Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I bought The Days are Just Packed: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection last night bringing my collection just two books shy of having the entire collection. I've been reading Bill Watterson's books for weeks now hoping to get an idea and/or an inspiration for the next strip. But more importantly, a way to find of making philosophical musing real interesting because I can't be funny all the time. This one's an attempt in tackling a subject rarely seen in comic strips in what I hoped would still be light and not at all preachy. Did I succeed? I'd like to think that I did manage to pull it off but there's still something about it that makes me think I could have done better.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The cable local TV company we're currently subscribing to, Destiny, is threatening to pull the plug on FOX News (ch. 42) and replacing it with Voice of America. I don't know anything about VOA but from the look of things it's not pretty and I'll be sure to avoid this one if they push with their plans.

So if you're with me on this (and essentially a subscriber of Global-Destiny) call 894-5714 or email them at mydestiny@globaldestiny.net and tell them that we want FOX News retained.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Time was when I watched Conan O'Brien every midnight without fail but nowadays consistency has been a problem owing to a couple of factors, namely the need to sleep a lot earlier than usual so I would be in the mood to do a couple of drawings the day after. I've settled to watching the first 20 minutes or so, up to the skit in between guests if the show has been particularly engaging. Last night this particular skit involving The Interruptor had me in stitches. The ending could have been better as it was anticlimactic. There are other favorites like the "desperate stuntman" (or was it the "desperate suicide"? I'm not sure) series but they haven't been uploaded yet.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Saturday, May 27, 2006

I feel so good now that the rainy season has already started. Hopefully sans power failures. The cold season is here! The cold season is here! Traffic is predictably going to be gnarly and hell-like but that's a price we're all going to have to pay. One wonders when are we going to learn our lessons from all this?

Hehehe... I remembered remarking about my unusual glee with this kind of weather around last year and one of my friends said that maybe I'm half frog or something. And to think that when I was growing up I used to feel depressed and sentimental about everything whenever the wet season starts pouring in and now for the second half of my life I'm starting to actually rejoice that the skies are turning gray and people can't do much. That's me, a regular freakazoid.
This was what I wrote four years ago to the day. It was one of the attempts in blogging that I did in my personal thread in the message board, PinoyExchange. Nothing much has changed except I'm a bit apathetic about the weather nowadays. I'm hardly fascinated with watching water falling from the skies but that's probably because the view's changed and I don't get to instantly see people running around for cover once it starts pouring. Still I can't deny there's somethng magical and fascinating about it all happening again. Scientists can explain everything they want but nothing ever compares to seeing it all happen. It's like being a kid again except now I'm more wont to watching the drops of rain create crown-like effects on the wet ground and following leaves being carried by the clear splashing water instead of running to and fro and enjoying the shower.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Slow day today. Nothing much to say or recount except for this discovery I made while searching through the ubiquitous YouTube. Here's what I got an excerpt from Family Guy making a parody of the landmark video made by A-ha.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Being more of an illustrator than a writer I tend to struggle with writing a dialogue that comes off more from the character than me. This is a case in point since I don't know anyone who played football (Trevor probably played in school but I never bothered to ask him about it both times when he was here on a visit and in e-mails) nor did I follow the sport closely. Although the internet proved to be a valuable resource in providing the sports terms I still had to struggle with the dialogue coming off realistically (or come of good enough a "poser" to pull this off). That's where you guys come in! So I'm asking a favor from those who play the sport or at least are knowledgeable enough to tell me if I was able to pull this off or not. In other matters, the background was taken in Intramuros, Manila. It's one of the few surviving relics from the 300 years Spanish occupation, one of the best tourist attractions around and a virtual goldmine to photography enthusiants. Kyrelle's t-shirt was inspired by Bok in Barkada Trip.
This is another retro post for a bonus strip that was finished days after I did the strip you see below. This was delayed because I wanted this to be located in Intramuros, Manila and nowhere else (it's one of those obssessive-compulsive things I have to do or else it won't work). The thing is I took a lot of time postponing the trip for one reason or another and when I finally did manage to push myself to do so I had to make two trips because I forgot the battery in my camera the first time around. It was also cloudy at the time with the look of heavy rains threatening to pour down any minute. Good thing the sun peeked out of the clouds every once in a while enabling me to take a couple of shots that mimicked, what I hoped to show as, summer time.

