Sunday, April 5, 2020

Things to Come: How should one feel about this whole mess...?


I found this Jack Chick Tract on my way to work the other night and the title keeps bouncing around in my brain; "Things to Come?"

Who even knows anymore. 

The levels of uncertainty surrounding our current pandemic situation are so high we may as well be in the End Times. And who knows, maybe this is the first step towards just that. A grand reboot of our world. Nature has already taken notice; there have been reports going around of animals reclaiming and returning to places where they were once chased off by so-called civilization. Maybe we should remain an underground dwelling society of quarantined half-people, only emerging from our dwellings for food and toilet paper. 

A few days ago I had to take a trip into Manhattan to get a few things. What an eerie experience. I had joked around to wanting to do something like this earlier last month, but when I actually had a chance to experience it for myself it was just too heartbreaking. NYC is a ghost town. Giant ads and billboards are still flashing about, but there's no one there to see them. Weird. 


That day when I was in Manhattan I decided to walk from Penn Station to my destination instead of taking the subway. I thought maybe the trains would be running on a weird schedule, and I'm not sure how clean they might be right now when we're all trying to be so sanitized during this germaphobic time. 

My walk downtown was fairly brisk. There was very little traffic, and I counted seeing maybe less than 100 people while I was out. All my favorite locations were closed though; Forbidden Planet, Strands Bookstore, and other shops were closed down with letters on their doors expressing sadness but hope that they'll be up and running in no time. Seeing this really got me thinking about how different things will be after, and if, we survive this pandemic. 


What I mean is, the world is already so much different from when I was a kid. After 9/11, there was an explicit shift in the world. The internet changed, how news was presented to us as a medium changed, and the thin line between governance and authoritarianism definitely became more defined and noticeable. Even our civil liberties and way of life have been poisoned by a world of capitalism without any restraints (but the beginnings of that happened a few years before 9/11 so...). 

I just wonder how new horrors our nihilistic culture will breed. We already depend so much on the wealthy elite for the crumbs of survival, and now so many people are expecting them to bail us out. It's depressing and all too predictable of consumer culture. 


So far, food isn't scarce yet, and we can all still go out and get the essentials needed to survive. I've been using my Y2K Survival Book for simple planning and ideas on what to buy. My kitchen has never been as full of stuff like how it is currently. I'm actually kind of mystified by all the supplies I was able to get by not losing my mind and buying only exactly what I need. The last thing I want to do is inhibit the survival or even the creature comforts of someone else.

This whole thing could have gone so much better, and maybe thousands could have been saved if our so-called leaders weren't godless idiots. But that's what happens when idiots are voted into office; you get idiotic situations like we're in right now. I don't feel that there's a government on earth that took this situation seriously at all, and that is of course predictable. I don't even understand why people bother to pretend that any government official has our best interests at heart; they want us all dead. Well, maybe not all of us, just enough of us that maybe certain resources can be recuperated, and anyone who survives can continue paying taxes.

I remember hearing about this virus when I was in the Philippines back in January I think, so there was plenty of time to plan and prep for it. While I was in the middle of volunteering during all that volcano nonsense I had to go through, I remember there were people talking about how scary it could get, and when I left that country I let out a sigh of relief because I was leaving an active volcano and a killer virus! 


What's funny to me is how some people are joking that this "simulation" is out of whack and they'd like to return to the real world. This current situation IS the real world; a daily battle for survival. What we had before was a protective bubble where we could live a safe life of work, play, and consumption. 

Everyone is trying their best to stay positive during this time by treating it like how things were before, but maybe a lot more people should realize that this is how things are around the world, even when there's no pandemic going on; resources are low, politicians lie, people stab each other in the back, and every day you just wonder if you're going to make it through it all to live another day.  

Life is a lot more cruel than maybe you've ever considered because maybe all you do is live a patterned life and you've just never noticed how rotten it can all be. 


It would be wonderful if we could just quarantine the whole world for a while and just let this virus rot away, but I don't know if that would help. There's no land in sight, so to speak. I feel like this journey is just starting and we may still have a long way to go. It's scary actually, and maybe we should be treating this pandemic experience with more reverence. 

