Saturday, August 2

HAISALAMAT! HAINAKU#3!!!!!


Game Girl, KC Strange and The Textmen are ready for action!

It's finally OUT!

Psicom's Hainaku!#3 mangazine is now available at Comic Quest Megamall, and soon in branches of National Bookstore and selected magazine stands/stores. Whereas the first two issues contained entirely reprinted pages of Antarctic Press's past works like Ninja High School V2, For Eternity and Gold Digger, the latest issue is composed of material from local artists and creators.

Game Girl is created and written by yours truly and drawn by Honoel Ibardolaza. It is about a young gamer dude who somehow gains possession of ALPHA, a beautiful female electronic girl who can transform into and gain the powers of any videogame vixen.

KC Strange is a character created by Nikki Alfar of Kestrelstudios. KC is a spunky investigator who specializes in cases involving the supernatural. Her first appearance was in the Levi's comic anthology AB OVO 2, and now she gets a lot more pages and more action (and shows of a lot more skin, too). In Strange Bedfellows, she investigates a rash of disappearances that involves lycanthropes and shady social clubs.

Textmen was created by Jason Banico, written by Nikki Alfar (and translated by Dean Alfar) and drawn by Armand Roy Canlas (Armor Troopers). This third part of the cellphone-toting superheroes finds them being assaulted in their own headquarters by their nemesis, The Militia. What a bad time to lose signal...

Aside from the three manga stories, the issue also features the winners of Psicom's manga character design contest. Check out the designs from aspiring manga-ka from ages nine to ninety! (Okay, maybe one of them is ninety...).

Copies of Hainaku are just waiting, so get them now. You can't miss it. Just look for the one with the BABES on the cover. Heh.
Outlaws Captured

I went to Greenhills today on my usual foray. I got some anime VCDs; the latest available episodes of the excellent Scrapped Princess, and the first four episodes of the new 'space babes' series, Divergence Eve. Don't ask me what it's about... I don't know jack about it except that it has anime girls with big boobs adventuring in space, and it's form the makers of Amazing Nurse Nanako.
But the crowning achievement of the trip is the acquisition of a copy of Outlaw Volleyball. Got what was apparently the ONLY copy in one of the stores; no other game shop had it. I had the plum pick, and I am ecstatic. Hope the copy is good. Heh.

Anyway, I wasn't the only one to spend today. Dean finally got his MUTANT DVD Player (it's one of those omnipotent Next Base players that can play pretty mcuh anything). Like a native guide in some far-flung rain forest, I led Dean and Vin to the Listening Room where we got the thing. Dean and Gig should be having lots of fun with that new toy.

Looking forward to playing volleyball tonight with some unsavoury people. Gotta try and slip in some comic work as well. Nah... I'll save that for tomorrow. Promise. Heh.
Modem Madness

I wasn't able to blog yesterday or today at the house. For some reason, the phone lines went dead and stayed dead, apparently whenever my computer (with the phone line inserted in the modem) is on. I don't know what is causing this; it just started yesterday night, and persisted today. I asked my brother, and he said that his friend has a similar problem, and mentioned that there is a rumor that PLDT is responsible, apparently restricting the use of phone lines.

CRAAAAAAPPPP!!!!! WHAT THE FRICK IS UP WITH THAT?!?

Do we have to pay extra now to use our phonelines for dial-up? Will we all have to use cable internet now? WHAT, WHAT, WHAAAAATTT!!!!!!

This sucks. I hope it's true and it's just a modem issue or a connection thing. More on this when we get to it. BAH.

