Thursday, December 9, 2010

Something to write about: Video Games

Okay, so I haven't been writing much in my personal blog recently; ironic that my literary dump (supposedly the less prolific of my two main blogs) has been given more attention to lately. See, I've been making comics and blah blah blah... I've told mountains of stuff about that before? Really? Hmm... Well... How about my photography then? It's amateurish but I'm getting the- I've told you of that too? Hmm... Well, I guess now you know why I haven't been updating this blog recently huh?

I know! Let's talk about video games! Wheeee... Actually, I'm a bit lazy right now, so I'd save the long discussion on gaming philosophy and some such for another blog post. Right now, I wanna talk about games, fighting games to be exact. For people who know me personally, it shouldn't be news to you that I love love LOVE fighting games. 3D Fighters, 2D Fighters, even timing based fighters like the Naruto Ultimate Hero franchise and the Dissidia series are all fair game for me, even if I'm still getting the hang of 2D fighters (I'm looking at you Super Street Fighter Four! Oh you've got Juri? Well, I guess you're forgive then... Hmm...). That said though, I've been eying a new 2D fighter for the PS3. You'd be surprised the game is for the PS3, judging by its hardcore 2D graphics, but I'm a staunch believer that graphics don't make a game (most of the time), so in my opinion, it's not going to be a crutch (maybe more of a Segway. You didn't get the joke? Ah well... Erm... Awkward). Anyway, here's a video ripped directly from YouTube!


Recovered from the awesome already? As you can see, it doesn't have the most realistic of styles in terms of graphics, physics and game play (unlike the popular Namco games with boob physics), but still, those visuals, for some reason, just do it for me. In short, it rocks. Rocks hard.

From the cast shown on the video, my favorites would be Noel and Alucard. I didn't do much research on them yet, as frankly I'm a little too lazy, but for some reason, these guys remind me of my favorite characters from a similar fighting game from Type Moon, Melty Blood. For those of you who wants to know who these favorite characters are, well they're, Ceil and Hisui (Shiki counts too, but not as much). I know I know, you don't see how they're related, and neither do I, but hey, you're not writing this blog now aren't you?

Anyway, all kidding aside, the game actually reminds me of a similar 2D fighter, Guilty Gear. I actually loved that game a lot, and I rocked Sol and Ky like I know how to rock Sol and Ky, even if I actually suck at that game. If so, then I'm sure BlazBlue would be a rocking good time!

I suck at 2D fighters in general, but there's something about me and 2D fighters that makes me go back to the genre, like an old fling that keeps on coming back, an itch I really like to scratch. I don't really understand but 2D fighters hold that kind of allure for me, like it's some sort of unexplored frontier, the next step in my quest to hone my skills in fighting games. Just hope I find someone to play against though, as I would definitely not like playing against the AI all the time (besides, if I do, I'd most certainly lose 110 percent of the time...).

Well, that would be all. Glad I found something to write about, whew; been itching to write a blog for sometime now, hehe

P.S.: So I actually forgot to give the name of the game. It's BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. Get Hyped.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reflections: The Moment I Stopped Believing

The moment I stopped believing, I lost myself. In this world, truly only three things remain as constants: love, hope and faith. The greatest of these is love, but the other two are great on their own ways as well. Love fuels faith, and love brings hope. Hope is the product of faith, and faith gives hope something to hold on to. The moment I stopped believing, I lost myself, I lost my hope, and I lost my love.

I used to think the world wasn't really complicated. That I, though insignificant, can make a name for myself, not to be forgotten way past my due date here on Earth. For some reason, I thought I could make it, I thought I can make a name for myself. If I just try hard enough, if I can just be better each day, then just maybe, I can break through and carve my name in history. If I can just push myself beyond my limits each day, each hour, each second, each passing moment; if only I can, then it would only be a matter of time. One way or another, I would have my own piece of history, a piece that no one would ever forgot.

All of this ambition of course burned down when the harsh reality took me everything from under me. The harsh reality of time, of money, of resources. The harsh reality that there would always be someone far greater and far better than me, and no matter how good I got, someone is still going to be above me. There are more than six billion people alive today based on a conservative estimate, and even if I place higher than someone right beside me, there are still going to be six billion other people to beat. Six billion people I might not even get a chance to meet. Six billion people that might be thinking of the same breaking idea that I have. Six billion people who would get there before I do.

It hurts to have your ambition cut out from you. It hurts to be shown the reality of things. It definitely hurts to know that you are nothing more than an insignificant speck in history, and nothing you can do will change that. The odds are just completely against you! Only a handful in six billion can brag about being the one, and to be part of this handful, its imperative that you have started with something already, or you must have been born under the right era or circumstances, or at best you must have been born lucky enough to be given a break. But not everyone is going to be lucky. Surely not me.

This is when I stopped believing, not abruptly, but slowly, gradually. I let go of my ambitions. I let go of being big. Each painful ambition removed is one new reality faced, one grim, painful and searing reality burned into my psyche. I knew it wasn't going to be, and there would be no point in pursuing such ambitions. And it is quite true. Yet still, reality crushed me further and further. Like a goldmine collapsing after years of exploitation, my soul collapsed. I literally lost something to hold on to.

Then I remembered once again, my favorite passage in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13, and along with it, 1 Corinthians 12. So plainly does it say, so plainly does it promise, so plainly does it show. Our talents would betray us. Our skills and abilities would never ever be enough. Reality would always be the victor. But if we just lift our skills, talents and gifts to the one who gave it to us; if we could just lift these up to Him, trusting Him fully that He would use us in the way most appropriate, then there would be nothing to fear.

