Saturday, March 31, 2007

Michael Moorcock, Mensa, fish, and other cool geeky things

I found a 19-peso copy of Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock in a box of really old books in Diplomat at Center Mall. I was just about to give up the search when I noticed its attractive silver binding at the bottom of the pile.

I love Elric. What can be cooler than a doomed albino sorcerer prince who destroys his entire nation, making him the last surviving member of his race? Nothing. What can be more awesome than a sword called Stormbringer that literally shivers with excitement at the idea of fresh blood and slowly sucks out the soul of its bearer? Again, the answer is zilch. Fantasy Masterworks did a collection of all the Elric stories and I was lucky enough to borrow it from my veteran fanatasy buddy Shanti. (He hasn't updated in a while, but you should go check out his poetry here.) I became such a fan that I named my Gunbound character Melnibone. Most of the people in the game thought it was a funky girl's name and kept nick-naming me Mel.

I can relate to Elric's loneliness. Born different, he was perceived by his own people as something to despise. He is the ultimate antihero, brooding and cynical. Elric is a perpetual wanderer who never truly finds happiness. My situation isn't as grim as that, but that unshakeable sense of always being along I can definitely understand.

After Center Mall, I visited my dentist for the monthly tightening of my braces. (What can be geekier than braces?) I spend a lot of time watching my dentist's two fish swim around in their tiny bowl in the waiting area. Both are silvery: one with orange splotches and the other with black and orange markings. I can never really tell what colors they are because their bowl is always dark and murky. The water is so thick with muck that you can see a ring of scum forming near the top of the bowl. The poor things are suffocating having exhausted all the oxygen in their cramped watery abode. I can see their mouths opening and closing noiselessly just beneath the surface, sucking in oxygen from the air (ironically). Apart from their heinous living conditions, their lives are a mystery to me. They hardly resemble the merry Tank Gang in Finding Nemo. They are deprived the macabre delight of watching a dentist jab around inside the mouth of a terrified patient. Instead, they are made to absorb all the stress coming off the somber waiting room population. I wonder how they keep themselves occupied.

On a side note, Lem saw a National Geographic show about sexual deviants in the animal kingdom. Apparently, when a clown fish mom dies, the son changes sex and takes her place. He becomes the father's new mate. The deep-voice commentator guy said it best: I bet Nemo didn't know that. Ew.

I later met up with Maika who had unearthed a Mensa puzzle book in the Center Mall book fair. We spent the rest of the afternoon wracking our brains and laughing our heads off trying to cover up for our obvious lack in intellect. Here are some of the ones we enjoyed. I'll post the answers eventually, but I'll let you guys stew on them first:
1. There was a man without eyes. He saw plums on a tree. He took no plums and left no plums. How did he do it?
2. There was a man in tights lying unconscious on a field. He was lying next to a rock. (Hint: The rock made him unconscious without touching him.)
3. Where do the biggest potatoes grow?
4. Where did Noah strike the last nail in the ark?
5. Where are all men equally good-looking?
6. Why are two little animals alone in a little boat in the middle of the ocean?
7. Would you rather a tiger attack you or a lion?
8. Would you rather have an old ten dollar bill or a new one?
9. One day while playing hide-and-seek, Jane suddenly told the other kids that she didn't want to play anymore. She said that she was now easier to find than everyone else. One of the kids spoke up and said, "But with John, we all have the same chance of being found." What happened to Jane and why would John still have to look for her the same way he would look for everyone else?
10. What two items doesn't a boy have when he is a baby, but has when he is 10. (Hint: They are body parts and even girls have them.)

Here's something cool. Jean-Dominique Bauby was a famous French journalist who, after suffering a massive stroke, found himself almost completely paralyzed. Despite his inability to move nearly every part of his body, he still managed to write the best-selling novel The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. He wrote it all by blinking his left eye. Here I am physically capable in every way and still unable to write anything worth remembering. Ah, but am I mentally capable?

3 seen below:

laizo said...

you have a lot of branches in this one. but interesting points. i wanna have the answers to the questions ha? :D i think you're mentaly capable. capable enough to write something worth remebering.

kubiyat said...

laizo, thanks. that's good to hear :) yea, i'll e-mail you the answers, no problem. read your new poem. very wistful.

paolomendoza said...

hello kubi, sorry i had to get to scour to your very first post to catch this message. =P

you see, i recently put up a social network called and I was hoping maybe you could help me get some people in there by creating an account and inviting your friends. It's better than friendster... it just needs some getting used to. Maybe you could also help me promote it in your blog.

But no pressure, do it when you please. I understand you're busy and all. So I dont want it to waste your time.. I really appreciate any help I can get. Thanks

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