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Showing posts from August, 2003
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'Nuff Said

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Everything, Even The Kitchen Sink



Those familiar with fantasy role-playing games would be familiar with the bag of holding, that small sack that can hold tons of your stuff in a pocket dimension, much like Mary Poppins impossibly spacious bag.

The Scottevest is a real-world version of the bag of holding, a normal garmet that’s blessed with over 30 pockets, some of which can be combined to create larger ones. With technology miniaturization in fever-pitch mode, this spacious article (over 2,000 square inches of pocket space) can hold your PDA, celphone, CDs, and more. And it’s got “wiring,” too, as Leander Kahnet reports for Wired news:

“All the pockets on the jacket have little holes, some of which are connected to several "conduits" for running wires, like a cell phone earpiece that comes up from a pocket toward the wearer's ear. At the collar, a pair of elastic loops hold the earpiece wire in place, and the ear buds can be put away in a tiny pocket.

Since its debut seve…
Internal Affairs

After lunch today, I bumped into one of the guys I used to hang out with in Malate. It was such a delight to see him again after so long. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, I asked him about his mom, who had recently been operated on – one of her thyroid glands was infected and needed to be removed.

I was stunned at his news. The doctors had mistakenly removed the uninfected gland, leaving the infected one all snug and secure in his mom’s neck area. Realizing their mistake, the doctors had her take appropriate medication for some time before a scheduled radiation treatment.

On the day of the treatment, another surprise sprung from the box. The folks who were supposed to administer the radiation treatment had the session postponed. The reason: my friend’s mother wasn’t supposed to take the aforementioned medication because it would nullify the benefits of the treatment.

This "case of mistaken thyroid identity" illustrates one of the higher heights of irr…
Art Will Not Save You

I’ve been deluding myself. Some of the graphic novels and trades in my collection had been bought on impulse, and I point my accusing finger at the artists whose work I’ve revered or at least admired. Since I’m not familiar with a lot of comics writers save Moore, Morrison, Gaiman, Claremont, Byrne, Waid, and other household names, it’s the art that catches my fancy first, unless the book comes highly recommended. Sadly, the fantastic art gets overshadowed by unforgiveably horrid writing, making what should be an enjoyable comics reading experience into a head-splitting chore.

The latest culprit is Batman: Hongkong. The art of Tony Wong definitely took my breath away (though I’m more partial to Wing Shing Ma’s stuff), but Doug Moench’s writing asphyxiated me to delirium. (I haven’t finished reading this medusa; any more reading might turn me to stone.) And it’s a purchase that ranks up there among the most regretted buys. Sorry, Tony, but your art did not save thi…
Blankets
Craig Thompson
Top Shelf Productions


When I was a kid, I was visited by my cousin the night before she was buried. (She died after a brain tumor operation.) Her silhouette stood in the darkness of my room, framed by the window, right beside my bed. Instinctively, I reached for my blanket. It was beyond reach. So I closed my eyes, taking quick peeks to see if she was still there (and indeed, she was), relinquishing all hope that my blanket won’t be there to protect me.

Craig Thompson’s follow up to his critically-acclaimed Goodbye Chunky Rice takes the common blanket as an allegory to our never-ending quest for protection. While, as children, our blankets served as shelter against the perceived evils of the night, we weave our own psychological and emotional blankets as we go through other stages of our lives, and these blankets take the form of our religions, our romances, our friendships and even our hopes for the future. And as each stage comes to pass, we’re obliged by choic…
Keka
Starring: Katya Santos, Wendell Ramos, Vhong Navarro, Bobby Andrews, Ryan Eigenmann, Jordan Herrera, etc.
Written and Directed by: Quark Henares
Viva Films


Keka is a young 20-something whose boyfriend (Jordan Herrera) gets offed by some fratters. Over the next five years, she returns the favor by killing them one by one. Meanwhile, Wendell Ramos’ cop character tries to solve the mystery behind the murders, only to discover later that the perpetrator is the girl he’s fallen in love with.

