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Showing posts from April, 2003
Skull Bashing

Esteem is something I don't have a lot of, which contributes to my 'self-destructive' nature, in the sense that I push myself a bit too hard to be the best I can possibly be. To the point that I can get erratic, have a mood swing here and there, and be intensely self-critical. While a lot of people commend me for my accomplishments, there's that dark side to it, that if I stop pushing myself whether it be in body or in mind, I'll simply fade away.

This is, of course, the dramatic version of my state, that continuous need to be as perfect as I can be. If I'm not destined to have a long-term meaningful relationship (angsty, ain't I?), then I might as well do my darndest with my idle time, right? While it has been argued that no one can be perfect, I've adhered to the thought that there's no harm in trying. And try I did, with results that I'm at least contented with.

At work today, I wanted to crack my skull against the wall (an exagg…
MiXed Feelings (Spoilers Ahead)

Caught X2's premiere last night with the gang, with tix courtesy of Dreamscapes gal Cams. When I arrived at the theater, the DJ hosts were still in the middle of their sponsor-friendly Trivia and Bring Me segments, so I settled beside Noel at the far end of the row. I was pleasantly surprised to see James of Culture Crash with the group.

To make the long story short, I would have appreciated the movie more if it devoted an extra 30 minutes for character exploration and interaction. There just wasn't enough of it. I'm not surprised why Halle Berry mentioned being iffy about reprising her role as Storm. The screenwriters could have taken the cue from all those great ensemble films (I heard Gosford Park was good) where everyone had the chance to shine and be remembered. As far as I'm concerned, people found appeal in the X-Men because of the characters, their personalities and principles and the way they interacted with each other.

Action wi…
hmmm...
Insights Borne from Saturday

Last Saturday, the gang found itself at Café All Day for our regular discourse on Whatever-We-Felt-Like-Talking-About. The topic was storycrafting, entertainment vs. craft, formal criticism, and other bits the average barkada wouldn’t find itself bothering with. I enjoy listening to Dean talk about these things as he manages to compartmentalize a personally mystifying art into digestible bite-sized portions, and in doing so allows me to develop, at least theoretically, what I once knew on an intuitive level. Writing is another skill I want to be good at.

Compartmentalizing Knowledge. About a couple of years ago, I spoke before students on writing for comics. It wasn’t about writing per se, knowing fully well that I’m not the best person to ask when it comes to the craft. My talk focused primarily on being able to write with the limitations and opportunities of the medium, which includes an awareness of comics’ unique elements. In retrospect, the ‘system’ I …
Quotable

"I'm beginning to believe that the incidence of failed gay relationships is higher than their heterosexual counterparts. It seems to me that gay men are subconsciously squeamish when it comes to commitment, or that they're too much into looks, or sex -- like straight men. It's funny when homosexual men curse their exes. 'Damn all men,' they'd say. And curse themselves in the process."
Project: Self-Recreation

My friend Angelo called me up one day and told me of a 'quarter-life crisis,' that mid-20s point in a person's life where the first major barrage of existentalist angst confronts the superego. All those familiar questions: What have I done? What am I meant to do? Is what I'm doing now of any significance? Where am I going? Who am I? Who do I want to be?

One of the by-products of the modern life is the increased need to 'catch up.' (Some hall-of-fame Luddites, for example, have found themselves succumbing to the call of the Internet and cellphones.) Because of this 'catch up' need, the anxiety levels increase, even more so because there are just too many options out there. Too many options, like shopping mall food courts, and one is ironically left having difficulty choosing. Add to this quagmire one's basic roles and responsibilities, as son or daughter, mother or father, husband or wife, etc.

This is one of the major themes …
My body and brain is infused with lead.
A Bit On Hinirang

I met up with Jam and Mida last night. Mida flew in from Hong Kong last week and, before you go into another round of SARS jokes, my dear friend assured me that while guarding against SARS is important, the paranoia surrounding the disease is primarily due to the way the media has been reporting about it. In Mida's words, things are pretty much normal in Hong Kong. (It reminded me of EDSA Dos. During the height of that anti-Estrada rally, I'd been receiving email from my overseas friends expressing concern, to which I'd respond anti-climactically. "Yes, we did join the massive rally, but we had to stop by Seattle's Best for coffee.")

