Holier Than Thou  

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In a country like ours, where the population is predominantly Roman Catholic, Holy Week is a time for repentance and reflection. But in these modern times, has the true meaning of Holy Week been maligned with confusion? Has the youth of today truly forgotten Christ's message?

Though I will not pretend to be as sacrilegious as I might seem in this post, I will voice my opinions on how the Holy Week appeals to the modern day Filipino. And no, the day before Maundy Thursday isn't called Ash Wednesday.

Being born into a family that has a firm grasp on religion, I grew up as a relatively decent, self-respecting Catholic. My childhood included my first communion, first confession, and many other firsts which includes some that are unfit to write about in this particular post. I remember how my Dad would insist on daily prayers during the days leading up to Easter Sunday, and how all the television stations would either sign off early or show Lenten specials for hours. I even understood what Lent meant, (unintended rhyme); that it was a period of fasting that lasted 40 days and ended on the day of Christ's resurrection, Easter Sunday. I understood Lent, but I had trouble digesting the idea of fasting. I was educated on how the Holy Week represented Christ's death on the cross and His miraculous resurrection.

After a few years, the typical Catholic boy that was me back then soon went to college. During this time, I understood what the law on alcohol - the liquor ban - was for during the Holy Week. Not that I followed said rule every year but I understood what it meant nonetheless. This was also the time when I was introduced to the idea of going out of town during the Holy Week. Many Filipinos think of sandy beaches and sun tans when the Holy Week comes around, and this tradition is highly unlikely to go away anytime soon.

While I have nothing against vacationing during the Holy Week, I think it would be nice if Filipinos put the meaning of Holy Week to heart. This is a time to think back and repent on all the rotten things that we've gotten away with so far. Then think about Christ dying on the cross in order to save mankind - or so the Bible says, at least. Hey, I told you I wasn't that holy.

Anyway, whatever your opinions are on the Holy Week I sure hope you have a meaningful holiday. After all, it's a long drive back to Manila, and it doesn't hurt to have a Guy Up There looking after you everyday, right?

A Kingdom Full of Loathing  

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The Toot Oriole. A Spelunking Astronaut. The Naughty Sorceress.

These are just some of the insanely wacky characters you'll meet n the world of KoL, or The Kingdom of Loathing. It is a browser-based turn-based multi-player RPG designed and owned by Asymmetric Publications. The game was released to the public in February of 2003, and has amassed a player base composed of hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts.

The game consists of hand-drawn stick figure graphics matched with in-game literature that is characterized by surreal humor, parodies, word play, leet speak and references to pop culture. A player can choose to play as one of six different character classes, each with their own set of weapons, abilities, and weaknesses. Players run through the game fighting monsters and solving puzzles perpetually, or they can choose to ascend to a higher state of being and play the game again from the very beginning. Each ascension gives the players unique rewards with incrementally increasing values, which motivates some players to keep ascending.

I started playing this game in 2006, thanks to my good old buddy George. I stopped playing for a while, and just recently started again. My old characters have been wiped out from the data base of course, due to inactivity. In just a few years I see that the game developers have added new content to the game, making it a little more exciting.

I know it takes an acquired taste to appreciate this game, not to mention an above-average intellect and sense of humor, but that didn't stop me from playing. It's this kind of witty banter and utter lack of fancy animation that makes this game so curiously appealing to me.

And if you think that this is nothing more than just a simple browser game, think again. Check out the official fan site, and you'll see that there are hundreds of places to go and more monsters to fight than you could imagine. The game has literally created its very own universe. And then there are also those ultra-rare items that you simply got to have. I just don't like the fact that you only get 40 turns (adventures) everyday at rollover.

So if you're interested, check the game out here, and let's build a clan. The Adventurer is You!

Yeah, I know my taskbar looks sloppy.

Rolling with the Pink Punches  

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Well, I am about to embark on another epic adventure. I'm out to get a job.

It's not that I'm done being an egotistical nuisance to society and all, but I could really use the moolah. Sure, I eat three square meals a day - okay they're more like dodecahedrons - but there are days when I can just pull a rabbit out of a hat better than I can pull money out of my pockets. Define "mostly broke", and that's me. And no, I can't even pull a single rabbit out of a hat. Seriously, who would put rabbits in their hats?

Last week I was reintroduced to an awesome drinking buddy, Rommel Cruz of the defunct music legend Put3ska. I have to say, the guy's great. He shared stories about the band that I dare not put in this blog for possible legal repercussions. So the group just exchanged ghost stories that spooked the ectoplasm out of our big old buddy Mickey. The fan in me regrets not having his picture taken with one of the greatest bassists the Philippines has ever had that night. Oh well.

Anyway, life's making another uncontrollable tailspin lately. I never thought I would put my life in the hands of a shallow creature who thinks that I'm not good enough for her because I have a few extra pounds on me. Then I realized she must really have a thing for that muscle-clad rhinoceros that sold his car to her, so I just shrugged my big over-sensitive shoulders. She bought a flimsy new ride, and I think she lied to me about knowing how to drive just like she lied to me about most other things. I can't believe I got into that death trap.

Oh well. I guess I live to wither and watch Glee another day.

