Mama Mary and the Art of the Ordinary

Taking the advice of a priest during a Confession I made recently, I’ve been trying to pray the Rosary by myself with more frequency.

So far, I think I’m being consistent with the act of praying the Rosary itself, but I think I need to put more effort into living the more ordinary aspects of my life well. Such a thing is something I find difficult, particularly as I aspire to be a good artist, a road with a brand of difficulty that has temptations toward pride and lust most frequently pestering me everyday.

See, in trying to be an artist (like, in the more general sense and not just in the visual art sense), I’ve realized that it’s easy to mishandle confidence and have it power the other deadly sins and its subordinates, especially when that confidence is aimed at fulfilling some good intentions. Not that confidence is not needed, though, but it’s easy to be overconfident, especially with a crowd of supporters backing me up and all of us having baseness that we tend to fall for in our desire for more ease in our lives. To be more specific, what God would want us to do can grate hard on our pride, making it look like something as bad as sin, and I’m certain that it’ll be a struggle for me to stay properly confident despite being despised and such. Pride is scary that way, you know?

For getting me to think more about that, I have an aunt of mine to thank very much. How she managed to do so, well, in her talks with me about the dangers of pride, she presented the Blessed Virgin Mary as a good example of humility. Ah, and even the priest who advised me to pray the Rosary also helped there, stating that where Mary is, the Devil isn’t.

Now, thinking about Mama Mary as a good example of humility, what I remember about her is that she was very…well, ordinary. She lived a very ordinary life for a woman who served as the great Mother of God. She and Joseph, her husband, weren’t even that rich too, with the Nativity of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem being a sign of that (Luke 2:7). And judging from Matthew 13:55, which is a part of the depiction of the reactions that Jesus’ fellow Nazareans had at his preaching (“‘Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?…'”), Mama Mary was seen as someone ordinary by her fellow Nazareans as well.

And hey, much like how easily a significant bunch of us pity the woman who easily submits – and especially to a man – these days, I think that Mama Mary would be someone who would be very easy to look down on. The prideful would find her pathetic, for she just followed God’s orders and blended into society without much protest, even when she was troubled by the angel Gabriel’s greeting (Luke 1:26-29), even when she and her husband had confusion over the reply that her young Son gave them when they found Him – and after three days of searching, even! – teaching in that temple (Luke 2:42-50), and even when she was told off by her grown-up Son that it was not His time yet in that particular wedding which had a problem with the wine (John 2:1-4) – even telling the servants afterwards to do as He says! She never reacted violently during her Son’s Passion too, just letting Him meet His fated humiliating death in the hands of us sinners and complying with her Son’s entrustment of her to Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist (John 19:26-27), and she still came along with the Apostles to Jerusalem, praying with them as well (Acts 1:12-14).

Now, for an aspiring artist like me to draw inspiration from Mama Mary and to even try living as humbly as her…I honestly found all that unbelievable yet fascinating.

Like, really, for so long, I’ve been thinking that a good artist has to be flashy, much like the superheroes of novels, comic books, and animations. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I can’t be as superpowered as them, but I still long to be looked upon like I was as sparkling as them, for being revered is something that those superheroes needed to have as well so that they can be more seen as heroic.

And that’s why being like the idols on the stages of the entertainment industry became quite a wonderful idea to me as well. Thing is, though, as that same aunt of mine reminded me about, fame is quite a fickle thing, and with that in mind, desiring it so much is bad for my soul.

But what does that mean for me as an aspiring artist, then? Does this mean that I shouldn’t be an artist? Are artists just burdens to society?

If you ask me, well…I don’t think being an artist means being a burden. After all I’ve been through in life, I’ve realized that perhaps there are ways to be a truly humble artist, and that I’ve been holding so much pride, so much that I still struggle with finding those ways. Perhaps I should try rapping with toned-down swagger. Perhaps I should focus on singing less angsty songs. And perhaps I shouldn’t aim towards notching up the sexiness in my adorkableness, even!

Along with that, I shouldn’t think about having a good image only. Even if no other human is watching me, I, along with everyone else, am always within the watch of God, after all, so I still need to think, speak, and act properly, even in private. And I need to work hard towards being more proper there, especially since I still have some bigtime fumbles with my spare time. If I improve there, then I’ll be able to handle having fans better, because being famous is like walking on a tightrope, and I need more balance in my life.

Yeah, there’s more to life than just trying to entertain people. I still lack knowledge, so I need to go to school. I have struggles processing others’ opinions, especially when they’re vocally opposing, so I need to keep calm and search for humbler listeners to talk with and learn from. I need to be more mindful of others as well, which means that I also have to smack my pride down and take corrections from people like my parents better. And like it or not, even if I’m the protagonist of my own story, my growth is never something I cause by keeping the spotlight all to myself.

Come to think of it, though, I think I’m centering on myself too much in writings like this lately, with a bunch of previous paragraphs in this entry being a likely example…Hm, I guess I should take some time to get in touch with some good friends and mentors when it comes to such matters, then. Also, I think this is the first time I’m writing Bible citations into something like this, and I don’t think I can say that I know how to do that as well as I should yet, so yes, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated!