Friday, August 1

PS2 version 2

I finally went and sold my old but still-going-strong PS2. I remember I got that about three or four years ago, working on a sideline to earn the twenty plus-thousand k's to buy the thing. Yep, these days a PS2, brand new with all the trimmings will cost you about fifteen or less, and that will net you along with it a couple of controllers, a bunch of dvd copy-games and a memory card. Sigh. That's the price for early adopters like myself- have to have the console as soon as possible. But then again, it's been like three years... I think I was able to play my money's worth over everyone else after all that time.
Anyway, the old PS2 was a veteran warhorse; in all the time that passed since I bought it, it never once required servicing or even cleaning. The only flaws in it were the old-style 'disc-swapping' technique for loading games (present models have dispensed with this, now having a direct-loading thing) and the fact that some discs that work for the present systems won't work on it (you will have to find a copy that will run for it, which may amount to repeatedly buying copies). Despite these flaws, I had GREAT times with the thing; playing Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2, Tekken (Tag Tournament and T4), Dead or Alive 2 and more.
Another cool thing about my old PS2 was the DVD trick; since it was a first-gen model, it could play theoretically any NTSC DVD thanks to a little cheat. However, new DVD-Rs don't seem to run on it. Oh well.

Well, I've sold the ol' PS2 off, for a fraction of the amount I bought it with. That amount went to getting... ANOTHER PS2. Yep, I got the newer model from my friend Dean, who has no more use for the console after playing through Suikoden 3 (a game which I have yet to finish). It's the direct-loading model, so I can easily play my games and use discs my old PS2 had problems with. It's bliss. But of course, the new one isn't totally perfect; it seems to have lost the ability to play original PSOne discs... darn! You can't win 'em all, I guess.

Perhaps over the weekend I can 'break in' the unit with some hours of play. In between comic chores and Xbox gaming, that is. Or maybe I should just have some chips and soda. Or a Better Than Sex cake. Mmmm. Heh.
Odd Man Out

Last night I rushed through heavy EDSA traffic to get to my college batchmate's house to celebrate his birthday. It may seem kinda late at about nine PM, but that's just about the time I usually have dinner anyway these days.
I got there and we had our friend's customary feast of home-cooked pancit, Kentucky Fried Chicken, caldereta and ice-cold Coke. Birthday cake (with those nice sugar flowers...) and ice cream rounded off the party.
I have to say though that I noticed (quite easily) that I was the only single in the place. Everyone had a girlfriend or boyfriend, and the whole night was pretty much schmoozing along with the usual chats and reminiscing. I have to admit that this was the first time that this had ever happened; almost always before I knew my college crowd as bachelors and we usually went out doing bachelor stuff. Seeing the guys attached to their beaus' hands or acting all affectionate and fawning kinda made me queasy.
I haven't really thought of getting into a serious relationship. I've had and have lots of girl friends, but I never really found it necessary to actually commit to anyone really seriously.
Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that I am, as yet, not quite stable financially. When I get my other half, I want her to be taken care of. Right now, all my resources are solely for myself.
Another reason is that I have a LOT of things I want to do first. Comics and art are fickle interests, and they demand lots of time and money. If I enter a serious relationships, they will have to learn to share.
And perhaps, it's also because I'm not lonely. I like people. It's not like I come home and cry just because I'm single, which I saw in The Sims. Heh.
I guess I haven't found the girl who actually makes me want to SHARE my time, to make me go all the way to her house and do the stuff couples do, like share expenses, understand each others' quirks, put up with petty quarrels, make sundo or hatid, open doors, listen to heart-to-heart talks, plot the future, etcetera... etcetera...
I mean, I do picture myself someday finding that person and devoting my heart (I think I have one somewhere...) to them. I do picture a time when I too can be seen cuddling up with someone, whispering sweet nothings and calling her by our pet names. Eew...

But that isn't right now. Or tomorrow.

I'm having too much fun right now to get hitched. Heh.

I wonder though, who'd be foolish enough to try and link up with a MADman?
The Crowd

Sometimes as I commute to work and pass by Cubao's Farmer's Plaza, I wonder what ALL those people milling about there do. I mean, as I was taught in college, most people stuffing into malls don't really buy anything. Heck, I don't buy things myself all the time. A lot just sit or walk around, enjoying the airconditioning or window-shopping. Most just eat or drink or watch movies.
I had this little thought walking to work of how maybe malls PAY people to just go to their premises and just mingle. They're paid a little fee to have snacks or drinks, but otherwise all they do is just TAKE UP SPACE. So the mall looks nice and populated. I mean, who'd like an empty mall? I hate crowded places, of course, but a nice spacious mall with a nice crowd feels nice. If a mall is totally crowded, this means there are real consumers along with the 'mall staff'. Hmmm. I wonder...
Damn, they really did it.

