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Showing posts from March, 2004
Cambodian cuts off penis to feed spirits

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A Cambodian man cut off his penis when he said he was visited by four hungry spirits in a dream and he had no chicken or duck to offer them.

According to police, 33-year-old Soun Ney told the spirits to go away when they first appeared to ask for food, and waved his penis at them in defiance.

"Devils, I don't have any chicken or duck for you," he was quoted as saying by local police chief Phoeung Vat. "If you want to eat anything, you can eat my penis."

Soun Ney said the spirits agreed to eat his penis. He was rushed to a hospital near the capital Phnom Penh after he castrated himself with a butcher's knife.

"He is lucky to be alive," Phoeung Vat told Reuters.

Villagers in the deeply impoverished southeast Asian traditionally offer chicken, duck or cake to the spirits of the dead to ward off bad luck.

From Reuters
What I Wanted To Be But Didn’t

As a kid, I had ambitions of becoming a priest (!), or a chef. I remember enjoying my mom’s recipe books (pronouncing “two tsp.” as “two tisps”), and even asking her to try out a recipe I haphazardly invented. Interests changed down the line, and when I reached college, I wanted to work for a large corporation.

One of the staple questions given to fresh graduates during their first job interviews involved foresight: What would you be doing five years from now? Ten years? And more often I’d answer with, “I want to start a business.”

A decade has passed with no business to boast, signifying that I’ve innocently deceived my past employers. For who could really tell what could happen over such a long duration? I graduated with a degree in Marketing Management with a GPA a few tenths short of honors, and had my sights set on pursuing a career in marketing. From the start, I didn’t want to earn from my art.

But look what happened… I became a university lecture…
Professional Spook

I spent time at the office last Friday till past midnight. It's one of those things ordinary staff go through, to finish up as much as possible over extended hours because of a looming deadline. So there I was, alone at the office, alternating phone calls between two clients and making sensitive corrections on a document. During most the time, the only sounds one could hear were the clicking of the keyboard and my light breathing, then the occasional ringing of the phone. In past situations I would've had the radio on, but I guess I was too engrossed in getting things done to even bother. I was a bit on edge for I had heard the stories about the bumps-in-the-night, and though I had "shut off" that extra sense a while back, I couldn't help but be a tad paranoid. I closed shop at 1:30 in the morning.

In the mid-90s, I was working for a telecom company, with offices situated in relatively old building along Ayala Avenue. Now this building wasn'…
Blog Truths

A friend of mine was recently accepted in a local radio station as a newscaster, despite her having absolutely no experience in the industry. She is currently undergoing training this week, and she’s already been given her own radio show, apart from numerous voice-over opportunities.

The radio show, a new one for the station, would be about relationships, which wickedly coincides with her recent episode when she and her boyfriend split up. While she’s very much gung-ho about the whole deal, she can’t help but feel nervous. How can you figure objectively in a discussion about that aspect of your life that’s just suffered a major blow?

Which brings me to blogging. I’ve hinted so much in the past about the ordeal I went through with my own relationship struggle, but never had the guts to put it all down here in detail. Not that I’m obliged to, since this blog was never meant to be my Ultimate Diary. But in the occasional absence of something to write about, there has always be…
Biologically Gay

This bit was posted in the high school barkada mailing list.

"Researchers in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine have confirmed that a male sheep's preference for same-sex partners has biological underpinnings.

A study published in the February issue of the journal Endocrinology demonstrates that not only are certain groups of cells different between genders in a part of the sheep brain controlling sexual behavior, but brain anatomy and hormone production may determine whether adult rams prefer other rams over ewes.

"This particular study, along with others, strongly suggests that sexual preference is biologically determined in animals, and possibly in humans," said the study's lead author, Charles E. Roselli, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, OHSU School of Medicine. "The hope is that the study of these brain differences will provide clues to the processes involved in the developm…
I'm tipsy. Teeeeepsy.

And I only had one and a quarter bottle of beer. Pathetic. To think I could drink four or five in the past. Now, it's freakin' less than two bottles. So I wuz talkin' up a storm, gesticulating like anything, no-holds barred... is that where you're supposed to put the hyphen? No holds-barred? No-holds-barred?

My sister talked about the ghosts at her office. The restroom at her office used to be a morgue... Oh, and she's beginning to see white earth spirits, too...

Outkast is playing. Nice song... heeeey-yaaaahhh...heeeeh-yaaaah... they desreve their Grammy... Should I edit that? "desreve"...naaaahhh...

There's another song playing in my head. Some pop girlie song from the early 90s... about being crazy ... "don't you know we're crazy..." somehitng like that...