And hey, God Almighty keep on helping us all! And don’t underestimate Mama Mary, people! Like, really, considering how she lived here on earth, I now think she’s a major factor behind Don Bosco being able to say “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well.”

Ah, and I guess I should look for a girl who looks up to Mama Mary as well…

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Hidden Apostasy

Now this gets me thinking about how I’ve been living lately, alright.

Littlemore Tracts

Great Sin of our Day –

In our contemporary culture, we can see the great evil of what Pope Benedict referred to as the dictatorship of relativism. Not only is every culture seen as purely relative in terms of its particular cultural values and cultural expressions as compared with the values and cultural expressions of every other culture, but good and evil as such has become purely relative, if not at times quite interchangeable. What is good for some people is evil for others, not just subjectively but objectively. Isaiah the Prophet long ago condemned this kind of religious and cultural degradation: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” One important hallmark of this modern cultural and moral relativism, I believe, is the readiness of intelligent people to easily excuse Christian apostasy and to do so by using…

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Penman No. 233: A Ray of Filmic Sunshine

And now, my favorite professor’s thoughts on some local cinema developments.

Pinoy Penman 3.0

Sunday_Beauty_Queen_poster.jpgPenman for Monday, January 9, 2017

AS SOMEONE who wrote about 25 full-length screenplays for various film projects and directors in another life between the late 1970s and early 2000s, I really should be more interested in the remarkable developments that have taken place since in local cinema, especially on the indie scene.

But I have to confess, with some guilt and shame, that I haven’t kept up with what our younger, post-Brocka and post-Bernal directors have produced, except for the occasional viewing of a Brillante Mendoza or a Lav Diaz film, or outstanding documentaries such as last year’s Curiosity, Adventure and Love and An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines. There are some personal reasons for this estrangement (not worth getting into at this time), but I do realize that I’ve missed out on a lot of good material while bingeing unpatriotically on Hollywood and Netflix.

I must…

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Penman No. 218: History and Irony

And now, some very interesting thoughts from my favorite UP professor.

Pinoy Penman 3.0

11884866_supreme-court-extends-status-quo-ante-order_e9546b1e_m.jpgPenman for Monday, September 26, 2016

I’D NEVER heard of Ramon Cualoping III and Marco Angelo Cabrera until their names were linked to the recent flap involving the use of no less than the Official Gazette in an apparent effort to sanitize the memory of Ferdinand E. Marcos by removing any reference to martial law—you know, the martial law that Marcos invoked to impose his dictatorial rule on his people from 1972 until he was deposed by a popular revolt in 1986. (Yes, he technically lifted martial law in 1981 but he continued to rule with a rubber-stamp legislature.)

Some Googling revealed that Cualoping was an Ateneo Communication Arts graduate, batch 2004, while Cabrera graduated from San Beda in 2013 and interned briefly with the Department of Foreign Affairs; he had also worked for Sen. Bongbong Marcos. Those are both fine backgrounds for jobs at the Presidential Communications Operations Office—just the…

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Sayonara Dake ga Jinsei da -arrange ver.-

Yo there, peeps.

Making this took a really considerable while, but hey, it was also a good opportunity to hone a bunch of my skills. I feel like an amateur with this, but I also feel happy about the effort I exerted for this! I’m also really really glad that I managed to complete this despite a sore throat getting in my way for a time.

Also, I’d like to send special thanks to the following people:

  • CloudF — for giving me tips on instrumental mixing, particularly on stereo spreading
  • Yamada Kiki-san — for giving me tips on making a calmer arrangement plus info about where half-notes and quarter-notes are usually used
  • Reirei — for the pre-upload feedback on my rearrange instrumental
  • Wata-san — for the pre-upload feedback on my cover track and on my PV illustration

Honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated, yo! \(^o^)

Also, here’s this cover’s mp3. If you wanna make a vocal cover with this arrangement, then here’s the offvocal, and please make sure to properly credit me, TOB/The Overlord Bear, and put a link to my cover vid in your upload’s description too!

The Creative Blogger Award (Again!)

Last year, Medieval Otaku gave me the Creative Blogger Award. And recently, I got the award again, but from Josh W of Res Studiorum et LudorumSo yeah, now, here’s a refresher on the rules of this award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate 15-20 bloggers (Josh’s post says “10-20,” though, but eh) and add their links.
  4. Notify the bloggers you nominated.
  5. Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do!

Honestly, though, I’m hyped up for Rule #2, but Rule #3 feels like a freaking tall order to me right now. I haven’t been very active when it comes to checking out others’ blogs, see, and I feel like having a chat with whoever’s interested enough to chat with me, so yeah. Also, I’m stringent when it comes to nominating.

