Well, I had a great run with LJ, but It's time to move on. I'm switching to a standalone WordPress blog at Multipleegos.com. I might post here every now and then but the majority of any new posts I make will be on the new blog. Ever since I let my paid account run out I've been stuck with this sleeping Mikage theme, and I want more flexibility.
(Yes, I know I'm using a stock theme right now. I'm working on it.)
Heuristic, detached, and analytical to a fualt, you are most like The Oracle. You are able to tackle any subject with a fine toothed comb, and you possess an ability to pinpoint nuances and shades of meaning that other people do not have and cannot understand. Accomplishment and realization of ideas are, for you, secondary to the rigorous exploration of ideas and questions -- you are, first and foremost, a theorist. You hate authority, convention, tradition, and under no circumstances do you accept a leadership role (although, you will gladly advise leadership when they're going astray, whether they want you to or not). Abstraction and generalities are your interests, details and particulars are usually inconsequential and uninteresting. You excel at language, mathematics and philosophy.
You are typically easy-going and non-confrontational until someone violates one of the very few principles that you deem sacred, at which point you can fly into a rage. Although you possess a much greater understanding of process and systems than the people around you, you are always conscious of the possibility that you've missed something or made a mistake. You don't tend to become attached to particular theories, and will immediately discard mistaken notions once they're revealed to be incorrect (but you don't tolerate iconoclasts who try to discredit validated theories through the use of fallacies and bad data). Despite being outwardly humble, you probably think of yourself as being smarter than most other people. That's because you are. In fact, in your dealings with people your understanding of their motives is so expansive that you know what they're going to say before they say it, and in world affairs, you usually know what is going to take place before it actually does. This ability would make you unbeatable in debates if only you were a little less pensive about your own conclusions, and a little more outgoing.
Famous people like you: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John McWhorter, Ramanujan, Marie Curie, Kurt Godel
Yesterday my Aunt Malou gave me a 15" LCD monitor for my PC. Being smaller than my current CRT display, I opted to connect it as a secondary display to the left of the main display.
Dual monitors rock my world. I play EVE on the main monitor while surfing and chatting on the LCD. I've relegated the taskbar to the far left of my almost-doubled desktop, and with Slickrun and Launchy, I never have to touch the damed Start button ever again. I may even get rid of my desktop icons altogether.
Ideal justice should be meted out with minimum effort and interference, and should fit the crime.
On my way to review today a man who looked to be in his mid-thirties and sporting a very obvious and very out-of-place alpha-male complex raced past me in a black car with one of those fakey sports-esque mufflers, nearly sideswiping my brother's car in the process. He raced ahead of me, tires squealing.
He cut in front of the other drivers in front of me and became stuck behind a transport L-300 van. His impatience grew as he tried to move around the van, but as any driver with any experience will tell you, it's easier to pass a large vehicle with a gentler angle than is possible when you've only got a few inches of clearance between you and the truck ahead of you.
I watched this with a strange sense of detachment, and as I passed him, a voice in my head said that if he passed me again, nothing about me would be diminished. I would not be any less of a man if it happened; a fact completely lost to Mr. Yuppie Testosterone who was veering left and right trying to regain his position ahead of traffic.
Another voice in my head said, "Wait."
He charged ahead, veering wildly to the right, swerving across three lanes of traffic and forcing another car out of his lane. Sweat formed on his brow, just above his strangely-lame aviator sunglasses. He swerved left, bearing down on my car, trying to force himself between me and the taxi that had also forced its own way through traffic and was now tailgaiting me.
"Wait," the voice said. I found myself with no urge to speed up or even race the offending drivers, and I waited for whatever signal my gut was telling me to wait for.
The driver of the black car managed to force himself in between the white taxi and me, and a silver-gray Vanette swerved sharply and honked its horn to voice its protest at being forced off its lane.
The black car began to stick to my rear bumper menacingly, swerving left and right, tires screeching, trying to find a way to stick its nose between me and the Vanette which was now behind me to the left. The Yuppie had one of those shit-eating smug-looking snarls on his face, his arm resting outside his open window with a cigarette.
The taxi decided to attempt to out-alpha the Yuppie, applying time-tested taxi techniques to scare the driver in black. The black car capitulated with amateurish boxing-out techniques, weaving left and right to prevent being passed, as if his entire manhood was at stake.
For half a second, I stepped on my brakes, not to stop, but only enough to slow down and shut the window of opportunity the black car was anticipating, when he least expected it.
Step. Half a second. Release.
I calmly drove on.
I heard horns blaring. The black car and the white taxi were stopped. Traffic began to build up behind them. I drove on. I looked at my rear view mirror and saw traffic build up behind the two cars that now seemed attached bumper to bumper - not cleanly, but at an angle, like corner to bumper.
I smiled and turned right off of EDSA as they disappeared from my mirrors in a cloud of testosterone.
"You're unhappy because you've desired things that cannot be." "That's what desire is. The need for what we can't have. The need for what's readily available is called greed."
