Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Country Road In Autumn


Country Road In Autumn, originally uploaded by jeffuwo.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fall of the Dragon

Robert Jordan's blog

Give me your trust said the Aes Sedai
On my shoulders I support the sky
Trust me to know and to do what is best
And I will take care of the rest

But trust is the color of a dark seed growing
Trust is the color of a heart´s blood flowing
Trust is the color of a soul´s last breath
Trust is the color of death...

Give me your trust said the queen high on her throne
For I must bear the burden all alone
Trust me to lead, and to judge, and to rule
And no man will think you a fool

But trust is the sound of a gravedog's bark
Trust is the sound of betrayal in the dark
Trust is the sound of a soul´s last breath
Trust is the sound of death...


Robert Jordan passed away Sunday, September 16, 2007 from complications arising from cardiac amyloidosis. I had prayed earnestly that he would hurry up his writing and, like, Stephen King, dodge the call of the Grim Reaper before he finished his magnum opus, in Jordan's case the Wheel of Time series. For Stephen King, he got a two-minute warning after his accident in 1999, and maybe he would have died before he finished the saga of Roland Deschain and the Dark Tower. But survive he did, and at least the fans were appeased.

For all its twists and turns, and essentially poor pacing from the seventh book (A Crown of Swords) to the eleventh (Knife of Dreams) the first six books of the Wheel of Time stand out as classics of high fantasy. I liked Terry Brooks, David Eddings, and Katherine Kurtz, and of course the maestro Tolkien himself, but Jordan rolled all of them up and put them together in his work.

I trust that his estate would commission a good writer to finish the last book --- he did pass on most of the plot developments to his wife and family before he died. Tor Books would have had to invent a new binding system to reportedly accommodate that monster of the last book.

Perhaps it's only apropos that he died before he finished the book - Stephen King seemed to be so conscious of his mortality that he had major plot holes in the last book of the Dark Tower. I would have been the first to scream "Blood and bloody ashes!" should that happen to Jordan's legacy. Now, his memory lives on and we are left to wonder what would have been.

Rest in peace, RJ.

Willing Exile: Waiting on Robert Jordan

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Epiphanous

"I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I've met."
--- Dwight L. Moody, evangelist and publisher

Oh yeah, oh yeah, how true.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Face in the Mirror

Hijacked Jets Destroy Twin Towers and Hit Pentagon

In memory of this day, a song for change from Wacko Jacko during one of the most productive phases of his career. I actually prefer the Tuck & Patti instrumental version (Tuck Andress with an amazingly lyrical guitar performance), but Jackson's words ring true.

People may hate on the idea, but I honestly believe America had it coming after successive administrations have failed to heed the lessons of history. The attacks of 9/11 are a horrible crime against the whole of the spirit of humanity, but they happened because despite the good intentions of the American majority, their leaders have lost a great sense of proportion when dealing with the countries of the Middle East. Now, I'm not about to split hairs on blame - better people than me with a whole lot more personal experience have argued on this issue more cogently than I can ever hope to.

Suffice to say that there will never be room for understanding when people get stuck with the "us against them" and the "who is not with us is against us" thinking.

My own life lesson here is that so many people act so differently from what I expect. Their faults loom less than what I could do to change ME.

MAN IN THE MIRROR (Michael Jackson)

I'm gonna make a change, for once in my life
It's gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
My favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,
A broken bottle top
And a one-man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me,
Pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror (Ooh!)
I'm asking him to change his ways (Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror (Ooh!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)
CHANGE!

I'm starting with the man in the mirror,
(Man in the mirror-Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
(Take a look at yourself and then make the change)
(You gotta get it right, while you got the time)
('Cause when you close your heart)
You can't close your... your mind!
(Then you close your... mind!)
That man, that man, that man, that man
With that man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
That man, that man, that man
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
You know... That man
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself and then make a change)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Oh yeah!)
Gonna feel real good now!
Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Ooooh...)
Oh no, no no...
I'm gonna make a change
It's gonna feel real good!
Come on!
(Change...)
Just lift yourself
You know
You've got to stop it. Yourself!
(Yeah!-Make that change!)
I've got to make that change, today!
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)
You got to
You got to not let yourself...
Brother...
Hoo!
(Yeah!-Make that change!)
You know-I've got to get that man, that man...
(Man in the mirror)
You've got to
You've got to move! Come on! Come on!
You got to...
Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
(Yeah-Make That Change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now!
(Man in the mirror)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Aaow!
(Yeah-Make that change)
Gonna make that change... come on!
(Man in the mirror)
You know it!
You know it!
You know it!
You know...
(Change...)
Make that change…


Sunday, September 09, 2007

After


SUNSET III, originally uploaded by M2 DIGITAL.

