Saturday, July 26

Welcome to my turf.

Yesterday the creative department at my office went out of the salt mines to do our last workshop for the year. Every few weeks we do this to sharpen our creative thinking and get out some ads that may win us stuff in award shows. Well, for the final meet the department chose Marikina Riverbanks as the setting. You know the old saying, 'saving the best for last?' Well, that didn't apply here.
Our venue supposedly for the whole day was the Taverna Marquina, a restaurant/karaoke/bar. It is a very odd place; mixing various themes like gaudy western with the modern, utalitarian monobloc-chic. What should have tipped me off to how bad the place is was the fact that when I arrived at 9 AM, guys in tsinelas were still walking around as if they just woke up, and the waiter was dressed in casual attire. Stricly ONE-STAR, regardless of the great 'clean-up' effort our former mayor (and now MMDA chairman) Bayani Fernando was able to accomplish. World-Class this place ain't, and that goes for the WHOLE of Riverbanks. It's good for local folks, and anyone who isn't expecting anything more than a provincial-class venue. I described it as, Boracay without a beach. Or any cool restaurants. Or useful shops aside from countless cellphone accessory kiosks. Or souvenirs worth crap (unless you consider pirate DVDs, which I couldn't find anyway). That's why I don't hang out there.
Anyway, we ended the session some time after five. I went on home to rest after this weary week, too tired to go out and not wanting to take on the bumper to bumper traffic headed west. Hopefully I'll find some stuff at my good ol' Greenhills. Maybe a copy of Outlaw Volleyball. Or some other game. Or maybe some cool anime. We'll see, later today.

Thursday, July 24

The Mariachi returns

Bet you didn't know that the Robert Rodriguez films El Mariachi and Desperado were part of a trilogy, eh? Well, I didn't either. Anyway, the third and perhaps final episode of the saga of the mythical, gun-toting Mexican vigilante is coming. It's entitled Once Upon a Time in Mexico and features returning cast members Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Cheech Marin (EH? Didn't he DIE in the second film?). Johnny Depp (fresh off the plank from Pirates of the Caribbean) plays a corrupt DEA agent who lures the Mariachi back into the line of fire as a plot to assassinate the president of Mexico is hatched by an evil drug lord (Willem Dafoe). From the trailer, there's going to be enough gunplay, blood, explosions and Salma Hayek hanging off ledges to make the first two films pale in comparison. Look for this in theaters in the months ahead.
Black Wizard

A Harry Potter message forum entitled Diagon Alley has posted the first photo to show a glimpse of Gary Oldman as the character Sirius Black on the set of the next Harry Potter movie, Prisoner of Azkaban. Click here to go to the thread with the pic.
Sirius Black is a new character introduced in the third Harry Potter book, a wizard who is supposedly Big Bad Voldemort's right hand. Escaping from the wizard's prison in Azkaban, Black makes a beeline for Hogwarts and Harry Potter...

Prisoner of Azkaban is shooting right now and is supposed to have a late 2003 or early 2004 release.
Star Wars: The Adventures of Par Schaaz

Haven’t heard of this chapter in the Star Wars saga? Well, there’s a good reason for that. One is because it is set about 4000 years before the time of the movies; the Galactic Empire didn’t even exist then, nobody knew the name Skywalker or Yoda or whatever. Second, it’s a story in the latest videogame in the Star Wars franchise; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (or KOTOR for short). Third, because it hasn’t happened yet. That’s because Par Shaaz is the name I’m going to give my character, and I haven’t even gotten my copy of the game anywhere near my Xbox yet.
Yep, just got it hot off the shelf just after lunch. Actually, I was looking for Outlaw Volleyball, but according to the lady at Datablitz, some doctor beat me to their only copy. DAMN! Oh well, KOTOR is supposed to be the best thing to happen in Star Wars since lightsaber-sliced bread, according to all the rave reviews and utterly FLOODED message forums at GameFAQs. So I decided that it be worth a look-see. Anyway, it’s not just because of the reviews that I am so confident; KOTOR is also a product of Bioware, a game developer that’s synonymous with GREAT RPGs (Baldur’s Gate, anyone?). These guys have apparently fashioned a game and story that the IGN reviewer has placed ABOVE even the Star Wars films in terms of quality immersive entertainment in the SW mythos. That’s saying a lot. Well, we’ll see.

