Dark in the Light

My wife wasn’t too thrilled that I flipped the channel to the presidential debates the other night. She thinks it’s deplorable and grim. Maybe so, but what can I tell ya… I’m a sucker for dark themes.


I like watching real life events. Warts and all. I like documentaries and current events, even when at times they seem bleak. But they are real. They happen. It’s the truth. Albeit, the ugly truth.

Some may wonder why I put myself through it. I’m afraid there is no adequate answer. The best I could muster is that it makes me see more of who I am, where I am and the fascination of knowing I am nowhere near that side of life. Also, as odd as it may seem, it helps me to draw some compassion on the frail condition of humanity. The helplessness of us all left to our own devices. This takes me on a spiritual journey. It truly does. And I feel like the dark in the light, so to speak.

Going back to the presidential debate. My take on it? Let’s just say my wife was right.

Guess who’s back?

Wow! It was almost six years ago since my last post. And you probably thought I was gone for good. I did, too, actually. For awhile, things have changed. I got busy. Distracted. Unmotivated. Whatever.

But keeping a journal of my life has always been therapeutic to me and so I figured, why not. I’ll get back to it, even if I can’t promise to do it regularly, at least I know I have some place to retreat and express myself whenever I feel the need.

For now, let me just recap some of the things that’s happened in the last six years. Let’s see… I bought a house; I made new friends, I got a dog; I built a recording studio in my basement and made new music; I traveled to the Philippines (and another trip is on the calendar for the holidays); My family have visited me twice; I’ve made trips all over Wyoming and Colorado; I’ve also been to California, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Chigago, Florida, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi; and have visited national parks such as the EvergladesRMNP, Devils Tower, Grand Teton and Yellowstone; I’ve been to concerts (King’s X, Aerosmith, Rush, KISS); I became a U.S. citizen; and most importantly, I got married! Yes!


So, life’s been very good! Sure, it’s never an easy climb but I have no complains. You get what you put in. And sometimes you’re lucky you get more than you deserve. Definitely lots to be grateful for.

I’ll be back soon. Until then… hang tight and be good to each other.

How Great Thou Artist

HeadshotIt is true! Art imitates life.

As I was winding down an After Effects video project at work today, something dawned on me: The implementation of special effects on any media, for the most part, is but an attempt to recapture life’s imperfections and limitations which modern technology seems to have now alleviated. SFX, in fact, puts the “mistakes” back where they belonged.

How ironic that we actually, albeit unknowingly, appreciate the inadequacies of human nature. Could it be because perfection is so far off that we’re just not able to relate? Or that our shortcomings are all that we’re familiar with? We accept the fact that we miss the mark. We miss the goal. Yes! And in that painfully honest truth is where we genuinely find real beauty.

Consider a photographer who dramatizes his perfectly looking photograph by adding a touch of sepia to it, making it look “aged.” That’s right. Because “perfect” is boring! A little rough on the edges is who we really are. All of us. And to flaunt that… is cool!

Consider a film maker trying to capture the mood of the past in his story by shooting in black and white. A musician who creates music with the aid of modern gadgets that replicate the sound of the 50’s. I could go on and on. But you get my drift.

We are poetry in motion, ya’ll. Warts and all. And with that said, the next time you marvel at a modern piece of art – be it visual, sound or otherwise – remember that life itself is the original work of art.

Oh yes… How great thou Artist!

Zombies on TV? Copy that!

Since I was a kid, I really haven’t been so much of a TV person besides watching the news. With an exception. In the past few years, I have relentlessly glued myself to the tube everytime a new season of 24 kicked off. As fans of the show would attest, it is indeed very addicting.

But now that the series has ended for good, it has been a dismal few months for me. It’s torturous! Excruciating! I miss it! Ok, so yes, I have been flipping through the channels all this time trying to find a worthy successor. And I do love Fringe , mind you, which is on its third season this year. And a very promising new series called The Event seems to be holding up strong, as well, I think. But still, nothing seems to grab my full attention the way 24 did.

That is, until Halloween night.

Enter The Walking Dead. A new cable TV series based on a popular comics of the same title. Hmm… definitely something I could sink my rotten teeth in (heehee… sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

And, wow! Just wow! The season premiere pilot, in no time, had me nailed to my seat the way Jack Bauer had every muscle in my body aching the following morning, after each episode. And talk about getting your zombie fix… on a weekly basis! Woohoo! No more waiting for 28 Years Later or whatever. Yet, the drama is so good you forget that the gore is, in fact, premium-grade. Ha! Actually, even better than any George Romero offering, in my opinion. Fans of Lost would easily fall for this show being that the premise is somewhat similar, I’m guessing.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say that after almost an entire year of not posting anything on here, I have finally found something worth ranting about. Even for just a quick sec.

Thanks for reading… and who knows? You might just see me back here again someday.

New thoughts for a new year

Is it too late for a resolution? Not that it matters, really, as I have no intention of making one now. However, I have experienced and learned simple things in the past few years that has made me think about how easily we can take things for granted. Simple things which can enable the quality of our lives to improve greatly, if only we’re constantly aware of them. Little things like smiling at strangers, driving slowly, overlooking what seems to appear like an insult, dancing in the shower and smelling the morning air (indeed, one of the perks of living in the sticks is having breathable air).

We don’t necessarily have to go to extremes to change our lives for the better. All there is to it is simply being mindful of the condition of our hearts, at all times. Things don’t always go our way, but we can learn to adopt in an imperfect world by realizing we’re no better either and that we don’t deserve what we already have now. An attitude of gratitude really goes a long way. It cures us of depression and loneliness, it allows us to forgive and grants us freedom from within. Sometimes, life gets difficult and when there seems to be nothing to be grateful for, the challenge is to keep looking, anyway. For the truth is, that the blessings are always there, whether or not we see it.

Speaking of which… how could it be so hard to feel blessed right now, in light of the current devastation and enormous loss of life in Haiti? That could’ve involved you and me.

Anyhow, I thought it would be good, for me anyway, to spell those little things out and write about them, every now and then. It will be a good reminder for me that there are things I ought to put in practice, on a daily basis. These are things that I want to implement in my everyday living, starting this year. That’s right, there’s always room for improvement. And the road may be a long one, but the journey has already  begun.

Back from the road trip

Happy new year! I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I sure did, as these photos will testify. There were so many friends and family but not enough time. Oh well, there’s always next time. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy some of what my eyes have witnessed along the way. If anything, I really enjoyed being a shutterbug for two weeks straight! Click the pictures to see more.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Arizona/New Mexico Stateline

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Hittin’ the road

In a few hours, I will be embarking on a road trip that’ll take me all around the rocky mountains. It should last me a good couple of weeks to do this, especially being the Sunday driver that I am. But it’ll be fun and I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends in Phoenix, as well as the Grand Canyon. Yes, it’s been 9 years since my last visit to this incredible “must see before you die” place. There’s a lot to see out there and I really don’t have any hard plans. I’ll just drive and drive and see where I end up. I think that’s part of the excitement, not knowing what’s ahead but looking forward to the adventure and fun of it all. And what a way to spend Christmas! I haven’t done a major road trip in a long time and it’s about time I got out of the house and did it.

Worry not as I will be bringing a camera to document my trip. Expect to see them sometime next month, most probably on my Flickr page. Speaking of which… Yes!!! I sucked it up and went Pro! So, I should have plenty of space for the photographs.

If I don’t get to blog during my trip (I’ll try), I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Be safe as I plan to be. Love, peace and green cheese! I will see you on the other side…

Now, where was I? Oh yeah… packing!

Organically speaking…

Some people have begun noticing the change in my eating habits. Including me! For about a year now, my diet has been for the most part, organic and health centric. I say, it’s not really my eating habits that’s changed as much as it is my outlook in life. And that outlook just happened to involve an awareness in personal responsibility. Responsibility towards health and nature, that is. Hence, my reason for taking the organic route.

First of all, I believe organic food is healthy, not necessarily in a physical sense but more in a perspective of wellness. For me, it means a little peace of mind. The peace from knowing I cared, even if it’s just a little bit. It’s a good feeling to know that I care, respect and am thankful not only for my health, but also for nature and the folks responsible for my being able to eat clean food. That, to me is giving importance to the wellness of my own being. Now, if that’s not being healthy, I don’t know what is. Hey, let’s just say, if I could choose food that has less chances of chemical contamination, why shouldn’t I? I’m sure the regular variety won’t kill me anytime soon (it hasn’t, in the past 45 years) but if it doesn’t give me peace of mind anymore, what good is it for me?

