Monday, February 28, 2005

This idea has been brewing inside my head for almost three weeks now and after numerous changes on the idea and the script I finally got to finalize the whole thing the other day, drew the strip yesterday, and laying down the screentones today. Oh yeah, there's no spoiler here with the sketch I posted above. That's the first idea that I trashed for bugging me for almost a week. You'll get to see the whole thing later this week but not the exact version I submitted to the paper.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Saying sorry and meaning it is one of the hardest things to do. If not the hardest. It involves swallowing one's pride and admitting that they were wrong and the other party was right all along. By nature we don't like to admit anything that would expose our "soft bellies" (in the same way that it would mean the death of them, in the case of snails and hermit crabs, if it were so). In the same way that it would mean the death of our selves and egos if they were exposed for even a tiny bit. But even that kind of death doesn't even come as quickly as we want. Before that we will be subjected to much pain and torture that would be prolonged if we struggle and fight. I'm talking about emotional and mental pain, the kind that hits you in the gut. The kind where you can't identify who the enemy is. The kind that would eventually bring you down to your knees in surrender.

But there's a way out. Before it ever gets to that level, admit your wrong and turn away from ever doing that again. The pain of them consequences may come sooner or later but at least it would be more bearable because by then you already understand.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I got to watch Parokya Ni Edgar play last night at the spiffy Metro Walk after spending almost the whole day at the hospital. My younger treated me out last night as his way of thanking me and making me feel better. The timing couldn't be more right as I was feeling real low yesterday after missing out on a lot of things and not having done anything I have planned in advance (hence the post below). I didn't know they were there last night and I belatedly remembered this ad I saw earlier in the newspaper about this launch that a cellular company was doing. When we got there True Faith was finishing up their set before another band came on stage. We ate in one of the restaurants there and I was already halfway through my meal when I heard the hosts of the show introduce the last band of the evening. It was all I could do to gobble up everything before dashing outside (leaving my brother to wait for the bill) to watch them perform:

They're great

Chito and Buwi

Gab and Buwi


Gab and Chito

Sure I like them and lead singer, Chito Miranda does a great job entertaining the crowd with adlibs and funny spiels but he does go overboard most of the times. I mean, he knows there are kids in the crowd (he even acknowledges their presence for crying out loud!) but he just couldn't help but do or say thinly veiled references on the obscene. He can still be funny without doing those things but does he have to resort to that? Take away those songs with vulgar references (which take up around half of their albums) and I'll have no problem watching them perform live. But that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy some of their performances, particularly the live version of The Yes Yes Show (Gab took over the lines of Vinci who was absent [see last picture]).
The one of the biggest faults a person (especially a believer) could ever commit is to allow oneself to fall into the pit of self-pity. Several factors may contribute to it forcing a slow shift in gravity towards one's head, and mistakenly considering themselves King or Queen of the world. After a few seconds of this sudden shift they wonder why the the rules of their "kingdom" and their "royal subjects" doesn't pander to their every whim and fancy. These thoughts, fueled by a series of unfortunate events, would cause their little heads to puff up with self-importance gradually elevating themselves to new heights (all the while these thoughts occur only in their imaginations). Those daring enough to try to bring them back to earth are kicked to the curve while those who try to shoot the air of self-importance from the poor soul's inflated noggin with well-intentioned reminders have their bridges burned. Of course, eventually, the inflated self can only fly to a certain height before the loss of attention causes the balloon to burst sending him or her crashing down. In the middle of this huge crater they've created, embarrassment and shame will overtake them causing them to either take their own lives or they could fall down on their knees and beg for forgiveness from those they've inconvenienced.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I watched Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events last night, a decision borne out of the need for a suitably entertaining diversion (I originally intended to watch "Constantine" but changed my mind at the last minute, philosophizing and religion is the last thing I needed). Indeed I did enjoy my time watching this film, as dark as it may be. The movie took on the the stories of the first three books and tells the story of three Baudelaire children: the inventor, Violet (Emily Browning); the reader, Klaus (Liam Aiken); and the biter, Sunny (Kara and Shelby Hoffman). They were suddenly orphaned when their house was burned down quite mysteriously along with their parents and little did they realize that it was only the beginning of their troubles (hence the title). The executor of the Baudelaire Estate, Mr. Poe (Timothy Spall) promptly brought them to a distant relative named Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) who would serve as their legal guardian till Violet reaches the age of 18. Count Olaf cared litte for the children, if at all, and he couldn't wait to his grubby hands on their inheritance. But before the thought entered his head he put them forth through a series of humiliating chores while he enjoyed his time rehearsing a play with his troupe.

