On the Job with Stormy Weather

It’s been raining for more than 24 hours now, I think. School AND work have been suspended.

But that doesn’t apply to my office because technically I think we’re on US soil. I don’t mind, really – there are things I need to do and most of the files I need are on my work computer. Sure, there’s this low-level dread at the possibility of being unable to go home. That doesn’t sound like a bad prospect, though, considering that we kind of just came back from an off-site team building activity that involved eating good food and learning that my direct supervisor can give The Flash a run (pun intended) for his money. I’d like to think that many of us are still in a very good mood after that.

Heck, I think this office is generally a good mood place. 🙂 I just finished my third year here, and I’m yet to feel anything close to the desire to quit.

I may be forced to come in under horrible circumstances, but something kind of makes up for the effort I put in. It’s not just the money (even though it helps so very much given the economic issues of this country); it’s being able to do work with and for people that you can still respect after a day and a half of (probably) embarrassing activities.

I wish everyone can feel this way about a job.

My work work station
These days, my home away from home.

The Weird Thing About Independence

It’s Independence Day here in the Philippines – and of course, that led to contemplate (rather lamely) the idea of Independence and just how freaking weird it is.

Surprise!
Say WHAT?! (Photo credit: Greencolander)

Hear me out.

Being independent in is defined as follows (byMerriam-Webster):

1. Not subject to control by others.

2. Not requiring or relying on something else.

3. Not requiring or relying on others.

4. Showing a desire for freedom.

Out of these definitions – and I totally admit to picking out definitions that had nothing to do with algebra, taxes, or grammar – only the the fourth definition seems to be the most feasible. Yes, I think that wanting to be free is something everyone has. I also think that apart from that, absolute independence is IMPOSSIBLE.

  1. Other people control us all the time. Basic social graces is all about letting other people (society) control you.
  2. We rely on a lot of things. We all rely on food, shelter, clothing, and ESPECIALLY luck, to get by.
  3. We basically rely on each other. Otherwise predators – real or otherwise – will get to us.

If you look at it one way, independence is all about the freedom to make and act on choices. And yet a huge part of the world judge people who choose to be slaves, who choose to be murderers, who choose to have romantic relationships with inflatable animals, who choose to die.

“But Elea!” you might say. “The fact that they can do that in the first place means they’re free!” I agree with you, of course. But that’s not ABSOLUTE liberty.

Absolute independence requires everyone to just not give a shit about what everyone else thinks or feels about your choices. The thing is, the human race evolved to care about stuff like that because we need each other to survive; whether we like to admit it or not, we need the approval of other people. A huge part of why we’re still here is the fact that we turned interdependence into an art form. To try be perfectly independent will likely put us on the fast track to depression, even if it sometimes feels like hell is OTHER people.

What am I getting at? I don’t know. I’m not even sure what the point of this is. All I know is that it’s Independence Day in a beautiful country for whom revolutions did jack shit because, at the end of the day, people still felt more comfortable with the status quo.

God, I just depressed myself. I better put vodka in my tea.

I talked to my mother about this (the independence thing, not the vodka; I think she’s more into tequila anyway), and she said something that really gave me hope: “The value we should be honoring is respect, not independence. Respect stops people from abusing other people. Respect is one of the best things about humanity. We should just celebrate respect.”

I swear to god, my mom needs to have a blog and everyone should listen to her when she talks like this.

What else can I say? Respect everyone you meet today, folks! That’s the closest we can get to real freedom now.

Happy Mother’s Day 2013!

It’s 4:48 in the morning on May 12, 2013 here in the Philippines. It’s Mother’s Day here, and as I’m typing this I can’t help but reflect on the kind of upbringing I had, care of my mother. Many times, I’ve talked about how my father had pretty major influence over my life–I became a reader like him, I became a writer like him, and he basically bestowed me with a love for geeky things that I couldn’t adequately describe.

BUT.

I also know that I wouldn’t be as well adjusted as I am if my mom hadn’t been my mom. I’m not saying that she doesn’t have a crazy side that we, as a family, actually indulge. My mom absolutely loves extremely alcoholic fruit punches (only at family parties, of course), for one thing, and would laugh at some of the most inappropriate things. When she and I get into an argument, it dissolves into a bout of melodrama that my brother and sister have to diffuse–I am embarrassed to say that this happens on a regular basis.

My mother standing by Taal lake
My mom also poses close to volcanoes in bad weather. Granted, it’s dormant. But that’s risky, in my book.

I’m not even mentioning the bear, because that will take too much explanation. But in comparison, I’m pretty sure that my mom is the sanest out of all of us. It’s frightening and comforting at the same time. Frightening because she’s almost as weird as us, but still quite functional in the real world (it must be some sort of superpower). Comforting because I managed to somehow took after her in the ways that matter.

