crazy_octopus


Sideways Writing

The world is askew


How I Met the Season 8 Ending
crazy_octopus
Dear Carter Bays and Craig Thomas,

Just recently, I had the pleasure of watching the Season 8 ending of your Emmy-nominated show, How I Met Your Mother. After five years of waiting, I -- along with a million other fans -- finally got to meet "the Mother".

Though the finale ended on a high note, the whole season left a lot to be desired, especially from fans who have come to expect a certain degree of quality from a show they supported for so long -- a degree that this season unfortunately failed to deliver. Here's why:

1. The Quinn arc was unnecessary. We already suffered through Nora last season, a character who didn't play a major part in the story. Now, we have Quinn, an equally useless character who did nothing to advance the storyline. It would be better if, after Nora, the season went straight to Robin and Barney's engagement.

2. The jokes were getting old. The reason why viewers hung around for seven seasons (a very long time for any show)is because of the jokes. No doubt, HIMYM has supplied us with a vast array of pop culture gags and ideas -- the Murtah list, the Playbook, Barney's "Legen-wait for it- dary" catchphrase, etc -- that we reference in daily conversations with friends.

Now, the jokes seem trite, tired and trying-hard. There is that impulse to roll one's eyeball out of the eye socket with every corny punchline delivered by the cast. Even Barney is guilty of this. Yes, sweet, hilarious Barney.

Speaking of which...

3. Whatever happened to Ted? Sure, Barney may be the show's breakout character but it is still titled "How I Met Your Mother", not "How Uncle Barney is so Awesome". There is not enough of the Ted-Mother storyline this season. Only six episodes really focused on that aspect of the show. Six. Out of 24.

Sure, Ted may be an idealistic, romantic, lame character from time to time, but he is still the main protagonist.

4. Where is the heart? If jokes are the backbone of the show, then the heart-warming message after every episode is the delicious gooey center. Back then, watching HIMYM either left you in stitches, or teary-eyed. The writers had a direct line to the viewer's heart, touching them with the show's narrative and well-executed plot twists.

But recently, it's as if the show was just coasting along for the entire season, just trying to get it over with and get to the ending. The only episode that really tugged at my heartstrings was the Robots vs. Wrestlers sequel, when Ted had an imaginary scenario where he went to the Mother's apartment to confess his longing for her.

...

At this point, I apologize for being so angst-ridden for the past few paragraphs. Truth be told, I'm really a big fan of the show. I've never missed an episode ever since Season 1.

But it's precisely because of that that I'm here, wasting precious bandwidth to rant. As a fan, it's always saddening to see the deteriorating quality of a show I am fond with. No fan wants to see their show end on a poor note, after investing so much time and energy towards it. And definitely no fan wants to see their favorite characters turn into strangers they barely know. Just look at what happened to Community and Glee.

So please, for the last season of this glorious show, bring us back the HIMYM we loved -- the one that made us laugh and cherish our group of friends more after seeing how tight-knit Lily, Marshall, Ted, Robin and Barney were. Bring us the season we deserve after all these years of supporting the show. And please do it before we completely lose faith in the show.

We've had enough of "waiting for it" -- just get to the legendary ending already.

Spoiler Alert: Of Pop FIlms and Crap Endings
crazy_octopus
Movies can’t help themselves sometimes.

There is always one thing at the start of the film – a scene, a dialogue, an object - that gives away the ending. Its literary foreboding at its clumsiest.

This affliction -- this disease -- usually affects popular films, the ones that were made to rake in huge amounts of money despite the crappy script they spew.

Most films start off with the producers wanting to create a film that has a nice twist at the end, an artistic one that people will talk about for generations to come. They can’t help it; it’s the muse inside them that is talking.

But halfway through, they begin to doubt not themselves, but their audience. They start to think that their audience is "too dumb" to get the twist, or that it is too complicated for the viewer’s taste. They start shutting out their muses, in lieu of what the majority wants (or at least what they think we want)

And once art becomes all about entirely pleasing someone else, that’s when things get bad.

