Novena Masses – A Christmas Tradition

Novena Masses or Misa de Gallo (also known as Simbang Gabi) is a nine-consecutive-day Mass celebration to welcome Christmas, or the birth of Christ. It is about to start and I am deciding whether to attend the night Novena Mass or the early morning Novena Mass. If I attend the night Novena Mass, it won’t feel like I’m attending a Novena Mass, because traditionally, Misa de Gallo is celebrated very early in the morning and not at night. Then again, if I attend the early morning Novena Mass, I might not be able to complete it because I hate waking up early. Traditionally, Tomorrow is the 15th of December and the start of the night Novena Mass will be tomorrow night. If I decide to attend the early morning Mass, I will be starting on the morning of 16th of December.

I’m torn actually because I like following the traditional way of celebrating Novena Mass, but I also love sleeping. Should I attend the early morning Novena Mass or should I attend the night Novena Mass? I’m still thinking.

Drooling over Wacom’s new released pen tab

My younger sister sent me a link to a site that showed me a picture of Wacom’s latest version of intuos, intuos4!!! As some of my friends know, I bought intuos3 almost as soon as it was released, so you can imagine just how disheartened I am to know that Wacom released intuos4 so soon. And the fact that it’s more high-tech, more precise, more advanced, more everything, than intuos3, I began to feel the need to have it! I WANT IT!!! I REALLY want it!!! now I’m beginning to feel the same obsession I have had when I was aiming for intuos3… I can feel it in my blood, it’s running through my veins, I REALLY WANT TO HAVE MY OWN INTUOS4!!! Oh, how cruel life can be, how it entices you with so many beautiful things, yet, most of them are almost so impossible to reach…

But…

I will have that intuos4, no matter what it takes! I’ll save money, I’ll work hard, I’ll starve, just to have it in my hands!!!

I almost forgot to mention — I will pray. Ora et labora (prayer and work) as what St. Benedict said! ;)

Saddened after watching a documentary about Julius Ceasar

I never thought I’d feel this way, since Julius Caesar wasn’t one of my favorite historical characters. But after watching a documentary about him; watching the re-enactment on how he was stabbed to death when he attended the senate, and how people of Rome grieved over his death, I realized that, even though he was a brutal emperor, the people of Rome loved him. so, anyway, it made me think… it’s really a waste when a person as great as Julius Caesar gets assassinated, or suddenly dies. Actually, after watching a documentary about him, he became one of my favorite historical characters! It was said that, as he was dying, he covered his face  “because he cannot be seen to be brought so low”. Even though his enemies succeeded in bringing him down, they didn’t succeed in taking away his dignity and greatness… Poetic, isn’t it?

Modern Architectures and Old Architectures

Everytime I look at old and new architectures, I can’t help comparing them. I wonder if our modern technologies are able to make artistic and elaborate design architectures like the ones done in the old days. I am not an architect, so maybe I will just remain wondering about this. I love old architectures and I always stand in awe whenever I am in front of one. I admire the genius behind those designs. I’m not a fan of modern architectures, so I rarely look at them, to be honest. Why don’t modern architects try designing something like the old architectures? I know they can do it if they put their mind to it, but why don’t they? I really hope I would get an answer to that question someday. With all their simplicity and sophistication, modern architectures are like a reflection of how we are living our life… fast-pacing. Fast-pace attitude also reflects in modern paintings. Seems like in every aspect of life, everyone is trying to do things in a hurry nowadays. Most of the modern architecture designs I see are meant to be built as soon as possible, and I think that’s what makes modern architecture pale in comparison compared to old architectures. For a digital artist like me, I have always been a fan of traditional art compared to modern art. I like elaboration and the obvious patience of the artists back then; how the painstakingly worked on their masterpiece. They are worth all the praises and compliments, and I really thank them for sharing their talent to the rest of the world. I’m glad that their artworks still exist today to serve as an inspiration to people like me.

