Saturday, January 18

I Am Alive Again.

Yahoo! The new modem works perfectly... even better than the outdated, weird internal modem in my old computer. Lovely! Lovely! Hahahahahahaha! Ahhh...
Anyway, what's in for today? I will be staying at home for a while, probably to think out the KC Strange comic pages, whose deadline has been moved up a bit. I will also have to work on some other stuff. I think I will have to postpone a trip to Greenhills... hey, is that thunder? Hmm.... probably just my imagination, but the sky darkened... anyway... Oh, yeah. I will have to postpone my weekly trip to Greenhills and stay home until late afternoon, when I go to Megamall. Gotta look for a new scanner. Plus, the fifth box set of the Inu Yasha anime series should be available for me today... which is amazing since I actually haven't watched the fourth box fully. Amazing. That will be great. Later tonight we're set to watch The Two Towers with Mike after closing down the shop. It will be my fourth watch of Peter Jackson's second part of his epic movie, Lord of the Rings. Three hours, and I still want to see it. This should be a fun weekend, and restful too. On other fronts, my long-awaited Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the Xbox is set for release in the US next week. Of course, it will probably take a bit for a copy to appear here in Manila, but I will be checking the game shelves for it come Monday. Heh. It's nice to have things to look forward to... no matter how petty or silly. It's what we live for. What makes us glad to be doing stuff and just being us.
Happy Weekend, everyone. The world is at our oyster! Heh.
The Thing is POSSESSED!!!

I came home after an evening at Chili's with the gang. It was kind of late but luckily my brother, Jun, was still awake. I needed his help to install my new modem. The current on, a Smartlink modem, had been totally unusable these past few days. I literally could not load even my homepage. Nothing. Nada. So it was with considerable surprise that I saw Jun log on and then proceed to surf on various image-heavy pages with startling quickness. WHAT THE HELL?
I surfed myself. I went to other pages loaded with pics. I tried downloading a Quicktime video. I went on large pics. It went smooth as 56k silk. DAMN! What was going on? How come in the past two days this thing acted like crap... then suddenly when Jun arrived, it was all peachy? So when my brother left, I thought of something. I disconnected the connection and started again.
It was molasses slow once more. Was I right? Was the damn modem playing around with me? Was it showing it's good work only when my brother was around? I watched the slow count of bits. The page would NOT load. I called my brother again to come to look.
I swear this is true: The moment he stepped into the room, the damn page LOADED. The thing was working fine again. FREAKY!!!!

Well, that was the last straw. I had Jun take out the possessed modem and slip in the new one. I didn't need this kind of madness. So far, the new one works well, and at least one problem has been taken care of. BAH! Now... what will I do with the stupid, capricious Smartlink monster? Take it back, or just smash the thing with that staff Jason gave me...?

Friday, January 17

A Taste of MYLK

Today I had lunch with several of my lady officemates at Greenbelt 3 (Hmm. Yet another 'power dining' foray). From the large repertoire of posh gourmet restaurants on offer, we eventually chose to dine at MYLK (the name is apparently from the acronym MY Little Kitchen). The place has a really classy 1940s American gourmet restaurant look, with large mirrors on the walls, black and white furniture, and bottles of wine and Chianti on the tables. I half-expected a Warren Beatty-esque gangster in a three-piece suit to come along and get gunned down at any moment. Anyway, what actually drew me into the place was the chef's special- Ostrich Meat. Now how did they manage that? Well, there were three available ways to have your big bird: as a salad, or as one of two main-course preps. I chose the second, which had the meat cooked ala salpicao (tender strips with sauce) on mushroom rice.
When it finally came, I was kinda surprised at how... um... puny the amount of rice was. The meat was pretty abundant though. Anyway, I bit into the saucy morsels and found out that... ostrich meat tastes just like beef. Yes. If you told me I was eating beef, I would not have known the difference. No special texture. No special aroma. No aftertaste. I can't really say if I was disappointed or not... I wouldn't have wanted it to taste weird, but at the very least I wanted ostrich to taste like something that would make me say, 'Say, that DOES taste like ostrich." It should have, for the price I paid. Sheesh.
Anyway, overall it was a nice lunch with nice conversation and ambience. A good way to spend a Friday afternoon. Cue in nice American Jazz music here.
Thus Endeth the Week

