Friday, February 13

Bracing for Valentine's

As a dedicated bachelor and singles guy, slacker and MADman, the day for couples is always an irksome day for me. Well, not really. I would be the first to always say that while I do see myself someday kneeling before and pledging my devotion to a goddess, NOW is not the time. Still, when Valentine's Day comes along and you see all those couples doing the ol' PDA routines, I can't help but feel a slight tinge in the back of my head.
I remember several years ago, I spent Valentine's with several other single guys, including now-attached loverboy Arnold. We'd mope and look like we felt sorry for ourselves that we had no warm bodies to hold onto... that we had cold beds to lay on that night. Hey, but I like cold beds! That's why I keep the aircon on all night!

Well, since then our numbers as single guys has dwindled a bit. In my college gang, one has married and is so far doing okay. Another went through a cancelled wedding, got busted with another girl (which drove him near to insanity at one point) and is currently still cruising for bruising. Another is preparing for married life as well. Yet another is having a relationship with a pretty young nymphet.

Me? I'm the unattached guy. The guy everyone goes to when they want to crash and have fun with. Fancy that.

I'm having the time of my life, actually. I'm earning well and enjoying my labor and the freedom of single life. I'm able to make my dreams come true, pursuing my art and letting my skill and experience as a storyteller grow even more. And I guess I just feel that I have to have fun by myself while I can.

Because the day will come... when we forsake our friends and forget all bonds of fellowshi- oh, wait, wrong line...

Because the day will come, when I will crave the presence, companionship and acceptance of another. When I will feel that I am not complete without my arm around someone else. When I find that wonderful woman who will make me turn over a new leaf and cast aside my MADness.

But that is not this day.
My Friday Night...

... may just be for watching a tagalog film. Who'd have thought it? Anyway, I have to go and watch the premiere of the new Regal Films' light drama movie, Kuya. After that, it's off to a party with the cast and producers and hopefully a good interview with several of the stars. It's all for work... I'm not starstruck or anything. We'll see what happens later.

Wednesday, February 11

DOAX Doujinshi

The Dead or Alive girls by Eisu!

I love Dead or Alive, the videogame series by Tecmo of Japan. So, it was a treat for me to see an online comic/manga based on the sexy DOA spinoff, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. The doujinshi (fan manga) is done by artist Eisu, who is quite the online comic creator (check out his other stuff at his site!). Anyway, his 22-page DOAX doujin has great art and a funny, action-packed story. Check it out!
You can find the doujin at DOAX Neotaku by clicking here.

Sigh. Maybe someday, when I'm not loaded with other comic stuff, I'll be able to do another DOA fan manga again... we'll see.

Tuesday, February 10

The Last Samurai

When I first saw the trailer of The Last Samurai I immediately had a recognition of the era and the possible story behind it, being a fan of the manga/anime Rurouni Kenshin (which is probably set in the same time, the Meiji era). I've been holding back watching this flick, but last night I was finally able to just go into a theater and watch it.
Well, I'm glad I did. This kind of movie deserves to be seen on the big screen. And I am happy to say I loved it.

Ken Watanabe plays Katsumoto, a Lord among Lords.

What can I say? Tom Cruise plays a much more bedraggled character as former Civil War hero Nathan Algren, and I have to say the beard and moustache put him right well in place with monumental characters such as the noble rebel, Lord Katsumoto (played incredibly well by Ken Watanabe despite having to talk in engrish most of the time) and his host of samurai warriors (which include Hiroyuki Sanada, whom moviegoers should remember from The Ringu).
The story takes its time to tell, at over two hours, but I have to say that the beauty of the settings, production values and costumes (and yes, the hypnotically gorgeous Taka, played by Japanese model/actress Koyuki) kept me from being bored.

GOSH she's gorgeous. Actress Koyuki plays the perfect Japanese samurai woman.

The action setpieces are actually not that many, but all are superbly done (I expect no less from Ed Zwick of Glory). No Matrix-style slow mos (though there is a weird flashback effect in one ambush), just really well-done fights and battles.
The highlight is, yes, an incredibly thrilling NINJA ATTACK on the samurai village, though I did find myself sitting up with excitement at the final battle, where Katsumoto's Kurosawa-era samurai army is faced with a larger, modern-equipped occidental army. The finale is inevitable but strangely enough it's glorious and fitting- VERY samurai, VERY Japanese. Of course with a Hollywood resolution for Algren, but I think he deserved it.

Great performances all around by whole cast, great production, an interesting story... this one hit me in the right places. Very entertaining and satisfying. Want the DVD. See it if you haven't in theaters. Great stuff.

Monday, February 9

Extended Epic

From The One Ring.Net, this little tidbit for fans of the recently-concluded Lord of the Rings Trilogy of films. Peter Jackson has apparently finished the edit of the extended version of The Return of the King. So, how does the final, final, final, more epicker cut of the finale stand?