Why am I teeepseeee? It's I don't know. Just decided to try a few drinks with the friend. Relationship crisis on her part. Had to be with her …
A Fabulous McDo Party

Friday night began with a friend’s birthday party, held at McDonald’s Greenbelt. Yes, folks, it was a kiddie party with no kids.

As is customary with such parties, we had the games and prizes, the McDonald’s meals for dinner, and a special visit from Birdie. What made the event more interesting was the fact that 90% of those in attendance were at least half in attendance were non-straight. So there we were, desecrating the innocence of the McDonald’s kiddie party with off-the-wall commentary. It’s an experience I’m sure the resident party host won’t fail to forget. And I paraphrase a quote from her, “Sir, kapag humingi pa kayo ng Chickenjoy, ipapupulis ko na kayo.”

Precious. Another kiddie party – the genuine sort – was going on in the room adjacent, leading me to wonder what the poor souls were thinking about our celebration. But our celebrant was happy, and that’s what counts. Happy birthday, Benigno!
PART OF THE JOB

Late last year, Scientific American published an article that lists the worst jobs in the scientific field, all of which run the gamut from outright disgusting to seemingly pointless. I’m listing some of the jobs featured in that article. What’s your fancy?

PLANETRARY PROTECTION OFFICER
Job Description: Prevent alien microorganisms from wreaking havoc on earth, and vice-versa.
Why: If rock samples from Mars are brought in, we want to make sure that they don’t have dangerous Martian germs on ‘em, which can potentially cause strange diseases and wipe out mankind. Conversely, we want to make sure that our astronauts and equipment are really clean when they’re sent out there. It can be dangerous having Earth microbes running around in space.

FLATUS ODOR JUDGE
Job Description: Inhale fart samples with gusto! Rate how noxious each sample is.
Why: According to Minneapolis-based gastroenterologist Michael Levitt, the chemical responsible for the highly-offensive smell is hydrogen…
Sushi Maryosep!

After work, I went to the new Bridgeway arcade just across the Greenhills Shopping Complex to sample a restaurant. The complex has been undergoing major renovations of late in efforts to beef up its appeal to the more cosmopolitan crowd, as well as offer more choices to the regular visitors. The Bridgeway arcade contains a large carpark apart from new establishments, which include Gloria Jean’s, Café Mediterranean, Max’s, Toby’s, Astrovision, Sorabol, and Yellow Cab Pizza.

While undergoing my search, I passed by an area where a magazine distributor held a sale, with items ranging from 35 to 150 quid, depending on how outdated the items were. The geek in me gravitated towards Scientific American and Popular Science, then there’s the special issue of Writer’s Digest – all for just Php 105.

Sakae Sushi was a pebble’s throw away, and my cat curiosity clawed me into trying it out. It’s one of those sushi places with the conveyor belts, which paraded sushi plates beside the d…
One of Them Days

It's only Tuesday and I'm dying already.

Fret not, Carlo, it'll be over soon...


During one of the gang’s lengthy discussions about writing, Dean posed the question to everyone: what is the underlying theme across all your works?

I answered “hope.” From One Night In Purgatory to Zsazsa Zaturnnah, as well as my Hinirang short stories Lu Parlores d’Anjelia and Isa Pang Awit (the latter having yet to be finished), the theme permeates through in varying degrees and intensities. To me, what else can fuel existence in the midst of adversity, if not hope?

This week didn’t start off on a very good note, one of those weeks that had little intentions of getting along for no clear reason, and we all know what those are like. As Brownstone once sang, “It’s one of them days.” And, no, it’s not that time of the month.

In our impressionable youth, we’d equate these days as portents of doom, marking the rest of our lives with the flaming runes we’d blame if tomorrow turned b…
Matters of Style

An ad for a local bakeshop has been appearing in newspapers during the past weeks, featuring a hunky guy holding a hat, and people have been asking if I did the artwork for that one.

My answer is yes. Guilty as charged.

My art influences run the gamut, from my favorite Adam Hughes, to Garfield’s Jim Davis, to Akira’s Katsuhiro Otomo. Hughes’ figures prominently here, primarily for the way he articulates human anatomy. Davis is there for the cartoony expressions, and Otomo for his backgrounds and “cinematography.”

There are a host of others who’ve influenced me over the years: Jim Lee is there, and so’s Brian Bolland. Ryuichi Ikegama’s style first caught my attention through Sanctuary, and Masamune Shiro’s Appleseed served as my first manga inspiration way back in the early nineties.

