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Archive for October, 2006

I was watching a show a few nights ago in which a bunch of "psychics" and their camera crew were in Romania, filming in some castle (probably Dracula's castle, but I'm not too sure).

So the "psychics" were in a room, trying to communicate with spirits, all the while recording the sounds with a digital recorder that would pick up sounds and noises that aren't audible to the human ear.

They go back and analyze the recording and a voice says "Leave now!"  after the "psychic" asks the spirits what it was they wanted.

"Leave now."

In english.

So when did Romanian ghosts suddenly become so fluent in english? 

I suppose after hundreds of years floating around in the ether, watching tourists traipse in and out of the castle, they're bound to pick up a bit of the language. 

I hope that after I die and float around haunti…err. I mean "visiting" people, I'll finally be able to pick up a few new languages.  I could confuse the shit out of psychics who are bothering my eternal rest by telling them to leave now in Japanese, Korean, French, and German.

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(Read Part 1)

But that was just the start of the utter weirdness.  There were two instances that I personally experienced, and it scared the utter shit out of me.

During my uncle's week long wake, which was held in his home (we don't have funeral homes that hold viewings.  Morticians will work on the body and prepare it, then bring the sealed glass and wood casket to the home of the deceased), my grandma's house was pretty empty.  It was usually just my youngest sister, my younger brother, myself and an adult to keep an eye on things.

I think it was the second or third night of the wake, and it was getting dark.  I heard my grandma and Uncle B come in through the front door.  My younger sister and I were getting ready to eat dinner in the kitchen/dining area.  The kitchen was an open space and the back door was usually left open to let air circulate.  When I was serving rice, I noticed something really odd: no cats.  We usually get a lot of strays or neighbors' cats coming in looking for handouts, and I was very surprised that no cats were underfoot.  

I sat down at the head of the table, with an empty chair between my sister and myself.  I was shoveling rice down my throat when the chair between us started to shake.  No, it wasn't shaking, it was practically DANCING in place.  I told Daphne to stop playing around and eat.  But I realized she was sitting there with a spoon in hand, unmoving, dead silent, staring at me with wide eyes.

I was scared.  I couldn't move, and I wasn't going to leave my sister alone.  So I took a breath, gritted my teeth and looked under the table.  There was nothing.  I saw the chair rattle for a few more seconds, then it stopped with a loud thump.  I grabbed Daphne by the arm and we ran out to the living room.  Neither my sister or I would go back in without an adult.

A few nights later , I was in the living room with a couple of cousins, my siblings, my grandma and Uncle B.  My brother, sister and cousings were all splayed on the floor, playing or doing homework.  I was lying prone on our sofa, which was basically a wood frame with foam cushions.  The couch was parallel to the tv, and perpendicular to two matching wood/foam armchairs.

Uncle B, who was sitting on the armchair furthest from me and closest to the TV, got up to change the channel.  I don't know why my eye was drawn to the other chair.  But that's when I saw it.

The foam sank down, as though someone was sitting in it.  You could see the rounded indendatation not only on the bottom cushion, but also on the cushion for the back.  I of course shrieked and pointed at the chair, and Uncle B turned around and jumped back, startled.  By that time, the rest of us kids were all standing as far away from the chair as possible.  Grandma came running out of the bedroom, and suddenly the chair cushions went back to normal.

My hands were ice cold, and my sister was cluctching my shirt, hiding behind me.  I could swear I could hear my brother's teeth chattering. Then we smelled flowers and candles.  It was so strong it made me a little sick to my stomach.    Then it was gone, just like that.  One minute, the room was blanketed with the stench of funeral flowers and beeswax, the next it was gone.

That was the end of my personal visitations, but the stories that my deceased uncle's kids would tell of stuff happening in their house after the funeral were fucking scary.  One that I remember was that one of their toy robots, (you know the kind that you put batteries in, and it lights up and walks, and spins around the waist) that their dad had sent, suddenly lit up and started spinning madly for just a few seconds.  The robot didn't have batteries in them, since batteries were horrifically expensive, so we would just play with it without the cool lights and movement.  Can you imagine? Cousin C was playing with the robot and it just lit up in his hands.  Fucking terrifying.

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I grew up in the Philippines in a very rural area, where superstitions and native beliefs are still very strong and part of day to day life. 

A belief that we have is that after death, the newly deceased has 40 days to roam the earth to say their goodbyes.  During those days, the family of the deceased tend to have visitations – either physical manifestations, or dream visits.

When an uncle passed away in the mid-80's (85 or 86), I was about 9 or 10 years old.  He was an overseas worker - working in an oil field in Saudi Arabia.  He passed away in his sleep of a heart attack or some such (he had sleep apnea). 

