Friday, September 12

Worldly Desires

Hey, it's been a while since I last posted a 'Want' list. Here goes...

A nice new phone. What model? Not sure anymore. Just want it to have a camera. And a color screen. And lots of cool features to tinker and play with. Hold the antenna though.

A Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers extended dvd set. Seeing the previews in the theatrical widescreen release just whets my appetite to no end. Over 40 minutes of new footage and hours of special features and the return of the entertaining and insightful audio commentaries make this a MUST. Coming in November... AAAARGH...

Anime. Inu Yasha. Ikki Tousen. Millennium Actress. Never mind that I have literally piles of anime still unviewed at the Sanctum. Heh.

A Wacom tablet for my PC. The better to color with, my dear.

A new frickin' fast, frickin' powerful PC. With a gazillion Gigs of memory, the latest Pentium chip, all the SD or DD RAM that it can have and a frickin' optical mouse. Got to have a nice shiny tower console and chrome highlights. Mmmm. This is probably the closest I will ever get to having and coveting a car. Heh.

Oh, and a new car with a good driver to drive me around in. Heh. I don't care which model; just make it pretty and have an airconditioner, radio and cd player. And the driver should be mute. And trained by Israeli MOSSAD so he can turn anyone who tries to mess with me into pretzels.

Finished art and pages for Angel Ace Next. I'M WORKING ON IT!!!

Enough money to publish Angel Ace Next.

Enough money to last the month would suffice for now, actually... Heh...

A Better Than Sex cake in the fridge.

A nice, fat, soft and comfy easy chair in the Sanctum. Something like a Lazyboy. Hmmm... wasn't this in my LAST want list? An unreachable dream, I guess. Working on the rest though. Will be tough to find that special driver I guess. Heh.

The Next Batman

... is actor Christian Bale. The next Batman film will be directed by Chris Nolan and will supposedly be about the Dark Knight's earlier years. Rumored to be the villains of this latest superhero flick are the demonic Ra's Al Ghul and The Scarecrow. Appearing recently in action movies like Equilibrium and Reign of Fire, the former American Psycho just may have what it takes to give the caped crusader's role a bit more zing. Filming on Batman Next is scheduled for early 2004, so expect the movie in 2005 or so. Oh well.

Thursday, September 11

Beach Blossoms

Beach Blossoms: The Last Resort. Story by me, Art by HAI!

I am proud to show off a teasing taste of web manga magus Honoel Ibardolaza's work in Beach Blossoms: The Last Resort, a comedy-mystery manga story that will be appearing in an upcoming anthology entitled Cherry Blossom High. BB will be joining Crystal of the Sorority of Light (created and written by Jason Banico and art by yours truly), Clockwork King by Vin Simbulan and artist Joel Chua, and a shoujo-manga romance story. Trust me on this that this release is something special!

Cherry Blossom High will be released in the next few months. Stay tuned!
Day of Infamy

I remember on this day, a couple of years ago, I was riding a bus home when I got a text from my friend Alex saying that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center in NYC. In a short time, a second plane hit the WTC's other tower. I remember thinking, 'What the HELL? This can't be a coincidence or an accident!'
And it wasn't. It was a meticulously planned and pre-meditated attack. A terrorist act of unprecedented horror, impact and cost to life, property and sense of security. Thousands of people would later die as the two highest buildings in New York City were reduced to smoldering piles of rubble by superheated jet fuel.
Later it was discovered that groups of men, practiced in flying planes, infiltration and even martial arts had taken over the planes, subduing the crew and piloting the huge makeshift bombs to their fatal destination. Apparently a third plane had also been taken, though it had crashed prematurely instead of striking its intended target (supposedly the White House). The reason for this is speculated to be an act of selfless bravery on the part of the passengers, who supposedly rushed the terrorists in a bid to stop the madness.

