Saturday, January 31, 2004
Friday, January 30, 2004
I don't know what to call this. I'm playing around with the title Better Than Average. It's not entirely accurate but it sort of describes my life so far. What do you think?
Thursday, January 29, 2004
For most of us rationalists, the word means "not true." Isn't that what you think when you hear someone say, "Oh that's just a myth"? Meaning, that's not factually true. But myth is a story, like a parable, that speaks of Eternal Truths. I am not using myth in a technical way, referring to ancient Greek mythology. I am using it more broadly, more inclusively, to mean "a story that brings you a glimpse of the eternal" or "any story that awakens your heart to the deep truths of life." That is the unifying quality of all mythic stories, whether they be Sisyphus or Sleeping Beauty or The Matrix. Christian professor Rolland Hein has described it this way: "Myths are, first of all, stories: stories which confront us with something transcendent and eternal . . . a means by which the eternal expresses itself in time."
Note the success of the Star Wars films or, more recently, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Millions of people have enjoyed them—and more than once. It isn't because we think the stories are true in a factual sense. We don't even stop to ask the question about the historical accuracy or their scientific possibility. Their appeal lies deeper, in the realm of the heart.
Former Wheaton College president Clyde Kilby explains, "Myth is the name of a way of seeing, a way of knowing." Not fantasy, not lies, but things coming to us from beyond the walls of this world. Rolland Hein observes, "They are the kind of story that wakes you up, and suddenly you say, 'Yes, yes, this is what my life has really been about! Here is where my meaning and my destiny lie!'" And we need some waking up, you and I.
That's the same purpose that the arts serve, be it literature or visual, there are always some things beyond our grasp and we need these stories to explain it to us. Exactly what do fanboys and artists have that some us don't? They function closer to their heart much more than some of us can. I'm not saying that those that doesn't fall in that category don't have a chance in this world to do so. It just so happens that we learned to disconnect our head from our heart. Somewhere along the way we learned to let rationalization take over faith, effectively severing any chances of "seeing" things with childlike wonder and amazement. Check out Plato's Cave to explain things further.
The second point the author makes early on in the book is this: we are born in a world at war. Aside from what we read and learn from the news, this war he's talking about rages on even in our own little world. Beyond the conflicts between friends or family there is a greater war going on even while we're going about our business, that of between good and evil.
This is precisely what the Bible has warned us about all these years: that we live in two worlds—or better, in one world with two parts, one part that we can see and one part that we cannot. We are urged, for our own welfare, to act as though the unseen world (the rest of reality) is, in fact, more weighty and more real and more dangerous than the part of reality we can see.
This is exactly what movies like The Matrix show. While the supposed world goes about its business there's a greater war being fought outside by the Agents versus the Zionists. One side fighting to keep humans blissfully ignorant of a world outside their own to serve their own purposes and the other fighting to let them know that they're being used against their will.
Darth Vader just about has the universe under his evil fist when a pair of droids fall into the hands of Luke Skywalker. Luke has no idea what is unfolding, what great deeds have been done on his behalf, or what will be required of him in the battle to come. Sitting in a sandstone hut with Ben Kenobi—he does not know this is the great Jedi warrior Obi-Wan Kenobi—Luke discovers the secret message from the princess: "This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
Indeed it is our most desperate hour. While the hours turn and days pass by faster, the enemy knows that his time is short and both sides are doubling their efforts to save or destroy whatever lives they can. Have you noticed how more and more people are beginning to turn to spirituality look for answers? What we feel sometimes are the reverb of the war going on around us. Christians are informed about this war the moment they accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts. The zeal one feels initially is good. We would immediately want to march out to the front and take on as many enemies and souls as we can. But somewhere along the journey we begin to become complacent and, sometimes, even apathetic about the warfields. After spending some time in "bootcamp" we never want to go out there and fight the battles we were trained for all these time. We forget what it is we're supposed to do.
Christianity isn't a religion about going to Sunday School, potluck suppers, being nice, holding car washes, sending our secondhand clothes off to Mexico—as good as those things might be. This is a world at war. Something large and immensely dangerous is unfolding all around us, we are caught up in it, and above all we doubt we have been given a key role to play.
