Friday, June 29, 2007 at Friday, June 29, 2007 | 1 comments
The clock read two minutes before 12 a.m. The night was unusually cold and I was in my bed lying on my back, contemplating on whether to take sedatives or just let the stillness of the hour lull me to sleep. Then I heard rattle near the door. And then suddenly, out of the dark nothingness, a misty, indefinite figure appeared. In the blink of an eye the figure became clear: a white-skinned lady in a white gown with flaming red eyes. She was looking at me. I was too aghast to budge, and too horror-struck to say anthing. She was coming towards me. Towards me...

And then I said “hi!” to her. The white lady smiled so sweetly. What a wonderful ghost story. LOL.

Honestly, I don’t believe in ghost or any paranormal activity. My reason is simple: I have not seen one. And even if I see one, what makes me think it is ghost? There is no science nor logic upon which ghost can be critically analyzed or validated. To date, there is no credible scientific evidence that any location is inhabited by spirits of the dead. There are no accepted premises to from which we can draw conclusion. All we hear, all I hear, are tales, footnotes.

Ordinary physical explanation can account for ghost sightings. Take for example, air pressure changes in a home can cause doors to slam, or lights from a passing car reflected through a window at night can account for weird images. A psychological phenomenon called Pareidolia can cause people to believe they have seen ghost. For example, take a look up the clouds or in the moon. If you can see human faces or figures in it, chances are you have a case of pareidoliac. I remember one night in the province when I saw what first came into my mind as a "white lady." It scared the crap out of me. Fortunately, I didn't run (or could not run because I was scared) and was able to realize, through looking carefully at the thing, that it was just a white bedsheet hanging on a cable. So I can say I was slightly pareidoliac that time.

Our peripheral vision can also see "ghost." Peripheral vision is very sensitive and can easily mislead, especially late at night, when the brain is exhausted and more likely to misinterpret sights and sounds. It is very possible that when one believes that a place is really hunted, he or she may interpret "weird" events as confirmation of a haunting. And what about sounds? Frequencies lower than 20 hertz are normally inaudible and can cause humans to feel a "presence" in the room, or unexplained feelings of anxiety or dread. Personally, I have felt this a zillion times.

A fine example of "ghost" hahaha!

Interestingly, nobody sees "naked ghost," considering their supposed spiritual nature. I don't remember any movie or book mentioning a naked ghost. If I will see a ghost for the very first time, I would like to see one naked. Not a guy, you fool. I want a proof that there exists a paranormal world. But until that happens, I will remain a non-believer of ghost.

Oh, yeah! Casper is naked!
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I had a dream... and it’s not a Martin Luther King-type of dream which one discusses about when overwhelmed with idealism. The dream I’m talking about here is the dream Sigmund Freud would try to examine. Yes, dream, as in the experience of sensations which happens when you are asleep. It happened last June 24, right before I woke up. Like most of our dreams, it bordered on bizarreness, and I was just lucky to recall it (I forget most of what I dream the moment I open my eyes). In my dream, we were in a war-torn town that resembles the city of Stalingrad in Russia during World War II. I couldn’t recall if we were soldiers or rebels in the dream, but the only thing I am sure of is that we were fighting one man whose body appeared to be made of Kevlar vest, impenetrable and hardened. Here’s the funny thing: the man we were fighting against was Eddie Garcia!!

The city was something like this...

Of all the six billion people in the world! When I got up, I was thinking: what in the nutty world was Eddie Garcia doing in my nutty dream? I’m quite sure I haven’t been watching Asian Treasures lately. Although I think my dream is a bit parallel to the Asian Treasures, because I did see a scene in the show where Robin Padilla and the rest of the gang were battling it out with Eddie Garcia’s demonic minions. And when they were up against Eddie Garcia, they were nearly defeated. In my dream, we riddled Garcia with bullets from our Steyr-Aug rifle. But he just seemed to take them all, without dodging any of them. He was coming towards us and we were retreating. And then the scene suddenly shifted to a part where I was asking this fellow combatant how to use a hand grenade. Out of the blue, the scene shifted again and then I was on my own, facing Eddie Garcia. I shot him like hell with my rifle and, like a warfreak, threw the hand grenade right at him. Then there was an explosion. I thought he was pulverized but out of the smoke he appeared unscathed. I threw one grenade after another. And he was just coming towards me, unhurt, laughing his ass off. The weird thing was that he was unarmed and was not striking back or anything. He just laughed and laughed his ass off. And then I was roused by the alarm clock. It was 5:30 AM.