Suspension of disbelief is required in Quark Henares’ latest feature film. Keka doesn’t overtly seek to justify murderous vengeance; it doesn’t even appear to have a deeply-rooted social agenda. The characters and the film simply tell it like it is, and one isn’t really called in to care for them, at least in the emotional department. This may not sit well with many movie goers (like me), especially given that the amount of exposed skin is indirectly proportional to Katya’s breast size.

If anything,…
Long Weekend

My Friday officially began in the afternoon. Teeth day, after ten thousand years of not setting foot in dentist’s clinic. There was something amiss about my pearlies that I needed to have them checked, and thankfully the good dentist told me that all I needed was five caps that could all be dealt with over the next two or three weekends. But the best part of it all was having the luxury of walking to the clinic from home. Just around the corner, a minute away.

After getting my teeth cleaned, I hurried to the cinemas to catch Quark Henares’ dark comedy Keka, starring Katya Santos and Wendell Ramos. Not a total waste of life, that film, and cleanly-executed for the most part. After the movie, it was a cup of caffeine at Mocha Blends, where I finished reading Craig Thompson’s innocently-honest coming-of-age graphic novel Blankets. A good and touching read, which should have been, given its ridiculous price.

I proceeded to Music 21 - Timog Avenue for a singing engagement with…
BancNet on the Net

Jason recently suggested that I try e2door, which enables me to purchase online using my BancNet ATM in lieu of a credit card. This is great news for me, since I've been applying for plastic for the past five years and have always been rejected. And not one of 'em credit card companies would tell me why, damn them.

Anyhoos, e2door is a local service, wherein you can visit most online malls (Amazon!!) and do your purchases via a special e2door browser. Your orders get delivered right to your door.

I'm raring to try out this service. Oh, please, let there be no glitches.
Hmmm... Let's see...
Whisper to a Screen

Highlighting the past few days was my perusal of the first draft of the Zsazsa Zaturnnah screenplay. Receiving the document wasn’t something I expected, much less demanded, but I’m very thankful that the folks behind the production saw it fit to solicit my comments and suggestions about it.

So there’s gonna be added scenes, modified sequences, and some new supporting characters. The screenwriter gave a well thought-out first draft. I found myself laughing at some of his additional dialogue and sequences. Some of the new bits may not sit well with a lot of you, but note that if you take the entirety of the original comics work, pacing and all, a film version would barely reach 90 minutes. This provides an excellent opportunity for the filmmaker to add more creative meat into the adaptation. Of greatest concern is not so much page-by-page accuracy, but more the deftness of craft and channeling the spirit of the original work. X2, for instance, was not very faithful in…
It's so rare that I get possessed by the supreme urge to write creatively, as in pronto. It happened recently, and this is the result.

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First she asks me if I’m afraid, and I shake my head. I am not afraid. I see no reason to be so.

I have never touched a woman’s breast that way. It was a bittersweet sting, a feeling much unlike those times when friends would tease, prancing at the poolside right in front of me, catching my face in the crevasses of their cleavages. This time, she takes my hand slowly, tenderly, as if it were a fragile flake of snow, and spreads my fingers upon her supple chest, near her heartbeat, all the while looking at me with her autumn eyes.

She’s afraid. Her heartbeat tells me so. But why should she be? Is it because she knows that this moment, this very night, means nothing to me?

I hold her, first at the waist, brushing the curve of her hipbone, then trail up her smooth back to an embrace. Her breasts press against me, and I feel her quiver ben…
Comics Splendor

One of the recently released films that I'd like to see, though will definitely be left untouched by local distributors, is American Splendor, a film based on the story of Harvey Pekar, the Ohio-based creator of the comic book of the same title. The R-rated film bagged the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival as well as the FIPRESCI award at Cannes, and earned accolades from critics all around (currently 94% on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer).