No doubt this last line surprises you. For most of our lives we think that we're nothing special. We can just go by on our ordinary lives doing ordinary things. At the end of the day (or week) we unwind by reading books or watch movies that take us to fantastic worlds where we could participate in the adventure of a lifetime. Other times we tell stories to each other, blowing the details to bigger proportions to make ourselves bigger heroes in the eyes and ears of our friends (we men are so guilty of this ). But is that it? Are we content to just settle with this story? Or are we being kept in dark about something we should know about?
Frodo, the little Halfling from the Shire, young and naive in so many ways, "the most unlikely person imaginable," is the Ring Bearer. He, too, must learn through dangerous paths and fierce battle that a task has been appointed to him, and if he does not find a way, no one will. Dorothy is just a farm girl from Kansas, who stumbled into Oz not because she was looking for adventure but because someone had hurt her feelings and she decided to run away from home. Yet she's the one to bring down the Wicked Witch of the West. Joan of Arc was also a farm girl, illiterate, the youngest in her family, when she received her first vision from God. Just about everyone doubted her; the commander of the French army said she should be taken home and given a good whipping. Yet she ends up leading the armies to war.
Take comic book heroes for example: Why do we think Batman's cool? It is because he can lead the double life we could only dream of, being a successful millionaire and Dark Knight at the same time. In either persona he couldn't be what he seems to be. Like The Matrix's Thomas Anderson, you think you're stuck in rut doing something you consider the most boring thing in the world but that's because you haven't yet woken up to the reality of things. Something or someone has to have the persistence and faith to believe that you're someone much more than you think you are. They also need to take the initiative to get your attention to wake you up to your destiny. It's like one big role playing game except this time it's real. We don't have to take on imaginary roles because the roles were being called to are more commanding, mind-blowing, and wicked than our loftiest imagination could ever afford. But you have to take the first step in asking what it is you're destined to do from the One who made you. I have to warn you though, the journey to waking up from your stupor is fraught with danger because the last thing the enemy wants you to find out is knowing what you're really capable of.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
If I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Theoden, Man of Rohan, King of the Mark, and uncle of Eomer and Eowyn.
In the movie, I am played by Bernard Hill.
Awright! I'm one of my favorite characters in Lord of the Rings!
I sure am having fun writing this strip now that there is a storyline being followed. I already have some ideas for the next 5 strips after this, I just have to fine tune the punchline. This particular strip also marks the first appearance of Jessica from the CLASS series. It's not the angry mestiza. It's not the Chinese girl either.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Another topic we talked about is the question what's the more vital ingredient to creating a successful art: creating an intellectual work with a heart or an emotional piece with a head? What would you rather serve? If you ponder on coming up with something you're going to be proud of would you rather that it serves to educate or do you shoot for the heart? There's no denying these days that comic books are no longer becoming the exclusive realm of kids. People are sitting up to take notice that comics can educate and/or make people change. The Japanese came up with the word "manga" to denote this fact. How about us? Elbert came up with a more appropriate term calling it "grafiction." There isn't any clear answer to the question really, but it's good to keep in mind that whether you prefer the intellectual or emotional approach, just keep in mind true success isn't measured by the awards nor how much accolades your work got but how much you contributed to the way an individual thinks.
Third and last topic is the idea of settling down. It's a minor issue that I just needed to get off my chest. I was just scared that in the flurry of projects and business I'd miss out on the opportunity to meet someone at the right time. That some time in the future I'd look back on all this and realize that by then it would be too late. Lyndon rightfully pooh-poohed this fear. What am I scared of anyway? The right person will come at the right time and nothing but nothing will ever prevent that from happening. "Who knows," he joked, "she could still be in grade school right now." Ummm... yeah. Then there's this business that she should have the same passion for the arts, for friends, and for everything as me. She should also have the same zest for life. That she should know when and how to have fun. That she looks at life with childlike innocence and wonder. And to value the same things I value. Some names and scenarios were brought up on how I want things to turn out (they could be reading this right now and I'm just too embarrassed to say it right here). Basically I want the same scenario as F.R.I.E.N.D.S. without the complications of F.B.s and other no-nos. It would still be open to gimiks and get-togethers at home. Is this possible? I can't see why not. There are some real life examples I'm looking up to.
