Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Here's an original work I did for a creative writing class I took some years ago. This was originally planned for a bedtime story book for 6-8 year old kids and one of two that I wrote.
I Have A Friend

I have a friend who I know is true.
He saw me when I was in my mother’s tummy.
He watches over me when I sleep and greets me everytime when I wake.
He’ll never leave me alone for no reason at all.
He’s a father, a big brother, a cousin, and a best friend all in one.
He’s there when I’m happy.
He laughs at my jokes and corrects me when I’m wrong.
He protects me from danger and teaches me a lesson when I insist on my own way.
He’s always there when I’m hurt.
I can cry on his shoulders when I’m sad.
I can talk to him about so many things and he would never get tired.
I could ask him all the questions that bother my mind: Like why are there seven colors in a rainbow? Or why can’t I see the wind? Or how did he ever think of flowers and trees? Or tigers and Giraffes?
I love my friend and I know that he loves me.
How do I know? Because he told me when he showed me his hands.
Important news from the Department of Forwarded Mails:
The European Union has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the one other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government has conceded that English spelling does actually have some small, but significant, room for improvement and has thus accepted a 5-year phase-in-plan of these improvements that will eventually become known as "Euro English."

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

In the sekond year, there will be growing publik enthusiasm when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like "fotograf" twenty persent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expected to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z", and "w" with "v."

During the fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords containing "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza.

Ze drem of a United Urop vil finali kum tru.

If zis mad u smil ples pas on to oza pepl. Zen ve vil rul ze vorld!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2003

Oh yeah... I almost forgot to tell you all about the restoration of our old Napster files! This makes up for the temporary loss of our internet connection. Hurray!
First it was the good news, then the bad news, then the good news, and then, finally, the bad news that persists to this day. The good news is (or was) we had a DSL connection, but we lost the phone connection. Yesterday morning a couple of phone repairmen came and fixed the phone but we lost the DSL connection. How about that? Sigh...

I also heard the good news that one of my good friends from church is finally getting married! I was told that the engagement was made yesterday and it turns out that he ended up with the girl we were teasing him to (although it was more of a private joke among us). It's true, they're both in their early 30s; he's too kid-like to get too serious about settling down while she was too focused on the youth ministry. Or so we thought. Anyway I wish them both the best of everything that life could offer and more.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I had one of the freakiest dreams last night. I was awoken in the middle of the night and I didn't know why. I wasn't really that awake but I was conscious of my surroundings. I tried to blank my mind by staring lazily at the window at the end of the room and as I turned my head to the left to go to sleep I felt something like a hand clap over my mouth. I became scared and tried to wake up, I tried to recall an article that to successfully wake yourself from bangungot you have to move or wiggle your big toe. I tried moving both my thumbs but I couldn't, then I realized I was half asleep and trying to individually move a part of your body at this state is impossible. In my desperation I tried biting the hand (the hand was still there but I couldn't bite any of it). Good thing I was able to turn my head and eventually my body to the right thereby stopping the nightmare in its tracks. I looked at my phone and saw the time was 3:00 a.m. I fought any attempt to fall asleep for a few minutes for fear that it would return but after whispering some prayers I eventually fell asleep. This experience made me think that those who died of bangungot probably succumbed to fear. They died from the shock of being attacked by something they couldn't see. Should we feel helpless in the face of invisible attacks? Hardly. Say your prayers before bedtime and you won't have anything to worry about.

Changing topics now...

It was also great seeing two of my good 'ol chums from Don Bosco last night. We had a lot of laughs and catching up over dinner at that swanky mall, Podium. Out of the original seven only the three of us remain in the country. The rest have settled down in different states of the US and one in Canada. Thanks for the time guys, maybe the next time we get together hopefully we would all be complete.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

With each word your tenderness grows,
Tearing my fear apart...
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose,
It touches my foolish heart.

Lovely ... Never, ever change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won't you please arrange it ?
'Cause I love you ... Just the way you look tonight.

This is my current "last song syndrome." What a sap I am.