I have what my mother calls “a creative temperament”, which basically means that I fly off the handle in the very worst way. It also means that I am in grave danger of being extremely irresponsible with my resources. But mom raised me in a way that made me completely aware of some of the PRACTICALITIES of life. This is why I’m not living under a bridge somewhere, trying to peddle bad poetry to passersby. Sure, I’m still living with my mother; but I’m earning a decent salary doing something that I actually like doing. It’s not high literature, but it’s WRITING. And it’s my mom who inspires me to stick to it. It’s my mom who insists that I insist on getting paid really well for something I do really well. I’m grateful for that.

Marmee? I know you’re reading this because you stalk my blog. You drive me crazy, and we get into a shitload of fights because we’re so similar and so different. But I want you to know that I love you. 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.

What Are You Working on Right Now?

I’ve had a lot of time to think lately, if only because it’s near the end of the month/quarter at work and that generally means that I have the fortune of having a fairly relaxed schedule.  And what I realized is that I’ve got a LOT of writing plans this year.  Among other things:

  • I’m working on what you might call a gaslamp fantasy novel (it MIGHT become a series somewhere down the road); I’m plotting it out right now and wondering if I should start writing it now or wait for NaNoWriMo.
  • I’m trying to improve my poetry, and (I am warning you right now) I’m contemplating participating in NaPoWriMo.  It’s probably ill-advised that I try it, but I can try.
  • At the same time, I’m tinkering with a short story idea for and end of the world anthology here in the Philippines.  Basically involving a love story and a library.
  • I realize I’m in way over my head, considering I have a day job (which I love so very much).
  • At which point, I barely resist crying because I want to do EVERYTHING I PLANNED, on time.
Written in Blood
I haven’t written anything yet and the paper’s ALREADY bloodied.

With that done, I’ve re-prioritized my goals based on urgency (advice of my poetically-inclined friend P).  So basically, I’m putting emphasis on that apocalypse story (because that one actually has a deadline) and celebrating NaPoWriMo by revising the one poem I posted so far in this blog.  Save for the one or two last tweaks I’m doing in the plotting of the novel, which I can finish in about two hours, I’ll work on nothing but that one story and that one poem this April.

But enough about me.  What are YOU guys working on right now?  A poem?  A short story?  A novel?  Are you writing within a genre or are you going for something more general?

And if you’re allowed to write that with any author or poet you want, who will it be?  (I’d like to write poems with Sylvia Plath and short stories with Jim Butcher, in case you’re wondering.)  I’d like to hear from you guys. 🙂

Writing Challenge Part 2 – Zodiac Sign

Once again, I have no idea what to write at the moment – so I’m going to do the WRITING CHALLENGE (part 1 is here).

This time around, I’m going to focus on my Zodiac sign.  Well, wish me luck and here we go.

I was born under the sign “Gemini”, which, according to Wikipedia, makes me a Geminian (yes, I know it’s awkward to read; it’s equally awkward to type).

Zodiac Sign Gemini
According to Astrology.Com, this is what its symbol looks like.

Obviously, people who discuss the Zodiac Sign Gemini often home in on the fact that it’s often associated with Twins.

Image of Twins
And who doesn’t love twins? Just look at them!

Of course, most of its emphasis on duality may come from the fact that “Gemini season” is around the point where spring turns into summer.  To be quite frank, though, I really don’t know how that’s supposed to affect me when we don’t exactly have that kind of seasonal shifting here in the Philippines.  We only have two weather flavors here:  Wet and Dry.  In fact, if we’re going to be strict about it, there are three types of weather:  Wet, Dry, and I Can’t Decide Gimme a Couple of Days.

It’s lovely here, though.

Of course, it doesn’t matter whether or not I live in the same kind of climate the astrology sites use to explain the duality; either way, I’m STILL suffering from multiple personality disorder.  It all comes from being a Geminian, which apparently values change and versatility.  And possibly con artistry.  I haven’t tested that one out yet, not consciously.

Before I end this post, I’d like to clarify that I don’t exactly believe that the Zodiac can determine your future in the strictest sense.  I mean, MAYBE they have some effect on the kind of personality you’ll have, which in turn can be a predictor of what you’re likely to do in certain situations.  But for solid prediction of your fortune?  I really doubt that.

Clearly, Tarot cards are better.

PS:  It is interesting to note that everyone in my nuclear family, save for my incredibly talented younger sister, is a Gemini.  That we haven’t driven that poor Virgo insane is a miracle.