The first attempt to murder the three by staging it to look like an accident failed by their coming together and using their noggins and with the timely arrival of Mr. Poe. With a charge that he was unfit to take care of the children, Count Olaf lost his opportunity to seize the fortune. Next in line to be granted custody over them is another unknown relative they call Uncle Monty (Billy Connolly), a reptile expert and a very emphatic character who has his wards' welfare in mind. He had already planned to take them with him to Peru to search and study snakes but before he could do so, a disguised Count Olaf arrived, duped his way into Monty's trust and killed him before anyone (but the kids) could be wise to him. And his plan would have worked too with Mr. Poe and the police handing them over to him if not for Sunny.

They were handed over to the next distant relative, Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep) who lived on a house on stilts precariously standing on the edge of a cliff. A formerly adventurous woman who tamed lions and piloted airplanes, she was reduced to being extremely paranoid but grammar-conscious person that's deathly afraid of realtors. She also seems to hold a key to the secrets related to the death of the Baudelaire parents. But before they could get down to discussing these keys, a disguised Count Olaf appears again on the scene and snakes his way to Josephine's trust. Count Olaf killed her too, but what's more tragical about it all was that this time he managed to snake his way again inside Mr. Poe's and the Detective's (Cedric the Entertainer) trust. To solidify his hold on the children's inheritance he cooked up a way to get around the law by going through as many loopholes as possible. Good thing they still have each other that should one of them suffer from hopelessness the others would fight and save the day. But by the end of the movie it still wasn't the end of a series of unfortunate events for them. But before Mr. Poe brought them to their next guardian, providence delivered one last letter from their parents plus a token to assure them that they've already arrived at the solution to their predicament long before they realized it.

Production reminds me a lot of Tim Burton Movies but not as flashy. Costumes, characters, and the general ambience of the movie reminds me a lot too of another Burtonesque artist that I've come to admire, Gris Grimly. One would also notice that although hues of blue, black, and grays dominated most of the movie, occasional infusions of orange and yellow were introduced to signify sanctuary and their coming, albeit temporary, salvation. It's also worthy to point out, although it was a source of frustration to most of us, was the stupidity and apathy of the adults. Everyone who's ever read a number of children's books would notice this same pattern over and over again. Why? I don't know. It's probably the pattern in the olden times where adults never listened to children but in the end the Baudelaire parents redeemed their peers with a well written letter that seems to send an assurance from beyond the grave. The letter reads:

Dearest Children,

Since we have been abroad we have missed you all so much. Certain events have compelled us to extend our travels. One day, where you're older, you will learn all about the people we've befriended, and the dangers we have faced. At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may, in-fact be the first steps of a journey. We hope to have you back in our arms soon darlings, but in case this letter arrives before our return, know that we love you. It fills us with pride to know that no matter what happens in this life, that you three will take care of each other with kindness, and bravery, and selflessness as you always have. And remember one thing my darlings and never forget it - that no matter where we are, know that as long as you have each other, you have your family, and you are home.

Your loving parents.
In turn, Violet Baudelaire has these parting words to say as they were being driven away just before the movie ends: "At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place. But believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact, be the first steps of a journey." Very well said.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Click to see what happens next

Another character is introduced after doing a lot of thinking and revamping. Revamping on the story cycle, that is. Whereas before I'd focus the stories of the strips at random depending on the ideas I got on hand. This time around each character would be given equal amount of exposure allowing them to tell their stories and experiences on a monthly basis.