The End at the Beginning
That’s when they start dropping clues at the start of the flick, that’s when they tweak the script to lead the audience to the right door, that’s when scripts become predictable, trite, annoying.  Art is lost in a mess of mediocrity.

Take Iron Man 3 for example. No doubt, it raked in millions at the opening week. You can just imagine Robert Downey channelling Tony Stark and swimming in a pool of cash and hot girls. But let’s forget about the movie’s blockbuster success and look at its content: (SPOILERS AHEAD!)

In the middle of the film, The Mandarin captures Pepper and makes her a bargaining chip, so that Tony will work for them. They pump Pepper with a drug that burns her from the inside, but also makes her superhuman. And so, after Tony overcomes his anxiety problem and is about to save Pepper, he suddenly comes face to face with a fire-breathing, ultra-fast healing Mandarin that seems impossible to kill.

Let’s pause it there before we look for the Hidden Mickey. The paragraph above has enough details for someone to know what the big twist at the end of the movie will be. How do you think it will end? Will Tony:

  1. Defeat the Mandarin using his billion-dollar suit, bad-ass goatee, and smart alec oneliners;

  2. Have Col. Rhodes do all the work and win, with the power of Bromanceship (because why not?);

  3. Let himself get defeated and die. It’s the least he can do for giving us that horrendous "Iron Man 2";

The answer of course, is letter d. have Pepper save him through a series of killer kung fu moves (even though she didn't have any prior training), killing The Mandarin in the process. Apparently, bare-knuckle fighting is much more effective than a super-powered suit.

OF COURSE. Of course that was the twist at the end. How can it not be obvious? They pump Pepper with a barrel full of immortal juice -- surely they won't leave it at that. The ultimate give-away would have to be when Tony dropped Pepper in a ball of inferno. She didn’t die. She can't, because she has to return for the very predictable twist at the end. Besides, they still need her for Iron Man 4, where she’ll probably be called “The Iron Maiden” just to get rock n’ roll fans wet.

At the Risk of Sounding Snooty...
It’s not that I hate Iron Man 3. On the contrary, I enjoyed it, especially when Robert Downey was not acting at all and just being himself.  What I do hate is how some filmmakers would churn out the same predictable formula, or would consciously give away the ending of the film by injecting all-too-obvious clues because they think if they didn’t, the audience wouldn’t get it and mistake it for a French film.

I guess I just miss watching movies that catch me off guard. I miss films that at least try to be smart, the films that try to make statements (And I believe you can do this despite whatever genre your film is in, be it a superhero film or an action film. Just look at Inception or the Dark Knight). We want the kind of films that make you stay after the credits to contemplate what you’ve just watched -- and not just because you want to see the hidden scene at the end.

Give us movies that do not compensate a lack of substance with million-dollar stunts, big explosions that rape your senses, and stupid, anorexic script delivered by famous faces. I’m looking at you, Transformers. Your movies should’ve been titled Gratuitous Girl Butts and Boobs (and Indistinguishable Robots Somersaulting over Cars for Two Hours). Fast Five is guilty of this too -- they should make a drinking game for whenever Vin Diesel delivers a cliche line. You'd be drunk, er, fast.

Give us the movies that we paid for, the ones that made movie-watching such a great experience. The movies that have story-telling at its core.

Give us movies that would stop us from saying “I'totorrent ko nalang.”


 

Fate, Fortune, and Flacebos
crazy_octopus
(I've been hearing this phrase a lot in FB: Throwback Thursday, where people take past photos, dust off the cobwebs, and then show it to the world to illicit a reaction. Well, here is my own version of Throwback Thursday: going back to the blog that started it all. So let me just chase away the spiders with a broom before I update you with a few things that happened this week)

Today, I got my fortune told.

This is not really a regular thing that I do. I've never been to Quiapo, never been the superstitious type. In fact, I'm kind of an asshole to the whole thing, intentionally walking under ladders and crossing in front of black cats to give a big "F.U." to fate.

But this time, I just had to know. A lot of things happened this week that got me thinking about my future, about what comes next. I think most everyone thinks that they've got it all figured out. That is, until something really big happens and they realize they are grasping in the dark.

