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Thursday, September 27, 2001

I'm currently trying to design a new page for WASTED for this site. One of the sections I've thought up is a "Letters" section where I would reproduce letters I have received through the years in response to the book. Since Wasted was first published before the Internet became big, most of the letters I got came through the post office. Yes, I've still got them all in a box here in my room. I've been rummaging through that box, which also contains many other personal letters from friends and other acquaintances. And looking at all these letters I suddenly became sad. I realized that writing letters and sending them through the post was a huge part of my life back then. When I got into the Internet, I literally forsake letter writing for this faster and more immediate mode of communication. I hadn't even missed it. But upon seeing all these letters, I realize I miss it more than I expected. It's always a terrific feeling peering into your mailbox and seeing an envelope with your name written on it. And inside are pages of paper with words written by the sender's own hand. This is a physical part of this person that is now in your hands.

This has made me think and reflect really hard. It's a part of my life I want back. I feel like I want to start writing and posting mail again....


Tuesday, September 25, 2001

More Email Blues

Sometimes I get attachments in the mail, which is OK, as long as they're not too big. By big I mean anything that exceeds 500K. The only files that I accept that are larger than that are those that directly relates to my work. Someone I know sent me a THREE MEGABYTE file and man, that's just NUTS. I'll be online for an hour just downloading that stuff. And I can't afford to hold my online time hostage to something like that. So I made a safeguard, and programmed my mailer to automatically reject files that is larger than a certain size (and I'm not telling). I may get your email, but your attachment will remain at the server where I've asked them to delete such attachments automatically. But those sending me files with regards to work, you need not worry. Just let me know you'll be sending me something...


Monday, September 24, 2001

Where's My Email, Laguna?

I haven't been receiving email for the past 24 hours or so, save for 1 or 2 spam messages. To receive 1 or 2 spam messages is unusual in itself because I usually get more than 20 in a 24 hour time span. I haven't received any messages from Yahoogroups at all, and I suspect, I haven't received much personal mail as well.

So if you've written me and haven't gotten a reply, well, there's why.

So Long MSC! It's been fun.

I've finally let go of my other server, MSC.net.ph. So if you send me an email to my old address "sangabriel@msc.net.ph", I will no longer get it. I've long told my friends and other correspondents not to write there anymore because I'll be letting it go really soon. When they called today to say my 100 prepaid hours are up, I decided it was also time to finally give them up.

My account there seemed to be a hacker favorite because my account runs out even though I'm not using it. Viruses are sent and are made to appear to come from my IP Address. I just decided to close it just to give those hackers someone else to kick around. Besides surfing had been painfully slow the past few months. Instead of just infuriating myself, well, I thought I'd just let it go.


Sunday, September 23, 2001

It's been quite a tiring week, emotionally and physically. Emotionally because I've had to deal with much sadness, shock and anger in the continuing events in the US and now in the rest of the world. I really don't know why this has affected me so much.

I was watching TV within the hour the tragedy happened in New York. I watched, horrified, as a plane hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center, as the other one burned and smoked. I could not even begin to comprehend what was happening. I cried out silently in horror as I thought of all those people in those buildings and those planes. In my head, I was screaming, "Get out! Get out!" And just as I thought things couldn't get any worse, it did, as one of the towers collapsed. And then the other one collapsed as well. I sat there, not knowing really what to feel or do. It was beyond what I was capable of feeling. I thought of all the thousands of people there and they were dying, right there before my eyes. It really was just too much. Those poor people, what have they done do deserve something like this? They were just doing what they were doing every day of the year. They were just working, working to earn a living, working to support their families.

As soon as the second plane hit, I knew this was no mere accident, but an act of terrorism. Terrorism of the highest order. An act of absolute evil. What human could even consider doing something as horrible as this? The answer is none, because those who did this were not human. Whatever America decides to do to bring guilty parties to justice, then they have my full support.

As the days wore on, more horrifying, heartbreaking stories followed. Reports of cell phone calls being made by people on the plane, saying farewell to their loved ones. Stories of relatives carrying pictures of loved ones who were missing. I can't even begin to imagine what they were feeling. I wanted to have something to do, anything to help, but being from halfway around the world, there is probably very little I could do. I've made donations on line and I would give blood if I could.

I pretty much hate war myself. And I prefer not to participate in it when I can. But you know, I wish every person on the earth feels the same way I do. The problem is, that's just not possible. No matter what we do, there will always be people who want to hurt others for reasons that they strongly believe in, no matter how despicable we think it may be. If these people come knocking on my door tomorrow, I can't just let them bash my door in and massacre the people I love just because I love peace. Give me a gun and I'll blow these people's brains out. If anyone lets their loved ones die because they don't want to raise their hands against oppressors, then it's not pacifism. It's cowardice.

These people killed more than 6000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and they hurt more than just lives. They hurt humanity as well. I'm not an American, but I'm nevertheless deeply affected by these events. Those killed were human beings. I'm a human being. So this was an attack on me as well. Whoever responsible must pay for their crimes. If nothing is done, then it is a huge multicolored invitation for them to attack again. The guilty must be punished, but then great care must be given to ensure no innocents are harmed.

