Monday, June 29, 2009

One Year After Frank the Destroyer

::Accepting Your Losses::

Its been almost a year since Typhoon Frank hit, and I took a special Sunday day off to catalogue and finishing up on the last of my stuff on whether they survived, can be salvaged or utterly destroyed.  On the final tally, 2/3 of my books were lost and all but a handful of my miniatures were gone. The only thing that made my day only a little better was that my files burned in DVD format got just a little dirty, so all my pictures, documents, PDF files and videos from before are ok.

I still mourn the loss of my books, especially all my Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk series, my Riftwar Saga, Sword of Truth etc. Hell, even my Drizzt novels were gone, as my Elminster books. Its a very bad month for me when I started shovelling boxes aside as I try to find my lost literature. 

As for my figs, its not as much that I for mourn them as my books, but the fact they were expensive to begin with makes my teeth ache in utter despair. Warhammer Ogres and Orcs and Goblins, Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard, Warmachine Cygnar, some Gundam HG series, assorted Spawn and Hellboy figs,  all worth at least 100k, money spent over four years of collecting.  Right now though, I'm thinking of collecting again, and the fact that I can get them easily is the reason I don't mourn them as much as my books.

I guess I finally accepted I can't do anything about them. Life goes on. 

::Taking THE Test::

If you're like me, you would also appreciate indie films, particularly well made filipino productions. I always appreciated Cinemalaya and Indiesine, churning out good flicks like Endo (contractual workers struggling to make ends meet), Pisay (student life in the school of Philippine Science) and Tribu (gangsta life in the slums of Tondo). Now another movie has come out and likely to be very near to my heart. When I was graduating high school in West V, there was only one option for college for me: UP in the Visayas. I didn't apply to any school, I just knew I was made for that school. So I took my UPCAT, and several months later, I got in. Yes, mayabang ako I know, but UP is always the choice for me. 

This is a indie flick about UP, specifically the UPCAT exam, I think the most dreaded entrance test in the Philippines. 

So even if you're a student of UP or not, this is a good film about taking the UPCAT exam and stories within. Support Filipino Indie!

State of Mind: Gray with Mourning
Song of the Day: Notion by Kings of Leon
Book of the Week : The Lonely Planet Story by Tony and Maureen Wheeler
Want or Need: To save my books

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Other David that Mattered the Most

Most of the world mourned when David Carrandine died. I was only saddened at the passing of the legend, because me and a select group of individuals were mourning at the passing of another literary giant: David Eddings.

Flashback to 1995. I was still in a relationship with The Devourer of Souls, She Who Is Not To Be Named. I was knee deep high into mystery novels, and was rereading The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I took a break when Sherlock Holmes was explaining to Watson why his dog, Toby, was confused by the trail left by the villains. I was at her house, and with just the two of us there, I wandered around, stretching the kinks in my legs. The Devourer of Souls was watching her favorite demonic program, T.G.I.S. With the sounds coming out of the room (the oohs and the aahs), I dare not enter the room, lest my soul be stolen. 

It was then, perhaps trying to look for silence, I walked to the family's mini library and studied the books. I wasn't really looking for anything, just scanning around blankly. I was also
 interested in chess at that time, so it happened that a book entitled The Magician's Gambit caught my eye. I took it out, look at the cover, saw it was fantasy. And it was a part of the series: namely The Pawn of Prophecy, The Queen of Sorcery, Castle of Wizardry and Enchanter's End Game.

Curious (and partly because I have nothing more to read after the Sign of Four) I ventured to The Devourer's room (thank God for commercial breaks) and asked her if I can borrow the books. With a dismissive hand she said take it, Bobby Andrews and Angelu De Leon just came on screen. I took it home, and it stayed in my shelf for a couple of days. Then I opened the first book. 

I finished the first book in a couple of days, the whole series in a week. Then I found the second part of the series (another five books) and finished that under a week. Then I found other books written by David Eddings, and those that I didn't buy I cajoled, wheedled and even one time offered my soul (which I forgot was in the possession of the Devourer) just to borrow The Redemption of Althalus. 

With that simple stroke, I shifted from a mystery buff to a fantasy fanatic, and paved the road for me to read not only the wondrous works the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Terry Goodkind and Raymond E. Feist but also to traverse to science fiction reading Isaac Asimov, Douglas Niles Adam,  Neil Gaiman, Timothy Zahn and Ray Bradbury.

