The Empress and Her Guard

When I found a rose that knew her thorns,
I grew a garden rounder;
Thank her weedy floor.

No one liked to touch any part of her
Force she shimmered to shy,
Redness she murked and cried.

I hated her at first, and that was for certain
For roses were thorny and therefore broken.

Pieces rule the world, and she is its model
But then again, my theater’s in pieces yet made a prophet.

I became her guard because we are alike
And so I fink;
I still go to tinker.

“Empress” and “Praetor,” our “And dear” in titles–
I’ll root for this garden,
God, if good, please guard, then.

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Milestones, Turning Points, and Activity Updates – December 2017 + 2017 in Review

Welp-dee-doo, 2018 is coming, and this year is certainly another year of progress for me, yo! I got into K-Pop and rap more, I started a Fate Series fanfic, I’m doing better at uni, I’ve gotten back into poetry again with more confidence, I’ve been reflecting a lot more, I’m getting more used to household chores, and there are so much more wonderful things that would probably end up as a text wall and should be a challenge for me to be more creative with such chunks of info for a year-in-review post like this!

Okay, how about some changing up for this time, then?

The Overlord Bear’s 2017 Highlights!

Music!
I have become a more solid multifandom K-Pop fan, yo! Though it seems like BTS, Seventeen, NCT, EXO, Twice, Blackpink, and Pristin have the tightest holds on me…and I even managed to make a K-Pop cover this year! And hey, I’ve been doing more lyric-writing and digital audio production (with LMMS and Audacity, still)! Vocal, rap, and instrumental arrange covers have been done, and translation covers (pretty much of Vocaloid songs) were also done! And although they’re not publicly up yet, I’ve been working on more of those along with making originals of my own, even in Filipino! I also got into GarageBand recently! And I think I still have ways to go before I manage to have professionally clean audio quality, though…and I haven’t really uploaded another original song with an MV…so I’ll make sure that MV will happen next year! Oh, and I’ve gotten more into Western music, particularly hiphop and EDM, if we’re talking about genres. twenty one pilots also became a more solid favorite of mine, and I even tried to do a cover of one of their songs! Ah, and I’ve gained interest in Gloc-9 and Inigo Pascual as well! This year has also been the year of kemu’s return, and it’s also the year when the KagePro crew’s back with a new song, “Shitsusou Word!” And thinking about covering it sometime, I end up thinking about how I currently have a lot of music productions in queue…which is both fun and challenging at the same time, hahaha…ah, and I’ve been trying to do freestyle rapping this year, which is still something I’m not very confident at, especially with longer lines…

Writing!
I remember this year as the year when I worked on a reflection series called Beauty through the Ordinary, which lasted for a few months with a mostly weekly update schedule. I also managed to get some fiction pieces out, and there’s also a Filipino piece among them, “Nasisilawan na Harang!” “Chainbreak” is also something I’m particularly pleased with among my posted short stories this year! This year is also the year when I returned with poetry and poetry readings! Illustrations are also included there, though I have less confidence in those, hahaha…Anyway, I also have fanfiction updates, which includes slow but sure Wandering Weiss updates, a RWBY one-shot fanfic, a Final Fantasy V one-shot fanfic, a KagePro fanfic, a bunch of fills in the Professor Arc Forum (which I haven’t been visiting much lately), and a Fate Series multi-chapter fanfic titled “Crawling to the Dawn!” I also joined Storyteller’s Circle, a roleplaying-centered forum, where I’m now an approved user trying to find an interesting enough RP to join! Ah, and I’m looking forward to Creative Writing workshop classes at uni this coming semester! I still gotta learn how to write academically better, though…oh, and I would like to thank Mr. Jose Dalisay Jr. for being a wonderful professor! \(^o^)

Gaming!
I think Uri’s The Hanged Man was released this year? Well, considering how I remember meeting wonderful people like Biwa, Appleco, and tordoise through the help of that this year, then I guess it was released this year. Also, I bought the PC version of the first Dangan Ronpa game from Steam during the Summer Sale, I think (Thank you very much for reminding me about that back then, Ms. Serene Harper!)…but I haven’t been playing it much lately, hahaha…I just remember playing Confess Your Love, Cthulu Saves the WorldCivilization III (CHILDHOOD MEMORIES, YOOOOOOO)and Doki Doki Literature Club on Steam this year…Oh, and I’ve gotten into Let’s Players and gaming videos on YouTube again! Markiplier and VanossGaming are the only gamer YouTubers I’m subscribed to now, though…