Another thing I should note is that organic food may or may not taste better than non-organic varieties. In my experience, a lot of them do, but some don’t. However, that is the least important factor, in my opinion. I didn’t choose organic products because they taste better. If they do, it’s simply icing on the cake. Choice is a matter of principle. What we believe in and what we care about. I believe that whatever we decide to eat is a very personal choice. The way we shape our diet is from the knowledge we gain from a desire to understand, as well as our own fundamental beliefs, if we have any.

Unless we grow our own food, we’re stuck with what society feeds us. We’re force-fed with very limited choices, in stores or even in restaurants. There’s not as much control we can get when eating out as we do from when we’re cooking our own food. By the way, it is important to know how to cook, if only for this reason alone. But… that’s for another story.

Okay, let’s be honest and take the marketing labels out of the picture. Wouldn’t most of us choose organically produced food if the price was the same as the ones that aren’t? I hate that it costs so much to buy organic – it makes no sense, I know – but if that’s what it takes for me to gain peace of mind, then it is my responsibility to adjust my finances to fit my priorities in life. After all, the length of my life isn’t as significant as its quality. And quality is subjective to each person’s decisions. However, at the end of the day, practicality is still just as important as sensibility. I hate snobbery of any kind! It’s what makes sincere attempts to do good look suspect in many people’s eyes. And that’s what stereotypes a worthy lifestyle. That’s what reduces a good habit into a mere fad.

We make decisions in life according to the level of responsibility we are willing to take. Just like anyone, I have mindlessly eaten countless amounts of junk food in my life. And believe it or not, it doesn’t bother me much to this day. It’s just that now, I’m a little more aware of how much responsibility I am willing to take, whenever I do it again. I may eat healthy all week and decide to pig out at KFC one day. No guilt there. Or, if I decide to buy a more costly bag of healthy groceries at the expense of a road trip or a fun weekend somewhere, so be it. Or if I’m invited to a backyard bbq over at a friends house, I’d enjoy that big fat burger just like anyone would, with no hesitations. I call that… life. That’s right! I stand for life, not religion. When lifestyle becomes religion, life is robbed of its freedom.

Now, our decisions will always cost us something, no matter what it is. All I can say is that after a year of gaining health awareness, its effects have drastically transformed, not only my body, but my mind and spirit as well. Now, if that wasn’t worth the cost and trouble, I don’t know what is.

So I say… simply live life to the full because that’s all that matters, really. And organic or not, we still need to eat our vegetables.

To endure is what counts

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:7-11

Life is so hard, sometimes. Doesn’t matter how well you are on the outside, you can easily be struggling on an emotional and spiritual level. And that’s something you can’t hide from yourself. There is no running away from it. In the world, struggles are often unbearable because there seems to be nothing to hold on to. There is no hope and everything seems to come to a dead end. Yet, the degree of fear and pain doesn’t decrease in the life of a Christian. However, it offers an opportunity to gain inner strength, not through one’s self, but through a loving Savior. Yes, in Jesus, there is hope for the taking. There is faith to be had. There is light at the end of the dark tunnel. And the effort exerted is never wasted but always rewarding.

This life is not about ridding ourselves of our “problems.” That is a futile attempt, at best. It is about enduring the hardships that come our way. Without them, there is no reason to exercise our faith in God whom we claim to love and obey. I had to go through my divorce and feeling of loneliness for years, just to find out how far I would go with my God. Some people may have to go even farther, but to me, I have to fight to quickly see the big picture before things get worse. I cannot give up. My relationship with God is too precious to gamble with. If I lose that, what else is there to live for? Both here and the afterlife, that is. There is no hope without God. Only darkness. There is no better place. Only a dead end road. No forever. Only oblivion.

Each of us has a personal road to walk on. We live our own lives in our own personal deserts – with our own sacrifices, hardships and struggles to go through. No one is exempt. I am thankful for my own struggles for without it, God would not be in my thoughts regularly. My need for him would grow lesser and lesser each day. And that, to me, is scarier than having to go through the discipline God has put me under – because he loves me and wants me to know that there is someone who cares. It’s his way of getting my attention. And boy, does he need to do that on a daily basis. Talk about his own perseverance! And my “good deeds” is not what pleases him, by the way… but my brokenness and my desire to get up everytime I fall. That’s what puts a smile on his face. My desire to keep walking when I get tired. My desire to try it again, for the umpteenth time. Yes… my desire to endure. It’s what counts.