Posts

Showing posts from September, 2003
Child’s Play

I spent an hour last night in the toys section of Robinson’s Metro East department store in search of the perfect gift for my niece Andee. She turns five today.

Choosing a gift for a little girl is a serious undertaking because I didn’t want to give her something she’d lose interest in too quickly. Nothing static or boring, preferably an item that’d pick at her brain to get those neurons and axons growing, yet doesn’t fall under the ‘educational toy’ category. I had my eyes fixed upon the Barbie laptop/girlie bag but I choked at the four-digit price.

The Lego-clone MegaBloks seemed like a good choice, and all 250 blocks were nicely packaged in a brightly colored bucket. But my niece is still in that bratty impatient stage, and she still tends to leave things lying around. I checked the rows of Play-Doh kits but frowned at the cost-benefit disadvantage, and Andee had already gone through the McDonald’s make-burgers-fries-and-sundaes version.

Kitchen sets? Done that. Plastic…
Dessert Tripping

Last Friday night, I treated myself to dessert at the Shangri-La Edsa hotel. Now I don't usually splurge like this on food, especially desserts, and I'm not the classic sweet tooth. But one would say that after working so hard, a little luxury won't hurt and can add to the spiritual upliftment crusade.

So at the hotel's spacious café, I sat comfortably in the smoking area and ordered a mango crepe and coffee. I was expecting some ridiculous bite-size morsel, but thankfully the serving seemed to be well-worth the hefty price. There were two pieces of crepe swimming in thick white cream and laden with kiwi fruit, mango, stawberry, and stabbed with two stiff blades of white chocolate. In the crepes were more mango pieces and what seemed like cheesecake or some such, I wouldn't know. Overall, a sweet and light delight. It's the kind of thing you could share with a date, but... ahem...

Last night at Greenbelt, the PowerPoets (reduced-numbers version…
Thank You, Mga Friendships!

Thanks to Jayce, I'm on Friendster, one of 'em networking sites where most go gaga in piling up as many friends as possible within their 'personal network.' Through no effort on my part, I have 12 friends so far. At salamat sa kanila for making the effort to link up with me. I feel lucky.

So today I took the time to go around my personal network, and I did find a few interesting surprises. People who I should've expected would be there, and a few that made me smile. Even saw Goofy there.

Thanks to Jam, Janjan, Nikka, and Paolo for their testimonials. It's so juvenile that it's delicious!
Calming Down

Just when I had thought I had enough on my plate, two new paying opportunities dangled in front of my face. They're fairly simple affairs which can be done in an hour or two, but I made the mistake of adding those to my already long list of to-dos, which sent my senses reeling at the tightness of schedules. People would say that it's a great problem, having all these things to do and getting paid for most of them, but my sanity was already making physiognomy-defying somersaults, double-twists, and contortions. (I couldn't say no to the jobs because they're returning clients and they pay well.)

I asked Bok what he'd do in a similar situation, and he gave me an answer that put my perspectives in check: stop and talk to God.

Of course! How could I have forgotten? Here I was drowning in thought, unsure of where to start, and all I needed to do to get out of the rut was to take spiritual medication.

Whew! I'm calmer now.
Memories of First Grade

Because I had skipped kindergarten, I joined my elder brother in one class in the prep level. The adviser was Ms. Cruz. That was 1976 in Roosevelt College Marikina. My only memory of that year was pissing in my shorts during class, and crying all the way to the restroom.

In 1977, I moved to Marist in the hinterlands of Marikina Heights, settling in class One-D, with bespectacled Miss Flores as the homeroom adviser. Through most of that time, I figured like a lost puppy, not being able to memorize fully the names of my classmates, despite excelling academically. I had only been punished once by the stinging smack of a wooden ruler on my palm. Miss Flores found it insulting that I drew on a piece of lined paper a maiden under a tree surrounded by animals. “Who drew this?! Who drew this?!” I remember her saying, my drawing tightly crumpled in her hand.

It was also that year when I was forced to join an inter-class Math competition. I grew worried when Miss Flores t…
Writing for Comics 101: Part II

In assigning a number of panels to certain sequence, writers need to determine the amount of impact the sequence needs to give. If a writer is restricted by a fixed number of pages, then the task becomes a matter of checks and balances, and difficulties set in because, certainly, all sequences are important.

