Sunday, November 27, 2005

You don't understand! I really need to go to the bathroom!

I saw Flight Plan earlier today with my friends from college after a rather late lunch. We already decided on seeing this movie since among all the choices it has the potential to be taken off the big screen any time now. And I like it. I liked it so much I'm getting a copy of it on DVD and add it to my collection. The initial trailers were ambiguous, like something out of a Twilight Zone episode with Jodie's character looking for her missing daughter but is informed that she doen't exist. Creepy, huh? The reasons for it however is something more vile, cruel and truly evil.

The story starts out quietly and it doesn't lay out everything at first. You're left to speculate as to what it is that happened to Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) that left her so traumatized. It is only revealed later that her husband was killed in an accident and with the tragic turn of events they decide to fly back to New York from Berlin to live with her parents and bury her husband. The recently widowed Kyle worked as a jet propulsion specialist in Berlin and she and her daughter is taking one of those she recently helped build: a humongous plane with four levels in its body, capable of carrying 425 passengers across the Atlantic, truly a wonder of engineering feat. She's bringing her only child with her, Julia (Marlene Lawston) who was also severely traumatized by their loss, Kyle rarely left her out of her sight. That is until Julia disappeared without a trace nor explanation in the middle of their flight. The panicked mother threw the whole plane into an uproar, upsetting the main pilot, Captain Rich (Sean Bean) and the plane's undercover air marshall, Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard), not to mention numerous passengers and overworked flight stewards and stewardesses. She continues to stress to all that she carried her daughter on board but the flight crews deny ever seeing her with a 6 year old child. Even myesteriously, the flight manifest excludes the name of her daughter on its list, and the mortuary director in Berlin sent a medical report about performing an autopsy on Julia at the same time as her dad. This makes her suspect in the eyes of everyone on board, is she telling the truth or did she she just imagine everything?

The outcome is just a tad predictable but just a little bit. You know that part where you know a conspiracy is behind Julia's disappearance but you're not really sure who are the bad guys and who are those that are innocent. The plot may even be implausible, with the villains' plans hinging on the tiniest of chances or else the plans would fall to pieces. But what I really like about this film aside from the movie's three lead actors, which did a superb take on their roles, is the underlying message. A wake up call for everyone of us in a world that is increasingly becoming impersonal. And do watch out for the Filipino greeting passengers to the Aalto plane in the video screen (he's the one wearing a hat) and the inconsistent change in Mr. Sarsgaard's hair when he went back to Kyle after delivering a false message to the captain. You'll notice how it changes from a short wavy cut to a longish straight hair and back to the original short, wavy cut when he sat down in front of her. Did anyone else notice that? Also, it's worth pointing out that the original plan was for Sean Penn to play the character of Kyle (they didn't bother to change the name afterwards) and this has got me thinking how much of a difference it would be for a father to handle the situation. It would have also been a lot more effective both in the action and the drama department, just how effective it would have been in the latter against Jodey Foster's remains to be seen.

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

Did you get that sweater on sale?

I caught the showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last night to satisfy my curiosity after hearing all the hoopla and reading rave reviews from all of those who've watched it. But no matter how much I wanted to like it, the whole thing only succeeded in disappointing me. Well the editing was tight so there wasn't much lull in the movie. The special effects were cool but nothing we haven't seen before in other previous movies. I couldn't say much about the acting except they were as good as in the previous installments of HP. The main part that disappointed was the way the subplots overrode leaving no significant plot to highlight. If the triwizard competition was supposed to be the main plot then sad to say it was drowned out with all the goings on. I didn't feel any real urgency or danger in any part of the film, except maybe when Harry was dangling from the tower and he was trying to reach his broom before the dragon got to him. Even the main event near the end of the movie failed to movie. Here was the big guy everybody was talking about, the guy whose name must not be pronounced, he makes his appearance and... that's it? This is Voldemort? The Dementors were scarier than this guy. Heck, the dark mark is scarier than him! And what's with Harry's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't-now-you-see-it-again scar on the left side of his face? The one he got from the first ordeal. Ron Weasley's actions also annoys me very much in this film while Emma Watson's Hermione Granger is enchanting as she blossoms with age. And did you know that our very own, Heart Evangelista auditioned for the role of Harry's love interest, Cho Chang? I bet things would have turned a lot more interesting if she snagged the part. All in all, it may been a fun but dark ride for everyone else but not for me. Maybe I'm not just not meant to see this movie.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

