Friday, October 11

Hearty Feast

When I see my college pictures, I realize how thin I was back then, and how... more substancial I am right now. The fact was, in college, I didn't have as much money as I do now (since we only had our allowances to spend with, meals were rationed) and I worked a lot harder. Plus everyday I had to walk a considerable distance, from building to building as I attended my classes. I remember that I and my friends would celebrate with extra-large meals when we accomplished something exceptional, or passed a difficult stage. I remember one time, we stayed at my house and did our thesis works. After it was over, we opened cans of Ma-Ling luncheon meat (yes, the same brand people now say is made from the flesh of old Chinese people), fried them on a pan and piled them on a plate. The pink mass of fried meaty stuff was then paired with a large pan of garlic rice and a bag full of piping-hot pandesal (local bread buns). We gorged ourselves on that meal but we'd probably burn it all off the next day anyway.

These days, me and my friends seldom meet, but when we do, we try to remember those times. Often, to our regret. I remember a few months ago, we met on a Sunday. We were all starving, so we ordered a large Shakey's Manager's Choice pizza with all the trimmings. While we were waiting, one of the guys brought out a bag of super-crunchy Lapid's Chicharon (pork rind). We crunched all of them down like french fries. Next, when the pizza came, we each held a litre of Coke to down it all. It was bliss.
Then, a half hour later, with everything gone, we each sat in our places, silent. No one talked for a few minutes. I even thought my heart stopped working for a moment. DAMN that was unhealthy.

I couldn't get up the next morning, and couldn't go to work for a couple of days. Cholesterol muscle pains or just my imagination? Suffice to say, I wouldn't be having any chicaron and pizza again. At least not together. It just goes to show how different having a more active life really is from having a cushy, chair-bound job that a lot of us usually have. Gotta be careful. I don't smoke or drink, but there are many dangerous pleasures out there, and without moderation we can just conk out, just like that.

Mmm. But what a way to go... Heh heh.... Sigh.

Thursday, October 10

"Game over man, game over!!"

From UK gaming site,, this bit of news...
A 24-year old man in South Korea apparently died after playing online games at an internet cafe. The man passed out from exhaustion after playing non-stop for 86 hours. In the several days of gaming, the man didn't stop for any meals or rest breaks. He eventually collapsed but regained consciousness. The guy, who is not named, was later found dead in the rest room. What exactly the game he died playing was isn't mentioned.

