Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Finding out that there's an opening in one of the local publishing companies made me rethink of heading out there and try out again. That's when I thought about resurrecting the lone superhero character that I originally did as a submission to Funny Komiks back in the 90s (college classmate and Combatron creator, Berlin Manalaysay gave us a tip that there was an opening in the comic but out of the four of us who tried out only one was accepted). Then I thought maybe it wasn't time so I retired the character till another publication suited for the strip would come around. The costume was also too simple as it was originally slated to published in a kiddie comic book but now that I look at it I think it's time for a revamp. Here's the first design for the costume:

It still needs some work but it's going towards the direction I want, incorporating bits of armor with the costume. I've got the story down pat or at least the gist of the main plot which has something to do with the gods of Olympus. Partly inspired by an old 80s Twilight Zone episode where the Greek gods were forced to survive in the modern era by taking on menial jobs. It's something like that but instead of taking menial jobs some of them decide to become superheroes and villains to try to regain the old worship and adulation they're used to.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I'm all out of ideas trying to come up with a break-up story that's supposed to come out on Wednesday. Maybe because I haven't got enough materials and experience to work on to make it as believable as possible. That's what I envy about the others that they're able to flesh out characters that are as engaging as the people we all know. I submitted an old remade strip for publication this week. Will try to come up with something new next week. I hate it when this happens.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I still feel sick and I had to drag myself to Galleria to attend the morning service before diving down to doing this week's comic strip. The problem is I have no idea what to do. I have this idea of doing a dramatic break up for one of the characters in time for Valentine's Day but nothing I ever seems to work. Hope you enjoy the strip I copied from one of my favorite titles. You can click the image to open another window if you want more.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I failed to mention that I started feeling under the weather yesterday morning. I'm worse off today than I was before but that didn't stop me from going with my two younger siblings, my brother's girlfriend, and our two Russian visitors, Katya and Natasha to experience the Chinese New Year in Binondo. It was Katya's idea to begin with anyway. The part where I'm worse off than yesterday is that I got my left eye all puffy and numb. Well, not entirely numb but a little bit. An on-and-off allergic reaction to the Paracetamol I took the night before. It would have been a lot worse if I took it this morning then my face would be all itchy and mildly puffy compared in contrast to both of my eyes that would be so puffy I'd have a hard time opening them. That would be hell. Anyway, here are the pictures from today's event:

A traditional Filipino wedding at Binondo Church

Wonder what the ribbons are for, and why the tubers?

This shop selling charms was having a field day with the frenzied shoppers

That's the head of the kilometer long dragon

The well-known Estero (Estaurant?) where we ate our dinner

One of the welcome arches to China town in Ongpin

Bizzare mix of Buddhist worship with Roman Catholicism

After dinner we went to the airport to see Katya off, but we since got there an hour early to her check-in we proceeded to Starbucks in SM Sucat (I didn't know there was a mall here) to kill time before going back to say our goodbyes. Then it was on to U.P. to help Natasha check in another room at the UP Hotel before we all went home exhausted and ready to crash on our beds.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Have you ever had one of those days when you didn't feel like anything? Which is different from not doing anything, just a feeling you can't shake off or would rather not shake off since it's better than being in the dumps. More of then than you'd then go in an existentialist mood pondering what you're doing here and what your place is in the larger scheme of things. Or it may be that one may start taking stock of what he or she did and if it's enough to leave everyone with a fond remembrance. Well, remember my previous post about me teetering between apathy and content? I haven't moved from it yet. I now look at the world with a slight indifference if there's a problem I could easily shake it off or I could leave it while I ponder an alternative solution. Those who know me since forever would probably congratulate me for finally achieving that elusive confidence that was lacking in me in all those years. An EQ test I just took gave me a score of 120, which only serves to confirm my suspicions all these years. It could be that these results are still too general for it too mean anything.