AXN left Destiny Cable. CRAP! What's left in place of the premier action-adventure channel is something called Reality TV, which seems to specialize in stuff like World's Scariest Videos and stuff. Interesting, but it is no substitute for my staples Alias, CSI and Fear Factor. I mean, everyone looks like real people! I want airbrushed, well-cast, telegenic models and babes you NEVER see on the street. Why else do I pay for cable, darn it? Heh.
Anyway, we're supposed to get our new cable service within the day. Hopefully when I get home there will be good, clear reception and lots of nice shows and channels. Hello, Star Network, AXN, Cinemax. Bye-bye... TechTV... WAAAAHHHH!!!!!

Feh.

Wednesday, July 30

Giving up on my Destiny

Thanks to a thoroughly obnoxious development, I've finally decided to switch from Destiny Cable to SKY Cable. I really didn't mind that there are no more sports channels worth mentioning, or any of the ubiquitous Star TV channels. It didn't bother me because I really like Tech TV for my videogame fixes. But when I found out that Destiny is losing AXN, it broke my resolve. I NEED my Alias. I NEED my CSI (and CSI:Miami). I need my anime. I need AXN!!!
So it's goodbye, Destiny. I'll miss TechTV, but I can download reviews from the web. But it will hurt to never again watch Robot Wars. NOT.

FEH. Well, at least I'll have WOWOW soon. Fresh new Japanese anime, here I come!!!
Stinking but Satisfied

Yesterday, my officemates and I went out for lunch. We were in the mood for exotica so we opted to go to a place called Bombay Canteen. We piled into our friend's SUV and zipped off towards the southern part of Makati, near Bangkal. We walked past a positively SCARY abandoned building which stank of crap. The seemingly abandoned stalls looked like mutant gangs were lurking in them, waiting to pounce on us. Well, before a The Hills Have Eyes scenario could occur, we finally made it back to daylight and the Bombay Canteen. Like my other haunt, Behrouz (Persian cuisine, at Wilson's Greenhills), Bombay Canteen was pretty sparse in terms of ambience, though Indian decor was readily visible. No music though. We were met by a pleasant and accomodating Indian lady, the manager. Despite our misgivings at the questionable environment outside, we were starving and were ready to order.
In contrast to Behrouz which had tons of beef and kebabs, Bombay Canteen had more of mutton, chicken and veggie choices. They were pleasantly different from the usual kebab, pita and rice stuff I usually saw. We ordered for everyone, taking two servings of the recommended Chicken Masala, which as a reddish-colored fried/grilled chicken, a shrimp curry dish, a rice-mutton dish called Mutton Biryani, fried rice and several servings of Nan bread. The others all had creamy Lassi drinks, though I opted for a Pepsi.
In a word? DELICIOUS. I was pretty much satisfied with bread slathered with the curry, but the chicken was savoury and meaty, and the Biryani was pleasantly spicy (we DID ask for medium spiciness). At the end we were all full and satisfied and smiling. On the down side, the hostess informed us that the Bombay Canteen was closing down; the building where it was located was being torn down. Not to worry though, you can experience the same yummy Indian food at their sister restaurant, Bombay Kitchen, located at H.V. Dela Costa Street in Salcedo Village, Makati. Really good stuff!
The only other downer is the fact that after eating, we totally smelled of the food. It stuck to our clothes and makes for a bit of an uneasy feeling. If you're planning on eating Indian, bring cologne or perfume. For everybody. Heh.

Tuesday, July 29

Batman: Dead End

THIS is how you make a Batman film!

I heard about this fan-made film from a friend recently, but I was only able to download and watch it today. I have to say, this is incredible! It's an 8-minute 'director demo' featuring the Dark Knight which shows off pretty impressive design, lighting, costumes and performances for a non-commercial indie film.
Basically, Batman: Dead End shows the DC superhero taking off one stormy night to find his arch-nemesis, The Joker, who has just escaped from Arkham Asylum. Once he catches up to him though, an unexpected turn soon develops...

