Prospects, Concerns, Opportunities, Expectations

It’s at this point that I can admit to things not ever turning out as I expect. Then again I think it’s safe to assume that it’s only the very rare person whose life turns out as planned.

Nearing 30 was tumultuous, and being 30 has not been much easier. I’ve written before that I swung between manic and depressive states throughout February and March and my mind has been a cauldron of trouble. Work, money, personal life, family stuff. And more recently old man trouble makes another visit in my mind in the form of fortune and opportunity.

See, I got invited to submit an abstract to a conference. My main qualification? I’m a comic book nerd. it definitely helped of course that I can competently write critical/literary analysis papers. Still I did not expect that my paper would get accepted to the conference. It’s an amazing stroke of luck that all our papers were accepted, and as a result we as a panel were accepted to be part of the First Global Conference on the Graphic Novel in Oxford. Leading the panel is Prof. Emil Flores, and on it are Prof. Dough Ancheta and my very good friend Mic Chua. As far as critical writing goes, I am the lightweight int he group (though I am the heavyweight in literal terms).

This is an exhilarating prospect. To go to another country and present my ideas on Pinoy Komiks. Man, it’s just, really, it’s mind-blowing isn’t it? I feel lucky and I feel like there are so many other people that I admire and that I look up to and I think, I was just in the right place at the right time and I know in my bones that I have to do well, do right by all these people and right by all the people who have ever taught me by just making the best paper that I possibly can.

Now comes the part that is causing me many many apprehensions. And it’s the money. In just the span of a week the cost of plane fare jacked up from P42 to around P60K. so right now, I don’t really have the money to pay for that and everything else. But I have to, lest the prices go up even more.

I had thought, at 30, that I would finally be able to start saving some money. I’ll have to admit I have been a wastrel as far as money has been concerned. I felt deprived as a kid. Didn’t get to eat good food. Didn’t get to go to places. Didn’t get the video games I ever wanted. Didn’t get the gadgets. And so when I started making money, I started indulging in all these things. But after months of not getting paid, I managed to save a fair amount of money. I promised a chunk of it to go to my sister’s debut party. And the rest I planned to save.

Thing is the Oxford trip will cost, just for plane fare, accommodations, and conference fee, something in the neighborhood of P100,000. I have never had that much money IN MY LIFE. I got close. Darn close. I was planning to have that much, and let that be part of a more mature, more developed budgeting and spending so that I could start really saving up. But it looks like I will be spending that and more on the trip.

I worry because I will be back to near zero. UP provides a research and development grant, but it’s a flat rate P45K. That doesn’t even cover airfare. And what makes it even more difficult to work with is that the full amount is released months after you actually need it, what with all the paperwork that needs to get done to release money. But we need the money now.

I’m tapping friends to come up with schemes for fundraising. I’m willing to try anything. So far, looks like I’ll probably be throwing a concert. And if we can find a yacht, quite possibly a yacht party. And I don’t know what else. But it feels like this opportunity is too good to pass up. And so, here we go on another adventure, trying to raise funding for this adventure. All I can think now is, EXCELSIOR!

Retro Reviews: Con Air

Been a while since I picked up the Retro Reviews. Too much other writing had to get done, and lots of pressure. But what better way to get back into it than with Simon West’s Con Air, one of the most wonderfully stupid, unabashedly cheesy films of all time.  Read more of this post

Infiltrating the Establishment

In a recent comic book (I think it’s the latest Avengers vs. X-Men, but not sure, just remember it’s one of the many running Avengers titles) Thor and Cap a little heart to heart. Without having to go too much into all the Marvel event backstory, let’s just say that Cap is now head of the global defense force. And the whole enterprise weights heavily on him. Thor tells Cap that Cap was always better when he was following his rebellious streak. But now that he is the establishment, how can he rebel. And as a result, how can he be at his best. I was happy to find, as I often do, that despite the very clear incongruities between real life and comic books, that once again I could see how these characters are made human and forced to deal with the very normal, very real questions that we do too.  Read more of this post

Trying to Finish Books

Sometime in January, after having read Jay-Z’d Decoded I decided to start growing my hair and beard. In the book Jay-Z mentions that he lets his hair grow out when he’s making an album, and thus has a visual reminder of how long he has been working on a project. I thought to one-up his method by letting the beard and ‘stache go too. Which was not a very good idea. Read more of this post