Monday, July 31, 2017

The Worms

I just wrote the following. I was instructed to describe a scary antagonist from the world of fiction. I know a lot of people will bring up Dementors, Death Eaters  or the practitioners of the Dark Side of the Force. I was tempted to write about the Yellow Liberal Party but that is not fiction.  

The Worms are antagonists not in a book but originally in the classic Pink Floyd double concept album called the Wall. There was a movie made out of the album in 1982 but I am satisfied with my appreciation of this terrifying piece of work with just the images the music  and the lyrics invoke. There was a live concert in 1989 at the site that the Berlin Wall came down. 

The album Wall is about the  figurative wall the protagonist  (Pink) builds to try and insulate himself from his fears and insecurities. Even his earliest memories of love and warmth seemed to be fleeting as evidenced by the song "Thin Ice". A nice gentle piano number suddenly turns sinister with growling guitars . Initial talk about comfort then gets stained with the mention of " .... a million tear stained eyes ". 

We find out that Pink's metaphor of crashing thin ice is the huge void that was caused when his father did not return from flying a mission in the war. This void seemed to make him even more vulnerable to  anixieties that all of us have in our developing years. The realities of Pink growing up with a single parent culminate in the song "Mother" where the protagonist admits that his mother helps him "build the wall".

Songs like " Comfortably Numb" and "Nobody Home" further illustrate Pink trying to cope with  his feeling of emptiness. No matter how much he builds the wall the Worms still find a way to work their way through it. 

In many stories, the protagonist hits rock bottom before they truly face what conflicts them. This happens in the songs "Waiting For The Worms" and "Stop". Pink faces his fears directly in the song "The Trial" where the prosecution in his mind charges him of being "caught red handed showing feelings of an almost human nature ". 

The trial goes on with several more "witnesses" to Pink's "crime" which then leads to the verdict of the trial as determined by the judge. He is indeed guilty of having those feelings and the sentence is to be "exposed before your peers". The sure fire way of carrying out that sentence is to "tear down the wall". The orchestra then leads to a musical climax followed by crumbling sound effects. This leads to the epilogue of the story titled "Outside the Wall". It is much calmer but the lyrics suggest that Pink will still encounter the "Wall" of others in his life.

The Wall is a truly terrifying piece of work. A lot of fiction originates from someone's reality. The Worms in the Wall are from the reality of Roger Waters but that is what makes it real to me having first heard it as a fourteen year old. The Worms are from our reality. Anxieties we all face in our life's journey. That makes them scarier than any Sith Lord or Dementor. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

She's Good

 Coraima Martínez says her parents are hesitant about her playing football.  Article dated August 24 2016 Source 

It was the fall of 1980. My first year in high school was also my first year in a new school and a new country. I had no idea it was the genesis of a new  life long addiction. Watching American style ( tackle) football. Not only did I watch it all day on Sundays ( went to church Saturday afternoons) but I watched my classmates play their games in the park near our house. Note that is so long ago, the only primetime NFL game was Monday night with Howard. 

Keep in mind this is a a 37 year old memory with nothing to back it up. I was standing in the sidelines.  Montgomery Park ( adjacent to William Osler school 5970 Selkirk St.    ) had no seats. So you were either sitting on the ground or standing.  My grade 8 team ( Vancouver College FIghting Irish) were playing the R.C. Palmer Griffins if memory serves.  Not that much of my facilities serve me well at this age.  Grade 8's at that time were 13 years old. I overheard two of the coaches on our sideline discussing the players warming up.

Coach 1 " Watch #57"
Coach 2 " Why? Is he good?"
Coach 1" She's good." 

I can not remember if she played defensive back or linebacker but she was definitely on defense. She was definitely not a kicker.  At 13 years old she was not only in position to be giving hits and taking hits but she was in the starting defense taking away a position that 99.99999% of the time will be held by a guy. I just tell you this because there are maybe a handful of people on Earth that have seen a solitary girl play tackle football in an organized game . Not that I deserve a medal but I thought a story worth mentioning.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

"There's no one as honest as those in pain " -
 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Very sad but if we can learn even  one thing that can help someone then it will be so worth it. I know the person who wrote this and I knew her sister who is no longer with us. This piece is so raw that it is very uncomfortable to read. Welcome to the world of those in pain. Maybe I am being idealistic but if you learn one thing that will allow you to relate to a person who is undergoing internal turmoil, you will never know if that rapport will prevent them from a fatal tipping point. Suicide is real. You can also be a real suicide deterrent with some love and understanding. 



OKAY SO. It’s a strange feeling, having something like 13 Reasons Why blow up not too long ago and realize that for the first time you’ve fallen under the demographic trigger warnings are for. What? Sorry to anyone who’s had to deal with me the past month. I’ve been pissy and angry and everything quiet in between-- 

The year is 2014. Around this time, my sister is buying pizza for me and my 10 year old brother. She never does that. It’s a Sunday. Our parents are out of town. We play cards. She wins. She’s deleting files. There was no note. 