Reading and Watching Stories!
I haven’t been solidly watching episodic series I like lately, it seems…I’ll probably continue watching RWBY Volume 5 once all its episodes are available, and when it comes to movies, I remember watching “Patay na si Hesus” (That was a movie with some striking weirdness), “Bar Boys” (Now that’s quite a story!), and “Despicable Me 3” (but I haven’t watched the previous installments before). As for reading stories, well, I had to do a lot of that thanks very much to university classes! It was both a disorienting and an enjoyable challenge, alright…and to my surprise, I even got the highest grade I could get from a class on Poetry, of all things, this past semester! I also went through a storm as I learned more about Creative Nonfiction and the complexities it brings (My earlier sessions with it had me very emotional, alright), and the Short Story was something I had fun learning about, with special mentions going to being able to have fun with reading all the assigned stories, to holding a panel discussion about Surrealist Fiction, and to making a rap battle with a bro of a classmate for our final project! And hey, I’ll be reading even more in the semesters to come! Like, I have stacks of books in my boarding house room, and I’ve been reading stuff like G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories and a bunch of recent Filipino pop fiction…and yes, I still need to read a lot more…

Other Noteworthy Personal Stuff!
I’ve gained a boosted interest in the Kapampangan language thanks to uni and my family, and they’ve been giving me tips and pointers bit by bit! I’ve also gained a boosted interest in joining Christ’s Youth in Action in my university, and I think I’ve gained a new friend in university as well! I should talk with that new friend some more, though…Ah, and I tried to do comedy videos again, and I tried to do another voice acting impersonation…Hm, perhaps stand-up comedy isn’t something I’m meant for, though…Oh, and I also made progress with romance. And prayer habits too. And I’m getting more used to household chores as well, although my dieting and exercise all need to be better incorporated into my routine. And overall, I still need to work better and better. God Almighty keep on helping us all, and speaking of God Almighty, Thank You very much as well! \(^o^)/

So yeah, what do you think of that, dear readers?

Anyway, below is a list of this month’s past posts!

And with that, I’ll be wishing you all a Happy New Year!

And of course, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated! \(^o^)

Surprise! is My Consciousness of the World

Surprise! is my consciouness of the world
Why I am here, O God, please tell me clear
Out of a womb, I choke on apple seeds
Although the skin nearer to what Eve bit
And I should say that, perhaps, You are like
A question that begs us all with a fork
But that would prove that You are above us
For even the sarcastic professor
You draw bits from for our vaccination
So I wish to have Your Eyes, if allowed
Or at least, Your Hand that pulls us well
Despite contrary claims made by captains
Who rag up and tuck themselves to show down
Us fellow fools who believe in one God.

Fading into the Starry Background

The title of this piece isn’t really as severe as it sounds, but still, I have decided that this will be my last entry in the Beauty through the Ordinary series.

See, lately, I’ve had some particular changes and experiences in my social life. I won’t tell you every one of those, but the point there is that I’ve realized that I try to stand out too much.

And sure, being an artist means being under the spotlight, but reflecting on how I worry too much about what others think (and why I’m not getting much about what others think) along with getting insight from praying the Rosary about how to be properly ordinary by God’s standards, I’ve realized that maybe this sort of publicly posted reflection series would seem more like me just putting on a facade and being arrogant. That, and I think I’d be more interesting if I wrote about funny and/or wondrous events that happen to me every once in a while, as after all, that sort of stories, be they fictional or nonfictional, are the stories I’ve been living for ever since my childhood.

Hm, perhaps that’s what it means to be an artist, then? To show others the beauty and wonders of life? Perhaps that beautiful and wonderful quest is the ordinary of an artist, no?

Anyway, thinking about how I’ve been going along with this series before and how I’ve been going as Tobby online and all, I’ve also realized that I should focus more on the ordinary life I should live as a student, a brother, and a son. The time for me to be a professional artist will come, but for now, it won’t be healthy for me to try doing stunts with the arts without knowing where I’m jumping off from (and that’s something that all those academic paper requirements, among other things, are whapping my face back and forth about). And sure, I’m striking out on my own some more now, considering my boarding house stays, but I can and should be of more help when I’m at my family’s house, for what’s the point of dreaming to have a good family of my own if I don’t put effort into learning how to have such from my elders and my siblings? Like, really, I want my youngest brother to keep away from enjoying morally questionable things, but when there’s a chance for that, I’m just in my room, clattering my keyboard away…and also going through morally questionable things as well.

So yeah, this series shall come to an end with this entry. Don’t worry, though, since you’ll still find me making art, but again, I have to remind myself that stuff like this should be extracurricular for now. That, and I still have a lot to learn…God Almighty keep on helping us all, alright.

And with that, I’d like to remind you all again: Honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated. ^_^

Lola’s Additions

On another Monday, a usually no-class day in which I would be available to pick up my youngest brother from school some barangays across my family’s house in the morning while my mother was out doing consultancy work and such, I was sluggishly preparing myself for that aforementioned task yet again.

Sure, I can go say “Mondays are horrible and are the worst day of the week for every person ever,” but then again, I had been up way late the night before that Monday, also sluggishly processing how the rest of my life would go, all while the majority of my mind was preparing its amateur promotional activities for my comeback as Tobby Who Tries to Sing.