* This is a bonus strip.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ok, I admit it. I did it. I caved in. This was the sequel I was deliberating to do or not some weeks back (my friend, Syeri, already pointed it out the last time but I didn't want to drop any hints about it being the joke and all). In any case, the government already reverted the name back to Sasmuan after decades of embarrassment from the international community. The name originally came from TABNUAN, a centuries-old Pampango word which means "meeting place" which was later changed to Sasmuan due to proliferation of SASA or nipa palms in the area. But when the Americans first came to the country around the turn of the last century they either had some trouble reading the spelling of the name or they were feeling naughty and changed it to "Sexmoan." I also don't much of anything about the municipality except for the fact that they're reknowned for having the best prawn and bangus (milkfish) around. And the sweets. Don't forget the famous Pampanga sweets.
This is another retro post for a bonus strip that was finished on June 22 (almost a month from now). I wanted and could have posted what I submitted to and came out in the paper today but the joke doesn't work at all and I'm too embarrassed to show what a failure it's become. You should know that joke was part of what I've planned to write, and it was a great idea for a joke too, but time has funny thing of blurring things as I've forgot to write it at the time what happened was the idea remained but the dialogue was forgotten. I tried an tried to remember what it was that made it funny but I just couldn't until I ran out of time and came up with something I'm now embarrassed to show you all. Maybe time will be kinder next time and I'll probably be able to make it work again.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

One of my good friends from college, Mike, had a belated birthday celebration earlier today. It's been almost a month since he did celebrate his birthday but being the busy businessman that he is we only got to celebrate it now. He planned to hold it in one of his newer business establishments in Quezon City and I had no idea where that is so I had to contact one my closer friends in our barkada, Joanne, if we could commute together to where that place is.

I went to her office 4:30 pm and we took a taxi. Inside she told me about her recent trip to her home province in Bicol and showed me some videos she took. "It's so peaceful out there in the beach. We should go there one of these days," she said. But it would take a miracle to get us together again for an out of town trip since one half of the group were already married, some are already mommies and daddies, some are A.W.O.L. and the others are working outside of the country. In our college barkada right now, there's only me and Joanne who see each other on a semi-regular basis. Imagine my surprise when we arrived at the place and I learned later that we were going to have a full spa treatment on the house! It was first time to do so after deliberating to have one for almost a year now (books, entertainment, and food are my priorities while clothes and everything else are on the far end of the totem pole). Spa treatments rock and the experience of having one helped changed my perspective of getting one at least once a month.

Afterwards we proceeded to have dinner in the Chinese resto located one floor below the spa. From personal experience, Chinese food tend to taste the same and it's really a rare treat to get that dish that stands out from the rest. Lucky for us this one's buffet. We had a great time exchanging stories and catching up with each other's lives along with stories about how the kids are faring. Really good friends who stay friends over the years are rare, but even rarer are the ones who think along the same lines as you do and also have the same interests. These people are real characters and were the subject of the college strip that I submitted for about half a year in the during the later part of the 90s (the editor decided that the Magazine's readers were all growing up so I had to make my high school characters do the same and graduate from school. Not a believer in making comic characters grow up I pitched a new strip titled, "Upper CLASS" set in college peopled by Fine Arts students. The magazine eventually "fired" me by saying I had to pitch another strip as they were changing the whole look, I said no thanks and they eventually folded some three months later).

(left-right): J'mee, Kwen, Mike, me, Andrew, Michelle, Moi (Andrew's wife and honorary barkada), and Joanne.

We missed the good old days when we used to hang out in Mike's house or go out together laughing non-stop while we decided for a good half-hour or so where to eat. There were also the long goodbyes where everybody already made their intentions known only to linger around the parking lot talking and having the same old laughs. I'm not sure when we'll see each other again but at this stage it'll take another birthday (either one of ours or their kids) to get us together again.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I just finished submitting the strip for this week and I wasn't too happy about it. No, scratch that... It sucked big time. I'll be redoing it later if it were possible.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

It looks just like an airplane... without wings!

We were set to watch Over the Hedge at the newly opened Mall of Asia you won't believe how much they were able to fill up the place with people parking was a problem even in the huge parking lot. You'd be hardput to movie around with a ratio of four people per square foot in that place (some local noontime show had set up stage in the entertainment area earlier today, we think it's a huge, huge mistake driving away the "A" crowd from the mall with their actions when that was clearly what their main target market is. Or was). So we drove over to Powerplant Mall. I was actually there earlier having bought a couple of books in Fully Booked and having a late lunch afterwards. We got seats at the last full show only because we missed the schedule by a few minutes and they weren't selling any more tickets to that schedule.