This week was the week when my long-time girlfriend and I broke up. The day after, I got back into smoking, after stopping for a year. The day after that, I got into a bitter argument with my parents that ended up in me getting kicked out. Needless to say, it's been one shitstorm after another. It didn't help that i've been feeling depressed and had suicidal tendencies for a year.

There was a certain sense of alienation to the regular world, like something had been unhinged. That's when I took to divination, courtesy of my psychic workmate.

She looked at my palm, then read my fate through tarot cards. Here's the summary:

  • That I'm dying from something, and work is aggravating that (die from hunger or die from being overworked?);

  • That I'm a really good saver, but I keep spending it on something that's why I cant REALLY save up for anything (read: you're gonna be broke either way);

  • That I'll be happy, eventually. As in when I'm nearing the end of my life (consolation prize);

  • That I'll have four serious relationships, before finding my true love (with the recent break-up, that makes it 2-0);

  • That I'll have two major careers. One of it, I'll be unhappy in. The other will leave me ecstatic (writing as a job is never really my thing);

  • That I have a hidden talent I've yet to unlock (if I'll ever unlock it at all);

  • That whatever I am meant to do, it's not here. I have to leave.

So, after all that, what does my reading tell me? For one, there's always a positive and negative side to everything -- a silver lining behind every shitstorm. It might be hard to see the "good" at first, with us being blind and all. But rest assured, it's there. Hell, if a bunch of cards can see it, so can you. 

Fortune telling is like the modern-day placebo. It really doesn't do anything for you; It doesn't point you to your love life, give you instant wealth, tell you when to pack up and leave, or where to go next. Plus, there is no telling if it'll come true or not...

But what it does is to give you hope -- hope to hang on for the next chapter, even if you badly want to throw the whole book away and give up. If you believe in the lines in your palm that tell you there's going to be a better tomorrow, then you live life looking forward to every new day, making the most out of your life.

Of course, that hope is pretty much useless without action, too. I still believe that there is really no such thing as luck; we make our own good fortune through actions. Don't just sit around waiting for the promise of "good things to come" -- work at it and make it a done deal.

I guess fortune telling is the medicine for depressed and lost people like me. Some might say its a whole lot of baloney and false prophecies. But it if gives you enough hope to hang on just a little bit longer -- to not end things abruptly -- then I see nothing wrong with that.

Because at the end of the day, trying to be optimistic is kind of the only option you have.

The curious case of the inverted pyramid
crazy_octopus

Last month, I was able to do something I’ve always dreamed of: To hold a writing class.

The opportunity came when a former colleague of mine, Levine, invited me to talk about Feature Writing in front of public school students. At first, I was hesitant of my ability –and authority– to instruct these kids. After all, I haven’t won a Palanca, written a short story,or appeared in an instructional Youtube video. I do write a lot of Feature articles for work, but mostly those are fluff pieces with titles like “10 Tips to Eliminate that Mommy-Tummy”, or “5 Ways that Celery can Kill YOU!”. Instructional for some, soul-sucking stuff for writers.

No effin clue what i’m doing. None at all

But my friend was persistent. And he was a Philosophy major. (Never get into an argument with a Philo major; he’ll quote latin to back up his claim. The first time my friend did this, I thought he was enumerating names of Harry Potter spells). Apart from that, he sounded like he was in a bind; the type of problem you get when your initial lecturer backs down at the last minute and you have less than a week to find a replacement.

So I agreed. And I was glad I did. Very few get the opportunity to impart knowledge to others. No matter how small your knowledge

may be, it is still worth knowing. Even though I did not have the credentials compared to other big shots in the industry, I still felt privileged to share what I knew about writing to these kids.

***

For most teachers,  just reaching one kid in a room is enough satisfaction to feel like you’ve done a good job. Fortunately, I did not have to try that hard to achieve this, as there were only three girls who attended my lecture. Most of the other students opted to sit-in for the News Writing or Opinion Writing lectures. Nonetheless, it was a good number; anything more than a dozen would probably have me staring at the blackboard, unable to function properly due to fear. I’ve always hated speaking in front of a crowd, I hated hearing how stupid my points sound, or how my voice sounds like cockroaches having an orgy in your ear. No guesses as to why I chose writing as a medium instead.