And hey, it should be noted that those activities, along with all my activities as Tobby, are currently extracurricular. Not like losing sleep as a professional would be healthy, though.

Anyway, with me building and wrapping that chain of sluggishness around myself in my complex relationship with idolization, that Monday morning then had me staring at the monitor of my computer and doing extracurricular activities some more for seemingly short but actually long periods of time. Prayer ended up feeling more like a useless thing to do, especially when I and my rushing habits wanted me to pray the Rosary right when the clock was ticking for me to get to my youngest brother’s school already.

So yes, resisting further indulgence in digging through the highlights of the historical-to-the-world yet extracurricular-in-my-schedule performance of the Bulletproof Boy Scouts in the American Music Awards during that Monday morning, I managed to get myself bathed and dressed up for the task I had to embark on, along with swallowing my bitter pride and deciding to just discreetly use my Rosary beads while on a jeepney ride that will certainly be taking more than fifteen minutes because of expected traffic.

But before that, my dear maternal grandma asked me to buy squash at the supermarket, squash to mix in with the pork to cook for the next mealtime.

Also, before that request, she asked me to buy Cornettos as snacks for when I and my youngest brother got home as well.

It should also be noted that my rushing habits combined with my chain of sluggishness still aren’t totally dead yet, so yes, the pile-up quickly had me groaning when Grandma asked me to buy squash.

She then took back that request for squash from the supermarket, just letting me remember as far as the Cornettos while I focused on the urgent task of picking up my youngest brother from school. She didn’t shout at me when she took it back, though. To be more specific, the speed of her speech went up when she did the takeback.

Once I went out of the house and walked and commuted my way to my youngest brother, though, I guess my focus on the task at hand upped my focus on other more important things…things like what I should be doing once I really go out and be a young professional and more in the future.

I do feel thankful for Grandma understanding that my head was feeling piled-up already back there before I left the house, but then I thought of the inevitability of dealing with people who would also deal important tasks for me to do but won’t be as lenient as Grandma usually was to me. She also didn’t know that I was like that because of my own actions as well, actions she’d certainly fuss over.

I want to be a good citizen, a good family member…but how can I do that if I don’t put effort into serving other people? How can I do that if I don’t put effort into making sure that I would be fit enough to serve other people?

And certainly, I would need to stop doing certain things I’ve been quite into. I’d certainly need to spend less time reading fanfiction. I’d certainly need to admit that uploading Tobby works online takes chunks of time that are bigger than I think. And I’d certainly need to admit that I’ve been slipping up with this, stuffing thoughts about this reflection series in between my thoughts about the task of picking up my youngest brother and other important tasks I also want to finish in a flash.

And so, because of all those struggles, because of all those chores and errands being pushed to me, the most convenient and the most proper option my elders could find at the moment…well, I think I should be thankful for all that, especially to God.

Still, I have a long way to go.

Case in point: Grandma still packs the clothes I bring to my boarding house.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

And to my dear Grandma, whom I usually call “Mama” (while I call my mother “Mom” or “Mommy”)…Thank you very much for the inspiration. 🙂

Unchecked Suspension

The day’s preparation for class started off with me hurrying to have a fried rice breakfast, buying puto and kutsinta for snacks, and walking fast to the jeepney stop and to the classroom.

I put effort into keeping myself calm and not being like most people I’ve met, though, silently admitting my fault of putting unnecessary focus on writing a fill for a writing prompt in a fanfiction site forum thread to myself, followed by reminding myself to just acknowledge the fact that there will be consequences. Good actions get good consequences, and bad actions get bad consequences, although some would say that good actions usually get bad consequences, but I would bet that that sort of thinking isn’t really God-centered.

Things started going strange, though, when the jeepney I was riding entered the university premises. There was a noticeable lack of people waiting for the jeepney, and in hindsight, I should’ve seen the signs back at the avenue outside it, where lines were usually long and barkers were standing by for the next available jeepney to stop by.

Still, I guess my efforts at trying to keep myself calm as I thought about going to class again kept me quite distracted from thinking more about that strangeness. Sure, I was expecting my professor on Shakespeare to just pause for a while or note my tardy presence from his peripheral vision as he discussed about stuff related to As You Like It, but I still couldn’t stop myself from imagining him sputtering and groaning at some latecomer interrupting him, even if he was more likely to just snark at me with a level voice and a straight face if he were feeling that offended.

Hm, come to think of it, that irrational imagine spot sounds more like something I’m likely to do if I were in his shoes.

