Saturday, February 28, 2004

Launch of the Century

That “century” refers, of course, to Siglo: Freedom, the grafiction anthology to which I contributed two art pieces and did design and pre-production chores. The formal book launch was held just near the Park Square 2 side entrance of the Glorietta Mall, and was organized by Jaime Bautista and the kind folks of Nautilus Comics.

Apart from the Siglo team, the event was graced by Joel Chua, Ariel Atienza, Jonas Diego, Jac Lim, some Blitzworx folks, press people, and even Raul Roco, Jr., who gave a short but telling speech to everyone present. To add spice to the ceremonies, some alternative cultural acts were showcased.

As these events go, there was a lot of book signing and photo ops. I really felt proud for my sister, seeing her being approached by book buyers to get their copies signed. She really did a great job with her botanical art, and I really hope that the exhibit gets some people interested in her pieces. She went home ahead of us with mom and her friend Tita Nellie, while we stayed till closing.

En route to Ortigas, Vin’s van conked out temporarily along traffic-choked Edsa, just after the Mandaluyong bridge. Good thing we were along the center island, which provided us temporary seating while Vinnie worked the battery and Dean took pictures of Nikki and the environs. I thank the lucky stars and all of Heaven that the process didn’t take all of ten minutes, for soon enough we were back in the vehicle. Nothing about that episode was mentioned throughout the rest of the night.

At UCC café-Podium, topics of conversation ranged from the next Siglo anthology, to the apparent physical unattractiveness of a number of famous modern writers, to Marco’s second-hand envy-inducing Nokia 6600 (freshly bought from one mysterious Nardong Sipit). And with that, an eventful Friday night came to a close, leaving everyone tired yet satisfied at another successful Siglo event. There will be more of such to come this coming school year, with school tours supposedly in the works.

Everyone agrees that 2004 might prove to be a brighter year for Pinoy comics, and I’d like to thank everyone who stuck with us from the very start. We promise more comics in the coming years, adhering to our thrust to give a new spin to Philippine grafiction, and all your help is greatly appreciated.

Something From Nothing

Boredom? What’s that?

I remember the alleged true story of a workaholic technophile who suffered a nervous breakdown. In the psychiatric ward, he was prohibited from being exposed to any kind of hi-tech technological device, which conceivably doesn’t leave a whole lot left in the room. The breakdown was attributed to mental overload from work, and the mere sight of a fiddle-worthy tech device would lead to a relapse.

Just last night at the Ayala MRT station, a fifty-ish woman was talking to herself as she descended the escalator. And I mean talking, not out loud, but her lips were moving in that unmistakable pattern that only lip-readers could appreciate. It even appeared that she was talking to someone even if she was alone.

Then there’s my cousin, who in one of our rare talks, told me that she was bored nearly out of her wits.

Is boredom brought about by the absence of something to do? I personally think that there’s no such thing, because in the normal everyday there’s always something to do. The crime rests in either the conclusion that some activities are unworthy of one’s time, the onset of procrastination, or the simple unawareness of the numerous options out there. Psycho technophile surely had too much to do. Escalator woman had something to occupy her time, despite putting her sanity in question. (I talk to myself a lot of times, and I’m sure I’m crazy anyway.) As for my cousin…well…

I can’t remember the last time I was bored. Maybe during a few uninteresting parties, but the boredom was mainly due to the conviction that I’d rather be somewhere else and doing other things. I admit that I set myself up for this, being preoccupied most of the time, a kind of habit I’ve worked towards over the past decade, maybe even longer.

There are movies to watch, books to read, stuff to draw, stuff to write, tons to tidy up, items to plan out and monitor and organize, obligations to fulfill, skills to learn and improve on, friends to meet and hang out with, email to write, relatives to touch base with, the day job… heck, I’m consciously working myself up to a nervous breakdown here. It can get overwhelming.

But I’m not overwhelmed, unlike how I’m prone to be in my younger years. I still can find a few precious seconds to stop at look up at the night sky, take a deep breath, and appreciate the stars. That brief commune is the least that I need to get my system back in order and put things in perspective. Or the bliss offered by the deepest sleep or a calming thought. Or trusting a burden to the Lord Almighty.

I haven’t been idle for a very long time. Maybe that’s what I need to do soon: be idle. Do nothing. Relax for an extended period. Go with the flow. Rest.

But you know what’s ironic? One exercise in acting class instructs students to “do nothing.” So a few students were made to stand in front of the rest, and an awkward silence ensued. Soon enough, one student began to scratch her arm, another looked around the room, while another twitched his heel on the floor. Even if there’s supposedly nothing to do, we end up doing something anyway.

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