Did this dream mean anything? Or was it just a bunch of random thoughts that blew up inside my nutty brain? I have had dreams since I was a kid, and they’re all weird, morbid, sometimes blissful, sometimes indecent (hehe). Can they be interpreted? What do you think was really at the back of my mind?
Thursday, June 21, 2007 at Thursday, June 21, 2007 | 2 comments
Only few people know that I can play some songs on a piano, or more specifically, on a keyboard. But it’s not something I am really proud of. My way of playing is not systematic, so you can figure how pianist would normally laugh at the idea. My style is called “playing by ear.” The truth is, anybody can learn to play piano by ear while skipping those written musical shits (I mean sheets) using only chords. It’s not like you can play a Mozart or Chopin with this style, but hell, who in the nutty planet would like to be confined in playing just those classicals anyway? Actually, playing-by-ear style is no secret and people normally do this with a guitar. When one wants to learn playing guitar, s/he would be asked to learn chords in the beginning, right? The same goes for playing piano by ear. You will just learn chords, not notes.

Take a look above, the left image shows us how to play G chord; the right image shows us how to play C chord.***

So what’s this fuzz all about? It started when Karen and I happened to discuss music yesterday night. I told her I could play keyboard a little. And then I remembered that I hadn’t been playing for a while, so when I got home I tried playing some songs I knew on a keyboard. And my god, how they all sucked! I hadn’t touched my P1,999 keyboard in ages, so you could imagine how I really messed up with the songs. I had to memorize them again one by one. Do you know what songs I play? Okay, I really don’t want to put a question mark on my self-proclaimed rock music lover image, but just for fun I will tell in here what songs I play on a keyboard... or more precisely, the songs I CAN ONLY play on a keyboard through play-by-ear style.

Here we go...

1) A Long and Lasting Love — by Crystal Gayle
2) Something In The Way You Look at Me — by Christian Bautista
3) Everyday I Love You — by BoyZone
4) Making Love Out of Nothing At All — Air Supply
5) Boulevard — by Whoever-shit-he-is (I don’t care to know)

Aarrggh! (love songs! Aww!). Frankly speaking, it took me a lot of time to memorize the way each song is played. I play all those songs on the list because their chords are not that difficult to figure out. The last one, the Boulevard crap, is a song I was just forced to memorize, because my Nanay wanted me to play it (with her singing it). But don’t think I am way too soft playing some mushy songs on a keyboard. I can play rin naman Let It Be by the Beatles, Skyline Pigeon by Elton John, My Immortal by Evanescence and Imagine by John Lennon. So it’s not that really bad, is it? And that is only playing keyboard by ear!

One would do it in any way possible — all for the love of music.

*** Images taken from <-- try to visit the site if you want to learn piano/keyboard the easy way.
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Thursday, June 14, 2007 at Thursday, June 14, 2007 | 2 comments
The more I read award-winning short stories, the more I get the feeling of a loser. It has dawned on me that I will not win a Palanca Award this year, or even in the next years. I'm not pessimistic, just realistic. I can categorically say that my works are so amateurish and full of bullshits. I now accept the fact that I still need a lot of time to hone my fiction writing skills. Perhaps, not having been trained to write stories could be an excuse (since I took up Journalism). But what about Rosario de Guzman-Lingat? What about the likes of Luis Gatmaitan and Liwayway Arceo? They are some of the finest writers who didn’t have literary trainings of any sort, and yet excel as prolific writers all the same. Just last week when I was in FullyBooked in Gateway Mall, I read an anthology of short stories of Lingat, and the realization hit me big time. How could this woman write a superb short story? How could I not?

Actually, I submitted two entries to Palanca this year (short story and short story for children, both in Filipino). I had a lot of nerve — or audacity — to submit entries, and even thought confidently, much to my chagrin, that I would win an award. In my dreams. I got that shabby inspiration from Edgardo M. Reyes when he said in his book that he won a Palanca on his first try. It had been only a year since he began to write when his piece “Di Maabot Ng Kawalang Malay” won a Palanca (third prize, 1961). Also, there have been 30 people already winning a Palanca on their first tries. With a kapalmuks, I might as well join them and get one for myself. Beginner’s luck, you know. Maybe Don Carlos Palanca won’t mind giving this idiot a thumbs up.
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