Anyway, I then went on the classroom, my backpack for provincial return commutes on my shoulders, while my traveling bag of the current week’s dirty school and boarding clothes was gripped by one hand. Along with that blue and black traveling bag and its logo similar to one of the logos of K-Pop boyband Seventeen was a plastic bag containing some pricey chemistry lab equipment bought from a store within the campus, equipment which I bought for my homeschooled younger sister upon my mother’s request because such stuff were cheaper in the city of my university. There were also scattered thoughts in my head, such as thoughts about how my Poetry professor would zigzag yet entertain with her discussion before, during, and after a pair of students did a report on a poetry guide chapter. There were also memories of watching celebrity intrigues – particularly of separated couples and scandalous individuals – being talked about on TV back when I was a child. And then there were the plans regarding upcoming groupworks, and there were the expectations regarding praise from fellow fools on that writing prompt fill I had cut myself off from writing more of before posting it and logging out to keep myself from going late for class any further.

But when I entered the first classroom I had to go to for the day…I found it empty.

That was when I really took note of how the halls had a lack of students sitting down by its walls, how the construction workers and their roadwork didn’t have the chatter of university students and faculty blending into their noise, and how there was a security guard who noticed me looking into an empty classroom, asking me “May klase ba po kayo ngayon, sir?”

That was when I found out that classes were suspended on that day because of a recent typhoon.

And upon the advice of the somewhat uncertain yet pretty polite man with the tight, armed, badged, and embroidered white shirt, I even went through the trouble of asking some faculty at my course’s department to confirm it.

I pretty much let out some awkward laughs and apologies as I was reminded about how I needed to be more attentive of the news.

Still, would it be abnormal if I worried about how the teachers won’t be able to give us students enough of a challenge because of the disrupted schedule?

Breaks and Sudden Changes

I haven’t updated this reflection series by the usual weekly frequency lately, and it’s honestly something that’s been irking me. Furthermore, I considered ending this series because of that.

But now that I think about it, perhaps such breaks and sudden changes are part of the ordinary as well, no? I was thinking about saying that I write better with fiction, and that I only write about extraordinary things, but this sort of writing I’m trying to do tries to draw techniques from writing fiction, and writing about ordinary things would lead to realizations about extraordinary things.

I am uncertain about how I would update this from now on, though. But who am I writing for, anyway? What am I expecting? Am I expecting the world to change greatly and for the better overnight? Am I writing for a large audience expecting me to post something regularly? Really, even though I thought of ending this series by saying that I feel like I’ve been showing off and being hypocritical and such, that attempt at an excuse also sounds like a hypocritical statement now, as I think of myself as an entitled celebrity or something.

I also have more important things to do outside this as well. There’s school, there’s household work, there’s Mass (and in fact, I ended up being really late for Mass because I put more vigilance into working on my previous entry to this series), and so much more. It’s easy to blame society for this being delayed and even ended, but to be fair, this is more of an extracurricular activity, and I can still have conversations about spiritual things with other people outside the Internet.

With how I’m doing now, putting my daily responsibilities at risk for the sake of activities like this, I end up falling deeper into laziness through frustration over inabilities with continuing this, an example of such falling having happened recently, when my mother called me about buying some chemistry equipment for my sister. I know the importance of it, and I understand that said equipment are cheaper in the university store, but I easily became irritated when I stuffed in thoughts about whether or not I have enough money to afford the equipment I needed to buy. And at the time of the phone call, I was working on this entry as well.

Yes, I think I should change up the way I write my next entries for this series. I am not sure about whether or not there would be people who would care to comment on this right now, but regardless, I need to do deeper reflections, and a change of routine here is important, I think.

Indeed, I need to practice what I preach.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

Milestones, Turning Points, and Activity Updates – October 2017

It’s been the midterm month of the uni semester, and personally, such times are more of a spiritual challenge. Real easy to get dragged down by the negativity of others, see, and I’m also getting the feeling that hurrying myself up isn’t a very good way to deal with me.

Also, I’ve been having difficulty lately with coming up with worthwhile words for posts like this and those added commentaries I have for stuff like music posts. It would be short but not impactful enough, or it would be long but too winding talk. It makes me feel more like I’m being self-centered while trying to do Tobby stuff…though I do wish I could have someone who’s willing and available to regularly talk with me about creative work and spiritual musings and all that.

Hm, maybe I’m not trying hard enough in terms of improving my social life, and I’m just boxing myself in instead.

Anyway, here’s a list of posts that I managed to get up here during the month of October:

Also, I posted some recorded video attempts at comedy on my YouTube Channel.

As for upcoming stuff, well…I had been working on music stuff lately, managing to record two covers, but the videos for them will take a while. I’ve also managed to write sets of lyrics and progress on some music tracks, and they will still take a while. I also managed to make two short stories, complete with relatively simple covers drawn by myself, but I feel the need to have them beta-read first, so yeah, that’ll also take a while. I also have fanfiction chapters on upload queue…but that’ll also take a while.

Yeah, I think I need to find better ways to unwind…

So yeah, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated.