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Oriental Masks

Oriental Masks
Photo by Jefferson Solayao, 2016

Saturday, July 29, 2017

This electronic diary is continued on
While Aubrey and her friends are celebrating Aubrey's birthday I am at my writing desk, reading.

Having a cup of Teow Li's lemon grass tea from Cambodia.
Aubrey's birthday party commences at M.'s cafe. Angelique and Aubrey engineered everything. I learned that Angelique is much better at these things than I am.

The cake was designed by my co-worker at the Embassy, Anthony Pangilinan, and his wife. It is chocolate embellished with red roses and 30 cupcakes.
Strands of white flowers and clean water for the shivalingam.
Learned today that Kichiro Mayuzumi is a guard dog too. When Aubrey's first friend arrived and went into Aubrey's bedroom to set up decor for her surprise party, Kichiro started barking and howling and wouldn't stop. I had to go upstairs to tell Kichiro that everything was all right. He then stopped making noise but lay down in front of Aubrey's bedroom door.
Happy Birthday, Mailes Angelina Kanapi!

Your birthday messages:

1) Save up for a rainy day.
2) Always look at the beauty within.
3) The man who loves you does not love your career.
4) Being in control is knowing that you are not in control.
5) When you are happy, you are too happy. When you are sad, you are too sad. Learn to achieve balance.

While Aubrey was out buying decor for her party, her friends arrived early to set up a separate, surprise party in her bedroom. I took some photos of the set-up, but not of Aubrey's arrival; it was a girl thing. At any rate they all seemed to be having a lot of fun, judging by the shrieking and laughter and singing I could hear from the ground floor.
An honest citizen has nothing to fear, for even the law trembles in his presence.
Never teach to impress. Otherwise your co-teachers and students will desire to take everything away from you.
I always admire people who work honestly and hard for something and then get it against all odds.
Two cups very black, Italian blend.
A person who lives alone must do everything by himself, but sometimes more efficiently and more thoroughly than he would with the help of others.
After the rain bathes the trees, the wind brushes their hair.
Do not be proud of poverty if it is something that everyone is trying to get out of.
Some of the heaviest materials I have ever lifted are earth, water, and paper.
Most in society are uncomfortable with reflective people, because reflective people are extremely difficult to penetrate.
Friendship and alliance are not identical relationships.
It is envy that always makes one an enemy, for the envious always believe that they, rather than you, should have what you have.
Inching forward is moving forward nonetheless.

Friday, July 28, 2017

I have never criticized a fellow creative writer for his or her works--and I never will. Writing is like painting. How one mixes colors and handles brushes are as unique as his/her fingerprints, and every audience has every right to decide what paintings they like well enough to hang on their walls.
It was a windy morning in Cubao, with a swirling drizzle as fine and as prickly as a mild sandstorm.
Your Messenger message:

"Tony, may i request for another dream interpretation?

"I dreamt that a friend picked me up from the hospital ( I wasnt sick in the dream) . I was surprised that instead of a car, she used a small plane. I asked her how much she spent for gasoline. 'Around P5,000' she replied, adding that it was better to spend that much on gas than be caught in traffic.

"During the flight, i asked myself why i trusted her to fly me, when i never knew in our entire friendship that she could also fly a plane.

"Having studied flying in real life, i thought in the dream to that it was alright to trust her as i myself have been trusted to fly a plane as a flying student.

"I suggested that we land on the roofdeck of my former condo, but she chose to land at the garage of a building in Ortigas Center."

My reply:

Hello _________!

A friend of yours will soon be hospitalized--not necessarily the person in your dream--and you will visit her. You will consider assisting her by paying for P5,000 of her bills, rationalizing to yourself that it is better to pay for another person's illness than for one's own.

That is why the plane landed not on your roof deck but somewhere else.