Last night, we went out after work with our Indonesian mates to watch The Two Towers at Power Plant Mall in Rockwell. We had dinner at Cibo which I described as 'power-dining' to the consternation of my CD (who eats there often). The thing is, the food's looks fancy but frankly, I prefer steak at Sizzler. It was infuriating to have slivers of tenderloin and not have gravy. Well, it WAS Italian after all... Anyway, we ate a fast dinner with our friends from Jakarta, and discovered to our amazement that Indonesians DO NOT EAT DINNER. They don't eat sweets, either! WOW! Then again, that was probably just the one guy... Heh. Of course, we had a laugh over this. Seriously though, it was nice to discover that we share many words in Filipino with Indonesia (Sayang, Kambing). Not surprising since our Indon friends Bambi and Vita could almost pass for Pinoys anyway.
Anyway, owing to the fact that the wall clock at Cibo was a bit late (unforgiveable seeing that the darn thing was bigger than most WALLS), we had to rush off to the movie and entered missing about five to ten minutes. Oh well...
Even though I had seen it twice before, The Two Towers is still a marvelous watch, and I am raring to watch again (as it was with Fellowship of the Ring)... something I did not feel with any of the new Star Wars flicks. One of my officemates was so moved by TTT, she was literally in tears as we left the theater. I have to admit, the movie has some really dramatic points, and even though it was flawed, Peter Jackson's middle part to his 9+ hour LOTR movie is a success.
I have to say I'm not easily moved by film. I can probably count on a hand the times that a film has made my eyes water. In fact, I remember that one film that actually made a tear roll down my cheek... Rocky V. Yep. Weird, eh? It was that flashback-memory scene of Rocky and his manager Mickey (played by Burgess Meredith) that did it. Watch it yourself if you want to see what can make a Madman cry. Heh. It will scare you. Hahahahaha...
Anyway, the week is almost done. There are a few kinks here and there, but I seem to be weathering it out. Got a new modem which hopefully will give me back decent to good net capability at home once I actually get it installed. I will get a new scanner over the weekend as well, so I can finally get back to doing art and comic pages.
Hah. Mopping up, mopping up...

Thursday, January 16

Fusion Cuisine

Yesterday as part of the work thing with the regional crew, we ate out at the new Greenbelt 3 Mall. The restaurant we went to was Uvo, which specializes in power-dining, fusion food. Fusion is apparently this kind of New Age cooking which uses unusual combinations of foods and ingredients. Not really my cup of tea. The most memorable thing for me there is the Mashed Potatoes, which at 600+ pesos is easily the most expensive mashed potato meal ever. Well, I guess the price is justified because the meal comes with Black Angus steak on the side. Heh.
Anyway, this is the last day of this regional thing, so by tomorrow I should be back to the usual scheme of things. I will be looking for a new modem since the Smartlink 56k modem I got recently is CRAP. Also need a new USB scanner. Sigh. I have a lot of catching up to do. Delays are bad, bad...

Wednesday, January 15


The job came in hard today; had to spend the whole time brainstorming and thinking about ideas for TV commercials with people from the Indonesia office. We had free food and nice company, but of course it's still work. Anyway, hope I can get in proper blogging time tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 14

Tech Shopping

I feel like such a computer freak. I went out and bought myself a new keyboard, a new mouse and some CD-Rs. I settled for a simple Genius keyboard, resisting the temptation to buy one of those new-fangled 'Internet' keyboards (they come with extra controls and hotkeys for surfing and using media) or hi-tech cordless keyboards. I was slightly interested by the 'bendable' keyboard, which looks like a deflated rubber pool toy for nerds. Heh. I got a new wheel mouse, which should be cool for scrolling down easier (and for zooming in nicely for various games). Finally, the CD-Rs are for backing up my tons of data, so I can ease the burden of my poor Hard Drive.
Am still conflicted on whether I should just give up and buy a new scanner or keep on trying to figure out why my old one is acting up. Are the ghosts of the countless ants finally wreaking their revenge? We'll see. The fact of the matter is that I can't let the scanner be a bottleneck for me for too long, so I have to decide before the end of the week.
Darn. I am actually excited to start using my mouse and keyboard. How's that for acting like a geek? GAH!
Kinji Fukasaku passes away...