Simply put, the only reason people are who they are is because God willed it so. People would claim that it is their will and not God's, but if God did not allow them to amass such resources, if God did not allow them to die early or to go bankrupt or to be victims of accidents, then they wouldn't have been who they are right now. Sure, people would say it was wise decisions that allowed them to avoid mortality, but ailments do not pick their victims.

To continue, this would mean that everything traces its origins back to God, even our own talents and skills and gifts. And God, in His sovereignty, had already picked for us where He wants us to use our gifts, in a way that we would be happy and in a way that we would truly feel important and loved. People will say this is oppressive, since this would mean we wouldn't have free will, but quite frankly, it's hard to think of free will if we are already clear of what we are hoping to move towards. Aren't we all seeking happiness? What more can we seek? Security, satisfaction, these are only synonyms of the word, expressed in a different light. If God, in his awesome might, had already made for us a place where we can be most happy, then isn't it logical that we try to use our free wills to search for that place?

Then we go back to faith. In the end, the only way all of these would be convincing is if one has faith; if one believed. If we believe in Him who made us, and if we believe that in His love, He had knocked so many times on the doors of our hearts to make us happy, primary of which is the sacrifice of His son; then and only then can we truly accept that we are only because He willed us to be. And because of this, we can certainly hope, that in the future, if we just trust Him with everything that we have, then He would show us the way to where we would be most happy. To where we belong. To our niche in history.

And even if through it all, this doesn't happen, we can rest assured that if we believe in His son and we take Him as our Lord and Saviour, then ultimately at the end of time, beyond even history itself, we will be with Him in happiness.

We aren't destined for history, we are destined beyond history. We must only have faith.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reflections: Ego vs Truth

There are definitely times when we feel we are correct and that others are wrong. There are times when we feel like we are on the side of truth, and that we are the ones who are being maligned. And there are certainly times when we feel so righteous and correct that we simply reject everybody else's opinion, shunning them in favor of our own superior idea. These times, we are definitely wrong, and it's our egos that's doing the vindicating.

Just recently, I had a tussle with a person very very close to me. It started out as innocent talk, but then one thing led to another and suddenly all my insecurities are brought out and dug up. I say insecurities now because I know better, but during the times when we were arguing, I was certain I was being correct. And probably I was half-correct, or a quarter-correct, but I kept insisting mine and mine alone is the truth. It's ironic that its during these times, just by insisting you are 100% correct, it actually proves you are false. Twenty five to fifty percent is not one hundred percent after all.

After this jarring conversation, I had so much ill feelings inside that it began to well up. So much so that it threw me into so much disarray, I began panicking internally. I had fancied myself correct and righteous all this time, and now, this righteousness is being challenged. I no longer am correct, and yet a part of me still insists that I am, and that I only am. It was during this time that I met mister ego.

Ego and truth are often mistaken for each other. Ego after all, stands for the truth, but the truth it stands for isn't really the truth. Rather, it is the truth projected from our own inability to accept the truth, and as such, we create our own truths. This is what we call an excuse, an alibi. An alibi is our way of pretending we are correct, when in fact we are horribly horribly wrong. And excuses and alibis is mister ego's favorite weapon.

So i sought the truth. And while it may seem a rather short quest, I know that I did eventually find it. I found it when, finally, in a moment of acceptance, I began to write a prayer, asking for this ego to go away. I humbly and whole heartedly asked that my pride be torn away from me, that all these feelings of self-righteousness be stripped away and removed. And He who is the truth guided me. He taught me what truth really is.

This truth simply is Christ.

Now, while it may seem hard to accept at first, we have to look at the life of Christ to see what it means. Christ lived an ego-free life. He wasn't egotistical at all, nor was he even proud or had any sense of self-righteousness. How about the times when He claimed He was the Son of God, and that He alone was the truth, wasn't He being self-righteous then? Absolutely not! But for you to agree with this, you must first come to terms that Jesus is indeed the truth. He is indeed the Son of our loving Father, who died to take up the penalties for our sins, and who rose up again to give us a chance at eternal life with the Father. Only when you do will you realize that Jesus wasn't using His ego, He was using the truth.

Humility, which for me means the absence of ego, doesn't mean ignorant tolerance. True humility isn't accepting everything as it is, and living with what is being thrown at you. This kind of humility only breeds ego, as ego, as I have established, doesn't recognize the truth, but fools itself with it's own truth. No, quite the contrary, true humility acknowledges the truth, and isn't afraid to defend the truth when truth is maligned. However, in this regard, care must be taken, as for one to be truly humble, one must know genuine truth. The beauty of all of this? It goes back to the very beginning.

The truth is Christ. Only in Christ is there true absence of ego. Only in truth can we truly shed our egos.

In Luke 4:41-52, we see the story of the Child Jesus in the temple. He left His parents without them knowing, causing His parents to worry about Him. Call it short sightedness, but because of this worry, when they did eventually found Him after four or so days (they spent a day travelling), the got "mad" at Him and scolded Him. His response is a model for all. Speaking from the truth, He answered. His answer defended the truth, he didn't allow the truth to be maligned. And yet, out of His extreme humility, even after this, He acted in kindness towards His parents. This for me speaks volumes about true humility. Humility that doesn't allow the truth to be maligned, but doesn't live behind masks of excuses or alibis, the same masks that ego wears.

This is what I have realized. I have been living an egotistical life by allowing others to malign the truth. I wasn't living humbly; I was being egotistical by silently claiming my own truths, all while lying outwardly by pretending I was okay. If then, my pursuit is to get rid of ego, then I must also shed this false humility, and adapt a humility that doesn't let the truth be compromised. Yes it would be hard, but if I keep the truth, then I should not be afraid. But if I were to be unafraid, then I must keep the truth, I must keep Christ.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reflections: The Story of the Little Frog

[This blog post first appeared in the FORMDEV website, as part of the Reflections project the Bible Study leaders of our community are starting. Reflections is a simple bi-weekly journal and reflection written by the Bible Study leaders of FORMDEV, although there are plans of accepting guest writers as well. The current theme of Reflections is on quiet time, and how important quiet time truly is to each Christian believer. I felt compelled to share this with you, my dear reader, since not all of you are part of FORMDEV. It is in the hope that the message reaches more people, hopefully touching more hearts.]