Monday, January 26, 2004
Back then in high school these were the same guys that gave the teachers migraine everyday, these were the same people who had problems keeping quiet in class, the same guys who liked to play practical jokes on the others, who would rush out to have recess at the first ring of the bell and here they are occupying some of the best positions in their company. Their countenance and attitude have also changed for the better. Hehehe... funny how things turn out after all these years.
Sunday, January 25, 2004
These were taken at Greenbelt 3 and 4 earlier today. It's hard not to be thankful to the maker of these gifts.
The good news about it though is the appearance of former batchmates who we haven't seen since we graduated from high school. And there were a lot of them. I arrived at the place a little past 7 p.m. meeting Jess, who was a former classmate of mine on the way to the entrance. There weren't that much people hearing mass, in fact they only started arriving after about an hour (private Catholic school students get a lot of those during their stay). Initially I was the only one wearing our batch shirt (which I designed), Jorge wanted to personally distribute the rest and he was still a long time coming. The only other batches wearing their corresponding batch shirts were the ones from 1988 and of course the sponsoring batch, 1979. Batch shirts are good since it serves to show how solid you and your classmates' friendships are after all these years.
What's funny is the fact that a couple of those from the higher batches joined our batch along with some of those from the lower years (of course these friendships go from way back then in high school). Even Mang Danny, a friend of the Javier brothers joined our group (though he didn't come from our school his sons did graduate from there).
Eli was one of the few who brought their kids to the reunion.
Nobody cared to watch nor listen to the band. There's a lot of catching up to do.
Jorge, our batch shirt sponsor, is all smiles as the shirts sport his company logo.
This is a real nifty "ghost" picture.
Dennis and Mang Danny
Contrary to what that sign says we're batch '89 (eeeiight-tuh nine-nah)
What promised to be a good evening was spoiled by a foiled robbery on one of our guests. The would be robber at first filched some beers from our cooler and though Dennis and Jorge already confronted him about it he still went ahead and drank most of it. Though me and Mang Danny were watching him we missed the part where he tried to snatch our friend Michelle's bag from the table. The two burly friends dragged the drunk robber around the corner and taught him a lesson. The police was called and charges were pressed. Good thing the lights were all turned on during this time.
After the homecoming party we went to our batchmate Rico's videoke bar in another part of Makati (actually his father owns the business) and we continued the fun by passing the mike and taking turns in singing songs till early morning.
Saturday, January 24, 2004
Of course I wouldn't be able to do this without the help of my Dad. Now I can capture every bit of miracle lying inside your creation, just like the way you intended it.
I'm now thinking of making a new comic strip series starring yours truly. This is not some kind of ego tripping if that's what you're thinking (shame on you!) but a sort of honest take on how I relate to others, what I think about some issues, and some bloopers that are worth immortalizing on paper. Sometimes it's going to be ponderous and sentimental (if I can pull it off) but more often than not it's going to be humorous. This idea has been going on a lot of times late last year and it's by no means original since artist Honoel Ibardolaza already did it and my friend Lyndon has been doing it a lot (check out his takes on the Artists' Den and his classmates in graduate school). I haven't settled on the title as of this writing.
Friday, January 23, 2004
Please allow me to introduce me.
Half of me slave, the other half free.
Righteous and sinful,
both at the same time.
Iniquity and purity
fill up the same mind.
And out of the same mouth,
the holy and profane.
I curse all my brothers,
then I bless Christ's name.
I hang in the balance,
but still I'm secure.
I'm leaning towards evil,
but striving to be pure.
I stand between the saint and
sinner, chasing after holiness, close
enough to grasp, but still it's just
beyond my reach.
Who I am is in between,
what I wanna be and what I am.
Pulling from both sides,
humility and pride.
One seeks to give,
the other to be gratified.
In any case, however,
I know I'm in need.
Two appetites in me,
which one do I feed?
Running fast as I can
after elusive perfection.
