Saturday, January 29, 2011

10 Things You Should Know When Someone's Blowing Off Our Buses

Tuesday, January 25, at two in the afternoon, while the sun is high and people are busy having siesta or watching Eat Bulaga! in the comfort of their homes, an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) exploded inside a bus along EDSA, killing 5 people, injuring 13 more, and scaring the shit out of the rest of the entire Metro Manila.

Terrorism is now among us. There's no doubt about it. While we’re all complacently chatting and sipping Caramel Macchiatos inside Starbucks, these terrorists are busy amassing more shitloads of explosives, while we waste our time making shitty comments on Facebook,  they are planning their next bombing series the way Regal Films infinitely re-spawns its Shake, Rattle, and Roll franchise.

The only way to stop this is to drive a stake to Mother Lily's heart.

And because here at Nevermore Nonsense, I don’t just want my blog site to be another source of dick jokes and anecdotes making fun of almost everything just because I have the word “nonsense” in my blog name. I've lined up the things we can do to be prepared for occasions like this while riding the MRT, LRT, buses, or any form of public transportation we have access to. Because running in the streets and yelling "We're all gonna die!" is a not a very good alternative.

We all know Ayala is beautiful during the night, or the lady in front of you has the best chestige in town, but zoning out, or not paying attention to your surroundings is a no-no inside a public transportation especially when a terrorist attack is imminent.

A really big pair of distractions.
 ALWAYS watch for anything or anyone that is suspicious or unusual. No, we're not talking about Arabs or any guys with turbans here. Terrorists come in all forms, nationality, and appearance. Always pay attention to  anyone who looks suspiciously nervous, or those wearing conspicuously bulky clothings with them. They might be carrying a bomb within those layers of clothings.

Or maybe they're just out of style. But don't be too sure.

Hell. No one in their right mind will accept any package from someone they haven't even seen in their entire life. 

Especially if he looks like this.
The streets are full of fraudulent and irrational people. If a complete stranger hands you a box or a bag, it must be something they don't want to get caught in their possession, or worse, it must be something they don't want to go off in their possession. 

Pictured below is a kind of package you SHOULD NEVER accept from anyone.

If ever someone asks or coerces you to carry a suspicious package, immediately report it to the authorities, or call 117, and never open the package out of curiosity yourself, because damn, you're no Batman.

Bombs or any IED will always be disguised as innocent packages or luggage. They will come in form of bags, briefcases, boxes, letters, or even simple devices, like cell phones.

Which may or may not be inside a fat suicide bomber.
Of course, no terrorist will carry a bomb that screams "bomb" from meters away if he wants to kill assloads of unsuspecting people, unless he intends to attract attention. He needs to hide it under some luggage.

And unless this is the bomber we're talking about.
And when we speak of luggage, it means any kind of luggage will do, including yours. Wherever you are, ALWAYS STAY WITH, AND LOOK AFTER your luggage. Terrorists might sneak in and put the explosive device inside, and alas, you are a traveling, train-riding, city-trotting, accident waiting to happen.

A traveling, train-riding, city-trotting, accident waiting to happen
And if ever you see an unattended package or luggage, REPORT this to the authorities, or dial 117. Because packages like this would not be taken lightly. It must be remembered that the IED that went off in EDSA was hidden inside a small bag left by two men.

Signs are paced into specific areas to warn us of possible dangers or give us specific directions which might be hiding in plain sight.

And that includes emergency exit signs. You can always look for these signs to locate the emergency exits in case an attack happens.

Different establishments and countries have different exit signs. But it only serves one purpose: your way to safety.

The United States (and some movie houses here in the Philippines) maintain its big, red, glowing EXIT word sign.

But some others (especially the non-English speaking countries) choose the wordless, "Little Green Man" exit sign, which look like Dick Tracy without a hat on a pursuit.

The Russians, on the other hand, use their own language, coupled with an arrow to show directions.

"Go this way, or become burnt patie".

And some exit will add some more directions to avoid confusions.
Wait, what?

And while countries argue on which standard, universal exit sign to be used, it's never wrong to ask for these exits on certain public vehicles. It pays to know these places.

Medical information can come in form of documents or records from your clinic. This will help the responding Para-medics and doctors treat you effectively. Because you know, not all medicines can be  injected to anyone's system. Some people have strong allergic reactions to some medicines. And the doctors will know that through your medical history.

A history of demonic-possession would not be counted, though. 

A dust mask, though you really don't wish to use it,  will be useful in case an actual explosion occurred in your vicinity and it results to dangerous dust levels and will affect your mobility.

You also need to be still alive to be able to wear it.
Also, dust masks are more helpful in case of chemical attacks, wherein most weapons are dispensed in the air and designed to harm people through inhalation.

Because a Hazmat suit costs a goddamned P32,000.

Have you seen the line of people in the MRT and LRT stations the day after the EDSA bus bombing?

If Waldo would hide here, you will never find him.

The queue had become a lot longer, and looks like it will take like fucking forever to get to the train. And this happened for two, interconnecting reasons:

First, because of what happened in the EDSA bus incident, people got scared of riding the buses, so they opted to take the trains.