During the last Bible Study I attended (the one led by Jacats); I couldn’t help but emphasize the importance of a personal testimony, one that stems from our own personal experiences of the Lord. Little did I know that God was preparing me to testify too, and so now I share with you my testimony, the testimony of one who wandered away from the Father, entering into a life of sin. This is the testimony of one whom, after finding out that he was knee-deep in the ways of the world, tried to make his own way back to God only to fail each time. This is the testimony of one who was lost but was found, not by his own volition, but because the Father found him and He Himself, through His awesome power and infinite love, provided him his way back. This is my testimony, and I hope that through this, you may be inspired, even a little bit, not because of my story, but because of God’s mighty hand that was ever present in it.
Before I begin though, I would like to share a story. This story is about a little frog who found himself stuck inside a deep well. The little frog cannot remember anymore (or maybe the little frog chose to forget) how he got stuck; all he knew was he just found himself stuck inside the well, and with no way out. The frog tried countless times to get out of the well by jumping up its walls, but the well was so slippery that he found himself slipping down more than he was climbing up. Every time his little legs felt any semblance of strength, he would once again attempt to get out, only to find himself wearily slipping down. The little frog felt hopeless and tired; he knew he wasn’t getting out any time soon.

Now, this story has three endings, but only one of them is happy. In the first version, crows, seeing the little frog’s dejected state, started flocking the lip of the well. The frog, in his hopelessness, took his chances with the crows. The crows dropped a bucket on the little frog, enticing him to get on. The crows then pulled him out, but the moment he got out (and full of joy as well), the crows began to feast on him. In the second version, the frog cried out to other frogs, who heard his plea. The little frog asked the other frogs if they could drop him pebbles and stones so he could climb on them. So the other frogs began dropping pebbles and stones to the bottom of the well, which the little frog happily used to climb up. Seeing the progress of the little frog, the other frogs began throwing larger and larger stones, hoping that this would help the little frog climb out faster. In the end, the little frog couldn’t keep up and was crushed under the weight of the stones.

Now, it’s obvious that neither one is the happy ending, but before I give the final version of the story, let me explain first and relate the story of the little frog to my own experience. You see, and I would admit to this albeit shamefully, my relationship with God had gone stale recently. It has been a long time since I last had a good quiet time with the Father; I do pray, but I do so hurriedly and not with the intention of spending time with Him. I was like a little frog stuck inside the well, a well of sin. I tried getting out of that well, shrugging it off at times even, pretending I wasn’t in one, but this only made my condition worse. Like the little frog, I end up growing tired and weary each time I attempt to free myself from temptation and sin.

So where does the three endings piece in? In the first version, the crows symbolize the devil. The enemy, seeing you in your weakened state, would offer you an easy way out, only to be preyed upon in the end, bringing about your destruction. It’s very tempting to fight sin with sin, with justification being the gel that binds them together. We know that we have sinned, and our relationship with the Father had gone stale (or even broken), but we still choose to fall for the temptation of Satan, thinking that what seems “good” for us can never be bad. I myself has fallen victim to this, and while shameful, I would have to admit that there was a time during my apparent “separation” with the Father that I did fall into more sin. I have only God to thank now that I was able to recover, unlike what happened to the poor little frog in our story.

In the second version, the other frogs symbolize human attempts at breaking free from sin. The little frog, confident that he can get himself out of the well on his own, devised a clever plan of enlisting the help of other frogs and using rocks and stones to create his own path out of the well. This proved fruitful for the time being, as how human efforts prove to be most of the time. But since these efforts aren’t rooted in the Father, as Jesus said in John 15:6, they would be “like a branch that is thrown away and withers”. Remember that the battle against sin is a spiritual battle, and as such, physical weapons bear no efficacy. And yes, this I also learned, as I made several well-intentioned attempts that weren’t rooted in faith, but not one of them proved successful.

Now, let me share the happy ending, the third and final version of the story. In this version, the little frog cried out to the Father, broken and repentant, begging the Father to give him a way out. And then it began to rain. The little frog, refreshed at the cool feeling of the rain, began to feel at rest, his tired little muscles feeling weary no more. He did wonder though why it suddenly began to rain, and if this indeed was the Father’s answer to his prayer, but he remained steadfast anyway. Slowly, the well began to fill with water. The water began to rise taking the little frog along with it. Eventually the frog was swept up and over the lip of the well. Not only did he not have to do anything, he was cooled and refreshed at the same time.

Isn’t it wonderful? This was exactly what happened to me. Last evening, I simply found myself weary, tired, broken and repentant. I presented myself before the Father, submitting to Him, asking Him to get me out of my miserable situation. And truly, after a long long time, I was able to spend a good quiet time with Him, and did it feel refreshing! Truly, God is an awesome awesome God! I didn’t even have to do anything! He made the way for me, and He pointed me to the right direction. This is how awesome God is, and though sometimes we misconstrue, in the end, if we stick with the Father, things are bound to not only turn up well, but perfect and beautiful too!

So, if right now you think you have a sin that you have not repented for yet, and it’s hindering you from spending some time with the Father, do not be afraid. Jesus came to give hope to the hopeless, and more than anybody else, God understands your situation. His requirement is neither plans nor effort; his only requirement is a repentant heart and a broken spirit, and indeed are we all broken spirits in the time of sin. He does not demand any physical sacrifice or offering either, nor does He demand promises or oaths.