V for Vendetta (I watched it to face my fears of that mask)

After seeing the mask from the movie V for Vendetta in my nightmare, and scared the life out of me, I decided to watch the movie to face my fears. I didn’t watch the movie because of that particular mask. It really freaked me out when I first saw its movie trailer. Anyway, today I have decided to watch it, to see what it’s really all about, and why the main character there is wearing that freaky mask. I thought it will be as lame as the movie “Daredevil”, because when it was shown at cinemas, it didn’t get that much of attention, so I thought the movie was lame. But surprisingly, the movie is good, way better than I had expected it to be! It’s worth the watch, I promise! I personally liked it. The storyline is very interesting, the visual and sound effects are astounding! There’s a love story, yes, but the movie didn’t focus on that, which is good, but maybe the love story is important to show the human side of the masked man. I like the message of the movie. Hope. It’s really very good. I like the red roses as the masked man’s signature. For those who haven’t watched it yet, you won’t regret if you decide to watch it. I would like to know other people’s opinion of the movie other than mine.

Sleep apnea, sleep paralysis, paranormal activity, or what?

Two nights ago I had this half-awake-half-asleep nightmare experience and I was having a hard time breathing. I was trying to shake myself awake, but to no avail. I tried to shout, but no voice came out. I tried and tried until finally I was able to utter the word, “Help!” I did it several times. It didn’t sound like “Help” at all though, but rather very hard to distinguish words. Thankfully, my older sister heard me and woke me up. I opened my eyes, but not totally, just enough for me to stir myself up from my sleep completely. Even though a bit groggy still, I forced myself to go down the stairs and get my Rosary. I wrapped it around my wrist and tried going back to sleep. I don’t know if what caused my nightmare is due to too much fatigue that I experienced sleep paralysis, or is it because of my asthma preventing little oxygen to go to my brain, or is it a paranormal activity (I’m considering all possibilities)? Whatever caused it, I hate it when nightmares like that happen. I thought it was the end of me, if it wasn’t because of my older sister waking me up, I think I’m still sleeping up to now, no kidding.

By the way, the one I saw in my nightmare standing beside the bed has this face (this face has always freaked me out, but that’s so long ago. I didn’t even watch the movie):

Unnecessary Drama?

During Christmas season I don’t understand why Philippine TV is full of drama. Filipinos love comedy but for some reason they also love heavy drama. But I don’t know why they make a specific drama especially for Christmas season and call it special. It’s something I have noticed. Even variety shows that focus on fun and comedy switch to drama during Christmas season. I honestly don’t understand this. Isn’t Christmas the season to be jolly (according to a song), so why the drama? I can understand if the drama is made during All Soul’s Day, because that’s the day of the dead, but not Christmas.

Enchantment and Melody

This video is a series of photos done by my younger sister. The shoot was done in a park in Bataan. Thanks to Manny Pacquiao for making this shoot possible because if it’s not because of his fight that day, the park would be full of people. We went there at the location shoot early in the morning. It was a very eerie place without anyone around except us. At the same time the place is very beautiful and very appropriate for the theme.

Why I don’t like Santa Claus

When I was little I really believed that Santa Claus exists.  I even wondered, one morning, why Santa didn’t wait for me to give me a ride on his sleigh, like the little girl in the drawing that I saw in the card.  I asked my grandfather about it and he gave a good laugh and told everybody about what I said.  I felt so embarrassed and didn’t understand why they were laughing at me.

I used to look forward to Christmas because I looked forward to receiving gifts (I know it’s selfish but, most kids are, so what?), but whenever I hear the song “Santa Claus is coming to town” and whenever I hear the part, “He knows when you’ve been bad or good…” it always made me feel unsure if I will receive a present because I know I haven’t been good. I know I always get into trouble, and I know I have been very mean.

Anyway…

One Christmas my older brother broke the news:  “Santa is not real”. I asked in utter disbelief, “What, what are you talking about???”  Not even a tiny bit of doubt crept in my mind but my older brother was so insistent to prove to me that he’s speaking the truth so he urged me to ask our mom.  So we asked our mom, and her reaction was enough for me to know that my older brother is telling the truth.  That’s the first huge blow to me. What a disappointment!  I can say it’s traumatic to know that truth.  It’s too much of a disappointment for a little child to take (At least, that was to me, seriously).  I think that’s the beginning of my skepticism.  I thought if Santa is not real, what makes God real? We have been introduced to Santa’s existence the same way we have been introduced to God’s existence – from generation to generation of beliefs and traditions.  I also would like to add that just like many people say they’ve seen Jesus’ image, many people also say they’ve seen Santa.  As a Catholic, I have my doubts concerning God’s existence because of the traumatic disappointment I’ve had after learning the truth regarding Santa’s existence, or non-existence for that matter.  For a Christian it’s not funny if you really think about it, because it will affect your belief in God’s existence.  It sure affected mine a great deal.

