Sunday, April 30, 2006

This is one of the funniest strips I've seen in Speed Bump. I think this one came out last February and it's one of those I've archived. Speaking of strips I'm starting a new story arc this month in West Side involving some foreign guests that are dropping by for a short visit. The only problem I've got with is that I'm still having a hard time getting the exact likeness of the real people involved. I've already got one down pat, I think I've got the other one too but I'm still in the process of trying to get the other one on paper and the deadline's tomorrow! I hate it when this happens.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Eeew! HELLO?! You call this floor clean?!

Just came home from watching Silent Hill in the mall. I don't normally watch horror movies for personal reasons but there was something about this one that got me excited. There's something about the story I still can't put my finger on that got me all in a tizzy. I didn't play the games and the only contact I had with its previous incarnation was when my best friend from college showed me one scene from the time he was playing it. I didn't think much of it since all I saw was his character moving up and down this darkened corridor with semi-transparent figures randomly appearing from out of the dark. He told me it was one of the scariest if not THE scariest game he ever played at the time. I took his word for it and ever since then I would just nod and agree without much consideration whenever friends who played the game would rave about it.

Then came the movie.

It's now my turn to rave. I'm reading and researching every website that contains information about the movie, the game, the references for the town of Silent Hill (Centralia, PA, a borough turned ghost town starting with the underground fires that started in 1962), reactions of other moviegoers, history and background of the game, the whole caboodle. The story, if you haven't seen it yet, centers around the recurring problem plaguing Sharon DaSilva (Jodelle Ferland) adopted daughter of Christopher (Sean Bean) and Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell). She wasn't only constantly sleepwalking thereby putting herself in mortal danger but she also keeps screaming the name "Silent Hill" in her sleep but she can't remember anything else when she awakes. Out of their wits' end, and probably their bank accounts too, Rose took Sharon with her without her husband's knowledge to visit the old town to somehow spur a memory in Sharon's mind that would finally clue them in to what the problem really was about. Along the way they aroused the suspicions of Police officer, Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden) who had a previous run in with a kidnapper who also brought a kid to Silent Hill and dumped him in a pit. She spent three days inside the pit with the kid before they were rescued and she obviously didn't want anything like it to happen again. She follows, they get into a short chase before the SUV Rose is driving crashes into something. She wakes up some hours later to find the door of the car wide open and Sharon missing. She runs to town in hopes of finding her but all she did was chase this little girl that strangely looks a lot like Sharon (or at least from the fleeting glimpse she gets the girl looks like her daughter). Her experience of the periodic darkness that envelopes the town along with the horrifying creatures running around scares the living daylights out of her but she eventually gets the hang of it after the second round (I've read a reaction somewhere that there was a bit of discrepancy with her character at this point. No disrespect meant to the reviewer, but that's missing the point. There were only two of them trapped in a world they know nothing about and if any one of them collapses in fear the other one naturally and automatically becomes strong for the other. Besides, Rose already witnessed the first darkness this was Cybil's first contact with the transformation). She attempts to make contact with her husband outside of town world but all he ever heard were bits of sentences that never made sense and a lot of static noises. Cybil arrests her after a period of being out and discovers on the road back to town that there is no road and there are these weird creatures with no heads spraying black acid from their chests running around. Meanwhile Rose runs out on Cybil and resumes her search in the local school based on a clue left inside her car. There she gets a bunch of other clues plus a run in with more strange creatures brought on by the darkness that would have consumed her if it wasn't for the timely appearance of Cybil. Then they make a beeline towards the local hotel where they encounter Anna (Tanya Allen) who brings them to the place of sanctuary, a church, when the next round of darkness fell but not before Rose gets more than a passing glimpse and an identity to the elusive little girl that strangely looks like Sharon. Inside the church cult leader, Christabella (Alice Krige) tells Rose that only the demon knows where her daughter is and they would be willing to take her there but not to expect to be able to return. They indeed take both protagonists to the entrance of the demon's lair at the basement of the hospital. But before Rose could enter the elevator the final piece of the puzzle was revealed which almost prevented her from going further.