120% of these people are previous bus-riders.

And second, again, because of what happened in the EDSA bus incident, security on these stations had become way, way tighter than the usual.

That includes thoroughly searching your bag's innards.

By arriving at these stations earlier than the usual, you're making sure the security procedures are being observed without disrupting your schedule, i.e. you won't get late.

And so you won't look like you've been wrestled by Brock Lesnar.

We all learned that a cell phone, a Nokia 5310, was attached and used as a detonator for the 81mm mortar at EDSA two days ago.

Nokia 5310. A thing of sophistication, modernism, and improvised explosions.

But should that mean we must dread cell phones now because they are now utilized to be weapons of mass destruction?

"Weapons of mass destruction our ass." - texters

Hell no. Because cell phones are the only single device capable of saving multiple lives at any given moment. And you should be having at least one with you.

We Filipinos have considered cell phones as everybody's staple gadget, along with having a TV and electric fans. And this should be easy for us. In an event of terrorist attack, you can use your cell phone to call emergency numbers, to contact those who are with you in case you've got separated in the chaos, or warn your love ones about the occurring danger.

If the authorities told you that an attack is imminent in a specific area. Believe them. This attack may or may not occur, but believe me, we're better off with the earlier. And if an advisory has been made, please, oh please, don't be a blockhead and attempt to go to these area because you think the Government is bunch of pussies and going to these dangerous places makes you tough and awesome.

There are reasons why these advisories are being announced. That includes intelligent reports or confirmed bomb threats. Also, these warnings will often include avoiding some public transportation, like buses, airplanes, or trains. Again, pay attention to them. This might save your life.

"I really feel something's going wrong."

Since terrorists work on a scarce funding, they have to maximize their bombs and injure the most number of people with a single explosion. And the best time to do it?

Freaking rush hour.

The time when the buses and trains are most packed with people teeming to get home, thinking of dinner and TV and getting to rest.

Looking back, in the evening of February 14, 2005,  four people were killed and at least 60 others were wounded when a passenger bus was bombed on EDSA in Makati City.

On that very same day, a mall in General Santos City and a bus terminal in Davao were also bombed, killing four people more and injuring 36 others.

This attack came to be known as the Valentine's Day Bombings.

Obviously, the guys who did this never mind not having a date on that day.

The explosion went off around 6:30 pm. When the buses were fully packed, and the mall was crowded with people going from work.

In the recent EDSA bombing, which occurred at two in the afternoon, and the Rizal Day bombing, which went off at around 12 noon, the perpetrators might have messed up their schedule, staging the attacks in the afternoon. Or they might be intending to do so. We have no idea.

But one thing's for sure, in the terrorists eyes, the more people in a single place, the more chances they have off blowing off the most people, which will probably mean a raise for them or promotion along their ranks.


Hell, we could almost wish Batman is there to save our day, find out why in Only Human, or find out how dangerous it during the day in Sandman, or during the night in It

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Only Human First Part: Why Batman Is Awesome

Everybody loves Batman. And what's not to love about him? He's got 'em all. Brains, brawn, and a lot of bread. Ever since he started dressing like a bat and kicked criminal's asses back in 1939, the Dark Knight had become Detective Comics' second greatest superhero, scaring the shit out of Gotham City's lawless underbelly.

Whenever there's a boot kicking a bad guy's head off the panel, that's Batman.

I can still remember when I was a child in ’91; after a good dinner I would race to the TV every Friday night, turn on the set, and tune in to Batman: The Animated Series, and watch the square-jawed Caped-Crusader beat the crap out of the criminals ruling the otherworldly and noir-like landscape of Gotham City. When other kids of my age are having wet dreams of being Superman, Spider-man, or Captain Planet, I dream of becoming Batman.

. .  And twenty years later, nothing had changed. After a good dinner I would race to my PC every night, turn on the CPU, and play Batman: Arkham Asylum, and watch the impossibly-ripped Caped-Crusader beat the crap out of the criminals ruling the gritty and dark landscape of Arkham Island.



And why do I like Batman? Because he's only human, just like the rest of us. Unlike Superman, who is a goddamn Kryptonian, or Green Lantern, who has a godhood sitting on his middle finger, or Thor, who is a motherfucking Norse god, Batman is only a mere mortal. He proved that you don't have to be genetically enhanced to make the criminal underworld piss their pants at the mere mention of your name, or to be an alien to make an entire league of super-powered beings tremble at your presence, especially if one of them is "more powerful than a locomotive" and "faster than a speeding bullet".


And potential sexual predator, too.


All it takes is a human being. When all of media is drowning us how smashing it is to be a mutant, or genetically pre-disposed, Batman reminded me it’s also great to be jsut a common mortal. 

 He's so awesome, a few years back we’ve been flooded with this awe-inspiring quotation from Batman about the epicness of being a man, and how puny Superman will be in front of him. You might have received this through email or text messaging: 


We can imagine the Caped Crusader articulating those words in the Man of Steel’s face, possibly while wearing his kryptonite-encrusted knuckles and kryptonite-ladden kevlar, and at the same time going over the bazzilion of strategies he has in his mental flow chart on how to kick Superman’s ass, just in case the Kryptonian decides to fight back.  