This is one of our usual Artists' Den discussion as depicted by Lyndon Gregorio (with We Are Anime's webmeister RG). I'm recovering quite nicely thank you very much and the doctors assured me that I'll still be able to breed children.
Sharp dressed 80s icon, Robert Palmer is dead. Heard it first from the radio station I was listening to when the DJ paid tribute to the late singer by announcing his recent demise and played the live version of Bad Case Of Loving You. Those who grew up in the 80s would remember him as the powah behind the Duran Duran side project Power Station and his being the original Mr. Suave in some unforgettable solo videos. Not one to give in to the trappings of success, he said in an interview:
"I loved the music, but the excesses of rock 'n' roll never really appealed to me at all," he said. "I couldn't see the point of getting up in front of a lot of people when you weren't in control of your wits."

"I can't think of another attitude to have toward an audience than a hopeful and a positive one. And if that includes such unfashionable things as sentimentality, well, I can afford it."

Very well said m'man. Very well said.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Guess where I'm writing this?! Of course I'm writing this online using our newly installed DSL connection! Our net is now faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound-- With lightning-fast dowloading time I could surf all I want! Yeeeeeee!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Just came home from the second On-Air Awards, a prime-time program where people can visit one of the booths scattered around town and do their stuff in exchange for 15 minutes worth of fame. This time the event finished earlier than last year's since they already decided on the winners and did away with the Oscar-awards-call-out-the-nominees-first-and-bore-them-to-death routine. The guest performers this time is also cooler although I have to criticize some of their actions on-stage, not caring if there are 4-6 year old kids in the audience. One of my friends also won the top spot: I Don't Give A Flying *toot-toot-toooooot!* Award. Yeah it's true, she ranted against this high school batchmate of hers. I don't know what he did but he got a lot of verbal abuse on national TV with some of the audience cheering her on. Along with most of the people in that place I could only react with shock on my face.

No animal was harmed in the making of this strip.

Well here it is. Originally I planned to strew (it's a highfalutin word for 'scatter.' And they say you can't learn anything new from comics) some cockroaches and sewer rats but decided against it for fear that people in the U.S. would blow things out of proportion and think that indeed we're overflowing with them things. Btw, that guinea pig looked at a lot like the first one that I got. I named it George (remember that episode where Marvin the Martian imported the Abominable Snowman from Earth? "I'm gonna hug him and squeeze him and call him...")

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Oh yeah I forget to say something about the first Philippine Gaming Convention that was sponsored by Neutral Grounds. I went to last Sunday. It was held in the Megatrade Hall 1 of SM Megamall one of the nearby malls near our house. It was a great opportunity to watch role playing gamers up close since I haven't got the time nor the know-how where they convene plus they make a great source of behavioral studies for some of my characters. I only stayed there for about an hour since I had to rush home and do the strip for this week's edition of Philippine News. I also hope to do some kind of behavioral studies on the way they play those games.

I love P!nk. I swear! No... Not the color.

This is the second strip in the series and the third one I submitted to Fusion magazine. To those in the Philippines who have access to it, please do buy every issue and clean off the shelves. It's 95% worth your hard earned dough. You figure it out. Or better yet, write to choosefuse@yahoo.com and tell them how you reeeaaally appreciate these strips.

Monday, September 22, 2003

I got me a new phone yesterday. The one I've been dreaming of ever since it was first announced here. But the lack of retail insurance makes me very, very suspect of the phone thus I'm not jumping for joy over this purchase. Whatta conundrum.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Finally finished reading Nick Bantock's The Artful Dodger yesterday. I'ma gonna post what I think about it later.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

If someone who could grant all your hopes and prayers were to ask you what you really want him to do for you, what would you say? I don't mean the temporary things that could pass for the "now" excitement, I'm asking the stuff that your dreams are made of.

West Side transmogrified to anime. Booyah!

I have to admit I got the "white ghost" reaction from Honoel Ibardolaza's Homanga!. I also got the pose from Edvard Munch's The Scream. While I'm at it I'd also like to give a shout out to Culture Crash Comics' Elmer Damaso (One Day Isang Diwa and Cat's Trail) for doing such a great job I couldn't help but incorporate some of his style in this strip.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

See these pearly whites? They're way better than yours!