I haven't come up with a name for this character yet but he's more of the slacker type of college student whose really into all things filipino (the usual ethnic stuff and preferring to express himself in the old provincial tagalog rather than the more popular cosmopolitan, taglish [tagalog-english combo]). He's also a born romantic but not very good with the ladies, who think of him as a typical weirdo.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I haven't been following up the story as much as the others on Fox News but looking back I should have done so, that is the sad case of Terri Schiavo. She suffered severe brain damage some fifteen years ago in 1990 following a heart attack and collapse (stemming from an improperly diagnosed potassium deficiency). The settlement was for continuation of her care and rehabilitation, among other things.. This attack cut off oxygen to her brain leaving her unable to care for herself so she’s had a feeding tube in her mouth for nutrients and fluids. It's important to note that the attack hasn't left her in a comatose state leaving her to die with the flick of a switch from a life support system. Far from it you could see her fully conscious and a flicker of consciousness in the video inside her hospital room provided by her parents.

Now comes the tricky part: who has the right to decide if Terri dies or not? The Bible and the law rightfully states that a man and woman should be free to decide for themselves what should be advantageous for them but what happens if the husband in this case strays from his marriage vows and takes in a common law wife while his first wife is still alive and goes on to produce kids, does he still retain his right to decide for his wife? Terri and her family weren't able to produce a note or anything that would help their case if she became incapacitated although her husband claims that Terri told him explicitly before she came to this state that she should be allowed to die. I guess that would be all right if he also produces a note or a document testifying to this or if she lapses into a comatose state, became brain dead, if the doctors give her something to die gently and quickly, or if her family gives the go signal. But nothing like that is happening here. In fact her brother, Bobby came on TV asking his brother-in-law to release her into their care since he clearly doesn't want anything to do with her anymore. There wouldn't be any battle if Terri's husband, Michael, complies with their plea and withdraws the case but I guess his pride and some interested parties want to go on with this legal hullabaloo. As of this writing the judge deciding on this case has given a termporary reprieve by ordering a 48 hour stay on her feeding tube. Executive Director of the Common Good Foundation, Derek Holser, put it succinctly in his article posted on Catholic Online regarding this case:
As a child, I was taught the story of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, a man is found on a roadside, having been robbed and beaten by some bandits and then left to die. This man is never named, never given an identity, he is just another of the needy among us. As he lay in the dirt, bloodied and bruised, two men pass by him on their way to various destinations.

Perhaps like many of us, the men that passed him that day were busy, and it would be inconvenient for them to show any true compassion. Perhaps they thought, "I gave some money to a charity recently", or "someone else will help this hapless soul." Amazingly, the first man to pass by this poor wounded person is a priest, a man entrusted by his ordination to care for the less fortunate among us. The second man, a lawyer, passes by him even though he may be able to offer this victim the protection of the law by assisting him in identifying and bringing to justice those criminals who left him to die.

I wonder how many of us would pass by this nameless man? I wonder how many of us would find it inconvenient to help those who have been left to die?

Terry Schiavo was left to die last week, and many people among us were willing to pass her by, thinking it was inconvenient or unnecessary to provide assistance to someone that is not currently experiencing "a full life". Like Terry Schiavo, the nameless man was not currently experiencing what society would have deemed "a full life". Thankfully, compassion overcame convenience and someone stopped to help him. Thankfully, the Florida Legislature and Governor Jeb Bush allowed compassion to overcome convenience by stopping to help Terry Schiavo this week.

The battle between compassion and convenience is one that we each fight on a daily basis. Although we may be busy working and living, we must also be compassionate to the less fortunate among us. The reason we must be compassionate is clear: it is a response to the essence of humanity, being made in the image of the Creator. The story of the Good Samaritan has an interesting beginning – The story is prompted by the question, "Who is my neighbor?"

