The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Friday, December 31, 2004

Charlotte's gifts to me which arrived via DHL this morning, the chief reason I had a very happy day: 'Private Edition (Sonnets & Other Poems)' by Tarrosa Subido, 'Sonnets from a Gardener & Other Poems' by Abelardo Subido, 'The Book Lover's Book,' brochures of Island Cove, where we plan to go on my return, and several cards and letters.  Posted by Hello

The new books I ordered at Chapters bookstore two weeks ago, finally arrived today: 'Justine' by Lawrence Durrell, 'On Dreams' by Sigmund Freud, 'Essay on Man & Other Poems' by Alexander Pope, 'Goblin Market & Other Poems' by Christina Rossetti, and 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' by Joseph Campbell. Another reason I had a very bright day. Posted by Hello

Monday, December 27, 2004

A Poet's Declaration of Love

Charlotte: The most potent source of my courage,
hope, strength, and inspiration Posted by Hello

A Poet to His Future Wife

If you met me in my youth
In the days I was wilder and freer
Could you have loved me still?

If you met me in my youth
When my heart was restless and untrue
Could you have persevered and stayed?

The mental picture of you which I've always painted
Soft-haired, flowers on your head
Starry smiles beneath idyllic eyes
Lovely lips, supple skin
Would you have loved me then
Like you love me now?

The scent of my Summer siestas
There on the magical swing
Beside the generous apple tree
In the backyard lawn
Of Cousin Mike and his family's home

Moments spent yearning for my own lao jia
Could you have been dreaming and hoping
In the same moments for someone like me?
Could I have been the portrait of your love
Even if I had not arrived?

– 10:58 a.m., Monday, June 14, 2004
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
While listening to "When I See You Smile" by
Bic Runga (Beautiful Collision; 2002, Columbia)

A Poet to His Firstborn

Finally I found the lady
Who would be your mother and fairy

Lucky you for
She is all whom I could ever wish for

Your mother and I
Have been friends way before
We began to love each other

Or should I say,
In our hearts we have been loving each other
Long before we decided to be together

You may have come late in your parents' lives
But that's the very reason you are special
Not only to us but also to all the people
Who care about us

I promise you that
Whatever happens
We will give you everything
You will ever need

I'm sure too
That your mother will love you
As much as she loves me and as I love you

Just promise me two things:
As you grow up
Love to learn, read, and write—
For this is the key to
Understanding the world and
Accepting thy neighbors for what and who they are

And most importantly
Love and respect your mother
As much as I respect and love her

- 12:55 p.m., October 27, 2004, Wednesday
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
While listening to "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by
Band Aid (Christmas single, December 1984)

The Goose Has Finally Transformed into a Swan

Yellow and Stripe, the Hope for the Flowers, 2004 Posted by Hello

{most especially to my elementary and high-school friends who, after all the years, are still there—Jonathan Mejino, Rommel Panabi, Paolo Mendoza, Rommel Rufon, Rommel Reyes, Ruperto de Jesus, Nathaniel Saligumba, Edward Dennis Enriquez, Edralin Lat, Norman Gorecho, Rainald Paggao, Ramil Aznar, Carol Pobre, Roderick Periodico, Jacob Gonzales...[I'm so blessed with so many best friends]}

In case I haven't formally greeted all of you yet, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope that all are celebrating the Season in however which way despite each of our permanent woes and the year-ender tsunami that struck our neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.

As for your comrade eLf here in Canada, nothing much has changed; I'm still in exile. Nevertheless, I'm coping; I have to, lest I'd outrace my grandfather to the Finish Line.

Perhaps, some of you were surprised to learn of my recent engagement, add to that the fact that my fiancée is in the Philippines and that we will be tying the proverbial knot as soon as I return home; but yes, I'm finally ready to settle down. I'm soon joining the family men in our fellowship, and this early I'm already excited about it. In fact, my family in the Philippines are as enthusiastic as I am and supportive about our (Charlotte and I) plan to get married on my homecoming in late 2006 or early 2007.

More than two years more, yes; so it means, more sacrifices for both of us. But, I know Charlotte very well, and I know myself more than anyone else. I've long come to an age when I already know who I really am, what I really want, and most of all, with whom I want to spend the rest of my now mellowed life.

I'm turning 34, and had been in so many relationships—(I was counting, both the serious ones and the flings, and wow! just don't ask me how many girls had either loved or used and abused me in the past, for you might say I am bragging. Let me just say (in Pet's lingo), more than the number of years in a half a century. So, if I'm still dissatisfied, after all those wonderful (sometimes painful) experiences, then it would be the news that should merit your surprise and disbelief.

My having been in a band and my current predicament have helped a lot in transforming me gracefully from (in Ohmy's lingo) a restless Casanova into a finally contented swan.

Call me idealistic, or even fantastic (in the real sense of this word), but this is what your friend aLfie has become—mature, at last, ready to become a husband and a father; but nevertheless still possesses a hopeful, dreamy, childlike, and youthful perspective.

All I really need from all of you now are nothing but sincere wishes and belief in my indomitability, that both Charlotte and I have really the strength and courage, and most of all love, that will aid us brave through the current hard times until we find ourselves together again.

But, yes, even I, myself, never thought that the gregarious gander many once knew had finally transformed into a contented cob for good. For the better.

The gentle breeze is hushing to serenity the leafs of my heart. May you sing the same ode with me. Yes, fairy tales and magic still exist in the world today after all. All we really need to do is believe in them.


Saturday, December 25, 2004

My Second Christmas Away from Home

Photo: Around ten, Christmas Eve, I'm wearing my jester's bonnet and mask of joy and holding the gifts I just received from Mike and MarivicPosted by Hello

We celebrated Christmas Eve here at my cousin Mike's house with a Greek-style dinner: lamb steak, Greek salad, mashed potato with gravy, and pita bread. Everyone's mood was in vibe with the occasion—jolly and conversive. I tried to be a part of the festivity, but I just couldn't; deep inside I was gloomy. So much was missing—my family, closest friends, and Charlotte.

After dinner, we proceeded to the living room, where the elegant Christmas tree was, and began opening our gifts. While Amber and Julie were busy marvelling at theirs, I just sat at a corner beside Papa and started instead to recall yesterday's get-together of my family at our home in San Pedro, Laguna...

My family traditionally holds a Christmas get-together lunch on the 24th at our home in San Pedro. Yesterday, even though I was obviously unable to attend the occasion, I was excited. Charlotte promised to call me as soon as they get there. She'd be joining my family's get-together. I also bought two phone cards to use for that event. I have to be there and be with them, even if only through the phone.