You can charge it to my getting up there in the years but I clearly didn't enjoy my stay in the latest and last main pop culture event for this year. First it was the noise. You've got the sound people playing music full blast through the speakers in a place where one's expected to communicate. Like they're expecting people to shout over the music, which in the first place should have been turned down a notch since it was supposed to be ambient music. It doesn't matter how popular it was back in our days, it's still grating noise to people's ears.
Second, I only made a fraction of what I expected to earn from today's event. I guess it should be expected that the main target were looking for a particular style of comics foreign to our country and didn't bother going over those that hardly resembled these... styles. I suppose the feeling's also mutual as I've already sworn off the main stream faction of this genre.

Thirdly, don't get me started on going out of my way to pander to crowds. I don't do things that way. Of course, I do my darn best to sell comics without hawking it like fish in a wet market, although I really appreciate the efforts my friends do on my behalf. I also don't do parlor tricks to get them to stay, not that there's anything wrong with it, it's not for me. What I do is I smile and let them browse whatever it is they want to, as long as they want (provided, they respectfully handle the material). But as soon as they glance at my works, no sooner than they would also turn away and linger at the others' works. I've noticed the same pattern no matter where we are, either people expect serious Western-inspired drawings on the indie comics with its brawny, squared jawed men and busty women or Japanese style drawings with effeminate looking men and whispy looking women.

I don't belong to neither one of them. So as a matter of course, people don't pay much attention to my work. Cartoon characters, with their goofy looking faces still seem to be relegated as kid's stuff. It's still below the ranks of superheroes and super sayans. It seems I would have to wait for quite some time before people would start to pay attention to what I'm selling. I'm not asking much. I'm not asking them to pay attention to me. I don't like being in the center of attention. In fact I'd rather not talk on stage as it's both awkward and embarassing for me and the audience. I'd rather my work speak for me. But it seems that that doesn't work either. Am I scary? Do I intimidate people? Believe me I'm a lot more intimidated of you than you are of me. I just put up this mask to scare people into not talking to me. But that's just what it is... a stupid mask. It's the same thing everywhere.

* I'm not pointing fingers at anyone here, ok? I'm just blowing steam off because it's not everyday that I get to air what I feel about anything anyway.
Mr. Miyagi is dead

Friday, November 25, 2005

It's coming out, finally, on December 10, a Saturday with a launch party in Fully Booked, Promenade, Greenhills. You can avail of a huge discount if you plunk down five hundred smackers either in any of the Fully Booked stores or Comic Quest situated at the lower ground floor of Bldg. A, Megamall (P300.00 cheaper than the actual selling price which is a really good deal). Now this is a really big deal because not only are there more stories done by artists in this book, but it's published in full color and limited to only 2,000 copies. I've contributed twelve pages to a great story written by Comic Quest's head honcho and one of the book editors, Vin Simbulan titled, Siglo: Pampanga, 2000 (you can read my entry and see 2 preview pages from that story here, scroll down to the Sept. 20 entry). I'll be there at the launch to enjoy the scene and hobnob with local comic luminaries after which I'll have to run to Makati and attend our high school Christmas reunion.

* Click the image to read fellow artist, Gerry Alanguilan's thoughts about the whole matter.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

This was with regards to the post-Komikon meeting we had the day after I arrived last Saturday in U.P.

I wish I got a shirt like that for myself.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I got my old files back. I mean the files from my old computer, before it conked out. I extracted the hard drive all by myself some months ago and sold the remaining unit to our helper. The "brain" sat on my desk eversince waiting for the right body to be transplanted in.

Sure there already was an available body (the one my dad was using but abandoned since he gave up writing letters to those organizations he headed before) but I became lazy because of the convenience that my brother's unit afforded. It had a gazillion gigabytes of memory, you see.

That's until we abused it and it's now in danger of losing all those precious space. Plus I was starting to miss my old works and pictures stored in my old HD. So I brought it yesterday to the nearest PC repair shop, had my HD installed as the main drive and relegated the other HD to a secondary back-up drive. Everything worked out. Now all I have to do is install a wi-fi antennae to it and have it connected to the available net connection here at the house and I'm home free. Well, there's also the matter of burning every file on CD to free it from the ever present danger of memory loss.