I remember being glued to the TV screen that day, watching in morbid fascination as the videos of the planes crashing into the buildings played over and over. There were the horrific images of people plummeting from the heights, only to smash into unyielding ground below. There were stories of sadness and death, of brave firefighters literally meeting death head on in their bid to save lives.
That day, the world knew stark fear and terror. The words Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden would become household terms for villainy. That day would start the US's present 'War on Terror'.

It was a dark day for people who love security, peace and life in general. I truly hope nothing like that ever happens again, but in this roiling earth we call home, you never can truly be sure what may happen. The price of freedom IS eternal vigilance, isn't it?
Fun Stuff

Yesterday I had my latest blood transfusion at Comic Quest amidst crowds of voracious grafiction enthusiasts. The latest releases included the much-talked about 1602, which of course I didn't get. My fix includes the latest issue of Blade of the Immortal, a copy of the 'survivor superhero' comic Wild Guard and the latest Official Xbox Magazine. Ahhh... I feel weak.

Anyway, onto some other nice tidbits. A Suikoden sequel is in the works! (Sorry Dean, Gig... I'll tell you all about it when I play it). Genso Suikoden 4 has been announced and will make an appearance at the TGS 2003 show in Japan. It will once again be set in the war-torn fantasy world of the first three games, but this time will center on the land's seas. Apparently most of the adventure will occur in a strategic chain of islands. So far, only the main character and a close ally named Snow have been revealed. It is not confirmed but expected that saves from the previous game may be used and have impact on the latest chapter of this much-beloved RPG series. My only question is... will Flick and Viktor reappear this time?
Second Thoughts

After a couple of days, my conviction is faltering.

I may have made a mistake. A grave miscalculation. But thankfully, I am still in a position to do something about it.

A Nokia 3650 might not be the phone for me. I still think it's pretty cool-looking, but it's big. It's bigger than my old Siemens M35i. The video recorder is really just a novelty. And it's features, while nice, may not be worth the bulk.

I am now thinking of getting either a Nokia 7250i or a Sony Ericsson T610. Both are small and compact, both have integrated cameras and a host of features. The T610 seems to be the better, packing enough features and power that makes it pretty much second only to the P800. It's nice and smart and damn cool with a big color screen. The 7250 on the other hand has a nice shape and design which appeals to me somehow; it's got a nice camera and zoom feature, lots of this and that and the customary Nokia fun and customization options. The only flaw it has is the relatively small size of the screen and less internet capability than the T610.
Hmmm. I still have quite a lot of time to think this over. Who knows, maybe ANOTHER phone will traipse in and catch my attention (like the upcoming Nokia 6600 or Siemens SX1) before I finally get the cash together to jump into another long-term relationship. What a problem to have, eh? Heh...

Wednesday, September 10


During lunch, me and my officemates went out of the building to a nearby row of eateries/cafes. One of them was Zibibo, a restaurant whose name I had seen before. I remember going past the Zibibo sign and having a laugh with my friends about it. We didn't know WHAT kind of place that would be called Zibibo would be. We joked about it at length. Perhaps it was a private club, where you'd only be allowed in if you mention the password ("The night is calm, but the day is... Zibibo!"). Perhaps it was the name of the owner ("Welcome to my club! I'm Johnny Zibibo."), or a specialty of the house ("One Zibibo, medium-rare! Hold the chili!") or even maybe an Illuminati-like brotherhood (The Organization of Zibibo or OZ).

Well, it turned out to be a nice, simple place that serves pasta and some continental dishes. I actually didn't get to eat since I was still full after a heavy breakfast at McDonald's, but my officemates had stuff like carbonara, chicken parmigiana and breaded pork chop. The chow smelled good, though, and I promise to eat there the next chance I get.

Perhaps then, at long last, will the secret of Zibibo be revealed to me.

Then I will rule this world... Hahahahahaha....

Those were the days...