I've been meaning to watch Daddy Day Care ever since I first saw the trailer and I'm happy to report that it doesn't disappoint! Yerz! It's not as breathtaking as Finding Nemo but both come with the same flavor that makes you keep coming back for more. Hmmm... What do I like about this movie, let me count the ways: One, the importance of spending quality time with your kids while you're still able; two, listening to everything they have to say (even if they use Klingon language); three, your intention of providing what's best for them is not as important as having you beside them; four, it's not really embarrassing to still be a kid at heart; five, men can do things women can do; six, let the kids have fun and don't ever, ever take away that privilege from them, and seven, women can never fill in what father-figures roles are supposed to do. Like that wonderful fish movie, Daddy Day Care shows the importance of fathers in a kid's life. Only fathers can provide most of the answers that kids need in their journey through life. Like for example that kid that doesn't want to take off his Flash costume (I think it's been more than a month already), or that nasty kid that kept on hitting theirs shins, or that little girl that looks too intellectual for her age (even though she never had the urge to read yet), these kids found what they wanted in Charlie (Eddie Murphy) and Phil's (Jeff Garlin) day care center (moms are important too but only Dads can validate a person's identity). But I would have to balk at that one act where Jeff's character had to bribe this kid a dollar just to behave and having them watch the Three Stooges at such an impressionable age is a no-no. All in all for me this is a really funny and entertaining movie, something that I'm thankful this summer lot's got a whole gaggle of. Good thing this movie became such a huge hit in the US they're now developing a sequel titled Daddy Day Camp, can't wait for that one.
On my way home from an errand this afternoon I stopped by a McDonald's store and had a meal. I took my seat on the second floor and for almost a minute I didn't touch my meal and instead stared outside the window and watched the world go by. Just like that time during our trip to Sydney during the summer when I would just stare out the window from our hotel room and just watch the people. The bird's eye view of the people going about their business is just so amazing. During that time I almost forgot to touch my burger and drink just taking in the view. There's nothing really extraordinary about these views, in fact they were so ordinary you wouldn't think anything of it and maybe you'd try to engage me in a conversation to pass the time. I can't pretend to understand it myself but the sight is nothing short of awesome for me. It's like God himself allowing me the privilege of seeing people the way he sees them. Precious individuals each with a story to tell, a rant waiting to be said, or a bunch of news waiting to be shared. It's times like these when I could wish that I could freeze time or hope that it would never end.
There's not much happening the morning after, we planned the continuation of the business here at home with half of the total number of PCs to be put to good use. The other half hopefully will be given new homes. We have our work cut out and hopefully we could have it up and running within the week. But given the bulk of work waiting for us (we have to clear the room from gym equipments and cabinets to bed frames, not to mention all those computers and other thingamajigs we brought home from the shop). I'm thinking we have to have a sort of garage sale and get rid of these things. Meanwhile my mind's still reeling from this transition in schedules being brought back to a sense of normalcy resulting in a sort of a clean slate. That's good right? Right?

Monday, September 15, 2003

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention today's the last day of our shop. Some of our workers have been packing the shelves and stuff. They've already carted off half of everything and the place looks a lot bigger than what I'm used to. It now looks like the first time we occupied this space. There I was in the middle of this room full of dreams and visions. Aspirations of turning the world of internet cafés upside down filled my mind. It's going to be a lot different than the others, I'd also create a haven for artists to showcase their works. Framed artworks would line the walls and announcements outside the door would herald the exhibits inside and of indie artists that would be performing during the weekends. Some came true in ways far from what I initially imagined and some didn't. But the best of all the years in this job are those times where friendships were formed and solidified. Some of the best I couldn't have formed on my own but with His grace and approval came to be. It was also here where I matured a lot and I do mean a lot. Gobs and gobs of maturity. Maturity by the truckloads. Brought on by regrets, by fights, by listening, by counselling, by being counselled, by reading, by searching, by going to places where no man has ever gone before. But these regrets are shortlived, the fights have been resolved, and though I'm just a fourth in my journey I'm extremely grateful for the knowledge and wisdom I have acquired and the lessons learned. I wouldn't exchange everything I gained and lost along the way for it is through these experiences that made me who I am today. Friendships would continue, life would still go on but the challenges will be different. Rules will played on an entirely different level. I don't consider this as a loss, rather I consider it as a promotion. Yeah.