Around nine o'clock p.m. where I was, the phone rang. I knew it would be Charlotte, and right I was.

"Hon, may gustong kumausap sa 'yo———"

"Hello, aLfie. Kumusta ka na d'yan? Malapit ka na ba umuwi? Salamat nga pala dun sa postcard na pinadala mo para sa birthday ko———"

That was my dad. I cried. It was the first time we heard each other's voice since the last time we saw each other, a week before my departure in 2003. His lovingly uttered questions transcended me back to my childhood past, when he would tell me his fairy tales and ghost stories. How my father's loving voice could touch my fragile heart.

"Hello, Tito aLfie. Salamat sa action figures na padala mo. Sayang, hindi kami kumpleto rito. Wala ka kasi———"

That was my nephew Algae, the mild-mannered and expressive one. He always ends our conversations with 'I love you.'

"Nahihiya ako eh———"

That was Aki, who's only about two-and-a-half when I left; his ability now to speak clearly amazes and saddens me at the same time—amazing because it makes me realize that time flies after all, saddening because I would no longer hear him baby-talk.

"Ah-ah-ah... Di na kita kilala..."

Ha-ha-ha. After a series of ah's, Kevin handed the phone back to Charlotte.

"Hon, pasensya ka na. Busy sa kanya-kanyang laruan mga bata eh———"

Oh, well, that's how children usually are. I just hope that they can still recognize me when I eventually visit home.

And finally, my mom: "Oh, kumusta na ang Papa? Ano ginagawa n'yo ngayon d'yan? Hindi pa ba dumarating yung Christmas cards na pinadala namin——— "

Since that the reception was clear, unlike most of our previous phone conversations, I gave the phone to Papa, whose delight was apparent for having been able to talk with his daughter: "Mag-iingat kayong lahat palagi d'yan ha———"

And with my second phone card, I got to talk with the rest of my family—my second sister, Karen; my third sister, Kim, who told me how delighted Arianne and Kevin were with the toys I sent them; my youngest sister, Niña, who told me of the good news that in January she'd be going to Cebu, Baguio, and Davao as part of her job at MTV Philippines; my first sister Lovelle, whom I regularly call; her husband, my best friend Ramil; and finally, back to the person who serves as the most potent source of my courage, hope, and strength—Charlotte.

From my family I'm so many miles away, but with that phone call I was able to spend a special occasion with them. There's really no place like home, especially when it's Christmas time.

Tomorrow, Christmas day, a few relatives and some of Mike's friends would be coming over for dinner. I'd be wearing my mask of joy, so I may eat well, converse with the visitors, and celebrate the occasion with everyone without shedding a shade of gloom.


Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Fourth of a Dozen Verses

December 9, Thursday
There's something in those scents
That in my heart transcends
Bittersweet memories
Kisses of the past
Badly broken hearts
Loves which didn't last
Inevitable tragedies
Forever will be mysteries

December 10, Friday
Pagud na pagod na 'ko
Mga mata ko'y laging mugtô
Ang tigas ng ulo ng lolo ko
Mukhang mauuna pa yata ako

Di na 'ko makatulog nang maayos
Pagbabantay di matapus-tapos
Ni wala man lamang mayapós
Sa t'wina ako'y mistulang nauupos

Di ko na mawari ang aking nadarama
Nasa pagitan ako ng dalawang demoño
Walang itulak-kabigin parehong talo

Sitwasyon ko'y parang wala nang katapusan
Kailan pa kaya panibagong buhay ay masisimulan?

Kunut-noo, kagat-labì, buntung-hininga
Kailan pa kaya ako muling makatatawa?
O makangingiti man lang nang ubod-sigla?

Pagong pa rin ang usad ng panahon
Sukò na yata ako sa mga araw na mapanghamon

Sana naman tutuo ang kasabihan:

"Sa dulo ng bawat lagusan
Ay may liwanag na maaasahan"

At kung iyan nga ay isang katotohanan
Sapat pa sana ang aking isipa't pangangatawan
Upang bagtasin ang kasalukuyang dilim
Na sa aking buhay ay nagpapakulimlim

December 11, Saturday
How paradoxical life really is
I expect the unexpected
But I get surprised by the unsurprising

Trivial or controversial
Things seem to not matter anymore

Everything has become subjective
Everything has become relative

Or were they like that ever since
Only I haven't realized it?

December 12, Sunday
Snow doesn't excite me anymore
Rain doesn't inspire me anymore
But love, yes, love
Love is the magic
That bonds my remaining molecules

December 13, Monday
I tried so hard to understand
Why did it have to be us?

Your gift that year was a broken home
Gone in our lives then you were suddenly

I remember the tales you used to tell
There in my crib I would listen so well

An ode of forgiveness now gently plays
From me and them and her to you

Out of gloom Out of heaven
For years I yearned

It could hush us seven
Seven us hush could tears?

December 14, Tuesday
Sitting by the window in the children's room
Staring at the motionless and virtually leafless trees
And then as always crows and gulls and squirrels
Frolic and foster in their gift of freedom
Flying where their wings take them
Climbing the treetops hiding in the treeholes
While I—engulfed
In silence and imprisoned
In my own thoughts

December 15, Wednesday
So many questions in my mind
Answers, would there really be, someday?

So many ill feelings in my heart
Comfort, would there really be, someday?

So many dreams in my mind
Fulfilled, could they really be, someday?

So many resentments in my heart
Forgiveness, would there really be, someday?

So many wounds my soul has
Healing, would there really be, someday?

So many scars left behind
Will my spirit survive nonetheless?

So many moments I felt I died
Rebirth, is there really such a phenomenon?