Jam had to excuse herself to go to work, so Mida and I ended up at UCC for coffee, and had a wonderful conversation about literature and history, parenthood and living overseas. As usual, I was the one who asked the questions and learned a whole bunch'a new things, a lot of which I'll perhaps use in a fol…
Memory Lane: Theater

Since I graduated over a decade ago (almost 13 years to be more exact), the passion to create stories never really struck me. (Though there was that short stint on a four-issue comics thing in 1993-1994 that had a good start but spiralled down into that nostalgia void.) Instead, my interest reared its head towards acting for the stage. I had performed in a number of plays for La Salle's Harlequin Theater Guild in 1993. If I may list them down: Agatha Christie's Towards Zero, Susan Glaspell's Trifles, Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero's Forever, and Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. In 1994, I auditioned for a professional production -- Angels In America for Monique Wilson's New Voice Company -- and astonishingly bagged a part. The sleaziest one. My first intense kiss with a guy, and it had to be in front of hundreds of paying patrons.

Reviews were mostly bad, and I wasn't surprised. The role of Louis Ironson called for knowledge in and affinity to Amer…
Warning: Vanity Post

Gosh! I'm, like, getting so fat. Talk about major blimpoid totally, I swear can I just?! Like, I measured my waistline just a coupl'a nights ago. And it's soooo gross, I swear! Imagine, I was around 32 inches when the year started. Now it's gone up to 34! Major shockers! Terminal, I tell you.

*sigh*

Going to the gym on a regular basis is not my cup of tea. The less contact I get with people when I work out, the better. Though my references suggest that training with a partner can hasten development, I prefer training alone. In the mid 90s I invested in a set of weights which I use till now, and I've added more plates and bars last year. Even got myself a bench.

In late 2000, I weighed in at around 160lbs, mostly due to fat and excess water which sadly is genetically predisposed to accumulate around my midsection as opposed to getting equally distributed throughout my body. My waist was a whopping 37 inches and nobody believed it. During the peak…
Making Your Life Worth Watching

One of the films being planned out in Hollywood is based on a true story of a Marine officer who runs a ballet school. And I can hear someone say... "Yeah.... riiiggght."

So if you want to earn some extra bucks and sell the rights to your life story to some Hollywood bigwig, put a spin into your life. But make sure that you've got those inspirational dramatic elements in there.

Here's a suggestion: Volunteer to be part of the rebuilding of Iraq. Prepare to keep a journal (cheap notebooks work best). Once you're there, 'accidentally' get lost. Try and communicate with the locals and get frustrated. Befriend a young impressionable child who lives the poorest-of-poor life. This child will introduce you to the family and you'll have that cross-cultural bungling on your part. Learn some key phrases, particularly invectives, as well as an uplifting local saying (like "We'll be friends forever.") Touch people'…
Another Update

1) Finish reading Jeff Noon’s funky Automated Alice. Havent gone too far with this one. My cousin's ex recently dropped by with loads of comics -- Fables TPB, Furies TPB, Violent Cases, Automatic Kafka, Goddess, Cages, etc. Vinnie also lent me the Planetary TPB. Hoooboy, loads to read.
2) Finish that second Hinirang short story. No luck with that yet. Grrrrrrr
3) Finally learn Dreamweaver and Flash. No luck with that, too. Double Grrrrr
4) Put together a website. Triple Grrrrrr
5) Watch more movies. What's a movie?
6) Big-time publisher for Zsazsa Zaturnnah. Sometime around June.
7) Get lotsa sleep. Check
8) Work out again. Check. Did a lot of that during the Holy Week Break. Feels soooooo good.

On the comics front, here's what's on my plate for the next couple of years:

1) Prepping portfolio submission to Marvel, DC, et al. Or try Glass House again. This has to be done by the end of May.
2) The Marco Mini-Project. This has to be done by the end of May.
Reflecting on Drawing and Writing and Both

Drawing

I can't say that I'm totally satisfied with the way I draw, despite whatever praise I get. And I can't say that I'm really satisfied with everything I've done as a comics illustrator. But I can say safely that I've found my default style, a hodge-podge of various influences mashed together within the palms of my own 'artistic' sensibilities. There's no other way to go but 'better.'

I'm batting for another submission to the major American comics companies. Get that out before I start work on Vinnie's dream project. I'm more comfortable now at drawing tech and a bit of action, though cityscapes are still a challenge. (And feet...)