(Here, let me make a distinction between a scene and a sequence. While a scene occurs in one defined location, a sequence can occur in multiple locations; a running battle, for example, or a cut-to-cut of different scenes.)

I’ve mentioned previously that there are two factors that influence page budgeting – Level of Spectacle and Amount of Text. Auxillary factors connected to these are Intensity of Drama and Nature of Sequence, both of which tie in to determining the number of panels in a sequence.

Intensity of Drama. Drama involves emotional intensity, and the number of panels that can be used in a given sequence is based on the amount of tension a …
Work Work Work and More Work

There will be a superlative increase in activity levels for the next two months.

I’m short of signing a contract with a publisher for the Zsazsa Zaturnnah compilation, scheduled for a late-November/early-December release in time for the Yuletide shopping frenzy. The retail price will be only slightly lower than the Php240 total of Parts 1 and 2, thanks to the addition of four 10” x 12” color pin-ups, perforated near the spine for your detaching pleasure. Needless to say, I’m gunning for extra oomph for the pin-ups, and those who have been salivating over Zsazsa and Dodong are in for wee treats.

Apart from working on the pin-ups, I’m creating new art for the covers, chapter breaks and the foreword and afterword. So this translates to over 16 new plates to do for submission in less than three weeks.

My responsibilities for Project: One Hundred have increased, too, and I’m also in the process of tinkering with Vin’s Twilight Empires first-issue script and doi…
Writing for Comics 101

Writing for comics is not the same as writing prose. While the basic tenets of good and effective writing apply to comics, comics scribes need to have fundamental knowledge on how the comics format affects the way they write. I’ve seen too many scripts that are simply unfriendly to artists.

One of the basic steps in writing a comics script is budgeting pages, wherein the writer, based on his plot, predetermines how many pages will be assigned to a certain sequence. Following are the factors that should come into play when budgeting pages.

Level of Spectacle. This is essentially your The Authority (cinematic panoramic kick-ass superheroics) versus Strangers In Paradise (slice-of-life drama). If you’re working with a 24-page standard-size issue, a high-spectacle story won’t have the real estate it requires for the proper threshing out of plot points. Low spectacle stories have an advantage here. If your story combines both, the large-scale events will surely eat up…
I just have to post this. It's from SunStar Cebu. Hmmm... dopplegangers...

Sherilin Plastics secures Game 1 of championship
By Christian Ben Rodriguez

SHERILIN Plastics defeated Osaka-Arthro, 78-66, in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series of the Osaka Christmas Cup at the Visayan Glass Gym in Guadalupe last Wednesday.

Carlo Vergara waxed hot with his inside game in the first quarter, posting six points, while Osaka’s Totong Villanueva mustered the scoring load for his team.

Sherilin edged out Osaka in the first quarter by a basket, 22-20, while the second quarter continued to be a seesaw ballgame with Jovan Antido leading Sherilin’s offense.

In the third, Vergara, Antido and Jose Veraga detailed a run-and-gun game that stretched Sherilin’s lead while Osaka was in chaos with its offense.
Out Bound

This morning I got a text message from a friend, telling me of his “coming out” tale, an incident that happened yesterday at a family gathering, where conversation placed him uncomfortably between the devil and the deep blue. Left with no choice, he outed himself before everyone, admitting his homosexuality and being in a relationship for the past five+ years.

Among discreet homosexuals, coming out is a fave topic, that either sweet or bitter moment when a young man buckles up, tightens nerves, and hopes for the best in telling a preselected soul in so many words that he’s gay. Or, if misfortune breathes, bears the blow of being forced to spit out the truth.

Coming out is still difficult because circumstances and consequences are as diverse as Top 40 ditties. There are those who have been scorned and threatened and there are those who have been categorically tolerated beneath a guise of acceptance. A few lucky ones have been lovingly embraced, and even fewer have been encoura…
Mukhang Komiks

Last night, I picked up from Comic Quest two copies of Neil Gaiman’s Endless Nights, an anthology of shorts and vignettes focusing on each member of The Endless. Two copies, yes. One for my cousin and one for her boyfriend. Down the line, I’m getting myself a copy.

