smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Job Interview

I answered the advert in the paper that said “Looking for single female, no attachments, for job requiring extensive traveling.”

The address on the advert took me to a dingy part of town. Having just graduated from university, I had the belief that i was invincible so I wasn’t too scared. It helped that I also knew nichak and that i had once beat down a six-foot gorg in a pick-up fight on campus.

“Kuang-Ning Bjornsdottir” I said to the receptionist. “I’m here about the advert.”

“Right” she answered in heavily accented Chinglish. “Down that hallway, last door on your left.” I went.

The door opened inward, and as I stepped in, I felt a tingle down my spine, like something was off. It’s not a spidersense exactly, but many times I’ve been on the receiving end of a whack for ignoring it. My gut tensed up, and I sank maybe an inch lower as I centered myself. Good thing, too.

Three spikes hit the wall behind me, roughly where hy head would have been if I hadn’t assumed the position. I was like, wtf?!

I collapsed my left knee and rolled off to the side. In the periphery of my hearing, I heard the dull thuds of more spikes embedding themselves into the floor where i had been half a second earlier. Sonuvabitch.

I pulled out my portable and slid it across the floor away from me. The screen lit up and in the faint glow, I saw boots. Girly boots. From the floor, I heave my satchel up to where her head would be – assuming she was proportioned the same as me, which was a big assumption considering how weird things had gotten in the last ten years or so. Luckily, this one was a real girl and my satchel hit pretty much where I wanted it too. Hah. It figures that a heavy purse would have some use after all.

I hear her grunt, and that was pretty much all I needed. I tackled her and after a few fancy nichak moves, I had my arm crooked around her neck and my knee up against her hamstring. “You’re hired,” she wheezed. “Bitch.”

Filed under: new age, Rong-Nu, stories, , , , , ,

Bad Feng Shui

What is it about the Comelec that people are dropping like flies over there? Three deaths in less than a year – starting with that Law Department director, followed by his replacement his replacement, and now a Commissioner. Of course, the first two died violent deaths and some have said that questionable acts were involved. This makes those deaths way different from the Commissioner’s who, by all accounts, was a pretty decent guy.

Still – and no disrespect intended and all that – dead is dead. And then of course there was that big-ass fire.  Luckily no one got burned, but i read somewhere that cars got totaled and some people lost a lot of personal stuff. And I’m wondering why.

My guess: bad feng shui.

Consider this. The Comelec’s main office is located a stone’s throw from the Pasig River and a slightly longer stone’s throw away from Manila Bay. In feng shui, a building sited near to and with a view of water will thrive, as a rule. So, basically, a building should face the water. As far as I can tell from Google Earth, the Comelec building is facing away from the bay and – albeit at a slight oblique – the river.

And besides, it isn’t just proximity to water that matters. The quality of water is also important. It should be alive – clean and active, a sign of vital, pure ch’i – not dead. Stagnant and murky water indicates tainted ch’i and money. Sound familiar?

And then there’s the Cathedral. In feng shui, buildings that face institutions are in a dodgy place, but of course a church would be the least of all evils – especially a church that is often used for weddings. But even if the church isn’t much used for services for the dead, the church’s history matters much. From the wikipedia, we learn that this Church has had a deadly history.

The first cathedral, made of nipa and bamboos, was built in 1571 by Fray Juan de Vivero and on December 21, 1521, it became a cathedral. It was damaged by a typhoon in 1582 and razed by fire in 1583.

The new cathedral, which was made of stone, was made in 1592. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1600.

The third cathedral, with three naves and seven chapels, was started in 1584 and blessed in 1614. It was toppled by another earthquake which shook Manila in 1645.

The magnificent fourth cathedral was constructed in 1654 to 1671 under Archbishop Miguel Poblete. It was severely damaged in 1863 by a very strong earthquake that even toppled the Palace of the Governor General of the Philippines. In 1880, another earthquake toppled its bell tower and since then until in 1959, the cathedral remained towerless.

The fifth cathedral was constructed in 1870–1879. It was solemnly blessed in December of 1879. The center cross of the dome is a reference point of astronomical longitudes of the archipelago. The magnificent cathedral was toppled into ruins by bombing in 1945.

It isn’t far-fetched then, to expect that nearby residents – like the Comelec people – may still absorb too much yin ch’i – the ch’i of the dead – and sudden, unforeseen disasters may befall them. A possible cure would have been to plant trees between the church and the building. But just before the fire in 2007, the trees that lined the front of the Comelec building were inexplicably chopped down.

Seriously. I think those people had better start investing in some good feng shui advice before anymore of them end up shuffling off this mortal coil.

Filed under: musings, new age, , , , ,

Church accepts ET

There’s a line in a David Brin Uplift novel that goes something like: for me, the term ET has always carried the unfortunate implication that someone, somewhere is going to be eaten.

I remembered this quote when I came across this article about how the Vatican has accepted the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrials – ET – and how that possibility doesn’t contradict religion.