Until then we had been together almost every day of our lives. 

And maybe it’s because of shows like 13rw, or the recent influx of media personalities passing away under similar circumstances that I’ve been hearing conversations budding (good or bad?). These kids are sad. Suddenly people are asking again. They say they didn’t ask to be born. I wish I knew what to say. 

Just don’t do it. I know the world can be a little like A Tale of Two Cities. You're in the same place, but yours is sadder and darker than that of the people around you. Not everyone is going to understand. People will be insensitive and abusive when they don't have to be. You watch a video of a child getting a hand transplant and suddenly you're hagulgoling on the floor.

My sister made herself appear to be happy and strong (and she WAS, but nobody is strong all the time). She had issues. Mostly to do with her body and how it never looked the way she wanted it to. And I used to feel guilty talking about it. Like I was spilling a secret. And I could blame beauty standards, or the weird prestige we place on having a "good body" (spoiler: ALL bodies are good bodies), or the way we (don’t) talk about mental health in this country. But at the end of the day, this is the reality we live in. 

Before it happened I had been off anti-deps for about a year and feeling pretty optimistic about things. And now I’m sad. There are so many feelings, all wild and confusing and I don’t know what to do with them all. Nights are long. Sleep is difficult. 

And I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for it, because of course we’re all sorry and of course it hurt a lot of people. And I’m not sure what happens to you when you kill yourself, but I have some idea about what happens to the people you leave behind. 

I. There’s this kind of pain I still don’t understand. I’ve never felt so hurt in my life, and yet I still love her the most a person can. I’m functioning but I'm buggy. Like something's missing. Like something's been missing. I want to be home. But home was where you were. Where is home now

II. You were the only person on earth who understood me without me having to say anything. I never felt incomplete despite my imperfections, my incurable shyness, my intense awkwardness, because I had you. You could do everything I couldn’t do: you had more friends, laughed as hard as you liked, danced without music, hugged the people you cared about. Now I feel like I lost my other half. The half that could

III. I miss our inside jokes. I miss when we would laugh and we were the only ones who understood why. I miss having a sister. Us against the world, and I love you. I love you. I love you. And I don’t know if you believed in God towards the end, but the first prayer after you left— I’ve never prayed harder in my life

IV. Now my brother and mother hold me so close. Like I’m going to disappear. And I can’t help but feel like they’re trying to hold on to you. But I’m not You! I understand as much as anyone the void you left. And I feel such pressure to fill it for them, because our family is hurting, and they have so many questions about you. What have you done

V. I hope it didn’t hurt. The tabloids got your name wrong. It would have been me if you didn’t go first

VI. I am a different person. You were such a big part of who I was that I don’t even know who I am trying to be now

VII. You had the rest of your life. Things would’ve been different in 3 years

VIII.  You hurt a lot of people. What about all the things we were supposed to do? You would’ve been a good part of a lot of people’s lives. They won’t be able to meet you now. The best sister in the world. It was so dumb to think we could be together forever. I can’t stop thinking about you. The day keeps playing over and over. I didn’t know it was our last conversation, our last game of cards, the last time I would hear you laugh. (Why can’t I remember what it sounds like)

IX. It’s so difficult seeing people so happy when you are so sad. You’re still the same in my dreams, and one day I might be 80 and old and bent and wrinkly and you’ll still be 18. Your hair will never change, you’ll never graduate, never fall in love. You won’t have any new stories to tell

X. Who are you now? I haven’t seen you in 3 years

XI.  Ways to Say I Love You:
“Why do you look like a foot”

Me at 3am: Why didn’t you pick up when mom called?
“I don’t know. I would have answered if it was you.”

Drunk, walking/stumbling to a McDonald’s with our school bags: “You’re the best sister in the world.”

XII. People are going to miss you. They will be different after. Scared. Those who celebrated your birthday every year will dread it when it comes. Why didn't you ask for help

XIII. You were never your body. You were so much more. You were so smart. You could have done anything you wanted to. (Why didn’t you want to get better)

We need to have more conversations about mental illness. We are a long way from being able to say the words "I am depressed" and have people understand why you can't work or be out when you have a functioning body. There is so much more to learn even if you are suffering from one yourself. Be patient with yourself. Be kind even when you don't have to be. There's not enough of that in the world. 

(June 26, 1996 - August 3, 2014)

Love always ;

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Union Jack Tavern in Makati

 There was a time when the only thing smoking here was the Indian food. 

Been going here since the Murphy's days. I always considered their Pale draft among the best in Makati. I was a regular last December then they closed earlier . Work ends at midnight so i could not return and enjoy. Yesterday i was so looking forward to a pint or two and i returned to the section i was used to and I knew in an instant something was wrong. Every table had smokers. As in you think non smokers are $hit. Ash trays in every table. Great . Bye.

Phone(02) 894 1884

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Let Us Put This Claim To The Test

Just in case I get blocked for my honest and sincere question.