I consider the 90s as my 'good 'ol days'. My childhood years were happy (I think) into my high school life (which became memorable during my senior year, since I became an officer in the CAT). My college years were nice, and that's where I got the friends who will probably stay with me for life. But college really isn't my beloved time; my favorite time is the years I got into work and started doing the stuff I love.
That's because I HATED school. Well, probably 'hate' is too strong a word; suffice to say that I am not one of those people who dream of going back to school or taking up masteral studies or some other nonsense. I was reborn the moment I graduated and realized that never again would I trouble myself with studies and tests and term papers for NO PAY.
Yeah, living and earning your own moolah and not having to worry about home work or grades is the life for me.
The Nineties is my era. That's when I started working in the wonderful world of Advertising, when I joined Alamat Comics, started releasing my Angel Ace comics and when I started becoming a serious gamer and comic reader. On the larger scheme of things, the 90s had ups and downs; the stabilization of the power situation (the late 80s were plagued with constant and long brownouts or power outages), a time of economic growth and your usual political growing pains.
This era is, finally, mine to portray or use as a backdrop for my part in our group's present comic project. I actually chose this myself since I hate research and thought that it would be best to delve into something I could work on from personal experience.
So what are the things I remember about the Nineties? My first job, probably. My first paycheck. My first trip abroad (Hong Kong), falling in love with the Playstation, a major earthquake, seeing my first published comic... these are all things that I can probably tap on for a story. Just what it finally will bear for me remains to be seen though.

Deadline is on Saturday. Gotta get those creative juices flowing. Heh.

Tuesday, September 9

Aimless Wanderings

It's pretty odd for me to be working under the Ortigas sky.

I'm not complaining, mind you. Actually, I think it's great. Smashing, actually (a little Brit there), since I am a lot closer to home (and I should enjoy it for as long as I can since, eventually, the company will be moving to Makati next year).
This, coupled with the fact that the company actually prefers that people go home at 5:30 PM en punto (unless you have sabit) means that I actually have free time after work during daylight hours. Boggles the mind!
Yesterday, I got out at about 5:30 and walked off through The Podium to my regular haunt, Megamall. Vin was still off 'on errands' and I wandered through the mall aimlessly. I played with the notion of watching Pirates of the Carribbean, but I guess I just wasn't in the mood. So I just continued walking around, letting the wind take me where it will.
I used to do the wanderer bit a LOT. During my early work years, I had a span of time wherein I had lots of time alone. It was during this time that I was at my all-time videogame geek high. And not just videogaming- I was an arcade geek.

It's not something uncommon, mind you. A couple of years ago, arcades were all the rage (Rino's Arcade and Worlds of Fun were big names then), and we actually were getting new games more or less at the same time Japan or the US were getting them. I remember that I had several malls with big arcades that I routinely checked to see the latest releases: SM North Edsa, Sta. Lucia East and Megamall. And I would actually go to each one to see if the newest Capcom brawler or other arcade marvel had arrived. Arcades didn't just have the games; they had merchandising galore, and once, Synergy at Megamall (now just a generic arcade) even featured a video of the preview of then-revolutionary Virtua Fighter 3.
I spent countless spare change on tokens, playing on games like the classic Neo Geo fighter Samurai Shodown, Tekken, Soul Calibur and a sundry other eye candy delights. And I didn't just hover in classy malls. Along Aurora Boulevard in Cubao, there were hole-in-the-wall game rooms which featured up to date repertoires of arcade fighters. Yes, I engaged often in one-on-one combat with other players. Sadly, I really don't have the gift. I fight, I win sometimes but younger players (Usually little kids) often outmatch me. GAH.

Yep, fighters were at their peak then; pretty much so because fighting games gave you the most bang out of your four peso-token. The cool special moves, the painful holds and throws, the mammoth combos, the sexy characters... it was all a great show, and for me it's still a marvel of character design that I often refer to in my comics and manga.

