26 November 2011

Turtle Times

This is the first Saturday I've had in a long while to do nothing. It's weird.

I've actually had a lot on my mind lately--things I wish I could discuss in detail here but can't because of the number of people who read my blog. It's funny; I used to want people to come here. But now that I want to purge, I have nowhere to go without worrying that there is someone out there whose nice little idea of me will change as a result of what I'd like to say.

Well, what the hell.

I really enjoy working on the popup buildings. I really enjoy having something to do with my hands and working steadily at something until it comes out clean, crisp, and kind of pretty--or it doesn't, and I get to start over. That kind of starting over I enjoy, for some reason.

The other kind, the kind I've felt I've had to do, repeatedly, in the past couple of months, has not been so fun.

I think I can sum everything up (and avoid sharing too many details) by saying that I'm most afraid of wasting time. I'm afraid that I'll waste time on the wrong person. I'm afraid that I'll waste time on myself. I'm afraid that I'll waste time being afraid.

All things considered, though, I'm in a much better place than I was three months ago.

When I went home last month, I visited the family turtle in the lanai. He's been sitting in that tub for over five years now. In all that time, he's seen nothing but the little floating plants that he's been given, his food, and the sides of his tub. He's still alive, though, and looks pretty stoical about everything.

He reminded me of the world turtle, actually--that big old beast carrying all existence on his back, seeing everything happen and happen again for centuries and centuries and centuries, and swimming on despite it all.

I wish I knew their secret.

23 November 2011

Cut, cut, cut

Some of you might have guessed from this post (not that I was terrifically discreet) that something big was coming for me in the arts and crafts department. Well, yesterday, everything finally came together.

What happened was, the creative director of our newspaper's luxury magazine saw one of my popup buildings and asked me if I could make some for the Christmas issue, which would feature some really, really, really pricey fountain pens. In a moment of hubris, I said yes.

After the meeting with the photographer, I spent most of my spare time drawing buildings and cutting models. I also sat through three howtoarchitect playlists (1, 2, and 3) in one day for tips and ideas.

I also spent a day with Highlife's production assistant, Nina, going to stores and picking out pens to feature. It is a little ridiculous to walk into one of those stores, ask for the most expensive thing they have, and be taken seriously.

There are more photos from the shoot here, and I'll be posting the actual shots in a week or so. It depends on whether I can sit on them till the magazine actually comes out.

I am trying to play it cool at the office, but inside, I am kind of panicky about the whole thing. None of the work is as great as I'd like it to be. On the other hand, it was nice to be asked to spend a day on something that I really, really love to do.

Baby steps, I guess.

In this picture, you can see the backs of Kathy Chua, photographer, and her assistant Eric. They are cool people, and Adphoto is a cool agency.

15 November 2011

Morning Sun to Flake - Eodermdromes

After Petra posted these eodermdromes, I decided to give the pattern a try. This is what I've come up with:

build a house
build we light
house we
a light build

fall to morning fall
sun flake
morning sun to flake

old love cut old
the rest cut the love
rest old

09 November 2011

O, Papierbaum! (peek)

Here's a little preview of a project I'll be working on this month.

I went to a meeting with a photographer and some magazine people this afternoon and felt sicker and more panicky every minute. The potential for screwing up feels horribly high.

Let's hope I don't crack—blades are involved, after all.

04 November 2011

The Save Point

Many video games have what's called a save point. It can be an object, like a hoop to jump through or a glowing star or crystal to touch; a place, like the plaza of each village you visit or a sparkly bit of grass along your way; or even a person, like a healer, guide, or good fairy waiting at just the right point in the game.

Whatever form the save point takes, it's a typically a point where you save not only your progress but also your character's current state. If it's the last save point before the next big battle, it's a good place to assess your character's skills and equipment and prepare as best you can for what's coming next. And if your character is injured or killed, you simply reload the game at the save point to try again.

So it wasn't such a stretch for a high school crush to once write that life has its save points also. For him, the save points were moments when life was good, he was in a good mental and physical state, he was aware of these things, and he felt ready for anything. If he went through trouble in the future, he had only to recall his last save point to remind himself that things were once better and could be again.

I've never called it a save point, but that's what my childhood home has always been for me. Because it's a place, though, my save point is a little less like my schoolmate's and a little more like a video game's. I go home, see how my family has grown older while my bedroom still looks like a 15-year-old's, see how some trees have been chopped down while others have grown taller, think of what I've left in Manila and what I'll return to, ask myself how I plan to handle it, and steel myself accordingly.

This time, though, I realized that my capacity for acceptance had increased before I'd even arrived. While I was eager to be home again, I knew in the back of my mind that it would only be for a short time and that because my family was older—my parents' and lola's age showing more than ever, my youngest brother a high schooler in a big man's body—things would not be as I remembered. I just had to be glad for the time I did have and go with the flow.

So, I spent my first day shopping with my mom, partly to wait for my dad's flight to come in after mine and partly to reacquaint myself with the idea that getting new clothes isn't always a waste of money.

On the second day, we went to church, then to sing hymns by my lolo's grave, then to our favorite roadside grilled chicken place, then home for an afternoon indoors because of the rain.

On Monday, we went to a secret beach—no fences, no signs; you just drive right off the road and pay some lady P10 per head—to snorkel against the current over a patch reef.

On Tuesday, I finally got to take a walk. I took Buster, because he'd been cooped up recovering from a sprain, and my brother Mon, to hold Buster's leash. When it started to rain, though, they both went home (but not before I had to chase the dog chasing the neighbor's pet rabbit—fun for both me and the dog, though his limp returned afterward). I stayed outside, took a dizzying turn on the tire swing, then walked.

This was the walk I knew I had to take before I left again. I went down my street, up the main street, across the back grass to the quadrangle of my school, down to the pavilion and then back up to the high school, then down again the back way, on the route I'd take with my friends in our uniforms. And while I walked, all the sights I knew, every house and tree and shrub I'd passed hundreds of times on hundreds of walks, runs, and rides seemed to wink and wave at me. My homecoming was complete, even as I was to leave the next day.

I felt happy. I think I was happy that though my life, short as it's been, was behind me, I had lived it. I looked forward to getting as old as my lola, and not all my memories were nor had to be sad. My home and my family would always be there, even after my parents retired and moved away.

And near the end of my walk, under a tree between the houses of my oldest friends, I found blooming some yellow wood flowers I thought had died out, and their seed blossoms littered the ground.


When I got on the plane again the next day, I cried a little, not for the home I was leaving behind—I wasn't leaving it behind—but for a person I'd left before leaving Manila. I hadn't thought about Martin much over the weekend, except to note that he wouldn't have been able to enjoy something my family and I were doing at that moment, but he came to mind then as the crew readied for takeoff.

I cried because I was witnessing the dying gasp of what we were together, because I knew in that moment that I didn't want him back at all, not if it meant more of the hurt and more of the past. A lot would have to change first.

Time now for the present and the future, for takeoff and flight.