A Companion Named Desire

In the space of a few seconds–a handful of heartbeats, a few hundred meters covered, some hundreds of revolutions of an engine–the rumbling gray clouds made good on their promise of heavy rain. Even in that tranqulity induced by driving at cruising speed on spacious roads, the transition is difficult to miss: just roughly half an hour ago I marveled at how my car, just less than six months old, can’t be kept completely cool against an overbearing afternoon sun by its air conditioning. Now a sudden downpour drastically lessens the visibility and makes me turn my aircon down by a notch.

The rain puts me in an odd feeling of being neither here nor there. Earlier that day I was at UP, and I am currently in transit through a heavy downpour with Jason Mraz for a background music. The circumstances remind me strongly of a particular summer spent studying physics and yet…I am so far from being that student anymore. A car now is no longer an element of a kinematics word problem but is something I can name among my earthly possessions. And driving…heh, driving isn’t even something I wanted to learn back then.

The lookback is even more interesting once you consider the blog. I’ve been blogging far earlier than the summer mentioned in the last paragraph and I know I made a couple of posts during the summer concerned; posts about a budding photographer, beginning his observations of light and its drama, attending debut parties with the hefty University Physics for a date. But those posts are, unfortunately, among those I axed when I turned this blog over to WordPress. So I can’t link them.

I have vague recollections of the time I decided which posts stay, and which don’t. Up until then, the blog has been through a couple of (technical, not literary) rewrites where I painstakingly migrated each and every post. The decision to prune was, as far as I remember, based on the fact that the posts axed no longer reflect my views. And also to spare my blushes for my blunder years, where I tried to sound knowledgeable of the world–mostly by using long words like “knowledgeable” where vowels and consonants do not merely alternate–when I was, in fact, writing something worthy of Buzzfeed, minus the GIFs.

If I had to characterize the posts I hid from the public it would be that they are too emotional. “I write,” I would say back then, “to exorcise my demons”, all the while feeling like a tortured genius who has found reprieve and salvation through his muse, through his art. Maybe, a hundred years after my inevitable yet all the same tragic demise, that particular quote would find itself adorning a planner given for free by some book store, after a minimum-value purchase during the holiday season. And that’s if I’m lucky. If I’m really lucky it will even be attributed to me.

Because after all that, I have realized that the hardest part of talking about feelings isn’t about finding the courage to even be open about it. In some ways, that is the easy part. Human. What’s difficult when talking about feelings is in coming out with the maturity to handle them in all their nuance, and to not end up with a piece Buzzfeed would gladly put on their front page.

Or Thought Catalog. No one wants a mopey twenty something. Not even a mopey twenty something.

Which is maybe why projects like PostSecret and The Strangers Project move me so. Whereas tortured-genius Chad would overgeneralize and sweep his adolescent neural firings under a blanket of over optimism and flashes of wordplay, these revelations from people I have no idea who achieve authenticity despite their anonymity1. Raw and unfinished, you would not find them spouting a forced positive angle because sometimes, sometimes, there is just no good ending, at least not yet, and you could just barely keep it together.

Yet sometimes, life is not just good but also beautiful; a good ending would be unfortunate because, no matter how good, it is still the end of something as warm as hope.

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(At this point, it all ends rather abruptly, as this has been gathering dust for months inside my drafts. Back when I started this whole rambling, I guess I had a plan, an outline, of how and where this all leads to. But not anymore. It gets published by virtue of the fact that it has, nonetheless, achieved its primary purpose, which is to get things off my chest, regardless of whether or not it ends up read by the intended eyes. I guess, after all that’s said and written, I remain the same, seeing words as some sort of magic to trap demons with. Some things change and some things don’t. Thank you very much for reading through and I hope you have a good one.)

  1. PostSecret founder Frank Warren was once asked whether he worries that the secrets he receives are fabricated. To which he replies that the secret is not necessarily true for the person who wrote it; it is true for the person who reacts to it. []

Photograph of the Month: Reach Up to Paradise

Reach Up to Paradise

Why am I a photoblog all of a sudden? Read about it here.

Ah Paradise…I shall be with you soon. Just give me time to kick the hell out of the coming hell weeks…

There is one productivity trick that I’ve learned from my internship which I’ve continued to apply even well after I’m out of it: plan ahead not what you want to do but what you want to achieve. This has been largely responsible why the past midterm season went by me without much hassle on my part. Ever since my internship, I’ve started my weeks planning ahead what I want to achieve and then tallying myself. I try to achieve at least 70% of the goals I set weekly and I’m pretty good at it; I usually get my 70% done, until recently, that is.