But I always come back to David Edding's books. If I ever get to have a book published, I will match it to the standard of an Edding's character dialogues, which are both very alive, witty and real. And every year, without fail, I always read at least one series, just to experience his story once again.

Now that storyteller has died. At the ripe old age of 77, David Eddings died quietly in his house. His last fantasy series was The Dreamers, the last book just released three years ago. He will always be remembered for his characters like Prince Kneldar and Belgarath, of Sparhawk and Althalus. His Rivan Codex will be regarded by the faithful masses as an introduction to world building and fantasy writing. But for me, he will be remembered for he introduced me to the fantasy genre, and because of that, made me for what I man.

Kudos sir, and may you rest in peace knowing you touched a lot of people with your stories.

State of Mind: In Mourning
Song of the Day: I'm So Sorry by Morrisey
Book of the Day: The Rivan Codex by David Eddings
Want/Need: The new site to be operational

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Life Goes On, Even Without My Consent

:::New Home:::

By the next couple of weeks, I'll be transferring to a new personal website. Why? Because events conspired to 'accidentally' charge me a website name (which I totally forgot) and now I'm stuck with a two year contract (which I can't cancel, stupid credit card system). So preparations are being made to make the transfer smooth and seamless, and I'll probably import all my posts to the new site, and keep this one for redirecting purposes. 

I'll keep it simple and plain, and probably just add the bare minimum add-ons. 

:::Another Stab at Writing:::

It's that time of the year again, Philippines Speculative Fiction V is now calling for submissions. I did try to join last year, but didn't get to finish the damn story, so now I've resolved to pass at least a finished product by deadline. If you're interested, here are the details:

Editors Nikki Alfar and Vin Simbulan are now accepting submissions of short fiction pieces for consideration for the anthology "PHILIPPINE SPECULATIVE FICTION V".

Speculative fiction is the literature of wonder that spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror and magic realism or falls into the cracks in-between.

1. Only works of speculative fiction will be considered for publication. As works of the imagination, the theme is open and free.

2. Stories must cater to an adult sensibility. However, if you have a Young Adult story that is particularly well-written, send it in.

3. Stories must be written in English.

4. Stories must be authored by Filipinos or those of Philippine ancestry.

5. Preference will be given to original unpublished stories, but previously published stories will also be considered. In the case of previously published material, kindly include the title of the publishing entity and the publication date. Kindly state also in your cover letter that you have the permission, if necessary, from the original publishing entity to republish your work.

6. First time authors are welcome to submit. In the first four volumes, we had a  good mix of established and new authors. Good stories trump literary credentials anytime.

7. No multiple submissions. Each author may submit only one story for consideration.

8. Each story’s word count must be no fewer than 1,500 words and no more than 7,500 words.

9. All submissions must be in Rich Text Format (.rtf – save the document as .rft on your word processor) and attached to an email to this address: Submissions received in any other format will be deleted, unread.

10. The subject of your email must read: PSF5 Submission: (title) (word count); where (title) is replaced by the title of your short story, without the parentheses, and (word count) is the word count of your story, without the parentheses. For example – PSF5 Submission: Meeting Makiling 4500.

11. All submissions must be accompanied by a cover letter that includes your name, brief bio, contact information, previous publications (if any). Introduce yourself.

12. Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2009. After that date, final choices will be made and letters of acceptance or regret sent out via email. Target publishing date is February 2010.

14. Compensation for selected stories will be 2 contributor’s copies of the published anthology as well as a share in aggregrate royalties.

Kindly help spread the word. Feel free to cut and paste or link to this on your blogs or e-groups.


Nikki Alfar

Vin Simbulan

Dean Francis Alfar

:::Because Chemistry is Fun::

Just gotta share this one. If you're a chemistry buff, a science geek or a guy looking to score for a quick knowledge about chemistry, here's a simple video.

State of Mind: Mind Numbingly Exhausted
Song of the Day: Ten Thousand Slaves by Otis Taylor
Book of the Week: Hellboy: Odd Jobs by Mike Mignola and Various Authors
Want/Need: More Storage Space