No I'm not there yet,
but sure I'm in the right direction.
'Cuz I see me at the end
and I look glorified.
Justified safe inside,
so I seek to be sanctified.
This would be one of the main songs if my life had a soundtrack.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
This is where the fun begins.
The location of this particular strip is a new addition to the canteen in my alma mater. Back then there wasn't a second floor overlooking the football field and they probably added it to accomodate the growing population of students. Bah. This is a continuation from last week's strip and I do find it easier to write something that has continuity rather than coming up with a couple of gags that are completely unrelated to each other. More characters from my other strip (CLASS) will be making their appearance in the upcoming strips.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
This ad came out in the Manila Bulletin's magazine last Sunday. This one's a biggie since it's THE Golden Anniversary of the foundation of our alma mater (maybe it should be "alma pater" since it is run by priests). Hehe...
Nathan and I want to share with you that we were able to attend a private screening of the new Mel Gibson film titled "The Passion Of Christ" this past Monday night. We unexpectedly got on the list to go and view it at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, TN. Neither of us were really prepared for what we viewed. It's really hard to find the words to tell you how life-changing this film was for both of us.
Most of the crowd was the Country Music industry artists, radio and press personnel. Ricky Scaggs hosted the event.
This movie changed our lives forever. The room was full of the sound of weeping and loud sobbing, including our own. I told Nathan on the way home that I only wish that I would have seen it as a young teen.
It is so fitting that the whole movie begins with a black screen with the text of Isaiah 53:5, "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities , the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed".
The room was silent as the movie ended and even as Mel walked down the aisle of the chapel people remained completely stunned by the film. After he was formally introduced, everyone stood and applauded him loudly. He so graciously answered each question, and was very candid with us. It was very apparent . . . that he has a deep relationship with God, he believes that Jesus is the Messiah, and that he's coming back to get his people.
Mel and his small band of believers around him are asking the church to take on a "grass roots" approach to this film. They are asking us to tell everyone we know about it... They are wanting artists to show the DVD trailer at concerts, to do pre-sales on tickets through churches and FOR EVERYONE TO GO SEE IT OPENING WEEK. It really does matter that you go the first two weeks of opening which is FEB.25TH. It is so important! THIS MOVIE IS LIFE-CHANGING, AND I PROMISE YOU IT IS ANOINTED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. THIS MOVIE WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
I fell in love with Jesus on Monday night. Either for the first time, or all over again. It is so amazing that the same King who endured that cross and was broken for me, lives inside of me! I am in Him and He is in me.
Please pray for Mel Gibson. Pray for protection for him and his family. Pray that God would pour back on him 100 fold what he spent on this movie so that MORE MOVIES LIKE THIS CAN BE MADE. He spoke about the major warfare that has been going on over this movie. He also told us about several miracles and conversions that happened throughout the making of this film. (Lisa tells about these in her e-mail below.) -- Christy and Nathan Nockels
Here's the second letter included in the mail:
Last night I attended a private screening of Mel Gibson's movie at Ricky Skaggs' church in Hendersonville. There were about 200 people in attendance.
I am speechless, moved beyond words and sobered by what I saw last night.
The movie was in a rough cut version...but still I thought a very finished state. Special effects had not been added yet, nor was the music complete. Still it brought uncontrollable weeping from everyone. I couldn't stop crying through the whole movie. And when the movie was over, there was complete silence in the church.. I wanted the story to go on and on...for another two hours. I think the movie was about two hours long. Every moment of the movie was captivating, breathtaking.
The beating and suffering of Christ was almost unbearable to watch. The scenes with flashbacks of Jesus when he was a little boy and a scene of his mother running to comfort him and then cradling him in her arms after he had fallen down about the age of 4 or 5 was interlaced with scenes of him falling to the ground carrying his own cross, so bloody and unrecognizable...and then her holding him in her arms after he had been taken down from the cross. Her face then stared into the camera while she was holding him...and you could just imagine the things she was thinking. Every parent who was seated near me fell apart.