Beyond its premise involving an independent comic book creator with a day job (sounds familiar), American Splendor is interesting to me because of the way it's executed, a drama that's part documentary, with bits of animation. As described by Mike Clark of USA TODAY, "You'll also see a creative approach to storytelling that could well have blown up in the filmmakers' faces. In what could be his role of a lifetime, Paul Giamatti plays Pekar — as the real Pekar often appears on camera to com…
Pagsasamang Kayganda... Noon at Ngayon
Starring: Dina Bonnevie, Cherry Pie Picache, Jean Garcia, Eula Valdez, Laurice Guillen, Marvin Agustin, Paolo Contis, Jodi Sta. Maria, Aiza Marquez, Dimples Romana, Patrick Garcia, Jericho Rosales, Noni Buencamino etc. etc.
Screenplay: Ricky Lee
Direction: Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Star Cinema

Like its predecessor (1983's Moral, also by Diaz-Abaya), Pagsasamang Kayganda... Noon at Ngayon tackles societal changes from a personal perspective, tackling issues hinged on who we can and cannot love, and resolving lessons of the past with circumstances of the present. There is a rebellious air in the film, made light by the often witty comedy and the accessible melodrama, and what better way to portray morality shifts than through the lives of those who’re on the lower tiers of the Filipino socio-sexual superstructure – women.

Social worker Joey (Dina Bonnevie) comes back from abroad to look after her dying mother Maggie (Laurice Guillen) and reunite with her b…
Wet Wet Wet

Saturday started as a good enough day. Until it got really wet.

Left the house at 10:30 in the morning to attend the first of a seminar series organized by the Ateneo Comics Collective and the UP GrAIL (Graphic Arts In Literature). First in the near-two month line-up of sessions was one for writers, led by gang member Dean, Alamat’s Budjette, and Mango Comics’ Zach. Almost 30 were in attendance, including Jaime Bautista, who teaches a comics appreciation elective at the Ateneo.

Judging from whatever left of the session I caught, a good time was had by all. Dean, Budj and Zach had this ‘showtime’ rapport which the attendees appeared to relish. It was an overall success.

After the seminar, we went to the FBR condominium across the campus for lunch at Encomium, which should have been a convenient choice since it was a floor below Comics Central Headquarters. (I had wanted to check out their new trades and graphic novels from independent publishers.) But attempting to dine at E…
Among all the vignettes I've written as part of the writing exercises Dean gave us, the one below is by far my favorite. Gives me hope.

Goodbye Genesis

"Well…"

The chamber crackled with luminous green energy, millions of tiny pyrotechnic flashes coruscating in a semi-spiral dance of code. Warren smiled to himself, his heart softening despite his tensed muscles, marveling at the display before him.

"You see, Arumand," he whispered. "Each tiny spark is a galaxy in bloom. If you've ever wondered what it was like to be God, to see what he saw in those seven days of Genesis…"

Arumand shifted in his seat, ambivalent towards Warren's unfinished sentence. He observed the spikes on his monitor, cross-checking each peak with an adjacent read-out panel, looking for incongruous data streams and aberrant wave-shifts. The creation of a new pocket universe did not interest him; all he cared for was the process, how things took shape, how things withered. How …
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But I Don't Know How To Play the Violence...


Fight Club!


What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla
After over a day of battling that blasted BLASTER worm, the office is back to normal, and I can update this here blog.

Medication Meditation

I think it’s my vitamins.

I had assumed my sluggishness and incoherence to be due to huge amounts of mental activity - - the job, reading and studying prose, writing the next book, designing Twilight Empires - - but another probable culprit has, up till recently, utterly been ignored by yours truly.

We all know that most medications and supplements have some form of side-effect, but it’s more often difficult to identify and isolate these side-effects because they, by nature or design, manifest beneath your nose. They don’t immediately punch you in the gut unless you’re living in a deep well deprived of many a-distracting stimuli, and you have a state of mind resembling a hollow block.

So I’m going to hold off the potent vitamins and minerals beginning this weekend to ascertain the validity of an assumption. Maybe ginseng, gingko bilboa, and horny …
Rambling

Begin Ramble.

Work-wise, I was pretty unproductive today. It was one of those days when thought processes were… well … not processing optimally. The axons and neurons refused to hold hands, so to speak, and I found myself for the most part, unable to concentrate on what needed to be done. Which is totally unacceptable, given the new deadlines.

The workload for the week is still manageable. None of the horrendous urgency of the past weeks, yet my brain’s been screaming “Slacker!!” from within my cranium. Have to get more sleep in tonight, so it’ll be auto-quickie day tomorrow.