Not even a tumbleweed.

I started out by introducing what Feature Writing was, and how to go about writing it (they haven’t written anything of the sort, so the concept was new to them). At first, it was like wading through water and feeling the bottom for depth. Then slowly, after seeing them smile and nod understandingly, I became more at ease with the topic.

It surprised me how easily I can talk about Feature Writing, as if I was simply retelling a funny story. All those years of writing nonsensical (read: stupid, angst-ridden) essays, reading Feature pieces, and sitting through my mother’s lecture (she teaches Feature Writing for catholic universities occasionally) has made me very familiar with the subject matter.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that from the minute I learned how to dot my “i”s and cross my “t”s, my mother has hammered my brain with every fact and technique I needed to know about Feature writing. In fact, I have been around that damned thing for so long that I now see it as a real person — an annoyingly, hyper friend that always comes over and likes to describe things in a colorful, dramatic manner. The kind of friend that tends to get on your nerves, but is good company nonetheless.

It’s only now that I realized what I was doing in front of that classroom, on that hot Thursday afternoon. I wasn’t just lecturing about a worn-out topic — I was describing my “friend” and telling the class details of his life.  I told them about what makes him tick, what his weaknesses and strengths are, even the quirky manner in which he starts off his stories. Corny as it may be, it was the best way I knew how to introduce my three students to the world of Feature Writing (and at least it was better than leading with worn-out advice like the Inverted Pyramid technique. I never learned what this meant, too much Illuminati symbolism for me)

I’m glad I took my friend’s offer, as teaching turned out to be one of the most fulfilling experience I’ve had. Moral of the story: Never turn down an opportunity to share your knowledge on something you’re passionate about –be it dancing, drawing, languages, or such. You never know who you’ll reach.

As for the three who sat down in my class? I sincerely thank them for listening, and I really appreciate how they at least hid their cellphones while they texted midway through my boring lecture (standing in the front as the lecturer, it’s pretty obvious to figure out what they were doing. No one suddenly looks down at their crotch and smiles). Fingers crossed, we hope to see their write-ups someday, both me and my annoying friend.


It's a habit
crazy_octopus

I read somewhere that pre-evolution humans might have had tails, similar to a monkey’s.

Just like their simian cousins, the humans would use their tails to keep their balance while on top of trees. But when evolution struck, the humans developed opposable thumbs, flatter feet, and started to walk upright. They also began spending more time on the ground hunting for food, so they didn’t need their tails anymore. After a hundred years of disuse, the tails grew shorter and shorter until it eventually became the tiny stump we know today as our “tailbone.”

--------------

I don’t know if that story is true or not (and it’s probably too farfetched). But what’s certain is that when you neglect or ignore something, it will eventually disappear.

Take reading, for example. It used to be that I can read an entire book in two to three sittings. But now, because I have not read any book for a long period of time, I am finding it hard to even get through the halfway mark of a novel. It doesn’t matter if the book is gripping or not, I just don’t have the willpower and patience to plow through chapter after chapter until the plot picks up. I’ll just throw the book on my shelf at the office, along with an accumulating pile of unfinished paperbacks.

I blame my laptop for making me like this. It has successfully beaten my attention span into a bloody pulp by being so damn fun and distracting. On most nights, I would turn on Onee (my laptop’s name) and load up my Visualboy emulator.  I wasn’t allowed to have a console when I was a kid so all the suppressed childhood in me came flooding out once I discovered the joy of ROMs. I’d play Pokemon Crystal up to midnight (in my opinion, the best game in the whole series, bar none) or some other game I’ve been lusting on since I was a kid. This has been the routine almost every night, until somewhere along the way, I eventually forgot the joy of reading.

Now, as I’m trying to finish Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint (which I need to make into a book review for work) it saddens me a bit to realize that reading is not as fun or engaging as it used to be for me. (Don’t get me wrong, the story is awesome) The words just don’t grip me like they did back then, and I think it must be because I haven’t read in a while. The habit of nourishing the soul with a good book has disappeared, replaced by the habit of reliving my childhood with brain-drain games on my laptop, trying to level up pixels that resemble animals.