So it becomes amusing to think how my style has been described as “Filipino,” since only one Pinoy comics artist comes to mind as an influence, and I can’t even remember his name. His work …
Revisions

Nothing major to report as far as the weekend was concerned. I woke up rather late Saturday, and was only able to deal with laundry in the late afternoon. Saturday night was with the gang, a reduced version, having a filling dinner at Tequila Joe’s El Pueblo to celebrate Dean’s appearance in a prestigious international fantasy anthology. Way to go, Dean-bo!

After getting initial feedback on my Siglo script, I set myself down for a revision. I had known something was wrong with it since the time I finished the first draft, reading and rereading it to the point of eyesore, but I wanted to get initial opinions about it to convince myself I was going in the right direction.

With the first revision done, I still wasn’t content, so I took time off to meet Vin at Starbucks Pearl Drive to talk shop, since he’s a more diligent and knowledgeable writer than I am. In that thirty minute conversation, the nerves in my cranium pulsed anew. I went back home and tried a second revision.

I’m …
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The Cannes of Comics

The Angouléme International Comics Festival has been around for the past 31 years, held usually during late-January in the city of Angouléme, known historically for its paper mills but currently being recognized as one of France's many hubs for the arts. Angouléme is also the home city of the Centre National de la Bande Dessinée, a government-sponsored center featuring the grafictional arts.

This year, the festival awards abolished the Best Foreign Comic Book category, thus permitting foreign works to compete in the major awards. This enabled Neil Gaiman's Sandman: La saison des brumes (The Season of Mists) to bag the Best Scenario Award and Naoki Urusawa's 20th Century Boy to get Best Series. For the Best Comic Book Award, Adrian Tomine's Blonde Platine (Summer Blonde) and Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's Daredevil trades 4 and 5 were among the nominees, but the plum went to Manu Larcenet's Le Combat Ordinaire.

Alan Moore and Kevin …
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From the Sketchbook

Yes, I've been getting requests for a nude drawing of Dodong. When I asked Dodong about this, he just issued a manly chuckle and said, "Bahala na." Didi jumped into the conversation with a yap, "Ano? Ido-drowing mo si Dodong na nakahubu't-hubad, tapos libre?! Maningil ka naman!!"

Friend Angelo had asked me weeks before if he could put up some of my original stuff for online auction. I agreed, naturally, but that was preceded by the question: "Would anyone actually buy the stuff?" During the Siglo launch, the original pages of the book were put up for auction, and some of the artists scored some lucky takes. This has convinced me more that there are people who are willing to buy original comics art in this country.

I wonder: How much would one pay to have Dodong nude?
Long Untapped

For those who’ve been reading the blogs of the other gang members, you must’ve read those entries pertaining to our most recent role-playing session held the night after Nikki’s birthday. Dean was our able GameMaster, taking us through another hair-raising adventure which involved lots of crap and the end of the world.

In the past, I gravitated towards playing the meek, weak, high-strung, or emotional characters, and Dean obviously knew which buttons to push, sending me off into a neurotic paranoid whirl. Till recently, the only time I played a strong – not to mention devious and manipulative -- character was under David Hontiveros’ Mage: The Ascension game.

For Dean’s session, I chose stronger characters loaded with generous amounts of chutzpah. Afro-American fly girl Keisha defiantly stood her ground against Satan himself, matching his wagging tongue with her wagging finger, while English femme fatale Vesper held her own against demonic fecal constructs while keeping he…
If Anyone Should Ever Write My Life Story
For Whatever Reason There Might Be


During one of the gang’s Holy Week trips to faraway Linden Suites in Ortigas Center, I wrote a wee vignette on a loose piece of complimentary pad about an episode in my life way back in high school. This involved a friendship, martial arts classes, graduation practice, and an admittance of affections. I let Vin read it for his feedback.

Indie director Noel Lim then called. Under a strange cosmic influence, Vin read my vignette over the phone, which consequently sent Noel’s creative juices a-flowing. Now, I “slightly” owe Herr Lim a screenplay for Project: Green Palm. I had already given him a sequence treatment, but I’ve yet to begin writing the thing.

An indie flick based on one of my life’s chapters. How . . . charming
Another Round of eMode

The Color of My Aura

We don't need a psychic to tell us that you're giving off a Sapphire vibe. People with blue auras feel everything strongly — you tend to get a little emotional at the drop of a hat. You're also deeply spiritual and introspective. Matters of the heart, mind, and soul are important to you, and your waters run as deep as the ocean. Nurturing by nature, you're likely a loving, supportive caretaker. That's why friends, family, and co-workers adore you. They know you're a good listener and always have great advice and a shoulder for them to cry on. In fact, if we had to find a fault, it's that you can be a tad too self-sacrificing. Remember that it's okay to say no sometimes. You forgive everyone else their weaknesses, so go ahead and forgive yourself for a little well-deserved selfishness. Indulge your creative side and do something artsy, or just take a break from being the world's counselor. You'll come bac…
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"We work to be fabulous!"