He only wants you to return to Him, and nothing more.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Life and Times vol. 4

Why hello there. If this is your first time reading this blog, then welcome! I'm fifthStitch, the one and only (as far as Google can tell, not counting Fifth Stitch, which has a space in between), and I, well, I don't really know who or what I am. I'm a Roman Catholic, and a pretty devout one at that, but I'm not the type you'd find praying 24/7 in churches or cathedrals. I'm not even that interested in cathedrals (although there are some I'd like to visit, like the awesome St. Peter's Basilica; that place is huge!). I'm also an aspiring writer, comic artist, photographer, software developer (I'm into both corporate and game software development), graphic artist (just a teeny bit), martial artist (hey, to dream is free right?) and all around good guy (I'd say handsome but I value my life so very very much).


Anyway, why the sudden introductions? I don't really know. On to the updates then.

So anyway, I'm really writing this just to get the hang of this thing called ENGLISH once again. Recently I've been reading and checking student emails from my COMPRO1 class (which for the uninitiated, is the first ever nightmare a Computer Science student of DLSU would have, before the even bigger nightmare called ADVANSE), which incidentally are, if not C Code assignments, are hastily written email questions. Hastily doesn't even do them justice! Most of them are nothing more than drawl; broken English with a more shortcuts than a tech-savvy poser's desktop. I mean, no offense to the students, but their English really suck. There are some exceptions though, but then again, I can't blame them since their course technically isn't Creative Writing or some such.

Being the malleable and adaptive person that I am (I should probably add this to my self-introduction above), I feel as if my English is beginning to suck too (not that it was awesome in the first place (I took me three tries to type the word awesome before I got the red squiggly to disappear)). So yeah, basically this entire blog post is me trying to get the hang of writing in semi-perfect, close-to-literary-as-possible English. What better way to practice writing than by making an update!

Unfortunately, between this and the vol. 3 (I'm still not convinced that vol. stands for volume, for all we know it could stand for area, or perimeter, or- *hides in a closet for protection*) there really hasn't been much going on. Ad Continuum seems to be going well, although this week I don't expect myself to create a new comic, though I might make a filler of sorts. I'm waiting for something to arrive, and until that something is not within three feet of me, I cannot proceed with the story in a way that would make sense. My thesis is still, well, that, just a thesis. It hasn't managed to materialize from my brain yet, so nothing much new on that. My collection hasn't grown much either, although the thing I'm waiting for may or may not change that fact.

Welp (a subtle kickasskass reference), that should be it. I feel so well versed in English now I could start making LOLCATS.

[fifthStitch would like to apologize for the idiotic piece of turd he paid to write this article. He has since then learned that a paid turd, while a few thousand bucks richer, is still turd.]


Monday, June 28, 2010

Reflections: Is it bad...

To sometimes ask for guilty pleasure? To ask for something worth working for, to ask for a partial reward. Is it bad that sometimes I want to just be happy, and to just get what would make me happy, without thinking of the happiness of others? Is it bad to sometimes selfishly think of just your own happiness?
This would be perhaps the most different and radical of all my reflections blog post, because it strikes so close to home. Ever since the very beginning, I've made sure that my happiness would be hinged on the happiness of others; simply put, if others are happy then I am happy also. I do not desire to boast or brag, but ever since, I've made it a point to live for others without even thinking of myself. I make myself (sometimes even force myself) to be happy when I make others happy, and kick myself hard when I give them even a tiny hint of sadness or disappointment.

I'm not asking for vindication here, but I'm beginning to seriously question this philosophy. Is life really meant to be lived for others? Is life really meant to be an instrument to make other people happy? It's so beautiful to think that life is interconnected that way, but why is it that there are times when I feel that I am not happy. There are times when I feel like nobody is living for my happiness, and I feel jealous that everybody else is happy except me.

Maybe I'm just being emotional here, and maybe I'm just missing the tiny details, but I don't really know if I should continue to live for others. It gives me genuine joy to see other people happy, do not get me wrong on that. It makes me really glad to have made another person happy, even if just for a very short while. But discontent sometimes rears its nasty head, and I lose all sense of satisfaction. It feels as if though I'm being cheated.

The bible certainly says that we should love others, and Jesus even said that there is no greater act of love for a friend other than being ready to die for him or her. And because my hope lies in Him who saves, I of course believe this. Is what I'm feeling merely hunger for genuine happiness that only the divine can give? Am I giving myself too much to others that I forget to be happy myself?

In the end, I'm sure that this is all part of God's plan, and until God continues to convict my heart and give me the spirit of sacrifice, then I would continue to live my life for others. In the end, I just hold on to the hope that one day God will make me happy, or send people to make my life worth living. For now though, I give my life to others, having complete faith on God's promised joy.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Reflections: On Piracy

[Note: This blog post would be for my benefit more than for the benefit of others. I just wish to finally settle with myself my opinions and my stand on the topic indicated in the title, in the most unbiased way possible. It may seem strange but I do a lot of my thinking when I write, so I'm writing this blog post more as an avenue for my thoughts than for anything else. The bottom line is, this is not a vindication of any kind, this is me examining myself and making sense of my thoughts and opinions. That said, I do not intend this post to be targeted against anyone in particular.]

And now that were done with that, let me jump right in to the topic at hand. Piracy. Piracy, and more specifically media and software piracy, is the act of illegally distributing copies of trademarked or proprietary merchandise (in the case of software piracy, applications and games). It's the illegal procurement and distribution with the intent (either on purpose or not) of making a profit out of the stolen goods. Making a profit though is not limited to positive gain on the part of the pirate, but also includes negative loss on the side of the producer or manufacturer of the stolen goods (and this side of piracy is most often overlooked).