I'd probably miss this place where I had meself a lion's share of the best and the worst of times. But since I hate goodbyes, I'd prefer not to.
I went again to my friend Jorge's office this afternoon and I brought someone from the photographer's shop so they could discuss everything that comes with the wedding package (which is really neat-o since they could have copies of the whole event on DVD and VCD). I met his parents for the first time too. His Dad, a retired Army General was more reserved (calling me something like a hippie for sporting a beard, but in a friendly manner) while his Mom's quite the opposite. When I was introduced she smiled and asked "Ikaw ba yung pinakamabait sa inyo?!" (Are you the friendliest one in your batch?) She then advised me to stay from Jorge and Dennis so I wouldn't be tainted by their heinousness. Hehehe... what a mom. She also mentioned the fact that Jorge had been bragging about me and the things I've been doing. Wow and to think that I was the one looking up to him back in high school. There were a lot of grub like the last time and his older brother's wife was also there looking a lot more youthful than the last time. I probably should have mentioned to him that I lost my phone yesterday. I should've told him that. I bought a new umbrella on the way home since the one I brought was stolen along the way. It cost a lot more but it's a lot bigger and better than the one I lost.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

I lost my 3rd phone today due to plain clumsiness. Maybe that's why I went through only four out of the five stages of grief and even then I learned to accept the situation right after denial and anger and right before I got depressed about the whole thing. I even thought of a what-if situation, that if I didn't go to my high school alma-mater to take some reference pics then maybe, just maybe I wouldn't have lost it. But then again, I would have still lost it someplace else. My Mom says that I should look for a replacement ASAP and that she'll help me a little bit with the financing thing. I'm all mixed up inside on this, on one hand I really love that phone, its features (the birthday reminders... gone), and the number, but on the other I was already thinking of retiring it in favor of a new one and I did copy some of the more important numbers in my other cheaper phone (which my Mom's using right now, having lost her own phone almost a month prior to this loss).

Moving on, I went with my Mom to watch the tail-end showing of a stageplay musical titled "The Last Five Years." She's been looking foward to this play ever since she read about it last summer and I wouldn't deny her the privilege of seeing it (even if it means missing out on some priorities). What can I say about it? Well, uh... it was good. It was really different from all the other plays that we watched. Though I must say having the whole story sung by two people, with different points of view for one and half hours straight takes a lot of getting used to. It felt like the lyrics of the songs were gliding over my head straight into the other people in the audience. There were three songs that were really likeable but I can't say the same for the play. It's just too "elite" for me. Might I also mention that I'm currently working on this week's strip and I'm surprised the work load's a lot easier than the usual. Wow. Thanks Dad!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Did You Know...

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Smoehting I got form the mial aagin.
I don't get it why people have to actually repeat what you say whenever you answer their question. Like for example one customer came in for a typing job (this conversation transpired in Filipino):
Customer: Can I have this typed? (handing over a bunch of papers with handwritten notes)
Me: I'm sorry but the regular typist just took a break.
Customer: ...took a break. (pause)
Me: You could try coming back later.
Customer: ...Come back later. (after another pause) What time?
Me: I dunno, maybe after an hour?
Customer: ...After an hour. (another long pause)
Me: Uh... hello?
Customer: ...Hello.

Ok I'm kidding about the last part but this kind of powwow goes on and on. They'd stare as if weighing my words and trying to find out if I was telling the truth. I dunno, all I know is that they like to stare. Are my words hypnotizing them that they have to stare and repeat everything I say? It's freaky I tellz ya! Freaky!!!

Hmmm... Maybe I should have followed it with "I will hand over to you all my money."
Something new from the Department of Forwarded Mails:
A university creative writing class was asked to write a concise essay containing the following elements:

1.) Religion
2.) Royalty
3.) Sex
4.) Mystery

The prize winner wrote:

"My God," said the queen, "I'm pregnant. I wonder who did it?"

Friday, September 12, 2003

Can't believe actor and comedian John Ritter is dead (just a while ago from heart complications). This guy who portrayed Jack Tripper in one of the most memorable sitcoms from my childhood is gone. Awww man... this all feels so surreal.
Something came to mind this morning while preparing for work, why can't artists be preppy once in a while when making an appearance? Aside from the standard shirt and jeans ensemble complete with the uncombed unshaven look why can't we come in dressed in something more, well, presentable? I know it all started with the thinking that we artists are so bohemian we could get away with whatever we feel like putting on that day. But it does have it to be the norm everytime there is a need for an appearance? Come to think of it donning those duds doesn't make one stand out anymore since everybody's doing it. Right?

