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Showing posts from October, 2004
Speaking of Beauty Contests...

The website Global Beauties, the online reservoir of beauty pageant news and features, features a country ranking grid in which countries are ranked according to their pageant performances in the past decade. The pageants considered are Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, and ... Miss Earth.

According to the statistical report, the top ten best performing countries are:

1) Venezuela
2) India
3) USA
4) Columbia
5) South Africa
6) Spain
7) Philippines
8) Puerto Rico
9) Russia
10) Brazil

The factors affecting country performance, according to the website, are: "winning or placing among finalists and semi-finalists in a 'big 4', winning special prizes such as Miss Photogenic, best national costume award, Miss Congeniality, talent award, scholarship awards, Webmasters' Choice Award (the official one, created and promoted by Global Beauties with the participation of dozens of websites dedicated to beauty pageants' coverage) and M…
Miss What-on-Earth???

The crowning of Miss Earth 2004 was televised last Saturday night... er, Sunday morning. I caught the selection of the 16 semi-finalists at around 1030pm at a friend's house. When I got home and turned on the telly, Miss Brazil wasn't crowned till sometime 2am. Was that a delayed feed? Did the contestants actually endure over three hours of pageantry?

There were three bits about the show that I found downright off:

1) Dressing up the former Miss Earth in a Krystala costume for the video featurette on the contest prizes. I have nothing against Krystala, but having her in a world-class beauty contest doesn't quite fit.

2) Presenting the Miss Friendship award with a cheesy "interrogation video" where some of the contestants were made to act. It starts with black-clad men asking a contestant to join them in a dimly lit room (complete with overhead lamp). The contestant was slightly pushed to a stool and interrogated, to confess that one of the gi…
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Salute to Parents

Libis suffered from traffic Saturday afternoon, prompting me to head straight to the church (Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish - Marikina) instead of meeting up with the family at home. My newest nephew Huan was to have his christening, and I was one of the godfathers. The ceremony was quick and, well, unsolemn, with everyone seeming fidgety and clueless, not like that shown in the whitening soap commercial. More than ten babies were christened that afternoon, afterwhich we were hurriedly shooed off to give way to the wedding that was to follow.

I joined my mom back home so she could put the finishing touches on the thai bagoong rice before proceeding to my brother's house in Concepcion. While I had my coffee and nicotine in the garden and gave pleasantries to the nature spirits, my sister arrived and begged me to join the chaos in the other street. The kiddies' trick-or-treating had commenced, and my sister had to "abandon" my niece to take her place…
Sandara Park's album has reached platinum sales.

And The Buzz is making A Fuzz over Mahal's "nude video."

*sigh*

Moving on, moving on...
Early Oscar Buzz

Still very early in the game, but the website Oscar Race has a regularly updated list of possible noms for next years Oscar Awards. Their current predictions for Best PIcture are below (with text from Yahoo! Movies). Most of them haven't even been shown in the US yet.

Finding Neverland
Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Radha Mitchell, Dustin Hoffman
Directed by: Marc Forster

Set in London in 1904, the film follows J.M. Barrie's creative journey to bring Peter Pan to life, from his first inspiration for the story up until the play's premiere at the Duke of York's Theatre - a night that will change not only Barrie's own life, but the lives of everyone close to him. David Magee's screenplay is based on the play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan," written by Allen Knee.

The Aviator
Leonardo DiCaprio, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale, Cate Blanchett
Directed by: Martin Scorsese

"The Aviator” tells the story of aviation pioneer H…
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Design Case Study: Sexploitation

One of the few projects I've been doing is for the American Community Theater based in Hongkong. In late-November, they will be staging Rebecca Gillman's thriller "Boy Gets Girl," about a blind date that goes awry.

I've been asked to do, among other things, three posters that will be used as set pieces. Two of them are shown here. These are supposed to be movie posters for "sexploitation" flicks and will adorn the scene where the protagonist, a reporter, interviews the director of these movies.