But piracy does not end there, piracy also includes obtaining illegal merchandise through pirates. This means that even the end buyer is culpable of piracy, even if he or she is not directly involved with the illegal distribution (and in fact, he or she is already directly involved, through the act of buying or obtaining said merchandise).

So why am I talking about this? Read on to find out.

First of all, I am against piracy, and I do not find any merit in standing up for piracy. At the baseline of things, piracy is theft; piracy involves illegally obtaining merchandise, that alone should be enough of a basis to say that piracy is equivalent to theft. And while I'm sure there are a lot of ways to justify piracy, I do not find any of them as just or sound; most of the justifications are merely excuses, and while the prohibitive costs of some merchandise are really unjust, it is still not an excuse to be stealing from them.

Now, before I proceed, I wish to make it clear that I myself have in fact committed acts of piracy before, and most likely I would still commit such acts in the future. But as with all my other reflections that defines my stand in an issue, genuine effort for me is enough. I am genuinely trying to purge myself of this act, and I believe this should be enough of a reason for me to advocate my opinion.

Anyway, now that I'm done explaining my stand, I wish to put all that aside to look with an unbiased eye on the reasons why people still commit such acts, and to look and probably devise a way of addressing such problems. After all, nobody would be committing acts of piracy if they weren't given a reason to do so. I thought about various reasons, and while the reasons I came up with would not encompass all the possible reasons, I believe they are major enough to account for the majority, and as such, should be a sound representation of those opinions.

That said, I would think the biggest reason why people resort to piracy is (as mentioned previously), the prohibitive costs of the merchandise in question. I suppose everyone would agree when I say the prices of goods today have skyrocketed to impossible proportions. Some even theorize that in a few years, even basic "free" commodities like water (and ludicrously enough, air) would cost an unjust amount. Blame it on the decline of resources or the inherent greediness of human beings, the fact is, stuff are expensive nowadays. And people would always clamor for things that are free, and would find ways to obtain goods on the cheap, hence piracy (although not always, I'm merely pointing out that it is due to our inherent desire to obtain goods on the cheap that piracy came to be).

Now, while prices do tend to be unjust, we should also consider the fact that merchandise actually have a cost of production, which means that in order to produce goods, the producer spends resources of their own. And since we (especially the entrepreneur producers) also have the inherent desire to profit, the price of merchandise must at least be able to compensate for the cost of producing them. This is a very basic rule of our current merchandising system, and in my opinion, is also the cause of a lot of the greedy and corrupt actions society is currently committing.

So where does piracy come into play here? And for that matter, what are its effects? Basically, when people pirate merchandise, the producer of the merchandise does not get the compensation he or she was ought to get ("ought to get" as defined by the merchandising system discussed above). As a result, the overall sales of the merchandise could become less than the cost of production, resulting in a loss to the entrepreneur. So what does this all mean? Very simply, it means that piracy is preying on the spirit of entrepreneurship; and the more people pirate, the more the innovators degrade, and in the worst case, disappear.

While it is understandable that people would always want things on the cheap or even free, this desire destroys the merchandising industry. In the favorable order of things, when an entrepreneurial activity is deemed successful (and the measure of success is often if not always the amount of profit gained), better products are developed and made, often on the said profits of a previous activity. This ensures better and better quality goods, especially when we include in our model competitors and natural obstacles. But as soon as the unnatural obstacle of piracy kicks in, innovative entrepreneurial activities become uncompensated, resulting in their decline. This would snowball into the degradation of product quality, and could even result in more unfair prices as entrepreneurs want to at least break even with their now uncompensated product.

So should we say then that piracy is evil? Well, amidst all the inherent even that piracy is capable of, it does do one thing, and it does so very very effectively. Piracy destroys capitalism. This I would think is the heroic image painted by piracy, the robin hood effect that pirates revel in. And I suppose this is perhaps a nice little ideology, if it wasn't a nice colorful mask to the truly greedy. I suppose some pirates have this ideology as the reason why they commit acts of piracy. This is I think the reason why underground file sharing communities came into existence (and I suppose the idea of sharing bought merchandise isn't new to our generation, but because of the terrible adaptation of the capitalist model to electronic merchandise, it has become ever more controversial). But this ideology should be approached with caution, as this of course can also be used to justify unjust greediness.

Now that this has all been said, what now can be done? I suppose the only true way to address piracy is to revise the whole merchandising and profit system (capitalism in short). While the idea of unbounded profit is a good thing, it is also a greedy thing. In my opinion, perhaps a naive alternative would be to implement profit bounds that are just enough to compensate for the cost of production AND make a good amount of profit, perhaps for the production of future goods. Once the profit bounds are reached, the said goods could be given out for free; future profit generation from "bound-over" goods could then be in the form of donations and the like. In doing so, while the profits would end up being bounded, at least it could deter pirates, as after the said bound is reached, the product is going to be given for free anyway.

It sounds funny and naive yes, but really, the point I'm trying to drive home is that capitalism should be revised, as it's doctrines are the source of greediness and corruption. And if there was a generation capable of doing this, I do have a feeling that it is OUR generation who could. We are more aware of corruption and are hungrier than ever before to stop it. We, in my opinion, have also become less greedy, and more reasonable and rational. And while there would always exist people or groups ready to feed on and take advantage of the rational and the reasonable, I think in our generation, we have enough of a level of social responsibility to actually start change and put enough of a pressure on capitalist groups.