I got more lines into my Hierbas script. For those who just tuned in, Hierbas is the next book I’ve been dedicating my writing time to, set in our fantasy world Hinirang. Hierbas tells the story of three women of varying backgrounds, whose intertwining paths lead to irreversibly horrible consequences. I’m gunning for a drama now, with mystic and horror trimmings, which analyzes bits about love, religion, …
Zsazsa Viva Italia!

I was invited by UP professor April Yap to contribute artwork to be part of the Philippine exhibit in this year's Romics International Festival on Comics and Animation, to be held on October 2 to 5 in Italy. It's an honor to be representing the country alongside the likes of Arnold Arre, Gerry Alanguilan, Leinil Francis Yu, Nestor Redondo, and others. I supplied 10 pages from the Zsazsa comics for her to choose from. You can visit the Romics site here, but you have to know your Italian.
Playing With Verses

I wrote two poems for last Saturday’s PowerPoets session at Powerbooks-Arnaiz. Obviously rushed, these pieces, but passable considering, both adhering to the session theme “Indifference.”

INDIFFERENCE

I see you on the defensive
Stonewalled across the heart
And eyes pointed to directions
Beyond me

Corrosive is your demeanor
Though acid seems milder
Descriptive of your silences
And whispers

There you stand thousands of miles far
A beacon of light tall
Strong and resilient to quakes and
Bitter storms

While I struggle through seas and seas
Coughing up liquid salt
Wishing that lightning would offer paths
To save me

Then a mirror breaks deep within
Of pasts and dreamt futures
Telling me luck nor hope will be mine
Seven years

And when you choose to cast your light
On me, torn and broken
I feel the weight of your frozen stare
Drowning me


ALIW SA GABI

Thank you for calling e-Telecare
How may I help you?

Isang laksang tinig ang dumampi sa aking tenga
Bawa’t isa’y nagmamakaawa
N…
Responsorial Psalm

From David: Someone you love, or someone who loves you?

This is a toughie. Hmmm. . . This question assumes that the other party is devoid of even an iota of affection towards the other. Honestly, I’d rather not have either, but just for the sake of answering, better the latter than the former.

Martyrdom sucks. I thank you.

From Dean: Do you do it for love?

If you’re asking about sex (like, what else would it be about?), then the answer is always yes, with no exceptions unless there’s an upheaval in the cosmic order.

From Dino: How do you love?

Being an Aquarius, I can get kind of unpredictable. It’s all circumstantial. But definitely I’d go out of my way, occasionally quite foolishly, to make sure the other party feels important and needed.

From Elbert: Does this mean you'll be going back to your acting roots and play a part of some sort in Zsazsa the movie?" And, and, "What's your favorite color?" (Since you’re such a nice guy, Sir El, I’ll answ…
Tonight I went to a place I wasn't supposed to go to, but I did anyway. I just needed to find out if I was better.

After leaving that other world, I can't say for sure if I'm better. All I know is that I'm not well.

While there are those who are.
Go Ahead, Ask Me

Is there a question that you’ve been meaning to ask me? (This being my blog, I guess I should take advantage of the opportunity.) Anything about me or what I do or how I think or feel?

Well, there’s the tag-board at the left hand side of the screen. If you have one, and just one, question you’ve been meaning to ask me, then fire away. I’ll answer all questions as a blog entry.

Don’t worry. I won’t take it against you. (But my demonic minions are beside me to assess the maleficence of your inquiries, and are prepared to haunt the dreams of those with malicious intents.)

Indulge me.


In Need of Sloth

I got out of the office close to midnight last night. The floor was deserted and death quiet, only broken by the muffled rumbling of the elevator’s ascent. I hurried off the floor, fighting off that tinge of childish fear brought about by stories that tell of the spirits that had found solace at Atlanta Center.

Country Waffles had just closed for the day (or night, depending o…
It's almost 11:00 in the evening and I'm still here at the office, exporting a document into Adobe PDF format. Then I'll be torching a CD with some files for a client before heading home. Such is part of the life of a graphic designer, or most anyone involved in "hard manual labor."

It's honestly quite rewarding. That's why I'm still doing this design thingie.
Learning from Dean

Those of you who’ve been visiting the blogs of the other gang members should have discovered by now that our very own Dean Francis Alfar bagged his fifth Palanca award this year for his one-act play Onan’s Circle, a piece which explores the modern-day phenomenon of online and eyeball encounters.