I don't consider myself one of the fortunate ones enough to have reached this. Or maybe I am that I've gone and survived this long. My mind's in a frenzy I can't articulate much what's going on but I've found a couple of songs by the band Caedmon's Call that speaks what I'm going through their songs Can't Lose You and Prove Me Wrong (click the links to read the lyrics). With regards to the latter song, I'm not going to just up and leave, I've been through worse and He proved Himself to be so much more during those times, so there. On one hand it feels great that I've finally reached this level of perceived formidability whereas before some things used to bother and annoy the heck out of me these days I'm pretty much stable. On the other hand there's also this sneaking suspicion that I shouldn't be too comfortable and start looking for avenues for me to go to the next level. It maybe that although rocks are strong and impervious to the elements they also don't move and improve.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm coloring the old strips I did to differentiate them from the strips I posted in the web komiks site. These are so old, I was still handwriting the dialogue and pasting the dots using gray tone stickers sold in St. Patrick's. Now check the other Thursday goodies in the links provided below.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I came upon the scene of a terrible accident on the way home from a college friend's birthday celebration in Quezon City just now. I wasn't feeling up to attending her birthday in the first place. It was out of the way, it's too far, too late, and I wasn't really up to looking for that obscure restaurant in a place I rarely visit. Much less during the night. I was one the second to the last guest to arrive and I usually hate arriving late if only to avoid the constant staring that greets those coming through the door. Good thing there were only a few of them at the table, it was an intimate affair consisting of old and new friends of hers. And I would have missed it if I gave in to an earlier debate in my head if I should be attending it or not (if I didn't I would then be subjected to weeks of guilt trips and who wants that, right?). A good time was still had by all, saw new artworks by one of my friends who was finally allowed to indulge himself in doing graphic designs. Coming from a traditional Chinese-Filipino family he was initially allowed a full year to work on his art right after graduation but was forced to work for the family business right after that. I think it's great he hasn't lost his touch in creating graphic designs.

The accident happened not far from where I rode the bus in EDSA. I was seated near the window watching the road thinking of nothing in particular, when the bus stopped. When we heard the bus driver say, "patay na nasagasaan" ("a victim was ran over dead") almost all the passengers on the opposite side of the bus immediately stood up to catch a glimpse of the victim lying on the road. There was another passenger bus ahead of us and they were obviously gawking the scene. Another bus was parked by the side of the road in front of the gas station where the accident had happened, its rear lights flashing. There was also a truck parked by the side of that bus and a yellow road cone bearing the seal of the gas station. The victim was lying face down on the road with a jacket draped over him, I think, by the man kneeling before him. The man wasn't dead as he would raise his head every once in a while in response to the man talking to him. Why is it that we have this morbid fascination for staring at accident victims? We were there for what? Maybe around five minutes or so not doing anything, just staring. I was thinking to myself that we were wasting time here at least somebody should have called an ambulance. By and by the bus in front of us moved and started going on its way. While our bus slowly moved to take its place on the same spot to look at the victim as close as possible. I got a good look at him as we sped away and what it is I saw put a knot in my stomach imagining the incredible pain the man must be going through (don't read further if you're squeamish): his left leg was bent at the knee but the joint where his right leg is connected to his hip was so broken it was positioned in a 90° split away from his other leg while part of his intestines came through his ripped pants. There were people by the sidelines, probably remnants of the passengers of the bus that ran him over. They just stared. One of the passengers in our bus went down quickly. Hopefully to be able to help in some way.

The other bus passengers were quieter than they were before. Usually the bus driver, conductor, and some of the passengers would be engaged in small talk discussing theories about how it happened. Not this time. They all seemed pensive. The emotional turmoil aside, I started to ponder on how close we all are to the edge of eternity every second of every minute of every day. I looked at the people walking at the sidewalks and those waiting for their ride home and then I wonder if we're all honestly ready to meet God if something does happen? What if something does happen like a bus running at top speed suddenly loses its brakes and plows through the stalls or the people waiting for their rides at the sidewalks, or what if a strong earthquake unexpectedly happens, splitting the ground in swallowing people in its gaping maw... can we then say we're ready to face death? It's not a matter of doing enough good deeds to merit heaven because deep in our hearts we're never sure how much is enough. That the only way to not fear death is to humbly and sincerely accept the one Person that matters in the whole world, Jesus. The same Person whose name and invitation we trample on without a care in the world. Most of the time our fault lies in the fact that we know what we should do but keep putting it off in favor of something else. When will we ever learn that it ultimately wouldn't matter after everything's said and done?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This is part of the rough sketch I did some days ago for this week's West Side strip. I was actually debating with myself if I should be extending the story arc (the one with the new Xbox 360) for the next month but decided against it. I'll probably continue the story in another month or so. I did a couple of rewrites with the dialogues on this one before coming to a somewhat suitable exchange between the characters involved.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Finished the second out of three strips that needed revamping. I hated the original story that was published half a year ago as I was struggling with a day-off that spanned to three weeks worth of no ideas. That's also the reason I stopped posting the West Side series here. You can read the whole of it by clicking the image you see here.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Nice kitty...