But before I proceed telling you about what’s been keeping me busy this past few weeks, allow me to backtrack a little and relate an interesting event I forgot to relate and that happened all because of my birthday last month. In an age where Facebook has kindly been reminding everyone of everyone else’s birthday, I pusposedly set my account to tell no one when my birthday is. As I expected, I didn’t get much greetings on my birthday. I had maybe around 3, all coming in at the last minute of August 8, two through Facebook and one via text message. And then the next few days became quite amusing, as people learned that I celebrated my birthday on the 8th. People wrote me uber-interesting greetings, starkly personal, if I may say, even if not by Facebook standards, going well up to a week after my actual birthday. True enough, I didn’t get as much greetings than if I allowed my birthday alarm to ring but I’m pretty sure that I got the better deal by receiving messages that is not the generic “Happy Birthday Chad! <maybe insert smiley here>”.

Anyway…so, what I’ve been up to. These past few weeks, my 70%-goal-achievement productivity saw a sharp drop as I found myself alternating only between two interesting projects: my thesis and my EEE8 project. This is my second take on EEE8; I don’t think I was able to tell the blog that I failed it last year largely because it was eclipsed by more personal failures, which took center stage in my posts. Back then, I never thought I’d ever even be remotely interested in breadboards, integrated circuits, and wires. But well, here I am, thinking of how can I build a robot to automate the cleaning process of my room.

As for my thesis, I must admit that one of the many reasons I wanted to join UPD’s Computer Vision and Machine Intelligence Group (CVMIG) was because I knew that I’d probably be working on image processing, which was, back in high school my idea of the pinnacle of programming. Well I got my wish, but that is not to say that I am not having a hard time in the task set to us. For some weeks now, I’ve been contemplating over the Gabor filter and I must say that I’m still pretty far from what I hope I’ve achieved with it already.

Well, that’s all for now. Wish me luck and see you soon in Paradise, wherever or whatever that is…~Your Skymeister.

heaven

Love Said

Hello Blog. For the first time since I started you I have failed to update you in a calendar month. What a shame considering that the calendar month concerned was the month I turned 18, fully responsible at last for the adventures I’m having and not having. I blame school work for my lapse. I am sorry but it might happen again.

During my birth week I was swamped. I spent my first day as an eighteener being sick and solving discrete probability equations. Not exactly my idea of being 18 at last, though the probability-solving bit can still be argued for. During the last few days of last month I was cramming boolean logic into my brain, so wanting to do nothing but code away. I can no longer remember what happened in the interim but it was most likely spent thinking that I am finally at that part of my adventure when school and education presents themselves most differently. And I sort of have to make my choice between what I know I need to learn and what they think I need to learn. And I am making it.

I still have a lot on my plate and not just academically. It has recently come to my attention that I have apologies left over from last semester that need to be said and they’ve been sitting around my mind for quite some time now, waiting for the moment to stand-up and ride my voice. Gosh. “Sorry” is one of the simplest words I know yet at times it feels longer than a scientific name. But hey, at least I can warm-up here.

So Blog, sorry for last month and sorry as I can’t write my usual account of adventures. I still owe you one for September and hopefully times will be more favorable for it. As for now, I’m leaving you with something lifted from Jason Mraz which in turn was something he lifted from Rumi, as translated by Nader Khalili. The capitalization is all mine.

I was dead
I came alive
I was tears
I became laughterAll because of love
when it arrived
my temporal life
from then on
changed to eternal

Love said to me
You are not
crazy enough
you don’t
fit this house

I went and
became crazy
crazy enough
to be in chains

Love said
You are not
intoxicated enough
you don’t
fit the group

I went and
got drunk
drunk enough
to overflow
with light-headedness

Love said
You are still
too clever
filled with
imagination and skepticism

I went and
became gullible
and in fright
pulled away
from it all

Love said
You are a candle
attracting everyone
gathering everyone
around you

I am no more
a candle spreading light
I gather no more crowds
And like smoke
I am all scattered now

Love said
You are a teacher
you are a head
and for everyone
you are a leader

I am no more
not a teacher
not a leader
just a servant
to your wishes

Love said
You already have
your own wings
I will not give you
more feathers

And then my heart
pulled itself apart
and filled it to the brim
with a new light
overflowed with fresh life

Now even the heavens
are thankful that
because of love
I have become
the giver of light

~Rumi, Fountain of Fire
As translated by Nader Khalili

sunflower
See you soon,
Your Skymeister