Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Head over to for the new (and definitely better) Slip of the Pen. Yep, all of the posts here have been imported!

Also, please don't forget to update your links (in case you're wondering, my blogroll can be now found here).

Slip of the Pen is now powered by Wordpress, which is a better blogging platform than Blogger. Feel free to comment on the old posts; WP makes it a lot, lot easier for me to reply to reader feedback. You can still subscribe to the same feed.

And before I forget -- I celebrated two years of blogging last December 29! You can read my "blogger b-day" post on Crimson Crux.

That's it for now. Thanks you very much for dropping by my Blogspot space for the past two years. See you at!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Of Lit Folios and E[lit]e Notebooks

literary apprentice light 2006 - click for full versionTwo Fridays ago, I had the privilege of picking up my contributor's copy of the Literary Apprentice Lite 2006 during UP's Writers Night. In the folio's pages was my first English poem published in print.

Though I don't show it here, I prefer to write unabashed street-talk poems in Tagalog. In the same way that I can let loose some grandiloquent pieces in English, I'm fond of having my Tagalog pieces emanate some shock value with regard to the word choice and plot premise. In fact, I fancy myself as a writer who can challenge my readers' sensibilities more effectively when using the strong words of my native tongue.

literary apprentice light 2006 - click for full versionNeedless to say, it was a great feeling to know that my English poetry is publication-worthy. The fact that the Lit Apprentice Lite is a good folio is a real morale-booster in times when I can't write that much anymore due to work.

The folio, entitled A Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone, is quite the untraditional publication. Aside from the usual printed zine, it also comes with an audio CD and some mini-zines. Heck, it even has a paper boat, not to mention almost-pornographic images adorning some of the lit works. The UP Writer's Club was really creative with this one, which leaves me pondering as to the form of the main Literary Apprentice, coming out next year.

literary apprentice light 2006 - click for full versionAs for my now-personal favorite poem, Typo, the way it was presented in the folio intrigued me. The "i"s in superscript definitely was the simplest yet most effective way to present the piece in a folio where all works had highly 'customized' layouts. However, the "y"s in superscript puzzle me. Aside from the obvious phonetical relation between "i" and "y", having the "y"s in superscript can distract the reader. But I'll stop here; after all, I don't want to nitpick my own published poem.

Another reason to be happy in the past days was the delivery of my moleskines, the 'legendary' notebook used by Hemingway, Picasso, and Van Gogh. Obviously these notebooks won't do you any good if what you write or sketch in their pages is garbage. Still, to have a moleskine lying on my desk is a psychological lighthouse that both reminds urges me to write and comforts me that a haven lies nearby, waiting for the time I'm going to need it.

literary apprentice light 2006 - click for full versionThe funny thing about this writer friend of yours is that I've yet to pen anything on the moleskine's pages. Still biding for the moment when the muse swoops down in front of me, poses seductively in her flowing ancient Greek dress, and enthralls me with her...charms? Maybe. I just don't want to write, "Hey, this is SO cooool. Moleskines rock! I'm so happy to own one" on the first page, no way. I want the first text on the first page to be special. Hence, a still unused moleskine.

So, why have the ideas stopped flowing? Well, the ideas are there -- I fancy myself a "literary idea machine". My problem is actually putting conjured scenes to words -- if you don't know already, I'm a workaholic. Aside from my formal writing/blogging/webmastering jobs (yes, plural), I'm putting up websites like crazy. Right now I'm just trying to open two more sites before my mind calms down and begins to actually write down the 5 poems, 2 short stories, 2 novels, and 1 saga in queue...among others.

(My "write-in-a-frenzy, write-in-a-jiffy!" capabilities have gone kaput.)

*An anecdote: I was informed that "Typo" was going to be published exactly one year after I wrote it.

*Another footnote: Please drop by 1), which has been slightly tweaked; 2) Crimson Crux, which underwent a redesign; and 3) Aircraft Models Crux, my newly opened site.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I Judged a Book by Its Cover, Literally

It was something I thought a bibliophile like me would never ever do.

Prior to yesterday, it has been almost a year since I last bought a new book, much less finished one. That’s quite unbelievable for a chap who used to devour three full pocketbooks a week back in his younger days. I enjoyed all kinds of books -- sci-fi, fantasy, classical, mystery, non-fiction, heck, even musty history tomes and medicine books. (I remember myself poring over a gigantic dictionary for hours upon hours; unfortunately it didn’t turn me into the vocabulary monster I had hoped to be!) Once I saw a book lying around in the house that I hadn’t read yet, I’d set to conquer it.

I finally ended my book-drought yesterday when I bought three books -- two fiction, one non -- from a certain bookstore in the Power Plant Mall at Rockwell. I don’t know what precisely triggered me to buy three expensive books with my own money, which I had never done before. Was it the sight of so many titles I had never seen in the “regular” bookstores, or the fact that I had a wad of hard-earned cash in my wallet ready to heed my caprice?