An acclaimed Japanese director of many, many films, only one of which I have watched to my knowledge, died on Sunday, January 12, 2003, at the age of 72. This is news to me since that one film of his that I saw, the black comedy/social commentary/survival-action film Battle Royale, became one of my favorite films the first time I saw it. Director Fukasaku had been working on the sequel to his notorious, critically-acclaimed hit, literally working from intensive care. Fans and film buffs can lay their worries to rest though; before he passed away, Mr. Fukasaku turned over direction of Battle Royale 2 to his son, who wrote both chapters of the film.
Toei of Japan has set up a website for Battle Royale 2, and it has a trailer and previews of the much-awaited sequel. Click here. Before Battle Royale, Director Fukasaku had directed over 60 films, including mainstream movies like Tora!Tora!Tora!, numerous yakuza and samurai films and the odd sci-fi cult movie. He will be missed.
What Price Power? Part Two...

Last night, my brother found a wholesale way of bypassing the bugs and glitches caused by my computer 'upgrade'. Now my files have been transferred to another computer wholesale, so we can possibly escape any incompatibility and conflict issues. The good news is, the system is FAST. It can probably run a lot of programs better (I will have to re-install a lot of programs) and work well in the long run. Plus my internet connection is working again, as well as the speakers. The Bad News... My scanner STILL won't work. And since the PC's system is Windows ME, it seems some items like my video capture card (configured for Win 98/95) won't work unless I find ME drivers. Oh well. The biggest problem is the scanner, so I will have to work on that. Another thing is the fact that the machine is LOUD. Oh well. I'm glad that things are beginning to look better though. This is cramping my style, having a half-working workstation. At least, it's a nice-looking half-working workstation though. Heh.

Monday, January 13

X-Men 2 Trailer LOVE!

Have you seen the X-Men 2 (X2) trailer? No, not that sorry excuse for a teaser which just showed silver CG X-Men logos... the REAL first official trailer of the sequel to the film that made Marvel Comics a bankable movie property again. This has it all... Most of the old crew like Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue... as well as Gandalf, er, Magneto and Mystique (YES!!!). New characters shown include of course Nightcrawler, Stryker and a slick-looking Deathstrike. Lots of action too, with scenes of commandos storming the Xavier School, Wolverine going berserk, Mystique and Nightcrawler doing acrobatics (not together though), Wolverine and Deathstrike going at it, Storm piloting the Blackbird through a tornado/hurricane, Magneto being assaulted in his cell and MORE.
Download the trailer now here. X2 is set for a May 2, 2003 release. That's going to be one sweet mutant-fest.
Freaky Taxi Ride

Had things to do at the office, so in my rush I took a cab from home all the way to Ayala, Makati. Fortunately I was able to flag down a cab willing to take me all the way easy enough. However, several minutes into the ride I got uneasy. It was the driver. He was sniffling and making weird noises in his throat like he was trying to clear it or had a stuffy nose or throat. I tried to ignore but soon I realized that he was jerking and twitching his head and body about spasmodically; almost as if he was suffering withdrawal symptoms or having an epileptic attack! Despite this, he drove pretty well though... but it just looked so... odd! His convulsions were rocking the whole cab! Somehow I managed to refrain from commenting... I was afraid he'd rotate his head towards me ala Linda Blair in the Exorcist. Actually though, I didn't ask the taxi driver why he was twitching, convulsing and jerking around since he may have answered something like...

"Oh, this always happens when I forget my drugs at home."

"I am no driver... I am the LORD OF DARKNESS!!!"

"It's... it's trying to come OUT..."

"Does not compute... does not compute..."

Or worse of all...

"Twitch? What twitch?"

Anyway, obviously we got to my stop safely, and I paid and left. Yet another weird experience in my travails as a dedicated commuter. What was that all about? Don't know. Don't want to know, either. Hey... is that a twitch I feel in my neck??! AAAAAHHHHH!!!!
Freaky, freaky, freaky.... FREAKY!!!
What Price Power?