All I can say is... The HELL..!?
Foot Fetish

Last Tuesday night, I went with my friends Arnold, Cynthia and Jason to Madison Square in Greenhills for dinner. On our way, Cynthia remarked about wanting me to try some large toes. I blinked. Did I hear that right? LARGE TOES?
It got me thinking. There are many turn-ons in this world. What 'does' it for many probably doesn't 'do' it for some. There are really weird fetishes and styles, from the horrible and disgusting to the laughably kinky and odd.
One of these is the fetish for feet. I have an impression that this is probably a very widespread fetish, and many guys who probably have it probably either don't actually think it's a fetish, or keep it secret. Then again, it could probably be just attraction, since the human foot, particularly the female foot, is actually an erogenous zone. Many, if not most women, at least here in our country, don't usually or readily allow their feet to be touched or even stared at. They're pretty sensitive and often women don't want them to be the object of attention.
In a weird contrast though, feet have to be kept well-groomed for public scrutiny. What else are expensive, fancy pedicures, bright nail polishes and 'boso' (peeky) sandals for if not to attract and allure? Where does the term 'playing footsie' come from other than from sensual teasing (then again, if you're from Europe or Brazil it probably means football)? In movies, star actresses have to hire or use body doubles with flawless feet so they don't show their varicose-veined limbs in extreme close-ups.
I have known people or heard of those who seem to have foot fetishes. A lady friend of mine once talked about how her brother and his friends would remark about how incredible a girl's feet looked, and how they'd imagine how it would be to kiss or lick them. One time, I was eating with a friend in a restaurant when an attractive mestiza woman came in. I looked at her from head to toe and thought, she was a babe. When I told my friend about her, he only snorted and said, "Man, her feet are dirty." And it was true, actually. So, feet aren't just things that bring us to places. When we mention feet, some people are turned on where for many, the first things that come to mind are foot odours or athlete's foot.
In any case, you'd probably ask me, do I find feet sexy? I'd probably be lying if I said no. I don't get a hard on every time I see bare feet though. I don't fancy getting trampled or sucking on dirty, smelly toes. But I do find clean, well-groomed and well-formed women's feet attractive (no, I do NOT find men's feet attractive at all)... though not exclusively by themselves. They're part of a whole, and even the most perfect feet in the world wouldn't make an ugly woman any prettier (in the same way that ugly feet that have dead toenails would spoil the overall look of even a beautiful model).
Perhaps it came from my studies in art. It's a fact that the hardest part of the human body to illustrate are the hands and particularly bare feet. Many, many artists find it difficult to fathom the foot's shape, the digits and the various poses in standing, walking, side or front views. I remember during figure drawing class, many of my classmates would try to cop out of drawing feet by putting them behind bushes or rocks. Of course the professor would have them remove the offending obstacles. Even in commercial comics, many otherwise skilled artists seem to avoid drawing bare feet.
Well, that's where I differ. I don't find feet unattractive, so I was probably able to study them and eventually master drawing them to a degree. So now, anyone who reads my comic books would probably notice that I often draw my characters (particularly the female characters) barefoot. It's because I CAN. I am proud that I can do that. I can't draw buildings, cars or animals. But one thing that I can draw really well are feet. HAH.
Which is a good thing, since I wouldn't have even ventured doing the Immacolata comic that I am working on right now (barefoot heroine) if I couldn't draw her feet well. So I guess I do think that feet can be sexy, especially maybe with a nice anklet or toe ring or... ah...

Oh, yeah. About Cynthia's offer of trying Large Toes...

Well, actually I DID hear her wrong. She wanted us to try a place called Lord Stowes. Apparently they serve the most delicious egg tarts there.

Ahem... Moving on, moving on...

Wednesday, October 9


I remember this heartbreakingly-depressing Twilight Zone episode I saw years ago about a retarded man who had the power to call or materialize anything he wants from thin air. All he needed was the a picture or image of the thing he wants. After a wonder-filled uttering of the word, 'BRING!', the desired object would appear.
Of course, this is The Twilight Zone I'm talking about so it would have to have an ironic, evil twist to it. For starters, the kid couldn't bring anything alive safely; animals 'summoned' turned up dead (so the father has his hands full burying the remains in their yard). The climax of the episode was the 'bringing' of the kid's dead mother, who appears still dressed in her burial dress. Creepy.

Anyway, the point is that we always seem to want or desire something. Maybe it shows what our priorities are, how petty or how playful or greedy we are. Or simply, who we are. Well, who am I? I just live in the moment, and look for fun stuff and things to pass the time till the next desire comes along. Top of mind, what are ten things I would want to have right now (money not included, and only material things)?

I want a POWERFUL computer with a free cable internet connection. .
I want a copy of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball for my Xbox.
I want a Nokia 7650 (Would probably lose it to pickpockets after a week though)
I want a Lazyboy easy chair in my room.
I want a Nintendo Gamecube.
I want an obscenely huge flatscreen TV.
I want the 4th DVD box set of the Inu Yasha (anime) series.
I want a color Xerox machine/printer.
I want the LOTR Extended Version DVD set.
I want a damn car. With a damn driver.

It's funny. Most are silly, petty knick knacks. Most of them I can probably get if I work for them. Some are just pipe dreams. But these things are what keep us going every day, every hour, every second. Everyone has to have a hobby, a goal or whatever to keep chugging along. No doubt, this list will change in a day or two or maybe even an hour from now.
On second thought, maybe it's for the best that I don't have that Twilight Zone power. That episode ended with a Solar Flare frying the kid and his dad. I plan on writing and re-writing as many more lists of "wants" and "bring me's" for a long time to come.
Got balls?