The movie was way better than we expected, and our expectations were pretty high judging from the lone trailer they showed which pretty much rocked. It took a lot of liberties compared with Michael Fry and T. Lewis' comic strip which only had Verne (Garry Shandling), RJ (Bruce Willis), and Hammy (Steve Carell) as the only characters in the strip who annoy a family of environmentalists who ironically want the animals to live like their normal selves far from the urban living they've now been accustomed to, the movie's pretty wacky and compared to the humor of the which is pretty much laid back as the animals mostly make a comment ala Pogo. The way the guys of DreamWorks went about constructing the story and establishing the characters was absolutely fantastic. I don't know about the majority of the other moviegoers in the theater but me and the others in my group were laughing real hard in almost every scene in the movie. The other difference between this one and the comic strip is that not one of the animal characters wax philosophical about the state humans are faring but rather they jump in enthusiastically once they got the hang of how things work (i.e. once they survived their first outing they became bolder and bolder in stealing things).

This still isn't near anything like what the geniuses at Pixar does, and as of this time nobody can top the way they seamlessly infuse a lot of heart and soul into their works but DreamWorks is the clear choice for being a second placer. Not a real close second but they're beating their own path and it would be amost perfect if they only drop off a few annoying baggages off their back (the way they banner the actors they got to voice the characters, like we're gonna remember their names once the movie gets underway and Shark Tale, 'nuff said). This is something I'd like to watch again if time permits.

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

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Going to the opening of the massive SM Mall of Asia on the outer fringes of Pasay City was the highlight of this day. The mall officially opens to the public tomorrow but that didn't those who knew about the soft opening today (invitations came via my younger brother who works at the main office). Although everybody was looking forward to this one the fatigue of waiting after having the date of the opening moved three times (December, February, and finally, May) the adrenalin rush of stepping on its polished floors was almost gone. Still, the wonder of seeing the whole building up close and the question of its ability to live up to its promise of bringing in the crowds was something that occupied our minds.

The inside of the main entrance is really spiffy looking. The first thing one would notice when you get inside were the statuesque greeters dressed in tie-dyed diaphanous gowns standing beside the red carpet that had been rolled out from the door down halfway through the floor. There was also a registration table at the right side of the red carpet where we're supposed to surrender our invites but since we missed it by a good two hours already we just signed our names. Apparently that was just for formalities since you could also get in in one of the multiple entrances they have in the building and still get in.

The airport from THE FUTURE!!! TURe-TUre-Ture-ture...


The first thing we hit was the foodcourt. The place is so huge you'd be overwhelmed first and lost second if you fail to take note of some landmarks on your way around. I was impressed with the size of the ice skating rink the first time I saw it. It had a huge picture of (what I think to be) Mount Everest as a backdrop, a hockey scoring board at the corner near where they keep the zamboni, and a built in step/seats surrounding the second level view surrounding the rink. Be wary of using the cellphone inside the food court though, you'd hardly get a signal inside and you have to walk a long way towards one of those big skylights dotting the main hall to get one. That's what happened when I tried to get in touch with my sister who we're supposed to meet a couple hours later when she gets off from work (she's also working in the main office of SM). Afterwards we went towards the back and got a glimpse of the cinemas. I don't know if has something to do with the size of the mall but my parents were understandably overwhelmed as they walked more slowly than they usually do. At least I think they did. We walked along the back of the mall and came upon the entertainment area where a lot of executives and their guests, who were dressed to the nines, were having their own cocktail party while a lot of hula dancers were performing on stage.

Fire dancers

Hula dancers

In case you don't know it yet, hula dancing was originally part of a religious ceremony in honor of the Hawaiian gods. It was a means of mythological storytelling and were primarily performed by male dancers, until the early 1820s when the first missionaries arrived and promptly forbid the new Christian converts from participating in this pagan practice. The ban was upheld by the Hawaiian royalties because it looks lascivious and because of its pagan ties until the late 1800s when it was brought back by King David Kalakaua as a legitimate symbol and expression of Hawaii. This time they brought in the girls to dance and that's how it is until now.* While watching the elegant moves on stage I began to think, what if these dances were brought back to its religious aspect and instead of honoring pagan gods what it were performed in honor and as a form of expression of praise to God? Amazing.

After the show we continued our walk toward the department store. When we arrived there, there was this refreshingly fragrant smell of everything new. There was hardly any crowd inside, the place was well lit, and the department store people placed close attention to you every need. I hate crowded areas. I hate the idea of lacking space in a place where I need to see the panorama first before diving in to details. Then there was also the 10% discount they offered that was applicable only today. My mom then started trying out some shoes while I wandered off to the backpack section. I got this nifty bag with multiple pockets and compartments for folders and such. But the main clincher was the compartment provision for a laptop (which I'm aiming to get by the end of this year). This is a good bag and it's the same large size I'm looking for too. It was around that time when my sister caught up with us and gave a short tour of the department she's in charge of. We then went down to the ground floor and browsed around some more before heading back to the main building and making a last stop at the Surplus Shop before we leave for home. My sister got the surprise of her life when she saw one of her bosses, Harley Sy. She was flabbergasted and fumbled her words in between a lot of nervous laugh as she made small talk before introducing us. The Sy scion looked definitely down to earth and accomodating, he even introduced himself to my dad as my sister's officemate. We were like, "WHAT?" in our heads before having a good laugh among ourselves on the way to the parking lot.