Thursday, September 11, 2003

I just received the mostest of the most news of all: Opus the Penguin is coming back with a new strip! Wooohooooo!!! Awright! *clap-clap-clap* Woop-woop-woop!!!
After eight years away from newspapers, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is creating a new comic strip called "Opus," starring his beloved penguin of the same name.

The Washington Post Writers Group, which will syndicate the strip, is expected to officially announce Breathed's return this Sunday. The reclusive Breathed, who rarely gives interviews, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

The new strip will appear on Sundays in The Washington Post starting Nov. 23.
Well to make you all understand what's the deal behind all this hullabaloo, Breathed's work Bloom County was the main influence in my drawing style today (you could still see the resemblance). You could actually ask around and see how many cartoonists he influenced (Bloom County, along with Calvin and Hobbes and Far Side were some the top pillars of American comic industry in the 80s and 90s). So this piece of news along with the news that an Opus movie will begin shooting before the end of the year equals Paaaar-tey!!! Also in a way I haveta agree with Breathed when he said that cartoonists "die and go to cartoon hell for working beyond that magic intersection of art and fun."* It also doesn't help that a lot of people have relegated cartoonists and their comic strips to the almost forgotten kid's corner.

*From MSNBC News.

It's true, my sister's friend's whole family is going to watch the concert this Saturday.

I almost backed out on doing this strip wondering if the Filipino community in America was even aware of this strange new obsession in our country. Hopefully by dropping hints here and there they'd be informed and entertained at the same time. This strip appears in this week's issue of Philippine News.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I forgot to mention that I got tons and tons of books from last week's bookfair in Megatrade Hall. It was an insane purchase amounting to thousands (all the while I settle for bargain clothes, heehee!). I got myself enough reading materials to last me till December, including the reprinted MAD books. Wish they'd come out with the books by Al Jaffee.
Hey Lyndon finally got a tag-board for his website! Though... as of this writing the posts in it reads like something out the interactive text-TV program where the messages leave a lot to be desired. Anyway one of the first messages posted was a word for the Pirate's code of truce: Parley. Being a French word I searched the net for its proper spelling, interestingly in my search I stumbled on an actual list of a Gentlepirate's Code of Honor:
Most people aren't aware of the strict code of honor that the pirates upheld. They mistakenly believe pirates to have been evil blackguards totally without honor or principles. While there was the occasional "character flaw", in general, pirates took their work quite seriously, and before a crew set off on a voyage, all members signed documents and swore oaths reflecting their dedication to their fellow crewmates and their promise to uphold the rules of the ship. Below is an example of such articles, used by Captain John Phillips on the pirate ship Revenge. These codes varied a little from ship to ship, but fundamentally they were the same.

ARTICLE 1: Every man shall obey civil command; the captain shall have one full share and a half in all prizes. the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain, and Gunner shall have one share and quarter.

ARTICLE 2: If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any secret from the Company, he shall be marroon'd with one bottle of powder, one bottle of Water, one small Arm, and shot.

ARTICLE 3: If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company, or game, to the value of a piece of Eight, he shall be Marroon'd or shot.

ARTICLE 4: If at any Time we should meet at another Marrooner (that is, Pyrate) that man shall sign his Articles without Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.

ARTICLE 5: That a man that shall strike another, whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Moses' Law (that is 40 Stripes lacking one) on the bare Back.

ARTICLE 6: That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoak tobacco in the Hold, without cap to his Pipe, or carry a candle lighted without lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.

ARTICLE 7: That Man that shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an engagement, or neglect his business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.

ARTICLE 8: If any man shall lose a joint in time of Engagement, shall have 400 Pieces of Eight: if a limb, 800.

ARTICLE 9: If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer Death.