I rushed a much delayed artwork to Gloria Jeans Coffee's Anniversary Exhibit in Araneta Center earlier this evening. I still don't feel like drawing much of anything after that long vacation we took. I submitted a photo montage of one of the first den meetings we held there. My friend and classmate from college was also there. I thought that would have sufficed, then I saw my friend, Nelz's work. I was floored and all I could think of that my submission pales in comparison to what he's done (you can view them here, here and here). He's also selling them way below what you expect them to be priced.

Makes me want to draw again.

Monday, November 21, 2005

This is one of the most hilarious ones from the series. You can click the image to view a larger picture if you can't read the thing. This came out last Monday.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I can't sleep.

I woke up an hour ago and thought I'd check out things online.

We got back to the Philippines last Friday night, if you must know.

Met with friends yesterday. Yey!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's 1:06 pm and I'm still here at the library. Just a quick comment on how people forget that you're not supposed to hold conversations beyond a whisper inside this place. I thought that only teenagers, with their rowdy behavior, suffer from this but it seems that some adults get in on it too.
10:42 am here at the Palos Verdes Library, it's my last whole day here in the US. God knows when I'll abe able to go back here, last time I was here I was still in my 20s. My best buddy's taking off early from work to make up for the time he could have spent taking me around L.A.

It's not like I mind hanging out here at the library. I got all these books I can read (I haven't gone up to the second and third floors yet), the free internet, and a nearby mall I can hang out in in case I get bored here. And more importantly, I don't have any more money left after blowing almost all of it on DVDs and stuff. Not like I would want to go to Disneyland or Universal Studios alone, right? If given an opportunity I'd rather go out explore shops selling original props and costumes (of which I know there are a lot in Beverly Hills) but then again that requires a lot of money. So why bother? I can survive a week here if I could.

I do plan to go back as soon as I can. Right now I'm saving up for my own laptop which I could afford sometime middle or late next year. After that I'll be saving up for a trip back here in the U.S. I'm thinking about returning around January or February, spend a couple of days both in New York, New Jersey (with a high school buddy and his wife), and here in L.A.

Till then I'm very, very thankful to God for the opportunity afforded me to spend time with really good friends that made this trip worth while.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's 7:22 pm and I'm back here at the library. My buddy has to work overtime so he asks for a couple more hours to finish everything he has to finish while get to spend more time here at the library. I took some shots of the moon over the trees which I'll be posting later this week or prolly next week at my DA page.

I had a quart of skinny chicken chili and a bowl of rice for lunch which amounted to something like $5.76 at this nearby deli-cafe. Not bad considering I would have spent a larger amount than that buying sandwiches at the next door sandwich place. I'm also feeling a bit sad that I would be leaving this place and my friends in a couple more days. It's not like what I felt when we left New York last Saturday. I wish I could be apathetic about all this and not feel a bit least sad about all this.
It's 10:42 am here at the Palos Verdes Library and I'm really enjoying the free internet service here. My buddy dropped me off here earlier today again on his way to work. I checked out the nearby mall called The Avenue. This is the same mall where Borders bookstore is located, I just thought of exploring much ground than I did yesterday and took a couple of pictures.

I was feeling a lot crummy last night after walking out of the library to catch my best friend's carpool with his officemate. I can't help but feel much in the dumps for some reason. It was result of a lot of small things that bothered me. Good thing I did get to unload a some of those things bothering me recently. It was such a relief to be able to put down my mask and just be myself. Not as someone on the psychiatrist's chair but on the couch bawling my eyes out. I tell you it was the very thing I needed the most and will miss when we go back to the Philippines on Thursday. One of the things he said that hit the target that there are times that we need God to be tangible, to be able to see and relate to. And last night for the first time in so many years I was able to experience just that.

God bless all best friends. What would we do without them?