The Big Cheese itself.

We got our first glimpse of the IMAX theater at the parking lot. This is the next big thing that will change the way people in this country views movie watching. It's been a long time since we watched something on it and it was mind blowing. Now it's here and we can't wait to see what movie we'll be able to see there.

* Reference lifted from: In Step Studio - Polynesian (hula) Dance.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Now what?

We caught the showing of The Da Vinci Code last night at the Galleria. My dad was the one who suggested that we see it which is a bit surprising considering that my Dad's a die hard Catholic (not so much with the "Roman" part after having a personal encounter with God some years ago). It was the first day of showing and we had to rush to the box office before settling down to have dinner so as to secure our place in one of the scheduled showings. My sister was also able to join us at the last minute. So what do I think about the film that generated so much controversy surrounding the person of Jesus? There was 50% disappointment for the handling of the story, 30% entertainment for the special effects and neat symbols, and 10% annoyance with the "big" revelation by Sir Ian McKellen's Teabing character halfway through the film.

Tom Hank's Robert Langdon was ok. The hair wasn't that distracting as I previously it would be. The deciphering parts were ok but there wasn't that much drawn out sense of urgency hanging over them. I haven't read the book yet so I haven't got any idea what was left out and what was changed but comparing it to previous movies with a treasure hunt theme (Nicholas Cage and "National Treasure" comes to mind right now) Director Ron Howard could have deepened the suspense a bit more by adding a few more details to keep the audience more involved with the characters. With regards to the religious side, aside from the annoyance in that one scene in the movie that I mentioned earlier it was majorly forgettable. This was beside my feeble rooting for Langdon for standing up to his old friend (who later turned out to be a raving maniac). We've all heard of the controversy before and there wasn't anything new to say. I'm not sure if those who are weak in the faith will have these shaken out of their system but the good news is that the dialogue about the person of Christ will hopefully help a lot of His followers open a discussion with those who are seeking the truth. The fanatical clergy of the Catholic Church and all those who called for the movie's ban can now heave a sigh of relief (too little, too late don't you think considering the book preceded the film for a good three years). As for the code itself, just in case you missed it, it's oval in shape, it comes in red and green colors and the French call it pomme. Too anticlimactic if you ask me. All these riddles and trouble for this everyday object. The only winner I see in all this hullabaloo are the tourism offices of Paris, London, and Scotland. Only they a very good reason to smile.

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

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Surprise, surprise! I have a fair amount of extra strips this month, some of which will not be seeing print in the weekly paper. Another reason why I'm skipping some strips from CLASS would be because of the imminent plan to have it printed in a book (hopefully come Komikon this coming October I'd have the book at hand). And although this is also a retro posting of a strip that was created around the third week June the placement of this particular strip is correct. It precedes the others that came after this one. Oh yeah, a couple of lines in this strip were inspired by a pivotal scene in one my top favorite movies of all time.

* This is a bonus strip.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The original strip that I submitted to the paper was revised a bit for the simple reason that I wasn't satisfied with the drawing I did. It was done in a hurry and not through the usual process of creating a thumbnail and weighing the dialogue for impact and delivery. But there wasn't anything simple about this revision. I had to tweak the angles here and there, I positioned and repositioned the characters over again and what I initially thought to have a weak punchline turned out to be something good after I gave it a once-over.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I usually don't like to travel far from the beaten path. The path being the ones I usually haunt not far from home. Travelling far usually entails a lot of traffic jams, overcrowded transportation, the heat, and other what-have-yous that make commuting such a drag. But when a good friend from college called me saying he's confined in the hospital for reasons unknown I know I can't not visit. It's been an awful long time since I last commuted to Manila so what I thought to be a faster travel time due to the commuter trains turned out to be the same as the time I could have spent if I travelled there by jeep. I even overshot the route by a good 20 minutes and Php 6.00 more. I only noticed the difference on the way back.