The design brief for these posters specify that they emulate those visual aspects that are common in those materials from 60s and 70s. Those posters of yore are characterized by liberal use of typefaces and sometimes erratic use of lay-out. Obviously, it's the images of scantily-clad women that take top priority.



Admittedly, planning for the new posters was difficult. The greatest challenge was putting myself in the place of th…
Wherever you are, I miss you.
A Store Near You

An article featured in the first issue of Siklab suggests that the death of the newsstand komiks industry in the early nineties could be largely attributed to the distribution system. It revealed that a seemingly selfish monopoly had the resources to distribute comics nationwide. Smaller publishers who didn't have the same resources had no choice but to ride on the monopoly's system, but their products were unprioritized and the distributor's margin was cumbersome. The monopoly's products contemporaneously failed to improve with the times, and the number of newsstand komiks fell dramatically.

From the stories I hear about the current distribution system, it's not hard to imagine the demise of the current efforts to revive the industry. As capitalism goes, it's tough luck if you don't have the deep pockets to sustain your operations. While it's easy to say that advertising could make the comics publisher breathe a little easier, the fact …
The Continuing Saga of The Bum

Not really a bum, but it's starting to feel like it.

JOB HUNTING

Out of the five applications I sent through Jobstreet.com, two are "in process," one is "kept for future consideration," and two haven't been viewed yet, though I had sent them almost two weeks ago. It's been a long while since I went jobhunting, so I'd forgotten how long the waiting can get.

Next week, I go to the Communication Department of De La Salle and see if they'll take me for a teaching position. (Crossing fingers that it'll be full-time.) I'm not expecting to get anything till the start of the next school year, however, since the latter end of the school year isn't normally basic subject territory. The commute should be fun -- MRT from Crossing to Taft, then LRT to La Salle -- which shouldn't take more than an hour. When I was commuting from Marikina to Taft , the ride took as long as two and a half hours.

ICON

I met with Richie…
I haven't slept all night
I haven't slept all night
La la la la la...

Rushed some last minute revisions for an overseas client. (Boy, that sounded prestigious.) After this web session, I have my lunch then FedEx the CD. Today is supposed to be leg day at the gym, but moolah comes first before muscles. And I need to sleep.

After FedEx, I go to the grocery store to get stuff requested by Bangkok-based aunt. Cousin Angela flies to Thailand tomorrow. A meeting with Richie afterwards, to talk about and plan more for Icon. Hopefully I can get to bed early and get the body clock back in order. (Yes, I'm back to call center time. Pffft.)
Joke Time

Got this gem off a message board.

It was the first day of school and a new student named Suzuki, the son of a Japanese businessman, entered the fourth grade. The teacher said, "Let's begin by reviewing some American history. Who said, "Give me Liberty, or give me Death?" She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Suzuki, who had his hand up.

"Patrick Henry, 1775." He said.

"Very good! Who said 'Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth'"? Again, no response except from Suzuki:

"Abraham Lincoln, 1863.", said Suzuki.

The teacher snapped at the class, "Class, you should be ashamed. Suzuki, who is new to our country, knows more about its history than you do."

She heard a loud whisper: "Screw the Japs."

"Who said that?!!" she demanded, darting her gaze across the room.

Suzuki put his hand up. "Lee Iacocca, 1982."

At that point, a student in …
Just in Case You Didn't Already Know...

'Miranda' switches sides

Cynthia Nixon is trying a different kind of sex in the city, the Daily News has learned. For almost 10 months now, the Emmy-winning actress ("Sex In The City") has been dating another woman, sources say.

Back in June of 2003, Nixon split with Danny Mozes, the father of her two children. Last January, according to friends, she began a lesbian relationship.

Right now, Nixon, 38, does not want to be as outspoken as Rosie O'Donnell, the sources say.
But Nixon did not flinch when we asked her yesterday whether she is involved with another woman.

Speaking exclusively with the Daily News, she said, "My private life is private. But at the same time, I have nothing to hide. So what I will say is that I am very happy."