I guess that’s why I despise Santa Claus (The commercialised version). And when I say despise, I mean loathe, in every sense of the word. Funny how I wasted too much energy on a non-existent entity, but for some reason, he has become the symbol of a great lie to me.  Besides, Christmas is not really about Santa in Christianity, so why do we put so much attention and emphasis on Santa, and why is he a part of Christmas anyway? People say he symbolizes the spirit of giving, yeah right. Isn’t Jesus the embodiment of giving, so why the need for Santa?

Is it okay to hit a man for whatever reason if you’re a woman?

Is it okay to hit a husband if he cheats? If the answer is yes, then is it okay to hit a wife if she cheats? If the answer is no, then the next question should be, “Why?”

So, I have been watching this parody about Tiger Woods and his wife (holding a golf club) on youtube and read some of the comments, and it made me wonder, ‘Would people see it as funny if it’s the other way around?’ I bet the answer is an absolute no.

Okay, now, before I continue, I just would like to clarify that I am not focusing on the Tiger Woods domestic violence story (if what happened to Tiger Woods is really domestic violence or not, that’s not the point) but rather I’m focusing on violence on men and how people really don’t see all violence to be not okay as they claim.

I have asked a good male friend of mine about his opinion on incidents like violence on men, and since I gave him Tiger Woods’ story as an example, initially he said that Tiger Woods deserves what he got for cheating on his wife. So I asked him, “if that’s the case, would he think it’s okay to beat a cheating wife, too?” He said “No”. I asked, “Why not?” then he said, “Manners maybe” and I asked again, “Why is it good manners when you don’t hit a woman, but it’s not bad manners to hit a man?” and finally, he said the words I have been waiting for him to say, “It’s double-standard”.

HE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!

He’s absolutely correct it IS a double standard, which so many people have failed to notice. People’s reaction to violence on men and how it greatly differs to violence on women simply wouldn’t go unnoticed forever. I myself have been blind about this when I was young, but as time passes, and as I grow older, I became aware of this accepted belief; that it’s never okay to hit a woman, but it’s funny and okay – in fact accepted – to hit a man. Where is justice in that? Now, if we really want real justice, if it’s okay and funny for a woman to hit a man, it should be okay for a man to hit a woman. If it’s not okay and it’s not funny to hit a woman, then it should also not be okay, or funny to hit a man, right? To me that is fairness, equality, and justice. That’s how I see it. When asked about this, people just dismiss it saying: “Violence is never okay”. Sure, violence is never okay, and all people know that. But the thing is, what do we really see when violence of women on men happen? We see people laughing. Yes, we laugh, because we think it’s funny. But is it really funny, knowing full well someone got hurt? In practice, do people really show how they disagree with all violence? It’s very easy to say it’s not okay, but why do we laugh at some violence on other people? How is it funny? I thought violence is never okay, but why the laugh? With this kind of belief and blind acceptance that it’s okay as long as the one perpetuating violence is a woman, what’s going to happen to sons and nephews who will grow up to this kind of double standard that surely harms them? Where is the sense of justice, fairness, and equality? Again, it’s very easy to say that violence is never okay, but is it really how people treat ALL violence, never okay? Just observe how people react when it comes to violence of women on men happen, then you will know the real answer. Maybe that’s what we all should ponder on. I know I would get a lot of negative reactions concerning this, but I can’t just keep silent about the injustices I see happening around me that people unconsciously accepted as norm and okay.

Now, I just want to clarify that I am not condoning or endorsing violence on women, but rather I am endorsing justice, fairness, and equality. If it harms a human life, it should not be tolerated.