By production values alone, Endless Nights is well worth the price and though I haven’t gone to reading the thing, I’m certain that Gaiman won’t disappoint. The art is delicious, and in skimming through the book, the works of Frank Quitely, P. Craig Russell, and Milo Manara stood out.

I was half-and-half, however, with the second issue of 1602, Gaiman’s interpretation of the Marvel Universe with art by Andy Kubert. In a word, sumablay. While I had wished that they got someone else for the art chores, like Michael Zulli (Last Temptation) or Jon J. Muth (Mystery Play), I had a fun time with the first issue. Somehow, issue two had a hiccup down the middle, like it suddenly went up notches on the fan-service barom…
Happiness In Love

I got an email message from a friend whom I haven’t seen in eons. We’ll be meeting up tomorrow to catch up on the goings-on, and settle our action plan for the wedding of our mutual friend. (Three people I know are getting married this year.)

In her email, she asked if I was happy, and I would customarily answer “in what way?” But when I visualize her morena face asking the question, arrows point to the lovelife, and at present I can’t give a straight answer. I can’t be happy or sad about an aspect of my life that doesn’t exist. Now if you think you sense an iciness in the previous statement, I assure you I’m smiling through it all.

The last relationship lasted less than a month, but it’s taken me over a year before I’ve stamped myself with a seal of relative calm. To a lot of young folks, a relationship that short relegates it to fling status. That would have been a great way for me to look at that chapter, but I just don’t believe in flings.

But during that tumultuo…
Bastos

Some of you might be curious about us folks who draw comics. Have we tried drawing erotica? Sexually-oriented imagery? Intercoursing skin drenched in bodily fluids? Have we, in our own secret batcaves, explored the workings of certain private members of Club Anatomy through strokes (pun very much intended) of pencil or pen?

If you’re asking me . . .yes, yes, yes, and yes.

And we’ll leave it at that.

Tee hee hee.
Surrender or Die!

In the early 90s, I was invited by long-time friend Irwin to play paintball. I was a member of La Salle’s gaming group ROUGH (blank – Organization – of – United – Gaming – Hobbyists) where we shared our love for comics and tabletop role-playing games, and Irwin was one of the guys to whom I’ve gotten close to.

When Irwin told me that paintball would be fun, I just went along with nary an expectation, not even an inkling of what I was to face. So when I found myself in the hinterlands of Antipolo with Irwin, Natz, Joey, et al., them in full-battle attire and me in a simple tee and jeans, I instinctively met the experience with child-like wonder. . . I was wondering what the heck was supposed to happen.

There were other player groups at the venue, some of them with custom-made uniforms (a squad in all-black threads passed by. . . astig!) to define their teams, toting larger and more intimadating weaponry. I thought, how much do they spend for those monsters?

So I had to…
Image
Portable Fun



I've been contemplating getting a Gameboy Advance SP. I miss playing video games, but I don't want a space-eating console. Nintendo's new portable baby seems capable of fulfilling the needs of my game-hungry thumbs. I've contented myself to the brim with my cellphone's Snake game.

It's around Php 6,000. Hmmm... not a bad Xmas gift for myself.

(Image courtesy of nintendo.com)
I had two bizarre carnal dreams last night. I asked Dean what he thought they meant, and he casually suggested that I needed to get laid.

Okay. Sure.
Comics Seminar: Review and Reflection

I could always make dozens of excuses to account for my low self-evaluation of last Saturday’s stint at the Ateneo – the lack of time to prepare, the lack of sleep before the seminar day, etc. – despite the praise of some people. There are so many areas that I could have worked on at length, and at this point I’m aching to have another seminar of the sort just to redeem myself. It would really benefit if the Comics Collective had a feedback mechanism for this seminar series. For any kind of training seminar, even in the corporate world, feedback is important as part of needs analysis protocal.

Three hours is not enough to tackle Page Design and Panel Composition. I purposefully opted not to tackle the latter topic because there are too many areas to explore. When I led a seminar on writing for comics for the La Salle Writers’ Guild a couple of years back, I spent six hours orienting the participants on the subject, and I didn’t even touch on actual…
Brainstorms

I’m considering spending the next five to seven months on writing. Just writing. Finding what it’s all about and how it’s done. Get my system used to using words.