The play was originally meant for the full-length play category, and the gang had a chance to do a reading of the frenetic first act quite some time ago. But as Dean explained in his blog, Onan’s Circle underwent round after round of editing under his critical eye. The characters were primarily homosexuals, though I’m not sure if the final one-act version keeps that line-up.

During his initial Palanca-collecting spree about a decade ago, Dean won in the same category for his emotionally-charged First Time. This three-character one-act tells, on its surface, about a man who comes to terms with his sexuality through the unsolicited help of his gay friend. We read this play with…
Billboarding

During late-high school and through most of college, I was an avid listener of the Billboard Charts, paying closer-than-close attention to the rising and falling of American pop songs. I’d even have a notebook where I’d plot out everything on a table, trying to predict what next week’s charts were going to be like. My best friend and I would customarily burn the phone lines after the chart show, blasting those songs that didn’t deserve the number one spot, and lamenting how others couldn’t even make the top five. Our favorite victims were the divas of the time – Whitney Houston, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson.

It was during those years when we witnessed the collapse of some acts. The Jets topped the charts with Make It Real and Rocket 2 U, then slowly faded away. Tracie Spencer had a good start when her debut This House hit the top ten, but her presence was long gone after that, even when she recently released a new album. Mr. Big made a splash with t…
Imagine an image of your room on a monitor. Now imagine that image distorting, the vertical lines of the door, window and wall corners warping into tight zig-zags, as if the transmission was faulty. The image is not shaky, nor blurred out, but merely disturbed by the zigzag shredding.

This is the image that met my eyes when I woke up this morning, something that has never happened in my entire life, and I implore anyone to tell me that they, too, have experienced this at one point or other. On a humurous note, I had a quickie thought that my brain-to-eye connection skipped a few. Or, if I internalize my readings on hyperreality and the theory that we're all living in a hologram, then it could just have been a glitch in my programming.
Tossing the Idea Salad

In search of a new zing in our Saturday night-outs, the gang journeyed to Libis to have dinner at Jack’s Loft. Eastwood City was bustling with metrofolk, mostly of the younger set, with music blaring from everywhere. It had been a while since I subjected myself to such volume levels (that was in Malate early last year) but the readjustment wasn’t too painful.

Jack’s Loft is subtitled “The Dessert Bar” but it does serve some meal fare. Vin and I had the shiitake-embellished risotto while the rest had their beef stroganoff. For panulak, I had the 85-peso iced tea, served in a large and unwieldy fishbowl-shaped glass. The risotto came in all of its one-cup glory, which is great for those on a diet, but wasn’t really worth the 150+ quid in my book, despite the favored flavor. The iced tea didn’t hold anything special as well. Bottomless iced tea will always rule, even if it’s Lipton.

The caramel-drenched chocolate cake ordered by Vin was pretty standard, too. But I r…
Just Finished

Just finished reading Jules Verne's A Day of an American Journalist in 2889, which based on a bit of internet research had a previous incarnation written by his son Michael Verne with the title In the Year 2889. It was later published under Jules Verne's name, and later used as a basis for his own story La journée d'un journaliste américain en 2890. I can't understand why the year occasionally toggles between 2890 and 2889.

Anyway, the short story tells of ...well, aptly enough... the day in the life of Francis Bennett, the most powerful media mogul in the 29th century, the founder of The Earth Herald. Eloquently written despite its expositions, the story brings to life a what-if world where aerocars, telephotic gadgets, and conveyor streets are the norm. It reeks of wonder and awe, bordering on hyperbole. Some points can even be interpreted as farcical. Yet for all its over-the-top facets, it's still very much grounded on the human condition. Marginal…
VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- The Vatican has launched a global campaign against gay marriages, warning Catholic politicians that support of same-sex unions is "gravely immoral."

The Vatican issued a 12-page set of guidelines with the approval of Pope John Paul II in a bid to stem the increase in laws granting legal rights to homosexual unions in Europe and North America.

"Marriage exists solely between a man and woman ... Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law," the 12-page document by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said Thursday.

From CNN.com
Hmmm...