Never start collecting something, and then abandon, and then neglect it. It probably means that you have too many collections than you can handle.
There is nothing more complex than Asian magic--it is as complex as their visual art and their epic literature. One cannot merely dabble in it, one must devote several lifetimes studying it.
Magic is the art of looking backward in order to be able to look forward.
The sky is a father's comforting embrace.
Lunch with Angelique and Aubrey.

Angelique off to Saturday classes at her college.

Aubrey off to buy decor for her birthday party. Her friends are coming over to help her this afternoon.
Happy 18th Birthday to my third granddaughter, Aubrey Rose!
Good noon, Cubao!

Slept 12 hours last night.
Popular judgment is never valid and reliable, because it is always based on incomplete information.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two cups Turkish dark.
Good morning, Cubao!

The clouds are glass pen trays.
12:06 AM. A steady drizzle has been descending in glass-bead curtains for an hour now. It sparkles in the mercury light of the street lamps. Perfect atmosphere for my viewing of an episode replay from The Curse of Oak Island on History.

Love that 17th-century coin!
Played a few games of mahjong with Angelique, Aubrey, and J.

Angelique and J. are only too glad that their classes tomorrow have been suspended.
Dinner with Angelique, Aubrey, and J.

Aubrey is now teaching Angelique and J. how to play mahjong. Very soon everyone here will know how to play it, and we can schedule regular game sessions.
Never demean yourself, no matter how little you think you have going for you.
Rain is a door that opens and shuts. It pours and it stops. When it pours, the door is open, and the sky asks you to step in and walk through its long, silver fingers. When it stops you are left all to yourself. No matter what key you try to use, the door to the sky will not open, until the rain comes and pours once again.
During my last workshop in Singapore the theatre provided me a mobile that I could use to get in touch with workshop personnel after hours, if I had to.

When Ezzat handed the mobile over to me he said, "It has money in it," and I had to think about that before understanding what he meant because, in the Philippines, what people typically say is, "It has load."
Chito passed by early this evening on his way to work and asked me for one of my umbrellas. He wanted a folding umbrella, and I gave him one. I gave my sister Alice an umbrella also, a violet, non-folding one.

I personally prefer non-folding umbrellas over folding umbrellas. They seem sturdier, although they make for very inconvenient hand baggage. They can actually double up as weapons or as long wands, or staves.
My favorite news program is On the Spot, hosted by Vic de Leon Lima and Toni Aquino. The news items come in swiftly, and the broadcasters do not have to resort to small talk and banter like other broadcasters do while waiting for news bits to come in--if and when they come in.

This news program is the epitome of news "as it happens, where it happens". It covers events that are happening at the same time in different parts of the country. It is straightforward, urgent, and immediate, and is a perfect utilization of air time.

I wish it would be broadcast everyday, including Saturday and Sunday, to keep everyone well-informed.
Sometime in mid-afternoon a woman walked into the compound and informed the guard on duty that she was visiting a friend, a tenant named N____. She walked up and down the two tenement buildings but was unable to find her friend's unit. She then knocked on every door, annoying tenants who felt that their privacy was being invaded. They sent her away. She threw a tantrum, kicked the stair steps, and proceeded to the driveway, where she screamed, cursed, ranted, and raved for more than a quarter of an hour. Everyone came out to watch the spectacle. None of the tenants, not even the guard and the building administrator, could calm her down. When she finally got exhausted, she left the compound in a huff.

I scanned the woman from our kitchen, where I was having tea, and saw that she was on the verge of a mental breakdown. She had a very serious financial problem--I note that it is always the lack of money that pushes a person with a weak ego over the edge and drives him to envy, frustration, hopelessness, anger, and, finally, despair.

I immediately recalled the time I was a child in our ancestral house in San Fernando, Pampanga. Beyond the expanded-steel fence of the back yard of the house, there was a community of informal settlers. We had friendly relations with them. Their children would sometimes come and play with me. Our friendship was really my first exposure to people who were living lifestyles of poverty. One of the residents of that community was a psychotic woman who always muttered to herself and intermittently screamed out, "Cualta! Cualta!" I asked my aunts what was wrong with her, but they had no knowledge of her story. We simply called her "Cualta", and would hear her screams outside while we were having meals in the dining room. This was my first knowledge of psychotics. It would be why, many years later, I enrolled for an M.A. in Clinical Psychology: to finally piece together and know, albeit in terms of layered syndromes, that woman's story.