Whatever the reason, for the first time in almost a year, I felt that unmistakable thrill of picking out a book from the shelf, browsing it with excited fingers, letting the scent of the pages waft to your nostrils, and finally bringing it to the cashier so it is finally, irrevocably yours.

At the end of the day, I lost 1,600 pesos but gained three gems. Were these gems as truly brilliant as they appeared in the bookstore? You bet…except for one.

The Historical Hardcover
world war ii 100 book langer
The World War II 100 by Howard J. Langer

This book was the last of my picks, and the steal of them all. Howard J. Langer’s The World War II 100 ranks the one hundred most influential figures of the maelstrom. Merely seeing the title and the faces of Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and Hitler on the cover from afar was enough to reel in this history buff. Knowing that its price was slashed was of secondary value.

Priced at 459 pesos, the hardcover book is now part of my treasured collection of history books, composed of massive hardcovers ordered from the US and cheap paperback editions used in school. Getting The World War II 100 was like a pledge to myself to not forget my passion for history, which has been eroded by non-stop work.

To think that this all started when I, barely out of prep school, came upon my cousin’s discarded, photocopied-for-school pages on Tamerlane and his conquests makes me gape at my doggedness.

The Very Short Stories
flash fiction book
Flash Fiction by J. Thomas, D. Thomas, and Hazuka

The smaller, thinner, paperback Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories, priced at a whopping 767 pesos, might seem a bad investment, especially when compared with the previous book. However, I’ve always believed that words woven by artists have more value than words written to fill the gaps between facts, theories, and corollaries.

Ia, who was with me, pointed out the aesthetically-ridiculous cover of the book. However, my scheming skimming eyes pointed out the sterling literature written on the pages, and I decided to make the purchase.

A good part of the fiction I’ve written (some of which you can find on this blog) fall under “flash fiction”, which wasn’t part of my plan when I started to take creative writing seriously in college. I’m not sure if my buying of the book is a subconscious effort to learn more about flash/sudden fiction, and I’m quite excited to see if the 72 “very short stories” are going to affect my writing in the future.

The Doppelganger
tangled webs book new cunningham
Tangled Webs by Elaine Cunningham

The first rows of shelves I go to in a bookstore is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section, which is perfectly understandable -- one of my first-ever writings was set in a magical world, and most of the “three books per week” mentioned earlier were sci-fi titles bought from bargain shops.

And so I came away with Elaine Cunningham’s Tangled Webs, the second book in the Starlights and Shadows saga. Cunningham is one of my favorite authors, and her dark elven heroine Liriel Baenre is one of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever met in any form of fiction. Still, the book wasn’t on my “to-buy” list. So, what made me buy the book?

You guessed it -- the cover. The 384-peso paperback featured the great new cover art found in recent Forgotten Realms releases. Sitting beside the book on the shelf was Book 1 of the saga, which I knew I already had just by looking at its cover. The cover of Tangled Webs looked foreign to me, and thinking that I had probably missed the sequel to Book 1, I bought it. Why not? It was new!

Big mistake.

Just before bedtime, I skimmed over the first pages of the novel (as I am wont to do). Oddly enough, the text looked familiar. Chills running down my spine (incidentally, I was also having the real chills after an exhausting day), my fingers sped to the last page. To my horror, I recognized the ending. I had read this novel before!

Sifting through my collection of novels, I had trouble finding the “duplicate” copy. No other book looked like my new Tangled Webs! Where did I first read the story? There’s no Tangled Webs here. Look, here’s Daughter of the Drow, the first book of the saga. And here’s Elfshadow. And The Magehound, Thornhold, Tangled Webs

Tangled Webs. I was holding my new Tangled Webs in my hand, and staring at another Tangled Webs. With a different cover.

tangled webs book old cunningham
My old copy of Tangled Webs
I was right. No other book looked like my new copy. My old Tangled Webs was published way before Forgotten Realms changed the style of their cover art. And with my hundreds of owned titles getting the better of my memory, I simply got blinded by the “great new cover art” of the book. Turns out I purchased Book 1, which also had new cover art -- after I read Tangled Webs, the second book. Heck, I probably didn’t even notice that I had finished the whole saga already!

I tell you, it was a humiliating day to be a bibliophile. Or at least to claim to be one.

* * *

I judged a book by its cover, and what did I get? A duplicate, a few hundred wasted pesos, and a lesson in life. So next time you hear one of those wise sayings, take them to heart, and if possible, take them to heart literally.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Deviations III: The Stink

Deviations II Deviations I

The Stink

They had just stepped into her house and locked the door when she looked around as if looking for something, crinkling her nose at the same time.

"What?" he asked.

"I'm sorry if it stinks around here."


