This Is What Procrastination Does to Me

I was SUPPOSED to post the Skin Game review today, except I haven’t really written it yet.

Rather, I have drafted the notes but I haven’t really cleaned them up because PROCRASTINATION. There is no defense this time. I have allowed the Gods of Laziness and Distractions to take over my life. Granted, my distractions included things like making progress in video games in my backlog mountain, sleep, and Doctor Who; but I really have no good excuse for havign that up.

I really suck
I really do.

I haven’t even caught up with my personal emails yet, because didn’t check them over the weekend. And now I’m busy with my day job. Yaaaaaaay me.

I’ll try to get the review out by tomorrow (even if it means losing sleep tonight). But right now it’s job stuff with the occasional peek into Kotaku and the apparently terrifying world of politics in the SF/F writing world. I’m not kidding; it looks like no one can enjoy writing SF/F anymore because politics kept being dragged into the fore. D:

Heh. Even procrastination stresses me out

Ah well. *dives back out* 

Taking a Deep Breath

This’ll be a quick one, because things have been coming up and I barely have time to draft these things these days.

I came from an appointment with the doctor yesterday, a follow-up to last week’s consult (during which I was diagnosed with allergic rhinitis that exacerbated my existing bronchial asthma); now I’m scheduled for a spiro-something test that will try to see how badly my asthma – which has not been checked out by a doctor since I was in elementary – has affected my ability to breathe properly. Thank god for HMOs. I’d be living in a ditch without those handy things.

Iron Man Doujin
I know how you feel, effeminate doujinshi Iron Man. Abloobloobloo. ;_;

I’m hoping that it’s not too bad, though. I wouldn’t want to (ironically) be deemed incapable of staying at my job. Not that I have a strenuous job, mind. It’s the commute that’s likely to kill me. Ask any person living in the Philippines, and you’ll understand that public transportation here can be a bloodbath at best and a massacre at worst.

Yeah. There’s hardly any difference between the good days and the bad days.

So that’s why I’m taking a deep breath for now. No use thinking about the bad stuff that could happen later. It’s best that I square my shoulders, exhale through the mouth and inhale through the nose, slather some White Flower on various bits of my flesh, and get my mind back on the Excel sheets (or my notebook, depending what time of day it is). Heck, maybe I’ll even have time to read myself some Dresden Files – I FINALLY got to Skin Game, and will likely have a review for that by next week.

But for now…*snorts some White Flower*

Writing Challenge 22 – Someone I Love

Considering the fact that I’ve already included most of the people I love in my “3 Things I Love” post  and that I’ve repeatedly brought up certain people over the last week or so, I realized that I’ll probably need to bring up someone I love that I haven’t mentioned recently. So I’ll have to avoid family members, friends, Tom Hiddleston, and my boyfriend. They’re all awesome, but I need to babble about slightly fresher blood here.

So I’m going to go on and on about Neil Gaiman instead.

Oh, I’m sure that I’ve mentioned how much I love this guy and his work before – if not here in this blog, then in some other public venue online. But I’m not sure I’ve fully explained how much this man has influenced the choices I’ve made since I was a kid.

Me and Neil Gaiman at a book signing.
“I took up Literature because of you, Mr. Gaiman.” Photo circa…I don’t even remember. I was in college. And it was too awesome.

As you know, my father raised me and my siblings on comic books. In fact, I firmly believe that the above-average reading comprehension scores we got as children were entirely due to the fact that my father let us read the comic books he bought as a kid – comics from the 60’s and 70’s, mostly. They were great fun too. But up until that point, I never really understood how a story can affect a person so deeply. I enjoyed stories. I enjoyed storytelling. I just didn’t realize that story telling can have deeper meaning.

When I was eight years old, my dad sat right next to me on the couch and read me Vassily’s story from Gaiman’s The Sandman comic series. By the time Daddy finished the story, I was obsessed. I started breaking into his book shelf, finding his stash of Sandman comics. Granted, they were rather mature for me at that age; but it was too late. I had discovered that stories were powerful, and I wanted to discover more powerful stories.

Thanks to Neil Gaiman, I discovered more obscure Mythological characters and gods. I learned what “hubris” actually meant. I came to understand that there is a price, there is always a price, and that there is always a choice–even if you don’t like your options. Thanks to Neil Gaiman, I discovered other writers who made me think: Susanna Clark and Pratchett, as well as the unmatchable Alan Moore. I even learned to appreciate unconventional art through Mr. Gaiman; my father bought and later on bestowed upon me an original Vertigo Tarot deck set, which I might add is FREAKISHLY ACCURATE. I still don’t know how it does that, but I imagine that Dave McKean‘s art, in conjunction with Gaiman’s handbook, is more powerful than they let on.

By the time I hit senior high school, the combination of my father’s and Mr. Gaiman’s influence had convinced me that becoming someone who reads or writes for a living is the only way I want to spend the rest of my adult life. I could have taken up a course that’s both creative and practical, like, say, Mass Communication (which both of my parents took up; it’s how they met) or Advertising (an industry in which my parents both ended up). But somewhere deep in my heart of hearts, I know that those courses will not make me happy. That’s why I became a Literature major.

Stories you love to read
And even if I gripe about Literary academics sometimes, I absolutely love the readings they gave us.

Of course, I didn’t become the kind of writer Neil Gaiman is. I’m a little bit closer to the kind of writer my dad became–more artisan than artist, in terms of profession. But here’s the kicker: because of this writer, I discovered REAL storytelling. I was inspired to go out of my way and try to understand how storytelling works. I try to incorporate it into the stuff that other people pay me to do. And a huge chunk of my success is due to the fact that I took up Literature (which I was drawn to because of Mr. Gaiman, even if he didn’t go to university himself).