My friend was confined at the Chinese General Hospital in the middle of nowhere (it's nowhere when you're living at the far end of the Metro and you never experienced going there without a car). I had to dig real deep about what I know to get there, none of the people here in our house have any clue so it was useless to ask them about it. The good thing was that on the jeep I took near the street that was used to be called Gov. Forbes I found out out where Dansalan Street is located (this is useful to know in case you want to buy the same flowers you see in shops in and around the malls for less than the price they're selling it. Way, way less) and also I now know how to go to the North Cemetery just in case anybody needs to see the final resting place of our Revolutionary heroes from the late 1800s (and prolly former President Ramon Magsaysay who I'm sure is also buried there near the gates). When I finally arrived at the place I inquired his room number from the Information booth by the door and proceeded to take the elevator. When I got inside the room the first thing I noticed were the extra baggages lumped together in one corner of the room near the foot of his bed. His sister informed his mom that he was now able to eat compared to the last few days of his stay. He didn't talk much and the few times times that he did talk were barely audible but that's how he usually is either at his house or whenever there are relatives around. Nobody, as yet, knows the reason for his high fever and bum stomach but I know it was because of the stress in his work. The big stupid oaf was too accomodating for his own good as he also took on the work loads of his officemates, probably to gain their acceptance. You know how office politics work.

I stayed a good hour and a half promising to come back and visit him again (but for reasons that I have to see the final resting place of the Philippine Revolutionaries in the next door cemetery). I told him I'd come back on Saturday as he's not sure when he'll be leaving the hospital anyway. After that I went to Makati to get my check from the office of Philippine News. Seeing my good friend like that in the hospital was such a downer for me I have to go out later and get it off my mind. I just hope I have the will to commute back to Manila on Saturday. We'll see how it turns out later this week.

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's another slow today with nothing much to post except for this review for Siglo: Passion (which I was a part of) written by Mr. Ruel de Vera in the Philippine Daily Inquirer which came out about a month ago:
The darkness and light of 'Passion'
By Ruel S. de Vera

"Siglo: Passion"
Edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Vincent Simbulan
Kestrel IMC, Nautilus Comics and Quest Ventures
QC, 2005, 200 pages

AMBITION IS THE MIGHTY scaffolding of literary and visual feat: the greater the height to be scaled, the more substantial the risk, the more abundant the possible reward. And yet that attempt can be breathtaking by itself, a challenge to the void, a call to arms against the mundane.

This is the gap being minded-and crossed -by the comic-book anthology "Siglo." Edited by comic-book veterans Dean Francis Alfar and Vincent Simbulan, the daring, award-winning "Siglo: Freedom" gathered short pieces of what Alfar calls "grafiction" that unfurled varied artistic styles and dissected diverse aspects of the Filipino's experience of liberty.

Two years later, Alfar and Simbulan have spawned the next incarnation in the "Siglo" saga, "Siglo: Passion," an even worthier adventurer in the graphical and literary continuity that is Filipino comic books. The big idea is, as the editors write in the introduction, to expose "the boundless enthusiasm that drives us to be both baneful and divine; to aspire to exalted heights or sink to ignoble depths."

"Siglo: Passion's" cast is prodigious, an assembly of international stars, local stalwarts, award-winners, up-and-coming kid wonders.

Aside from the two editors, there's Nikki Go-Alfar, Lan Medina, Reno Maniquis, Edgar Tadeo, Hiyas de Guzman, Vicente Groyon, Honoel Ibardolaza, Paolo Manalo, Andrew Drilon, Carlo Vergara, Jason Banico, Marco Dimaano, Quark Henares, Antonio Abad, Ma-an Asuncion, Gerry Alanguilan, Jaime Bautista, Michelle Soneja, Cyan Abad-Jugo, Luis Katigbak, Jonas Diego, Joel Chua, Ariel Atienza, Jeremy Arambulo, Angelo Suarez, Rafael Kayanan, Leinil Francis Yu, Josè Illenberger, Jac Ting Lim, Camille Portugal, Oliver Pulumbarit, Wilson Tortosa and Ma. Camille Francisco.

Primary arsenal

Twelve stories array themselves in parade as "Passion's" primary arsenal, each tackling a different decade and location. As always, the stories intend to show off the unique attributes of the writers and artists. "Passion" bookends the stories with Suarez's illustrated poems and a sensational cover by Illenberger, all in all a gorgeous package.

Solid work abounds from all around. There is a dark, dark undercurrent in "Passion" as the storytelling here is quite mature and very sophisticated. Manalo's tale, combined with Drilon's graphic gambits, generates a creepy vibe that is taken even further by Vergara's spooky, meaningful anti-romance. Alanguilan's ghost story is harrowing in its stillness.

Ibardolaza's deceptively bucolic pattern unhinges, because of how it hides and then unleashes the truth in Groyon's story. Go-Alfar's story uses the artists' strengths to craft a lushly rendered journey to unexpected and bittersweet redemption. On the other tangent, Simbulan and Atienza's cozy piece makes wise use of a recipe passed down through the generations.

The book's most hypnotic, most arresting piece is "Manila 2019." In Katigbak's reality-bending exploration through what amounts as romance and obsession at an age where the soul hides behind the oh-so-aptly chosen avatar.