I tried to listen to Hamasaki Ayumi's Ever Free for this post. But there's something artificial, something almost metallic, plastic, antiseptic about Ayu-chan that, her fans forgive me, simply don't fit these moments.
Why do I empathize with antiheroes?
Today I had the Vongole Al Forno in olive oil. I savored it for the better part of an hour. It was raining. It still is. Yesterday I had Gambas Al Ajillo at Dulcinea, for an hour. It was raining. It still is.
Yes, this is my self-indulgent "I ate spaghetti today" post. Deal with it. I think the trouble my professor (and I use this term very, very loosely) had with these self-indulgent posts was that they didn't indulge him. I find it difficult to write to the self-absorbed crowd unless one writes about something that refers to them.
And the trouble with self-indulgent posts is, at their worst, they refer only to the writer. At best, they refer to commonalities that the reader may share with the writer. But then again writers have historically been self-indulgent.
Why do I empathize with antiheroes?
As a young teenager I developed a growing contempt for the 'hot-blooded with a great sense of justice' types found leading five-man robot teams, interstellar police forces, high school gangs down at the soda fountain, and questing parties of that period. (It was the early Nineties, just so you know.)
When I cracked open the copy of Dragons of Autumn Twilight I had borrowed from a friend, I felt a strong affinity for the bitter, gold-skinned, ascerbic Red Mage, Raistlin. Tanis irritated me. Flint and Tas were comedic relief. Sturm acted in infuriatingly impractical ways that led to his demise. And Caramon was a buffoon and a joke. Only Raistlin seemed to know what was going on at any particular moment, and to his detriment (or perhaps to his intentions), he quickly alienated everyone who tried to bond with him, pausing every now and then to contemplate beauty, a rarity given his cursed hourglass eyes.
Why would anyone want to be Raistlin? Body wracked with debilitating coughs that defied cure. Hourglass eyes that saw decay accelerated. Golden skin that displayed his sin to everyone who paused long enough to look.
Immediately after entering law school I somehow saw it fit to piss off nearly everyone in class. It was a test to see what people were made of. No, I rationalized it that way. I no longer did it consciously. I simply refused to be amiable for amiability's sake. This was a character flaw that I perceived as a strength. Or packaged as one.
As was pointed out somewhere else on this journal, no one likes a pedantic know-it-all. And that's who I was.
But that's not what Raistlin was about. Nor Lucifer. Nor Jenner for that matter. As Bodhidharma would have put it, "You have grasped only my skin."
In Don Bosco, in UP, even in law school, I quickly found myself manipulating politics behind the sidelines, at least the politics of things that concerned me. I pretended to ally with causes I cared nothing for, for my own purposes. Factions of teachers against other teachers, students against other students. Take the student constitution in the law school, for instance. I've never read it in its entirety. I only pushed for it (quietly) because of its side effects, which in turn were only to prevent an imbalance of power to the detriment of my interests, nothing more.
But was I really getting anywhere, through the accumulation of invisible power? "You have only grasped my flesh."
Through my blatant proclamation of amorality, I think, looking back, that I was trying to capture the dark glamour of the antihero. I've done things that I am not proud of, I would say, with a tone that clearly reeked of pride. That somehow being an antihero was cool, was hip. Tragically hip, as I would mockingly call Jed, back in college. Gothic punk pared down to its very essence.
But it's all a pose, pretending to be evil for the sake of fashionability. "You have only grasped my bones."
Mikage, as I played him in John Biles's Through a Mirror, Darkly RPG, had many quotable lines despite his limited screen time (which in turn was due to the difference in time zones), but my favorite, and the one I regularly find myself quoting, is from the following exchange.
Mikage was asked, in a dream, what he would do with his much-vaunted freedom once he gained it, considering that at the time, he was a pawn (albeit an unpredictable one) in a game between the powers that be and that powers that wanted to be. His answer was very telling.
"To make fetters of my own choosing."
Raistlin wanted to be a god. Jenner wanted to upend the existing order in vampiric society and replace it with his own. Lucifer created his own cosmos. Mikage made it very clear that the only agenda he was following was his own, even when he was in the service of Amber, even when he joined forces with the other children of Annadil to protect Amber and all of reality from the Outside. Mikage was the kind of character who would play himself, almost as I simply channeled him and watched the show he was putting on.
Fetters of my own choosing.
For the past few days, I have been wandering from place to place, doing nothing in particular. Wherever I found myself is wherever I was. Today I wandered Makati Cinema Square, looked around, bought nothing, and moved on. I found myself in Galleria, bought the final Lucifer graphic novel, settled down for some baked clams in olive oil, and did nothing in particular.
It suddenly struck me that I hadn't done nothing, truly done nothing, in a very long time. And suddenly, I realized that I was once again free to do so.
Pointless? Most likely. Bound to irritate the more focused, the more determined (and the irony of that word strikes me, just this moment)? Certainly. Self-indulgent? Now there's a question worth asking.
