Monday, February 25, 2008

Trying Again For The Palanca

The country's most prestigious literary contest, the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, or just the Palanca Awards for short, looms in the horizon, sending signals to every wannabe writer and struggling novelists to brush up on their art and sharpen their pencils. It is the one contest that I dearly want to join. I have tried to finish a short story last year and pass it up but due to time constraints ( I had started late ) and work issues ( April was the deadline, and I was in China, damn ). Now though, it's February and I have three months to concoct up a story before the deadline.

Two things would probably hinder my progress. One is the Canton Fair ( which is usually in Guangzhou, China ) in April, then also the Warhammer Fantasy Grand Tournament. Arrrggh. And to top it all off, there's also the Worldbex Convention in Manila, this coming March!

Perhaps that's my problem, my essential skill of being able to multitask at any work is also my bane, since I couldn't focus well on the subject matter in hand. Being able to focus and being able to multitask are two sides of a coin, one cannot be the same. I lack focus that is true, but being able to make a dozen decisions and do paperwork at the same time more then makes up for it. Hmmm, I think the key to this is balance. I gotta think about this more.

Meanwhile, I'll finish my outline this couple of days and perhaps do a paragraph too.

State of Mind: Monday Blues
Song of the Day: Bubbly by Colby Caillet
Book of the Week: His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Want/Need: A Time Machine

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back With Vengeance and Goodwill

Whew. A month has passed since my last blog. Given the workload I have for this year, I took the liberty of giving myself a small hiatus from the internet ( as also mumbling incoherently at the state of service my ISP provides, but that's a rant for another day ). A lot of major events came into my life, so I'll try to summarize them one by one.

-My Birthday-
Yup, I turned 28 this last January 18. Feelings? Natch. Regrets? Too many. Dreams fulfilled? Some, but not the major ones, so nada. Actually it was a normal typical day in the workplace. You ever get that feeling of embarrassment of everyone greeting you? Of someone coming towards you and look at him/her and he/she looks at you and then greets you with a bloody smile and you thank the greeter and then both go on your way and you wonder ... was it forced? Not that people hate me (whaddya mean people hate me? I'm lovable!), it's that kind of feeling that gets to you.

Or maybe I AM getting old AND cranky.

Anyways, it was just any other typical day in office, with extra cake and ice cream to boot.

-My Post Birthday Concert-
If there's one concert I wouldn't have missed, it's Lea Salonga. She's got a class of her own, and wow, did she deliver. A great way to spend my birthday, with Dad and Mom, and with Christian and Cheyenne, and of of course me and Ronstadt. What's really good about her concert was ... well, I guess everything. The song selection, the stage, and with Gerard Salonga and the Philharmonic Orchestra to boot. Nothing much more to say but wow.

-My Business-
Ok, so me and Dad went to Manila to finish up a very lucrative deal with ... erm, let's say someone big in the industry. It was humbling at the same time exciting. Humbling in the sense that the person in front of has done so much for the industry, exciting that the deal is almost good as done. Suffice to say, this is one of our company's turning point in history.

-My Niece-
Yup, my brother's wife finally gave birth to wonderful baby girl. Bianca Catherine Rafael. 6 hours of dry labor, ceasarian birth and finally, a baby girl with very long fingers and toes (I stress fingers and toes, which an ephipany arose that she's going to beat me at basketball in the later years) arrive squaling into the world. And where was I? In Manila doing business with Dad, so me and the grandfather saw the baby three days after. Sucks.

-My Valentines-
Due to the insistance of the other halves ( Ronstadt and Cheyenne ), me and my brother Christian found ourselves shanghied into attending a Valentine's Concert with ... Christian Bautista and Rachel Anne Go. Okay, while I think Rachel Go is just so-so, Christian I respect as an artist. Not because he has good voice and charisma, but he makes his OWN ORIGINAL SONGS ( and a hundred struggling artists with remakes scream with agony ). While I got nothing against the Pinoy Pop Industry ... okay, I got a gripe with them, but please, enough with the remakes. Do your own songs. After the eight or so song remake we tend to have shut down all appreciative processes. Cover songs I can accept, but gawd don't you have anything original? We have the most wonderful voices in the world ( ok, mine sucks but still ) and we need to get past that remake stage. And that is why I respect artists who do thier own stuff, like all the rock bands and a handful of pop stars.

-My Projects-
While not actually an event, I'd like to post this one so whenever I read this I'll get the incentive ( and the utter shame ) to work on it.

1. Gundam HG: Blaze Zaku Phantom, Rick Dias RMS-099, Gelgoog MS-14S etc.
2. World War II Diorama with German Assault Platoon, 1/35mm models
3. Warhammer 40k figures, for the Grand Tournament this April
4. Short Story for the Palanca Contest, April
5. Short Story for the Philippine Genre Stories, for the summer
6. Short Story for the Philippine Speculative Fiction, this late quarter

-My Books-
I had a lot of luck lately concerning books. One of those was actually getting an autographed copy of Neil Gaiman's Philippine Speculative Fiction. That really made my day. It now stands next to his autographed copy of Sandman: Seasons of Mist and flanked by Pol Medina's Pugad Baboy series ( also autographed by the man itself! w00t! ). Now, if only Terry Pratchett or George R.R. Martin would drop by here in the Philippines, I've already left for the next flight.

Speaking of George R.R. Martin, I snapped up at the chance of getting the hardbound editions of Dreamsongs I and Dreamsongs II. I could have bought the paperback, but only the first one was available, so had to buy the two. Symmetry is everything. Oh Eion Colfer's Artemis Fowl has a forth book, as confirmed by my friend over at Singapore. Got to wait for that one too. Meanwhile...

I found several gems hidden in the nooks and crannies of Booksale. Three were very hard to find books: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, WildCards: Book One by George R.R. Martin and Foundation by Isaac Asimov. Total price in a regular book store: P900-P1000. Total cash shelled out in Booksale: P245. And as an added bonus, a Starwars RPG handbook! Which I got for only P400 all in all. If it was from a regular bookstore, it would cost around P2500. Lucky bastard.

Oh, I might have a personal blessing, but it's too soon to tell. Maybe next week.

State of Mind: Blitz Tired
Song of the Day: What's Up People by Maximum the Hormone
Book of the Week: Hellboy: Odd Jobs by Mike Mignola
Want/Need: Emerald and Jade Championship Set