Many people may not think that I’m living up to my dreams because of my professional choices. But the thing is, as far as I’m concerned, I’m still making good art. That’s all that matters to me. Being paid enough to be comfortable for doing what I do right now is a bonus. Neil Gaiman started as a journalist. I’m a web content writer right now. At the end of the day, as far as I can tell, Gaiman was, is, and always will be a writer.

I, too, am a writer. And Neil Gaiman is someone I love because he made a significant contribution towards the writer I’m working to become.

Also, he totally admitted to liking Dr. Zoidberg in Futurama. Which makes him extra awesome.

Neil’s book “Chu’s Day”, and I’m waiting for “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” to show up in local book stores. As far as I’m concerned, he has a story for everyone.

Someday, I hope to be the same sort of writer.

A Sea of Public/Relationship/Political Issues

A little over a month ago (sometime in July, actually) a co-worker who is as much into geek stuff as I am and who appreciates my interest in all things geek sent me a link to John Scalzi’s post on who gets to be a geek (answer:  ANYONE can be a geek).  I found the post and its comments thread so fascinating and empowering – as a geek who’s had to deal with being part of a geeky minority, I appreciated the sentiment – that I started to follow the blog.

Issue 1:  Unabashed Sexism

Not long after that “manifesto” of sorts was posted, Scalzi addressed the ReaderCon incident in which a woman was harassed at a convention and the resulting measures (for a while, at least) were unsatisfying.

I found myself horrified.  And for a month after that, I found myself immersed in a tidal wave of blog posts and articles discussing the pervasive sexism of our times.  I read about creepers, gaslighting, rape culture, and having a rapey friend that people refuse to call out.  It didn’t help that some dipshit American politician inspired talk of “legitimate rape” over the course of that period.  And that stories like this one about a woman’s ordeal on a train comes to my attention on a fairly regular basis.

Sexism is alive and well
Because women apparently aren’t people and cannot vote so no one has to pander to them.

Mind you, this didn’t make me hate men.  I have a wonderful boyfriend, a brother whose respect for women makes me proud, and great male friends.  There are men like Scalzi who are thoroughly disturbed by the persistent belief that people are OWED interest (it goes both ways, of course, but the lack of respect is often directed at the women).  There are men like Ernest Adams who are disgusted by the dearth of decent men.  There are men who recognize the need for their contribution to reform female-unfriendly attitudes.  And I am grateful to them.

But that doesn’t make me any less angry.  So I try to focus on something else, but it backfired because…

Issue 2:  Friendship Woes

Allow me to make something clear – I have great friends.  They are awesome.  I love them and I will kill for them like the spork-wielding ninja that I am.  But the problem is that I will kill for them like the spork-wielding ninja that I am.  I’m depressingly inclined to be hyper-involved when it comes to the crises of other people.  And given some of the issues that some of my friends had to deal with lately, I’m finding it hard to avoid being angry (on top of being angry about the sexist background radiation we all have to deal with – most of my friends are female) enough to gouge some people’s eyes out.

How I see my friends
Can you blame me when this is how I feel about me and my friends?

I do try to not be so involved unless specifically asked, of course.  Especially since one of the “issues” involve a person at whom I threw an African Violet of Broken Friendship.  Rationally, I know I shouldn’t be engaging in talk about her, but it’s so deliciously cathartic.  Even the great Captain Awkward and the Awkwardeers, whose advice on everything I find helpful, couldn’t stop me from using bad words and feeling righteous indignation over the actions of an ex-friend (I don’t have many of those, by the way) who inflicts her issues on nice people as she had once inflicted them on me.

I’m far from perfect, I know.  But I also know when shit is effed up, and I simply can’t resist at least lending my moral support.  And this takes me to…

Issue 3:  Stupid Politics

I’m talking about politics in the Philippines here, although American politics worry me too because we tend to copy the Americans.  Literally.  Our senate is okay with plagiarism.  I guess the assertion wouldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t self-righteously condemn piracy as well (which I know is different, but is in my opinion within the same general spectrum – I want to cry “HYPOCRISY”).  And it doesn’t help that almost every big issue here is turned into a major circus that basically bamboozles the public into thinking that they have all the facts, when they do not.  Then nothing gets done right.

Angel vs. Silence
Much like how I always imagined this fight, politics here generally get us nowhere.  Watch Dr. Who to understand.

One of the biggest debates going on in the Philippine Senate right now involves the Reproductive Health Bill – the plagiarism issues mentioned above may be eclipsing it for now, but it’s somewhat related in that it was a Senator the Anti-RH camp that was proven to have copied (and in some cases directly translated from Filipino to English) entire chunks of text from various bloggers and great elocutionists for his speeches.  Lack of even the most basic form of originality aside, I am seriously bothered by the way the discussion of the Bill was approached.  Its supporters and opposition alike tend to resort to self-righteous grandstanding and sometimes sniping.  The local Catholic Church is trying to influence legislation by threatening Catholics who support RH with excommunication and general guilt-tripping.  The local secularists use this an excuse to call religion stupid.

It’s all stupid.  I’m so angry I don’t even know what to say anymore.  Even discounting my own stand with regards to this issue, I still find the situation infuriating.

I’m hoping that at some point I’ll stop getting angry over all this.  But I understand that this will take its sweet bloody time because I apparently find uncontrollable rage empowering.  I’m like The Hulk, except I look less like Mark Ruffalo and more like Amanda Bynes.  Or so my mother says.  Not that she knows who Mark Ruffalo or Amanda Bynes are.  She just sees them on TV and says “S/he looks exactly/nothing like you.”  My mother’s a very visual person.

Where was I?  Oh yes.  I need to get out of this angry phase soon.  Do you guys have advice?