December 16, Thursday
I'm a burning candle
I'm a two-week-old moth
I'm a jaded song
I'm a half-forgotten saga
I'm a half-remembered hero
I'm a millennium-old sequoia
I'm my ailing grandfather


December 17, Friday
Emptiness is eating me
I'm a rotting emu egg
Solitariness is imprisoning me
I'm a rotting chinchilla
Loneliness is killing me
I'm a rotting narwhal
Immortality has left me
I'm a rotting corpse

December 18, Saturday
*Kabanatà *
Báwat paták ng túbig sa yúngib
Ay luhà
Báwat kináng ng kaliskís
Ay tuwâ
Báwat álon sa dágat
Ay pangambá
Báwat kurbá ng labì
Ay pag-ása
Báwat úkit ng pantíg
Ay litératurá
Báwat kampáy ng buntót
Ay panatà
Báwat kabanatà
Ay bágong alaála

December 19, Sunday
Christmas is near
Is it?
Christmas bells are chiming
Are they?
Christmas gifts have been wrapped
So what?
Christmas carols are lingering
Very saddening
Christmas is near
Yet I'm far away

December 20, Monday
Running out of words
Running out of ideas
Running out of strength
Running out of hope

Running out of dreams
Running out of inspiration
Running out of energy

Running out of running out of
Running out

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Pushcart

Many people here sneak out pushcarts from supermarkets to their homes and then leave them afterwards by the streets. While Papa and I were on our regular morning walk in the neighborhood, we stumbled upon this pushcart along the nearby 88 Avenue. I had Papa take a picture of it with me.Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas Gifts for MyseLf

Posted by HelloLast Saturday, December 19, I was able to go out to the mall on my own! My cousin Mike, his wife, Marivic, and their children, Amber and Julie, are home decorating the house for Christmas; so they could look after Papa.

I was very excited. I was like a child who learned that his parents were taking him to a toy store. Imagine, that's how I feel here. The simple activity of going to the mall on my own is something extraordinary for me. In fact, about three months had passed since my previous day-off.

First I went to my favorite bookstore, Chapters, and bought the following books:

1. Faerie Tales, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Russell Davis (2004, DAW Books) – a collection of twelve original tales about the Faerie realms, written by contemporary fantasy-fiction writers
2. Flights of Fantasy, edited by Mercedes Lackey (1999, DAW Books) – an anthology of eleven stories involving fantastic flying creatures, again, written by contemporary fantasy-fiction writers including the editor.

Several of the books on my list were unavailable in-store so I just placed an order, free delivery. Here're the books I look forward to receiving through the courier after a few days:

1. A Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (1972, Princeton University Press)
2. Goblin Market & Other Poems by Christina Rossetti (1994, Dover)
3. On Dreams by Sigmund Freud (2001, Dover)
4. Essay on Man & Other Poems by Alexander Pope (1994, Dover)
5. Justine by Lawrence Durrell (1991, Penguin Books of Canada)
6. A Thousand Pieces of Gold (hardcover edition) by Adeline Yen Mah (2002, Harper Collins)
7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (2005, Shambhala)

At Toys-R-Us, I bought the following Star Wars action figures, which were "buy-one, take-one-at-half-price":
1. Tanus Spijek – from Episode VI Return of the Jedi, a denizen of Jabba's villa
2. Princess Leia in Red Gown
3. Taun We – from Episode II Attack of the Clones, one of the Kamino cloners
4. Bib Fortuna – from Episode VI Return of the Jedi, Jabba's majordoma

At Future Shop and HMV, I bought the following DVDs:
1. Star Wars Ewok Adventures Double Feature (Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor)
2. Star Wars Animated Series: Droids
3. Star Wars Animated Series: Ewoks
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Special Extended Edition

Several weeks ago, when all went shopping for Christmas gifts, at Black Bond Books I bought Deluxe Book of Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker (2003, Tumbleweed Press).

I went home with all those Christmas gifts for myself, but I still couldn't feel the spirit of the season, because I terribly miss home. This is another realization that no amount of material compensation can satiate the yearning of my soul for genuine love from people who truly care for me. Finally, I know now who I really am and those who really care for me, and what I really want for the remaining years of my life.


A Walk in the Neighborhood

When the day is inviting—neither raining nor too cold—my grandfather and I go out in the neighborhood for a morning walk. Seldom will we see other people in the streets. The neighborhood is usually quiet, except for the playful cackle of the crows and gulls, as well as the once-in-a-while whirr of airplanes hovering far above the skies—at which Grandfather will usually stare in awe—perhaps because he missed travelling.

Grandfather has a wanderlust; how he used to travel at least twice a year—visiting relatives in other Canadian provinces, in the United States, as well as in the Philippines. This simple activity he can no longer do now, since his doctor said that long flights may put pressure on his weak heart. I feel sorry for him for that. Sometimes he would ask me when will I become eligible to return home because he wanted to visit his homeland for the last time; he wanted to join me in my homecoming. How I would often lie: "Of course, Papa, we'll go home together. I want you to be there when I finally get married." To which he would simply utter a sincere smile, which in turn pricks my heart, obviously because that will no longer happen. He can no longer endure such long plane trips. This is the reason every time I see him staring dreamily at the airplanes in the sky, I hurt inside. Oh, my hopeful grandfather, sorry for my having to lie to you.

You might have noticed in the picture, I was holding a small plastic bag in my right hand--that's dikiam, one of my favorite Chinese preserved delicacies. (That's why Aji Ichiban is among the stores in the Philippines that I miss, where I usually bought kiamoy, mahu, and dikiam; although there's a similar store here); and, tucked under my arm, is a book—that's A History of Writing by Steven Roger Fischer, the book I'm currently on). Every time Papa and I go for a walk in the neighborhood, I don't forget to bring something to munch—especially chocolates, Grandfather's favorite—and something to read aloud while walking—especially a poetry book. How delightful it is to recite a poem while walking leisurely on a relatively warm and serene morning.

That pink boots I was wearing? That's the pair of Doc Marten's boots I bought at the DM store at Glorietta in Makati, days before I left for Canada. Mind you, I never realized that even here I'm subject to those stares of awe and wonder. Was it my hair? my shoes? my taste in clothes? Oh, well, perhaps it's my eLven ears. Nonetheless, I'm used to it. Never did enjoy being stared at actually, but better a head-turner than an unnoticeable nobody.

Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Atlas to My Grandfather the Earth

Whew! I'm back, after a one-week hiatus. I again realized how the Internet, and my PC for that matter, has become a big part of my current life. Well, even when I was in the Philippines, being an editor, I was virtually online every day, researching for references and writing and editing articles. But only now that I've been realizing that the Internet is more than anything for me now--it is my easiest link to my precious ones. As many of my friends already know, I'm stuck in the house, taking care of my maternal grandfather; so I'm online almost every day, especially when Papa is not being stubborn, just sitting there quietly in front of the 50-inch TV and watching either of his favorite channels: Showcase and A&E (Arts & Entertainment).

As If I Was Disconnected
My cousin Mike (with whom Grandfather and I are staying) had the flooring of his house changed from carpet to laminated wood. The work began on Monday, December 12, and was completed yesterday. We had to move most of the furniture and other stuff including the computer into the garage, the reason I was unable to use the computer, more so go online, for one week. It was difficult! I'm already accustomed to going online to check my e-mails and research and read and study and, most of all, communicate with friends and my loved ones; so inability to use the Net for a week felt as if I was the one who got disconnected from my own world.

