Saturday, January 3

Movie Picks

We Filipinos should enjoy our theaters. As my cousin would say, in the US you can't just watch as you please since the movie theaters charge so much (in our money, about 500 pesos a viewing! And you can't stay in the theaters as long as you want!). Feel lucky. Very lucky.

I have to make it a point to catch a couple of the Metro Manila Film Festival flicks before the work week starts. I actually want to see Captain Barbell cause the film actually looks to have some decent fx, and some interesting character designs. I don't know if I can muster the willpower to watch Gagamboy, but we'll see.

In the next few weeks, Pinoys will finally be able to see the grandness of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (which has already been playing for a couple of weeks in the US and other countries). We're actually not the worst off- the Japanese actually have to wait till February before they can catch the LOTR finale in theaters (DAAAAMMNNN!!!), and the wait has actually been SPOILED for many of them by a really crappy, spoiler-filled trailer that made the rounds. That bites.
Me, I'm looking forward to watching ROTK again. And again. Wanna relive the moments that sent chills up my spine. Yep, this is just the first of my ROTK posts that I have been holding back since watching it last December 18. I'll be gushing more as the movie approaches, and into the day I watch it again with the rest of the gang.

And onto other films, gonna also catch Kill Bill Volume 1, which will be hitting theaters a week after ROTK. It's rated R, but I still expect cuts from our local censors to butcher this blood-fest. Oh well.

Then there's Last Samurai, which looks to be a real treat as well. Authentic samurai action, big screen real-world battles and a NINJA attack are the things to watch in this one.

Peter Pan is the latest re-telling of the classic fairy tale, and this time it's more faithful to the novel instead of the 'What If' over-hyped clunker that was Hook (though I must admit to liking the final swordfight in that Steven Spielberg film). Peter Pan is a bishoujo-boy dressed in little more than leaves, with Wendy played by a lovely young actress, a sexy Tinkerbelle, decent FX and a more perilous take on Neverland, and probably the most nasty take on Captain Hook yet (played by Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter, The evil Paddington from The Patriot). The film looks to be quite action-packed, with a right amount of wonder and magic. Unfortunately this film seems to be bombing in the US, but I'll make it a point to catch it here (or at least get the DVD).

Ah, lots of good stuff to watch. Now, if only there was enough time to go with them. Ah, that's the ticket.
Gotta Trim Down

Over this last weekend before work, I gotta do some things.

Gotta buy new razors and shaving cream (kasi, sabi ni Cams di raw maganda ang goatee).

Gotta have a new haircut (maybe I'll go with a minimalist look ala Dean, Dino and Andrew.)

Gotta fix up my room.

Gotta start taking vitamins and getting my body clock used to getting up early in the morning again.

Gotta think about doing that Atkins Diet.

Gotta get focused on being better at everything this year.

Gotta do some changes to my blogs and websites.

Gotta schedule out my year.

Gotta, gotta, gotta.

Or maybe it's GONNA.

Yep. Rah-rah post right here. Heh.
Friends and Family

Camille, Gig, Dean, Jeremy and Andrew chill with me at the Megastrip.

It's the last of the Holiday break (which was pleasantly long and enjoyable, thanks to the presence of my cousin Jeremy. What did I do to the poor young man from New York while he was here? Did I take him to the hottest nightspots in the Metro? Did I wine and dine him? Nah! I made him WORK his ass off on pages for my comics. I dragged him to some comic launch and threw him into the presence of some of the most fickle and crazy folks I know. I exposed him to a seedy, crime-infested demilitarized zone.
And you know what? He enjoyed it. What can I say? Craziness runs in my family. Heh.

Kidding aside, I introduced Jeremy to the Questventures and Siglo gang, and he took like a fish to water. He's made a fast friend in Dean and surely something cool and great will come from a partnership of these two creatives. He's going home with friendships, dvds, Pinoy-made comics and a lot of new entries in his very busy sketchbook.

Don't know when he'll next be around, but thanks to the wonders of the Web, we'll keep in touch and keep the art and stories flowing.