Oh, and speaking of Rule #2, my enthusiasm for it is making me worried about myself…

Anyway, before I go trying to flex my mental muscles like how FMA’s Major Armstrong flexes his way more substantial physical muscles, I’ll go do one nomination–or in this case, a shoutout, as I have nominated her for this same award before–for the WordPress blogger that I think I’m reading the most lately: Mrs. Melanie Jean Juneau. I honestly haven’t been reading her posts about the Roman Catholic faith much (not like they’re totally not worth reading, though), but I do remember being captivated recently by her posts about her family and their home, particularly the ones that involved her family’s little farm (such as this linked post here). So yeah, there, and, uh…I apologize for not nominating enough again.

Now, on to talking about 5 facts that’ll probably be talked about for generations.

1. I’m currently a delayed university student. Before that, and for the sake of my health, I was on Leave of Absence for about a year, and after that LoA, I went through a semester underloaded. I think I can call that semester decently spent, but that’s not a reason for me to not try to do better in the future. I also pray that God help me properly adjust into university days again.

2. I got into League of Legends mainly because of certain Youtaite (I think it’s pronounced “yoo-tah-ee-teh,” ’cause the term was based on the Japanese word “utaite,” or “歌い手”), cover singers who, like the utaite of Nico Nico Douga, mainly cover Japanese songs, with specific focus on Vocaloid, anime, and other popular Japanese music. I’ve been finding fun with it, yo, and I think Poppy’s pretty much my main there right now. Oh, and if you’re an interested LoL player living in the Philippines, then feel free to contact me for a game or two. 🙂

poppy_0

She’s pretty much my main Champion in LoL right now.

3. My favorite teleserye is “Ang Probinsyano,” an ongoing police-centered action drama based on the late Fernando Poe Jr.’s namesake 1997 film. Among the teleseryes I’ve known throughout my life, it’s currently the only one that I consider a favorite. The TV series deviates a lot from the source film, and I don’t watch TV dramas a lot, but when I’m near the TV when it’s on (and, usually, being watched by my maternal grandfather), my attention gets attracted very well. As far as I’ve observed, I’m very impressed by the heart-gripping acting, the very interesting characters, the intense action scenes, and the socially aware writing. Oh, and speaking of that show, its production crew’s plans for guest castings makes me jokingly ask “How many special guests will we have to see before the main villains of the show finally fall?” Anyway, I’m still impressed by the show, impressed enough for me to call it a favorite.

Now, here’s one of my favorite scenes from the show:

By the way, here’s some context for the above clip: Hector Mercurio, a former Police Inspector who became a police-hating hitman after his wife’s tragic death in a Special Action Force operation, had recently dealt a critically wounding sniper shot to Cardo Dalisay’s Police Chief/Superintendent grand-uncle, Delfin Borja, during a surprise birthday party that Delfin’s family and friends prepared for him. Cardo, enraged, went after Hector, who was an inspiration to the younger man while they were working in the Special Action Force. Cardo easily managed to track down Hector thanks to a tip from Marie Alegre, a college girl who had been vital in identifying Hector as the serial police killer who was hindering investigations in the battle against illegal drugs. Cardo and Hector fought on a rooftop, and then Hector tried to escape after police reinforcements arrived, and then there’s the above scene.

4. As of now, my favorite Vocaloids are IA, Miku, Gumi, and Vocaloid Fukase.

5. When I’m putting a lot more effort into thinking, one of the things that I usually do is to walk around in circles or something.

And there you have ’em, dear nutshellcrackers. Now, I need to chill out and loosen up some more. Next post will be up suddenly, yo. And again, thank you very much for the award, Josh! \(^o^)

Some Composition and Arrangement Practice

Yo. I made some instrumental tracks recently. I tried to see if an animator would be okay with putting these tracks in an upcoming work of his, but he didn’t find them suitable. I’m feeling the need to do more music study and practice because of that. So yeah, as usual, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated. 🙂

Milestones and Turning Points #1

“Are you insane, Tobby?”

I dreamt of hearing the above sentence from other people, but the first time I heard that wasn’t how I dreamed it to be. Really, I think that the first one who called me that, straight to my face, was my own self. Or maybe someone else, and I was just too stupid to admit it, let alone know it, at the time.

Continue reading

The problem of the demiurge

And here are some thoughts about the “divine” bosses that gamers can wreck in RPGs and all that.

Res Studiorum et Ludorum

Nocturne, among other things, has got me thinking about the way religion and theology are addressed in games, or at least in the JRPGs that I’ve gorged on like so many tongue-numbing pieces of sour candy through the years of my youth.

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Some Instrumental Tracks that I Made with PxTone

So, I composed and arranged some tracks with help from a software called PxTone.

Now, about them tracks…

“Workshop Time” and “Critical Mind” were supposed to be songs, but after a long while of trying to make lyrics and vocals for them, I now think that they’re not good enough for lyrics and vocals. Still, I have some liking for them.

As for “Worthwhile Adventure,” I was trying to make a song, but I ended up making a BGM that sounds suitable in the World Map of an Eastern-style RPG.

And now, I’d like to ask for honest constructive feedback regarding these tracks of mine, dear nutshellcrackers, especially from peeps who have lots of experience in composing and arranging music. Also, I’ll probabaly upload an original song this month. 🙂

See you again in the den, nutshellcrackers! \(^o^)