Yesterday, I finally got to upgrade my computer thanks to my brother. He let me use one of the hi-speed PCs he had lying around, and helped me transfer my Hard drive. Now my PC is an AMD Duron 750 Mhz machine, which SHOULD be a lot better and faster than my earlier Pentium III configuration. It also came with a great videocard and upgraded memory- 256K SDRam in total. With this increased power I was so pumped I finally bought myself a new computer desk, which looks simply neat.
Unfortunately, the transition has been plagued by several disturbing effects to performance. The speakers break up in sound quality seemingly at random. Using the Finder makes the machine crash. The system can't detect my scanner (so I am currently paralyzed in my art stuff) and worst of all, I am all but dead with my internet. I don't know if the new modem I got is the problem, or if it's all in the configuration settings.
On the bright side though... I finally got to play Neverwinter Nights. Way cool.
ARGH. But the rest of the current situation sucks. I hope I can get the PC back and running well again ASAP. This is cramping my style. I want to keep the upgraded power and settings though... just need the scanner and internet connection back and running well, somehow. Sigh. Why aren't things like this EVER easy?

Sunday, January 12

Watching the OTHER Ring movie...

No-brainer tip: Don't watch cursed... Bah...they never listen anyway...

Last night, me and the gang attended the premiere showing of the US version of The Ring, even as the majority of Manilenos trooped like Uruk-Hai to lay siege to theaters showing The Two Towers. Cams had treated all of us to free tickets, so naturally we all jumped to it. I had already watched the original Japanese version, and I have heard good things about the Hollywood remake. So despite an outward facade of disinterest, I was actually looking forward to seeing The Ring.
Anyway, the film basically follows the general plot of the original. A cursed videotape, a thing of rumor and urban legend, supposedly causes death in seven days to those who see its contents. When a teenager named Katie (Amber Tamblyn) does indeed die after seeing the tape, her reporter-aunt Rachel (Naomi Watts) investigates the circumstances behind her death. In doing so, she comes across the video, gets her life measured in seven days, and starts on a gauntlet of terror as she struggles to find the secret of the tape before time runs out.

There are some things that I accepted before seeing The Ring; that it would be changed a lot for the American audience; that it would have MUCH better production values, and a different treatment to the original. Which made, as I pleasantly found, for an enjoyably tense suspense-horror movie. As I have already seen the original and generally knew what was going to happen, I can't say I was 'scared''... but the more atmospheric and all-pervasive music, the much darker and atmospheric locales and settings, the closer and more intimate camera angles and shots of the actors made for a very visceral experience. Of course, there are the expected (but still maddeningly freaky) uses of sudden sounds to jar and unnerve you... the creepy images of the video itself (which contain some new elements from the original video)... and some changes in treatment that go either way for better and worse. The script changes much, such as the treatment of the force behind the curse; in a way it is made less scary because we actually see a human side to the equation, while the original film gave us a more sinister, almost alien, figure. Kudos though to young actress Daveigh Chase for still being able to freak us out after getting us to feel foolishly sympathetic to her.
The links to psychic powers, Japanese myth and legend give way to a more abstract origin of stark, pure evil in the US version. I have to say that while I have some reservations, the script works well... even excellently at times. The US version also uses more overt visuals to creep us out along with the original's subtle freakiness, along with a bit more action and tighter pacing than the Japanese film. The Ring's incredible climax, one that I will not spoil here, is impressively done and still makes for a simply incredible handle-of-your-seat-grabbing moment of fear. Love it! Heh.

Actress Daveigh Chase (Samara) was the voice of Lilo in Disney's Lilo and Stitch.

I can then say that I loved The Ring. The performances are fine, and the movie's visuals are quite beautiful and scary when they need to be. Like The Ringu, the actresses are very easy on the eyes as well.Heh. Was it better than the original? I have to say, in some ways, yes. In general though, It perhaps just reflects how good the basic story is; the sinister premise, the mystery and the building up of fear and suspense leading to a terrifying climax. Intelligent, entertaining and thoroughly absorbing stuff.
I liked The Ring so much, I want a my own copy... on DVD. Keep those VHS tapes away from me.

Some interesting bits about some of the actors... Brian Cox will next be seen in X-Men 2, as the main baddie, Stryker; he was also the original Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the film, Manhunter. Daveigh Chase was the voice of Lilo in Lilo and Stitch, and played Chihiro in the english version of the anime movie Spirited Away.