In the morning I usually take the MRT along EDSA to get to work in Makati. Sometimes, when I'm running a little late, I stop by a row of kiosks at Farmer's Plaza, which sells fast food. My usual order is a couple of servings of squid balls with sweet and sour sauce, and two cups of ice-cold gulaman. I order two cups since I drink and finish the first one just as my squid balls get cooked. Ahh. Nothing like a spicy snack to get you going and a mildly sweet, cold drink to get it all down.

Have to remember to take mints after though.

Tuesday, October 8

Immacolata Comic Developments

I was able to finish a long-overdue artwork for Dean Alfar's The Lost # 3 last night. Hopefully we'll be seeing the finished issue before the year ends from Kestrelstudios. It was a bit jarring to draw Immacolata in her 'evil' mode, since I am presently doing her as a heroine in our group project. Anyway, on the Immacolata comic, I have pencilled three more pages, which show for the first time the initial antagonists the Fury of Hinirang will face. The Familia Camorra is made up of a trio of main baddies; Don Roberto Pelaiz Belasco Camorra is the clan patriarch, and is supported by his two children; Della Solera and Gilberto. All three of the Camorra are ruthless and sadistic, and each has their own powers.
Gilberto is his father's main henchman and commands the family's packs of Tauso (man-dogs). He's a bit of a control freak and breaking Immacolata to his will soon becomes an obsession.
Del Sol is a trained assassin and temptress, well-versed in the forbidden arts of Kulam. She's also extremely violent, bloodthirsty and cruel.
Finally, Don Roberto is a wizard and alchemist, and always covers his tracks well with spells and minions. Immacolata will have her hands full with this vile clan. I'll try to have sketches and samples up soon.

Monday, October 7

Dark Skies

I'm sitting at my desk at the office. Right now I'm staring at the sky over Metro Manila, which has become dark and murky... as if the whole world became like an RTS videogame with the fog of war. This afternoon it didn't look like rain. Now it looks like some dread apocalypse is about to strike our unworthy heads. Rain. Irritating, getting-in-your-shoes, tapping-on-your-noggin, drizzly rain. Recently the weather's been turning really weird. Effects of global warming? The greenhouse effect? Or just lots of weddings between Tikbalangs and Kapres? Guess we'll never really know...
So Bad It's Good: First Knight

Last night I got to watch the old Arthurian action-flick, First Knight on HBO. This Jerry Zucker-directed flick stars Richard Gere as a scruffy, masterless swordsman named Lancelot, Julia Ormond as Guinevere and Sean Connery as King Arthur. You know, I always laugh when I see this film because it just reminds me of a castle-age Star Trek. It's probably because the super-clean blue costumes of Arthur's knights (which remind me of the red suits from the Enterprise); they look so futuristic and unsuited for an armoured knights movie. But I have to say, the suits really do make it easy for viewers to distinguish the good from the bad (the baddies wear black armor and come with dirty faces, predictably).
The story is a shortcut version of the classic Camelot story; This is no Excalibur though, so characters like Morgan Le Fay, Mordred and any of the 'name' knights of the Round Table are absent. All we get for a villain is the suitably arrogant Prince Malagant (Ben Cross), an ex-Arthurian Knight who has dreams of seeing Camelot under his armored bootheel. Of course, Arthur's queen-to-be, Guinevere, is smack-dab in the middle of the fighting, plus a forbidden romance with Lancelot is in the brewing as well. Poor Arthur just gets to be regal and kind and idealistic before his heart gets broken, then a finale that's as ridiculous as it is fun to watch.
One of the high points of First Knight for me is the idiotic ending battle. In the midst of a trial held against Guinevere and Lancelot by Arthur (who happened upon their one last kiss, tragically and predictably), Malagant and his army magically appear all around the walls and into the castle (Where the hell did they come from?!?) and, holds the whole kingdom at crossbow-point!
Malagant: "Nobody move, or Arthur DIES!"
There's the customary villain's offer, the customary defiant last act, and then a wild battle and free-for-all that decides the fate of Camelot.
First Knight has tons of laughable stuff; the miscasting of Gere, the quite absurdly quick way they do swordfights, those irritating mini-crossbows the bad guys have, the stupidity of Camelot's soldiers (Malagant's men are waaaaay more innovative and clever!) and just how clean everything looks (even Arthur's death scene is clean!). But strangely enough, I love watching the film whenever it's shown. Maybe it's because of some quite nicely-set up battles and some atmospheric sets. Maybe it's just the way how it's played so straight despite how campy, hammy and over-the-top absurd it can get. So bad it's damn fun. It's right up there with Demolition Man, Masters of the Universe and other HBO veteran features. They just make time move so fast. Wahahahahahaha!!!