The nails being hammered into his hands was the most real thing I had ever seen. One scene of Jesus and the interaction with his mother just reminded me of every 20-year old man/child and mom relationship. Where she's trying to get him to come to eat...and has to remind him to wash his hands before eating. She brings water to wash his hands, and after washing, he gently splashes water on his mother but then wraps his arms around her and kisses her on the cheek--and takes off running to the food.
There was a question and answer period last night with Mel himself. I asked about the miracles we had heard about on the set. He began to talk about so many I couldn't keep track. One of the actors was hit by lightning twice yet walked away from it with only smoking fingertips. Healings, conversions on the set. I especially remember him talking about a two-year old child's hearing and sight being restored. And he said, "You know you can't fake that when you're two."
He was asked about spiritual warfare on the set, and he said, "Oh yeah! Just being in Italy alone was enough warfare." He said it was intense.
Mel said that the reason for having these small private screenings is to get the word out and to start a grass roots campaign to support the movie.
Ricky Skaggs asked how we can pray for Mel, help him, spread the word, etc. He said that "prayer was the most powerful thing. And not to pray for all our enemies to have warts grow on their faces, (laughter), but to pray for our warring angels to fight against Satan's angels, because the people don't know any better, they are clueless...and they are just being used by Satan."
It was mentioned to everyone who had a website...to get on a mailing list and sign up. That they would be sending links, so that everyone could put it on their websites. Here's the official website.
You can go to this website and register to find out more on how to help. This other site will just give you more info on press stuff and more on the miracles that happened.
"The Passion of Christ" comes out February 25, 2004, Ash Wednesday, in theaters nationwide. Mel spent 35 million of his own money to make this movie.
Mel is a man of the Word! He knows the Bible and is a sold-out believer. He said that this movie has been his passion for the past 12 years. Just three years ago the Lord began to give him signs that now was the time to start filming.
I know that I am changed, and I pray that what I saw will be etched on my brain forever. Lord, help me to never forget the price you paid for us all. -- Lisa B.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
The second thing that's cool is a slide show presentation called The Interview With God. I got the link from Jorge's younger brother Joel last December 1 and it was only now that I got to check the link. I first thought that he was viewing an attachment he got from an email message (you know those cheesy types done in PowerPoint). I got to peek the last parts of it and was amused when he saluted the presentation when it was over. He pointed me to the site where he got it, saved it on my phone and it was only now that I got to see it. I saw his point of saluting the poem, you would too after reading it.
Monday, January 19, 2004
Haha! Finally finished editing this drawing! Chibis can whup hobbits to kingdom come anytime.
You are 24% geek
OK, so maybe you ain't a geek. You do, at least, show a bit of interest in the world around you. Either that, or you have enough of a sense of humor to pick some of the sillier answers on the test. Regardless, you're probably a pretty nifty, well-rounded person who gets along fine with people and can chat with just about anyone without fear of looking stupid or foolish or overly concerned with minutiae. God, I hate you.
Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com
It's moments like these that make a grown man cry.
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Lady Arwen leads the parade of cosplayers.
This is one of the really cool costumes.
This guy won the best costume today.
The Highlander and Jango Fett.
Reinterpreting the sword fight from The Final Flight of the Osiris.
This was the first sketch I did today. Pretty good, right?
This was even better.
Jac as a sleek Samurai-inspired Zionist.
Darryl did a smashing job of hawking memberships and fan film CDs.
Got this one from Gabe's site. Are we cool or what?
Whatta night. Whatta day too.
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Parents bring their kids along to entertain them/selves.
A Matrix agent takes time out from being too serious.
A traitor in their midst.
Curious tourists also came to see what's up.
The Stormballs dancing to the music of *shudder* Village People.
I actually thought that this guy would win top prize. But at least he's the people's favorite.
Second prize winner of the best costume, Gabe! She's a Starfleet C88 that's why.
Friday, January 16, 2004
I can't wait till I can finally get to buy my own digicam soon. I'm targetting sometime around next week so that I'd be better prepared for our annual high school alumni homecoming next Saturday. You can check out the other pictures I took in my phlog.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
The Jaymeister is back!