Did you like the kryptonite-laced burritos, Clark?



Though how awesome it might look like, sorry folks, it just never happened, and probably never will. To set the record straight, Batman never said those words. He might be spending each night scaring the shit out of hardened criminals, but he is not really the kind of dude who'll badmouth about his fellow superheroes, not even if he has the tricks up in his dark, braced sleeves to beat the crap out of every single one of them. Even if that person is Superman.

 This happened, though.


The aforementioned statement came from the movie Angus, a run-of-the-mill and easily forgettable teenage comedy. Angus’ grandfater uttered those lines. But since that movie ranks very high in suckage, we won't further discuss that here.



Pictured: Not Batman. Not even close.


But if Batman is only human, just like the rest of us, that means everyone can dress like a bat, learn some karate, start jumping off rooftops, and beat the shit out of the every criminal in the streets? Right?




You can put down the cape and cowl now, dude, and give those batarangs back to your little brother. Because the answer is a resounding no. This is one of the biggest misconception lingering in the comic book nerdom. That if you have a crapload of money, and has a knowledge on some neck-breaking martial arts, then you can be Batman. After all, we belong to the same type of species. Homo Sapiens. Nothing special.


Now, we're busting that myth here. Because being Batman is well... not hard. No. Not even difficult. It's hellishly impossible. As freaking impossible as the rest of the DC Universe. And that includes the all-powerful Kryptonian Superman, the lightning-fast Flash, the Amazonian princess Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter, who is, well, a martian. Not to mention the Green Lantern, who is some kind of a cosmic police.


Hollywood-worthy Space Police.


And why? Because it will take more than a human being to wage war single-handedly on crime, corruption, and violence that had overtook and rooted deep for decades in a city that is trailing it's way straight to decayville, and at the same time juggling a lot of equally malevolent and trigger-happy villains. And did I mention he's running a multi-billion company and doing a lot of detective works with very minimal crime samples?


Yes. It will take more than just a man to be Batman. Liam Neeson already said that. And man, you don't argue with Liam Neeson. Not ever.


Because he's a Jedi. And you don't want to mess up with a Jedi.


And how badass in detective work Batman is? Let's take DC seven-issue comic book series Identity Crisis for example. In this critically- and highly-acclaimed series, Sue Dibney, the Elongated Man's wife, is mysteriously murdered inside her home by an unknown suspect. Take note that this is a superhero, the equally badass Elongated Man's, wife that we're talking about here. And she's living in a house protected by Kryptonian (Superman's race), Martian (Martian Manhunter's species), and Thanagarian (Hawkman's people) technology, folks who are millennias ahead of us. Which means that even Death himself will have a freaking hard time just to get past inside that house. Let alone murder the superhero's wife.



But shit still happened. 


One of the saddest moments in comic book history.


Meaning that whoever did this must be one hell of an exceptional murderer. Someone that can go through all levels of security that League's combined technology can put up. And not only that. After the murder, a barrage of death threats came over to the super heroes' loved ones, meaning that the killer not only knows who they are without their masks, but is serious as shit in targeting the people close to them.



After spending the entire day in sincere mourning, the entire DC world hunted down villainville, while the others scoured the crime scene, doing the autopsy, looking for clues for the suspect's identity. And we're talking about the CSI of superheroes here; Doctor Mid-Nite, Mister Terrific, Oracle, the Elongated Man himself, and other clusterfuck of super dudes helping out to piece this puzzle.


And Batman? He's locked out in his cave, doing his own investigationHell, he didn't even bother to attend the funeral. He went straight on tracking down the killer, probably with gnashing teeth and all.


The Batcave. Where Batman knows where you live (and what are you having for breakfast).


And while the others are examining physical evidences, and interrogating other criminals, desperately trying to reach a conclusion but failing time and again at each turn for the past six issues, Batman spends the entire time staring on a bunch of pictures, that includes photos of the crime scene, and a gallery of villains. Possibly acting out in his mind how the whole goddamn thing happened.


We don't know who the guy on the upper-right is, but we're pretty sure he had molested somebody.


And after a few pages more, shit start turning creepy.


"And after that, please make our suspect's head explode."


Yep. That's right. He just freaking figured everything out. While the rest of the other guys are connecting their brains and holding their scalpels and criminal records and magnifying glasses and all, and arriving at virtually nothing, The World's Greatest Detective conveniently zeroed in on the real offender of this complex whodunit, with only a stack of pictures on his table, and probably a few cups of Batman Sugarless Coffee. So what the heck happened? Did he developed psychic power over time? Called God? Asked Alfred? We'll all be damned if we know. Just remember, he's the goddamned Batman.


Thus he alerted the entire League, igniting their anger and vengeance to hunt down the culprit (which they did) and at the same time making them feel miserable and stupid for being a pile of useless investigators, and probably having thoughts of entering "Batman's School of Bad Ass and Very Useful Detectives" for good.






If you enjoyed this article, check out the continuation in Only Human Second Part: A Guide On How To Become Batman. Also, check out which weapon should Batman have with him in Goodbye Earth, or what his enemies facing him could be feeling in First Call.