Who was the main villain, really? The events leading to the climax actually reminds me of an old Stephen King movie, Carrie (other moviegoers made a list of what this reminds them of but this is enough for me). It basically has the same underlying theme: girl is an outsider, ridiculed by the people in her school (including some school authorities she thought she could trust), gets her revenge near the end of the story inside a huge dark meeting place, and a cultic maternal figure dies in a spectacular way involving some major piercings in different parts of her body. The only problem I have with this one is that they could have done away with the blood and gore. Maybe it was the studio's idea to include these scenes to satisfy horror fans but it's my opinion that they still could have pulled it off with the audience none the wiser. There's also this other idea I find amusing that horror film oveurs employ to hammer in the idea that you're watching one: the presence of religious symbols. That plus anything that would remind people of innocence lost like old abandoned schools, rotten baby carriages, etc. But overall my idea of hell is probably closer to the truth in this movie at least visually. But that's still not why this movie appeals to me, like what I said earlier, it's still something I can't figure out. There's also this other thing that bothers me which was voiced earlier by another moviegoer, why would the local ratings board rate this a PG-13 when a higher rating like the R-15 rating in the U.S. got should be called for? Although they shortened the gory scenes there are still enough disturbing scenes in the story that doesn't justify a rating closer to General Patronage. Doesn't that lead to these young folks being desensitized to others being tormented and suffering? A proper rating and warning next time people. In any case the story made an impact on you as it did on me you might take a liking to watching a short documentary video about the making of the movie (Length: 4:45):

Kudos to Director Christophe Gans, the crew in charge of the production design, the crew in charge of the production design and art direction, and the actors who portrayed the monsters in the film, they indeed were as creepy as they were fascinating to watch. Props also to screenwriter, Roger Avary for coming up with an awesome adaptation of the game. There are still a lot of things I haven't covered in this reactionary post to the movie which I think should be left to personal discussions (Hollywood Jesus' Brian Dedmon's review is worth looking into for some valid points he raised). I'll probably watch this movie again to make sense of other elements I might have missed particularly with regards to the ending.

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

Friday, April 28, 2006

Here's one unforgettable episode from my favorite Nicktoon, Rocko's Modern Life titled "Camera Shy." The story revolves around Rocko's wanting to send a video instead of a letter to his parents in Australia. He asks his best friend Heffer to do the recording, touring the town showing his folks where he works, his dog, and even introducing his neighbors on camera. After a whole day's work Heffer and Rocko's other best friend, Filburt ask permission to borrow the camera overnight which they use to spy on Rocko from the window to record him going down for a drink of milk in the nude. Unfortunately a couple of unscrupulous clerks from a video store convert their recording to an Art-House movie which they show in their hip café to Rocko's surprise. This is a whole episode running 10:59 minutes so better click the pause button for a while and let it finish downloading so you could watch the whole uninterrupted.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Here's another summer strip and this time we're in the famous beach of Oriental Mindoro down by the southern part of Luzon. This is part of a series of strips I did after spending the better part of the weekend with college friends some time around 1994 or '95. The fact that the reference to Ruffa Gutierrez coming out in a risque movie at the time also dates this strip. Wait. Does anyone even remember her coming out in a risque flick?

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

You have to admit one those gestures would be more eye catching than the usual thumbs down (imagine those guys doing "The Robot" dance all at the same time). Try to imagine too what if these protestors took her advice and did one them choices she gave? That would be awesome! Front-page dailies here we come!

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's another slow day with nothing newsworthy to blog about except maybe this episode of Punk'd with Linkin Park rapper, Mike Shinoda in the hot seat. I would have posted the one in MySpace which is a lot clearer than this but something got lost in the linking.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I've been watching Roseanne episodes since the early 90s, back when it was still unpopular in our household and all I got was a lot of grief for watching something other than Perfect Strangers, ALF or even Murphy Brown. Even then I was the odd one out just like the time I given grief for listening to Eurythmics over Duran Duran. Anyway, this was taken from one of the most memorable episodes in that series for me. This was from the story that focused on Roseanne's mood swings brought on by her PMS which unfortunately falls on her husband's birthday. This was one of the reasons why actor, John Goodman remains a top favorite of mine.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ok, which one of you smart guys peed on the spot I'm kneeling on?