On a more personal level, I have agreed with myself to follow a certain set of rules when it comes to piracy, with great emphasis on software and media piracy, as these are the kinds of piracy that I find myself committing a lot. For the record, these rules are:
  1. Never obtain pirated or illegal copies of merchandise or goods that I could have obtained legally anyway, unless I am in a pinch which I would define later.
  2. Obtaining pirated or illegal copies of goods that are already out of production is allowed, as buying them from second hand channels would not result in the cash ending up in the hands of the original producer (since these items are already out of production anyway, and in effect, the producer have released the merchandising rights to the goods).
  3. In the case of in production goods that are not readily distributed or obtainable from where I currently am, I am allowing myself to obtain pirated copies of them, as long as I get original copies as soon as they become available.
  4. Finally, in a pinch is defined as any life and death situation or any situation on that level, in which case, the caveat of rule 3 must be followed.
I know these rules maybe idealistic or even questionable, but I set them up so that I would be guided in my decisions. Again, these are my rules, set on writing as a contract with myself. This is not in any way meant to be for anybody else, and if anyone would like to object, I am most happy to hear their objection out, but it would not necessarily mean a change in the aforementioned rules.

And there, I guess that should be it. With all these written up, I feel more at peace with myself, and with how I would deal with these kinds of situations. I know this blog post took a weird turn here and there, but like I said in the beginning (and would apply to all Reflections blog posts), this is more so that I could be at peace with my thoughts and to have a more unbiased look at things. Again, this is not meant to be targeted against anyone, and is not meant to convince or change anybody else's opinions. It's just me, sharing my opinions to the world.

And at the end of the day, what matters is the soundness of the opinion.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Life and Times vol. 3

It's been a while, hello there!


Augh, I haven't been updating my main blog in a while because I really don't have much time to. So you'd have to pardon the slow updates. Anyways, hello once again! I kinda missed writing here, so this might be one of those very loooooong blog posts. I have much to talk about anyway, so without further ado, let us begin!

So you might be wondering what I've been up to for the past 2 or 3 months since my last update (or, you know, you're not...). Well, I've been slaving over my Master's thesis for quite awhile now, and truth be told, I don't really think it's going anywhere! To those of you who are interested, my thesis is about extending the CDT plug-in for Eclipse.


CDT basically is the C Development plug-in for Eclipse. It allows you to convert your Eclipse IDE into a development platform for the C language (ordinarily, Eclipse is a Java compiler). It also adds some other tools that will help you in C programming, like DOM Trees and such. And no, before the picspam gets ahead of me, IT'S NOT THAT KIND OF DOM! Seriously, these developers should give the stuff they develop less promiscuous sounding names.

Anyway, apart from thesis, I've also begun collecting small scale pose-able figures. Currently my collection consists of one FIGMA Koizumi, one Revoltech Fraulein Asuka and one S.H.Figuarts Kamen Rider Black RX (which, now that I realize it, makes my collection more multicultural than the Justice Friends). I'm saving up to get either a FIGMA Yuki Nagato (non witch version) or an S.H.Figuarts W, Kabuto or Decade. I currently am borrowing a friend's SHF Kabuto and Revo Fraulein Pocco, for use in another project I'd talk about in awhile, but I really really want to get a hold of my own SHF Kabuto, for collection purposes.

For the uninitiated, FIGMA is a line of pose-able figures from Max Factory featuring well known (some not so much) anime characters from a variety of series, most notably the Haruhi Suzumiya no Yuutsu series (their first FIGMA came from that series, correct me if I'm wrong). Revoltech Fraulein is also a line of pose-able figures this time from Kaiyodo, comprised entirely of female anime or game characters (I think, I don't really know where Pocco came from).


S.H.Figuarts on the other hand is a line of pose-able action figures from Bandai, mainly of Kamen Riders (but I think they also feature some other "heroic" characters). They're the evolution of sorts of the former Souchaku Henshin line of Kamen Rider figures, featuring better joints, more points of articulation and better detailing. I still argue that the S.H. in S.H.Figuarts stands for Souchaku Henshin, or at least meant to be an allusion of sorts to their predecessor line, but someone would kill me, so I just won't (although secretly I still do! Fight fight!)

So, what do I do with these figures? Why, make a comic out of them of course! (What? It's the most logical course of action right? No?)


If you want to read them, visit this link. Apart from the main continuity, I've also been making side comics for the lulz. To read them, visit this link. It would link you to my other blog where I would house the comics temporarily. Just click on the Read more link, or the full view links on each. A friend of mine also agreed to give my comics a home in his blog, which hopefully gets them to more interested audiences, since he has friends that are really into Kamen Riders and anime and figures. You can visit his blog here.

So for a short introduction of what these comics are, well, Ad Continuum is basically my re-imagining of the Kamen Rider concept. In this world, Riders are spirits, and instead of bikes, they ride on the bodies of hosts, appropriately termed Ride. These hosts or Rides must be of strong magic potential, as this is a requirement to contain the powers of the Rider spirits in physical form. Of Pertaining to Comedy on the other hand is, well, you don't really describe it. It's really just for the lulz, and a place for comic rants. I don't have a fixed schedule of publishing yet for these comics, but hopefully in a week or two the schedules would have stabilized.

I've also started a new line of short stories called Alternatives, which basically are fanfictions of sorts, a re-imagining of the stories of anime series or any sort of series really. So far I've made the first chapter of Alternative DeathNote, featuring Light as a software hacker (of all things, but hey, my college course is about software development and stuff, so what better alternate world right? Right? Ugh).

Anyway, that should be it for now. I apologize for the Hello Kitty brief at the beginning of the blog post. Really, that was uncalled for. Unless you want them. Which officially makes you the most creepy brief-wearer in the world.