My dad told me that the secret to success is “developing good habits” and letting go of bad ones. I never really understood the significance of that message until now. Reading is my first love, the one that ultimately led me to the path of writing. I’m just afraid that if I lose this habit of reading books, it will eventually wane and leave me forever.

The same applies for writing. Many veteran authors say that the best way to improve one’s writing is to constantly do it. They advise budding writers to develop “writing habits” that will enable them to write everyday. There are many ways one can do this. Have a word count and make sure to reach that number. Set aside at least half an hour of your time writing. Wake up early in the morning to write your piece. Whatever method you may think of, the most important thing is to stick to it. The keyword here is habit, habit, habit.

So for the coming 2012, allow me to list my resolutions down early:

  1. Read/finish at least one book a month. It’ll be nice to read something new for a change. The only problem is where to get new titles.
  2. Write everyday or die. Write like it’s the end of the world. And it could be, according to the Mayans.
  3. Develop a writing routine. Writing late at night, on a work day, is not practical. Maybe mornings would do better since my mind would be refreshed.
  4. Have only one late per week. Admin is starting to notice my constant tardiness. It’s time to nut up or shut up.
  5. Exercise at least 30 mins a day. Fuck the abs, I’m doing this to become healthier. And maybe to join the UFC.
  6. Meditate at least 30 mins a day. I need prayer and inner peace back in my life.
  7. Drink more water. My recent medical exam revealed that I had a high uric acid content, due to lack of water.
  8. Don’t procrastinate. My ultimate sin. Overcome this and I might have a shot at world domination.
  9. Don’t stay up late. Being nocturnal is only cool and smart if you are actually an owl or a bat.
  10. Live everyday like it’s your last. Again, Mayans.

My hope is that by December next year, these things will be lifetime habits that come naturally. Maybe by then, I’ll finally be on the path to fulfilling my dreams. I have to start soon anyway since I’m not getting younger. It’s time to put down that gameboy and go back to playing reality.  


Lost and Loster still
crazy_octopus
Some days, you just want to quit.
Some days, you just feel like hiding under the blankets, closing the window blinds and sleeping it off. Sleep it off Vanrinkle-style and wake up when everything blows over.
Some days, you put down your guard and expose your face to the punches,
wallowing in the pain because it is still a feeling, after all. Anything will do, as long as you feel like you are alive.

Lately, I'm having more and more of those "Some days."

Today, the manager approached me and asked me what was wrong. A perfect opportunity to shout everything that has been eating my insides for the past few weeks. But instead, I just shrugged it off and bottled it back in. There's no use explaining when you don't know where to start yourself. I don't know what's wrong but every passing day seems to drag on like it's a year. Time goes by so fast and yet it seems to come to a standstill, like i'm wedged between two satellites revolving in opposite directions, with opposing gravitational pulls. 

I need a good long walk, so I'll probably visit UST's Paskuhan later on and just wander the corridors, the fields, or walk aimlessly while fireworks go off somewhere in the distance. I don't even know why I'd want to go there since it seems depressing; everyone is rejoicing and it'll just remind me how old I already am. But something inside is pulling me to that place, willing my feet to go to that direction despite the horde of Thomasians I have to battle along the way. I want to get drunk and make a scene and lunge beer bottles at birds in the sky. I want to shout myself hoarse and lie down on the field, sleep and wake up to the warm sunrise kissing my cheeks - beautiful sunrise that I have not seen for so long.  I want to get out of this shell of a body I am in and just explode into something spectacular, splendid enough to be at par with UST's fireworks. 
   
I don't want it to get to my head, but the lyrics of Phoenix's Lasso keeps repeating on loop: "Forever is a long long time if you lost your way.." Someone point me to the right direction. 

Ode to writing
crazy_octopus
I’m suffering from a serious connection problem. I can’t seem to get in touch with the other bloggers in the blogosphere.

