones, with too much fervor and arrogance, it feeds their ego and presumed worth to grow in preposterous proportions. Self love is one thing, but when it borders on Narcissism, it becomes a sort of masturbation,  and that all too familiar me-first mentality just makes me chuckle . One such person, after some heated exchanges, manage to squeeze in a line that I have heard several times before, in different instances –

Hanggang d’yan ka lang.

(That is all you will ever be.)

Should I have been offended? Absolutely not. I may have been furious before that, but when this person asked me to apologize, I nearly burst out with gratuitous gales of laughter. For it was only then that I realized I was dealing with another one of those who think themselves above everybody else, much like Saruman  forgetting that the real power lies within The Eye, and he is only in its employ. No better than the orc he kicked to get on with his assigned duties.

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What’s funny is that he almost took the stance of  the a wizard stopping  me, the Balrog in this story, from taking any step further, and with his own belief that I can be no more that what I am now.

Oh, I could have said something like ” I was here before you.” but that would come off as me being arrogant.  In movies , this is the time I could have mouthed off some really heavy, press worthy stuff I have done in the past. But it’s not  me. So I let it slide. He’s still young. He will have to deal with burnout and middle age in his own time. Let him have his Gandalf moment. I would like to be the wizard, but then I’d be much happier being Balrog, or Gene Simmons‘ Demon, or Ozzy for that matter.

And I’m laughing again.

Because, when someone tells me to go no further, that’s the time I leap ahead, grasp whatever handhold there is on the other side of the cliff and pull myself up. I am more of an Arakeen than Harkonnen. If Arrakis throws me sandstorms, I curl and wait it out. Not squeamish to get wet and wade in the flood. I have sustained bruises, burns and scabs from too many failures and setbacks, I have gotten the knack of standing up.

Time to reinvent myself again.

2012 In Review, Pt.2

Happy New Year WordPress

It has been a very hectic 2012. Not that it wasn’t fun. I really enjoy my work. As a matter of  fact, I don’t know if I have ever NOT enjoyed my job. There’s something new to learn everyday, and all my previous employment  and this one I have now, let’s me be myself and work with individuals that are so full of talent and creativity, I just have to step up to keep up. I am learning from my team as much as from my superiors, and gee whiz, I sure hope they learn something from me too.

So, where to start?

  • We have been battered by Hybrid Storms this past year. All those water and rain. And the flashfloods, the deaths. It’s sad and frightening that this could happen with all the communication technology available. TS Quinta is barely gone and we still have eight storms lined up. Hope we could get through this in one piece. I would hate to mention the political and governance aspect that contributed to the losses and deaths that were the aftermath of the tropical storms. But there could have been something done to reduce, if not prevent the damages, but . . . oh well, why spoil the mood?
  • My dreams of publishing my stories in graphic novel format got the restart it badly needed. All my previous sketches and drawings, concept art and the synopses. I have never felt that writing bug bite this intense before.
  • I guess 2012 is a bit more tumultous than previous years, with my wife suffering heavily, almost succumbing to the next level chemo-therapy for Osteoarthritis. But she’s a born fighter, and a fierce Probinsiyana, she could hack it with the rest of the world when it comes to being tough. We are still looking for alternative medicines and food supplements, and the kids ahve been very supportive.
  • There were deaths. In the family. Friends I haven’t seen for ages. Prominent personalities. Philippine Cinema. And in the news. Doing motion graphics and simulation drawings for the nightly news makes it hard for me not to be aware of  the recent shootings in Sandy Hook, and all those lost in the storms that visited us. I still don’t like guns. But consensus says we have a need for it. But when a guy shoots full auto and the target are non-combatants, it really makes it even harder to accept such ease. for want of a better word, to murder and kill.
  • I have  my own personal website now. I know I should have built one with WordPress for my portfolio, but I’m reserving this blog  for my graphic novel, so instead I put together something of a rag-tag site with Wix.com, and it looks cool!  Have to earn extra get the domain in 2013. How’s that for positivity, huh?
  • Social Networks seem to have some high points and low ones in 2012. Facebook still occupies the top spot, and Twitter is fast becoming the new venue for quick news and connectivity, and more so because mobile technology just upped the ante. And I thought laptops and netbooks are high tech, don’t look now but mobile phones and tablet are getting more memory, more connectivity and what computing power! never have I imagined that laptops could play second to mobile. And it has been the year when apps did create a stir.
  • Music. Now this is a constant.  Because music, like art, builds upon itself, and there is really no surprise that I have also began to collect all the music I have lost through the years. And found new ones! The Roxymorrons, Silent Sanctuary, Peso Movement, Slash N’ Burn,  to name a few, and I will see them live in 2013.
  • I haven’t shot anything at all in 2012. With a camera, I mean. I have long accepted tha fact that I am not a photographer, just a hack with some hits, and a whole load of misses. Still, I hope I could still purchase a proper DSLR. But the Indios, now there’s a passionate group of people who love the art to have planned and will publish a coffee table book in 2013. Just can’t participate. My photos are, in my opinion, not really worthy of printing at all. But things will get better this year.
  • The movies really made a killing at the box office.
  • TV5News made waves. And will be more formidable in 2013. Count on that.

I guess there’s so much to remember, and then there are some I need to get past and be done with. Blogs will be buzzing with their own lists,

My only wish and fervent hope is to avoid making all those mistakes, really bad ones, and be more creative.

And write more.

And play my 12-string, back from the luthier for some repairs and maintenance.

And one more thing:

I consider myself a real badass now that my 44th birthday is coming. So glad to have made it this far alive and still full of ideas and dreams.

Get It Out Of The Way

  • Instant noodles, those “convenient” food packs doesn’t seem to get any better. In fact, I seem to remember those bags bulkier several years ago. 60 grams? More like 45.34 in some cases.
  • People will call me grumpy, but I get really worked up when I help out, lend a hand with any endeavor that requires some artistic input, maybe create some beautiful graphics, or illustration, just so the other person will have a better presentation or whatever it is that was needed to enhance their work. All throughout the process, at off-work hours, I may beat my brains trying to get to that decent work worthy of  payment, but since this was  a labor of love and out of sheer camaraderie, I guess I do it for free. But the indifference. It riles me. They only know your name when they want something from you. After all the deadlines and urgency, nobody remembers your name, not even to thank you for a job well done. So I’m done too. No more freebies.
  • Books and novels used to be a great reason to go out and dig up on book stores and garage sales. Nowadays, materials are rather flimsy and the cover for reprints ought to have more effort. It’s just not fun anymore.
  • No matter how hard you crusade against politicians who seem to disregard all manner of civility and law when it comes to putting up posters and tarpaulins with their heavily photoshopped faces, it wont go away. A friend pointed that out to me. And I guess she is probably right. You see, these politicians? They just don’t care. You can cry and bleed to get those unsightly , obvious premature campaigning and they just won’t budge for you. So go ahead, scream till the veins on your neck burst. I would rather ignore these politicians and just not vote for them. Continue reading