"Who is my neighbor?" I believe this question is motivated by a desire to limit the bounds of our charity. The man asking the question is seeking to restrict his solidarity to a small group in his community. Yet Jesus blows that notion to smithereens by telling a story about a Jew being helped by his mortal enemy, a Samaritan. In the end, Jesus' interrogator realizes the true meaning of being a neighbor. A neighbor is someone who allows compassion to overcome convenience.

When compassion wins, new relationships are created; when convenience wins, old relationships remain status quo. When compassion wins, the fullness of life is experienced; when convenience wins, the emptiness of existence is perpetuated. When compassion wins, a culture is humanized; when convenience wins, mankind becomes more mechanistic.

The last two sentences in the last paragraph hits the problem on target. We tend to take rationalism to the extreme to the point of excluding God out of our thoughts and bowing down to materialism resulting in what we conceive to be self-suffiency but all evidence points to the contrary. Left to our own devices we're sliding down to faster and farther down than the level of animals. By weeding out all traces of the Bible and its teachings because of what we think is its flawed views of equal opportunity for all is just an excuse for the survival of the strong, a contradiction of what God teaches us through His word that those of us who are strong should reach out to those who are weak. Should we decide to take another's life in case they can't fend for themselves? Or more importantly, can we even find it in our hearts to grant another person a death sentence through slow starvation and dehydration? If then will we be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and still be able to proudly call ourselves human?

* You can read more about Terri's fight for her life here: Background: Terry Schiavo’s Right To Live or Die - Does Terry's Husband Have The Right To End Her Life?
** Ganns Deen also posted some tips how you could contribute to help Terri and her family fight for her life:
1. Pray for Terri and her family.
2. Blog - communicate the truth about what is going on and rally support for Terri and the Schindlers.
3. Visit BlogsforTerri ( http://www.blogsforterri.com/) for information and to join the team of blogs for Terri.
4. Deluge Gov. Jeb Bush with emails and phone calls. He has the power to intervene. Here is his contact information: Governor Jeb bushjeb.bush@myflorida.com850 / 488-4441850 / 487-0801 (fax)
5. Support HB701 (click here).
6. Important - Bypass the Mainstream Media - pledge support a paid advertisement in the St. Petersburg Tribune to inform its 450,000 paid subscribers about what is really happening to Terri. [http://www.blogsforterri.com/pledge.php].

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Well they gave us a good room on the 11th floor. The view is good and we get a panoramic view of the the different Valle Verde villages down below up to Pasig and Taguig. The set up inside the room's still the same although I do feel this one's a bit larger than the former. The view's definitely good and I think I would enjoy the long hours staying here in the room. I'm very curious about something though, how come the only lights visible at night inside these villages were coming from street lamps? I didn't see any signs that would activity inside the houses during the duration that I watched them from the afternoon till late night. I'll try to look for any signs of life again later today.

Monday, February 21, 2005

My dad's back in the hospital after his doctor recommended that he be confined for observation after seeing the results of his blood sugar test. This was totally unexpected and we didn't think that a routine follow check up would end up in this. What I hate about this is that we will be going back to the old routine of me being stuck with the same schedule and being bored out of my skull. My mom's now feeling sorry for my brother for spending much time accompanying our dad and not having to do what it is that he should be doing (he accompanied dad for the check up since 7:30 this morning) and she's asking me to go there and take his place. I don't know. I'll try to keep an open mind about this and expect and different schedule, my mom thinks it wouldn't be more than a few days.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Apparently the "geniuses" of Warner Bros. doesn't believe in the old rule of not fixing something that ain't broken by tampering with their classic cartoon characters and "reimagining" them to fit a new audience. This is to mean that they're slowly putting the old ones to pasture till no one remembers them anymore. If the original designs of had the power to make us laugh amid a background of tranquil meadows and painted forests, will we be able to expect the same from these new ones? Probably not.

