Why D&D rules

How many of you have played or are still playing Dungeons & Dragons? Interesting The New York Times article by science journalist and io9.com co-founder Annalee Newitz. She’s the author of one of my favorite books, “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction”.

“What makes D&D different is that we can never forget about the human beings behind the avatars. When a member of my group makes a bad choice, I can’t look into his face and shout insults the way I would if we were playing online. He’s a person, and my friend, even if he also inexplicably decided to open an obviously booby-trapped trunk, get a faceful of poison and use up my last remaining healing spell.

“But online, my friend would be just another dude with leathery blue skin, not someone whose face might crumple in sadness if I’m a jerk. There’s a toxic distance created by online gaming and social networks that allows us to pretend we’re not socializing with friends. Our empathy gets switched off. That may be one reason gamer arguments over fake countries and nonexistent knights can morph all too easily into hate-based social movements in the real world.”

‘Coisa Mais Linda’ on Netflix is truly a most beautiful thing

Obrigado, Netflix. Now watching Episode 1 of “Coisa Mais Linda” (“Most Beautiful Thing”) and this Brazilian period drama set in Rio de Janeiro in 1959 looks very promising.

“The dream you were talking about. Is it your true dream? Then don’t give up until you get it. Ever. Or, give up and pine for what could have been. So you see, you do have a choice.”

“You make it sound so easy.”

“I never said it would be easy. Making a choice is never easy. But what if this is one of those defining moments? One day you might look back and be thankful for this dark time. You’ll get stronger and wiser.”

Of Palancas and UP Tinta

Amused to find out that thanks to our last names, I’m near my friends and UP Tinta orgmates, the Palanca power couple Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar, in the Directory of Winners of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

Seems like yesterday when Dean won his first Palanca in 1990 for “Fragments of Memory” in the One-act Play category. Dean even planned to stage the play and cast UP Tinta members for the roles, including me. We had several rehearsals, but plans didn’t push through. Still, it was an awesome experience.

I will always be grateful that I joined UP Tinta because it definitely was one of the turning points in my life. I remember passing by the tambayan several times and wondering about these people singing and dancing to songs from musicals. It took me a long time to muster the courage to apply, because I didn’t know anyone and was a bit intimidated by how talented and cultured everyone was hahaha! I was always a bookworm, but I never thought back then that I would join a literary org. I’m glad I did, because I met so many awesome people, shared a lot of interesting experiences, and made friends for life. Good times.

‘Surviving the Zeroes’ and becoming a dad in the digital age

In 2004, I wrote an essay about my daughter Sam, who was then two years and four months old, and what it was like to become a dad in the digital age. Shockingly, “Surviving the Zeroes” won third prize in the Essay Category (English Division) of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, the country’s most prestigious literary competition.

I’m trying to organize the stuff I’ve written over the years and post them on my blog, because I haven’t really done a good job of archiving the content I’ve created. I haven’t read this essay in a long time, and what I’ve realized is that it’s true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sure, this essay is so old that it mentions Friendster, GPRS, the Game Boy Advance, and what have you. But it seems the same digital opportunities and challenges we were facing 15 years ago still ring true today.

I wrote this essay for my wife Ellen and daughter Sam. So many years have passed, so many things have happened, so many things have changed, but my love for them will always stay the same. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters, whatever life throws my way.

“The key here is to remember that we have more choices now. We can each adopt technology at our own pace, for our own needs. Maybe it has something to do with being a father, but I’ve learned that change is something that happens one day at a time. I’ve also learned that your child is his or her own person, that you cannot force her to follow the image you have created in your own mind and must instead give her the freedom to become who she is.

“Surviving the Zeroes means realizing that we are more than this digital stream of 1s and 0s, yet that these tools are here to liberate us if we let them.”

Read the essay.

Can CBS All Access save ‘One Day at a Time’?

I’m really hoping that “One Day at a Time” will have a fourth season.

It seems CBS All Access wants to come to the rescue of this beloved show, but will Netflix let it?

“Speaking at a March 28 industry event in Los Angeles about the importance of Latinx representation, One Day co-creator Gloria Calderón Kellett hinted at the conversations with other outlets, saying there were ‘interested parties’ exploring a deal for season four. She also confirmed Netflix’s contractual ability to keep the show from other streaming services — which she said lasts three years from the premiere of season three — represented a major stumbling block. ‘We are hopeful that maybe there can be special dispensations made so that that’s not the case, especially given Netflix’s tweet about supporting this community and loving the show,’ she said. ‘You know, if you love us, set us free, I say.'”

Come on, Netflix, do the right thing.

Voltes V x Combattler V

My favorite Japanese mecha Voltes V and his “predecessor” Combattler V.

Both Super Robots (by the way, the “V” in Combattler V is pronounced as the letter V, while it’s pronounced “five” in Voltes V), along with Daimos, are part of the so-called Robot Romance Trilogy, which was a co-production between Toei Company and Sunrise that aired from late 1976 to early 1979. All three shows were created by Saburo Yatsude (a collective pseudonym for the Toei staff) and directed by Tadao Nagahama.

Thanks to my wife Ellen for this Toei-licensed shirt, which we got at HQ Philippines on Jan. 6.