I finally caught the showing of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe with my friend today. I haven't read any of the Chronicles but the whole viewing experience was extrordinary. It was akin to seeing the words of the book literally being translated into wondrous images unfolding before my eyes. It was all so beautiful I had tears running down my eyes almost all throughout the movie. Right from the start when the Pevensie chirldren where sent packing along with the other kids in war-torn England to the safety of their relatives and friends in the countryside. So that's where they found themselves in a small provincial discrepit train station waiting for someone maybe as loving and warm as their mother or as heroic and brave as their father, what they got however was Mrs. MacReady (Elizabeth Hawthorne) a woman as cold and as distant as the mansion they were going to be staying in.

They spent the first couple of days moping inside the mansion, barred from doing anything that could disturb the mysterious professor working behind the closed door of his room. In an effort to combat the gloom brought about by the rain and bring back a bit of the old fun they've had before the war Lucy (Georgie Henley) enjoined their eldest brother, Peter (William Moseley) to play an old favorite game of hide-and-seek. The others join in and got their hiding places well leaving a desperate Lucy to explore the corridors in hopes of finding a good place to hide. That's where she found the room and the wardrobe. Delighted with finding a great place to hide in she went inside and inavertedly find the wintry wonderland. She meets a faun, Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy) who befriends her and invites her to have some tea in his house where he tells her the place is called Narnia and it's currently ruled by the awful White Witch. The awful winter spell has been going on for 100 years, "Always winter, but never Christmas, think of that!" as Mr. Tumnus puts it. Lucy gets back to the wardrobe and excitedly announces her discovery. However her announcement was met with the same disbelief and poo-pooed as the product of an bored and overimaginative mind. Lucy stands her ground and insists that she was telling the truth. Edmund (Skandar Keynes) got wind of this truth when he followed her to Narnia several weeks later. He fails to catch up with Lucy, and instead comes across the White Witch, Jadis (Tilda Swinton) who comforts him with sweets, hot chocolate, and a promise of kingship over the land if he could get the others to go to her castle.

When Lucy came back she and Edmund returned together through the wardrobe but the latter refuses to corroborate Lucy's story that Edmund was with her in Narnia. This latest round of betrayal sends Lucy breaking down in tears and withdrawing from the others. At least until by force of circumstances all four children hide in the wardrobe later finding themselves in Narnia. This starts a series of adventures that mobilizes the group of creatures that were still loyal to the real ruler of Narnia, Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) to make a move that would eventually oust the witch and her army and install the rightful rulers of the land, the prophesied two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve that will sit on the four thrones at Cair Paravel.

