Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Above all powers, above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began
Above all kingdoms, above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure what You're worth
Crucified, laid behind a stone
You lived to die, rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
Images conjured these words are really something to behold. After all, is there anything or anybody more lofty than He who reigns above all?
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Couldn't they have at least took the time to put some dignity into the whole proceedings by suiting him up in suits with muted colors at least? Like how about dressing him up, say, like Batman's loyal butler, Alfred? If they were aiming for (and that's the closest reason I can think of right now) Tim Burton's version of the Joker then I would say they failed miserably.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
I arrived some thirty minutes or so into the concert and there was a sizable crowd watching the concert, a third of them were standing around at the back. Given the Filipinos' penchant for being uzis (bystanders, innocent or otherwise) I guess there shouldn't be any cause for me to be surprised at all. Joanne and Karl (another friend and classmate from college) saw me immediately and ushered me to a good seat near the middle. I didn't catch the name of the band currently playing, which was just as well since their set of music exactly represented what it is that I don't like about world music. Next band to perfom was Wahijuara. Their three-piece set of music was really nice and I somewhat changed my stance on world music when I heard them play. It's unfortunate that I didn't get the titles but there's this one composition, which they said was inspired by the white beaches of Boracay that really got to me. It has a smooth jazzy feel to it, something like out of those 60s lounge music kinda thing. I wanted to get a hold of these artists' compilation album as soon as they finished their set. Next up was Makiling Ensemble. I've been hearing of these guys a lot in the past, people swear by the beauty of their music but I never paid them any heed and deliberately avoided their mall concerts. Still I've left all my expectations down so as not to be disappointed, but then when the first strains of "Spanish Dancer" started I began to regret those times past that I deliberately stayed away from them and that it was only now I was only able to discover them. It was all true! TRUE, I TELLS YA! Wow! Here are some of the pictures I took earlier tonight:
First band whose name I forgot
Wahijuara performing their brand of Latin Samba
Makiling Ensemble performing "Spanish Dancer"
Diwa de Leon deftly plucking the strings of the hegalong
'RnB' artist, JR. Kilat
Singing for the cause of Filipino music
Pepe Smith making a surprise appearance
Finishing the set with a bang
Souvenir shot with the frontman of Tropical Depression
The last band to perform was the reggae band, Tropical Depression. The mall was alreafy closing and the audience has dwindled down to a few die-hard fans. I'm not a fan of reggae music but seeing the famous band live on stage made it okay. Dread heads came into the scene occupying vacated seats up front while the band was setting up, I don't normally seem them elsewhere and it makes me wonder where they go during ordinary days. Self-styled RnB artist ("Rapper na Bisaya" as he calls himself) Jr. Kilat sang the first two songs, the second being an original composition about his cellphone having a low-battery function or something like that. T.D. frontman, Papa Dom, then stepped up to the mike and sang a couple of original classics (from a decade ago or so) and while they seemed to winding the song, "Ang Himig Natin" ("Our Song") down, local rock music icon, Joey 'Pepe' Smith came out from behind and sang with the band. His appearance was so unexpected and his presence so electrifying that everyone in the place started howling and clapping in appreciation. The set ended with a bang and me and my friends had our pictures taken with Papa Dom afterwards. Joey Smith was talking with some friends so we never got a souvenir shot with him. Okay, I'm now willing to make a couple of exceptions to world music because of the wonderful talents that we have. But I'll be initially drawing the line at Pinoy.