With new ideas brewing in my skull almost everyday, it’s high time that I try to get an Idea Book going, one of ‘em noteboooks lots of writers use when a concept, scene, or theme occurs to them. All ideas will find a home in the Idea Book until such time when they’re plucked from the pages and moved to the more perpetual abode of an actual story.

Just last night, over coffee with lovely friend Jam, another story idea hit me. Well, not really a new idea since I’ve had it for quite sometime, yet Jam was very helpful in providing fresh areas to explore, since the whole concept is one that Jam has been immersed in for the past four years. So that adds to my list of possible books-to-be, with time and fate deciding which’ll come first. But honestly, the capitalist pig in me is rooting for this new story over Hierbas. S…
Why Not Taken

I’ve been asked often, “Why are you not taken?”

Like, how the hell should I know?

There are a few things going against me. First is the fact that, as a rule, I don’t actively pursue. Maybe I did so in the past, but that’s long gone. Second is the fact that, by declaration of the cosmic order, I am more often not pursued. (The recent episode on the tag board is a first in my history.)

Third is the air of intellectual snobbery or highbrow snottiness that I have been repeatedly accused of exuding. Well, I don’t know if this is true, considering that I’ve been more often self-flagellating than otherwise. Oh, and I like to make baby talk … how snotty can that be?

So I’m not taken. Anyone willing to change that?
Reading The Onan Circle

The best part about Saturday night (or morning) was finally getting to read as a group, Dean's Palanca award-winning one act "The Onan Circle," an insightful, hilarious, and blatant look into the private world of online encounters. We had read a previous unfinished version of the piece (initially intended as a full-lengther), and I'm glad that Dean decided to do his massive cuts and edits to shorten it into its beautiful one-act incarnation.

If this play were staged, I'd love to be in it... except for that one scene, though...

Twilight Panelling

We capped at around 3 a.m. I asked Vin to take me to Whistle Stop - Libis for my customary after-gimik caffeine dose and scoop of chocolate ice cream. It was there where I began panelling Vin's script for Twilight Empires.

I found myself scratching my scalp. Someone needs further education.

The Niece

Sunday afternoon. I woke up and had a bit of lunch, then spent a couple of hours with my niece, An…
So my stint at the Ateneo is done. Maraming salamat sa mga nag-organize at pumunta. Sana'y may naibahagi akong kaunting kaalaman sa inyo, datapwa't kalat-kalat ang utak ng inyong lingkod.

Rating myself for that seminar? 7 out of 10.
Currently putting together my Powerpoint presentation for Saturday. Making it a real snazzy one for the young 'uns. The last comics class I conducted was, what, two years ago? I feel I'm kinda rusty. Charles says that traffic's gonna be hell on Saturday because of some entrance exam thingamadong. Ooooh I pray to the heavens that I wake up early. I'd hate to disappoint.
Gush

I visited Budj's phlog one day, and there was a picture of me with the National Book Award trophy. One of the messages on the comment board caught my attention. It said, "I was right beside Carl Vergara at Starbucks last night and was embarrassed enough to restrain myself from gushing, "Ohmigod, I am such a FAN!"

Now I've only been at Starbucks once during the past few weeks to meet my partner-in-emotional-crime Jam. It was at Starbucks where I told her that I bagged the award, and I had no idea that a person beside me was bursting at the seams. Makes for a nice indie film scene.

The last time I gushed in that context was when ... hell, I don't remember.

Setting Standards

This Saturday I will be at the Ateneo to do a lecture on Page and Panel Composition. For the past two weeks, I've been hammering my noggin', trying to find out how I'm supposed to effectively go about it. Page and Panel Composition is not an easy thing to teach, because they&…
Dates

Egadz! Exactly, and I mean, exactly, four months ago (there's that number four again, Andrew), I posted an entry about "going out in general with someone on a getting-to-know-you" basis.

For those who've tuned in quite late into this blog program, you can go to the archives and look for the date of May 9th, where I talk about what I think about the Dating Game.
Something happened to my blog last Friday. Very weird. I wonder where the rest came from? Or perhaps there's something some people aren't telling me.