Yohoho! It's a Pirate's life for me! ARRR!!!
I finally, finally finished all my obligations for the submission of comic strips (I just sent off one of two Matrix strips to FUSION mag, funny how it turned out to be conjoined at the head). I get to relax and not think of anymore deadlines... That is until this Friday again.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Jorge, a good friend from high school sent me a text message last Sunday asking for an appointment so's we can discuss the photographer I've contracted for his upcoming wedding. When I got to their office his friend from College was their discussing the design for the invitation and the list of particulars needed to be printed, while waiting for my turn I sent a text to a handful of contacts asking for referrals (though the friend of a friend already blocked off his sked for the wedding date I couldn't contact him to arrange an appointment). Given the very small budget alloted for the job, thankfully I managed to get around three names that could be called. I promised to give these contacts a ring and bring them over to their office as soon as possible. Also, to make up for this faux pas I brought over the finished caricature of his fianceé. That got him into a really good mood he showed it his brothers and everyone in the office. We didn't get to talk that much though since he had a surprise visit from a girl friend and her officemate, he also called over his best friend Dennis (another classmate of mine from high school) from the next building. Dennis managed to put everyone in a good mood by being his big flirty self. As a matter of fact he had a lot of spontaneous one liners I could use for the strips. After three cups of coffee, a snack of steamed salmon they had lying around, and a couple of take-home snacks I left their office around 5:45 pm.

I just finished doing this week's submission to Philippine News and I still have one more strip to do tonight when I get home. Az is here at the shop surfing the net, we'll be having some discussion about the plans for the artists' support group meeting this Friday. Gotta have me a late dinner too after closing shop.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Whooa! Dude take a look at this awesome sword!

Contrary to their popular image pirates don't shout "Avast! Matey!"(or was it "Shiver me timbers!"?) in this one. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is one heck of an enjoyable movie with loads of swordfights and somersaults galore, not to mention a belly full of laughs. Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow carried most of the movie with his drunken antics and twisted logic, while Geoffrey Rush's Capt. Barbossa played the cackling Pirate's role to the hilt. What struck me the most on this one is impact of making decisions and a lot of these characters show their puzzlement: Orlando Bloom's character Will Turner decides to suffer in silence for most of his young life rather than confess his attraction to the alluring Elizabeth Swann played by Keira Knightley. Capt. Barbossa deciding to brushing off the warnings of a curse connected to the treasure's curse thereby condemning himself and his crew to an undead state, Jonathan Pryce's character Governor Swann helping his daughter make the most important decision in her life, Jack Davenport's Commodore Norrington making a brave and unselfish decision to make someone dear to him happy, and Jack Sparrow wavering between sides as long as it helps him achieve his goal of getting back his ship. There are lots of characters making personal decisions that would affect his/her life and those around them. I'm a Johnny-come-lately in this season's bumper crop but who cares?! Bring 'em on I'll take yea all! Seriously this is a really fun movie and my sister and I were pleasantly surprised with the numerous references to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland. And hopefully dead men will do tell tales by way of the planned sequel! Nyahahahar!

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Allan Quartermain teaches his young American pupil how Brits do it.

I managed to sneak out again last night for some well deserved R&R at the nearby mall. I caught the last full show of the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen after quick dinner. The thing is I shouldn't have spent money for dinner if I knew beforehand I was getting the LXG snack pack at the concession stand (the snack pack consists of one drink inside an LXG tumbler, popcorn, chips, and hotdog with a special LXG box carrier) which cost a lot more than my dinner! But being the souvenir hunter that I am I shelled out the dough. Contrary to most of what I've read in reaction to the movie I really enjoyed it. Well that's aside from the fact that Sean Connery's in it (go mahn!) and that I never read any of Moore's LXG GNs before. What stuck in my mind though is the main theme of looking for acceptance and forgiveness. Almost all of them have lived long lives and inspite of their party-hardy days the ghost of their past continues to haunt them and hopefully in fulfilling a grand request to save the whole of Europe from the brink of war they'd be able to purge their sins. It's like the twelve labors of Hercules, which according to how the story goes, did try to make up for the murders of his wife and children in a temporary fit of insanity. For the most part they did succeed in quieting those ghosts inside of them but not totally. In the end they managed to form a sort of early version of Reformed Villains Anonymous that goes on a world tour.