I have to say, the Batman costume and actor are perfect (clearly taken from the Alex Ross designs), and the film's version of The Joker quite surprisingly effective. I am a bit iffy about the 'later elements', but overall the effect is cool. This film really wasn't supposed to be shown to the public, but I think it's a pretty impressive visualization of a gritty, live-action Batman. THIS is how you make a Batman movie; atmosphere, menace, images... sans NIPPLES and Overblown star casting.

Check it out!
Click here to download Batman: Dead End!

Monday, July 28

Backlogs...

Wasn't able to watch Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life during the weekend thanks to the... um... extraordinary event. Yep, I've read more than two reviews that belittled it as being slow, boring and even worse than the first film. I don't know about that, but well, it has Angelina Jolie, and that pretty much sells it to me. I'll try to get in a watch this week, and post my own review soon.
Not much gaming either, whether it be PC or console. Wanna put in more Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic playtime. Want to suddenly finish Suikoden 3 for the PS2. Want to get Outlaw Volleyball for my Xbox already. So many games, so little time. And money. Argh.
Oh well. The struggle continues...
Back to Barracks

Yep, I'm back at work despite the fact that yesterday, renegade soldiers were wiring up C-4 explosives a few blocks away. If you slept through the whole thing, you wouldn't notice anything had happened over the weekend other than the usual.
Thankfully, the revolt ended peacefully. One of the most affective moments of this incident for me was a video showing a meeting between several 'Magdalo' rogue soldiers and their pro-government counterparts. Apparently, two of the rebs spotted the government troops stationed at the perimeter of the Oakwood area. It turns out that they knew each other, perhaps from the Philippine Military Academy or from their respective camps/training schools. Without any trace of hostility whatsoever, the two rebels and the government soldiers met each other with brotherly embraces and greetings of 'Mistah' (a term soldiers use to denote 'comrade').
From the video we could hear them exchange words along the lines of 'Why are you doing this?' from the government troops, answered only with 'This is for all of us.' from the rebels. That's along with the usual male bonding and horseplay, of course.

It would have been horrible to see such brothers shed each others' blood so needlessly. I have so much sympathy for our armed forces, perhaps since I went through a lot of military crap in ROTC, CMT and such in school. Perhaps it's because these guys go through hell to defend the land from terrorists, communist rebels and insurgents. Perhaps it's because I feel that many of their grievances have validity, and they are commendable to have had the courage to go through with what they did to tell what they know.
I also had to commend and admire the government troops; the guys who stand by the constitution and the society no matter what. These soldiers are heroes, both sides. Well, at least for me.

Hopefully this incident should serve to do good in the long run, despite the strain it put on the local economy.

For better or worse, it's over. Life goes on.

Sunday, July 27

The Two Towers: Extended DVD news

Okay, onto some lighter news. Fans waiting for the release of the extended dvd set of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (which is set for August) will be glad to find out the details of the additional material that will be included. I've read the article at Ain't It Cool news, and I have to say... I WANT IT! There are soooo many choice scenes that will enrich the movie even further, even more so than the Fellowship of the Ring's extended version did. Darn, can't wait for August.
You can read the SPOILER-filled article here.
From Reel to Real.

Military rebels, or separatists, using force and intimidation to get their demands. Despite the chaos and obvious economic helter-skelter this is going to result in, I can't help but feel a bit sympathetic towards some of the rebels' sentiments. Their goals are noble, but of course the means suck.
Reminds me of that Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer movie with Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery and Ed Harris, entitled The Rock. In The Rock, Harris plays a decorated war hero and general in the US armed forces who takes over Alcatraz in order to try and coerce the government into giving reparations for marines slain in the Desert Storm conflict.
I really hope this ends without people getting killed. Less than two hours to the deadline, before the government troops charge in. Damn.
It's like some freaky movie.

I want to go to sleep, but I can't. I'm transfixed.

Okay. The rebels have given a statement.

Apparently, they have 'withdrawn their support' to the chain of command and the government. They say that the government is selling bullets to the MILF, perpetuating the conflict in Mindanao. They say that the soldiers in the frontlines are suffering from the corruption of the upper echelons of the military and the PNP.