It's a common thing to think of comparing this with the LOTR trilogy at the start of its run, at least that's what I read online but nothing could be farther from the truth. Sure both stories had fantastic creatures and lands of lore at its center but that's as far as the similiraties go (in fact there's even a hint of similarity of this story with J.M. Barrie's classic story of another group of kids entering a different fantasy realm). I haven't read the series (though I'm no stranger to C.S. Lewis' other books, "Mere Christianity" and "The Problem of Pain") so I'm not exactly sure how faithful the translation is from book to film but I'm guessing it's pretty faithful to the spirit of the story as I feel moved by the truth about how much close it hews to the story of salvation. Nowhere is the story of the Gospels spelled out as clear as day this one, there's no mistaking about it! To be honest I was surprised by the inclusion of mythological creatures like fauns, centaurs, minotaurs, gryphons, and even Father Christmas in what I knew to be a blatantly Christian story, well at least more blatant than Mr. Tolkien's opus (apprently Tolkien objected to Lewis' mixing his mythologies but was gently rebuffed with, as one IMDB poster liberally put it, "It's for kids you freak, now sod off back to Middle Earth and play with your toys you greasy nerd!" ). I guess there's nothing wrong with including these mythological creatures as long as the author's intentions with using these are clearly spelled out and the lessons to be learned are there. I'm also a bit disappointed before with Ms. Swinton being cast as the villain as I sort of looking forward to Nicole Kidman being cast in the role of Jadis but I changed my mind after watching Swinton's portrayal. She got the whole "cold hearted witch" down pat although I was joking with my friend that Eurythmics singer, Annie Lennox has the same look and intensity that could have also made a very memorable villain. And based on the trailers I've seen prior to reading the news I thought it was Scottish actor, Sir Sean Connery since he already a wonderful job with Draco in Dragonheart. Most especially because he has a certain air of dignity and authority that's well suited with the character of Aslan. But I guess Irish actor, Liam Neeson did a great job on that one. The kids all did a wonderful job in their roles, especially Georgie Henley who was absolutely cute and adorable, as was Anna Popplewell in her role as the skeptical and always logical, Susan Pevensie. I would like to commend Director Andrew Adamson, who did a smashing job on his first live action movie, and the whole WETA team for faithfully breathing to life this Lewis classic and for making us all feel like little kids again who saw the world of Narnia on the big screen with childlike wonder and innocence. I can't wait for your output on the next rumored Chronicle movie, Prince Caspian.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this spectacular movie.
The Alumni Homecoming last night wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The usual suspects were all there plus of couple of faces I haven't seen for almost 20 years (!). The priests in charge of the school also fixed the place up putting a huge roof over the yard where we used to hold our morning assembly. While change is good why do they have to cover every available space with hard concrete and cold steel? Time was when you can still see the sky and everything and everyone beyond the distance of 50 feet. Not anymore. Speaking of changes, or rather the lack of it, there wasn't anything remotely like that last night in comparison to the other homecoming in the past. The rest of the homecoming was quite predictable as we stood around greeting the new comers and exchanging stories with them and the others. Maybe it's me feeling my age, that I'm not as enthusiastic about these things unlike before. Or maybe it's that part of me that doesn't like crowds. I'm just so blase about the whole thing. It was nice seeing the old guys but we seriously have do something other than drinking beer to get some bonding going. I dunno, like once try to be really interested in what the others do in their spare time?

Brand new roof over the yard

Jorge and Dennis taking a breather

The gleaming tower of beer

No guts, no glory

Papparazzi on the loose

Edsel reacts to a message on his phone while Jorge and Michelle looks on

It's great to these guys again

We finished the night at the Hard Rock Café a few blocks away. Jorge asked me to tag along for an after-party party, so there we went along with his older brother, Joseph and a couple of other friends. They chided me a bit for not keeping in touch, asking where I was the whole time and what I was doing. It was a great night all in all, the one thing I regret about it was the fact that I could have taken the time out to drop by their place when I had the time. I promise this year would be different, I'll pay them a chunk of whatever time I'll manage to carve out.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tonight's the night, our annual Alumni Homecoming in Makati. Strange as it may seem I really don't feel like going tonight. I usually look forward to attending these and I would be like spreading the word to everyone I know so we'd all have an excuse to see each other after a long time. It's usually because we don't do anything else other than look around to see who else from the other batches have come to join in. I'm also not a beer drinker but I'll hold a bottle or can to keep the others at bay. Do we have anything else in mind other than going on a drinking binge? Bah! It's the same year after year. They can't even talk to me them about the things I do because they don't understand it, probably the same thing goes in their mind about me. But on the other hand, these are the same friends I'll miss when all these are done and over with.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I spent the usual time hanging out at Starbucks just now. Not as if I had a choice in the matter, every darn place in the chockfull of noisy crowds and those small pockets of quiet places charge steep prices for their beverages. I'm usually armed with a book, a sketchpad, and my trusty black pen ready to draw anytime inspiration strikes. It was good this time as I've been training myself to think of ideas for the strips. The place I'm hanging out in thankfully is well hidden the only people who go there are after the same things as me. They don't mind the other patrons and if at all, avoid looking at each other's direction. Not me. I watch every person moving in my line of sight, not enough to stare but enough to soak in information about what they look like, and sometimes, what is it about them that I could probably use for my strips.