As an illustrator and designer, I've the conviction that my default style can't be used on all stories. When Dean asked me to illustrate Ruin, I made it a point to find the appropriate style to match the cultural atmosphere of the piece. I turned to…
Okay guys. Make yourselves comfy. Ignore the cat.
Battling Senility

I’m starting to forget things. Just yesterday, while walking to the mall, I made a wrong turn and consequently felt ashamed. I had believed the path to the mall to be semi-permanently etched in some accessible corner of my brain. But yesterday’s wrong turn proved otherwise.

That incident wasn’t the only time I had forgotten something I had perceived to be automatic. Maybe it’s the age thing.

While perusing through rows upon rows of books at National last week, one particular item piqued my interest enough for me to buy it. It was about neurobics. Supposedly based on years of neurological research, the book suggests that while brain connections diminish with age, such connections can be regenerated and new connections can be created, thereby keeping the brain ‘in shape,’ the way conventional aerobics keeps the body fit.

This book continues to provide over 80 exercises that, if done regularly and in different combinations, the brain would be compelled to go against its …
Image
trying something...will it work? it's not working... it's still not working...
Boohoohoo... My template won't change... No couch...
Cams shared an address to a website that gives you your Wu-Tang name. I'm supposed to be Jive Talkin' Choirboy.

Yo!
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The Masculados are supposedly the male counterpart to the highly-popular Sex Bomb Girls. With an album out and a growing following, it remains to be seen if their popularity holds out in the coming years. (Remember the Universal Motion Dancers dancing to Simply Red's 'Stars'?) Of course, I don't see them endorsing laundry detergent soaps in the future, but one can never tell.

According to a press release, dozens have auditioned but a few were selected to undergo a year's worth of training. The nature of this training was unspecified.
Beauty Beheld

While having my customary coffee at the al fresco area of Country Waffles Annapolis, my eyes fell upon this sharp-featured lass seated inside the restaurant. Vaguely-familiar, I thought. My eyes would bounce between this woman and the TV screen which was showing some low-budget horror flick. A slightly older mestizo guy joined her and, when she stood to greet him, I fluttered. It was Angela Velez. Gadzooks, the Angela Velez who made my eyes dilate whenever she'd do some sexy dance thing on television. She was wearing this low-neckline thing beneath a denim jacket, simple and casual, yet not so much given the beautiful face. Her head seemed slightly larger than her body, but then they do say that the telly never lies, so maybe it was just me.

Guess who walks into the restaurant minutes later? Why, it's former MTVeejay Regine Tolentino! Another beautiful face and sexy bod, Regine joins Angela and elder mestizo guy and they all engage in apparently delightful banter.…
As Marco's friend would say... "SASHIINGGG!!!" By Joe, I've gottit!!
How Exciting!!

Taking a step outside and looking at what's happening in the local comics scene, it's all very exciting.

Culture Crash has proven that, with its manga-phile fan base, a comic book anthology series can sustain itself. Though I've heard that money is still hard to come by because of the absence of sponsors, the mere fact that they come this far is very commendable and enviable. They took the risk and they're reaping their rewards. Word is that some Japanese businessman has taken interest in the quality of their work.

Mango Comics has upped the ante by taking a bigger risk. Billboards along EDSA, a major launch in Eastwood for their Darna comic, plus a few more projects slated for release -- the passion behind this effort is astounding. Sure, while there has been some feelings of disappointment (mine included) over their debut Darna issue, I'd like to believe that Mango has a lot of surprises up its sleeve. I'm anticipating great things coming from t…
It's another Monday. Been a while since I posted. Annual report season is almost over, thank goodness.

Felt another depression attack last night, and countered it with a great back and biceps workout. According to the stuff I've been reading, a good workout helps keep those negative emotions at bay. You guys ought to try it. Lessee... Wednesday for legs and glutes, Fridays for chest, shoulders, and triceps. Going to go through this split for the next three months before I start work on the new comics project.

I headed for the printing press to check up on Zsazsa Part Two. My heart stopped when the accounts person told me that they needed an extra week because of the Holy Week break. I calmly told her that I had already announced an April 26 release. We finally settled on a partial delivery. Just when you thought everything was okay... *sigh*

hmmm...
Etc.

Finally got myself a haircut. A buzz. That #2 on the electric razor. The barber commented on how the top part of my scalp was thinning out. Thanks for reminding me.

