Category Archives: Stuff From My Life

Summer ’18

Well now, it’s been a while. Stuff happened so let’s talk about them before I get preoccupied with even more stuff.

PART I: THE FUN THING ABOUT NOTHING

I went on a trip to an island somewhere in Sorsogon. I was there with some of my co-workers and we all have that understanding among ourselves about how much we needed this break away from the office. It was a few hours away from my parent’s hometown so the whole experience was new. No, it’s not the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen clearer water and finer sand. But it was definitely one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. You know why? Because that was the only vacation where I actually get to do NOTHING!

And by “nothing” I mean just staying inside the cottage and waiting until it was okay to swim under the sun.

I used to believe that in order for a getaway at the beach to be worthwhile, I had to stay in the water for as long as I can. And I would just end up extremely tanned and nothing much has changed within me. I finally understood that delightful feeling of watching the waves as I breathe the fresh air of the ocean. I finally realized, in rare moments with nature like these, how important it is to pause for a while and reflect on life. Without plans and without other places to be. It was as if I was stuck in another space and it was just me and that horizon. And everything was at peace.

PART II: SUCH FOL-DE-ROL AND FIDDLE-DEE-DEE OF COURSE IS

I also went on another musical phase. I got obsessed with Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (2013). I guess it all started with watching Broadway Princess Party on Youtube. The whole event was fun enough–you get to see Broadway actors singing classic Disney songs. And one of those actors was Laura Osnes. Some of her performances was this beautiful medley of Disney songs and this wonderful rendition of “I See the Light” with Zachary Levi (guy who voiced Flynn Rider from Tangled).

In my everyday experience with music, I get to listen to beautiful voices by beautiful people from beautiful songs. But there are just some voices where you’d want for more. Laura’s was one of them. And I scrambled my way through Spotify and looked for her just to satisfy my ears. And that’s when I found myself drowned in this classic tale of glass slippers and fairygodmothers and dreams. And even though Cinderella is not my favorite (part of that is her passivity towards her so-called dreams because it shall be taken care of by karma and her deus ex-fairygodmother), she has become part of my childhood. And man, the songs were catchy and magical.

PART III: CUTE NAMES LIKE HIMIKO AND EZIO

I stopped playing Skyrim. And did that make me a more productive person? Nope. It was only replaced by more video games, Tomb Raider (2013) and Assassin’s Creed II. 

I’d like to start with Assassin’s Creed II since there’s a lot to talk about in Tomb Raider (2013). My first experience with this game was back in 2014 when I got this laptop from my cousin and there was Assassin’s Creed: Revelation installed. And I’m pretty sure I mentioned a little bit about it here. Anyway, it was a fun game. The parkour was awesome and having that liberty on choosing what kind of kill you’d do for a target was an exhilarating feeling.

Let’s move on to Tomb Raider (2013). I am in love with Lara Croft’s character in this particular game. Well, she has been part of my childhood but I didn’t quite relate to her. She was just, at least for me, a badass Angelina Jolie character and nothing more.

Then this game came along and suddenly, Lara Croft was like this girl you see in school but never really know and you never really cared. And then you two got stuck in a situation, like a lab partner in Science class or something. And she turned out to be a really cool person and you two become really awesome friends. And you’re sort of torn between jealousy and attraction because she’s really hot and really badass and she has everything you do not have. You either want to make out with her or push her in the hallways just to check if she’s vulnerable to embarrassment because seriously you can’t be all that perfect what the hell, girl, there has to be a flaw!

Anyway, Tomb Raider (2013) is an awesome game. Sure, the graphics and gameplay was already good enough but the thing that I really loved about it is the actual story of how Lara came to be. She started as this selfish, curious explorer who cared more about uncovering answers than the welfare of the people around her. Which then led to consequences and she gradually changed into this human being who is determined to save her friends despite the danger that comes her way. Then again, it may be because of guilt. I mean, if I were her, I would want to save everyone knowing the fact the I was the reason they were there in the first place.

Whatever she was, it didn’t really matter. I was inspired by her determination, resourcefulness and care for other people. To be honest, I see so much of Nancy Drew in her. I guess that’s the reason why I love her.

PART IV: SHORT MENTION OF NON-EXISTENT STUFF

Now, I have been made fun of for being attracted to video game characters. First of all, I am not attracted to video game characters. Second, even if I was, which I’m not, video game characters are no different from film characters or book characters. Sure, these are non-existent characters but see, there’s this thing in philosophy about universe of discourse and y’all guys should check it.

My point here is that I have come to relate to these video game characters more than the people in real life and that makes them stood out. That makes me interested and engaged (or maybe even attracted) to them.