My friend says that I should put myself “out there” more, like a door-to-door salesman peddling my wares. It makes sense-- if I’m serious about a future career wherein I am able to reach and affect the public with my writing, I must at least grab a handful of readers with my blog. Otherwise, my blog will just be a dead space in the corner of the internet; a collection of the author’s juvenile rants to an invisible audience. The time will come when the Internet decides to reclaim its lost baby (my site) and probably convert it into something profitable, like another 9GAG site.

I never knew how anti-social and introverted I was until I looked at my LJ Friends page. It’s so quiet and empty here that you can actually hear cicadas chirping on my comments page. In fact, I don’t think anyone will read this entry anyway, so even if I insert a subliminal phrase here no one I lost my virginity to a pillow will notice.

Maybe it’s because I have nothing to sell? But then, that’s not true either. My blog has been selling something ever since its conception and that is writing advice. As far as I know, most of my entries talked about writing: the struggles, the process, how to deal with writer’s block, how to start a story (and consequently, leave it unfinished), finding your muse, etc. I even recently included a story on being unprepared for an interview, which will go into an imaginary section of this site titled “What NOT to do as a journalist”. While other blog tackle fashion, food, movies or the inanities of life, rare are the blogs that take on writing and the struggles of being a writer.

Of course, I’m not delusional enough to think that I am an authority on that subject matter. In fact, it’s the opposite. I know so little about it that any new writing experience intrigues me, to the point that I would dedicate a blog entry to it. I love writing so much that I had unwittingly made it the center of my Livejournal (which is even named “Sideways Writing.”Go figure) Most of the time, the entries would contain my philosophy on writing. In some occasions, it would be a simple rant about being a writer. Whatever the topic may be, “writing” seems to be the recurring theme.

So, for any bloggers that may have accidentally stumbled on this site, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and urge you to stick around a bit longer. I know you are fans of writing, and this blog is my personal ode to that wonderful craft.

I may not offer any reviews on popular restaurants, recent movies or the latest fashion trends. What I can give you is the story of an aspiring writer, who is wholeheartedly chasing after his dream.
 

Jolted
crazy_octopus
“So are you here to just waste both of our time?” said the doctor I was interviewing.

I was stunned. Never have I heard such brusque and frank words from someone I was interviewing. And the hurtful part of it all was that she was right; I was indeed just wasting time with this interview.
Serves me right, coming into the interview unprepared. I had met my interviewee – a doctor from an international health body – to talk about the real score of maternal mortality in the Philippines, and whether or not the country will be meeting its Millennium Development Goal target of reducing maternal mortality to 75% by 2015, which is just four years away.

We met in an expensive coffee shop inside the mall, thinking it would be the ideal place to conduct the interview. I had barely gotten through with the pleasantries – the polite exchange of greetings, looking into the other person’s background info – when my interviewee stopped me mid-question. She must have smelled something from me, because at the time, I smelled it perfectly. Despite all my efforts to conceal it, the air still reeked of the unmistakable scent of “bullshit,” mostly coming from my mouth.  It was bullshit because all my questions seemed half-baked. Granted, I did read up on the topic the previous day; I did my homework and researched about MDGs and the rate of maternal death in the country, but that was just light reading when you consider the subject matter – I did legwork that barely scratched the surface of the issue at hand. It was sloppy research, one that hindered me from asking the critical and hard-hitting questions. I knew it, she knew it, and I was left to focus on the napkin on my table and mutter apologies.

However, it wasn’t a complete waste of time. In fact, I think that icy cold interview was the best thing that happened to my writing.

It was like waking up from a long sweet slumber. That venomous and much-needed wake-up call that showed how shitty a journalist I was jolted me from the quicksand trap of mediocrity I was currently stuck in. It was a deadly mix of complacency and overconfidence – a volatile combo that exploded on my face.

I apologized for having come unprepared and proceeded to pay the coffee bill, when she stopped me and told me to sit back down. She said that the subject matter was very complex and it’s understandable that I don’t know it that well. Then, she went on a tirade and lamented on how people don’t seem to read anymore, and how cocky past journalists who interviewed her were as they seem to think they knew everything. I accepted her criticisms whole-heartedly and burned it into my mind, along with the other lessons I learned from that interview: 1.) Never ever come off arrogant; 2.) Know your subject matter 200%, and if you DON’T really understand the subject matter; 3.) Don’t ask stupid questions that would show your ignorance and worse, waste both the interviewer and interviewee’s time.