How can you not get into a story that has an oversized guinea pig named Briggs walking around in a dystopian Philippines? It's a well-written parallel to what's happening among the whiz kids of today and what may happen still.

Visual stylings

Just as "Freedom" introduced to a wider audience Or and Drilon, talents who have since established themselves, "Passion" lets readers discover the pleasures of De Guzman's and Arambulo's visual stylings. Just as the first "Siglo" was a black-and-white project, "Siglo: Passion" equips itself for the next mission. While "Freedoom" deployed some of these same talents in black-and-white, "Passion" features full-color coated pages for every story; there are 12 stories instead of the predecessor's 10. Most importantly, "Passion" continues its permutation of "Siglo"'s purpose as a test bed for grafiction's possibilities in telling the Filipino story.

There are hints of whimsy and compassion, but mostly the unimpeachable inertia of love, all whipped together in a complex comic book bouquet. It's not all melodrama, manga and Manila.

In that sense, "Passion" is very much the more serious older brother of the earlier "Freedom," fulfilling the promise of the "Siglo" evolution, and, as always, setting the bar higher for whatever comes next in the "Siglo" series.

This lovingly produced, high-concept anthology deserves all the superlatives it will snare, for "Siglo: Passion" is an irresistibly dark vision of all that a Filipino comic book can be, when imbued with the right amount of emotion and devotion.

Available from all Comic Quest and Fully Booked branches.
Cozy. Just "cozy." Artists can be a fickle minded bunch. One one hand I feel slighted for the lack of details in the review about the piece I did with Vin, on the other I don't feel the same for the artwork. It wasn't mind blowing or even ground breaking. It's just that I can even barely look at the pages I did for that book. If I could do it all over again I would. Wish I myself could write a rave review of what I did for the project. Will my book get the same review when it comes out as scheduled within this year? I should be so lucky if it did.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

We didn't have anything special in store today in honor of Mother's Day whether it be breakfast or lunch but we did make up for it right early evening when we watched one of my mom's favorite artists, Paul Anka, who held a concert earlier this evening (and will also be holding one tomorrow night) at the Araneta Coliseum. As a showman he got it all as he made sure those who paid for the expensive tickets feel they're part of the show. With a cordless mike in hand he went down the stage and walked along the aisles giving those lucky people a chance to bring out their cellphones or digicams and take their pictures with him. Security were a bit jittery with this situation but they were probably briefed beforehand and told to relax. Mr. Anka also showed his family album on the screen on stage while he sang one of his slow songs (one of those pictures showed him in his heyday holding a tour of old Manila, that part was really a treat). Aside from these random wakeuppers I thought the whole thing was taking too long. There weren't much audience participaton except for maybe one or two songs. Still my mom had a good time and that's more important than anything else.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Just had a not so quiet dinner with the family at the National Sports Grill in Greenbelt. It was an ok place, I just hope they would increase the size of their servings to match the prices. Towards the end of the meal my brother though he could surprise me with the NSG crew singing the birthday song along with the requisite birthday treat but I was too quick for him and made him tell the manager to refrain from singing the song (I don't like getting people's attention at me). They were all nice about it and just quietly handed me a scoop of ice cream with a lone candle on top. After which we headed to Coffee Beans and Tea Leaves for a nightcap before heading home. Next year's gonna be another landmark year so celebrations for that one will be a blast.

Friday, May 12, 2006

You Are 22 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
What Age Do You Act?

Not bad. Guess who's turning another year older tomorrow?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

We haven't been back to San Francisco for seven years when this came out so it was all based on my imagination again. I'm not sure if ever gets that cold enough to freeze bird poop in mid-air but you can imagine how dangerous that could be if ever that happens. It was also around this time I saw Jorge's older brother, Joseph, on TV doing a round of discussions with the press (he held a small government position during former Pres. Fidel Ramos' time). I haven't met him before in high school, so it was quite a treat to be able to draw the both of them together here in one strip.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Click the image to view the extended version

This was the idea that came out in the weekly paper a couple of weeks ago (you can see that one here). I also created an extended version inserting some extra panels to properly introduce the newcomers and draw some history into them as well. But right after posting it I realized it may be more of a disadvantage making it merely amusing than funny.
This is what I've written ten days later when I finally finished with the strip and posted it in my deviantART page. I can't, for the life of me, post something I deem imperfect so even if it takes or, in this case, weeks for me to come up with something palatable I'd do so even if it means delaying a post or something. Deadlines can be a real killer but it's also a great motivator for me to constantly come up with something. With this one I felt I haven't explained things well enough with such a small space so I had to come up with a Sunday format type of strip that delves into the characters' relationship with each other which also shows bits and pieces of their history that would hopefully whet your appetites into wanting to see and know more.