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6 Months

I just want to stop by and talk about work. I just realized I don’t really talk about my job much because I don’t think it’s…polite? proper? I don’t know, when you’re putting stuff out there in the internet, there are specific things that you avoid talking about. Things that may affect your relationships, your career and even your future. Also, there isn’t really much to talk about because…I don’t talk about the lectures that I listened to when I was still at school. It’s the same like that.

But something really divine happened. Nope, it’s not a promotion or an increase or anything like that. I just finished a 3D-animated video that explains how a certain machine works. I can’t tell you the details involving it but there’s a lot of things I can tell you about how it was like working on it for more than half a year. Yep, it’s one of the longest project I’ve ever had in my career.

At first, I was genuinely excited. I’ve had 3D projects before and they’ve all been fun and fulfilling. So at the beginning of August 2017, I was happily making assets and trying out different lights for the scene. There were revisions regarding the placements and the models but it was okay. It was part of my job. Until halfway through the animation process and the revisions started to go on a different path. It turns out that I failed to really grasp what my client envisioned. The final output was starting to get blurry. And the deadline was getting further and further away from what we had all expected. What everyone had expected of me.

Christmas and New Year came and went, I was still fixing a lot of things. I welcomed 2018 with more frustrations. I wasn’t able to help in other projects because I was stuck with this one. It wasn’t even supposed to be difficult. When you look at it in an animator’s point of view, it’s really just a simple 1-minute clip. The characters were simple stick figures, the cameras were placed in just one angle and the simulations were minimal. It wasn’t supposed to take this long.

That was when I started doubting myself. Maybe I wasn’t really that good. I never dreamed of becoming the best. But I sure as hell never wanted to be the worst. But that’s what it felt like. It felt like I failed my client, my boss and myself. Even if they were nice and patient enough to point out the stuff that needed fixing, there were voices in my head that weighed me down. Why do I keep making mistakes? Why do I miss the important details? Why am I taking so slow? And I started to compare myself to everyone else as they finish one project after another. Sure, it’s really about the quality over quantity but holy shit every output they produce were so good that I cannot even look at my own work anymore. And I started to think about how we all started the same way and how much everyone else has achieved and learned. What did I learn from the past year? And I started to hate myself.

Every revision became an ordeal. Every comment, no matter how nicely delivered, gave reasons for the voices in my head to start whispering awful stuff. Everyday, I carry this weight as heavy as the machines this project was about. I lost the passion for it and the drive to help my client. I was making the revisions with the mindset of wanting to finish it. Not wanting to create a fulfilling output. As much as I hated to admit it, I stopped caring.

And that’s when I started to see a light at end of the tunnel. It was just a tiny speck but I can feel it was out there. You know how when you’ve been on a really long trip on a bus or a car and you suddenly feel that you’re almost at your destination? And there’s this excitement in the air and people start to sit up straight. And they crane their necks and they press their noses on the windows. It was as if the energy came back to the same level it was at the start of the journey.

It was on that penultimate moment that I started to pick myself up and the voices started to fade. The excitement I felt was back as if the whole revisions and frustrations never happened. I got focused on fixing it and I was even making extra effort in making it better. Of course there were still a few mishaps along the way, but it didn’t bother me anymore. because I knew where the project was going.

And I did it.

The moment my boss gave the thumbs-up for the final render, I LITERALLY dropped and rolled on the floor because the euphoric feeling was too much for me to contain. Of course, I didn’t actually do it in front of him, I still had to go back to my seat and stuff.

And that was it. It was a roller-coaster of emotions before I got here. And I am left with nothing but feeling of gratitude for the whole experience. And I’m looking forward to more projects. Even the dreadful emotions that come along with it.

Fun Like The Wilderpeople

I was never a patient photographer. Sure, I take photos but I take photos when it’s convenient to take photos. I can never go about my current activity walking around with a camera or a selfie stick in my hand. That’s just too much inconvenience and it interferes with living the moment, you know.

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Our hike was supposed to start earlier (so that it wouldn’t be too hot to hike) but everyone came later than the supposed meeting time. It didn’t really matter though, because when we got there, the trees were blocking the sunlight. And that people, is why we don’t cut trees down especially in a busy city. I am so mad right now.

To expand on this thought, I would like to talk about the hiking experience I’ve had a few weeks ago with my co-workers. Now, we were a bunch of people who make a living by sitting in front of a computer all day. So you can all just imagine the grueling experience of the whole group. In the first part of the hike, which was just walking along a steep muddy trail, I thought my lungs would explode. I didn’t show this exhaustion to the rest of the group, though. That would just make the others acknowledge how tiring it is, which would make my pain real, which would result to the whole hike being more difficult. You get what I mean? Sometimes, it’s really all in the mind.