Oh, Idle Mind
What did I do then in that relatively long week? I just listened to New Wave music on my MP3 player, setting on repeat mode the song that reminds me of home chiefly because it was the last song I played on August 14, 2003, my last morning at our home in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. Tears fall and my lips frown every time I listen retrospectively to this song.

Home and Dry (Neil Tennant / Chris Lowe)
by Pet Shop Boys
(Release; 2002, EMI)

So my baby's on the road
Doing business, selling loads
Charming everyone there
With the sweetest smile
Oh tonight
I miss you
Oh tonight
I wish you
Could be here with me
But I won't see you
'Til you've made it back again
Home and dry
Home and dry
There's a plane at JFK
To fly you back from far away
All those dark and frantic
Transatlantic miles
Oh tonight
I miss you
Oh tonight
I wish you
Could be here with me
But I won't see you
'Til you've made it back again
Home and dry
Home and dry

Far away
Through night and day
You fly long haul tonight
Come to me
You know I'll be here
when you call tonight
Oh tonight
I miss you
Oh tonight
I wish you
could be here with me
But I won't see you
'Til you've made it back again
Home and dry
Home and dry
Home and dry

I got to read more too. I'm still on the book A History of Writing by Steve Roger Fischer. And above all, I got to spend a much longer time talking with my grandfather. The only problem was, my grandfather, having nothing do, got even more stubborn and pesky. Idleness has made him more restless. Idle eyes, restless mind.

Last Tuesday, my grandfather gave me another problem. I knew it! That's why he was reading the brochures almost every day. He wanted to buy a notebook this time! Yes, a notebook, a computer notebook. Gully eLf! What would he need a notebook for? I asked him why. He simply said: "I've been wanting to buy a notebook years ago. I want to be able to play games and watch movies there." I said that he could do those things with either Mike's or my computer, so he does not need a notebook. Besides, the notebook he was eyeing costs about C$2,000!

I tried hard to divert Grandfather's attention, but he was persistent. I told him that I'd surely be the one finding myself in the hot seat. My relatives would probably think that I was the one who prodded him to buy that expensive toy. Deep inside me, of course, I'd love to be able to use that notebook if ever; but not at this time; not with his money; and certainly not just to hear again unsavory remarks from the same relatives who made a big fuss when Grandfather bought me my own PC last March.

Ultimately, I said to Grandfather: "No, you cannot buy a notebook. I won't be accompanying you, and you cannot go out on your own anyway."

"I'll ask Mike to bring me to Future Shop," he said, long-faced.

"Okay, tell Mike. That's better," I said, exasperated.

The next day, since that the kitchen was full of furniture and other little stuff, eating there was uncomfortable; we dined out. There! Grandfather finally told Mike about the notebook. (Actually, Mike's wife's cousin Jenny, who also knew about Grandfather's current fixation, had already told Mike about the notebook, so I kind of felt relieved finally.) Mike repeated to Grandfather what I already litanied the previous nights. Defeated, Grandfather just fell silent like he always did when caught in a similar situation. At least, the issue about that notebook was finally settled. And the best thing is, they heard about it directly from Grandfather's mouth. I'm finally off the hook! And, of course, no one's buying a notebook. Not now.

Actually, I also got Grandfather's point. How he always tells me that he knows his Time is near, so he wants to be able to do whatever remaining thing he can do, especially buying things, which is actually his hobby. But what can I do? I'm not the decision maker. Honestly, if I'm the one to decide, I'd let Grandfather do whatever he wants to do; for I know that inability to spend one's own money is very frustrating to anyone; besides, Grandfather is already in his twilight, he deserves to do whatever harmless he chooses to do. It's his money anyway.

Some might say that I have an ulterior motive, that I feel this way because I knew that whatever Grandfather would be buying he would most likely be leaving to me. I know that, hypocrisy aside; but that's besides the point. It just happened that I'm also in the position to know how terrible it is to be deprived of one's wants and needs, for I am.

But, as I said, I can't do anything about it. Not now. Not yet.

I am just my grandfather's caregiver.

I just hope my relatives would not blame me if the inevitable finally claims my grandfather. For I can sense that some would. But I'm half-expecting it anyway—that I have also become the default scapegoat. All I know is that I am doing my best to extend my grandfather's life in the most comfortable way possible. I've been sacrificing a lot. I'm a very respectful and much controlled person now, but the moment someone blames me when the time to ferry my grandfather to the Undying Lands comes... I can also be as mean as orcs like them.

My Grandfather the Earth
Grandfather has developed an attachment to me. That's inevitable, I know you'll understand, obviously because I've become his companion all day and night. He usually opens up about any stuff only to me. When he's mad, he'll tell me. When he wants to buy something, he'll tell me. When he's having chest pains, he'll tell no one but me. When he doesn't like the food, he'll tell me. When he feels sad, he'll cry to me. In fact, he even revealed to me a dark secret, which he has been keeping to himself for so long. I feel special for that. He said that I may divulge it to our relatives only when he's already gone.

In short, I've become my grandfather's ultimate confidante. I know now that I came here not only to serve as my grandfather's caregiver; I was chosen to become his conscience, shock absorber, jester, storyteller, story listener, and most of all, the Atlas who will carry his burdens.

Will I persevere? Of course, I will. I mean, I have to. I need to, lest I might outrace him to the Finish Line. And I wouldn't allow that to happen. Like Bilbo, I cannot leave Middle-earth without finishing my masterpiece; and like Frodo, I have to return to Shire first, to share the fruits of my labor, before I can join the rest of the Elves on their journey to the Undying Lands.

For the meantime, the eLf is back and is here to stay.


Sunday, December 12, 2004

On Da Vinci's Codes and Concerning Criticisms on Similar Controversial Literary Works

{To my friend Almira Jorda, for being the catalyst of this blog entry of mine}

I am yet to decode whatever Dan Brown has encrypted in his book The Da Vinci Code, so I'm not yet in the position to offer my commentaries about the book itself. But, this doesn't prevent me from expressing my views about the currently proliferating criticisms lodged not only at the contents and nature of Dan Brown's controversial book but also at other similarly bold contributions to Arts and Literature.

I have the penchant to wait until the smoke wanes before I look into the real cause of the fire. Thus, The Da Vinci is not yet on my list of books to buy, but I will certainly read it next year.

Furthermore, I am the type who is usually turned off by media hypes and who would rather walk his own trip than jump into the bandwagon just to be there. I listen to my CDs and MP3s, but rarely to the radio. I seldom watch the news, I'd rather make my own. I virtually never follow trends, I try to set my own. When they're blond, I'll be black; when they're black, I'll be purple. When they're bald, I'd be long-haired; when they're long-haired, I'd be semi-Mohawk or nesthead but certainly not bald.

I don't believe in destructive criticisms and censorship; I believe that humans have the innate ability to discern and make their own choices.

As in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: "It's our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are...."

Ultimately, diversity, understanding, and acceptance is the key to peace and harmony; not singularity, indifference, and discrimination.

The stones and boulders that are currently thrown at Dan Brown are nothing new. Similar allegations had been lodged at John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, in the 60s, as soon as The Lord of the Rings achieved popularity. Critics accused Tolkien of subliminally promoting godlessness by failing to make a reference of a god in his book, an accusation which eventually backfired on the clueless critic who was obviously unfamiliar with the entirety of Tolkien's work, for in The Silmarillion Tolkien wrote:

"In the beginning, there was Eru, the One, who in later days was known as Ilúvatar by the Elves. He made first the Ainur, who were his Angels, and he gave to them song and music as a gift, and spoke to them of great themes."

Only recently, Joanne Kathleen Rowling has suffered similarly, as detractors claimed she was espousing witchcraft and wizardry. Had these critics actually read any Harry Potter book, they would have surely discovered that behind the literary façade of Rowling's books is a wealth of lessons not only for children but more so for grown-ups.

And what can you say about Nietzsche when he declared that God doesn't exist? Did that made him less human? Was he being morally irresponsible? Or was he only stating a personal belief which he was holding in high esteem?

Accusations about writers and artists promoting evil and destroying faiths through their works, to reiterate, are nothing new. They are, in themselves, also as subjective as they can ever be. This kind of character assassination stretches back to many centuries before our time. Remember the "burning of witches at the stake," which was a common practice in the 15th-century Europe? In those days, espousing a belief and ideology contrasting to what was "normal" and "common" meant that the espouser was a witch, evil, and therefore must be burned to the death. How brutal and barbaric, one might squeak, but that was not much different from what is happening nowadays—burning to death those who expressed radical ideas and went against the views of the so-called moral society IS not much different from criticizing people who share their unusual, uncommon, or unorthodox beliefs through music, speeches, or literary works.

What many so-called moralists did (and are doing) to the likes of Tolkien, Nietzsche, Russell, Swift, The Eagles, Beatles, Metallica, Rowling, and now Dan Brown, is what I call metaphoric burning of witches (and wizards, for that matter).

Why? Are the same "moralists" afraid that other people's unorthodoxy might affect their own faiths? Isn't that a shameful revelation that they, themselves, have hidden doubts about their own beliefs?

As one fellow newwave101 yahoogroup member, Joey Santiago, wrote: "...just take the book for what it's worth – an entertaining read, regardless of one's beliefs...."

I believe that if a person really holds her beliefs and ideals in high esteem, no book or preacher can easily sway her.

As I wrote in a book I am currently finishing, Engkanto: A Bestiary of Philippine Mythical Beings:

“In final analysis, faiths and beliefs, and all those diverse spiritual orientations, no longer matter in the end so long as the individual lives his life in harmony with his fellow creatures and the environment, sincerely trying every day—through little to large deeds—to become a better and worthy member of the society to which he belongs."

The Trail that Triggered a Train of Thoughts

almira jorda wrote:
> hey guys, i haven't read the book "Da Vinci Code" so
> i'm in no position to say if the contents of this
> e-mail below is true. you can research this for
> yourself but nevertheless i'm forwarding this to you
> for your own awareness and information. thanks!

Edward Decker wrote:
Subject: Have you heard about Tom Hanks and the Da Vinci Code?
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004

> Are you aware of the following?
> Tom Hanks is in talks to star in the movie version
> of "The Da Vinci Code." You can do something about
> this. Send Tom Hanks a message (see below).

"The Da Vinci Code" promotes the following claims:
- Jesus is not God; he was only a man.
- Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
- Mary Magdalene is a goddess and should be worshipped.
- Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a daughter.
- The Bible was put together by a pagan Roman emperor.
- The Gospels have been altered to support the claims of Christians.
- Mary Magdalene was directed to establish the Church.

> The Catholic Church is aware of all of these things and,
> in order to keep it secret, has resorted to murder.
> Here's what some prominent Christian leaders have
> had to say about "The Da Vinci Code":

>"... for non-believers, it confirms their unbelief.
> It turns off honest seekers, and it has confused
> and disillusioned even many Christians."--Chuck Colson

> "There is a conscious agenda that has been
> declared in the public square in Brown's novel - an agenda to
> revise Christian history and reshape beliefs
> Christians have held for years."--Darrell Bock,
>research professor in New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

> "Brown uses a combination of lies and half-truths,
> founded on a skewed perspective of Church history."--Chuck Colson

> "What disturbs me most about Dan Brown's book is
> that it is a primer in practically every new age
> technique or approach there is, from pentacles and
> pentagrams to anagrams to numerology to astrology
> you name it -- practically everything on the new age
> menu finds its place somewhere in this book and it
> is presented in a way that is attractive and engaging.
> That's the problem."--Bishop Robert C. Morlino

> Please forward this email to as many people as
> possible.
> You can have an impact. Let Tom Hanks know what
> you think about the project by faxing or, preferably,
> mailing him a letter.

>Please feel free to use the following sample letter:

> Dear Mr. Hanks,
> "The Da Vinci Code" is filled with inaccuracies
> and defames Christianity. It is a project that is not
> worthy of your talent and stature.
> Please say No to this film so that America can
> continue to hold you in high esteem.

> Sincerely,

aLfie vera mella wrote:
> Hello,
> I haven't read The Da Vinci Code either, but I think
> even though the "claims" below are true, making a
> movie of the book is no big deal. In case it goes
> against anyone's belief, s/he has the choice to
> watch it or not. Besides, the reader or moviegoer
> can even consider it as simply a fictional work.
> The same has happened to Harry Potter in its early
> stage. Many "evil" accusations had been thrown to Rowling.
> The same thing happened to Tolkien in the 50s, when LOTR was first published.
> That's what's unfair. It's just a matter of believing or not
> believing; not curtailing a writer's right to write
> his mind.

>The world has become very diverse now. There are
> lots of beliefs out there. At the end of it all, it
> is our choice that will matter. It is how we treat
> our neighbors; not the faiths we believe in.


almira jorda wrote:

> hi,
> thanks for commenting on the article. i have nothing
> against what you say. maybe the one who wrote it
> thinks that his belief or faith is the one "truth"that should
> stand that's why he likes to discourage people from watching
> the said upcoming film. yes the world is very diverse now.
> just being in UP makes your mind open to new and
> non-traditionally or socially acceptable views and ideas. but the
> bottomline is that you make a stand, yet you respect others'
> views or beliefs as well. maybe that's the foundation of
> co-existence, or harmony...

> i don't know, i'm not good at this...
> you mentioned something about letting the readers decide in the
> end on whether or not they would accept what the writer has
> written or what a film or book says. i was just wondering if a writer
> should have a sense of social responsibility to the minds of
> his/her readers...

> and i'm not just referring to writing fiction/non-fiction accounts
> on religion...but in general. is it possible to write without the
> influence of your values and beliefs?

> anyway, you're the writer...i'm just pretending to be one...hehehe!!!



> Nice thoughts! Concerning your question: "...if a writer should have a> sense of social responsibility to the minds of his/her> readers...and i'm not just referring to writing fiction/non-fiction accounts on religion...but in general. is it possible to write without the influence of your values and beliefs?"

> I think also that a writer should have that so-called social responsibility to the readers. I remember what a best friend wrote to me after reading an article in which I wrote: "I will write whatever I want. This is my world...."

In view of that, yes, I believe that a writer has that sense of responsibility to the readers. However, I also realized upon contemplation that even this so-called "moral responsibility" has become subjective. Mostly because, we can never be certain of the real motive of a writer for writing a book. At the end of every book, all the reader can really do is choose--whether to believe or not the ideologies presented by the writer of the book.

Let's take for example this one: the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, a well-known existentialist, who believed and wrote that "God does not exist...." Should we then consider him a "morally irresponsible" writer for doing that? Did he write that "preposterous" declaration without regarding moral obligation to the public readership? I don't think so. I think what Nietzsche did, among other things, was to simply express one facet of a philosophical belief in God, or in a god for that matter. He just presented yet another choice for humankind, regardless how preposterous or, worse, blasphemous such expression might be to other people who believe in a Divine Singularity. For, as I said, in the end, it's the reader who should make a choice--a choice of whether to believe or not what s/he has read and learned.

> Actually, if we should think more deeply about it, the presence of these diverse beliefs (and nonbeliefs) in God or a god is in fact doing us a favor: It continues to test our resilience, discernment, and ability to believe what we want to believe.

> aLfie

almira jorda wrote:

Hi Alfie! Thanks again for replying. I guess that's the same reason God (or at least my concept of Him) gave us free will to choose, to decide, and to take action on our own. We are accountable for our own thoughts and actions....

Ok, this is all for now...take care! - almi

Should a Writer Have a Sense of Responsibility to the Minds of Her/His Readers?

In 1998, I tactlessly declared in one article I wrote:

"This is my literary world, and you are just my platypi. I can do whatever I want; I can write whatever I think of. You can't do anything but read."

This now triggers goose bumps on my nape. The arrogance of youth. Nevertheless, as I believe now, the problem does not lie on the radicality of the ideas and personal beliefs we are sharing with others; it lies on the manner we are presenting them—tact and taste will always be an ingredient of a responsible pen, along with style and substance.

In reply to my tactless declaration, my best-friend Rain wrote in the postal letter, dated July 1, 1998, that he sent me:

"Certainly, it is the height of evasiveness to say you don't care at all about your readers' impressions. Firstly, by doing so you have put a knife at the heart of writing, whose real essence is 'towards' reading. It's not only logical. It's common sense. Reading and writing, like man and woman, are meant for each other. They embody each other's meaning. Secondly, a writer, as a true child of knowledge, must entertain and care for impressions good or bad, not only for a counterattack (I love a warrior pen), but also—this more than anything else—for his refinements.

"No writing is an island. Once one writes and 'intends' others to read it, he becomes responsible for every word, language, animal, man, god in it. Above all, a writer, like a good father, must be responsible for the progeny of his pen. To write and make a world of your own and live, lie, love, feast, frolic and foster in it is no doubt nice and all. We all want to be masters of the universe, and I could imagine the pleasure it gives to actually simulate one right there in the world of letters. But one cannot avoid responsibility once he starts inviting people to dwell, visit, or have picnic in it, otherwise, the writer self-destructs and, like Icarus, falls into the dross of Vandalism and graffiti art—ever proclaiming, yet ever evading."


Saturday, December 11, 2004

An eLf in Exile

I told you, I'm a prisoner here. Probably nothing is sweeter than regaining one's freedom. I know now how it feels to be incarcerated without the privilege of basic needs like walking at your own pace, strolling out on your own anytime you want, sleeping without morbid worries, and, most of all, making love with your one and only. Posted by Hello

*The eLverette in Me* According to legends, Teresita and Edgar wished their firstborn to be a girl. However, the deities didn't heed their call, for Teresita gave birth to an eLf boy instead. Disillusioned, Teresita went on believing that the baby was a girl, adorning him with all those beautiful wigs and dresses until the eLf boy was old enough to speak: "Hey, Mom, I love what you're doing!" HA-HA-HA

 Posted by Hello

A Dead eLf

A dead eLf on my sleeping place! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Third of a Dozen Verses

November 27, Saturday
How a voice could melt a heart
How words could conjure a smile
How sighs could tease a tear
How goodbyes could pull some tears

November 28, Sunday
Sometimes I'm hopeful
Many times I'm hopeless and fearful
Sometimes I'm happy
Many times I'm sad and lonely

Sometimes I feel loved and belonged
Many times I feel solitary and alone
Sometimes I'm prolific
Many times I'm pathetically moronic

Sometimes I'm a real eLf
But most of the times I'm only human

November 29, Monday
Amputi-puti ng ulap
Ang hangin ay anunglamig
Halos lahat ng puno ay hinubaran na ng dahon
Subalit sa aking paningin sila'y maririkit pa rin

Di na 'ko galak sa muling pagbagsak ng ñebe
Dahil alam ko na ang kapalit n'yan

November 30, Tuesday
Mga salita ko'y paulit-ulit na lang
Tila nagamit ko na ang lahat ng 'yan

Subalit hindi na bale
Hindi na bale kung paulit-ulit
Kahit ang buhay nama'y paikut-ikot

Hindi na mahalaga ang bawat salita
Sapagkat bagong emosyon naman ang hatid nila
Panibagong mga pangarap at mga mithiin
Panibagong mga tulang iluluwal ng aking damdamin

Madilim na ang hapon
Palamig na nang palamig ang simoy
Halos ubos na ang nagsasayawang dahon
Animo'y dasal at panalangin
Ang pahiwatig nila sa akin

Nu'ng aking kabataan
Napakalapit ko sa simbahan
Kung ako nga'y manalangin
Akala mo'y wala nang kinabukasan

Subalit sa paglipas ng panahon
Paniniwala ko'y unti-unting nagbago
Di na ako ang dati-rating
May kaluluwa at relihiyoso

Ngunit wag kayong mag-alala
Ako pa rin ang kilala n'yong busilak ang damdamin
Nagbago man ang aking pananampalataya
Ngunit hindi ang aking adhikain

Kabutihan pa rin ng nakararami
Ang pinakamahalaga sa akin

December 1, Wednesday
I want to disappear for good

I want to disappear for good

I want to disappear for good

I want them to disappear for good

December 2, Thursday
Sabi nila, pag puno ka ng pag-ibig
Nagiging kulay-rosas ang paligid
Sabi nila, pag busilak ang 'yong damdamin
Nagiging lapitin ka ng pag-ibig

Bakit nga ba lilà ang paborito kong kulay?
Matagal ko na 'yang pinag-isipan
Ngunit di ko na talaga maalala ang tunay na dahilan

Ah, basta, hindi na mahalaga 'yan
Hindi na mahalagang malaman pa
Ang "bakit?" at "kailan pa?"

Higit na mangingibabaw
Ay ang "ano?" at "sino?"
At ang "ngayon," "bukas," at "magpakaylanman"

December 3, Friday
What doth really make a man?
His strength? His invulnerability?

I don't think so
For, I think a man only becomes a man
The moment he acknowledges
His weakness and vulnerability

A man should be strong, yes
To be able to brave any adversity

But he should, above all, be soft and compassionate
So love can touch and penetrate him

For only with a loving heart
Can a man rise above his true nature

December 4, Saturday
I – the sound of running water
You – the ripple in my heart
We – the blood running through the veins
of those we love

December 5, Sunday
I always find myself floating
Inbetween the dream and the waking states
I could see myself staring at me
I could see me staring back at myself
I feel like I'm dying
In that split-second moment of worthlessness and nothingness

December 6, Monday
If I'm a declarative sentence,
You're my period.
If I'm a question,
You're the only answer.
If I'm a noun,
You're my series of adjectives.
If I'm a verb,
You'll be my adverbs.

If I'm a story,
You'll be the teller.
I'm your beginning,
And you are my end.

December 7, Tuesday
Drop, drop, drop
The snow has fallen
Drop, drop, drop
My tears are falling

Drop, drop, drop
Dreams from the sky
Drop, drop, drop
I opened my hands
and bowed my head
I would have knelt then prostrated
But I dropped tired on my sleeping blanket instead

December 8, Wednesday
The sun has suddenly shone
And this morning the rain was a steady pour
But why wasn't there any rainbow?

My Second-Most Favorite Movie Character

Eric Draven (Brandon Lee), from the movie The Crow, 1994:
"It can't rain all the time;
the sky won't fall forever." Posted by Hello

My Most Favorite Movie Character

Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp), from the 1990 movie of the same name:
"Before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. I don't think it would be snowing now if he weren't still up there. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it."--Kim Boggs (Wynona Rider) Posted by Hello

My Most Favorite Artist

Robert James Smith (1959–present) of the English band The Cure (1979–present):
"I actually think I'm the most grown-up person I've ever met, in that I run a huge business and have been married to the same person for years. I'm more emotionally mature than anyone I know. And yet, I've always felt young. I really, really love music still.... I don't want to change. Why bother? Life is so short." Posted by Hello

My Most Favorite Scientist

Albert Einstein (1879–1955):
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I Am Not a Person Who

...shouts at children (especially my own children) every time they make a mistake, forget something, fail to follow simple instructions, and don't want to take a bath when I prod them to.

...yells "Moron!" at the driver of the slow vehicle fronting mine. every single stupidity to Filipinos in general.

...thinks that the Philippines is a place where only ricefields and mango trees and banana plants grow.

...thinks that someone who has committed a simple mistake is stupid.

...thinks that all Filipinos (or other migrants for that matter) who have immigrated here did so because they were living a pathetically impoverished life in the country where they came from.

...thinks that no school in the Philippines can produce intelligent and brilliant graduates. greater consideration to what others might say than to what s/he really wants in life.

...feels disappointed upon receiving a "cheap" gift or when hasn't received any gift at all.

...thinks that his/her decisions and choices are always the "brilliant" things worth emulating.

...thinks that s/he's the friendliest in the whole world.

...thinks that Americans suck.

...thinks that Canadians are the best.

...always thinks (and always reiterates) that my partner in life is inferior and is lucky to have me.


despite being a very patient and compassionate eLf, there's still the human in me who can retaliate someday.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Chef aLf

Chef aLf, frying beef liver for Papa's lunch today. Posted by Hello

Another Star Wars Collector

The real Star Wars collector; photo taken today, Dec. 6, 2004.

The eLf with a Scout Trooper and a Gammorean Guard. Posted by Hello

The Oldest Star Wars Collector

Perhaps, at 89, my grandfather Conrado is the oldest Star Wars action-figure collector. Posted by Hello

The Peter Pan in Me

Another shot from my digital camera: The new Star Wars action figures I bought yesterday as well as some of my recently bought books.

Unfinished Tales (DelRey Edition) by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings One-Book Edition, also by Tolkien, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, a boxed set (Movie Tie-in Edition) of The Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Star Wars action figures Gammorean Guard and Scout Trooper. Posted by Hello

The First Fall of Snow in My Second Winter in Canada

Photo: The first shot from my new digital camera; the magical swing in the backyard of my cousin Mike's home, where my grandfather and I are currently staying; many new poems of mine were written in many a solitary moment in that magical swing. Sorry, the snowflakes were invisible in the picture. Just use your imagination.

Albert Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

First Real Blog?
I feel that this would be my first "real" blog entry in the sense that I'd just be documenting the significant events and personal feelings since yesterday without much thought.

In short, I'm just letting my mind bleed as my fingers move like waltzing couples on the dancefloor, the keyboard of my PC.

Yesterday, Sunday, around 11 a.m., Mike and family dropped off Papa and me at the Wal-Mart at Guildford Town Centre in Surrey. They would be delivering the scented candles their friends ordered from Marivic, while Papa and I were watching an after-lunch movie at the nearby Famous Players / Silver City.

The Star Wars Collector
Since we had about an hour to stroll, Papa and I went to the Toy Section (like I always do, and did even in the Philippines...the child in me, for sure). Marvelling at those action figures never fail to cast a magic spell on me. Wow! Lots of new Star Wars figures, reminding me that the final Episode III Revenge of the Sith is around the corner, showing finally in May of next year. How much was each action figure? Ah, C$8.99. I couldn't resist the lure of the dark side of collecting action figures, especially Star Wars figures. He-he-he. I bought two figures: Scout Trooper and Gammorean Guard.

The Force Is Strong
Then, Papa asked me where the Sony Store is. Hmmm, I could sense it. I knew it! I'm a Jedi after all. Papa wanted finally to buy the digital camera he was craving for since early this year. Actually, every time we went to a Future Shop, an electronics/audio-video store, Papa was all ready to buy the camera, but I used to stop him from doing so, chiefly because I felt wary my relatives might think negatively about it; for the same thing happened when Papa bought me a new computer last March. BUT, this time, I didn't stop Papa. It's Christmas! And Papa said he wanted to buy the camera for me; besides, everyone in the family knew how Papa loved cameras and photography. In fact, the camera I was using was Papa's old manual Nikon F70, which always gave me difficulty because it needed a film, was too bulky--inconvenient to use in taking pictures in the mall--and posed the cost of having the films developed.

So, there! I finally received my Christmas gift from Papa: a Sony DSC-P73/P93 Digital Camera. Don't I deserve this? I think I do. Now I can further document my days here in Canada. I can now let my family and friends in the Philippines see how the malls (plus the people there) and other places look like in their most candid moments. Yes, I've taken some pictures with the Nikon, but I am yet to take pictures with myself in the malls and in other places where using a big manual camera makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable.

The Bibliophilist
I let Papa rest at the food court of Guildford mall, while I went to the nearby Black Bond Books. I came out of the bookstore with another new book: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (1931, 1994, Pocket Books), a novel about a Chinese family having to brave the difficulty of living the Chinese life, similar to the books written by a favorite author of mine, Adeline Yen Mah (Chinese Cinderella and Falling Leaves). Obviously I am yet to read Buck's book, so that's all I want to say about it for now.

I bought a foot-long roasted-beef sandwich at a Subway, had it cut into three (two for me, one for Papa). We'd eat it later in the theater.

The Barrie in Me
We watched the 1:25 p.m. showing of Finding Neverland (starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet), a biography of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie. I delighted in the movie chiefly because I well related with Barrie, who was shown as someone who always carried a journal, incessantly inditing his thoughts in it. He was also fond of telling and enacting his stories to the children in the story. But the best part of all was the scene when the child Peter (said to be the actual child who inspired Barrie into creating his Peter Pan character) uttered: "I am not Peter Pan, but he is," pointing to Barrie himself.

After dinner at home, I continued reading A History of Writing, from where I'm learning a lot about the origin of the various writing systems of the world, including the Philippines' very own Pre-Hispanic alphasyllabaries, like Alibata, which was mentioned in the book.

Winter Once Again
I woke up early today, around seven. I was excited to test the digital camera. And, then... Wow! Guess what? This morning of December 6, the snow has fallen! Finally, the first winter flakes in my second Winter in Canada were falling silently before my eyes. I tried to take some pictures, but the snowflakes were too thin to be captured elegantly. (I'm posting the picture anyway.)

I took a few shots nonetheless, then stared through the window in silence.

Again, a dream come true--watching actual snow--but, instead of feeling delighted, I was thinking of home...

How I wish I can behold such sight with my loved ones.

the dream is not yet over.
I know someday,

my loved ones will be with me,
to stare through the window

as the snow falls.
And all of us will
fall in silence,
in the same contemplative moment.


Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Who Said Old Dogs Couldn't Learn New Tricks?

Photo: Hemlock Valley Ski Resort, Agassiz, British Columbia, February 2004

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to my friend Jas Latina, who died in a freak vehicular accident last August 2004.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Dear Jas,

No problem; in case you get the chance to visit me here in Canada, I'll teach you how to snowboard; surely by then, I would have already been traversing the steep slopes. I spent about C$40 for the snowboarding gear; that included a one-hour lesson.

Oh, by the way, I bought a set of colored pencils and poster boards. I'd try to awaken my painting skills. I remember having this passion back in high school, though I never really pursued it. I'm also planning to buy an acoustic guitar. Ha-ha! I'd been in a band for more than a decade but I never learned how to play the guitar; perhaps because I was always surrounded by great guitarists like my best friend Rain, that I always hesitated to try learning it; but I can play the drums well. Who knows, I might finally learn how to play the guitar, especially that I've so much time in my hands (and fingers) right now to learn at least the basic chords.

I'll test the extent of my capabilities. I was thinking, why couldn't I, when I have just learned snowboarding, cooking, and giving myself and my grandfather a haircut--skills I never thought I'd ever learn in my life.

Okay, I have to log out now. Dinnertime is approaching; the kitchen is waiting for chef aLf.

your friend eLf from far away Posted by Hello

All She Ever Wanted

A scanned copy of the original poem "All She Ever Wanted (In This World of Make-Believing)" that I gave to Charlotte in 1996. Below is the revised version which I gave her a few months ago:

All She Ever Wanted Was
(In This World Devoid of True Believers)

All she ever wanted was a man
who believes that fairies exist
and butterpillars think and caterflies dream

who knows that parallel lines are parallel
only in short distances in respect to
the concept of infinity

who believes that turtles leave their carapaces
only when it is not raining and that
manatees are after all merfolk pretending
to be manatees that look like merfolk

who believes that once is better than never,
and part of forever is better than none

who believes that every day can be Valentine and
Christmas at the same time, while tomorrow can
be everybody’s birthday
(imagine those balloons and candles)

who knows that yesterday can hardly be
someday but will always be more memorable
than any other holiday

who believes that there is someone who believes that
there is someone who, like himself, believes in such
seemingly unbelievable make-believes
in this world of make-believing devoid of true believers

—written in October 1996;
Mandaluyong City, Philippines
(Reprised while listening to
“The Crying Scene” by Aztec Camera
(Stray; 1990, Sire)
Posted by Hello