Saturday, January 4


I caught a snippet of a feature on AXN about Zhang Yi Mou's HERO, which is supposed to be the next big Asian film after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Set after the assassination of the first Chinese emperor, it is all about the preconceptions and misconceptions about just what a 'hero' is, in the context of Chinese culture.
The film features a who's who of Hong Kong stars: Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung. I got to read a feature about it in TIME months and months ago, but now was the first time I actually saw footage. The movie is set in the 'Warring States' period of ancient China (which was like, 2000 years ago) and has a high-stakes storyline of ambitious emperors, divinely powerful assassins and forbidden love. Wow.
Like Crouching Tiger, HERO features lots of over-the-top wirework martial arts, flying fight sequences, dazzling swordplay and BIG army scenes. The oriental armor and equipment of the armies look authentic, and the LIVE masses of fighting men (as opposed to the CG creatures of LOTR) evokes a different feel. This film looks to impress in 2003.
One Down.

Yesterday I finished the Baylans script; which is probably something of a record for me since that was probably a 100+ page script in a few hours. Heh. Well, it wasn't really a long script given to long dialogue, so it's not something to call Ripley's about. Anyway, now the ball is in the artist's court, and both Jason and I will work together on helping the story come to life on the page.
Anyway, we had dinner last night at one of our favorites; Country Waffles. We celebrated Dean's birthday (the day before yesterday) and chatted the night away with another host of varied topics, though most of it revolved around Sage, the Alfar's unica hija who seems to have mesmerized their whole building with her charm. Heh. We also celebrated the coming home of Cams from her months-long vacation in the US.
Sigh... only a day and a half left of the vacation. On Monday, I start work again. It's no biggie; I actually want time to move forward since there are lots of things I want to see happen ahead in 2003. Have to keep at Angel Ace so I don't lose momentum (like a cavalry charge of Rohirrim going against Uruk-Hai... have you seen The Two Towers already?). Also have a couple of other comics projects, which range from very short and sweet to somewhat longer.
Lots of stuff to do. So little time to do it... ah. What a cliche. Heh.

Friday, January 3

Pulling an Overnighter

It's eight o' clock in the morning and I haven't slept a wink YET. Whether it was because of all the carbonated drinks I had or sudden inspiration, I just kept thinking of how to finish the Baylans graphic novel script. I kept on it all night as I lay in bed, and finally I just resolved to just sit up and WRITE it. Well, type it, actually. Well, I actually haven't finished it all, but I have finished the third chapter, so all that's left is the final 4th endgame part. It's a lot different from a previous version of the Baylans story which I did for Jason before, but I think it's more true to itself since it all sprang from scratch. I think everything fits better too. Hope it's all worth it.
Anyway, to recap, Baylans is a story originally created by Jason Banico. It's all about a group of technophiles and rebels who fight a military dictator and evil supernatural forces in a future Philippines. There's magic, monsters, websurfing, virtual reality, lost love, new love, action, martial arts, hidden villains, misguided spirits and more. And yes, I even got to put in a love story and hot babes. Heh. If nothing goes wrong, the Baylans graphic novel should see print this year. Hope, hope.
Now then. Do I try to get some sleep, or breakfast? Heh.
Mystic Heroes

Naja's idea of a date is pitched combat against raging demons. You like?

PS2 gamers would probably want to check out Koei's Mystic Heroes. This is very similar in gameplay to the more established Dynasty Warriors series, in that you control a single character who wades into masses of enemies, striking down everyone in sight. I actually kinda like DW, but I really could never get into the complicated Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, and for the life of me I can't tell apart any of the gazillion-or-so Ancient Chinese generals you fight with; Lu Bu, Cao Cao... what-what? Who-who? BAH. Anyway, Mystic Heroes simplifies things. First of all, the look is more cute and cartoony, with characters having slightly child-like proportions (not too SD, fortunately). The story is also more whimsical. In ancient China, an evil emperor and his minions escape from an eternal prison they were condemned to. The rare event of a comet passing overhead gives them enough power to break out and resurrect their armies of evil undead warriors, monsters and robots. So now, it's up to the heroes who kicked their butts before to put paid to them for good. Simple, no?
Anyway, there are four initial playables: Shiga is a sword-wielding warrior who uses fire, and Lani is his partner, a sorceress specializing in ice spells. On another front in the story is the team of Tai and Naja. Tai is a scholarly monk and wizard who waves a wand/baton and casts lightning; Naja is a tomboyish celestial warrior maiden who carries a glaive and uses fire. Another four characters can be unlocked by beating the game modes.
The main game is mission/episode-based, with you leading your small band (the rest of your party are CPU-controlled and independent of you) against throngs and throngs of cannon fodder and a stage boss. The controls are tight and simple, and while repetitive is quite engaging. It helps that the stages aren't too long, so you can try for stages in short plays and come back after a while. The graphics are high resolution and clean, with cool and cute character designs and lots of magical effects and explosions. The PS2 version also has extra modes like multiplayer, survival and mission games. Bonuses include 'runes' and spells that you can use to 'level up' (make stronger) your characters and carry it over to repeated plays.
Lots of cute but exciting graphics and animation, mindless action and fun is to be had here. Simple, sweet, and no need to memorize names like Hu Cho, Ghou Wang or whatever. Gah.