I'm thinking of creating a series of continuity strips this year starting with this one. In the process of doing so I'll also be introducing the other characters of CLASS as guests. Yeah it's high time that I should be exploring some quirks and backgrounds that make them more relatable. Besides I have a mission to make one of the characters extremely cool like the way Wolverine defines the word cool.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
I took another step further in my coloring by trying my hand in gradiation shading and I'm happy with the results so far. Yeah!
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Bushido, "The Way of the Warrior", has come to be known as the samurai code, but it is more than that. The name given is not "the code" or "the law" of the warrior, but rather, "the Way." It is not merely a list of rules to which a warrior must subscribe in exchange for his title, but a set of principles that prepared a man or woman to fight without losing his humanity and to lead and command without losing touch with basic values. It is a description of a way of life, and a prescription to make a warrior-nobleman.
At the heart of bushido is the samurai's acceptance of death. "The way of the samurai is found in death," says the Hakagure, a 1716 explanation of bushido whose title means literally "Hidden in the Leaves." Once he is steeled to the fact of dying, he may then live his life without worrying about dying, and choose his actions based on principle, not fear. "If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead he gains freedom in The Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling."
The samurai's position of high rank and enormous respect within the society was not a license to behave any way he chose. Rather, it was the result of the extreme discipline and high standard by which he lived. Disciplining his entire life makes him capable of decisive action in the battle, and surely, that was the original goal of "the way." His Zen practice freed his mind from distraction and enabled him to pursue perfection in all things from haiku to seppuku. By reaching perfection in all he endeavored, including kendo - "the way of the sword" - he became an unbeatable warrior and an unstoppable force in society.
Inazo Nitobe, one of the first Japanese Quakers, wrote eloquently in English about bushido (and to his 1905 book BUSHIDO, THE SOUL OF JAPAN we are deeply indebted for much of the content of this section) referred to samurai as "knights" and likened bushido in some ways to the code of chivalry. In the same way that a few chivalric ideas have persisted as behavioral norms in Western society, he suggests that the principles that formed the samurai permeated all facets of Japanese civilization. This is hardly surprising, since the samurai controlled the government for at least 676 years, arguably longer. Japan's transformation from a country in complete isolation in the mid-19th century to a world power in the 20th century may owe something to the samurai bred abilities of discipline and focus. If bushido was the source of the samurai's approach to life, its ongoing influence is hard to deny.
This was copied from a wall scroll at the ongoing exhibit at The Podium about the new Tom Cruise movie "The Last Samurai." I've also copied a series of Samurai Codes which I will be posting in a couple of days. I find all this very interesting. Really. Not to mention their kimonos and armors make up for an extremely cool costume.
2:18 p.m. in Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center
Monday, January 12, 2004
I'm already settled with the idea that only artists could appreciate the works of other artists. Well... mostly artists. I can't tell you enough the frustration of baring a part of you and not even getting a smidgen of reaction. I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. Some of us have already resigned to hiding this part of themselves from the world, anyway the common thread of thought is that if you're not making money in this lifetime then what good are you? Creatives are not seen as contributing something really worthwhile to society. I know what I'm talking about since we're hardly given any second thought by those closest to us as compared to those achievers in the "more popular" field of work. This isn't one of those self-pity posts that whine and dine on pathos. Not even! That's why I'm extremely thankful for sites like deviantART. Like I said before only artists know what's going on with other artists that's why it helps a great deal to bare your heart and soul to those who could take care of it the same way you'd take care of theirs.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Heroic Courage: You are a very brave person who
puts others before yourself, believes in
helping those in need. People would consider
you noble and caring, and someone to always
Which Characteristic From the Samurai Code Matches You Best? (You may find out your best trait)
brought to you by Quizilla
Friday, January 09, 2004
I was in near tears once again while watching the battle for Minas Tirith. The others still couldn't get over what they saw and wanted to know where they could sign up for Aragorn's army. It's really great sharing these experiences with friends up close near the screen and talking about it afterwards in their office over food and drinks. We will be gathering again tomorrow to celebrate Joseph's and Dana's first year anniversary together. They wouldn't hear of me not being there. This group, this fellowship, this band of brothers.
deviantART... the Friendster of choice for artists.