I got there exactly on time. People were milling around the store entrance happily exchanging stories and greeting those whose faces they recognized. I saw Ganns inside attending to some minor details, his wife Catherine was manning the booth, happily entertaining interested buyers and would-be buyers of the magazine. I also saw a couple of familiar faces like Ricky and Harold whose works and faces can also be seen inside the mag's pages. After a round of introductions to other people (or reintroduction to those who I've already met the first time we sat down to discuss the magazine), I went straight inside to tell Ganns that I was already there and that's when I first saw pop-artist Kitchie Nadal sitting by the sidelines with her manager at her side watching the others. The first thing that entered my mind was, "This is so cool!!!" She's looks more beautiful in person (far from what I remembered during her Mojofly days) and she looks really young for her age too. After a while, the program started with a short prayer then some introductions to what the magazine is all about before the special guest sang her first song. Here are some of the pictures I took during the event:
In front of Shepherd's Staff Bookstore
Kitchie browsing through the magazine
Catherine Deen opening the launch
Ganns delivers a little introduction to what the mag is all about
Kitchie performing the song "You're Worthy"
Strumming to the beat of the k-hon
Ganns and Cath enjoying themselves before the drawing of the raffle
Ricky and friend
Kitchie sang three songs in all from her album, two of which were composed for her greatest inspiration, "You're Worthy" and "Fire" while finishing off with her current single that's being heavily rotated in all radio stations, "Wag Na Wag Mong Sasabihin" (Don't Ever Ever Say It). Afterwards people lined up to get her autograph and pose for pictures and after she left to go to her next gig, Ganns raffled off some goodies like a P3,000 gift certificate for Avia shoes and a signed copy of Kitchie's album. Although I didn't win any of those things in the raffle draw, I still went home happy because I had my complimentary copy of the magazine autographed!YOWZA!!!
Friday, November 26, 2004
These are the very rough character designs I did for the next comic of His Story. While there are no immediate plans to create a follow-up to the story of Noah and the Great Flood hence no big reason for me to do the other characters that would be appearing in the comic, the need to create a distinctive look for each character was there (like putting a sea turtle on Noah's head as was inspired by that kid I saw in Assumption). I already have ideas for other stories like Jacob and Joseph, Cain and Abel, Balaam and his talking donkey, and Moses and Aaron so with these ideas coming through the greater need for each story to have distinctive and memorable characters was pushed to the fore. Like all the comics I did before, His Story also leans towards the nutty side of every story. I'm not poking fun at the story nor am I twisting it beyond what was written in the Bible nor do I dare to poke fun at God and his message. Rather I try to think up of funny things that could have happened if one reads between the lines without losing the essence of the story. The key is finding humor in situations to introduce brevity while creating an interest in the subject. After all, God gave us the ability to laugh as He himself isn't without a sense of humor.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Right now I'm setting my sights on editing the second installment of His Story for LIVEtheLIFE Magazine and hopefully get to submit it on Saturday during the launch. In the meantime, check out Lyndon's goofy story of the time Syeri met her "clone" during the Artists' Den's tour of Assumption Antipolo. That's one of the small stories I forgot to mention in my previous post.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Nationalists and other what-have-yous may criticize me for this but I'm seriously entertaining the idea that we Filipinos should adopt and add Thanksgiving Day to the ever growing list of holidays that we celebrate in this country. If we adopted certain customs and foreign traditions in the past and made it into something uniquely our own then I can't see why we can't adopt a holiday that celebrates thankfulness. Instead of getting embroiled in the muck that we always complain we find ourselves (and not doing anything about it) why can't we set aside a day that we could set our down our complaints and start thanking God, our parents, our peers, the government, the church, or anything and anyone to you want to direct your gratitude to for your provisions and conveniences. Isn't it time we counted our blessings instead of curses? Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Monday, November 22, 2004
I already finished coloring this week's strip hours ago and seeing an opportunity to indulge myself in a bit of narcisstic fun, I included my picture in the corkboard behind the characters. Hehe... "Where's Waldo" daw o.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
I like spending time in Starbucks, whiling the hours away drawing comic strips. But that's also my lament. That in the whole Metropolis, one has to pay a steep price for privacy and solitude.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
After getting down a small line of tricycle drivers offered to drive me to the school gate for 15 Php. I politely refused their offer and started up the road while rain started to pour down. I was grumbling and moping in my mind on the way thinking that I wouldn't be caught going this way again for a very long time. I finally got to join the group after a couple more minutes. School grounds was muddy and there were loads of people everywhere crowding the pathways along with the booths selling their wares (I forgot to mention that it's a school fair). Lyndon, Lico, Syeri, Jon, Patrick, and some of the guys of Ronin Core were there huddling around a small table. After a hearty welcome they showed me their sketches and shared some stories of what happened yesterday and earlier today. I took some pictures soon after settling down:
The "mysterious" ninja makes an appearance
Anime Club members laughing at the antics
Reliving childhood days with plastic balloons
Az bawls his eyes out thinking he lost his balloon
Patrick contributes a piece to what is hoped to be a Pucca plastic balloon sculpture
Which turned out to be more like a teddy bear than anything else.