Thursday, January 2

Two Towers Redux

My friend, Pot, came over to the Sanctum and brought a pirated dvd copy of The Two Towers. Unlike the bootleg of Fellowship last year, this copy was pretty horrible. If I hadn't seen the movie before, I would have refused to let him play it. Bleech. Anyway, as he watched I was able to do stuff, like write more pages of the Baylans script (finished Chapter Two in three hours! WOOHOO!) and draw some more pages of Angel Ace. Productive. That's why I like having someone come in the Sanctum to occupy the TV and bed... forces me to keep busy. Heh. Still on vacation leave tomorrow, so I still have a few more days to myself before... work. Anyway, life goes on. Gotta enjoy what's left of my long vacation.
Out There
Last night I caught a special on AXN about The World's Freakiest Foods. Of course, one of the cooky culinaries featured was the Philippine balut, or aborted duck eggs (okay, that's putting it harshly). I have to admit, I am Filipino but I HATE balut. Can't stand the smell, can't stand the taste... and come on... the way the stuff looks would make H.R. Giger barf! BLECH. Anyway, as if to flog a dead horse (or duck, as the case may be), they actually showed the raw duck egg at several stages of growth, cracking the thing open and pouring the bloody, slushy and unformed mass of bloody stuff pool in a bowl! GRRRRROOOOOOSSSSS!!!!
But of course, that really wasn't the most freaky thing I saw in the show. Not even the all-garlic festival in Gilroy, California. Not even the rats or insect food. What really stumped me was the 'musical instrument' Aussies have, called a wobble board. It's just a board... that they... er... wobble. You know the sound made by shaking and vibrating an illustration board? Australians DANCE to that! It's music to them! THE HELL-?! Now THAT is out there. Well, I guess in the Outback, you take and use whatever you can. Heh.
Freaky. Freaky, freaky, freaky, freaky... FREAKY!

Wednesday, January 1


Had a nice dinner with the whole family, feasting on spaghetti, potato salad, embutido, lamb kaldereta, paella and chicken. All this while we watched David Blaine do magic and levitate on AXN. Heh. Afterwards, we had the first family picture-taking in a long, long time. Things are really good, except for some of the kids having little quarrels and grumbline in front of the camera. Oh well. Kids. Heh-heh. Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 31

10 Things to look forward to and occupy my time this new year 2003

It's not even 2003 yet and my time already seems to be spoken for...

1. Publishing a new Angel Ace comic. THIS is a priority!!!

2. Working and Playing on with my Questventures friends: Arnold and Cynthia (who are engaged!!! Congrats!!!!), Carl, Dean and Gig, Jason and Cams, Dino and Vinnie Mike.

3. Updating the Hinirang website with more Immacolata pages.

4. Work. Yeah, yeah. Well, it pays the bills and stuff.

5. Playing the latest PS2 and Xbox games. DOAX, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Final Fantasy X2, Soul Calibur 2... This year is going to be a Gamer Year.