Just like the other Disney movie before this the trailer for Eight Below also made a huge impression on me enough for me to promise myself that I wouldn't let this pass without watching it. No surprise there, this was one of the truly cool movies where animals took more meaty roles over their human counterparts (excuse the puns). The story was based on the 1983 movie, Nankyoku Monogatari (South Pole Story) which in turn told the story of a very real incident that happened to a fifteen-dog sakhalin huskies team that a Japanese expedition team left in Antartica in 1958 (only two dogs survived the storm). See links provided at the bottom of this post if you want the details of that true story. Being a huge dog person myself it was easy to emphatize with Paul Walker's character Jerry in wanting to do everything he can to get his dogs out of the wilderness as soon as possible. While others may say that it was the cold-hearted scientist, Doctor Davis McClaren (Bruce Greenwood) who was the only villain in the movie I'd like to say nay and add that the supposed "leading lady," Katie (Moon Bloodgood) was also an unfeeling umm... *female dog*. She's an unfeeling, insenstive partner who kept on coming on to Jerry and telling to forget about the dogs. Can't believe he's still got the hots for her after everything she said. Good thing I'm not the only feeling the same thing, as some movie fans complained about the same thing.

But aside from that one complaint I'd also like to give kudos to the Director, Frank Marshall for putting it all together and successfully pulling it off. The dogs stay true to form and their scenes didn't come off looking pathetic managing to squeeze out a few sobs here and there from the audience which in the hands of an incapable director would have come out looking forced and booed off the box office. This was one of my favorite scenes in the movie:

While the movie had a semi-happy ending I think it's more important that people came out of the movie with enough sense to take better care of their pets. Or at least I hope they did.

* From Tennessee to Hollywood: How two unwanted rescue dogs end up in Disney's movie Eight Below
*** The True Story and Photos of the Dog
**** Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

the Prankster
(42% dark, 34% spontaneous, 26% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your humor has an intellectual, even conceptual slant to it. You're not pretentious, but you're not into what some would call 'low humor' either. You'll laugh at a good dirty joke, but you definitely prefer something clever to something moist.

You probably like well-thought-out pranks and/or spoofs and it's highly likely you've tried one of these things yourself. In a lot of ways, yours is the most entertaining type of humor because it's smart without being mean-spirited.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Conan O'Brian - Ashton Kutcher

The 3-Variable Funny Test!
- it rules -

If you're interested, try my best friend's best test: The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Masterpiece

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 26% on darkness

You scored higher than 20% on spontaneity

You scored higher than 21% on vulgarity

I knew it! I knew there was something different about my humor. Now where do I go next? Hmmm...

* Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
# posted by @ 4:36 PM ---> |

Friday, April 21, 2006

Here's another kitschy dinosaur video that came out around this time back in 1983. It's also one of the most recognizable synth beats that's sure to elicit either more retching or heads bobbing along to the music like the way Corey Hart does in the video with silly grins plastered on their faces. Who knows? Knowing our penchant for trends maybe this would be the start of something new. Or old as the case may be.
# posted by @ 12:50 PM ---> |

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's summer and this part of the week should reflect it. This one was written, I think, a year and half after our first trip to Boracay back in 1993 when it was still this pristine island getaway with no late night parties, no big hotel developments, when people used to refer to is as "Boracay," not "Bora," etc. This was from the time I thought of introducing family members of some of the characters. Some of them stuck and will come out again in future installments of this strip. Now if you're one to avoid crowds and wbose definition of vacation equals relaxation minus the attitude, go to Palawan: The last frontier of real beach escape. Now run along start wigging out with the other contributions to the Thursday comic webring.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo
# posted by @ 11:46 AM ---> |

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The idea for this came to me clearly months before I even wrote down the script for the first strip in this story. Steph's a cosplayer with a serious bent for theatrics so when they were told to wear black she did what she was told to do plus some additions here and there. I mean if you were going to a political demonstration as ludicrous as holding a protest in Starbucks then you're doing them a favor by hamming it up for the press as well. This was something I pictured she'd be wearing at the time, a cross between Neil Gaiman's goth-girl, Death and Madonna during her Material Girl phase during the mid-80s (check this out ) HAHA! Oh man, that was fun.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
# posted by @ 11:41 AM ---> |

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The current book I'm reading presenting two schools of thought in the Christian world regarding the duration of punishment in Hell has been quite engaging as I recently finished the first half of the argument, that of the Annihilationists: after death the soul ceases to exist and is reconstructed by God before the final judgment. Those that are found guilty are thrown into eternal lake of fire to suffer for a time before being burned up into nothing. Quite a seductive argument as that what most of us would want to believe. To escape the punishment into the blissful sleep of non-existence.