A boy and his turtle.
Last minute caricatures
Az and Syeri reviewing our farewell greetings to our host org, the Anime Club
One of the funny things about this particular campus tour was the rediscovery of plastic balloons. These are made out of these colorful (and quite aromatic) plastic gunk packaged in tiny metal tubes. You squeeze out the gunk on the rear end of the tube onto a small plastic straw, carefully wrapping it on one end like so, and then you slowly blow into it till you get this big transparent balloon that only lasts for so long. We were big on this stuff, especially if one grew up during the 80s. I also made a big breakthrough on the character designs I'm doing for the second installment of the comic strip, His Story, for the next issue of LIVEtheLIFE Magazine. I'm aiming to do a humorous turn on the story of Noah and the great flood and prior to this day I had a hard time creating a prototype for Noah. That is until one high school kid requested a caricature with a stuffed sea turtle on his head (I didn't catch the title of the manga he was holding where the author also sported a sea turtle on his head). I was entertaining the idea that he should meet the bunny girl of ICA when the idea struck, why not do the same thing with Noah? So I did and that finished off a good number of character designs for this story. Syeri also contributed a good number of ideas for future strips.
We made our way back to the Metro around past 6 p.m. taking a jeep passing by an LRT station and taking that express way to the MRT and back home. We're now looking forward to another big event next month, and I'm hoping to get a new comic released in time for that one.
Friday, November 19, 2004
The hype brought about the trailers was there but National Treasure didn't quite make it to what I was expecting. It wasn't anything ho-hum but it sure wasn't no Indiana Jones either. The plot is about a hidden treasure greater than anything that's ever known in all of history. Starting from the time of the Egyptians and passing hands to the Romans, the treasure got bigger and bigger as each conquest brought additional treasures from different lands to be added to the hoard. But somehow it got lost under the Romans and knowledge of the treasure passed on to legend. Sometime during the middle ages, a group of crusading English knights stumbled upon the fabled lost treasure under King Solomon's temple. Creating a covenant among themselves to protect the treasure, they established The Knights Templar. From thereon, knowledge of the secret location of the treasure was passed on through their heirs. Then sometime during the time of the United States of America's founding fathers, the treasure was transferred and hidden in a vault to protect it from the British people. Among those who were in possession of its knowledge included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. When the last heir to the knowledge failed to pass on the information to the president as he was dying, he gave a couple of clues to his most trusted valet, the Great-great-grandfather of the story's hero, Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage). Story was continually passed on from generation to generation until Ben decided to do something about it, like find the treasure and distribute the hoard to its rightful place/s. Ben employed the services of Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and Ian Howe (Sean Bean) as they successfully located the first clue in the Antarctic. But things got might ugly when the trail of the next clue leads them to steal the original US Constitution document. Ian Howe turned his guns and goons against his two partners but failed to killed them (but of course). Then it's an amazing race across America together with the beautiful and intelligent Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) on the good guys' side.
What I got though, was a feeling that this was a fodder for the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie whose news are already eliciting a kind of eager anticipation for its legions of fans. I'm also not a fan of Nicholas Cage (although I take exceptions to his other movies like The Rock largely because of Sean Connery) and like I said earlier, I was willing to make another exception to this one but it failed to soar. I know a lot of people liked it and, hey, go ahead but it's something I'd rather relegate to the "Nyeah... It's okay" category. I do have one other question before I end this post: What's with Walt Disney Productions promoting Freemasonry? I'm sure Walt himself wouldn't approve of this if he was still alive.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I can't salvage anything funny from this strip and I had a hard time recreating those stairs. Bleh!