The story is set in the year 2772 and based on the preview they've shown, these characters seem to be working for a mysterious lady boss named Maxima and the new characters have their own superpowers, some of which are lame attempts to build on the old humor: Duck (built-in sonar), Slick (regenerational abilities), Roadster (Super speed), Lexi (Super hearing), Spaz (Jaws of steel), and Buzz (Laser vision and a martial arts expert). Something's definitely also amiss when President of WB Animation, Sander Schwartz, chose not to comment on the statement put forth the statement brought about by MSN interviewer that although kids have seen movies like The Matrix they still remain kids and their taste haven't changed. Instead he asks those of us who grew with the old classics to "lighten up." Good grief.

* If don't agree with what they did with the characters and would rather read what the crtics have to say about all this, then click these links: Look What They Did to the Wabbit (New York Daily News), Bugs Bunny's futuristic makeover a Looney idea (The Plain Dealer), and WB Seeks Revitalized Cartoon Franchise with new look for Bugs Bunny and friends (Post-Gazette.com).
Is it me or Discovery Channel's line of programs have been getting better of late? I just finished watching this one feature on the program Rides that featured a killer airbrush art by artist Mike Lavallee of Killer Paint Airbrush Studios. Painting flames on hot rods are cool but painting life-like raging fire on vehicles is definitely 10 notches higher! The program featured this owner of a 1934 black Chrysler tracking down Mike after seeing one of his paint jobs on his friend's car. Mike explained the whole thing on TV from conceptualizing and doing a study of it on his computer and mixing the paints to sanding the shiny surface and putting on a total of 15 layers of paint before rolling it out to show it to the happy owner. My dad was watching with me and he remarked that I should take in a job like that doing airbrush art on vehicles. I didn't say anything because first of all, airbrush art around these parts is a dying breed and they're not being compensated well for their labor and second, I still couldn't manage an airbrush, and thirdly, my artwork doesn't even come close to what these guy can do. Still it was a good watch and if ever time came that I could afford my own vintage Chrysler (even a PT Cruiser) with extra cash to boot, I'd ask Mike to do his job on that car and turn it into the best looking hot rod ever!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Last night's event was good (although the others would beg to differ) as some members of FilCosplay, WeAreAnime, and those of us who are covering the AnimeXplosion convention for an upcoming magazine, attended the press con for Anime Directors, Mr. Nobutaka Nishizawa (Director of Crying Freeman [OAV], Mazinger Z movie, Slam Dunk [Asst. Director for TV and Director for the movie] among others) and Mr. Osamu Kasai (Director of DragonBall GT and UFO Robo Grendizer tai Great Mazinger [movie] among others). We didn't get to interview them though, since they were only allowed a limited time and most of it was covered by another publication.

Left to ourselves afterwards we took more pictures for posterity's sake before retiring to some quiet café to evaluate everything that had happened.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Here's another reason you won't be catch me doing something stupid in front of the camera:

Click to watch the video

Teen A Synch As Cyberstar
By Tracy Connor

A chubby New Jersey teen has become the hottest sensation on the Internet with an amateur video of himself singing and dancing to a Romanian pop song. Gary Brolsma, 19, who lives with his parents in Saddle Brook, has the lip-synching talent of Ashlee Simpson and the physique of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

But a clip of him manically bopping to O-Zone's international hit, "Dragostea Din Tei," which translates "Love Among the Linden Trees," has blazed through cyberspace and made him a global icon.

His derriere never leaves the chair, but he flails his arms in the air like one of the Supremes and vogues for the Web cam like Madonna.

The highlight may be the moment when he flicks his tongue at the lens. Or maybe when he raises one eyebrow twice over his wire-rimmed spectacles.

Imagine William Hung of "American Idol" channeling the Star Wars Kid - the last big cult hit in computerland - and you get the picture.

In just a few weeks, the video has gotten more than 1 million hits on one Web site and has been featured on CNN and VH-1.

And Brolsma, who calls his star vehicle the "Numa Numa Dance" after a line in the song, is more surprised than anyone about the fuss.