At this point, just try and make peace with it all. Seriously. Just take a moment to breathe it all in, take what precautions you can, be careful, and don't be afraid to tell your friends and family how much you love and care for them.With idiots at the helm guiding this ship towards an iceberg that I hope we never hit, that's really all we can do. If you can, stay indoors. If you're an essential worker (like I am) don't take any stupid chances. 

Everything might get better, but live everyday like they won't. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Is the Corona Virus just the Y2K Bug in disguise?!

The Dracula teeth on my mask scare away the Corona Virus!! 


All this pandemic stuff is total bullshit. It's really making everyone go crazy and ruining our lives. Toilet paper has become rarer than gold, folks are wearing protective gloves and masks for trips to the market, and most medicines have been bought out. It's difficult to gauge how bad it all really is when you're too scared to leave the house. 

I'm still working though, since my job is considered essential. It's been an interesting experience to say the least. My normal commutes are usually very crowded and slow, but now the trains I usually ride are basically empty and my usual hour and a half commute only takes me 40 minutes. The streets are empty, and so are the shelves at the market. I consider myself a moderate doomsday prepper; I have a go-bag, plenty of canned food, and some meds at my place. I never had the urge to by more than what I needed but I've seen people go absolutely insane for supplies. After 9/11 I always made sure to have some sort of plan. I hope people have a better idea of what they want to do once we get through this. 


It's super weird seeing the normally packed MTA trained totally empty during morning RUSH HOUR. I think only a dozen people were on the train with me, and everyone was keeping a distance from other commuters, which of course is what we're doing right now as a society. I don't miss the crowds at all, but I do feel melancholy that this is the new normal for the time being.


The LIRR is cutting back on service by 35% because of the low numbers. This does hurt my commute so I'll have to plan my trip to work better. Last night when I took this picture I'm almost certain it was just two of us entering the train at my station. That's just nuts. 


And since I can't go out and see my friends, I've been carrying around some of my smaller figures for some semblance of companionship. It's silly, but it helps. Desperate times call for ridiculous solutions. Going through my collection, and finding combinations of figures really helps me ease some of the loneliness I've been feeling. Some of these little toys I haven't looked at in months so it's like getting to know them all over again.


I got this Hot Wheels TANKNATOR exclusively because it can hold small figures in it. It's like the raddest thing ever made by Hot Wheels.





This guy is new to my collection. It's a plastic egg with a squishy egg inside of it that is filled with slime, a small alien, and an accessory. 




These guys are new too and I ADORE THEM. They're called CREEPZEEZ, and they're made by Orb Toys, who are like masters at weird jiggly toys. This is their line of weird monster "action figures" They're very squishy, they jiggle, and they all represent forces of nature; IT'S THE DEFENDERS VERSUS THE DEFIANTZ, WHO WILL WIN!!

I root for the Defiantz myself, but I love all of them equally. 






The Y2K SURVIVAL GUIDE AND COOKBOOK

So, in these scary times I thought it'd be in everyone's best interest if I share some pages from this mostly useful book from my collection. The Y2K Surivival Guide and Cookbook was written for a different sort of disaster that never occurred (obviously) but there's still plenty of good emergency planning advice within it. 

I hope someone out there finds this useful. Please be safe and plan for this and all future disasters the best you can. 

















CORONA ZOMBIES


It was only a matter of time for sure, but, I didn't think it'd be done this quickly! Full Moon Features has already made a movie called CORONA ZOMBIES! Absolutely tasteless and exploitative, but I'm glad it's being done. We're in serious times right now and we need to start laughing at how bad and stupid things are if we're ever going to have the strength to keep fighting. 

If this is the end of the world, let's go out heckling it.





Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Trip to the Philippines, Part 1: My first two weeks

So much has happened in my life since my last post. In November, on my birthday, a very dear friend of mine lost her life to cancer. It was a difficult time for all of us, and we all found ways to cope. I decided to leave my job so I could try new things. Since we had a trip to the Philippines planned already, I decided that be good enough of an excuse to just let my thoughts wander. I was originally hesitant about the trip, but after a while I decided to just go with the flow. 