Well of course, it doesn’t. At least not unless you’re a Bible-thumping, hardcore fundamentalist and literal creationist. Another article on the same topic quotes the Vatican astronomer as saying that ruling out ET’s would mean “putting limits” on God’s creative freedom. One of Brin’s characters, Helena Alvarez – again from the Uplift Trilogy of David Brin – says much the same thing when she first sees alien lifeforms feeding off the sun’s electromagnetic fields. She says: “apparently, the Creator accepts very few limits to his imagination” … or something like that.

Enough quotes.

I totally agree with this latest pronouncement from the Vatican – despite the irony of it, this being the same religion that once almost burned Galileo. So I guess Carl Sagan’s “Contact” was right. Anyone who goes to meet aliens for the first time as a representative of humanity should believe in God. In fact, I kinda think that the idea of a Supreme Being or Deity might well turn out to be universal and that aliens will have their own gods too.

Filed under: musings, new age, religion, science, space, , ,

Kali Yuga

Is it just me, or are natural disasters on the uptick?

It’s Kali Yuga, baby!

Rulers will become unreasonable: they will levy taxes unfairly. Rulers will no longer see it their duty to promote spirituality or to protect their subjects: they will become a danger to the world. People will start migrating seeking countries where wheat and barley form the staple food source.

Sound familiar? According to the wikipedia, the Bhagavata gives this description – and several others – of Kali Yuga, basically the Hindu version of the Christian end of days. Myself, I learned of Kali Yuga from reading back issues of DC comics. LOL!

Also according to the wikipedia, the Mahabharata has this to say:

Avarice and wrath will be common, men will openly display animosity towards each other. Ignorance of Dharma will occur. Lust will be viewed as being socially acceptable. People will have thoughts of murder for no justification, and they will see nothing wrong with that mind-set.

Well, the part about avarice and wrath is pretty obvious. As is the part about lust. Just take a look at the proliferation of magazines that openly peddle sexual titillation. I’m not for censorship, mind you; just pointing out that in today’s world, most people have come to accept that lust is something that can be the topic of open conversation.

People will be inclined to follow false sciences.

Can you say “herbal?” One of the most disturbing trends nowadays is the number of snake-oil remedies that promise everything from controlling diabetes to greater sexual potency – and all with the oft ignored caveat: no approved therapeutic claims. Still, these things fly off the shelves because they offer quick and affordable substitutes to physicians and their drugs. Are these false sciences? To the extent that they claim to produce benefits without evidence or substantiation, you bet they are. For this we have to thank a loophole in the laws that allow herbal remedies to be marketed even without conclusive medical trials. BFAD controls aren’t as tight, and so all the shysters come a-trotting out their cures and remedies. If they’re lucky, they get people like Mike Enriquez, and Boy Abunda, and Korina Sanchez promoting the snake-oil.

Family murders will also occur. People will see those who are helpless as easy targets and remove everything from them.

For this, all you really have to do is read the papers. Carmela’s family wasn’t the first, and it sure as hell wasn’t the last.

Many other unwanted changes will occur. The right hand will deceive the left and the left the right. Men with false reputation of learning will teach the Truth and the old will betray the senselessness of the young, and the young will betray the dotage of the old. Cowards will have the reputation of bravery and the brave will be enervated cowards. People will not trust a single person in the world, not even their immediate family. Even husband and wife will find contempt in each other.

Sounds like the Philippine Congress. And reminds me of Brian Gorrell and his stories about ‘beards;’ married men who act all hetero and macho (hence the beard) but who actually lust after other men – sort of like the Filipino equivalent of living on the DL.

In the Kali Yuga even pre-teenage girls will get pregnant. The primary cause will be the social acceptance of sexual intercourse as being the central requirement of life.

Hello, Jamie Lynn Spears. Hello, that Revilla daughter, what’s-her-name?

It is believed that sin will increase exponentially, whilst virtue will fade and cease to flourish. People will take vows only to break them soonafter.

Alongside death and famine being everywhere, men will have lustful thoughts and so will women.People will without reason destroy trees and gardens.

People will become addicted to intoxicating drinks. Men will find their jobs stressful and will go to retreats to escape their work.

Yes, yes, and yes!

As the sin increases exponentially, so will the incidence of divine justice and wrath.

Burma, China, wildfires raging in America … Our brains are hardwired to see divine intervention in events so horrible and painful for one simple reason: it is easier for us to accept that the death and destruction proceeded from something we did or did not do. The causality is infinitely more comforting than the idea that so much death can be a random thing.

But when the disasters take place one after another in rapid succession, even the most determined refusal to buy into the divine intervention story can get shaken. By now, you’ve prolly read about all the conspiracy theories surrounding the earthquake in the Mainland. The way I see it, that’s how it starts. Soon enough, the earthquake will be spun as a message from the Celestial Emperor, telling Beijing that it has lost the Divine Mandate in the Tibetan question and that a re-evaluation is in order, or else … Heard they tried that spin on Mao Zedong at one time.

So much for the age of aquarius, eh?

Michael Stipe said it all: it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

Filed under: musings, new age, pop-culture, society, , , ,