I'm currently well into the opening arguments presented by the Traditionalists. This side (which I'm also holding) holds the traditional view that after death the soul proceeds to a temporary place of holding, those who died in Christ proceed to heaven where they are rewarded according to the result of their works while those who died unrepentant proceed to hell where they await the final judgment and subsequent punishment in the eternal lake of fire where they will remain for all eternity. I'm well into three arguments opening for Traditionalism with specific responses from Tertullian, Agustine of Hippo, and perhaps the most sobering of all, that of Thomas Aquinas. As written in his Summa Theologiae in a section dealing with guilt this was his answer to those who claim that it is unjust for God to render everlasting punishment for sins committed during the limited time span of a person's life:

The duration of a punishment does not match the duration of the act of sin but of its stain; as long as this lasts a debt of punishment remains. The severity of the punishment matches the seriousness of the sin.
That alone would have made enough sense but he further drives his point to the follow up question: What makes sins committed in this life so serious that they deserve a never-ending penalty? Thomas' response was:

Further, the magnitude of the punishment matches the magnitude of the sin. ... Now a sin that is against God is infinite; the higher the person against whom it is committed, the graver the sin—it is more criminal to strike a head of state than a private citizen—and God is of infinite greatness. Therefore an infinite punishment is deserved for a sin committed against him.
These are sobering thoughts we should all consider and not take lightly while there is still time.

* Edward William Fudge and Robert A. Peterson, Two Views of Hell: A Biblical & Theological Dialogue (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2000), p. 121
# posted by @ 4:46 PM ---> |

Monday, April 17, 2006

This definitely brings back memories. Other people may retch at the idea of revisiting the 80s but not me. It was actually a big surprise for me when I first saw it as I didn't have an idea that there was a video for this one. By the way, I have the perfect excuse to indulge in this kind of kitsch since it's summer.
# posted by @ 10:17 AM ---> |

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I've been doing caricatures for some years now and if there's anything I'd usually refuse to draw are those who either provide a 1" x 1" ID sized picture and blown up to 15" x 20" portrait (I received flak from those earlier in doing this) or those who constantly move and look away if I'm drawing them on the spot. Kids belong in the latter category and it's no fault of theirs if as I understand that they're naturally hyperactive. Who wants to stand around a stranger when you got the whole to play in, right? But what gets my goat are the parents or grandparents who have the gall to complain afterwards that I didn't do a good job of getting their kids' or grandkids' faces after seeing that they themselves had a hard time making the kids stay put and patiently wait for me to finish. But thankfully they were overshadowed by the number of satisfied customers who walked away with a smile on their faces and a heartfelt "Thank you!" thrown our way. Props to my friend, Lyndon for sharing the gig with me, thanks man!
# posted by @ 12:14 PM ---> |

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Today's our last day in Baguio and it's good riddance to the hotel we stayed in. As an additional security measure my brother got a sworn affidavit from the Department of Tourism office of Baguio and according to him they weren't at all surprised that another incident like this happened at the same hotel (or inn). Well after an uneventful breakfast at McDonald's we acceded to mom's request to visit the motherload of all second-hand clothing (Baguio's ukay-ukay was I think the first in the country or at least the first one to be publicized back in the Metro). Being short on cash I stayed in the sidelines and refused to even look at some of the items but eventually boredom settled in and I began checking one or two stalls. By the time we finished with the lot I got a baseball jersey-like piece with what I think to be a Japanese-English translated word and one Ultraman stuffed-toy which I plan to sell on eBay.

After that we had our last meal in the resto at the other corner of Burnham Park before heading for home. I'd like to say that I'll be missing this city a lot but not right now. Maybe in the future, give or take some years from now when I'll be able to look back on all this without feeling a tinge of regret and derision.
# posted by @ 1:01 PM ---> |

Friday, April 14, 2006

I lost my cellphone. I lost my cellphone to some stupid burglar. I lost it to some stupid burglar while we were sleeping in the freakin' room in the freakin' flea-bag hotel! The roomboys and bellboys feigned innocence saying they don't anything about it (they claimed to have done a security check every thirty minutes around the vicinity). The owner alternately dropped hints of the incident being out of his hands and we were making things up to collect some money from them. Like if I did have some intention of collecting money I would have said that I lost my digital camera too and we would be making a freakin' scene inside his freakin' office, capiche? At first I thought it was my brother's phone that was the one that's only missing from our room (he placed it near the window before going to sleep while I had mine inside the belt container on top of my other stuff near the door on the opposite side of the room). But when I was getting dressed I looked for my phone and that's when I first noticed it missing. We both tried calling our phones after a few minutes but the busy tone at the other side of the line indicated it being switched off (I had three bars left in the battery while my brother had full charge). Since the hotel owner indicated that he's willing to reimburse our phones from his insurance policy on the condition that we submit an affidavit of loss along with a police report we did as he asked and filed for one in the nearest outpost. What the police did next after hearing our report boggled and disturbed us at the same time.