It was only after getting my ego trampled on when the interview turned around. She told me that she would do me a favor and help me, since the topic is close to her heart and I look genuinely interested to write about it. She also mentioned that I seem like a decent guy who wouldn’t con her (I was just grateful I decided to comb my hair and put on deodorant that day). To cut the long story short, she gave me a list of people I can contact and some leads on where I can get prime information for my article, like going to public hospitals notorious for their appalling treatment of pregnant women. Pretty soon, we were talking about topics like healthcare and pregnancy, in a manner that friends do when catching up with each other. The conversation was so genuine that I couldn’t help liking this person, for her tact and her intent to help. She sent me off with well-wishes and told me “make a kick-ass article and become famous.” I hope I don’t disappoint.

In the end, what was originally a disastrous interview turned out to be one of the best lessons I got, when it comes to being a writer. I may not have gotten the information I need but my interviewer did give me something equally valuable: a much-needed reality check, and renewed drive to excel and work on my flaws. Despite that day’s mishaps, I still feel blessed. After all, it’s not often that you meet your muse in real life.
 

Homework
crazy_octopus
I’m sick again, for the nth time this month. I’m having difficulty breathing through my nose, and my lungs feel constricted. I wasn’t able to go to work yesterday, just stayed home and hoped that the bed-rest would be good for my health.

On a positive note, I was finally able to get the peace and quiet that I’ve been longing for; a tranquility that writers often seek but rarely get. It was nice to be working at home. Unlike in the office, where a normal day is divided into a series of distractions (i.e. you are given a new task by your boss, there are letters to send to people for interviews, or a co-worker distract you with a video of a kitty and a dog fighting on Youtube and he says you have GOT to see it, etc..), working at home shuts off all these. It’s just you and your laptop, getting everything done in an hour and a half whereas it normally takes a whole working day to finish everything. And forget about the stuffiness of being in your office clothes -- at home, no one will care if you are in your SpongeBob boxers as long as you get things done.

I wished I worked at home more. But then again, that is the kind of privilege that you only get once you’ve attained a high position in a company. Consider it the Filipino yuppie’s equivalent of the American Dream: to do you job at the comfort of your home, at your own time and pace sans any distraction. Heck, if that happens, I might even finally show up on time for work.

Unfinished
crazy_octopus
One thing I had to learn the hard way over and over again is to always, ALWAYS finish something once you start it.

I can't count the times when I'll write down a short story or a journal entry and midway into it, I'll go off to do something else, like watch television or check the fridge. Eventually, the entry is left forgotten and unfinished and it'll never see the light of the "Publish" button. All those heartfelt entries, those interesting stories that might've had Palanca potential and my first attempts at poetry -- all gone to waste because I have the attention span and concentration of a grapefruit.

And whenever I try to revive the entry by forcibly finishing it, it just isn't the same. The magic is gone, and it feels like the entry was written by two entities: the original, by someone super creative and artistic; and the conclusion, made by a pasty and boring guy with a really bland tie, like that father in American Pie. 

(Ironically, this entry itself was unfinished. We were on our way to Batangas to attend the wake of an officemate, when inspiration struck. Immediately, i whipped out my mini notebook and started writing. There was like 15 of us in the van, and barely enough room to write. I managed to do the first part, but the highway was getting bumpier and light was fading -- fast. I had to stop because I could barely see what I was writing. I couldn't decipher whether the thing on my notebook was a work of creativity or some random scribble that looks like a drunk chicken walked all over it.)

So I hope that this will be the last time i let my Muse down by not finishing what I've started, be it a short story or a journal entry. It might be hard to do, with work getting in the way and everything, but I'll find a way around it. I'll muster all my willpower to just sit down in front of my laptop, finish that damned entry, and stop myself from opening the fridge every five minutes.

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