Many people are concerned that America is on the warpath and would bomb the hell out of countries now and ask questions later. But people who think this mustn't be paying too much attention. At the moment I am really surprised that the American president has shown extraordinary restraint. If Americans are truly out for blood as many claim, they would have bombed Afghanistan before now. I watch with great fascination how careful they have been, letting their investigators pursue clues to their ultimate direction before doing anything else.

I have no sympathy for the Taliban. Their treatment of their women is atrocious. They do not allow women an education. If they are caught studying, they are executed. They are not allowed proper medical attention. They are not allowed to work. Offenders are carted off to their football stadium, made to kneel and shot in the head. Children are raped, while their dead mother they shot rot outside. Homosexuals are executed as well. You do not believe me? Tune in to CNN and watch "Behind the Veil", where an undercover reporter reports on the Afghanistan we never see. With hidden footage to prove it.

With people like these, how can there ever be peace?

Yes, go after the terrorists and bring them to justice. That is only right. But after all this is done, don't think that this is over and terrorism will go away just like that. The people of the world must try to determine the root of this problem, and I believe Americans must also look to themselves. For one to say that these terrorists did this just because they hate freedom and democracy, then one is just looking for an easy, acceptable, and understandable answer. That may be true, but I also believe it may be far more than that. These people hate Americans, and they have proven that they are willing to die because of this hate. The big burning question here is "WHY?"

As I continued to watch the news on CNN or BBC, I start to hear comments by many Americans in talk shows that they are "The greatest nation on earth.", "The most powerful nation on earth", "The greatest democracy on the face of the planet". Well, what are they expecting the rest of the world to feel about that? And what does that make me feel as a person? I want to support them and be with them in this, their time of great need and pain, but when they continuously prop themselves up as better than everyone else, that their country is better than every other country, well it gets really hard. I feel a bit insulted, to be honest. And I suppose a lot of other people are too.

There is a danger to haughtily consider oneself as the "greatest" or the "best". Such overconfidence leads inevitably to complacency, and complacency inevitably leads to lax security. We all know now what lax security has led to. Many commentators on CNN say they can't believe that this has happened on American soil. That they felt that this kind of thing happened only on "other" countries. Maybe this is why the terrorists were successful. Nobody believed that anyone "less great" could do it. This is something that should be considered when Americans are looking to the answer to "Why?"

I certainly hope that many of the Americans I see on TV who treat their fellowman harshly simply because they have middle eastern names and looks to stop doing it. I can't believe that one pilot of an airline actually asked one of their passengers to get off because he was Muslim. Many Islamic people are harassed, killed, beaten up and their children scorned and taunted. Such actions are unforgivable, and uncalled for. They are doing nothing else but create more victims in this tragedy that has already claimed more victims than anyone could have imagined. They are also creating something much worse, and that is planting the seeds of extremism. These people will be deeply hurt by this, and this is the kind of pain they will carry to the day they die. We don't want to see more terrorists born because of this.

That said, I also must commend the thousands of Americans who have shown extraordinary courage and spirit during this time. My heart goes out to all those firemen and policemen, who at the cost of their lives, ran back towards the buildings in the hopes of saving more people, to those people who probably saved more people by rushing the terrorists on the plane, and to those thousands of people continuing to look for survivors mindful of the danger to their own lives. My hats off to you guys. I draw superheroes for a living, but you guys...you are the real superheroes here.


Monday, September 17, 2001

I've been intentionally avoiding local news because I don't want to be disappointed when some idiot of a government official says something stupid about the recent tragedy in America.

Well, today I did just that and guess what? Some idiot of a government official said something stupid about the tragedy in America. I'm talking about Edsa turncoat Gringo Honasan, of course. They guy who'd rather hide the truth than let it out at the recent Estrada Impeachment Trial. Essentially, what he had to say went something like...

"Sen. Gregorio Honasan, once classified by the US state department as a "terrorist" for staging coup attempts against the Aquino administration, said any military participation "might endanger the lives of our people and affect our ability to survive any global conflict."

http://www.inq7.net/nat/2001/sep/17/nat_2-1.htm

Gringo, grow some BRAINS. Are you BLIND? Our people are ALREADY in danger. Or didn't you know 19 Filipinos are now confirmed dead at the World Trade Center tragedy? Didn't you know that terrorist Osama bin Laden has ties to subversive elements in the Philippines? He may well have been responsible for many terrrorist attacks here in our own country. This wasn't an attack on Americans, this was an attack on all peace loving people in the world. If it can happen in America, it can easily happen, and may well already been happening, here in the Philippines. Every citizen in the world is in danger of terrorism. It is the duty of every citizen to do his best to put a stop to it, in whatever capacity he can. Go ahead, tuck your tail and run. Escape. Go into hiding. You're GOOD at that.


Saturday, September 15, 2001

THE REAL SUPERHEROES

Something that I came up a few days after what happened, when it really started to sink in. Where are our superheroes? Where is Superman? Spiderman? Batman? We're looking for them all over the place but we don't realize that they've been here all along...




Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Attack on Humanity

I've been watching the news since last night and I've hardly had any sleep. It's all too unbelievable. It's like I'm watching a disaster movie. But it's not a disaster movie. It's all real. Real people dead. Thousands upon thousands of them. I'm hard pressed to think of anything to say to describe it. I'm really at a loss for words. I see people from a certain country dancing in the streets, waving their flags, rejoicing that something so unfortunate has happened to America, not realizing that they too are lessened because of it. It's not simply an attack on the US. It's an attack on our very humanity. It's an attack on ordinary human decency and respect for life in general. Anyone who rejoices at that, or makes fun of that, or ridicules that, are not human. And I wish it is THEY who had died, rather than the thousands of innocent people. And when you die, expecting to be in heaven, I wish you all burn in hell.


Monday, September 10, 2001

I'M WASTED!!

Here's a cover I came up with for Wasted. Can't believe how fast I did this one, just a few hours. Pencilled it lightly on strathmore paper, then inked lightly with .2 tech pen. I then cleaned the paper and erased the pencils.The tech pen line is done simply so I would have a guide for when I would color it. I then proceeded to watercolor it. After it had dried, I drew the final lines over the thin tech pen lines with black Higgins ink with a brush.

I then brought the image to the computer, added the title ( which was designed by my girlfriend Ilyn) and the name text via Photoshop.



I'll be going to the Pulp office on Friday to finally get this book going. Edgar Tadeo sent me a drawing of Eric for the pinup section which is really cool. Drawn completely on the computer, actually.


Friday, September 07, 2001

Hello. I've been a lotta sick. Still sick, actually. A lotta bummed as well. A good friend of mine died recently. He and his girlfriend had been planning on getting married next year. He's a Filipino living in the US and he had just come home to visit his girlfriend here in the Philippines for a couple of weeks in June. Upon returning to the US, he fell sick. A fever at first, but later on, doctors speculated it might be dengue, which is rather rampant in the Philippines lately. He was hospitalized, but it turns out to be worse than dengue. Something was wrong with his liver, something life threatening. His family had a history of deaths due to liver problems. His girlfriend, upon being told that his condition was serious, tried desperately to get a visa so she could be with him in the US. Less than a day before she would board a plane to leave, he died, 2 months after falling sick.

I was really saddened by it. What a tragic thing to happen. We talked via email a lot. He was a comics fan, just like myself. We talked comics, music, all kinds of stuff. We had planned on meeting in San Diego for the comics convention in case I had been able to go this year. I really wish I had, but I just didn't have enough money to go. Rest in peace, Stephen. Sleep well, my friend.

I had been sick myself this past week. I feel like I'm falling depressed again, much like the time I was sick during Christmas when my cat died. Nothing really serious, just this stupid fever that I seem to get on a regular basis yearly. I've been trying to work and when I can I do. My scanner broke and I had my bro get me one. My DVD player broke as well and I sent it over to Sony for fixing. It's been with them for 3 weeks now and it's still not fixed. My room light is broke so I need to stand on my table so I could reach and twitch the starter for it to light. A thief broke into the garage and stole my sister in law's bike. Small problems compared to the problems of other people, but knowing how worse some other people's lives are somehow doesn't make me feel better.

I try not to wallow in it though so I try to make myself feel better. I got a couple of new DVDs which I will watch as soon as my player is fixed. They're both Criterion titles of "A Night To Remember" and "Spartacus". Expensive bastards, but Criterion titles are usually worth it. A Night To Remember (1958) is the first Titanic movie that paid really close attention to the facts of the events. I saw bits of it previously, and I was amazed at how many of the elements of this film can be found in James Cameron's Titanic as well.

And since my CD Rom drive is working again, thanks to ED, I reinstalled Thief 2: The Metal Age and I'm playing it again. I could play only a few minutes each time though, since I can't sit for long before I need to lie down again. Besides, it makes me dizzy. Inspite of that, its still one of the best games I played ever. Leinil played Thief 1: The Dark Project but he wasn't able to finish it because it scared the bejezzus out of him. Yeah, this one is really scary. But I like to scare myself, so there.

I watch a lot of TV. I've been actually seeing CSI now as a whole because previously, I would only half see and just listen because I'm hunkered down on my table drawing. Seven Days is OK, but the lead guy's face is annoying. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire pinoy edition is always hilarious, and I'm tempted more and more to join every day. Finally saw Born In East LA on HBO. Thought it was hilarious because Cheech spoofed Bruce Springsteen's song Born in the USA so well. CNN has been disappointing. The CNN we used to have was replaced by CNNfn, the financial news channel of CNN. I didn't realize they had many channels. Just financial news all day. Ho hum. I could get that with Bloomberg and CNBC, for crying out loud. I want my World News! I want to see people fighting on Larry King!! I miss Larry King.

So Gerry, what do you want to do next? A. Sleep. B. Draw. C. Play D. Write in Blog
Hmmm...can I get a life line? 50-50? I want to Sleep. Sure? I want to Sleep. Final answer? I want to SLEEP. My eyes and head hurt and I'm getting dizzy again. Ok then....

Expect to see some of this in Crest Hut Butt Shop #3.
:)