Eventually though, arcades slowly lost steam. Home systems became just as powerful if not more so than the arcade units, and they were affordable as well. It didn't help that the arcades stopped updating their game; I haven't really seen any new brawlers in recent memory (probably because most of the new games are home-only, or released first for consoles), and really I don't see any point in going to an arcade. Not anymore. Not when I have a PS2, and Xbox, a Dreamcast and a Saturn at home ready for playing. And these days, real big arcades are rare (and just By-the-way features in big malls), replaced by the ubiquitous internet gaming cafes raging with PC shooters and RTS games.

Yesterday, I wandered around, and after looking through cellphone shops (and ogling my future 3650) I eventually found myself at the game arcade, which has a large selection of vintage games. I watched a guy play through the Capcom action game Aliens versus Predator with practiced ease. I looked at other guys playing over the top fighters and unleashing super combos. Ah, nostalgia.

Wander, wander.

My steps took me ultimately back to Comic Quest, where Vin and I talked with Culture Crash writer Mark Navarro about stuff, including the recent Voltez V remake, his plans and stuff on local releases. Pretty interesting, and it made me think of my own personal projects, which should see fruition later this year.
I should focus now. Wandering is fun, but sometimes (or often) you just have to watch your feet and keep yourself on a deliberate trail.

Got places to go and things to do.

Monday, September 8

On the Job

My first day of work didn't come easily. I was sweating, being constantly harassed by nasty people who seem to take pleasure in violating my personal space, getting in my way and pretty much making every minute a living hell.

Yep, the commute was HELL.

Perhaps it was because of the early morning rain. Perhaps it was a new rerouting scheme. I don't know for sure. For some reason, the NEW MRT took ages to arrive. When it finally crawled into the station at Katipunan, it was full to the frickin' rafters. I have to say that this is the first time I have ever seen the cars bulging with people. With only one or two stations before Katipunan, I can only deduce that it was intentional. Anyway, to add injury to insult, the airconditioning on the cars was busted. For about six or eight minutes I had to endure the smothering, crowded car, which again was travelling at a snail's pace. CRAP!!!
Once I got to Cubao, my trial wasn't finished. Perhaps due to the rains early in the AM, the station was clogged with long, twisting lines of a commuter's greatest enemies; other commuters. I threw up my hands and made for the buses.

Finally arriving at Megamall, I made my way along with a steady crowd of other salt miners to my new building. AH! FINALLY!

To follow was the customary signing of forms, a tour of the office and meeting the rest of the staff (perhaps one or two of whom I would actually remember), and... egads! My first bit of work (thinking up a headline for a poster). Lunch was quite nice, with The Boss treating me and new officemates Derrick and Jay to a sumptuous meal at Banana Leaf at The Podium. We seemed to have ordered a score of dishes, though I was pretty much satisfied with just the soft, warm bread/pastry you tear and dunk into a spicy curry sauce. Mmmm. Rounding off the meal was the reddish Chicken Tandoori, a creamy veggie dish, Phad Thai noodles, a spicy radish dish, pork spareribs soup, a fried rice dish and spicy fish. We washed it all down with ice tea, getting so full that The Boss had to call a car to pick us up. Heh.

Anyway, the day was nice and easy at the office and all I had to contend with was a defective keyboard (soon replaced). Met the nice people of the creative staff, including some skateboard enthusiasts, otakus, brains, vets and other characters. Cool.

One last note: I dressed up 'nice' in a decent polo and all I got for it was a puzzled look from The Boss. That's it. Tomorrow, I break out my Lord of Pranings shirt. Heh.
Heir Apparent

Unless I find something nicer, the Nokia 3650 is going to be the phone to replace my still ticking, still kicking Siemens M35i. Aside from the fact that it looks quite excellent and advanced (despite a voice at the back of my mind continually commenting that it looks like an airconditioner remote control), it has an integrated video recorder and camera, lets you surf and check e-mail and has a colored screen. It's light and compact, though slightly a little roomier than my Siemens. While I would have preferred getting a smaller phone, the functions and the overall nice look and great features override these minor complaints. My number one requirement for any phone of course is the lack of an exposed antenna. Heh.
Anyway, the only other phone model I am even considering is the Sony Ericsson T610, which comes with almost everything else the 3650 has except for the video recorder.
It remains to be seen however how each phone will stand up to the other in terms of cost, and of course, availability. When am I going to get a new phone? Give me a couple of weeks or so.