Taking the cue from Nikki and The Theocracy of the Supreme Nikita, I invite you visit the country I've set up on NationStates. It's been around for at least a month now, so a lot of things have happened since it started.

Behold, The Holy Empire of Zaturnnah!

Create your own nation now!
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Ummm.... Yesssssss....




You're Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!

by Lewis Carroll

After stumbling down the wrong turn in life, you've had your mind
opened to a number of strange and curious things. As life grows curiouser and curiouser,
you have to ask yourself what's real and what's the picture of illusion. Little is coming
to your aid in discerning fantasy from fact, but the line between them is so blurry that
it's starting not to matter. Be careful around rabbit holes and those who smile to much,
and just avoid hat shops altogether.


Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Vignette: Late

She woke up at 6:30 in the morning like she always did. The warm shafts of light that fell on her face had long ceased to make her squint. Exactly one minute later, she was out of bed, waking her husband with a touch on his cheek, and by seven she was in the kitchen with the same thought she’d have on Tuesday mornings. Bacon. Orange juice. Scrambled eggs.

Francis pulled his SUV out of the driveway by 8:40, ten minutes later than she was accustomed to and, out of habit, she shook her head. That’s ten minutes out of her newspaper time. At the dining table, she went over the crosswords, hurriedly going through every clue and no longer pausing on the difficult ones, and reading every other paragraph of a gardening article that interested her. She was back on track by 9:30, with cleaned dishes neatly arranged on the rack and leftovers stacked systematically in the refrigerator.

A few days back, her friend Therese had invited her out for shopping. That would be today at 10:30,…
Shebang

The beauty in working in a small service agency like Kestrel IMC is that you just can’t tell when things will explode, load-wise. Well, folks, the fuse is a mere breath from the powder, judging from the number of projects in the burner, and already my blood pressure is escalating. The term “summer shebang” is taking on a whole new meaning.

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Speaking of “shebang,” I was recently given a double whammy over a couple of divinatory readings. Friend Jam had this deck of pretty cards lying around untouched for over a year, and her moment of voluntary unemployment has allowed her to study at length their mystical meanings.

My cousin and I have taken to use the cards ourselves. Jam doesn’t mind, though there is that supposed rule that goes against allowing other people to do so. Conflicting vibes or whatever, so the answers would understandably be a bit off. Since we didn’t really know how to go about the spread, we contented ourselves with asking a qu…
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BREAKFAST AFTER NOON
Andi Watson
Oni Press

Darn…my three-year old scanner is going iffy on me.

Anyway, the fact that we all have our own personal tastes and opinions sets up a potentially chaotic but ultimately interesting scenario. This variety forms the crux of niche marketing activities, popularity polls, and even religious crusades. You have your own take on things while I have mine, and as long as we don’t end up killing each other or hurting others in the crossfire, then it’s all cool.

Andi Watson’s Breakfast After Noon illustrates this point. Personally, this book does nothing for me, and not because it’s a story about a couple struggling to push through with their marriage despite unemployment. While Watson’s clean and consistent art is one to be admired, I can’t help but feel that this is a ride that’s not worth the price of admission, like a roller coaster that starts off okay, takes you to the customary twists and turns, but ends just about when you’re bracing yourself for t…
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The highlight of last weekend was attending the birthday party of top children’s book illustrator Jason Moss, who first made his existence known to me through gushing fan mail. Months later, he was able to get in touch with me via cell after wrangling some poor soul for my number.

Being an introvert, I don’t fare very well in large parties, particularly those where I hardly know anyone. I’d normally be the guy in the corner, a lone spectator, a wall flower, who’ll only engage in conversation when prompted to by outside stimuli. Thankfully, and quite surprisingly, Maestro Moss and I had common friends so my evening wasn’t a total disaster. It was actually quite fun, practicing my tentative social skills as I met new folks and caught up with old friends in one evening. Thank God, my social life isn’t completely dead.

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Last night, I finished the first draft of my Siglo: Passion story, a soapy dramatic vignette set in Palawan during the latter part of the Second World War. Some of the details in the story are based on actual events, retold in a book Palawan: The War Years, which was edited by my grandmother. For those who don’t know, Palawan is the home province of my mother’s side.

The graphic you see here is draft art from my sketchbook, only meant to help me get into the mood of the story. I pray that the Siglo editors don’t chop my script up to bits. Next on my list is the script for the Alamat anthology.
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32 STORIES
The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics
Adrian Tomine
Published by Drawn and Quarterly

Tomine’s history in creating comics is pretty much similar to the situation of thousands of today’s aspiring creators, and brings to mind the dozens of photocopied mini-comics being hawked during last December’s C3Con.