There would be less mental and nervous breakdowns in this country if there were less problems about money. I have observed, though many might disagree with me, that money problems are more psychologically harmful than love problems. To begin with, even if a person had all the love problems he could possibly have and handle, he would still need money for his security and peace of mind. It is money that buys one a house, a car, clothing, and three meals a day--and those are basic needs.

I sometimes even suspect that many of my co-writers and co-painters actually write and paint for money--not for fame, not for glory, not for posterity, and certainly not for love.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I love houses with windows that glow like lanterns on rainy nights, reminding passersby to trudge on patiently because they, too, will soon be home. The warmth within those houses makes onlookers think of bowls of hot soup and comfortable chairs and picture books they could pleasurably pore through forever, of children sleeping inside cozy bedrooms with stuffed toys exuding the smell of new velveteen, their ceilings sprinkled with yellow-green, glow-in-the-dark stars, of pet dogs dreaming their dreams under spinning dreamcatchers. Outside, from the street, those windows shine through screens of tree leaves and branches stirring like black, Spanish lace being washed by rain.

I am the man in the street, and I am also the man inside the house, but I know not which me has the heavier burden of love.
The rain is a series of long, bridal trains. We lift them up with the tops of our umbrellas as the fairies who wear them march down the aisle.
Sloth day. Lolling in my bedroom. On Chapter 16 of The Dream Spheres.

Sloth is not a Deadly Sin on a rainy day like this.
When the rain falls, every drop contains a memory--retroactively from the past, currently from the present, precognitively from the future. Some of the memories soak my hair, my face, my body, activating computer chips within me. Others go deep into the ground, like thoughts that must be buried and remain hidden forever.
Thinking of the days I was a high school student and a college undergrad. I loved walking under the rain in a trench coat, and I did so for hours. Many of my ideas for plays and novels occurred to me in the rain.

Two cups very black, Italian blend.
Tony Perez's Art of War: Know that your warrior spirit guides will have vengeance on your enemies, not on all of them at the same time, but on all of them, one at a time.
It is now that his underlings are learning how to exercise their own power in his protective shadow. They are savoring it. They like it, and they intend to hold on to it for as long as they can.
The sky is an aquarium filled with moonfish.
Good morning, Cubao!

The city is as washed and scrubbed as crockery in a kitchen sink.
If you have psychic abilities, stay away from media. They will only sensationalize and use you to their own ends, and those ends have nothing to do with the spiritual enlightenment of their audiences.

As a result:

1) The most credible psychics today are those who are not featured in any kind of media, and these are the psychics whom intelligent people go out of their way to consult.
2) Psychic abilities and activities do not look good in curriculum vitae.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I have put a stop to my annual invitation to coffee with Friends in my List whom I've never met before.

At 66 I am no longer interested in meeting new people. The friends I already have deserve more of my time.
Two wooden palettes finally scraped clean.

Set aside more stuff to give away. The dictionaries and almanacs I will give to Chito for Chevy and Vinci.
I have been invited by at least two fellow artists to join their group exhibits, but their common lead time was one month. I observe that this is typical of art events, maybe because a longer lead time makes their spark of interest die out. If so, I can never join such events, because I am not only an oil painter, I am a glazer as well, and glazing takes time.
The downside to wet weather if you are an oil painter:

1) The drying time is prolonged by 300%.
2) Varnishing is a no-no.
Water is the Bird of Life, but rain is the Fountain of Youth. Learn how to draw its essence into your body.

Wet your palms in the rain and visualize drawing the rain into your body and taking over your body.