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Dean's blog entry, appetite, vindicates that line of thinking as he describes what kind of creatures we are, feeding on the mundane and the abstract with this post written last Sunday:
Writers are creatures of appetite, needing to imbibe things in order to spew them out as words, transformed by imagination and covered in the spit of personal experience.Exquisite description, If I may say so myself! Although he wrote from the perspective of a writer, I could also safely claim this too since the souls of comic creators exist on the same as writers. On the other hand, I'd be lying too much if I were to boast that we are exempted from any kind of excesses and temptations to overindulge on the things (both gorgeous and grotesque) that feed our cravings. In fact we should be more on the lookout when we begin to cross set boundaries. If not we would turn to ourselves and as fits of madness begin to consume our souls we begin to entertain thoughts about our heightened abilities to influence others. Thereby creating monstrous monuments that glorify not ourselves but the monsters that lurk in the recesses of our psyche. We should then always take stock of ourselves and recognize the fact that we are after all fragile vessels. And our best works, in the end, are but pale imitations of the works of the Creator himself.
We drink and smoke and eat, sometimes to excess, often not enough times, to fill the vacuum within. It is not limited to oral gratification. Our eyes consume visual feasts of cinema, television, photography, drama and dance, following the varied paths of words the books we read reveal, escaping into the brilliant world of comic books and other lurid black-and-white dimensions. Our ears devour conversations, the sound of tears and triumph, quiet etudes and rock music played at dizzying volumes. Our fingers explore nooks and crannies when we make love or ****, trace history when we touch someone's face, and translate texts from texture.
We have are denizens of many worlds. We exist in the mundane and simultaneously experience life and love and madness in other times and places, some safe and predictable, some secret and hidden because of shame and the refusal to submit to judgement, or because of the innate selfishness of keeping a wellspring of inspiration to one's self.
We are gluttons of experience, vicarious or otherwise, and we constantly hunger. Not necessarily for the new, not always for the familiar, but rather for everything, slaves of the constant need to assuage our appetites.
We live secret lives in our words, creating fiction from the raw materials we cannot help but seek and savor.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Saturday, November 13, 2004
I can't remember the exact date the last time the Christian PExers had an eyeball. Of course we initially planned it as a semi-regular thing but didn't quite make good with our promise due to conflicting schedules and the unwillingness to be the organizer (it's as tedious online as it is offline, believe you me). So when a one-time regular poster called us up to a get-together to welcome a balikbayan from Canada, we all said yes and had a wonderful lunch at Congo Grill (the popular choice for PEx EBs). Aside from the free flowing food a great time was had by all. There were three first timers in the group and even though there were some initial reservations to open up, they confessed they still had a good time and next month's gathering is something all of us are looking forward to with the addition of other PExers who weren't able to join us today.
Friday, November 12, 2004
Kitchie will sing four songs from her debut CD, including her current radio smash "Wag na Wag Mo Nang Sabihin" and Christian original "You Are Worthy" as well as sign CDs and magazine covers. Buy a copy of LIVEtheLIFE Magazine at only P85, and get a chance to win books from Shepherd's Staff, a copy of Kitchie's new CD, "Kitchie Nadal," and a gift certificate for Avia performance footwear worth P3,000!
Don't miss this unique two-in-one opportunity to get the collector's edition first issue of LIVEtheLIFE, the first Christian glossy magazine and have it signed by Kitchie herself! The place seats 20 on the floor comfortably, but if we spill out into Mr. Donut, Tokyo Tokyo, and Filbar's, so be it!
Also on November 27: Listen to Wave 89.1 and Jam 88.3 as LIVEtheLIFE brings you some of the coolest, life-affirming music from Kitchie Nadal and others!
Check out PinoyExchange.com as LIVEtheLIFE's Realm of Thought goes online with thought-provoking discussion! Check out my one whole page full color comic inside the magazine too!