Anyway, I remember one morning, my grandmother was really uneasy.  She'd dreamed that Uncle V had come home, and was calling for her.  He was outside, right under her window, telling my grandmother that he was coming home soon.  He was dressed very formally in a dark suit (very strange, as he didn't own a suit.  He worked as a mechanic type at an oil field, and always wrote home about how he kept ruining all his shirts and pants from working on the machinery), and had luggage around him.  She also noticed this large, red, canvas suitcase that she did not recognize.  He looked very pale, but he was smiling as he said he'll be coming home soon and they had better throw a big party.  Yet while my grandmother was listening/dreaming this, she just felt very, very uneasy.

For the next few days, we would experience strange things: Uncle V's framed graduation photograph kept falling off its place on the family shelf of photos, and landing face down on the hardwood floor, yet the glass never cracked.  It didn't matter if we left it lying on it's back or pushing it closer to the wall.  It would fall, without bothering the numerous other picture frames of his brothers and sisters or my grandparents.  We would place it partly behind several other frames, leave the room, and we'd hear a crash on the floor, and there's the photo on the floor, face down.  The other picture frames were undisturbed.

We would smell candles and flowers.  Not just a wiff of candles, but we'd enter a room and it would smell like a church – like hundreds of candles had been burning.  Those rooms would also be noticeably colder, downright chilly.  Which tells you something, as it was the middle of the dry season in the Philippines.

Uncle V's wife and kids kept saying that they kept hearing his voice in their dreams, that he kept saying he was coming home.  Also the cold and smell of candles and flowers was focused in the master bedroom.  It got to the point my aunt-in-law was so freaked out she and the kids moved in with my grandparents. 

Sure enough, a few days later, representatives from the company that employed my uncle came to the house to say that my uncle had passed away a week or so before in his sleep.  His body would be shipped home in a refrigerated casket, along with his belongings.  They offered their condolences, and handed over a packet of information on how to claim the body etc.  I remember hearing my grandmother screaming.

When three other uncles and my aunt went to Manila to pick up the body and his personal items, they inspected the body, and sure enough, he was wearing a fancy black suit.  There was also large red canvas suitcase, so new it still had the price tags, among his belongings. 

But that was just the start of the utter weirdness.  There were two instances that I personally experienced, and it scared the utter shit out of me.

..TO BE CONTINUED. If I feel like it.  And only after I finish one of the big bosses on Okami. (Read Part 2!)

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We need to have a talk. 

I think it's time for a little break.  We need a little space between us.  No, it's not you, it's ME.  I spend too much time with you, and when I'm not with you, I'm THINKING about you.  It's too much.  I can't let my entire life revolve around you.  We need to take a step back and breathe; and we need to think about where we're going.

I love you.  I think you're utterly wonderful.  But I'm too young to commit to something so serious.  I should be out there experiencing and learning new things.  I'm not saying we should play around, but we shouldn't curtail other activities.

You want me to be honest with you? Alright then, I was trying to protect you and your feelings. 

I've found someone else.  And I need this time to figure things out, and be free to make a choice.

Who, you ask, has caught my eye?  Are you sure you want to know?

It's Okami.

Can you blame me?  I promise to keep in touch.  Just let me have a few weeks on my own. So, so long and till we meet again.

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What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? 
Submitted by Megan.

That would have to be bat.  That was back when I was in the Philippines, about 9 or 10 years old.  It just so happened that one afternoon, my uncles were clearing out the eaves of our house since bats had been nesting in there.  Those suckers had HUGE wingspans, and were completely scary looking. Another uncle would shoot them down with a BB gun; he brought down maybe 12? 15? 

So they skinned and butchered the bats, and cooked it as bat adobo to eat as pulutan – finger foods and yummy things to eat while drinking massive amounts of beer.  I, of course, got to taste the bat adobo.  As far as I can remember, it didn't taste very odd; I just remember having a tough time eating it as it didn't have a whole lot of flesh.

But I ain't got nothin' on Steve.  Please check out "Steve, Don't Eat It!"  Who doesn't want to hear about his adventures with Potted Meat, Pickled Pork Rinds,  Beggin(strips) Lettuce and Tomato sandwhiches, Breast milk, Natto, Cuitlachoce and SILKWORM PUPAE!  Mnnn, I'm getting hungry even as I type this.

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Show us a self-portrait.

Man, check out my rad photoshop skillz.  I had to take my obligatory MySpace style photo and make it BETTER.   I have to say, I look good in hats.

P.S. Is it obvious that I have a not-so-hidden obsession for pirates?  Everywhere you look, pirates pirates pirates in my blog. 
P.P.S. I know you envy my luxurious and lovely facial hair.  You just WISH you could grow a mustache as wonderful as mine.

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A pair of infamous Pirates invaded my home this weekend.  They refused to leave without booty: preferably brownies and cookies.  

pirates_arrrr.jpgcaptain_michelle.jpgcaptain_agee.jpg

Total cost of costumes: $37 (including boots) per kid
Total cost in time: total of 6 hours, thrift shopping included.

Admit it, they look GOOD for homemade costumes by an aunt who can't sew.

As for me…I've got my meatballs and my eyeballs.  No noodles as of yet. DAMMIT.

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