"The result of having too many assholes sharing one place," she answered, not even looking at his direction. Her stare now seemingly darted from one spot of the floor to another.

"Assholes, eh? Do I know them?"

"Of course you do. Parents, stuff. Why, who else lives here? Son of a bitch, you can be so stupid at times."

He managed to sound off an overplayed grunt. She disappeared around a corner, and he heard a fridge creak open. He was getting impatient.

"Beatrice." Full names are commands, he'd found out early in their two years.

She appeared right on cue, eyes now pledging allegiance to him. "Yeah?"

"They're really out, right?"

"Of course they're out. We wouldn't be staying here if they weren't out."

"O, so what are we waiting for?" he asked, raising his voice. He scratched his neck.

She stood in her place a few feet away, breathing deeply, slowly deliberately. She began to crinkle her nose.

He swung open his arms in an imperious manner.

"Give me the goddamn fun, girl."

She walked into him, letting his arms reach and coil around her. Her face drew nearer to his, and she opened her lips.

"Suddenly, it stinks even more around here." She kissed him.

[Women, this might not be new knowledge to you, but some men know that their only difference with a sinus is one syllable. The tragedy lies in enjoying being one.]

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

She, I (also The 24th of October)

the shoe pic -

She was born on 5:28, I was born on 8:52. At first glance it seems a harmless coincidence; after all, there's a person born every minute. But when two people having those amusing numbers cross paths and spend eight years dancing with each other, you're reminded of an oft-abused word having "soul" and having "mate".

These two people are two shoes in different colors. Somehow, they sport similar designs. (Maybe because they come from the same Maker, and were meant to be paired in the future, albeit in fashion faux pas?) The feet that wear them walk together in different cadences, but if one falls behind, it always catches up the other never leaves it behind. And when these feet find themselves back on the same track, the cadence goes awry again after some time. But as always, one waits for the other, the other catches up. It's a cycle, a sequence of missteps and small reunions, all backdropped against a war of colors that, oddly enough, look good together from time to time.

She was born on 5:28, I was born on 8:52. She was born, I was born.

She, I.

Happy 21st birthday, dearest Ia. Guys, please do me a favor and greet her at the newly-opened Thanks! (And it's not my birthday today -- I was born on May 10.)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Where There's No Lack of the Red and Black sunburst

It dies in a blaze of glory and is reborn from the ashes.

An elegant line. Unfortunately, one that can't be applied to That's for the phoenix.

It dies in an ignominious crash

there, that's more apt, though it must be conceded that

and is reborn from the ashes.

Reborn, in a blaze of glory.

Guestbooks aren't dead. Feel free to leave a message in the new Guestbook. (That's why the comments page for this post has been closed wink wink.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

If There's Nonsense, Then There's Sense (A True Story)

ronald the duck, corsarius' laptop, and nonsense
i give up
i spent the past four hours writing a piece
that soon turned to a piece
of crap
words of crap, phrases of crap, heck,
i knew it was doom
when it all devolved into rap

-- put in the rhymes, put in the rhythm
it's all about the chimes and the m*th*f*ck*n' Schism --

when the commas looked like fleas
jumping from line to line,
when the question mark was Death's scythe
(deathly white, with that carnuba shine)
when the periods were puddles of roach poop,
when the a, b, c, to z
were a putrid hieroglyph soup.

slapping my face in vexation, the pimple goes pop
it hurts, but not really,
only if you slash the wound
with a pen, and use the same pen
to write a disaster waiting to

(DING! shameless rhyme!)

trying to make treasure from trash?
impossible, but only if the pus remains on the face
because you didn't wash
(if impossible has a "but",
then is it entirely possible
that impossible is

put in the rhythm, put in the rhyme
it doesn't matter if this chatter is just for
the (mean)time!

5:52 AM
September 22, 2006

*This piece was written by Ronald the Duck. Absolutely. That's my laptop, and I seriously doubt it that you mistook the duck as the Corsarius. And yeah, that cussword is without asterisks in the final version.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Boracay: Back in the Arms of a Lost Sweetie

Home sweet home!
If the title strikes you as a bit something straight from a soap opera, then I've already succeeded in conveying my sentiments. I approached my recent trip to Boracay two weeks ago with the same melodrama attached to telenovelas -- yearning, apprehension, suspense, jubilation, love. Granted, a beach is a beach, nothing more. But when that beach is part of your home province and was your regular haunt -- was, because you haven’t visited it for an effing decade already -- then a little melodrama is justifiable.

The Kimpos have touched down. Yeah, we had the entire frikkin' boat to ourselves.
Yep, my family is from Aklan, proud mother of Boracay, and that is why in my childhood years I was able to enjoy the white sands almost every year. But somehow since I stepped into high school, I couldn’t find the time to visit my old love. My trips to Kalibo, capital of Aklan didn’t stop, which just made the yearning for the beach grow stronger -- I often found myself just a two-hour ride and a short ferry trip away from Boracay!