Seriously. Don't get near those. They're probably haunted with the ghosts of people killed by shame while wearing one.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Reflections: On Doing the Noble

Lately I've been very disturbed by the opinions of two of my close friends. I have nothing against them personally, and I'm sure if they read this they would understand why I wrote it, but it still makes me feel uncomfortable doing so because I consider them very close friends, and souring ties with them is not something I would want to do. But since I cannot contain the urge anymore to express my opinions on it, I have decided to write this anyway, if only to clear my conscience with regards to these matters.

Philippine bureaucratic processes cause major headaches to people trying to conduct transactions with the government. It would be great if these processes can be avoided, but since we live in this country and breathe its air, there really is nothing we can do. It's inevitable that at one point in time, you'd be talking in front of an irritable underpaid government agent to avail of a government service, and I'd be the first to say I'd do just about anything to avoid having to go through with that.

But I won't stoop to corruption.

Call me uninformed or naive, because yes, I am uninformed and naive, but if there's one thing I'm proud to say I know and I hold on to, it's that I would always try to do the noble thing. Maybe I'm only able to say this because I haven't had enough experience with these bureaucratic processes, and maybe after experiencing the hell these processes put people into I might consider making a "better" judgement call, but it will take a whole lot of convincing before I consider corrupt methods as practical alternatives.

I do not mean to offend here - yes, to each their own - but I personally will not be able to live with myself if I even considered corrupt methods on purpose. Sure, they are going to get my needs and wants faster than you can say miscellaneous taxes, but it would add more fuel to the ever-growing fire of corruption. As I have said before already, our country is corrupt enough as it is, why should I contribute more corruption?

I'm sure the officials involved also get unauthorized percentage cuts from the taxes we end up paying. But I do not think it's the same thing to adopt corrupt methods, and to pay taxes you know that a percentage of ends up in their hands anyway. For one thing, it avoids you committing the sin, putting the responsibility and conscience burden on those who do take unauthorized cuts. And while I'm sure it's very tempting to consider corrupt methods since you end up paying a whole lot less, it doesn't make it any more vindicated.

That said, I know myself and I know that I'm not perfect and that I do not fit the character of the "Carrier of the Noble Mantle" or "Sir Noble DoGoodAlways". But I also believe that should not be a factor here. So what if at one point in time we fall, everyone does! That doesn't mean we should stop striving to always do the noble thing!

And no, resorting to the easy way out does not automatically make you evil; I do not wish to pass judgement on you. I'm sure people who do have their own reasons, and this is just me airing my own. I do not mean this to be demeaning or derogatory; I'm addressing the act and not the actor.

Perhaps this is the true reason why I still watch childish hero shows, rather than more "mature" dramas. You can stop reading now if you wish, the rest are just my after thoughts. I wish to preserve this "naivety" if you will; this "childlike" point of view. I'm sure perhaps deception and trickery may have its place in this world, maybe not as a tool of evil but a tool to outwit evil, but I'm sure evil itself doesn't. And rationalizing them doesn't change the fact that evil is still evil. But often times, the boundaries are so blurred. Perhaps in the end, we just need to have a heroic heart, and right now, I really pray I do.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reflections: May 2010 Elections and the Senatorial Race

Normally I am not so much into the hopeless, star-studded politics of my motherland, but seeing an opportunity open for the Filipino nation to actually cause a change, you'd begin to have a sense of hope. That maybe, my one vote would count, and maybe my one vote would go a long way into triggering positive change.

You're in for a rude awakening if you thought the same way.

To be fair, the Philippines is not the only country to have actor-turned political leaders. In the United States for example, we have the ever popular case of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator Governor of California (might I add that he was actually sworn into office not once, but three times? Things you learn from Wikipedia). I'm sure there are other well-known examples out there (U.S. President Ronald Reagan immediately comes into mind), but I won't bother listing them all here, as while I have nothing against actors turning into politicians (okay, so I may have something, but I'm trying to suppress my disbelief and lack of faith in favor of a more accurate observation), I do am against politicians who do nothing more than warm their seats.
Let's be obtuse and acute here (wow, triangles). It is no mystery that I am a stalwart (and by stalwart I mean... yeah, stalwart) critic of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. But let me qualify this (the Comelec chairman had been qualifying a lot lately so why can't I?) by saying that, I have nothing against him personally, it's just that I really don't think he should be Senator. I fully believe that he has nothing that would qualify (there I go again) him as a member of the upper legislative chamber of the Philippines. He is a very good actor (okay, maybe not so very good), and dare I say, an effective VRB chief and anti-piracy zealot, but as a legislative official, he falls so very very short.

A quick look at his achievements and background reveals some interesting facts. He apparently jumped into a bus in a hostage scene to negotiate with the hostage-taker. Apparently the hostages were school children, which is a good cause, albeit a rash and brazen move (he could have been shot, but due to his exercise equipment powered indestructibility, I'm sure being killed by bullets didn't even enter his mind). Now, I am not downplaying this feat; in all honesty, I don't know if anybody else would have done the same thing. To brazenly and fearlessly step into a bus just to negotiate personally with a hostage taker takes a whole lot of guts, desire and determination. But seriously now, this cannot be a basis for putting him in the senate right? I'm gonna go on a limb here and say that this act certainly is that of a hero, but a senator? Really?

Now, you might be wondering, why am I ranting about just one particular senator, when in fact there would be twelve right? I mean, if he's as bad as I claim him to be, perhaps he won't even make it to the magic twelve right? Well, if your train of thoughts were similar to that, then you're absolutely, ridiculously...


At Seventeen million, twenty three thousand, two hundred seventy votes (17,023,270), Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr leads the senatorial race over other names like Gilbert Remulla (who, even while being the youngest elected official in the lower legislative house, authored such laws as the Anti Dangerous Drugs Bill) and Satur Ocampo (a veteran of democratic wars, and tougher than nails), both of which did not even make it to the top twelve, albeit being more deserving (in my honest opinion, please don't shoot me). This is after 85.88% of the Electoral Returns were counted and tallied (not canvassed, apparently this is a separate activity). Seventeen million Filipinos chose to vote for this guy. Seventeen million. SEVENTEEN MILLION!