As for my beat-up but unfailing Siemens, I will most probably retire the old warhorse and give it a nice comfy storage space in The Sanctum, where it will stay until, like an old aging veteran hero in any action adventure flick, its services are needed again. Ah.

Yes, it's almost 4 AM. I told you I couldn't sleep. Got to try and get some shut eye to go with the lovely rainfall outside.
A New Beginning

In several hours I will wake up, take a shower, shave, get dressed up and head off to work. This time however, I go to work at a different office, in a new albeit familiar place- Ortigas. I'll be meeting new people, getting used to a new position, new jobs and new clients, and a new culture. Like any other day where I am anticipating something new and exciting, I expect that I won't be getting much sleep, if any at all. Heh.
This is a good thing, I think. I'm looking forward to doing something after my short vacation. Got to get acclimated to the atmosphere. Got to know the people I am going to spend most of my day hours (and probably a lot of my nights) with. Got to find out where the best places to eat are (which will do me well until the day we move offices back to Makati).
I expect a week of new stuff, learning experiences, hectic new jobs, lunch or dinner with Vin and the gang (who are mostly based in the Ortigas area) and the challenge of not sinking into a predictable routine.
Have to keep things new. Keep things exciting and changing. Keep myself on my toes.

If I sound like I'm doing a rah-rah session, it's because I am. That's me getting ready for work. Go, team, GO!

Sunday, September 7

Local Gaming Mag

EGM and PSM finally have local competition.

Over the weekend I picked up the debut issue of Games Master, the first multi-system videogame magazine of quality. By quality I mean something that isn't mimeographed or cheaply published with web-grabbed screenshots or images done by fly-by-night printers. In fact, the zine actually fooled me into thinking it was an imported mag. Then again, it's from local publishing giant Summit, so the production quality and printing are quite good.
To be honest, the insides of the mag are well-done. The visuals, layouts and articles match those of imported game mags, and the information is up to date (as up to date print can be). The only difference is that the copy often has a local Pinoy bent to it (no taglish, don't worry) and you'll often come across the odd FHM Philippines ad (Ooh, skin). Cool.

In all, I enjoyed the mag, and am considering getting it regularly (it's only Php95.00), as long as the cover interests me. Perhaps there may even be room for a comic page there or something... heh...
Young Blood

Last night, the weekend pow-wow swelled to its largest, I think.

Nine companions... Nine people in one van... one van with only two seat spaces... Somehow, we were able to cram in the usual suspects as well as Charles and Andrew Drilon, both young writers and newbloods in graphic fiction.
The night was alive with literary discussion, a question and answer portion on local Chinese customs and traditions and an impromptu tarot card-reading. Pretty cool and funny evening overall.
Lost The Touch

A while ago I saw part of the martial arts fantasy film The Touch starring Michelle Yeoh. This film was pretty much a flop, and I can see why. The stunts and fight scenes consist of improbable flying leaps, high-flying antics and horrible CG that are so sloppy and badly-put together that the few minutes I saw (it was the final 'battle' scene, I think) pretty much confirmed the bad reviews. A pity that Ms. Yeoh's follow-up to her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon didn't pan out, but seeing that crap, I can see why.
Trailer Tones

I saw the trailer of the ho-hum buddy-cop movie Hollywood Homicide on TV. It's pretty funny how the edit of the trailer can change the way you see the film. In the theaters, the bent is humorous, as the focus is more on the quirks of the two leads; Harrison Ford's cranky, aging veteran and Josh Hartnett's New Age spiritualist. On the TV trailer though, the tone is more serious and focuses on the case at hand- that of the murder of a troupe of rap stars.
Just noting the interesting change; I don't plan on seeing this sleeper. At all. Heh.