Try it to believe it.
The goddess of the storm is my mother.

I love chilly, rainy weather.

I love wearing my favorite sweaters in it.

I love lighting our incandescent lamps to glow in its semi-darkness.

I love curling up in bed to read a book to the sound of drumming on the rooftops.

It makes me, at 66, feel like 27 all over again.
Lunch at home with Angelique and Aubrey. We all like this kind of weather, especially Aubrey, who collects lanterns and lights scented candles.
I am always being invited by friends to Like something I know absolutely nothing about, but I Click on "Like" anyway.
If you are psychic, know that:

1) You are not obliged to help others, for your gift, like magic, is mainly for your self-development.
2) You should not meddle in other people's affairs just because you see something that they don't.
3) Your abilities have NOTHING to do with religion or salvation.
4) There are psychics like you in every country, all over the world.
5) There is nothing wrong with you except that you are 20 to 50 years ahead of your time. YOU are where everyone else is going.
6) Do NOT feel constrained to adapt to society. That would be like climbing a tree to pick fresh fruit, looking at everyone else groveling on the ground for fallen and rotting fruit, and jumping down to join them.
Can we not store the rain the way Joseph of Egypt stored grain for seven years, and then distribute the water for free?
I am still in hibernation and am not available to anyone.

Need to do a portrait.

Need to dramaturge nine plays.
When a person gets in touch with you for a consultation because he/she has an urgent problem, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. If the person does not respond, does not show up, or postpones the appointment, CANCEL EVERYTHING, because what it means is that his/her problem is not urgent at all.

Never drop everything for such persons. They are most often nosy creatures who seek to be entertained. If you have to schedule anything with them, do it at your convenience only. Let THEM drop everything for YOU.
The sky is a glass pitcher of ice-cold water.
Good morning, Cubao!

Slept ten hours last night.
Everybody home.
The flower man buzzed by. I bought a strand of white flowers, placed it on the shivalingam, and poured clean water.
Aubrey walked Cerefina in the driveway upon her arrival from her friend's house. Angelique's class will be over early this evening. We are waiting for her so that we can all have dinner together.
I always write inside the small loggia at 5:00 PM. It is the perfect time to reflect and watch dusk fall. I light a lamp on a small table, and of course take it in after I am done.
Maintaining a List of 5,000 Friends compels you to weed out people who used to matter to you but no longer do.
Exercise regularly. It keeps you in shape and keeps you alive.
Repression compounded by loneliness (and sometimes poverty) is the open door to "possession" because "possession" can be nothing more than an overwhelming desire to wreak vengeance on the world. It is both a form of immediate self-expression and a form of slow self-destruction.
Write and paint--and continue writing and painting--for you do not do so for the present but for the future. Your most appreciative audiences have not yet been born.
Tony Perez's Art of War: Always make certain that the persons who attempt to drag you down miserably fail to do so.
People are now collecting the mobile numbers of Grab and Uber drivers they really like, just in case they urgently need their services in the future.
Almost everything in your house will outlive you. Do not give that honor to plastic, resin, ceramics, cheap souvenirs, junk, and trash.
My sister Alice finished translating one volume of rituals from Spanish to English. I have yet to read it, as well as two books, and view entire collections of DVDs that my sister Sylvia sent me from Sydney, but I'm not doing all of that until I finish reading The Dream Spheres.
Angelique at college. Aubrey bought two boxes of doughnuts and is now at a friend's house.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lunch at home with Angelique and Aubrey.
Two cups black, Turkish dark.
Good noon, Cubao!

The sky is an inverted searing pan.
Watched Judge Dee and the Monastery Murders (based on the book The Haunted Monastery by Robert van Gulik), a DVD my sister Sylvia gave me today. She had some difficulty obtaining this; it is, indeed, a rare acquisition. This 1974 movie for TV, filmed with a square screen a la the Brother Cadfael series, co-stars a young Mako as Tao Gan and a young Miiko Taka as first wife Jade Mirror, who looks no older than she was in the 1957 movie Sayonara. The rest of the cast is Asian-American, except for one Caucasian. Asian-American, not Chinese-American. I even suspect at least one Filipino-American in the cast. It was an era, after all, when a purely Chinese-American cast would have been impossible to assemble.