The story of KOTOR revolves around a dark time in the galaxy far, far away. This is a Star Wars not seen before in previous games or movies; At this time, the Jedi Order is HUGE, with Jedi Knights numbering in the hundreds, or even thousands. Balancing out the scheme of things is the Sith, the evil counterparts to the Jedi. Despite the death of the Sith’s last great master, a Sith Lord named Darth Malak has somehow mustered a massive and seemingly invincible armade which is pretty much tearing down the Republic star system by star system. The Jedi have been scattered, with innumerable Knights falling in battle or turning to serve the Sith.
In a last ditch effort to stem the advance of evil, a Jedi battle fleet has gathered under the command of a female Jedi named Bastila Shan...

You, the player, start off as a crew member aboard the Jedi flagship. You can either be male or female, and be one of three ‘classes’: Soldier (the Fighter), Scout (Ranger) or Rogue(Thief). As the flagship is boarded and invaded by platoons of Sith Troopers, you hasten to try and survive, your choices and performance deciding where the fate of your hero, and that of the galaxy, will fall. Whoa.
Anyway, the story isn’t totally open-ended, but like other Bioware RPGs, there are tons of places to visit, literally dozens or even hundreds of mini-quests, subquests and sideplots ot tackle. You can recruit up to nine other members in your rag-tag group of rebels (though only three of you at a time can disembark), explore various worlds in a Millennium Falcon-esque starship, learn of the ways of the Force, build your own lightsaber and ultimately, decide through your choices and actions whether you become a Jedi Knight or a Sith Lord. COOL. Heh.

I plan of tackling this game very soon. From what I’ve seen and heard, it’s going to be a ride. I just hope I keep my feet on the ground and my attention on other stuff even while I’m off travelling in some galaxy far, far away…

Wednesday, July 23


Recently, AXN's been advertising Osamu Tezuka's anime film Metropolis, which they will be showing in August as part of their anime lineup. It's story is... well... actually, it's pretty hard to say what the story is. It's about a girl android who's made to be the ultimate being by a powerful magnate, the magnate's evil adopted son who wants to kill the android (and every other robot in the city, if he could), a detective and his son who get involved, a renegade scientist and lots of robots (shades of Animatrix). Half the movie seems to be all chase scenes, while the other half is boring, but colorful cityscapes. And of course there's a cataclysmic ending where everything goes to hell... but this time, it's set to Blues music. EH?
Can't really say I like this flick. Pretty pointless, vague and just plain weird. Plus the cartoony Astro Boy characters just don't work with the overly-serious atmosphere and complicated plot. Nothing really comes together until everything falls apart. Sigh.

Watch it once if you haven't before, for the animation. Otherwise... feh.

Tuesday, July 22

Yet another raunchy volleyball game...

Players get it on in Outlaw Volleyball.

On the heels of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball comes yet another videogame bursting with T&A, white-trash humor and super spiking action. Unlike Tecmo's offering though, this new game from Hypnotix offers far more straight-up gameplay than just eye candy. Choose from a colorful cast which includes white trash, wannabee rappers, Elvis impersonators, strippers, mafia matrons, biker dudes and dudettes, punkers and more lovely people. Play heated games of volleyball in courts located in scenic locales like a women's prison, a sewer, a graveyard and more. Getting beaten up on the sand? Incite a fight and beat your opponent's brains out! It's all part of the fun in Outlaw Volleyball, for the Xbox game console.

I'm looking out for this one. Yep, I'm all in it for the gameplay. Yessiree! Heh-heh.
Hey, I feel a rant coming.

I wish I could just curl up in bed all day. Don't want to go to work. Don't want to care about deadlines, things that you don't want to do but have to, worrying about where your next paycheck's coming from or having to bother about needing to pay bills.