In the Philippines I did thing I didn't think I could ever do. I survived so many things I feel would have killed a previous version of myself, so I really accomplished a lot. Although it was technically a vacation, every portion of it felt more like an adventure. At no point did I ever really get any rest; we did something new every day. 

Layover in Incheon Airport 



Korea is probably a super interesting place. I never really got into the culture, but my short layover in Incheon Airport gave me a quick glimpse into what goes on within popular culture. Like Japan, every company seems to have a mascot, and all the people there seem to be really, really trendy. It's cool. I'm still not super sure what the giant cat was about but there were at least 3 of him in the airport. 



Arriving in Manila and leaving for Boracay



From Korea to the Philippines is only a short 3 - 4 hour trip, but there's a huge difference in temperature. While in Incheon, the weather still felt properly seasonal. It was winter, so it was cold. Once I arrived in Manila it felt like a very hot summer day. Thankfully, I wore proper clothes. 


Although Manila was where our home base was during this trip, we only stayed the night before the day after my arrival we took the airbus from Manila to Boracay. Well, it was actually an airbus to a land bus, then a speedboat to another bus. It was a long trip!







Boracay is a huge travel destination for tourists, but it is really genuinely pretty there. The sand feels like clay and the water is fairly warm compared to other beaches I've been to.


While in Boracay I went sailing, snorkeling, and island hopping all over the place. I took as many pictures as I could but I was concerned about dropping my smart phone into the ocean. 








Traveling to La Union



A few hours after my return to Manila from Boracay, it was time to prepare for another trip. This time it was a 10 hour drive to another popular spot called La Union, where we stayed in a secluded beach house on the edge of a forest. It was a cute place and this was where we were going to spend Christmas. 







XMAS VICTORY



I wasn't sure what to expect from Christmas, but it turned out to be a lot of fun for me. I got an adorable Jollibee bobble-head figure, a bootleg Funko Pop of "BASS LIGHTYEAR" (you guys know I love KO toys), and a real Funko Pop of Chucky. My favorite gift though was an Imperial Two-Headed Dragon! I love Imperial vinyl figures so, so much. 




My last time in a Toys 'r' Us?


So in Festival Mall, in Manila, we spotted a Toys 'r' Us store and my jaw just hit the floor. I miss being able to walk into a giant toy shop, so I took advantage of this opportunity and did a bit of shopping. 


Out of all the items I could have chosen, I purchased this off-brand Jollibee plush (well, "Honey Beez" I guess). I mean, I know Jollibee is super popular, but he's still a mascot for a fast-food place; is there really such a demand for Jollibee merch that manufacturers are creating their own off-model products that just vaguely resemble the character enough just to make a few bucks?

I mean it worked; I bought it without any hesitation. 


Enchanted Kingdom



So the last time I was in the Philippines my plans to visit Enchanted Kingdom were a bust. The traffic was terrible, and it was just raining too hard. This time though everything fell into place. It was roughly two hours from my home base, and it took us 3 or 4 vehicles to get there, but it was totally worth it. I had a great time. 


The mascot for EK is Eldar the wizard. He's everywhere in the park; merch, statues, posters, rides, and stage shows. I love his simple design. I ended up getting a plush of Eldar and a replica of his wand!


The big new attraction at the park was Agila the EKsperience. It's a 4D movie experience and ride, and it's pretty good if I'm honest. The line was a bit much though, so it's a huge relief once you're inside with the air conditioning. 





My absolute favorite part of EK though was Boulderville, which looks like it took inspiration from The Flintsones. The buildings are all shaped like the ones you'd see in Bedrock, and there are dinosaur statues here and there. I wish I could have seen it all during the daytime. 










This Nativity scene was set up right next to the Boulderville entrance. Not sure if this is some sort of commentary on Creationism or if they just had no other place to put it. But off to the left of this setup is a Brontosaurus, and that makes me happy.



That's all for now. This first part of my trip was the easy stuff. Oh sure, there was a lot of driving around and traveling, but this was all mostly generic tourist stuff. With my next post things start to go pretty nuts. 

Lastly, my Jollibee collection is slowly growing in power. I may have an addiction.