"Today I ate spaghetti." Why did it irritate me that such blog posts irritated my teacher (again, loose usage)? Was I irritated that he would affect such a facetiously, flippantly hip pose when he was clearly, underneath it all, so markedly un-hip that his attempts at hipness fell flat like many of his jokes? Or was it something else? Did it have something to do with his over-inflated sense of self-worth not leaving any room for anyone else's? Or was it...?
I see Mikage, smirking. "You have grasped my marrow."
Loners often hear from well-meaning peers that they need to be more social, but the implication that they're merely black-and-white opposites of their bubbly peers misses the point. Introverts aren't just less sociable than extroverts; they also engage with the world in fundamentally different ways. While outgoing people savor the nuances of social interaction, loners tend to focus more on their own ideas—and on stimuli that don't register in the minds of others. Social engagement drains them, while quiet time gives them an energy boost.
Contrary to popular belief, not all loners have a pathological fear of social contact. "Some people simply have a low need for affiliation," says Jonathan Cheek, a psychologist at Wellesley College. "There's a big subdivision between the loner-by-preference and the enforced loner." Those who choose the living room over the ballroom may have inherited their temperament, Cheek says. Or a penchant for solitude could reflect a mix of innate tendencies and experiences such as not having many friends as a child or growing up in a family that values privacy.
So when I say I don't feel like going out because I want to spend some time alone -- yeah, I mean it. No, I'm not depressed. Stop bugging me.
I told myself I would avoid the video links on this blog for a while, while I got my writing skills back on track, but this particular video was too sweet not to post. It's a French PSA about AIDS, but it's a pretty amusing cartoon in its own right.
(There's a gay version of the cartoon too but... uh... I guess you could say it's not my thing.)
(If you don't read the rest of this post, please DON'T post any spoilers. Yet. And calm down. I'm just writing here. I haven't written anything of substance in a long time.)
Now that I've graduated from law school (and you'd think I'd have blogged about something that momentous, wouldn't you), I've been trying to catch up with my TV series and anime viewing. I've been watching bits and pieces of Heroes, Rome Season 2, the new episodes of Entourage, that sort of thing.
Right now I'm halfway through episode 3 of Code Geass. The main character, Lelouch, is the definitive anime version of Kenneth Jenner.
I'm serious. And I don't mean the later incarnations of Jenner in my games. I mean the original Kenneth Jenner, the Dominator of the Checkmate chronicle as run by scriviner, even down to the chess playing, manipulation, and sheer abuse of the Word power.
He even performs a signature Jenner move in the first episode: "I order those of Brittania, you people... to DIE."
And they all kill themselves.
I don't believe in coincidences.
Someone asked me today if I really was evil. Sometimes when I claim to be amoral I wonder if I'm simply adopting a hiply-nihilistic pose. If I'm simply a poseur who thinks the appearance of amorality is somehow 'cool'.
Then I look at the things I've done ever since I played that character, almost a decade ago.
Kiko enjoys calling me the Joseph Fouche of our law school. Why do I consider that a compliment?
I remember my old signature appended to my emails. It's a quote from Jenner.
"Some people may have warned you about me. About my reputation. They were right."
Is it a coincidence that Ethics was my weakest subject in law school?
I don't believe in coincidences.
"Are you really evil?"
No, just amoral.
"Because I want to know if I'm really just inclined to see the good side of people."
When did I stop believing in good and evil as universal constants? When did amorality, anarchy, the dynamics of power for its own sake, appeal to me more than the certitude of clinging to the light to stave off the dark?
When did I adopt what Ken Wilber referred to as a 'spirituality of confrontation' instead of one of consolation?
And why did I expect to find peace of mind on this path?
Maybe I'm just driven. Maybe there are some things I'm willing to do anything for. Some causes. Some people. Maybe I've pared myself down, the way I remove unnecessary programs and services off of my computers, to make myself run more efficiently, more leanly.
And at some point, somehow, I had decided that my morals only get in my way.
"Some people may have warned you about me. About my reputation. They were right."
Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died Wednesday night in Manhattan. He was 84 and had homes in Manhattan and in Sagaponack on Long Island.
Mr. Vonnegut shed the label of science fiction writer with “Slaughterhouse-Five.” It tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, an infantry scout (as Mr. Vonnegut was), who discovers the horror of war. “You know — we’ve had to imagine the war here, and we have imagined that it was being fought by aging men like ourselves,” an English colonel says in the book. “We had forgotten that wars were fought by babies. When I saw those freshly shaved faces, it was a shock. My God, my God — I said to myself, ‘It’s the Children’s Crusade.’ ”
In “Slaughterhouse-Five,” Mr. Vonnegut introduced the recurring character of Kilgore Trout, his fictional alter ego. The novel also featured a signature Vonnegut phrase.
What's better than a 5-inch Gundam? Why a 5-inch Gundam slathered in platinum with diamonds for eyes, of course. This $250,000 robot soldier is manufactured by Bandai and will be on display next month at Baselworld, in Basel Switzerland.
What IS a Flute Beatbox, exactly, you might ask. This video illustrates the fine art of flute beatboxing by a master flute beatboxer. Okay. I can't keep saying 'flute beatbox' with a straight face anymore. Just watch the damned video.