Sunday, October 6

The Madman's Favorite Spaghetti...

Yet another MAD with Hunger post. This is a madman's choice. The evaluation is not made by ingredients or Italian taste or actual quality or price necessarily... just be sheer taste and satisfaction that makes me come back again and again and crave for another serving. And this category involves spaghetti noodles with predominantly tomato-based beef sauce, so no fancy-smancy white sauces or other pastas are considered.
Second Runner-Up: Black Pepper Spaghetti, Lola's Restaurant. Actually I don't remember exactly where this quaint little restaurant is, but I remember it's a converted house within a residential area near Timog Avenue. The spaghetti is a bowl of nice, al dente pasta with extremely tasty and savoury-spicy sauce that just reeks with black pepper. Delicious! Plus, the bread that comes with it is scrumptious and sops up whatever remains of the sauce really well. The only flaws here is that the restaurant is kinda hard to find and a bit pricey.
First Runner-Up: Spaghetti at Pancake House. The only spaghetti in a relatively fast food-type restaurant that I would consider buying for its absurd price just because it tastes great. Really meaty and satisfying and comes with tasty garlicky bread. I remember years ago when I was a kid it even came with a little cup of cheese you can dump on top yourself (nowadays they put the cheese on automatically). Again, the price is a bit of a flaw.
The Winner is: Mister Spaghetti at Mister Donut. HAHAHAHAHAHA! You were expecting Jollispaghetti or McSpaghetti? No Way! Mister Donut's spaghetti has the really savoury-garlicky-sweet sauce that I can eat again and again without fail. While it doesn't come with any garlic bread, you can order a cheezy-dog goodwich to go with it. At the low price, you can have a dessert donut and drink without ever getting close to spending a hundred pesos. From price to taste, this is perfect! Yummy! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Honorable Mentions: A&W's spaghetti is cheap and really tasty, but the restaurant has seen better days. Still recommended.

Damn. Now I'm hungry again.
Spirited Away

After a relatively early end to an evening, me, Mike and Jason decided to watch some anime at the Sanctum Sanitarium. We eventually committed to watching Spirited Away, the latest animated classic and blockbuster from anime icon Hayao Miyazaki. SPOILER WARNING!
Spirited Away is all about the adventures of Chihiro, a ten-year old girl who finds herself trapped in a fantastic situation where she can really only rely on herself to survive. While she and her parents are driving to their new home, they are drawn into a strange tunnel which leads to what appears to be a mysterious, seemingly abandoned village. The smells and sights of some prepared food causes her parents to start eating like pigs... and soon, they actually become pigs! Chihiro then learns that she and her parents have trespassed in a magical bathhouse for spirits and gods, where humans are not allowed. Only Chihiro can get them out of this predicament... not by fighting or escaping, but by working hard and earning her keep from the bathhouse's fickle owner, Yubaba the sorcereress.
For anime fans used to action and fighting anime, and action from other Miyazaki flicks such as Nausicaa, Laputa and even Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away may be a bit jarring. There are no enemies to fight, since even the closest character to being a villain, Yubaba, isn't wholly evil (just very, very greedy and cagey). But Swept Away's charm lies in seeing the absurd situations Chihiro finds herself up against, and then seeing how this plucky but always-polite ten-year old overcomes it. The imagery and animation is awesome, with gorgeous atmosphere and magical sights in almost every screen. The music as well suits the visuals well, and everything mixes into a more than two-hour experience that even had me, a total action-sex and violence freak, enthralled.

Actually it worked too well. Mike and Jason were still in my sanctum into the wee hours of the morning, but they were trapped since the film still hadn't finished. In the end though, it was all time worth taken. Spirited Away isn't my favorite among Miyazaki's masterpieces, but it is certainly worth a part of any anime otaku's collection.