So you could just imagine the almost surreal feeling I got when I disembarked from the rickety boat
Landfall. See the seaweed?
onto the fine, ivory sands dotted with...seaweed. Yeah, the whole (extended) family made the trip in Boracay’s off-season -- the merry month of August when tourists are relatively scarcer, the winds are fierce, the suntan is a near impossibility, the rain is intermittent, the waters are choppy, and the waves are huge (you’ve got to experience being slammed back onto the shore after wading chin-high in the water just two seconds earlier!). At least, you’ve got the beach all to yourselves.

Approaching the beachfront from the place we stayed in.
How was world-renowned Boracay from the perspective of someone who went AWOL for ten years? Great, as always -- the beach was magnificent, the nightlife was crazy, and the food was sumptuous -- though I took some time to absorb the changes that have marked Bora’s landscape since the last time I roamed it. Here’s a trifecta of them:

1) The small bamboo/nipa cottages have almost gone the way of the dodo. Most of them have been replaced by concrete inns and apartelles, not to mention the sprawling hotels (some of which have been developed by Koreans to accommodate...Koreans).

2) The windscreen/sandscreen/whatever installed on the beachfront wasn’t pleasing to the eyes at first glance -- hey, I want a clear view of the beach from
The cousins strolling around in stormy Bora.
the open area bar! -- but you’ve got to thank their presence when the wind’s slamming the shore and (1) the sand’s not getting into your eyes, (2) the sand’s not getting into your food, (3) the sand’s not getting into your booze, and (4) your clothes are still on.

3) D’Mall. Or D-Mall. Or D*Mall (that’s what the beach sign says). Heck, let’s just call it “The Mall”. You and I might spell it differently, but we’ll agree that this shopping complex makes Bora more sophisticated. Great shops, great buys; just make sure you’ve got dough, as many products here are priced for the foreigner and his almighty dollar.

All in all, Boracay became more mature, more hectic, more urbanized. The Boracay I had known ten years ago was a bit more rustic. But of course, ten years ago I was still in grade school, so it might just be me.

The view from the balcony of Paulazaros Inn.
The family (oops, I forgot -- the extended family) split up and stayed in two separate places. The oldies had the privilege of lodging in the prestigious Fairways and Bluewater Resort, while the young ones checked in at the Paulazaros Inn. While not exactly a luxurious suite, the latter offers great rooms at an affordable price suited for mid-income vacationers. (I’m beginning to sound like a holiday plan salesman, so I’ll stop.) The inn is also a mere twenty seconds’ walk from the beachfront, so I guess you can call the location convenient. While it doesn’t have a view of the sea, you have a superb vista of the island’s little green mountain to compensate (why, you thought Boracay was flat?).
When cousins go to the bar...they get drunk, what else? That's me in the white shirt.

What’s a sojourn at a tropical paradise without the booze and heart-thumping music? The two nights we spent at Boracay found me and my cousins drunk and dazed at two hubs of the island’s night life -- the famous Cocomangas and Summer Place. Considering that the night before our trip to Bora was a tequila-laced one (at a wedding reception in mainland Aklan), that made for three straight hangover days for yours truly. Ah, the good life!...ends quite abruptly due to a wrecked liver, I guess.

Back in Manila, with a slight suntan (?). I probably included this pic because I didn't want you guys to remember me in a drunken pose, hehe!
Three days and two nights. Flew past my face so fast I can’t even play back a good rewind. Therefore, the only option is to repeat those three days and two nights. They more than made up for the ten years of absence, and heck, they convinced me enough for a return trip...soon.

*You can also read this piece at, a great new site created and maintained by my friend Jason Torres of Enthropia, the company I work with. (Yeah, the Corsarius is now a...yuppie.) If you've got the time, be one the first people to share your experiences and reviews of Boracay. Thanks, guys.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Filipino Can Do It: The Encore

It's been an effing long time since I've blogged here, and frankly I miss Slippy. Right now I want to post something more than an announcement here, but trust me, this announcement's quite big.

If you've been keeping tabs on this blog for more than a year already, then you'll remember UP ACM's stunning triumph in the international scene. To recap last year's event: our student org beat first-world universities en route to bagging two of the five Student Chapter Excellence Awards given by ACM International. And you know what?

UP ACM has done it again. Yes, yes, the Filipino has won again, bigtime! Read my announcement on Crimson Crux for complete details. Ang galing ng Pinoy!

[If you've been wondering where the hell this corsair has been, this'll sum it up for you: In the last three months, I've went to two major family reunions slash vacations in Kalibo and Boracay, which ultimately resulted in a lot of work piling up. I'll give a little story on Boracay this weekend.]