LIVEtheLIFE Magazine. Relevant reading for the lifestyle with purpose.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
I was in a quandary on how Henry would address his older brother. Initially, I had him calling Ben the more respectful "kuya" ("older brother" in Filipino) but they are from Bulacan, Malolos specifically, and in my experience from my mom's side of the family, Bulakeños address their siblings with the prefix "ka" (short for "kapatid" a generic term that doesn't distinguish any gender). I tried that too, but I remembered that Ben lived more than half of his life in the U.S. and I wasn't comfortable with the idea of addressing with the ka-prefix before his name right now. Maybe later.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Eddie Campbell's Graphic Novel ManifestoHonestly, I didn't know it existed in the first place. Of course, these 'rules' weren't written for artists to really follow but it's nice to know that these exist to somewhat set things straight. Those who aren't familiar with the term "Graphic Novel" can check this whopper of a definition with with loads of examples to boot. Link to the manifesto was provided by Budjette Tan (care of Dean Alfar's blog).
There is so much disagreement (among ourselves) and misunderstanding (on the part of the public) around the subject of the graphic novel that it's high time a set of principles were laid down.
1. Graphic novel is a disagreeable term, but we will use it anyway on the understanding that 'graphic' has nothing to do with graphics and that 'novel' does not mean anything to do with 'novel'. (in the same way that 'Impressionism' is not really an applicable term, in fact it was first used as an insult and then adopted in a spirit of defiance.)
2. Since we are not referring to the traditional literary novel, we do not hold that the graphic novel should be of the supposed same dimensions or physical weight. Thus subsidiary terms such as 'novella' and 'novelette' are of no use here and will only serve to confuse onlookers as to our goal (see below), causing them to think we are creating an illustrated version of standard literature when in fact we have bigger fish to fry, that is, we are forging a whole new art which will not be a slave to the arbitrary rules of an old one.
3. Graphic novel signifies a movement rather than a form. Thus we may refer to 'antecedents' of the graphic novel, such as Lynd Ward's woodcut novels but we are not interested in applying the name retroactively.
4. While the graphic novelist regards his various antecedents as geniuses and prophets without whose work he could not have envisioned his own, he does not want to be obliged to stand in line behind William Hogarth's Rake's Progress every time he obtains a piece of publicity for himself or the art in general.
5. Since the term signifies a movement, or an ongoing event, rather than a form, there is nothing to be gained by defining it or 'measuring' it. It is approximately thirty years old, though the concept and name had been bandied about for at least ten years earlier. As it is still growing it will in all probability have changed its nature by this time next year.
6. The goal of the graphic novelist is to take the form of the comic book, which has become an embarrassment, and raise it to a more ambitious and meaningful level. This normally involves expanding its size, but we should avoid getting into arguments about permissible size. If an artist offers a set of short stories as his new graphic novel, (as Eisner did with Contract with God) we should not descend to quibbling. We should only ask whether his new graphic novel is a good or bad set of short stories. If he or she uses characters that appear in another place, such as Jimmy Corrigan's various appearances outside of the core book, or Gilbert Hernadez' etc. or even characters that we do not want to allow into our imaginary 'secret society', we shall not dismiss them on this account. If their book no longer looks anything like comic books we should not quibble as to that either. We should only ask whether it increases the sum total of human wisdom.
7. The term graphic novel shall not be taken to indicate a trade format (such as 'tradepaperback' or 'hardcover' or 'prestige format'). It can be in unpublished manuscript, in partbooks or other serialisation. The important thing is the intent, even if the intent arrives after the original publication.
8. The graphic novelists' subject is all of existence, including their own life. He or she disdains the cliches of 'genre fiction', though they try to keep an open mind. They are particulary resentful of the notion, still prevalent in many places, and not without reason, that the comic book is a sub-genre of science fiction or heroic fantasy.
9. Graphic novelists would never think of using the term graphic novel when speaking among their fellows. They would normally just refer to their 'latest book' or their 'work in progress' or 'that old potboiler' or even 'comic' etc. The term is to be used as an emblem or an old flag that is brought out for the call to battle or when mumbling an enquiry as to the location of a certain section in an unfamiliar bookstore. Publishers may use the term over and over until it means even less than the nothing it means already. Furthermore, graphic novelists are well aware that the next wave of cartoonists will choose to work in the smallest possible forms and will ridicule us all for our pomposity.