That's almost an hour (50 minutes) of unseen, new scenes. This should include the fate of Saruman (Christopher Lee), more battle scenes at Pelennor, The duel between Gandalf and the Witch King, Faramir and Eowyn at the House of Healing, the Mouth of Sauron (whom you can see in the ROTK game for the PS2 and Xbox... UGLY sucker...) and more.

I hope though that these rumored scenes prove UNTRUE...

Denethor's twelve-course meal...

King Aragorn singing... and then getting EVERYONE else to start clapping and dancing to do a finale production number (complete with a can-can).

MORE climbing up Mount Doom...


Well, at least movie fans have something to look forward to at the end of the year. Heh.
Digital Dungeons

I picked up a couple of fantasy videogames over the weekend. They are Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 and Champions of Norrath.

It's back to Faerun once more...

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 has nothing to do with the PC game Shadows of Ahm, save for the common setting. While the PC game was a full-on RPG and strategy title, BG:DA2 is a hack-and-slash arcade-style action game very close to Diablo 2 and of course, the original Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance.
In the first game, you picked one of three heroes: A human ranger, a dwarf fighter and an elf sorceress. After being victimized by some thieves, your character gets involved in the battle to stop a dark shadow of the past from endangering the realm. However, BGDA ended with a cliffhanger ending, and now in the sequel we get to see what happens next.
This time around however, players have five new characters to kill monsters with. There's a human barbarian, an elven necromancer (who is VERY similar to the Diablo 2 equivalent, down to the use of animated corpses to do battle for him), a dwarf warrior, a female human cleric and a dark elf monk who can kill with just her hands and feet. There's a new villain and a new plot afoot, and to foil it the heroes must wade past swarms of enemies before the quest is over.
As far as graphics go, the game looks at least as good as the previous game, though again the view places you a bit too far away to really appreciate the graphics. Still, this is a gorgeous game, with miles of dungeons to explore and various monsters to kill. As before, you can equip your hero with armor and weapons that show up on your onscreen avatar. As you level up, you can build up your character's feats- special abilities that range from spells to powerful battle moves. Like the first game of course, you'll spend most of your time running about, killing monsters, opening portals, finding keys, killing bosses... rinse, repeat. Not unexpected, not bad but it seems a bit too similar as before.

Everquest Offline.

Champions of Norrath is also a dungeon crawler, and as far as I can tell it was also made by the same team that did BGDA. The controls and gameplay are almost identical, though of course CON is set in the Everquest universe, not in the Forgotten Realms. CON is best played as an online game, but thankfully (unlike the earlier Everquest Online) allows the game to be played by a single player, offline. This is good since I don't have broadband, nor do I want to pay any more for playing a game than the price for the CD.
CON looks similar to BGDA, but seems to have sharper, prettier graphics (and a closer-in view), and a bit more customization; you can choose from one of five classes, each of which lets you make either a male or female hero to your liking (you are given options to customize your character's skin color, hairstyle and hair color). As you move around, you can equip your hero with armor and items and build him/her to be a bad-ass monsterslayer.
As for the story, your hero is called to defend an elven city from invasion, and from there... stuff happens. Haven't gotten that far yet, but the game looks good and it's pretty fun.

Really though, both games are so similar, that unless you really want to play through a game twice, one or the other should suffice. Given a choice, I'd probably take Champions for the customization options, since it looks prettier, and because it seems more fresh and new... kind of.

Still, I'd love to see what happens next in Baldur's Gate, so it's pretty cool that I have them both. Aaah. We'll see if I can save the world in between overtime and drawing K.I.A. Hmmm...

Sunday, February 8

Addition and Subtraction

Over the weekend I cut away and added stuff to my life. On the cutting side, I went off and had my hair cut... in a big way. Yep, I finally got the 'semikal' haircut I've been thinking about for months. Semikal is in fact, semi-kalbo (bald), which means my hair is pretty much little more than stubble. It's pretty radical for me, I guess, but when I did it, it was pretty easy and painless. I just walked into a salon (perhaps some barbershop would have been adequate, but what the hey) and said 'semikal!'
The barber started buzzing away with his clipper. The guy remarked at the round shape of my head, which he said was 'perfect' for the cropped hairstyle. Heh. I've never had anyone say that about my head before. It felt good. Kinda. Heh. So now, here I am. My head's a lot cooler, and I should be able to save a lot on shampoo. Don't have to worry about combing (Not that I did before) at all. This is great!


The Addition of the weekend is my acquisition of a stationary exercise bike. I've been thinking about buying a mountain bike for the past several months (since last year, actually), so I can have a bit of physical exertion and have a nice way of zipping down to the store to get goodies. Well, I won't be going anywhere with the exercise bike, but I will be able to exercise and burn calories while watching Animax or playing videogames. The only problem is, that the Sanctum is now even more crowded than ever. I may have to sacrifice some stuff... perhaps the Bean Throne... to make more space.

Nah. I think it's cozy. HOHO!