That's about the same number of Smart subscribers, according to their ads. Seventeen million chose a candidate with a poor legislative record, who as a result is now leading the senatorial race at an indomitable, unbeatable top spot, three hundred thousand votes higher than second placer Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada (son of former president Joseph Estrada who is now second in the presidential race. Both of them were implicated in an illegal gambling controversy which led to the impeachment of the latter). This begs the question, why? Why? Why would someone without a tertiary education have this much voters? Why would someone who barely did anything during his tenure as Cavite governor be this high in the senatorial race? Just why?


To be fair, Bong Revilla Jr did a good job as VRB chief, even getting a Plaque of International Recognition for Efforts Against Piracy by the Motion Picture Association of America and the Huwarang Lingkod Bayan Award by the Consumers League of the Philippines Foundation. I dig that, I truly truly do, being a somewhat of an anti-piracy stalwart myself. But as a legislative official, he really leaves a lot to be desired. A pretty face and a kind character is not enough and is not even that significant in the kind of office he would soon hold. Sure, it will get you a seat, and perhaps this will answer my penultimate question, but still, haven't we learned yet from putting actors into public office? What does it say about us and our society?

A friend of mine told me the disparity between the weak middle class and the strong lower class of our society. The middle class bases the credibility of a candidate on their track record and performance, while the lower class bases the credibility of a candidate on their popularity and approachability. I do not think any one of this is an invalid way of ascertaining credibility, but I do think that the middle class method is a more accurate way, as it measures characteristics that really do matter. Approachability, while being a qualified means of measuring character (for me at least) reveals only so much. In the end, what matters more is whether the candidate can cause change, and having a good track record reveals a lot in this regard.

Now like I said, I am not fond of politics at all, but I do get fired up when opportunities to cause change are wasted. In the end, other than disappointment, I try desperately to still have hope. Perhaps these people are not as bad as I thought they would be. Perhaps next time, voters would have learned their lessons. I do am certain of one thing though. Change is inevitable, I'm sure there will be change, but whether positive or negative now lies on the hands of the elected.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reflections: On how to beat an XBOX

Before anything else, read this.

Now that you're done reading it, read this and this. These are two very legitimate replies to the post in question, but you have to pardon the bad English on the first one.

Done? Then you may proceed.

The issue of games vs girlfriends have been extant since the invention of games (or girlfriend boyfriend relationships, whichever came first). The gist of the matter is really very simple: girl and guy hook up, girl and guy have steamy relationship fueled by passion (and maybe also by libido), passion eventually runs dry, guy returns to playing video games, girl gets mad and begins antagonizing video games, cursing them like a plague from hell. Optionally, it can also begin with girl asks for space, guy gives space, guy plays video games while giving girl space, guy gets hooked, girl misses guy, girl gets mad, then copy and paste the rest.

I've never really had much of a problem with this, as the one I love shares my love for games, but cases like that are, dare I say, an exception to the norm. At least in the Philippines, I see a lot of girls getting jealous over computer games, like DotA (and its spiritual successor, HoN), and how their boyfriends seem to spend more time playing games than spending time with them (spending time playing with them? let's try to keep this post kid-friendly...). And it's not uncommon too! In fact, I've heard of a song written specially for the girls vs games issue.

It's in Filipino though, so for the benefit of my foreign readers (in case I have them), the song is basically a rant against a boyfriends addiction to DotA.

Now, personally, I find this topic a non-issue. I mean, if you truly love the person, you must be willing to make the sacrifice. There are of course limits to this, which I will be discussing in a sec, but my point is, love is built on patience and sacrifice. A loving partner would understand the addictions of his or her significant other, because its part of his or her partner. I don't think it's true love unless you are willing to accept your significant other COMPLETELY and WHOLLY. That said, the other partner is also expected to do the same.

For me, a real relationship is built on mutual understanding (way to redefine my standards -_-). As the aphorism goes, it takes two to tango. It takes two to love (to make love? like I said, keeping it kid-friendly). Both must be willing to make sacrifices for a relationship to succeed. This sets the limit on how much sacrifice a partner must be willing to give. But I have to make this point clear; no, there are no limits, in fact, there must be no limit on how much a partner is willing to sacrifice, BUT if the other partner is not willing to even make an effort to meet his or her partner half-way, then its about time to consider parting ways. Remember:


And while meeting halfway is a requirement, it must never NEVER be on the expectation list of either one of the partners. It must remain as an agreement, not a rule; a covenant and not a law.

As I am typing this, I'm having a conversation with a friend about this issue. And I guess, we share the same sentiments. There is one thing though that I guess requires due time to point out...


Playing video games is a form of entertainment, so is Facebook or any other addiction. But when addiction turns to obsession, then that's the time when it becomes dangerous. It becomes dangerous not just to one's self, but also to one's relationships. It prevents one to meet the other halfway. How do you expect a boat to move if that boat is so tightly anchored at port?

The person that I love also has her own addictions, and honestly, sometimes I get a teensy bit irritated if that's the only thing she ever seems to talk about (sorry -_-). But I love her too much to let it affect me. In fact, I've been developing a liking for the things she is addicted to, so much so that I'm beginning to have a mancrush on... Okay, too much information, I think I should stop now (I do have a manly appreciation for his voice... Too much info still?)... But in all seriousness, what I'm saying is, at the end of it all...


Or something like that...

And girl, about your XBOX problem? Don't you know men find girl gamers sexy?