It's been a quiet week and God has been very good to me. I wish I could say the same about me to Him. It's been quiet on that front. I'll discuss more about that in the future. I'm not much after company these days. I prefer spending time alone giving me time to think about a lot of things. Or just ponder on what's going in my life. I've long accepted that I'm not getting any younger but I'm not in a hurry to do things. I smile to myself as I think that I'm probably there between the state of apathy and contentment. Do I feel alone. Sometimes, but more often than not I feel perfectly content with what I have right now. Then again, I shouldn't rest on contentment alone but rather find a way to move towards another goal. What it is and where it lies is beyond me right now, I'd rather relax and leave it all in God's hands.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I know I'm a delinquent contributor to the Thursday webring and I offer no excuses but rather an apology. I posted this unfinished strip which I just did because I like the free flowing spontaneity of pencils that gets lost in the clean up. I'll leave you to guess what happened in the last panel. In case you're looking for new material to read you can check out the retro strip I uploaded in my DA account earlier today, then go click those names below to read more goodies from the other artists.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I bought Masta Plann's first two albums for a hundred bucks each at the mall just now. The only copy that I have prior to this purchase is a cassette of the first album. They're really one of the good groups dominating the local airwaves around a decade ago or so. I recently heard they're still alive and kicking in the West Coast where they're getting more attention for their work. Sayang. I might buy Sun Valley Crew's album next.
Dreamed John Goodman as Waiter of the blog Waiter Rant. The gist of the dream was based on an old entry of his where he recounts talking to a lawyer friend of his. Bits of the dream are blurry and I can't really remember how it went but someone pulls Waiter from the table for a little while toward the door, turns out to be another friend of his and after a round of pleasantries, Waiter's face turned to a frown when he started asking favor from him in helping him get a good deal on something from the lawyer but he refuses. It was something like out of the movie.

The next part of the dream had something to do with my character, BJ. I forgot what we were talking about but the familiarity turned a strange turn when I noticed that he looked a lot like my other friend and without the goatee. I was woken up by the dog coming into the room before I could ask any more questions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

With or without the color?

Monday, January 16, 2006

I got one! Yey!

I bought another book, No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice--Instead of Good--Hurts Men, Women And Children, along with a 2006 Cats Calendar by B. Kliban (who's more famous for it than his other works) for 50% off. I couldn't help myself after seeing that much of a deal in Powerbooks. I'll probably have the pictures framed later. I also managed to finish another strip tonight without much struggle in my mind if I'm doing good or not.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

We have a couple of Russian visitors at the house for tonight, officemates of my brother in Moscow actually. They're here to attend a couple of seminars and to do some research for their Ph. D. degrees. It's very convenient that they know how to converse in Filipino so we don't have to twist our tongues trying hard to speak coherrent english (well me personally, I get conscious of my grammar so I tend to think first of what I need to say while talking, which results in a very awkward conversation between me and those who doesn't understand Tagalog). Unfortunately, the dinner following our fetching them from the airport stretched a bit too long I missed the scheduled watching of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with a friend at The Gateway mall earlier tonight.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

These are some of the things that made me go scratch the hairs of my chinny chin chin.

Hmmm... why the recurring theme?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Bili! Bili po kayo dyan!

Me, Lyndon and Syeri just finished the week old org recruitment fair at the AS Walk of UP Diliman. It was yet another fun and somewhat fulfilling experience as the sponsoring org, UP DOST-SA hawked the indie comics and buttons we had on hand (a big thank you to all of its members for helping out). We did a couple of caricatures but I still forgot to take pictures of these on-the-spot artworks that we did. Maybe next time.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Okay, did we forget to include anyone in the picture?