Instead of typing a report as apathetic Manila policemen are wont to do one of the ranking officers went back with us back to the hotel along with three deputies to do some major sleuthing in the premises. They concentrated mostly on the windows of our room seen below. They asked more questions from the room boys and brushed some black powder CSI-style on the glass windows. What they found were some pretty interesting evidence:

Whaddaya mean you didn't see anything?

Presenting "Exhibit A"

and "Exhibit B"

After the police report was handed to us we gave notice to the hotel that we be transferred to another room preferably on the upper floors. We went on to have breakfast after that. The sting of the loss of all those numbers and saved messages still gnawed inside me but I decided to move on and focus on the present. We had breakfast in one of the small restos dotting the two corner ends of Burnham Park. Breakfast was nice, the staff was courteous and cheerful. Just was what we needed after all that has happened. We also visited the Baguio Tourism Office, got some hotel brochures and had a small chat with the two custodians about the place and their jobs (purely voluntary). Then we were off to Mines View Park for some souvenir shopping and strawberry jams from the famous Good Shepherd Convent. The only problem we encountered was the awful traffic jam on the way there. Instead of the usual 10 minute travel towards the park we spent around 45 minutes trying to get there. But that wasn't the end of it, all these traffic jam leading to one place also means we'd be hard put to find a parking space. But fortunately enough we got one halfway through the first round of search.

The image of Mines View Park that I have is that of a pristine crowd-free and vendor-free park where you could walk around with any hindrance or anything to spoil the view and experience. Right now it was the opposite of what I've said. You'd have to fight your way on the stairs around the huge boulder behind which is the majestic view of the mountains that make Baguio such a unique place. Well, there's not much to see anymore (see picture below). So I was right in saying that the only attraction this park has is in the dirt cheap prices of souvenirs and the plethora of choices available to all shoppers. I think this is also the only place in Baguio where you'll find huge pork barbecues and grilled corn on the cob with butter. This is also where I finally let go of my tightly held budget and splurged on ethnic pouches I could use as a container for my camera, everlasting flower lei, a hand-carved small wood chair cellphone stand (weird, I know, but it's one of the nicest ones I got and it's exclusive to this one stall on the far end of the park). It was also my sister's first time to go to the one and only source of the best strawberry jams in Baguio and it was closed on a Good Friday. Too bad I was also looking forward to buying some strawberry syrup too. But not one to turn away their customers, some convent staffers were selling limited amounts of goods at the gate itself.

Not much to see here

The one and only source of the best Baguio strawberry and ube preserves

After that we went back to the city proper stopping by Teachers' Village to inquire about the possibility of scheduling a retreat for my parents' Couples For Christ group. We settled on having lunch at Kitaro in SM Mall, since they have these great budget meals that are enough to fill the stomach without emptying the pockets. I was surprised mall was playing contemporary Christian music in the background. I made a remark about this to my brother and his girlfriend saying that we don't get to hear this often if at all back in Manila (I momentarily forgot that today was Good Friday).

Mmmm... Steamy

After lunch we went around the mall some more before agreeing to go back to the hotel for some short rest and going back out to have dinner. But we discovered some minor inconvenience upon going back to the car, we received a citation for blocking traffic (we left the car on the downslope ramp out of the mall along with the others). We're not sure if the others got themselves a citation too but it was the least of our worries as we had to get back our license plate. After travelling from one police outpost to another we were finally directed to the main station where we finally recovered the plate. We went back to the hotel and got a short rest and went out back after a few hours.