Thursday, January 1



Wednesday, December 31


I spent most of the day at Jeremy's new house in Laguna, for the traditional blessing. I call it Edoras since it was built on a high hill and had an awesome view of the surroundings- much like the Rohan capital from Lord of the Rings. Heh.
Aside from my immediate family, we mingled with crowds of Jeremy's in-laws, including hordes of rowdy kids. Argh. Miraculously we were able to work on pages for Jeremy's K.I.A. story despite the chaos. Anyway, there was catered food but I gave up on lining up and instead sated my hunger with sticks of solid, meaty barbecue. We left early evening, and amazingly enough got home all the way from Laguna to Marikina in less than an hour. It's incredible what a holiday can do to traffic. Wish it was always like this. Oh well. New year in an hour or so...
Looking Back

We're right on the crest of the hill overlooking the New Year ahead of us. I guess this is as good a time as any to just pause and take a look back at what we passed on the way here.

In my professional life, I made a major change and found a new ad agency to continue my craft. Found old and new friends along for the ride, got into the groove of working for a totally new brace of clients and a new way of doing things. I worked during the last quarter of the year in the closer, more homey confines of Ortigas (which sadly, will probably not last long) which was cool since I could just walk from the office right over to Megamall to wind down. I attended the Ad Congress in Baguio after a long time of snubbing the event- now I have to work hard to make sure that the next time I go there, I bring home an award. Or two. Heh.
Life in Panels

In my life as a comic creator, the year really started during the last quarter as well. I was able to finally get Angel Ace NEXT off the ground, thanks to my discovery of great local artists like Honoel Ibardolaza and my own cousin Jeremy Arambulo. Next to that was the magnificent comic anthology Siglo: Freedom, a seemingly miraculous project which started from a mere mercenary gamble to a fully-published masterpiece of local grafiction. It all culminated at the second C3Con, where we launched our books amidst costumed otakus and all the bells and whistles.

Strangely enough, I feel that I and the group I belong to have done more in the last quarter of this year than we have in the past several years before. So much that it just may carry us over into the new year with even more momentum and even more stories to tell. Me, I've still got Angel Ace and my new title K.I.A. to keep me busy in panels and pages. The group's gonna have the next Siglo. Who knows what other surprises there'll be, from us and from others in the local comic book community? We'll see.

Lots of work. Gonna be busy night and day.


This is gonna be fun. Heh.
The MADman's Year in Review for Games, Anime, Tech and Movies

Despite some biggies, this year was mostly a run of the Status Quo. Or perhaps I'm just getting harder to please?

Gaming was more or less 'just there' in 2003. I didn't stop buying games, so I steadily built up a library of Xbox and PS2 games. Still, there were few gems that really got me to play a lot... There was Gladius, a fantasy RPG/Strategy Gladiator sim which is pretty fun and addictive. There's Final Fantasy X2 which came in at the end of the year, marking the first-ever true FF sequel (meaning Square of Japan really needs the money). Disappointingly, big franchises like Street Fighter, Tekken and my fave, Dead or Alive didn't really have any new entries. Just rehashed sprites of the new King of Fighter crap that looks the same every year, and a REALLY CRAPPY thing called SNK Vs. Capcom: Chaos. Speaking of crap, perhaps the most crap-tastic was Stake, a fighting game that is so crappy, it's... Crappy. Oh well, at least it has a sexy gypsy chick. Heh. Running up are lackluster fighters Kakuto Chojin and Tao Feng, which I wasted good money on for an original copy and ended up not playing too much since the gameplay sucks eggs. But at leat it was worth it I guess to hear the hilarious narrator who talks in Filipino-twanged english. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Last but not least was Anito, which would be forgiven for being quite a beginner-level Diablo wannabee... at least it's a Pinoy-made Diablo wannabee! WOOHOO!

Was sorely tempted to get a Gameboy Advance SP, but ultimately I went for a new phone. It's still calling for me, and still I resist...

Movies were mostly blahs and moments of slight coolness. I actually liked Matrix Revolutions, but I guess few others did (the same with LXG). Kill Bill Volume 1 ROCKS, and I am hungering for the DVD next year. Crapolas were piled up with Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life coming in first place, with a totally un-sexy (who would have thought it) Lara Croft tour by Angelina Jolie.