We just finished watching The Family Stone in the mall and the overall reactions the viewers (meaning us) was that it was around 90% likeable. Almost all of us have favorites among the actors starring the flick and who doesn't love stories set during Christmas, right? Plus who doesn't like Sarah Jessica Parker, with just the right amount of awkwardness that's part of her charming persona? But just in case you missed the movie, the story mills around the Stone Family and the adult children's homecoming around Christmas. The first to arrive usually are Thad (Tyrone Giordano) and his partner, Patrick Thomas (Brian J. White). Then it's Susannah Stone-Trousdale (Elizabeth Reaser) with her small daughter in tow, followed by Amy (Rachel McAdams) before Everett (Dermott Mulroney) with his straight laced New Yorker girlfriend, Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker).

The Stones are ultra-liberal minded folks who embrace and indulge their children in everything they want to do as a form of acceptance, as it turns out it that that kind freedom doesn't usually translate to the children's well-being. The problem starts when Amy starts telling them her less-than-favorable first impression of Everett's girlfriend, from her irritating throat clearing habit to the way she talks non-stop. As we'll see later this influences their better judgment that they've already made up their mind that Meredith's not good enough to be accepted into the family even before she enters the door. They made her feel unwelcome right from the start and her solicitous boyfriend worrying thinking she might be a tad paranoid about the whole thing. To his credit, Everett did defend her when he saw and heard for himself their hostile reactions the first few hours of the first day of the meeting. He told them off and asked them to give her a chance. Fortunately Everett wasn't the only ally Meredith found in the family, there's also his brother, Ben (Luke Wilson) who liked SJP's character from the very start. But things came to a head during dinner the next night. Discussions flowed freely between the family members, Meredith kept to herself most of the time till the topic of Thad and Patrick adopting a black baby entered the picture. Meredith couldn't help herself but react to the line the mom, Sybil (Diane Keaton) said that she'd rather have all of her sons gay so they wouldn't ever leave the house. Meredith reacted that knowing society more than frowns on gay folks she asks how could a mother wish for hard life on all her sons? That stopped all discussions cold and one by one, with the exception of Everett and Ben, they all started ganging up on her till daddy Stone, Kelly (Craig T. Nelson) slammed his foot down (or more specifically, his silverware) making her run off the the table in tears. Everett walked out in disgust over his family's treatment of his girlfriend while Ben ran after Meredith. They got to talking in a bar in town and that's where she learned all the secrets that could be gained to either help her win the fanily's affection or use it as a subtle weapon in case they start getting on her case again.

The whole family-at-Christmas setting reminds me a bit of that 'ol Sandra Bullock favorite, While You Were Sleeping but the difference between the Callaghans and the Stones couldn't be more glaring if we were to compare the two families:
While the Callaghans embraced Bullock's Lucy on sight; the Stones spurned Parker's Meredith.
The Callaghans spoke glowingly about Lucy; the Stones snarked about Meredith behind her back.
The Callaghans were obviously a well-adjusted family; the Stones were dysfunctional.
The Callaghan's dad and mom brought their kids up according to societal tradition, taught them to respect their authority and respected their wishes after well formed discussions; the Stone's dad and mom brought their kids up in a liberal way, the dad wasn't much of an authority figure, the mom was domineering leaving the kids to find their own way while growing up, and at times interfered with those who deviated from their non-traditional upbringing.
Although the Callaghan's Peter (Peter Gallagher) and Jack (Bill Pullman) have their similarities on the surface with the Stone's Everett and Ben, their roles in their family's lives were reversed.
I also agree with Meredith's reaction to the statement at the dinner table, it was understandable and right if not a bit out of place but they shouldn't have mobbed her for it and shouting "God damn you!" at guest was certainly uncalled for and very rude. She wasn't personally attacking their deaf son in the first place, if anything she was questioning the mom's principles. To his credit, Kelly did look far and wide for Meredith to apologize for his outburst. Besides, Meredith did her best to help around the kitchen and trying to start a conversation with everyone while trying to tiptoe around the proverbial "eggshells." It's also worth pointing out that they didn't exactly warm up to her the first moment she walked in the door causing one IMDB forum poster to remark that you wouldn't find the same reaction in his native Ireland where the hosts would do everything possible to make their guests as comfy as possible (score another point for the similarities between the Irish folks and the Pinoys in hospitality). Also considering the fact that Sybil finally confessed that they're all they have to cling to, shouldn't they have given Meredith a fighting chance to prove her worth before making judgments? Despite all these things I do think the movie's worth every centavo we plunked down to watch it. It may not be a cozy flick suited for Christmas but it's certainly worth a good discussion around the dinner table. Just keep the cuttlery out of sight.