Baguio City at night

Lit Cathedral

We checked out the night market dotting the right sidewalk of Session Road after dinner (the trick to getting the best in these merchandise/souvenirs is to be there around 7:30 pm when the vendors are still setting up their mats). Then it was coffee time at the mall and since this is is our last day in Baguio we aim to soak in as much of the sights as possible. So to sort of celebrate this I got to finally use my newly bought tripod and took some shots of the surroundings while the others were enjoying their coffee inside. These are just a couple of them shots that I got. Night photography can be tricky if you only got your hands for support so being able to lug this tripod is a fulfillment of this timy dream to be able to take decent pictures at night. Hopefully I'd be able to bring this to the next level. Too bad I can't tell my friends about this back home right now.
# posted by @ 10:14 PM ---> |

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's Maundy Thursday and though previous plans to go out of town did push through (there were plans to go to Nasugbu or as I suggested, Subic) we didn't plan enough to get a reservation so we did the next best thing and hied off to Baguio for the duration of the long weekend. There were me, younger sister and brother with his girlfriend, and my mom. My dad backed out of the trip at the last minute to look after the house and the dogs. I brought along my drawing materials, sketchpad, some paper, and the usual books I read to whet my humor before I dive into drawing the strip. I also brought my camera with me to experiment with some shots, take some backgrounders, and get some shots that would capture the moment. Whatever that is.

On the way there we witnessed some accidents almost always involving Pajeros. One of the most memorable ones involved one of them bumping into a motorcycle driver. The accident happened right in front of us too, so there were screeching from both the cars breaking and those among us. I only saw the guy falling on the ground, clutching his head in pain with all the vegetables he's carrying scattered on the ground. I didn't go to sleep most of the way, I could be a good driver if I wanted to. I just didn't want to miss anything but I didn't think the travel time up there would be that long and uneventful. There wasn't much to see except for the usual long grass and trees bending over the highway.

Breakfast burgers at 10 in Victoria, Tarlac

They have yellow and pink ones too!

Former President Marcos, busted

Good thing the city wasn't as crowded when we last went there three years ago. There was non-moving traffic everywhere back then and to say that we didn't enjoy our stay there is an understatement. I hope this time would be different. We checked out a couple of hotels we saw online that still offered some vacancies. These were the seedy hotels whose interior decors are caught in a time warp (they haven't been changed since the mid-80s). It would have been ok too if they beds weren't laid out like an army barracks or something. We found one on the third trip around the block, just when we were about to give up and check in the 80s hotel. After putting down our bags and getting a couple minutes rest we went out to have our late lunch. This was also an ooportunity to visit the much maligned SM Baguio which is fortunately open for the duration of the holidays. We ate at Yellow Cab Pizza and since I was extra hungry I had some take-out from a Japanese restaurant nearby. Afterwards we window shopped for a couple of hours before having dinner and coffee at the café at the top floor.

Da fried op d' Filipins.

Ground floor of SM Baguio

Three ledges with the rice terraces theme

Slightly overcast but still a sight to behold

Burnham Park

Baguio Cathedral

We took to Burnham Park after the coffee. My mom wanted to explore the man-made lagoon in the middle of the park and there were some vendors hawking souvenirs (silver jewelry, wool hats, scarves, native pocket bags, etc. at dirt cheap prices). The others started checking the merchandise and all but I held back and wait for the trip to Mines View Park. There are lots more variety available there. It's also worth mentioning that there are lots of travellers camping out on the grass in the park. Looks as if people aren't planning to get some sleep tonight anyway. We even got to taste a Baguio first, taho with strawberry preserves. Yummers! We went back to the hotel to get some sleep after almost an hour's worth of walking around. Or at least, we'd try to get some sleep amidst all the music blaring from the nearby videoke bars.
# posted by @ 10:16 PM ---> |

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Though summertime is an exciting time that many students look forward to, it can actually turn into a time of great boredom after a week or so. After all with no allowance to spend how long do you think all the promise of good times will last? So they would try to get their surge of excitement wherever they can.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
# posted by @ 4:17 PM ---> |

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Slow day today, might as well show another video. This is another favorite of mine, the renegade penguins from the movie Madagascar in a animation short all their own: Christmas Caper. I think was shown along with the first Narnia Chronicles movie last December. As this one runs a long time it's better that you click the pause button first and let it finish downloading before viewing the whole thing.
# posted by @ 10:47 PM ---> |

Monday, April 10, 2006

Winner of the Best Short award at the 1989 Aspen Film Festival, quirky animator, Bill Plympton's How To Kiss (6:35) is an introduction of sorts to the finer points of puckering up. Done in Mr. Plympton's trademark colored pencil drawings, this was one of those indie cartoon shorts that were constantly shown in MTV at the time. This one's totally weird and the humor may not be for everyone.
# posted by @ 10:07 AM ---> |