Despite all that, it turned out I like hiking. I’ve already talked about how much I love walking in my old entries. But there is something about having to use every part of your body to get to the end. And that’s another thing with hiking–you’re not just wandering about. There’s actually an end goal to it and usually that end is worth all the hours of exhaustion (like the top of a mountain or in our case, this HUGE waterfall!)

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Yup. This waterfall. Omygod that thing is super high and we weren’t able to swim there because the water was so cold. And even if we were just marveling it’s beauty, we got super soaked because it’s pressure was super strong—water was spraying all over.

Because of this excitement in hiking, our group was divided into two. The first group, which I was a part of, was consisted of three people and was ahead of everyone else. The rest of us got sort of, left behind. It wasn’t a good idea especially we were in the middle of the forest. But hey, if anyone here thinks we’re these assholes who leave people behind for the sake of self-survival, that’s just judging too much. They were not even on the verge of death. They’re just experiencing a difficult situation but they’re FINE. There’s no inbreeding family of cannibals coming to eat them! There’s a reason why the whole place is open for hiking–there’s nothing wrong with it! They’re okay. Plus there is this thing that happens in the body when you’ve been doing this great effort for a while and you stop for a rest–You suddenly feel the exhaustion dialing up to 10x! So we couldn’t really stop. But I guess I can’t win in this argument (between me and those voices in my head) Fine, it was wrong to go ahead and not wait up for the others.

I’ve always believed that there’s no reason to be afraid of the forest. As long as you know how to respect nature, nature will take care of you. You see, I’m a believer of nature spirits. I grew up knowing my place in areas like the forest or even certain corners on the street. So don’t you go picking up and throwing rocks or wandering off-trail or pointing at trees. Always ask permission when you have to take a piss or when you’re just passing through. Because I’m telling you, there have been many times that I got into trouble for crossing a territory of people we don’t see.

Anyway, back to whole photography thing. Another reason why my hike took a little quicker was because I was not carrying a camera with me. I was deep in focus with reaching the destination I did not have time to stop and take pictures. To me it ruins the whole experience. Like, instead of devouring that wonderful view in front of you, you are looking through the lens or the screen. You’re too busy considering the angles, the lighting and the composition when the composition itself surrounds you. You’re too busy capturing the moment, you forget to live it (as some internet post would say).

But hey, I do not condemn photographers or my friends who are enthusiasts on the subject matter. In fact, I’m thankful for their craft because how else would I get a good photo of myself had they not been that interested in taking photos? How else would I give you all the vivid details to the adventures I’ve been part of had these photos been nonexistent?

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And that is why, I’ve only managed to take three photos that day.

Happy, Free, Confused and Lonely In The Best Way

Today is the most appropriate day to sing “22”  by Taylor Swift. Because, well I just turned 22 and yes, she’s still a part of my life eight years later. And I guess I won’t be singing any more appropriate songs because “When I’m Sixty-four” by The Beatles won’t be coming in another 42 years. Why am I thinking about this too much?

I’m 22 now and so far, my 20s is pretty chill. But this is still the early stages so there’s a chance this might be the calm before the storm. Best be prepared for it. But who is ever prepared for it, really? Who is ever chill when something gigantic happens in someone’s life because she’s been prepared for it?

Anyway, the one observation I can see with this age are how my friends and I talk these days. The fact that we can now casually insert stuff like stock markets, investments, home credit, rates, inflation and loans in our conversations really blows my mind. These things used to be another language for me and now at least one of these things is a part of our lives.

Now, I have been keeping myself busy with personal projects just to get back on my feet. And actually get stuff done. Games and films are now within scheduled days so as not to get myself carried away.

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My personal workspace

Shit, I’m a bit terrified that I would fail at this. Again. But I just have to do it. Really do it.

Be at Peace, Be at Peace Evermore

Whatever things I said in all those reflection papers involving spiritual programs (Recollection, retreats and outreach activities) back in college, they were all lies. In those moments where I should be a person for others,  there was never that feeling of fulfillment. I never felt a deeper relationship with God or emotional cleansing or simply just inner peace. In fact, I never felt anything important. I’m sorry, I’ve always thought of myself as a writer of truth but yeah, I wrote my way out of those requirements. I’m not proud.

But things have changed and I am now over the obsessions of passing grades. We were privileged enough to experience a company retreat and an outreach program and they all just happened within the span of a month. So I want to tell you about these recent experiences with these spiritual programs and how my feelings toward them drastically changed.