Word is that Nixon's partner is not in show business.


(Full article on New York Daily News)
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Rationale



It seems that everyone's been posting their Siglo: Passion pages, so I might as well do so.

Style-wise, it's the first time for me to try the "distressed" look in the pencils with no inking whatsoever, and the first time for me to use full computer colors. The grid I used is a basic nine-panel, breaking it only as needed, and the thick panel borders are meant to suggest a suspended atmosphere, with each panel serving as a snapshot, like individual pieces in a photo album. Dialogue is rendered without balloons to support this atmosphere.

Apart from the reason that I'm not too confident about my coloring, I used mostly monochromes of brown, orange and red to convey a sense of stasis. Because the thick borders can affect the smooth reading flow, the monochromes also assist in the "movement" between panels.

The Palawan 1944 story has a strange love triangle going on, set during the latter part of the Second World War when the might of the Japanese …
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ICON

Helping out friends put together a magazine for the LGBT community was, like most group efforts, an enriching endeavor, borne from an understanding that, because the LGBT community is so diverse, no one's opinion was gospel. I gave my two cents worth during the editorial planning stage, and contributed a few illustrations for the first issue.

One may nitpick at the fact that ICON doesn't have a lot of suggestive photography, or the content isn't naughty enough. But to equate being gay to being suggestive and naughty doesn't completely characterize the LGBT community. While there are US magazines such as Freshmen and Unzipped (where skin is the selling point), there are also those like Advocate and Out (which are more news and lifestyle). ICON attempts to be the latter.

The first issue is flawed, granted, and we all know that good intentions don't necessarily make good material, but ICON wants to be the "decent Pinoy LGBT magazine" and the first issue…
Bad Writing

The following passages were cited by the editors of the journal Philosophy and Literature (John Hopkins University) as examples of really bad writing which, according to journal editor Denis Dutton, were "produced by well-known, highly-paid experts who have no doubt labored for years to write like this. That these scholars must know what they are doing is indicated by the fact that the entries were all published by distinguished presses and academic journals.”

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception…
Story Snippet

In his dream the night before, the universe imploded. Though Josef never believed in the prophetic powers behind dreams, he couldn’t help but feel disturbed. He remembered each detail quite clearly, that violently spinning soup of plasma and ether condensing rapidly, in the kind of dream that was vivid with technicolor imagery accompanied by stereophonic sound.

He recapped the dream in his notebook shortly after he was shaken awake by the screaming of collapsing stars. He almost dropped it, the notebook, because his hands were trembling. When the word processor blipped into view, he struggled with the stylus as much as he did with his thoughts, and found himself writing slowly in large broken letters. He spent a full hour writing that one-paragraph entry, just as the sun began to blow its radiance across the Puerto Princesa sky.

It was 9:40 in the morning, blessing Josef with three hours of sleep.

After a quick shower, he fumbled into his laundromat-fresh clothes and rushed …
Stress-free Reunion

Friday night was reunion night with some of the Fernandez’ of Palawan, from my mother’s side. It was the birthday celebration for my mom’s aunt, and her immediate family flew in from the US to attend. At first I was jittery about the whole affair because I hardly know my relatives from that end, especially the elder ones, but the event turned out to be fun and relaxing.

It was held at a convention hall popularly known as Kapitan Moy, converted from an old Spanish house right across the Our Lady of the Abandoned parish church and the new Marikina Shoe Museum. The front of the hall features a spacious bench-lined open area and a little corner monument which embodies the city’s title as shoe capital of the country. Former Marikina mayor Bayani Fernando did a spanking good job in repurposing the area, and yet keeping much intact.

The reunion atmosphere was jovial and unrestrained. Most of the loudest laughs were courtesy of the older folks. My mom’s cousin Carlos hired …
It’s one thing to find amusing another person’s misfortune, but to laugh hysterically at it and call it cool is tasteless in my book. This isn’t A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s real life.