I wish I had a ton of cash in the bank, enough to be able to live as much as I want on the monthly interest. Just want to draw what I want. To tell the stories in my head. To just go out and chat with company I enjoy, to surf as long as I want, to be able to play any game or read any book or comic to my heart's content. I wish I didn't have to worry about how the hell I am going to find the money to publish my next comic project. I wish I had more of that darn delicious BTS cake in the fridge right now.

I wish, I wish, I wish.

But of course, as the saying goes, wishes won't wash dishes or feed fishes (or something like that). Bah.

Monday, July 21

Better Than Sex

That's what this INCREDIBLY delicious and addictive cake I tasted recently is called. Better Than Sex looks like chocolate mousse, with a white cream topping that's just at the right sweetness, and a chocolatey interior layer which is chock full of AMAZINGLY delicious cake, chocolates and other heavenly stuff. I kid you NOT. I was going back again and again and again to get pieces of this wonderful dessert. Better than Sex? Damn, I can believe that.
Anyway, you can see for yourself by heading over to the quaint little restaurant named Gayuma, located at Xavierville near Katipunan Avenue and Miriam College. I want more. Gotta get more of that cake. YUM!!!
Family Day

After spending most of the early, early Sunday morning playing some odds and ends of games like PS2's Fighter Maker 2 and Tropico 2: Pirates' Cove for the PC, I was looking forward to resting for half of the day and then getting down to some drawing and comic stuff in the other half. Well, it was not to be. Later in the afternoon, my mom asked me to come along with her and my brother and sister to Megamall. Our agenda was to buy her a new DVD player and vacuum cleaner. Seeing that it was the first time in years (or at least many months) that we had been together on a trip, I agreed. Plus, we'd be eating out. Heh.
Anyway, one thing that I discovered later was that we were going with my sister's 9-year old daughter and my brother's two little girls (who are in their seven or eight years); this pretty much translated to lots of laughing, chirpy chatter in english twang gleaned from Cartoon Network watch time all the way to the mall and beyond.
We headed up into the Megatrade Hall where an appliance fair was in full swing. The 0% interest thing was pretty much what drew my mom to buy, along with the relative inexpensive price of DVD players these days. Well, the fair was pretty bland. Lots of large-screen TVs which we could not afford, lots of new players and models of washing machines, freezers and other home items.
I felt a bit sorry for the kids since they probably went along thinking they could go and get toys from Toy Kingdom. Well, they had to content themselves with watching the featured movies on the various TV demos. I stood there, one eye on them and one eye on Pearl Harbor which was playing on a particularly nice TV. My last eye (wait... hmm...) was pretty much absorbed in sneaking surreptitious glances at the long, fair legs of a lanky young Chinese woman (who was most probably a foreigner or tourist given her 'pambahay' attire). No, she wasn't an Aubrey Miles-caliber beauty (btw, there was a nice life-size standee of the woman in the area promoting her newest movie, Prosti); but she was attractively tall, had a slim figure, long legs and wore pretty hot shorts and peeky sandals. And I pretty much noticed every other red-blooded male also copping a glance with me. Heh. Moving on...

My mom got her vacuum cleaner, and in the meantime my sister almost got herself a mammoth impulse buy of a P70,000 Digicam. WHOA! Unfortunately (or fortunately) she couldn't get it since her credit card was maxxed out. We left after a while and went into a nearby video store to get the DVD player. We bought a Next Base player for below 4K, which is pretty good considering I got my player (with components) a couple of years ago for about 20K. Argh. With the new appliances in our hands we headed off to have a late dinner.
We eventually ended up in Don Henrico's Libis, and had a nice meal of mozzarella sticks, Buffalo Wings and Fisherman's Pizza. The pizza we barely finished half of since the kids got full after the chicken. But the meal was satisfying and we headed home content.

So I had a family day. Not productive in terms of comics or gaming (though I did manage to do a character design for Kunoichi Boy), but you just can't beat a day out with the family. Especially now when these things are getting rarer and rarer (and will probably become non-existent in the next couple of years). Sigh.

Weekend's over. Damn, time's going so fast.