Sunday, April 09, 2006

There are a lot of things I like about deviantART and the opportunity to make friends with some of the most talented artists this side of the planet tops the list. More often than not it's the result of mutual respect for each other's talent or like one of my casual friends like to call it, "inclusion into the 'Mutual Admiration Society'." One of those artists I consider myself fortunate enough to make an acquaintance with is Underwoodwriter (okay I'm such a crummy friend not to know even his first name ). He got his nick from an old brand of typewriter, he's a fellow Pinoy currently living in Iloilo, 20 years old and draws like old Al Hirschfeld himself. I first met him last February when he posted some compliments about my art in the Devious Comments section.

Self-portrait no. 3

I always check the pages of those who post comments and compliments in my pages. Imagine the surprise waiting for me when I saw his artwork. As a backgrounder to his main influence, I discovered the artworks of the late Mr. Hirschfeld in high school while I was going through some old copies of Reader's Digest. There was an article written about this old artist and it was love at first sight for me. The distinct yet simple, clean lines used in drawing the likenesses of theater and movie actors and actresses held me back from turning the pages past the small bio. This article was the only link I had to this artist as the internet was not yet in existence back then and you could consider yourself lucky if you found an artbook sold in bookstores that didn't tackle painting. Here's part of what's written about him in his biography in Wikipedia:
Hirschfeld's art style is unique, and he is considered to be one of the most important figures in contemporary caricature, having influenced countless cartoonists. Hirschfeld's caricatures are almost always drawings of pure line, with simple black ink on white paper, with little to no shading or cross-hatching. His drawings always manage to capture a likeness using the minimum number of lines. Though his caricatures often exaggerate and distort the faces of his subjects, he is often described as being a fundamentally "nicer" caricaturist than many of his contemporaries, and being drawn by Hirschfeld was considered an honor more than an insult.
He was well loved and I guess it's safe to say he's at the top list of every caricaturist living today. I myself was hooked though I didn't find myself trying to follow the same lines he did in drawing, I think more than anything the cleanliness and simplicity of the drawings contributed to my art today.

Steven and JM

But the even bigger surprise with this new friend of mine was the fact that we not only shared the same passion for the art of Hirschfeld but also the same interests in theater plays, music, painters, and LP records. Despite his young age this was someone whose interest was more on the traditional old stuff rather than that of digital technology. A rare artist indeed. The artwork shown above features a couple of his friends which shows how much he's already mastered the technique as well as in the following celebrity caricatures (click the images to enlarge):

Tom Lehrer

Chaplin in the Gold Rush

Maestro Herbert von Karajan

Silmarillion: Yavanna

He's also written a couple of engaging prose and poetry: The Magical Cigarette, Damocles...Revisited, and I, poet along with some rough sketches for a project he and his buddies are working on (which I think is either an RPG graphic novel or a movie):

Underwood Sketches 1 (detail).

Underwood Sketches 2 (detail).

And just a few weeks ago I saw this über cool and awesome artwork in his gallery without me asking him for it. I mean I would have but he beat me to the draw (excuse the pun):

He's the first and only artist I know so far who draws as close as possible to Hirschfeld and to have my likeness rendered in a manner as this, well it's as close to being drawn by the great caricaturist himself which is an honor in itself. But what I consider to be an even bigger privilege is having made his acquaintance before he hit the big time. Which isn't far if he continues with his dream. Check out the other artworks in his gallery and tell him how much you appreciate his art because you never know one of these days we might read his name and see his artwork in the newspapers or art magazines abroad. Or even being interviewed as being part of the huge movie SFX teams that designed an epic fantasy or sci-fi flick. We'll never know.
# posted by @ 5:08 PM ---> |

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Since summer already started I guess we could get loose with a few bubble-gum pop ballads from the past. Right? Let's start with something kitschy, something like the 1989 video of Especially for You as sang by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. Forget the syrupy, sappy version of MYMP, nothing beats the baduy factor of the original version translating to that guilty pleasure we never knew we could still get from this song.
# posted by @ 1:04 PM ---> |

Friday, April 07, 2006

This one came out last February 21. One of the funniest I've read recently from that comic series.

* Click to enlarge the image if you're having trouble reading the text.
# posted by @ 5:05 PM ---> |

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?