Also, a great deal of reason for the delay was the corruption of the original file after a brief power interruption while I was working with it. I had to give myself space by working on two strips (ones that came out prior to this one) to exorcise all the frustrations and disappointments weighing down on me out of my system before I touched it again.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I finished the comics late last last night with not enough time for me to go out and take a breather. I'm not happy with the way it turned out so I apologize beforehand to those who will see it in print. I'll make it up to you and post the remade strip here in my blog. In the meantime check this Pearls Before Swine strip which made me laugh out loud (a sequel of sorts to the introduction of Pig's arch enemy anemone, Annie May).

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's another crazy Monday with comic strip deadlines hanging above my head like Damocle's sword hanging over my head. The thing is I only have this vague idea for a strip and as of yet it's still half-baked. It's the same problem with introducing new characters in the strip that I haven't spent time knowing prior to their introduction, the getting-to-know-you part is a brain drain and I'm not sure how they or the others would react to certain situations. This is even beside the fact that I know who they are, just the subtle details that make them unique individuals that get to me. So in lieu of another post telling you how my day went why don't you watch this video from one of my childhood crushes, Sheena Easton (which pretty much tells you how old I am but you have to admit she's hot) with her hit single, Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair).

* Those who remember the dance moves for this song with one hand cupping the right ear while the other arm is stretched overhead waving in sync with the beat while swaying side to side will get a good laugh out of this. But, hey, it's fun, right?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Here's something I got from an old, but not that old, copy of Reader's Digest:
Two PRAWNS, Tom and Christian, were swimming around in shark-infested waters discussing how difficult their lives were.

"We never know when we're going to get eaten," said Tom. "I wish I was a shark - then I wouldn't have to worry."

At that moment, a shoal of cod appeared. "Your wish is granted," they chanted and, pow, Tom turned into a great white shark. Christian, terrified of his former best friend, swam away and hid.

Months passed and life grew very lonely for Tom. Whenever he saw his old prawn friends, they swam away in fear. Christian was so upset by his oldest pal joining the enemy that he refused to leave his house.

Desperate to put things right, Tom searched everywhere for the mysterious cod. Eventually, he found them.

"Please, make me a prawn again," he begged.


- he was a shellfish once more.

With tears of joy in his little eyes, Tom swam home to Christian.

He banged on his door and said, "It's me! Tom! Come out and see how I've changed!"

"No," Christian replied. "I won't be tricked into being your dinner."

"But that was the old me," implored Tom. "I've found cod! I'm a prawn again, Christian!"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I took another online personality thingamajig that determines one's personality DNA because I was bored and I wanted to see what kind of results I'll get. It's sort of a self-affirmation thing and probably something to show others. Whatever.

Generous Visionary

With regards to my being a Visionary, here are some of the results:
Your imagination, self-assuredness, and knowledge of the world combine to make you a VISIONARY.

You have clear notions of how things could be, and the confidence to try to make them that way.

You enjoy having a routine, and prefer comfort and familiarity to risk and adventure.

You are somewhat rigid in your beliefs, which comes from both confidence and an aversion to change.

You much prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute. Your decisions are well thought out, and you're not the least bit impulsive.
It's somewhat general and at best vague but it's there. With regards to how I relate to others it says that I'm Generous. Yey. Here are some of the results:
You value time to yourself and understand how rich your private world can be—you know that you don't have to go wild to have a good time.

You are excited and energized by ideas and often enjoy things more through observation than through experience.

This tendency gives you an appreciation for different perspectives and opinions about the world.

You value spending time alone—it is while reflecting on the world around you that you often learn something new about yourself or begin to understand something that's been bothering you.

You much prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute. Your decisions are well thought out, and you're not the least bit impulsive.
Again the results are general and reveal nothing I haven't heard about but it's ok. You can read the complete results here in my personal DNA map or you can take the test for yourself if you're interested.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I'm sure everyone out there is familiar with the 30-second parody Brokeback Mountain (in Bun-O-Vision) but if you haven't the other movie flash animations (they've got Titanic, Rocky, War of the Worlds [1953 version], Casablanca, The Shining, and lots lots more) then go to click this link.

* The website is controlled and operated by Angry Alien Productions, a sole proprietorship of Jennifer Shiman.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm burned out from coloring these Thursday strips so they'll be staying this way except for a special few that will be colored. Awright, that's it. Go now. Go down the list and check out what the others have to offer. Git!