"You people are crazy!" he wrote to fans on one Web site.
While a lot of folks do their thang (or capture whatever it is they find funny) on video or in front of three judges in hopes of being shown on national TV, here comes a chubby 19 year old kid synching and dancing along to a little known Romanian ditty and BAM! instant immortality. As Brolsma, a native of Bergen County in New Jersey, relates to 7Online.com, "I was sitting in my room, bored, and I found a random song and I thought it would be funny to show friends." Which is very far from how the story of the 'Star Wars' kid" started (he didn't know the camera was on or something, click this link to know more). Cool? Depends on what side of the fence you're standing on. I do admit though that the tune is very catchy, the moves are easy (beware: you might catch yourself doing the same thing after a number of repeated viewings) and funny. The kid is clearly enjoying himself here. Fame did come a knockin' on the door of what a lot of high schoolers consider a pariah. I just hope this would not create a hysteria among other folks taking 'secret' videos of themselves and passing it online in hopes of gaining the world's attention.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I couldn't believe the fact that Marvel Legends series 9 figures was cleaned out of the shelves! I just found out about it when we checked out Toy Kingdom earlier today after a meeting in Megamall. Just a few weeks ago we were talking about its arrival in local stores and with mounting excitement we also heard about the possibility of building a 16" Galactus with the available pieces if you collect the whole set. And they've all ran out?! Am I supposed to moo and go to the lions' den in Greenhills and beg the almighty hoarders to be able to buy a set at ridiculous prices?! I really hate it when this happens. In another (related) news, I stumbled on a wonderful site by graphic artist/designer William Burns that showcases custom made action figures of comic and cartoon heroes and characters that big toy companies think is too much of a risk to release. One of his creations featured above would be a familiar sight to fans of a certain carrot-top genius shown in Cartoon Network:

From the Cartoon Network's Dexter's Lab is the ever patriotic Major Glory!! The base is two parts, waist up is a STAS laser-blast something Superman beefed up with Milliput, the bottom half is a NBTAS Nightwing. The head is a Tick with Milliput sculpting for his mask and enhancement on his chin and face, as are his gauntlets and boot tops. The cape is from the same Superman and works great in holding him up.
Haul your heinie over to billcustoms.com to see more goodies but in case you couldn't get enough of custom made figures and you want to see more then click this link.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I like the shadow in the background turned up so far. I orginally colored tha backwall orange but somehow it didn't come out the way I planned.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Some days some people are just asking for it. You know those types who'll defend themselves saying they still believe in God (or a higher being in this case) and would then go on to bash their perceived opponents with sweeping pronouncements about the faults of Christians in general. While I do admit that some over-zealous Christians do get carried away with their words and actions (in some way, they're also asking for it) but is it fair to make generalizations about us? Is the fault of a few the fault of all? Would they then carry these preconceived notions around with them while all the while professing to believe in the gospel of tolerance? These things I just can't understand.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Nothing worth posting today except for this comic strip.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I'm introducing a new character that's also based on a real person, a local actress, a sometime comedienne known for her award winning drama roles. I got the idea after watching some old Tagalog movies on cable when one of her old movies came up. I loved her for it. I thought it also appropriate to introduce a maid since it's a.) a common practice to have here in our country and b.) the head of the family has already taken a full-time job so he would need someone to cook and clean for them. There's going to be a back story for this one but I won't be able to tackle these days, for sure in the compiled book.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I'm right here at an internet cafe renting a spot because our network connection at home is whack and I have nothing to do back at the house. After this I'll be doing some grocery shopping and watching a movie for a change. I've been spending too much time at the hospital watching over my dad I feel like my mind stopped working. I can't read, I can't draw and all the scenes I've been seeing these past days are the same. I go in during waking hours and get out in time to go home and go to sleep. My dad spends most of his time sleeping and the only source of entertainment in this TV mounted on a rack so high it strains my neck if I try to watch it for long periods of time. The monochromatic walls doesn't help either and I feel I'm going out of my mind here.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

This is a very creative newspaper ad for Strepsils that came out today in time for the Chinese Lunar New Year. No words were used and the picture says it all.

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