The first issue of Tomine’s Optic Nerve mini-comics, a collection of very very short vignettes, had a voluminous print run of twenty-five copies, staple-bound together with love, care, and foul-ups. This was over 10 years ago, just about when Image comics was beginning to create shockwaves throughout comicdom. The initial sales were very encouraging – he sold none – driving his teenage soul to create more Optic Nerve issues till word of his work spread across the alternative comics scene. By the seventh issue (supported by a Xeric grant no less), his sales had reached 6,000 copies.

A mere three years after unleashing Optic Nerve unto the world, comics publisher Drawn and Quarte…
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From the Sketchbook



I’d been toying with a wickedly crazy idea for over a year now. Well, it’s more of wishful thinking: Zsazsa Zaturnnah in FHM: a four piece-gallery of her in the testosterone-churning tradition of slutty poses. While doing artfully-composed slutty poses is a concept not at all alien to Zaturnnah, I had to ask her what she thought of the idea (though she was in an uber-bad mood at the time) …

Zsazsa: Malaki ba’ng pera diyan?

Me: ‘Di ko alam eh. Pero sisikat ka lalo. Dadami ang fans mo.

Zsazsa: Ows? May fans ako? ‘Asan? ‘Asan ang fans ko?!

Me: Nandiyan lang sila. At lalo silang dadami kung mage-FHM ka.

Zsazsa: Kung may fans ako, e di dapat may fans club ako. Dapat may Fans’ Day. Niloloko ma lang ako!

Me: May mga fans ka nga. Ba’t ako magsisinungaling sa ‘yo? Ganyan talaga sila, nahihiyang sumulat.

Zsazsa: Eh tange ka pala! May nakalagay ba na address diyan sa punyetang Collected Edition na ‘yan? Paano sila susulat kung wala namang address?!

Me: Ah… hehehe… nakalimutan…
Wala lang.

While having lunch at Thai In A Box – Greenhills, some guy engaged in small talk with one of the waiters, saying that Halina Perez died in a vehicular accident. “Durog nga ang katawan,” guy quipped.

I’ve only seen Halina Perez in one film, the title and plot of which I fail to remember despite having seen it last year. And her role was characteristic of most roles given to neophyte “boldstars” -- a woman given the short end of the relationship stick. There were opportunities to shed both clothes and tears, showing the world that she can act up a storm despite her label.

Claudia Zobel also died in a vehicular accident, yet it was during a time when “bomba” stars were relatively fewer and the public more or less knew who these women were. She wasn’t a top-tier actress; acting prowess or lack thereof wasn’t much of a big issue. But still, her death was a major showbiz story. Now, nymphets are coming out of the woodwork in droves, all struggling to get a piece of the limelight…
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Testing


Rubbing elbows with Sauron.
Recently it was Chuck Austen, now it’s Igor Kordey who’s been getting the flak from comics fans. I first encountered Kordey’s work in New X-Men, and I admit that his art was the main reason why I dropped the book temporarily. Though I loved Grant Morrisson’s take on the merry mutants, his in-your-face flair wasn’t enough to help me swallow Kordey’s art style.

Admittedly, his work gave Cable that dark, brooding feel, similar to how Jim Lee managed to add grit to the first few issues of Deathblow by channeling Frank Miller. But it seems that I’m not alone in my opinion about Kordey when he filled in for New X-Men and, thereafter, Extreme X-Men. New controversy has been brewing about his sour relationship with Marvel Comics, too.

I have no strong opinions about the matter since I haven’t read the details, but I’m just curious to find out what kind of drug Marvel was taking when they signed Kordey in to interpret what’s supposed to be a pop book. It’s not like the US or Europe is scant in…
The writing bug has bit once again.

Deadlines for the Siglo and Alamat anthologies are just around the corner, and fortunately the desire to write has come. I’m beginning to break the habit of putting thoughts on paper in linear fashion. Get some of the beginning, some of the middle, and some of the end in place, then string them together before tweaking.

I’d like to get these two scripts done over the next two weeks, so that I could deal with the other stuff in my mental in-box. The month has just begun, and I’m shocked as to how time just whizzed by. But a glass filled midway could either be half full or half empty, so it’d be best to condition myself into looking at the bright side. There’s still around 300 days left in 2004. Lots of time.

That, of course, till I get paranoid again.

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It should come as no surprise that Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King swept the recent Oscars, tying with Titanic and Ben Hur with 11 statuettes. That’s seve…