Of course, this was all just prologue for the highlight and climax of the year in cinema, which is of course for me the Premiere for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King which showed me the crowning glory of the best trilogy of all time. WOOHOO!!!

Anime was just as abundant this year as the years before... I just haven't had time to watch. But this year in anime for me belongs to a gaggle of really great anime series and OAVs that I found; Last Exile from Gonzo, Scrapped Princess and Full Metal Alchemist are wonderful shows of fantasy, action and drama. Inu Yasha continues to enchant as it enters the 140+ episode count. Big disappointments include the mediocre Ninja Scroll TV series and Saiyuki Rehash- er, Reload. Guilty pleasure anime of the year has to belong to Ikki Tousen, a martial arts action anime that's heavy with fan service. The capper of the year has to be the announcement of the new 24-hour Anime Channel, or Animax. Hope it's all cracked up to be... just give me my Inu Yasha and Rahxephon fix, damn it!!!
Manga and comics for the year for me of course includes my old fave Blade of the Immortal. Then there's my new fave Ragnarok. Started collecting Fallen Angel, Ultimates, The Authority and Brath towards the end of the year, along with various odds and ends. Lots of blood donated each week. Ouch.

And finally for tech- which means phones. Replaced my old battleaxe Siemens M35i during the last quarter for a Sony Ericsson T68i. This served me well for a few months until that accursed Christmas party raffle where I won a Z600 and LOST IT since I had left the party early. I felt so bad about this I got myself the non-clamshell version of the Z600, the T610. Looks like I'll be staying with my latest techtoy for a while.

That's that. Coasting along. A few ups, a big down or two, but mostly coasting along at an even pace.

Here's to bigger and better toys to play with in the new year. Heh.

Monday, December 29

K.I.A. goes Disney

Cross Kim Possible with her arch-enemy Shego and you get... Kego!

Here's my feisty Agent K drawn in the style of Disney's Kim Possible. No, I'm not going through another art style change again... it just felt kinda fun to play around with styles (I was actually thinking of doing a Kai artwork ala the Dini animation style used in the Batman Animated Series). Well, I love Shego from KP, and if she was a kinda-good girl, she'd be something like Agent K. Bad-ass, beautiful and... well, green.
I am actually toying around using the Kim Possible-style in a specific story for K.I.A. entitled Minion Labor. We'll see if I actually push through with it. Seeing how nice 'Kego' turned out, chances are that I will. Heh.

Sunday, December 28

Wedding Day

No, it wasn't mine.

Yesterday afternoon, two people whom I consider dear friends were joined as one in the sacrament of matrimony.

I first heard about Arnold in my second or third year of college in the UP college of Fine Arts. I was but one of the many who marvelled at how in but a few seconds he could capture a person's essence in a wonderful caricature. We never really ran in the same circle (he was a year advance) and only got to know each other after college, in the heydays of Alamat Comics. I've seen him work wonders with panel and page, from Mythology Class to After Eden, Trip to Tagaytay and The Lost and most recently, in Angel Ace Again and Siglo: Freedom. I know that this multi-awarded creator is only getting started with telling his stories.

Cynthia Bauzon was the first person to give a newbie copywriter a sincere smile and an appreciated welcome many years ago. Since then, I've always loved this quiet, simple and beautiful lady. I've seen her work her magic on websites, music album covers and books. And it is with great pleasure that I acknowledge that I played a small part in bringing her together with her soul mate.

After the simple mass and ceremony at UP Diliman, the whole shebang moved to the Edsa Shangri-La where the reception continued on into the evening. I met friends from advertising (Hello Tippi, Shiela, David G and Angel, Itsy, David F, Manny, Tish, April and Pia), college (Hello Reg, Edmund, Sam, Rome and Joni!) and comics/art (Yo, Quark!). All of us felt joy at seeing a union of two people we all loved unfold before us.

I wish these two all the happiness in the world, and I only hope that I will see more of them in the future than we have had as of late.

Congratulations, guys!