SARIWANG HANGIN
(Joey Ayala)

sariwang hangin umihip ka
dahon ng puno’y dalhin mo na
sa kaibigang wala rito
naroon, naroon sa malayo

sariwang hangin umihip ka
ipaalala mo sa kanya
may punong-kahoy na naghihintay
sa dulo ng paglalakbay

at sa ilalim ng puno
may nag-iisang nakaupo
sariwang hangin naglalaro
sa mga dahon nitong puso

at sa sanga sa tugatok
kay raming bunga nangaalok
sariwang hangin pitasin mo
ang mga bunga nitong puso

sariwang hangin umihip ka
bunga ng puso’y dalhin mo na
sa kaibigang sinisinta
hinihintay, hinihintay kita


The production has ended and the stage is dark --- the beams stand alone until another production sheds light on them.

The hall is still alight and people are still clapping themselves on the shoulder, some are smiling. The young boys have started strumming on the guitars while their parents hovered back and forth with their little errands.

Some of the adults are wiping their hands across the brow. This one is officially over.

On the steps to the main entrance of the school classrooms, the three of the four girls who were seniors in high school were crying.

Their sobs rose above the din as their fellow workshoppers celebrated while others were all itching for a ride home. It was that kind of day. It was that kind of night.

I know triumph was among us that day, but somehow the sheen of it was missing. Rather like a glorious sunset --- it's a sight to behold, but it won't ever, ever come back.

The reminder, and the solace, I can give is that somewhere in this world the wind blows us a kiss for all the love we have in our lives. So the Beatles say: "In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Time will never stand still, but this beautiful memory will remain forever.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Kneeling at Starlight

Uncomfortable memories - INQUIRER.net

I just had to post this. Wonderful commentary on the state of the Philippines by a non-Filipino ...
There are depths of faith required to commit to the building of a new Philippines. For the longest time, I thought that the faith would be enough.

But it isn't. There are just too many Juans and Marias, myself included, looking out for number one to make it happen. There are so many "opportunities" to make things better, but at the same time, we should be looking beyond earning (and spending) the next paycheck.

There are also the petty jealousies, unkindnesses, the venalities that somehow get blown out of proportion. God knows I've done my own share of these things, and sometimes, even when I express my own share of contrition some people just don't get it.

Of course there is still hope and forgiveness. And then, there is also despair. Is it me, or is it them?

It reminds me of this poem my editor in our high school Filipino magazine wrote. He is kneeling by starlight, making his wishes among the stars. For the myriad stars in the firmament, he has hopes and dreams. Kneeling by starlight, he hopes for things that he knows will hardly come true. Yet, he knows, he will keep on coming back, letting his hopes gather like so many reflections of starlight that pass through his fingers ...

I also read this week Pope Benedict's comments on Mother Teresa's despair on the silence of God. Now this woman has gone through both personal and collective tribulations (with her flock) in the course of her life, and my woes compared to hers are a mere teardrop in the depths of the ocean.

Maybe I'll stop being a petty person or maybe I won't (or maybe I'm giving myself too much blame, whatever) - it's in my hands to do as I must, for good or for ill, but these uncomfortable thoughts, these disturbing memories should keep on driving me to do better.

If such things like our personal dramas are beyond our repair, what good then will come to our native land?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Spreading A Little Happiness


Spreading A Little Happiness, originally uploaded by Spocker.


If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.
- Audra Foveo

Oh for flowers in bloom here in this desert summer!
Life's mystery keeps on unfolding
And our moods ebb and flow with the season
For a flower to awaken our happiness from slumber
Is our great solace from the womb of mourning.

Oh for flowers that bring memories of sweet kisses!
We may never go back to those times at all
And they only exist in corridors of the mind
For a flower to make whole all those broken pieces
Is courage's miracle that is never too small.