We held our company retreat at some organic farm sprawled at the foot of a mountain that is a few minutes away from the heart of the city. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited. Aside from my past experiences with retreats, the word “organic farm” didn’t really sound appealing to me and I imagined that it was just a plot of land in the middle of nowhere. But as it turns out, the place was actually really nice. It looked more than a vacation home rather than an organic farm and I almost expected a pool.

Now, it would be a bore to narrate every activity we had so lets jump to the part where I reflect on a lot of things. The whole event has actually brought me ease and I was able to let go of this one big burden that I probably have been carrying in my heart for many months now. I may never even pinpoint what sort of burden it was but there was definitely something there that has been affecting my productivity. Whatever it was, it has made me feel indifferent to the people relying on my skills.

There is this story I heard in a podcast and it’s about this doctor who had that same feelings about her job. No, she wasn’t bored of being a doctor. She didn’t hate her job. She still does her work perfectly well except her heart wasn’t in it. Her work had became such a routine that she didn’t have to think about it while doing it. And the scary part was when it came to the point when she told her patient he can go even though he wasn’t ready. A few hours later, the patient died because his body couldn’t take it and it’s all because she didn’t check on him.

Now, I don’t think a client would actually die if I didn’t put my heart on my job. But I will. Eventually. Not in a physical sense, but in a way where I’d just turn into this mindless, unemotional, pair of hands that work so she could finish her job in exchange for this bits of paper we call money. And shit,  I’ve always told myself I will never be like this but here we are.

I want to care. I want to see things in these people’s eyes. I want to understand what they want, what they believe in and what they hope for. I want to be by their side until the project is done. I want them to rely on me. I want to perfect my craft while I put my heart into it. And I get that I haven’t been that kind of person lately. But I’m starting to pick myself up and I’m trying really hard not miss out even the tiniest details of my work. It may be tiresome but the little things are important. And if get to hang myself around in those tiny details, I may do it within a limited amount time.

It has also cleared up my vision when it comes to decision making. There was a point actually where I want to quit everything. That time when I was in my grandma’s, I almost did not want to go back to the city. It was the only place that I get to clear my mind. But I realized, you didn’t have to go somewhere far off just to figure stuff out. The event really opened my eyes and it was as if the engines inside my head started running again.

The effects of the outreach program isn’t any different. In celebration of our boss’ birthday, he decided to spend time with the people from the Missionaries of the Poor. It’s sort of a home for those who are either orphaned or left abandoned by their families. We had this huge party where we danced the whole afternoon. It’s probably the wildest yet the most fulfilling party ever. Well, probably the only party I’ve ever been to this year.

I have now come to believe that these programs or anything that involves reflection and spiritual guidance is a necessity to everyone especially in the age of adulthood. I guess at this age, we now often forget stuff. Sometimes, we believe that one thing is urgent because it’s on deadline and we completely forget about other stuff like dinners (which when you think about it also has limits in time. I mean, you can’t expect scheduling dinners whenever you want, can you?). Well, we don’t actually forget but we just put priorities in a weird order.

Farm Life

When you ask me where I would want to spend my days when I grow old, I would automatically tell you about my grandparents’ place in Sorsogon. Of course, it’s just a mindless, unplanned desire. I mean, who knows where I’ll be when I grow old or whether I’d live long enough to be called “old”. But having to wait for death to come around when I grow old in a place as pleasant and peaceful as my grandparents’ is probably what I would call, the dream.

I was on leave for almost a week to spend All Soul’s Day in my mom’s hometown to visit my grandfather’s grave. Also, we went looking for someone to be with my grandmother since there are things that she now finds difficult to do by herself.

I just realized how much she’s gotten older as the years went by after my grandfather died. Sure, grandmothers are commonly visualized as old but this is really the first time I’ve seen her as this delicate woman who is in much need of assistance. Her eyesight has now gotten worse and she is now dependent to a cane which makes her move a lot more slowly. She would now ask these mundane questions about the weather or anything that can be answered through observation. And she would ask them over and over throughout the day.

Most of my days there were just lying in a hammock reading Still Alice–an incredible book by Lisa Genova about a woman who struggles with an early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes I would drift into a pleasant sleep while other times I’d just watch the chickens as they peck the ground.

You know, there isn’t really a word to describe the unbelievable lightness that I felt while I was in that hammock. I really needed a break from a lot of things. To put things nicely, I have been feeling a lot of anxiety over daily responsibilities. There is toxic in the atmosphere around me and the days are just too long and monotonous.

So the whole leave really helped a lot in clearing my mind.

Plus, I missed my grandfather so much and talking about him with the people who also love him was nice.