Last Friday night, I went to another high school berk get-together, as Pong was scheduled to jet back to Oh, Canada! on the 12th. Joel couldn't make it because of an illness which quite predictably led to SARS jokes. (It used to be AIDS, then Ebola, then Mad Cow, then Mad Chicken. Seems like Mother Nature's autopurge protocols have been working overtime.) Discussions jumped from relationships, to anal sex, to homosexuality, to "what they don't teach you in med school" -- stuff we never would talk about as impressionable youths before the turn of the century.

I was able to go through around 20 pages of Jeff Noon's Automated Alice and felt proud of myself. As I've said before, I'm not very patient when it comes to reading fiction, so 20 pages to me is an accomplishment.

In Automated Alic…
Graphic Design Blues

Allow me to rant.

One of the worst situations a graphic designer can find himself in involves the following circumstances:

1) A rapidly approaching deadline;
2) A client representative who thinks he knows what good design is (even if he doesn't);
3) The same rep who can't understand how difficult it is to come up with good design;
4) The same rep who can't decide on the onset what he wants given the threat of number 1; and
5) The same rep who expects you to know what he wants despite number 4.

The resulting piece is a hodge-podge of design elements in a project that cater to the representative's taste which doesn't necessarily adhere to the client's corporate philosophy. It's a piece that no designer would want to ackowledge as his work.

In the Philippines, design work is underappreciated, if at all. There is the impression that a designer just whips up a piece as easy as he farts, and this way of thinking translates to an impression tha…
The 'Coolness' of Comics

The website Ninth Art contains lots of comics-related essays which are not only informative and insightful, but also fun to read. One of the essays by Kieron Gillen dissects the medium in the context of 'coolness.' He begins...

"Grant Morrison said a pretty interesting thing to Sequential Tart a few months ago:

"Having spent fifteen years of my life trying very hard to promote my field and gain the respect of 'mainstream' culture, I've come to the conclusion that only the very cool and the very uncool will really care about comics in any significant way in the future."

And while that, like any extreme dichotomy painted on existence's vivid continuum, is full of shit, he still has something of a point.

The way Mr Morrison paints it, comic readers are either polysexual Shaman folding their consciousness into sub-dimensional pockets to a neo-disco-beat, or they live above their parent's garage masturbating to g…
I let good pal Marco (Angel Ace) go over Part Two of Zsazsa Zaturnnah, and he's posted his comments on his blog.
Where is Raed?

Got this link from Budjette's website, to a blog of some guy in Iraq. I won't go into whether or not the blog is legit, but judging from the nature and quality of the posts, it seems so.

The guy hasn't posted in over a week. Makes me anxious to know what happened to him.
What will they think of next? They've done this kind of thing one too many times with marketing gimmicks like the classic Dial H for Hero series and the Mutant Registration Act promo. Now they're bringing it to TV.

Will it work? I mean, there's no sex, no potential squabbles, no 'big prize' up for grabs. We'll just have to see.

Reality TV Takes on Superheroes
By Joal Ryan

Reality TV is nothing if not the people's medium. You can aspire to be anything: a singing star, the wife of a rich guy, a codpiece-wearer.

Yes, the genre that gave us American Idol and The Bachelor will no longer exclude those whose dearest desire is to save the world from baddies (while wearing tights and a codpiece, natch). Enter: Who Wants to Be a Superhero?

Not a misprint, the WB has given the go-ahead for a six-episode run of a reality series aimed at introducing a new super man (or woman) to the people of Gotham and beyond.

To clarify, the show's talent scouts won't be lo…
Hmmm...
By the time this is posted, Part Two of Ang Kagila-gilalas Na Pakikipagsapalaran Ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah would have begun undergoing the pre-press process. Before the 25th this month, it would land on the shelves of Comic Quest and Comics Central Headquarters. Yes, a second solo effort is nearing completion.

Last night, I began burning the relevant files on CDs and freeing memory from my aging hard drive. The computer has been serving me well these past three years. And as with One Night In Purgatory, I’m beginning to experience a kind of removal. It’s time for much-needed rest, catching-up, and diversion before I start the next project.

Also, it’s time to re-orient myself to devoting my energies to the full-time job at Pipeline Media. I will admit that my work there has been affected by this recent comics work, and I thank Dean and Marc for understanding how much finishing Zsazsa means to me.

So before I proceed to my next comics project, here’s my shortlist of things to do:

1) Finish …