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

So... What's your story?

It's really good thing they brought back King Kong after two weeks worth of mediocrity. I was able to catch the last showing at the mall last night and I must say it was all worth the long wait. Although Director Peter Jackson based most of the meat of his project on the original 1933 movie, this movie is most definitely able to stand on its own, tall and proud, beside the old classic. Most of the principal characters from the old movie were preserved as well as most of the action scenes and the plot. I'm not gonna waste your time recalling the details of the movie as you've probably already watched it way before I did so I'll get on with all those observations and thoughts about the whole film. The first thing I noticed about the movie was Kong looked a lot older than the previous versions. Harharhar! I know it sounds trivial so sue me! I understand he's under a lot of stress living alone on his own surrounded by carnivores the same size as he is without no one to talk to even if he was worshipped as a god or a big bully the natives have to appease.

And has anyone noticed the boat's Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann) resembles a slim Liam Neeson? It shows even in the way he speaks! Jack Black reprises his role as the biggest schmuck in the film like in his previous movies, to think I thought he was one of the good guys. History also repeats itself in Skull Island as in the case with the dodo of Mauritius Island as wildlife in that obscure land is now extinct or almost endangered because of the presence of modern man. Did you see how they led the dinosaurs to their deaths and can you blame the giant insects for being hungry when the meat that falls down the gorge are far in between and they even have to fight over the morsels. Just kidding! In any case you're looking for a more in depth critique of the film against the 1933 original, it's best you check out this lengthy reaction, "Why Peter Jackson's Re-Envisioning of the 1933 Classic is so Disturbing!" You may find yourself agreeing with most of the points raised in that review as I did. Something to talk about among friends over coffee lattes or beer. Or milk.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

This is a sketch I did yesterday in my journal showing BJ Ibarra and his Irish-American grampa, Tom Flanagan catching up with each other's stories. This is taken from the storyline last Christmas when the grandparents (from their mother's side) dropped by not only for a long overdue visit but to also escape the harsh winter at the East Coast. I didn't draw the chairs since I didn't have any reference at hand and besides whatever attempt at perspective I might do at this point would botch the impact of the pen and ink drawing. Looking back at it now, I wish I shaded BJ's shirt differently.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Books! Books! Books! I just can't get enough of books! They're my one vice that thins the wallet and fattens the credit card bills:

These are just some of the recent acquisitions to my ever growing library, which makes me very happy indeed. Click each cover to know more about the book.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Drawing strips have been such a chore the months and weeks prior that if I didn't have any deadlines I would have quit altogether. But now I got my groove back! Hooray for me!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I was late by around 15 minutes for the planned PEx EB at the bowling alley in Megamall. I had a valid reason though, I was buying some gifts for Jireh and Abby somewhere upstairs in the mall. Ok so it may not be as valid if I planned the whole thing and went there a lot earlier than the agreed time. A couple of other PExers were already there, Jon and Jethro and they were already through with one game when I arrived. They were up for another game and that included me and newcomer, Jary (what's up with the J's, you ask? There's more of where that came from later). It was one decision I regretted making as I totally suck in bowling. I got the lowest score as opposed to the others who were getting strikes left and right and that dampened the mood somewhat. I think that was the case because everybody turned quiet all of sudden, although I could have used some good natured ribbing at the time. It's better than the forced silence that came over the party. I'm swearing off bowling and concentrating on billiards.

Things started to pick up when Jheng arrived then Jovee. At last I was able to connect the PEx nicks with the faces, but the question then was where we could hang out for a while waiting for the others that have yet to arrive. I took the opportunity to grab a late lunch while they parked themselves at Gloria Jeans Coffee near the skating rink. Then it was Ivy's turn to arrive before Ada came. We transferred downstairs after Jon failed to control his cravings for Go-nuts Donuts.