6. Watching TechTV not just for Extended Play, but for Anime as well!

7. Movies. X-Men 2. Matrix Sequels (and the Animatrix too on DVD). Return of the King. DAAAAAAMMMNNN!

8. Getting my hands on new stuff. How about a widescreen TV? Digital camera? Okay... I'll settle for upgrading my PC.

9. Making more people read this blog and go Stark Raving MAD. Heh.

10. Insert Other Stuff to DO HERE. I can always change this!

HAHA! THE WORLD IS AT MY OYSTER!!! (Or something like that...)
A Quiet New Year

Every year, the Philippines' New Year celebrations are getting less noisy. I remember in my youth, it sounded literally like World War 3 every January. As early as Christmas, you could hear firecrackers exploding in the distance. My family also usually have some kind of noisemaking pyrotechnics, mostly from my brother or dad. But these days, safety rather than old tradition seems to be reigning. Every year, stupidity costs hundreds of people fingers and other body parts (or even their lives) by playing dangerously with firecrackers. It appears that the campaign of various media to curb the use of firecrackers is working. Since last year, our house has just watched or listened to other people burn their money on expensive booms. I don't spend a centavo on even watusi anymore.
Perhaps it's also because of the recent terrorist activities; maybe people are paranoid of explosions. Sigh. Anyway, right now, it's actually raining... a rarity on New Year. Maybe it's a sign. But then again explosions will probably never truly disappear from the Philippines. Maybe someday we can all just move from firecrackers to fireworks instead.

Whatever. Only a few more hours to go. A new year is coming... like a thief in the night. Heh.
Looking Back at 2002

This past year wasn't my best year. It was pretty much a year of establishing new stuff, coasting with it, and getting motivation to eventually leave the status quo. I found a new job midway into the year, kept in with a creative and prolific gang of friends and compatriots, and found time to work on group projects such as the Filipino fantasy website Hinirang and the anime/manga/comic event of the year, the C3Con.
It wasn't all good; I had to go through (and am still going through) difficulties at work, having to deal with many difficult... elements. However, I am a trooper and I will be professional about it. If anything, I am looking forward to doing better and greater stuff this time around. Another thing, this time outside of work, is that I wasn't able to release a comic by myself. Yes, Angel Ace had to stay grounded for a year. Sorry, Angel.
But this year, it's going to be different. Firstly, I WILL release a new Angel Ace issue this year, hopefully within the first half of the year. I will participate and try to help in some interesting new projects and collaborate with my friends to produce cool, exciting stuff. And that's going to be my theme for the year; pushing it all a bit further. Will I do it? We'll see. But we'll give it our darndest.
Oh, and one more thing; I WILL get a copy of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Soon. Very soon. Heh.

May everyone have a safe, happy and prosperous new year.

Monday, December 30

Dabbling in Cyberpunk

Been working for the past few days. Working. During the holidays. Actually, it's fun work, so no biggie. I kept on pencilling some more pages for the next Angel Ace issue, as well as writing for the comic script thing I'm doing. Have to keep at that until automatic writing kicks in and I finish it. Well, I think it's been mentioned somewhere before, so why not say it outright. I am working with Jason Banico of Dynatica on his Baylans graphic novel. Baylans is Jason's baby, a comic/story about a future Philippines where technosages and rebels battle a military dictator and supernatural forces for the fate of the nation. The GN will be about 150 pages long, and I need to give the script over to Jason by the first week (working week) of January for his artist to work on.
Well, anyway I am not as political as Jason, nor am I a whiz at researching Filipino mythology. But I am injecting what I can from my side to make the Baylans come alive. If anything, this will be one of at least two comics I will have a part in next year (the other, of course, being Angel Ace). Well, it's coming along nicely.

36 pages done... 114 to go. HAH! Child's play. HAHAHAHA!

Er... Can someone find me a child?

Sunday, December 29

Just like old times

Last night, I went to our college batch Christmas reunion. The venue was at our friend Andrew's house, which is, aside from my house, our group gathering place. The good news was, there was an abundance of food. It was supposed to be pot-luck, so I brought a bucket of KFC chicken. Butch brought Pancit Malabon. Pot brought ice cream, Alex and his girl Weng brought cheesecakes, Mayee and Jaime brought leche flan, while Andrew's family prepared for us simply SOLID barbecue, pancit, spareribs and drinks. It was a feast. The problem was, there weren't that many people. Aside from our own group, the rest of our batch cancelled or begged off at the last minute. Sigh. Anyway, we spent the night talking about old times, bad fashions and music from the 90s, and stuff ranging from gross toilet stuff to Alex and Pot's escapades with ladies of ill-repute. Heh. After about midnight, we went off each carrying a load of food for take-home. Next year, I suggested, we make it a gang reunion party. Who cares about the rest. Bah. Well, another year, another year.