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's time for BJ's college football buddies to come pay him a visit. I've been planning this story arc months ago with the purpose of showing his hidden side, the side he only allows only a very few others to see. They're all based on real people, one of whom might be familar to y'all. I asked permission from him to use his image and he gladly gave his permission with a specific request to make him as goofy as possible. I'll see what I can do with that one. This will run for a whole month so I hope y'all like this one too.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"When I have a terrible need of - shall I say the word - religion. Then I go out and paint the stars."
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Monday, May 01, 2006

I finally figured out why I'm freaking over the movie Silent Hill. I found out about it in the course of discussing this movie along with other yadda-yaddas with my friend from college earlier tonight. Our discussions early on centered around the movie and every so often I would pepper our talks with "I don't usually watch horror films!" while filling him in on the details I've read about online. The epiphany came about after about an hour later when our discussion veered towards his personal problems.

That's when I figured out what the bottomline of the movie was. This wasn't a horror movie in the traditional sense. Except for the gory scenes and the long drawn out torture scenes near the end of the movie everything about it was a psychological thriller with emphasis on psychology and other related matters. The following is a breakdown of what I got (I don't consider myself an expert on these matters but rather what I'm sharing comes from experience and some research):

The subject, Alessa Gillespie, age 9 or maybe 10, was the victim of a great injustice. She was falsely accused, pounced on by her peers, abused by those authority figures, and betrayed by those she thought would be the ones she could trust. Lying in the hospital feeling so alone, confused and in great pain her emotions are honed into razor sharp rage as days pass. She creates a world in her mind that reflects how she feels populated by personifications of her emotions and then some:
Gray Children - Represent Alessa after the cult burnt her nearly to death. Some believe they represent Alessa herself. In the film, they cry and reach out for a motherly figure, like Rose, and try to hold on to her. A theory suggests they are manifestations of the pain and torment the children lost in the fire must have suffered. They are possible enbodements of Alessa's fear of her own peers, who bullied and tormented her. Their tormented and charred forms could be seen as Alessa's revenge upon them.

Nurses - Their blank faces have been interpreted as the fact that none of the nurses that cared for Alessa, apart from Lisa Garland (The Red Nurse) ... The nurses possibly symbolize Alessa's jealousy of beautiful women. When Alessa was burned, she was forced to live out the rest of her life in an ugly, charred shell. She would never mature sexually and would never be considered "beautiful". Another theory suggests the nurses violent nature and monstrous appearance symbolize Alessa's fear of sexuality, taking her experience with The Janitor into account.

Lying Figures - One of these faceless armless demons attacks Cybil, spraying her with an acidic, tar-like substance when she was trying to arrest Rose. The Lying Figures' siginificance has been interpreted as Alessa's pain and torment. The straight jacket imagery made of flesh symbolizes Alessa's fear of her own hospitalization and that she felt trapped in her own digustingly damaged body, unable to escape or recover.

Pyramid Head - Some feel he was created out of Dhalia Gillespie's guilt of allowing the Cult to take and burn Alessa, others feel that he is a representation of Alessa's fear of men.

The Janitor - ... When he touches the wall it decays, and holes appear that spawn creepers. This spread of "infection" the Janitor brings possibly signifies a venereal disease, imagery brought forth from Alessa's anger and utter disgust at the Janitor. Now, he cannot touch anything without it becoming stinking, corrupt and fetid.*

* Much of the other creatures in the game represent other people's fears, particularly those of the protagonists.
Creating an alternate world as a refuge from the real world when it becomes too unsafe to dwell in is a natural reaction, a coping mechanism, as some of us knows. This is especially true with those who are specifically emotionally vulnerable like children and the sensitive types, those who are predisposed to melancholic temperaments like artists. Prior to discovering that other cartoonists who write their own materials, I thought the idea of using real people to populate one's comic strip was an original idea until I met other people online and in real life who were doing the same. That's when it became really interesting. We usually use people who for one reason or another made quite an impression that we immortalize them inside this parallel world that we made preserving them in the same age they made an impression on us. The look and feel of this parallel world depends on one's state of mind at the time. So it is on who or what is thriving inside it. In Alessa's case her rage created a facsimile of the town she grew up in, the underground fires blazing beneath it represents seething rage, with the only townspeople she trapped in it are the members of the cult that tortured her that she was keeping alive (her hatred for them refuses to release them and at the same time limits the perimeter of where they could go) for the various forms of her nightmare to get them.** In the same way writer-artists create a world parallel to the one they're living accustomed to, if this was created out of darkness during a time of pain and hurt the world would be self-limiting and the characters will be retained for the purpose of hunting. If it was created during a time of longing to retain the past or present, the borders may not be as limited, the adventures would be as varied, and the characters will be retained for the purpose of keeping them alive till the creator decides to leave it to thrive on its own.

* Copied from Wikipedia entry on Silent Hill monsters.
** If the movie confused you, you can read the whole story in a glance here.

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