Afterwards we went out to have dinner with his friend, Christie and her sister, Bobbi (who are Filipinos and who I met 2 days ago in the Valley). We went to this Hawaiian resto called Loft. We had a rockin' good time talking about a lot of stuff. It's a good thing they can converse in Filipino because I tells ya it relieves the noggin from translating everything that comes from my mouth into english. Afterwards we went home and watched "Monthy Python's Holy Grail" (a first for me, really) and had a lot of talk going while waiting for blissful sleep to come (some of which involved the discussion of answering the question why do men lose their spine whenever they hook up with women, addressing the latter as "boss" or "commander"). Pardon the grammar wherever you seet it, as I haven't been writing for the longest time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's actually 1:00 pm, November 14th here in Palos Verdes, Los Angeles where I'm updating my blog. I'm staying at my college buddy's room in Sepulveda for a couple of days after flying in from New York the other day. I finally got a net access here in the public library close to where he's working. Since I can't bug him or hang around in his office for the day, I thought it would be great hanging around here with all the books I can read. My older brother and sister-in-law is staying in San Francisco for the duration of our remaining days here in the U.S. while my mom and sister flew back to the Philippines earlier today.

I checked out Borders earlier this morning and it's a good thing I could swim or else I would have drowned in the sea of titles available. I'll still be hanging out in the library for the next couple of days before going home.

By then this blog will be alive with tons of pictures from the trip.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This is the first time I established who BJ's girlfriend is. I haven't settled on how they met, it's either during a photo shoot for the cover of Mulch Magazine or outside a bar. She was supposed to be a fling the first time she appeared in last year's Thanksgiving series, and they were supposed to have broken up over the summer. But now that her identity is established I'm not sure if I would be following that route.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This is the start of another Thanksgiving storyline for the strip. Hope y'all like it.
We just finished watching "Chicago" down on 50th street and I don't there's much to say about it especially if you've already watched the movie. The show was slated to start at around 7 pm and after a short break in the hotel room me and my mom walked the length of the streets from 34th street to the theater near Times Square. The theater wasn't that big although it's packed to the rafters. I wish I could have taken better pictures but the battery of my camera conked out even before it started. I took some pictures using my phone though:

Waiting for the play to start

My mom browsing through the programme

The old lady acting as an usher shushed me to cease and desist from taking any more pictures right after this last picture. Like I mentioned earlier, there's not much to be said about the play mostly because of the fact that there were barely any breaks in between the musical numbers, there weren't any costume changes, and there weren't any scenery changes. It was like we were watching a rehearsal. No offense to those who loved the show, this is just my personal opinion about the whole thing. We were so bored of the whole show I was tempted to nod off in the middle of the show and sleep. But two things stopped me from doing so: I was afraid I would snore and I paid around $53.75 for a ticket and there's no way I would sleep through that amount. I saw my mom nodding off in my peripheral vision so every now and then I would tap her leg to wake her up.

It wasn't that bad a show, to be fair about it. The choreographed dances were great and there was one of the best known icons during the 80s, Huey Lewis performing the role that Richard Gear essayed in the big screen. He looked really old though. Here's the clincher, we thought we already missed Brooke Shields' performance in the play (playing the role of Roxy Hart) since her stint was supposed to end Oct. 30 but about two-thirds into the play, I thought that that broadway stage actress looked a lot like Ms. Shields. Imagine my shock when it was revealed to be her right before the big number! Cameras were flipped out after the show and Ms. Shields offered to raise some money for the theater union on this last night of hers! Good thing I didn't sleep through everything. Aside from giving the highest bidder a chance to take his or her picture with her backstage, she offered the pair of earrings she was wearing as giveaway. It was unfortunate that my digicam conked out so this was all I got:


Outside the theater after the play

It was a very big surprise for all of us. The auction part of the show was fun and although everyone was shy about bidding at first, it started to build a momentum from eager audience members till it reached $700.00. Additional funds were requested and for a minimum amount of $25.00 donation they'll throw in a free CD soundtrack of the show along with a poster signed by the whole cast. Me and my mom walked all the way back to our hotel afterwards. I stopped to buy a chocolate milkshake at the nearby McDonald's before going up to our hotel room.

* This is a retro entry posted at 2:09 pm on November 24th, 2005.
I finally got to log in at a public internet cafe near Times Square in New York City (4 hours for $4.00, not bad if you think about it). I'm currently checking my emails which is now carrying a load of 120 emails in its mailbox. We're staying at the Hotel Pennsylvannia right in front of the Madison Square Garden and we're scheduled to watch a broadway show, "Chicago" later tonight at 7 pm. The tickets costs $53.75 (which is already discounted). Me and my mom just also finished going through Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.

Oras ngayon dito 4:08 p.m.

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