Sunday, April 13, 2014

Back from Bali! And Coming Soon: Apex and Silver Blade

While I was in Bali, I received some good news!!! I received acceptance letters from Apex Magazine and Silver Blade. I have been writing fewer poems lately, but I do believe they are of higher quality. My poem "The First Stone" will appear in Apex sometime this year, the editors haven't decided yet when. But "Vessels" will be up in Silver Blade sooner; the editor, Mr. John Mannone said he expects it to be out this May 2014.

Still giddy!

!!!

As for Bali, I really had the time of my life! I think Victor and I really didn't expect it to be that great. We've been to several beaches in the Philippines and thought it might just like be the ones we have here locally. I have this notion that no beach can be better than beaches in the Philippines, where the sand is fine, the waters calm and the reefs, teeming.

There was a ninja on the plane, named Victor

But Bali is different. It's a cultural mecca. The woodcarving industry is alive and radiant. I've never seen such varied designs and painstaking detail. The batik/textile industry is just as lively. I got myself some cute Aladdin pants and a long dress. Silver works are bustling as well and they've got designs of varying intricacies.

Some of the local wares

Woodcarving

Batik-making
Tried a simple silver stud with floret detail, it was $30 a pair
Care for a silver chariot?

Oh, and I should also mention their spa industry. Left and right, you can get your feet cleaned by "Dr. Fish" for as little as $3. My Muay Thai-thickened feet are suddenly smooth again.


We visited the Monkey Forest at Ubud. The macaques were pretty aggressive. If they want your banana, they're gonna go ahead and snatch it from you.

I think he knows I have a banana in my pocket
They want bananas, too
Banana hand shake
Cool off at the Lotus Cafe, with a view of the temple
Feed coffee berries to the civet cats (luwak)
Kopi Luwak in different stages of processing
Got to try out different tea and coffee products, all organic
I tried the Kopi Luwak, which is just cat poop coffee in the plainest sense. And it tastes pretty good, like chocolate without the bitterness. I wouldn't buy a bag of beans for myself, however. Aside from being expensive, the thought of drinking poo is difficult to come to terms with.

I think I'm coming back to Bali, oh yes, I am. I need to explore the other areas and temples, which I'll probably need a week to do. I'm also gonna surf some more, because I discovered just how fun it is. I got to stand up on my first try, how cool is that?

Like a lady, yeah?! Victor's back there, watchoo lookin at? haha
Oh yeah, I'm coming back!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Busy Bee at The Fort

We just moved to a new office!

I didn't really like the idea of moving to Bonifacio Global City due to the difficulty of transportation; however I've started to like it here. There are still sights to see, unlike the sardine-like architecture of Makati. The air still smells like the air and not like something burnt.

I haven't been writing a lot these days. I feel like I need to gather some new experiences to get back into the fray. I did write over a hundred poems in 2013, so I can't blame myself for running out of steam.

I have some work that have been published and, as I wrote in a past post, I've also bagged a laureate for a poem I wrote for Mt. Fuji. They have mailed me my certificate, and it looks absolutely lovely. ^^

2013 Fujisan Haiku Competition

Some of my work have appeared already over yonder UK bridge. I'm so happy to receive my lovely copies of Magma Poetry and Abridged. My photography skills aren't the best, but here they are:

Lovely cover!
and here's my poem, "Pub(l)ic Lies"

This one is for Abridged. My poem "To Pay Homage" is printed in their 13th issue themed Mara:

Yup that's the cover. It looks like a nice photo. It's nice.
I have a couple of haiku coming up in The Heron's Nest and A Hundred Gourds ezines. I'll just make a separate post for those. :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

#100DaysOfReal

It's funny how people try so hard to be happy. The self-proclaimed positivists tell us that happiness is a mindset. Find the bright side in all things and you will be happy. Tell yourself:

I am happy. I am happy. I am happy.

Say that to yourself every morning, every day, every hour and minute.

Happy yet?

If fantasy is your cup of tea, then maybe you are. If you can maintain your fantasy for the rest of your life, then well and good.

But my take on this is that we're becoming weak-minded and cowardly. Sadness and misery, ennui and weariness, these negative feelings are part of the whole package of being human. By constantly denying the existence of these states of mind, do we become better people? I think not. In fact I believe it may lead us to become intolerant and one-dimensional. We foster a culture of denial without even realizing it. Bored? Watch cute videos; problem solved. Unhappy? Find one thing that makes you happy everyday for 100 days, and see the difference (#100DaysofHappy--familiar?)

We turn happiness into a pursuit, the elusive prey hiding in the dark crevices of the daily grind. We turn it into a cure-all. As if the purpose of life is to always have a smile on our faces. The worst part is, we hold on to happiness with deathly grips. Because you know why? We can't stand our own misery.

We can't stand the fact that we are bored and something's not right.
We can't stand the nagging thought that things could be better.
We can't stand the fact that we'll never have enough money to buy eveyrthing we want.

We can't stand the fact that we are WANTING.

The first step to happiness is to not look for it. The next is to know yourself. Know what you want and why you want it. Happiness is just a consequence, with many paths leading to it. Arriving at happiness at one point in time doesn't mean you should stay there forever. You move on with your life. You face the challenges and the facts, and if at times events lead to misery, you face it. You don't talk yourself out of it and just look for the bright side in your pile of shit.

You acknowledge the shit, find a shovel and start digging and cleaning. And then learn to laugh about it (someday).

Let's try it out, #100DaysOfReal, and maybe we'll understand better how we can effectively reduce suffering in the world.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm at Strange Horizons, "Rehearsal for When He Wakes"

This must be the most exciting year for me yet. I've always dreamt of appearing on SE's pages. Who'd have thought? "Rehearsal for When He Wakes" is up in their February 24, 2014 issue. The podcast of the issue is also available in two parts.

  • Podcast: February Poetry Part 1, by John Philip Johnson, Peter Chiykowski, Susan Carlson, Natalia Theodoridou, Alicia Cole, and Amal El-Mohtar, read by Diane Severson Mori, Peter Chiykowski, Kristopher Goorhuis, Kate Baker, Ciro Faienza, and Amal El-Mohtar (2/24/14) In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents poetry from the February issues of Strange Horizons. 
  • Podcast: February Poetry Part 2, by Jenn Grunigen, Mike Allen, Jessy Randall, Lisa M. Bradley, Anne Carly Abad, Rose Lemberg, and Danielle Higgins, read by Jenn Grunigen, Mike Allen, Tina Connolly, Lisa M. Bradley, Ciro Faienza, Julia Rios, Rose Lemberg, and Clare McBride (2/24/14) In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents poetry from the February issues of Strange Horizons.
Many many thanks to the editors, especially to Ms. Adrienne Odasso and Ms. Anaea Lay.