10. the graphic novelist reserves the right to deny any or all of the above if it means a quick sale.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Sunday, November 07, 2004
You know that scene where Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) comes home from work and there's that neighbor's kid watching him from the sidewalk who he asks, "What are you waiting for?" The kid then goes, "'I don't know, something amazing, I guess." That's what we got from The Incredibles! As expcted the guys of Pixar came up with a movie that's yet again, well, amazing, astonishing, astounding, awe-inspiring, awesome, bang-up, breathtaking, confounding, cool, extraordinary, fantasmo, fantastic, far-out, first class, great, in spades, indefinable, indescribable, legendary, marvelous, mind-blowing, out-of-this-world, outrageous, peachy, phenomenal, primo, prodigious, rad, remarkable, singular, spectacular, staggering, strange, striking, stunning, stupendous, super, superb, surprising, terrific, top drawer, tops, unbelievable, unimaginable, wonderful, and wondrous beyond words!!! Their best work I've seen so far (and I thought Finding Nemo couldn't be topped).
The first half is very 60s. Very mod. Houses are one story affairs, white-collar jobs are done inside non-descript offices with short sleeves and ties, horned rimmed glasses, jazz-orchestra music reminiscent of the Pink Panther and vintage cars are the order of the day. Colors are toned down and there's a James Bond feel almost all throughout the story with the exception of the family scenes. Hidden fortress in an island, lava curtain, access through a waterfall, sneaking through the enemy base's corridors, etc. Writer/Director Brad Bird is the bomb! Considering that he originally pitched the idea as a 2D animation picture just like his last big hit which would probably not be as big a hit if it didn't go through the Pixar people's able hands. All the characters are a great treat to watch but my real favorites are Edna Mode (who I honestly thought was based on fashion journalist, Elsa Klensch), Dash, and Violet. Their characters come off as very interesting, and the latter two's teamwork is something to look forward to. Another thing too, I thought Syndrome was based on Mark Hamill's villainy character in Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back (hair, mask, and all). Right now, I'm thinking of doing individual fan art for each of the characters and hopefully I'd be able to get to it as soon as possible. Plus the all the movie related toys and action figures that I must simply get my hands on! Man! To echo the neighbor's kid's sentiments after witnessing the big bang that defeated the enemy, "THAT WAS TOTALLY WICKED!" Indeed it is and I'm gonna watch this again and again till they take it off the big screen.
* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.
Feeling a bit uncomfortable with the tinge of pain brought on by the threat of ulcer, I went upstairs to look for a place to eat. I went in to KFC and I was a bit surprised to receive a packet of mayonnaise to go with my chicken strips. One of the local mayonnaise brands apparently was having a promotion, "pepper your deep fried food with mayonnaise for that extra kick!" Extra kick in your heart that is. Yum! After eating I went downstairs and watched Lyndon fend off two of his ICAn fans with his patent deadpan humor. They, in turn, made up for their presence by buying more than half of his merchandise which pleased him no end. Next part of the entertainment that we had while sitting around was the putting on of costumes of two cosplayers in the area behind our booth. The first one dressed as a huge robot (which went on to win the first prize) from the videogame Armored Core and the second was dressed as that character from the LoTR trilogy. These were the best ones as the other cosplayers came in the usual anime inspired characters. Here are some of the pictures from that event:
Mall edifice after the rain
Putting on the costume attracted a lot of onlookers
The Artists' Den booth
Lico mesmerizes girl with 'bullet-time' tricks
View of the booth from way up
Az and Syeri
Studies and thumbnails for next week's strip
Activities slowed down later in the afternoon when the amateur bands competing for the prize finally ran out and the two hosts of the event gave way to the last two groups fighting for supremacy in the MU tournament. While the games were being projected on the big screen at the side of the stage I checked out some of the indie comics being sold and the others roamed around the place. Near the end of the event, Syeri, Jon, Ryan, Kix, and the others came back and relayed the idea of watching The Incredibles after packing up our things. The prohibitive price of the digital theater of the mall made us decide to go to SM Megamall (besides it's a lot closer to where we live). This even t was okay, I guess. The area was too open and half the crowd that we were expecting to come wasn't there so it's okay. It could have been a lot better, though. Maybe next time.