Or maybe I'm just paranoid again. Tee hee hee.
More Reading

Succeeded at fully reading three of 19th-century gothic writer Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories – The Hollow of the Three Hills, The Black Veil, and The Ambitious Guest. While going through the swishily verbose tales was like running through knee-deep mud (you simply can’t), the delight at actually understanding whuddafuck he was saying through each whuddafuck paragraph laden with generous doses of whuddafuck words boosts my confidence in my English comprehension skills.

I still have two more stories of his finish – longer ones – Rappaccini’s Daughter and The Gentle Boy. After those monsters, I move on to H.P. Lovecraft.

On the comics front, there’s Batman:Hongkong which I endured till the end. Having been initially blighted by Doug Moench’s writing, reading the rest of this work was a breeze and I didn’t feel the need to gag anymore. It was a simple matter of tuning my brain to the work’s frequency, the same way I did Asamiya’s Batman: Child of Dreams. I’m curious to …
Computer Cruising

With the death of my hard drive came the decision to ditch the CPU and get a new one, thus demanding a major expense. Since I only have a pitiful amount of hardware knowledge, the task of determining what makes for a passable system isn’t easy, especially given the insanely numerous component brands and their insanely numerous products. While the recommendations from friends are generally appreciated, they only add to the confusion.

So this morning I asked my computer-savvy brother to help me out, and he contacted his more computer-savvy friend to put together a package for me. I’m targetting the end of the week for this. It all depends on whether or not I can collect from my finished sideline projects.

I’m also looking at getting a DVD player and a decent television. We’ll see. We’ll see.

About Andrew

Andrew Drilon just turned 18 years old, but the depth of his writing is years way ahead of his young and seemingly innocuous visage. And the guy can draw, too. When he s…
What Happened Recently

1. Wednesday and Friday p.m.
Met two more prospective publishers for the compiled Zsazsa Zaturnnah. I should be receiving their formal proposals in the next few days. Finished reading a couple of horror short stories by 19th century writer Nathaniel Hawthorne.

2. Wednesday p.m.
Bumped into Suki, Chari and Abi at the Podium. Learned a few new juicy things. Promised Chari to watch Honk! at the Meralco Theater the coming Saturday. (Chari directed the Trumpets production)

3. Thursday p.m.
Met with Angelo in Makati after ages of not seeing him. Did the long-overdue catch-up and updates. I missed talking to the guy.

4. Friday p.m.
Caught up with the gang and had dinner at Salsa Rossa with Arnold and Cynthia. So refreshing to see them again. Arnold lost weight! An example some people ought to be following.

5. Saturday p.m.
Watched Honk! at the Meralco. Had early dinner at Sushi-ya and coffee at Piadina. Was joined briefly by Walter. Met the gang for post-dinner chat. Charle…
My hard drive's contents have been eradicated by a virus.

But it's okay. On other fronts, it seems I've come full circle.

A full circle indeed. God is good.
When Humanity Sets In

There was a time when I had thought that I could do anything. It’s the most common impression of youth, that aspect of perceived invincibility, if not in the heart, at least in the body and mind. I remember when I could take most tasks and finish them confidently at the appointed hour, and I’ve been missing those times of late, as my mortality has deemed it proper to take its natural course, and whisper to me subtly that body and mind need to slow down.

I’m slowing down.

The headaches have been more frequent, bringing me to near tears sometimes. There’s work which, admittedly, has been sorely affected. There are the sideline tasks which translate to extra cash. There are the personal projects that cater to my incessant need for growth. And there are the commitments to keep in touch with friends and family that likewise keep me in touch with life. But I’m beginning to feel the signs that may one day lead to a nervous implosion, an inevitable catatonia, and so decis…
Inday Genius

Last December, Popular Bookstore released a new cookbook entitled Inday Genius. I was fortunate to have been asked to design the cover for this tome, which features mostly Filipino dishes. Unlike most cookbooks, Inday Genius was written using the simplest of language, perfect for household cooks of whatever educational level. And the results are generally sumptuous. My file copy has exhibited signs of abuse, thanks to my sister and her husband.

The first run of the book flew off the shelves and demanded a reprint. Now, authors Obi Mapua, Waco Mapua, Kristin Lim and Albert Roa are cooking up a 'sequel' to the book, to feature more international dishes. I willingly agreed to design the cover of this new genius of a work.