Another recurring theme that I like about the movie is the importance of mentoring as shown between Allan Quartermain (Sean Connery) and Tom Sawyer (Shane West). Quartermain, being a loner showed extraordinary fortitude in taking the newest and youngest member of the team under his wing. Though the older man lost a son the same age as Tom, theirs was more of a friend-to-friend mentoring rather than a father-figure/younger man relationship. One leader near the end of his days passing all his wisdom to someone inexperienced but has the potential to be great someday. Except for the contrived ending these two themes make this movie a really good one for me, who cares if it didn't remain faithful to the original? This movie should be made to stand on its own merit and not on someone else's.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Just came back from my college alma mater, UST, for a book selling cum signing spree. The Commerce Journal from the College of Commerce (duh!) was sponsoring some seminars on Literary and Visual Arts and they invited our artists' support group, Artists' Den, to grace the event with an exhibit, book signings, and lectures for interested students. It was a lot of fun with truckloads of students coming in every hour to check out the goings on. We started around 8 am till about 5:30 pm. Here are some pictures for ya to browse:

You call this art?!

These are the exhibited works near the stairs. A couple of them checking our Ryan Orosco's comic pages for an upcoming collaborative work with Lyndon Gregorio titled Stricken. Those four illustrated figures below mine belong to another talented illustrator, John Velasco.

For the life of me I can't see how this can be funny.

It's moments like these that make an cartoonist's heart grow three sizes larger.

"Aha! Doodling in class!"

Some minutes before the seminar started, three daring students approached a mysterious cartoonist for a quick sketch. They were never seen again.

Artists don't pay attention to lectures.

(l-r) Rex, Lyndon, Ground Zero artists, Azrael, and me. Here we are waiting for the organizers to finish setting up the tables where we'll be book signing. In the meantime we were heckling two of our fellow artists, Ryan Orosco and Wilson Tortosa who were giving a lecture before a group of students.

"Aaaaww! They so cute!" Thought five innocent students moments
before they fed the artists some peanuts. Pandemonium followed.

We tried to look busy to avoid looking too embarrassed by the attention.

Eight hours later and we're still smiling.

(l-r) Jon, Joanah, Syeri, me, Lyndon, and Rex (hidden). By mid-afternoon the students were really crowding the tables and a group of Fine Arts students were showing their portfolios for critiquing. They walked away scarred and traumatized, vowing not to become comic artists after graduation.

Some students from the College of Education and Fine Arts & Design wanted in on the fun and asked if we could do the same for them. While of course there's no problem with that we just asked them to arrange it with their student orgs and write to us about it. It was a lot of fun and hopefully we could do this again in other schools and maybe in the other colleges. Haul off to Syeri's site for more of them pics.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Feeeeeed the woooo-o-orld! Let them know it's Christmas time again.

Wanna know something scary? Me being a workaholic. Imagine me working for hours straight on end in front of the computer or inside the room drawing and working on things without so much as a break. Well okay it's not as scary in the conventional sense but it's still creepy.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

What's in a name? A lot really. Would you believe me if I said that the giver of your name has power over you? You don't? Think about it for a while.

Had enough? This is how it works, remember when we were still kids and those more cruel classmates would come up with all sorts of tags and labels to get our goat? Remember how traumatizing that was? You'd think that was all for fun? Na-ah. It's a power game. If you succumb to their teasing and retaliate or cry your eyes out you're handing all authority over you to them. Same goes with parents coming together to baptize you your name at your birth and so for 18-21 years hence you're under their control and they still get to retain their authority over you till the day they die. Another example are self-given nicknames. Personally I think nicknames are sort of a loophole we give ourselves to escape the hold of parents over us, so exists the names Buzz, Glock, Stu, Skoorb, Big Bee, Grasshopper, H Bomb, Ice, Flea, Weasel, etc. These examples are the common ones used in real life, the we use online are much more creative. And with it comes a totally new personality we like to project in front of strangers. The names give us an opportunity for self-governance and power.