Excellent GleeK job Essie-Hime! GleeK model: Furipi

The Annoying Nosy Neighbor Dilemma  

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Some say blogging is therapy. So doc, i'm your 10 o'clock.

I know nobody wants to listen to a whiner complain, but nobody will take my grievances seriously. We have this neighbor, Aling Myra, who never misses to sneak into our house and ask for my mom. It surprises me sometimes, how she would already be inside the house when she calls for my mother. I mean, don't we have gates and doors? Sometimes I'd be engaged in work or something important on the computer that I need to write when she would all of a sudden appear out of nowhere, just standing there. She does this every single day, and she has absolutely no respect for this house. I know this isn't much of a house, but hey - I happen to call this home.

Of course, I've told Mom about it. She actually doesn't mind. That nosy neighbor is a friend of Mom's, so she thinks she's welcome in this house. If I had a penny for every time she rudely intrudes I'd be richer than Bill Gates by now. Hey, maybe I should put up some sort of toll booth out front instead of a gate. The gate's pretty much useless anyway.

It ticks me off how she would always speak in whispers. She's one of the loudest and most obnoxious creatures in the neighborhood and yet she sneaks into this house whispering. She and Mom would talk discretely, because they're just gossiping. I don't want to sound like I'm airing out our family's dirty laundry but that's just how Mom is. Ever since Dad moved on to a better place Mom had found the friendship she's made with our neighbors as her source of comfort. It's the very same reason she lets that other family stay in one of the rooms in this house while my cousin sleeps in a makeshift bed. It's why I had to sleep on the couch before I made enough money to build a room for myself. In short, I can't blame Mom.

So as the annoying Aling Myra continues to invade our privacy, I will silently keep pulling my hair in despair. I will wait fervently for the day when I eventually uproot myself from this miserable excuse for a neighborhood. Until then, I'll just keep on blogging.

I'd print this up and pin it on our gate but my printer's dead and I don't own a rifle.

Fire Binchee  

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First of all, this is not a sports blog. At least, I don't think it is but I'm gonna write about sports anyway.

So Purefoods won the PBA championship last night, and in the spirit of full disclosure I would like to state that I am neither an Alaska fan nor a Purefoods fan. I may be a San Miguel Beer fan since birth and I may have wanted Alaska to utterly trounce Purefoods, but that doesn't mean I can't be a fan of fair play.

I am saddened to think that the PBA has somehow lost its sense of fair play. All throughout the quarterfinals and even through the finals, Purefoods had gotten away with plenty of flops, non-calls, and should've-been-non-calls. But it doesn't stop with Purefoods, other ball clubs have also experienced some unforeseen favors from the officiating referees. I know I am not the only one who feels like this, just read the forums and the legitimate sports blogs. There have been so many discussions about how the referees completely took over of the games. I know, the referee's discretion has always made a tremendous impact on the game, but c'mon, this is ridiculous. I can almost hear my neighbor, the one who keeps telling me that PBA games are fixed, saying "I told you so!".

So the PBA heightened the penalty for walking out, thanks to the Walk N' Text incident. From a hefty half-million penalty, PBA Commissioner Barrios raised the fines to ten big ones. Yep, an unbelievably thick wad of cash that amounts to 10 million pesos. I wouldn't have believed that anybody could have money like that, but then I realized we're talking about pesos and its value against the dollar, so yeah.

Anyway, the stiffer penalty will definitely deter any future walk-outs in the PBA, I can almost guarantee that. But if the referees continue to officiate the way they do right now then the league can't blame fans if THEY walk out. Boo's all around. What's worse is the thought that some utterly disgusted bunch of fans can jump onto the court and maul the officials because they made one too many bad calls. I honestly fear for the referee's life.

I imagine a scenario when Joe de Vance got called for a controversial ticky-tacky foul in the dying seconds of a finals game, and the crowd was furious. Oh wait, that really did happen. I can just picture an angry mob of Alaska fans chasing after referee Aldaba or Maurillo.

It's a good thing they don't sell stakes and pitchforks at the PBA venues.

I sure hope it doesn't have to come to this.

Say What?  

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What did you say? I couldn't hear you. Try talking to my other ear.

These past 4 or 5 days I've been suffering from what I now know is barotrauma. At least that's what I think this is anyway. I know self-diagnostics is bad but I have to believe I got this one right. Anyway, there's this unbelievably annoying high-pitched tone in my left ear that simply won't go away. It's been bothering me for the longest time. You know that feeling when the air pressure in your ear gets unbalanced, causing your ears to pop when going through tunnels or flying in a plane? That's kinda how I'm feeling, like my left ear's stuffed with something. It goes away when I pinch my nose and blow hard, but it hurts a little when I do that. I read somewhere that decongestants can relax the eustachian tubes that connect the ears to the nasal passageways, making it easier to make the ears pop.

I really need to get my left ear popped. This is driving me nuts. I can't sleep lying on one side because it feels like there's something moving inside my ear. It's affecting my sense of balance. There are times when I couldn't hear with my left ear. I'm gonna go see a doctor when I can.

In the mean time, I'm gonna dig up a little more information on how to cure barotrauma, because I can't wait for it to go away on its own. Wish me luck.

Sorry MJ, I can't hear you. You're talking to the wrong ear.

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Stories from the Simian Crease by Binchee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.
Based on a work at binchee.blogspot.com