But of course, they saved the best for last.

The rebels allege that the GMA government, through special forces teams, was responsible for bombings supposedly by Abu Sayyaf or MILF extremists. The rebels also say that there are plans to enact martial law in August, which will be preceded by bombings (the recent escape of terrorist bomber Al-Ghozi is supposedly part of this plot).

These are heavy allegations. I am sure these will be denied by the government. Things just got a lot stickier and messier. This is not going to end easily. As I write this, pro-government forces are already moving into the Makati area. This is freaky. Freaky as hell.
A Load of crap's ready to hit the fan.

Okay, it isn't over.

I was about to go to bed when I flicked the TV to the local Channel GMA 7, and it appears that this 'coup' is nowhere near under control.

Apparently, the trouble isn't limited to the Ortigas area. An unknown number of soldiers, many of them described by media as 'young' and 'in their twenties', have set up positions in the business district of Makati. These soldiers are wearing red armbands with the insignia of a white sun and a red alibata 'I' in the center (this is apparently one of the old flags of the Philippine Katipunan). These young rebel soldiers have set up wires and apparently ringed their perimeter area with EXPLOSIVES.
However, one of the soldiers, apparently a captain, has announced to the media that they are NOT staging a coup. The exercise, they say, is intended to air their grievances and frustrations with the current government and the military chain of command. The soldiers are in full battle gear, with heavy weapons such as M-60 machine guns. According to a spokesman, the rebels supposedly number at least 2000 soldiers, junior officers and some seniors.

I watch the video and marvel at the bravery of the media (at the same time appalled at how unruly and foolhardy they are as well) covering the scene. The soldiers are plainly on edge, with tension quite palpable with every movement.

Luckily, no one has as yet been hurt so far and the soldiers don't seem to be trigger-happy; though an apparently over-zealous delivery van trying to break through the soldiers' barricades elicited a warning shot.

This looks bad. The rebels look serious, and given what they have done so far, it seems that they are planning to hole up for a LONG time there in Makati (as was done in the most serious coups during the Aquino administration). I really hope this doesn't degenerate into a siege. It WON'T mean just buildings getting shot up or blown up, or work being halted this week (which looks likely).

This thing will without a doubt cause HAVOC with the country's economy. We're talking national security and our peace and order situation being thrown out of the window and the WHOLE country getting another economic dump. Poor people will get poorer. The peso will fall. Businesses will crash. This is a whole pile of CRAP. DAMN IT, this sucks. These military people affect everyone when they go bonkers. DAMN GUNS. DAMN FRICKING GUNS. It's all about them guns.

End this fast. Please.
Coup! Coup! Coup!

Today started off as just another Saturday, though I felt really tired and my muscles hurt. I went to Greenhills for my usual goodie run, scoring a couple of anime DVDs of Full Metal Panic!. Later, I got my mom the live concert VCD set of Josh Groban. Met up with the gang at Comic Quest.
As we were waiting for Vinnie at his place, my mom texted me a somewhat alarming message.

Umuwi ka na. May masamang balita. (Translated: Go home now. Bad news.)

I was a bit taken by this, and I responded with a message saying that I was fine and with friends, and would be careful. I also asked what was going on. Well, other texts from other people began to come in. There was a coup d' etat. A COUP. We looked about. All seemed as it was in any other Saturday. There were people in the eateries, chatting and eating and having fun. There were no sounds of gunfire, explosions or anything. But thanks to the power of text, everyone knew. Not everyone seemed to care about the thing though.
Apparently, a group of young officers attempted a mutiny, precipitated by the recent unrest and dissatisfaction with current policies. This of course was responded to by the government. Heavily-armed troops and Armored Personnel Carriers apparently flooded the Camp Aguinaldo-Camp Crame area. Malacanang Palace was sealed. Police and checkpoints were on high alert. At the EDSA Shrine, some crowds have gathered to hold a prayer rally and vigil.

The situation is supposedly totally under control at the time of this writing. I don't know if anyone got killed or wounded, but it doesn't look like it... the only damage is probably where it will hurt ALL of us... in the foreign exchange rates. Damn it. Oh well.