Steeee-rike for the bowling king!

Rush hour at the lanes

Stolen shot

We da PExers invading Go-nuts Donuts

Lining up alpabetically according to height

Smile and say "Swiss Cheese"

Can I get a "Whu?!"

Awright! You go girl!!!

A third of the time we were there some of the others bid their farewell as they have other things to do, friends to meet, and places to go to. That didn't stop us from taking out the cameras (phone cameras even) and start clicking right in front of the store. Passersby might have thought it strange to have a group of young 'uns taking souvenir pictures of each other in the mall. We went up to have a videoke session after getting our fill of taking pictures of each other. The session cost Php100 for 30 minutes, Abby paid for an hour's worth of fun. Much as I wanted to exercise my voice box with a round of Parokya Ni Edgar's "Halaga" I hesitated and watched them belt out a couple of songs each. I thought we were going to watch a movie after this (as I've certainly psyched myself up for some days according to the original plan) but they were already too tired to do anything else so it was off for home for most of us. Since I deemed it too early to go home I stopped by the Starbucks Coffee in Shangri-la to while the hour away reading a book before deciding to go home myself. I exchanged a couple of text messages with Jireh and Abby in the process telling them to come back for another visit if they have the time.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I've been bugging Lico for the longest time to hold another food-and-video-fest (dubbed "Licofest" by the instigator himself) and when he finally had one I had to up and go halfway through the gathering. I had my reasons for doing so, I had to meet a couple of very good friends coming over for a short visit from the U.S. This actually marked the first time we met each other after corresponding online over a number of years, which also marked their first visit to the country in a long, long time. I know we're supposed to meet tomorrow but that's an E.B. with the rest of our online friends but I scheduled an earlier meeting with them so we could catch up and talk about a lot of things we probably wouldn't be able to do tomorrow.

After confirming their location through text messaging, I rode the MRT towards Megamall where I first met up with Jireh (his name was taken from one of God's given titles meaning "Provider," isn't it cool?). He was waiting for his sister and her friend to finish getting their hair done. I asked about their itinerary, their arrival last Christmas, his life back in San Diego, his studies and his work in a fastfood chain. In a deliberate, measured tone he describes how life back there and here are different, his ministry among the youth, those he helped get into church, and how much he missed living here. We talked about his studies and the contrast between high school and college life.

We were about to go around the mall as he said he hasn't been able to go around that much when his sister, Abby and her friend came out of the salon. It was such a blast seeing her in person as she was a lot better looking than in her pictures and a lot more fun than I imagined. They were watching a performance of MYMP later at Bagaberde but we still had time for dinner. We waited for her other friend to arrive before we hied over to Burgoo in Podium where I treated them to dinner before their show.

Jireh, me, Abby and her friend, Len

It's worth mentioning that I based the look of comic strip character, Jay (West Side) on this friend of mine. Like the other characters I created, I based his name on Jireh's nick. The story goes I was in a frenzy back then looking for a real person I could model a character on when I was tasked with coming up with a comic strip involving Fil-Ams as soon as possible. I asked around looking for a potential candidate (personally, comic characters are a lot easier to create if they're based on real people) but finding nobody I asked permission from Jay if I could use his likeness in the strip. I'm not sure if I was already aware of the eldest brother, then a sister, then Jay being the youngest set-up in real life. Anyway, he gave me his permission, I showed him the first sketches I made based on the pictures he had online and the rest is history.

Click the panels to read each individual strips

My homie and I

It's worth noting that I took a lot of liberties with the character since then. If the comic strip Jay is brash, impulsive, temperamental, pretentious, loud, and rebellious the real Jay is quite the opposite, which was quite a surprise for me considering people tend to be their opposite selves online. He's a quiet, soft-spoken, born leader, humble, mature for his age but still plagued by self-doubts and melancholy normal for his age. He's thinking of being a teacher or a child pyschologist after college. At the present age of 18, he's also tall for his age (I based the character on him when he was 16). He's also a great fan of the strip and wished he could regularly avail of the newspaper around their area. We went a bit overboard with the alloted time because of the stories and we went our separate ways some three hours later.

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