The good thing about helping out with a cookbook is that you get to go to the tests, to savor some of the planned selections that'll make the final recipe list. And that's what happened to me last Friday, where I zipped to the Mapua's hum…
I should've taken the cue from Sir El about placing HTML tables on blogs.
Image
Proof of Infamy 2



I wuz floating. Sinabi ni Arnold before he left, "Now you know how it feels." Ibang klase. Parang solb na solb ka for the next few months at puede ka nang 'di kumain. It's like in the movies: they announce your name then you hear the first burst of cheering, then the sound fades even while you see people clapping. Tapos nagso-slow motion. Parang 'di pa rin ako makapaniwala na bitbit-bitbit ko ang trophy pauwi. Ni hindi ko man lang mahawakan nang matagal kase pakiramdam ko, ayokong masanay that it's there. Kase baka mawala. Pero, awa ng Diyos, nando'n pa rin siya sa ibabaw ng study table ko until now.

Mga tsong! Maraming salamat sa lahat ng support and encouragement, especially to those who stayed with me during those tough times.
Image
Very interesting, Dragonstein...

From Glenn's fabulous blog, I tried this feather out, and asked a question about the acquisition of lots of money. Mweheheheh.

Your Name: Visconde Carlo Vergara
Your Date of Birth: 01/25/1971
PastMannaz - Cooperation, teamwork, collaboration, help and aid from others, beginning new projects, especially with others.PresentEihwaz - Banishing magick, removal of obstacles and delays, invoking foresight, clearing up hidden issues and situations.FuturePerdhro - Unexpected gains, hidden secrets coming to light, discovering that which has been lost, spiritual evolution.Cast the runes here:
Rune Caster
Something I had written a loooooong, long time ago. I'm amazed it still lives...

"I cannot be everything to everyone, and I certainly cannot meet all expectations. But if someone were to embrace the best of me, then take the worst as well. For if one were to scoff at my deficiencies, no matter how I try to supercede them, then there is little reason to give all. For “all” includes everything that I am.

I have spent the past months seeking the significance that has been viciously wrenched from me, and all I had asked of you in answer to your declarations of indebtedness was your friendship, a friendship that demanded patience and understanding. It is unfortunate that you had not, quite understandably, a trove to spare. My vulnerability, however, hastened me to seek comfort elsewhere, to places where I am not inclined to remember.

So forgive me for saying that what we have is tainted. I have faulted, yes, but I am led to believe that you fail to understand why, not by any fault…
Ironies

When Judiel Nieva found the limelight many moons ago (early 1990s), many had doubted his sexuality, even when, during that time he was leading supplicants enthralled by the Agoo apparitions, he was only in his early teens. After the media blitz behind the miraculous sightings died down, so did Nieva fade from national attention.

He was interviewed yesterday on ABS-CBN’s The Buzz, and he was, well, beautiful. Nicely-done hair, a black number that showed off his flawless shoulders, and a mannered poise that should set an example for all our beauty contest representatives. Turning 27 this late-October, Nieva is currently busy with theatrical presentations and other “showbiz” engagements which he implies to be more of religious orientation. He was even accompanied by a nun whom he referred to as his personal adviser. Nieva still goes to Agoo regulalry.

An effeminate homosexual who represents a highly-treasured modern Catholic miracle. Whodathunk?
What's next?

That cruel aspect behind winning an award rests on the dispelling of reductionist notions, and it is here where a new challenge looms, that which seeks to disprove, absolutely or impressionably, the phenomenon of the fluke.

The level of relative success being enjoyed by Zsazsa Zaturnnah is, by the meager standards of our little noveau comics movement, phenomenal, and leaves me at times in a state of disbelief. Despite one too many plaudits from readers, the media, the academe, and the showbiz world, encompassing a broad age range from college students to working professionals (even a few parents) across gender and sexual preference, it’s prudent to dismiss Zsazsa Zaturnnah – the comic book -- as a rare animal, a genetic anomaly who may not find her Adam anytime soon. Though the plotworks for “Zsazsa in Manila” are simmering, there’s no guarantee that the sequel will be at par with the original, making for a possible case of sophomore let-down.

But there is no overwhe…