While those that tease us back when we were kids with really weird nicks like Feather butt, Tarangela, Poop, Big Ape, and things like that, it's a power struggle. That by labelling us with all sorts of freaky names to get our goat they hope to put one over us by surrendering ourselves to their authority by retaliating. See? While those that give our nicks out of affection and/or camaraderie it's sort of a power transfer thing. The time we enter into these relationships they give us new names as a way of elevating our status to the same level as theirs or vice versa. Like when I call my best friend Rocko (from Rocko's Modern Life) he calls me Heffer (Rocko's best friend) we get to enjoy an inside joke that's all to ourselves, a sort of authority that belongs only to us. Am I making sense here?

Another case are those whose names carry a certain prestige and authority, the mere sound of which is enough to make you quiver in fear or inspire awe. These are on the same level as titles that are reserved to certain individuals, and to be given these names either by natural means or by adoption is the ultimate in coolness. This means you get to share in the inheritance both material and influence as that person. To be bestowed that name means you can enjoy the same authority as theirs. Just be careful not to soil it by doing anything rash.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Click the image to read the whole strip.

These are the Star Wars strips I made for last Sunday's event. I re-edited the colors and added some minor details that may not make any difference to the readers but matters a big deal to an 'ole nitpicker like me. It's a paradox actually, the way I draw simple drawings on paper and then slave away in front of the computer for almost a day adding the most minute details that nobody notices. But I do it anyway. Suffice to say I'm really proud of these and I do hope to get the hang of making the Sunday formatted strips on a regular basis.

You know the drill! Get to it hup-hup!

Another thing I'd like to point out is the way I tend to forget that a lot of you out there reads these strips. Of course I do know that but it still surprises me to no end when someone comes up to me to say that I'm doing a good work. It's like when they do that I'd get all saucer eyed and ask, "Who? Me?" Then I'd look around to make sure that I'm the recipient of that particular praise. I'm not one to look for appreciation after being humbled a lot in this area but when it's given I get all "awshucks..." and bashful. Truth to tell I'd rather hear that my work made someone's day rather than win an award (not that any award is not appreciated, I just take these things as they come). With that in mind when I read this post in Ganns' blog I got real warm and fuzzy inside.
Another up-and-coming cartoonist (at least as far as I know; this guy could've been the bomb, and I could be the latest to jump onto his bandwagon) is Ariel Atienza, who maintains a series of strips, most notably Class and West End. Ariel is Christian, and his art, IMHO, is reminiscent of Doonesbury meets Mad Magazine. Classily drawn and expertly colored, I have no doubt great things will happen for Ariel.

It's like, wow, that's one of the biggest compliments I ever received. Thank you! I really appreciate that. For a long time I've been so afraid of success and you guys egged me on saying I've got what it takes. Well guess what? I think it's time I faced up to that fear and showed him I can't be cowed anymore. Don't worry, we'll change that "could've" word soon enough.

Monday, September 01, 2003

The past couple of days are a blur. To recap, I been hit on the head with a very good idea for two Sunday format strips for the Mos Eisley Night thingy last night. The ideas came to me late Friday night, had them on paper Saturday afternoon and started editing them in Photoshop around early evening. It was a mad dash against time that continued on to the next day. I was in constant contact with my friend who was waiting at the Mall but I had to finish the whole thing and run to Glorietta to have it printed. A few hours later I was apologizing to my friend about the whole thing, I missed my lunch and there was no time to eat dinner and we were very late for the event. When we got there, there wasn't that many people around and they were watching Episode IV on the TV monitors around the room.

The Late Isabel

The program started after about an hour and the bands were good but this one band stood out from the rest, an indie band called The Late Isabel. Composed of four people with a fantastic ingenue doing the vocals. She was dressed in a costume that's a cross between Princess Amidala and Cleopatra, but much simpler. I don't know how you could imagine that you'll just have to take my word for it. They sang four songs starting with Siouxsie and the Banshees' Killing Jar, an original composition called Happy Girl, My Favorite Things (from the Sound of Music), and another original composition. Their music is gothic and something else, like Cocteau Twins' or Sugar Hiccups' music. Ethereal maybe? You should also see the way she performs with arms flailing around. It's art! I'm planning to buy their self-produced LP once it comes out. We went home around midnight, halfway through the party.

And finally we just finished setting up an exhibit at the lobby of the Commerce Building in the University of Sto. Tomas. They're having their Commerce Week this week and we'll be back on Friday morning to sign books and sell some indie comics. I'm bushed, can't wait to get some sleep.

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