I was a little put off by the casting, but only because the characters look nowhere near the illustrations of Robert van Gulik. The actor who performs the role of Judge Dee is quite paunchy and not as fit as the protagonist of van Gulik's series. Because it is an old movie, the scenes are washed out. The continuity is poor with regards to posture, lighting, and sound. A dinner scene is unconvincing--there is hardly any food in the bowls. Finally, nothing can beat that fake, wild bear. This was, nonetheless, a good attempt and quite a hard shoot: the setting had to be as complex as that described in the novel, and the first half of the movie occurs under a heavy downpour.

Searching for a Judge Dee movie is like searching for a needle in a haystack, and so I consider this DVD an exotic treasure. It is now mine, mine, mine! I did enjoy it, but I can see how a present-day audience would not.
Must ask one of my students to stay in my house for a week so that we can watch the entire Grimm series in all of seven days.
The karyoka vendor plies P. Tuazon Boulevard at least twice a week, in the morning. I am fascinated with the way he calls out the word "karyoka"--he sings it like an Arabic chant, and in five separate notes, "kar-yo-kah-ah-ah!". Quite haunting. You have to hear it to believe it.
I will never own a mobile again. It requires more attention than our pet dogs, pet birds, pet fish, and house plants.
I asked B.L. for something and he gave it to me.
Lunch at home with my sisters Remi, Alice, and Sylvia, my granddaughter Angelique, my brother-in-law Rey, and J. A cozy, noontime get-together.
The sky is a bowl of salted popcorn.
Good day, Cubao!

A surprise visit from my sister Sylvia and brother-in-law Rey this morning. They arrived last night from Dubai en route back to Sydney.

Unexpected goodies--the complete _Grimm_ DVD set (all six seasons!), a Judge Dee 1974 DVD, a bag of arabica coffee, a bag of Turkish dark coffee, and a box of dates from the Middle East, three Winsor & Newton watercolor packs from my nephew Raymond, and a special (gold edition) of _The Thai Occult: Sak Yant_.

The book is a special (gold) edition of _The Thai Occult: Sak Yant_ (alas, pulled off the market but thankfully not before my sister Sylvia was able to get me one!) and comes with a sacred drawing stamped with gold leaf on handmade paper. According to the publisher, the talisman is on "handmade Saa Paper of Northern Thailand, created from the pulp of the bark of the mulberry tree. This paper has been used for the grimoires that were copied with each generation. It is a rough textured paper that is notoriously difficult to use as mistakes cannot be corrected.

"These designs have been made by Ajarn Metta and blessed with a sheet of gold leaf. During the whole process of creating the image and the spell, the relevant kata was chanted and they have a presence to them. It is pot luck as to which design you receive, some are quite simple, some very complex and some in other languages than the usual Khom script."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Wands must continue pointing to the ground.
A year without a mobile now. I will never own one again. It requires more attention than our pet dogs, our pet birds, and our house plants, and thus prevents me from focusing on writing and painting.
Settled for portions of The Karate Kid starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith--because of the Chinese motif.

But I must say that, in real-life tournaments, there are no bad guys. No one plays dirty because everyone believes that he is on the side of good.

And nothing beats "Eye of the Tiger" for closing titles.
Boring Sunday night. Nothing on TV.

Did more work clearing the writing room.
Desire not only freedom but financial stability, for what does it matter to be free if you will only envy and gawk at others who can not only pay their bills but go shopping as well?
For some mages, the age of retirement is when, while you may share what you know with others, you may also cast spells on everyone you never liked.
The greatest indignity you can give to children is to make them go hungry.
Nightfall, with a chorale of cicadas in the dragon tree.