Friday, May 28

Bloody Cool Toys

The Bloody Bride in action figure form.

This week, the first volume of Kill Bill action figures arrived at Comic Quest. The toys sport impressive detail, such as dead-on facial features (for Uma Thurman, at least), weapons straight from the film and requisite bloody smears. While having some points of articulation, they're actually more for display than anything else. Aside from the femme fatales, you can also get about three variants of the Crazy 88 fighters- a bald one, a mustachioed one and a clean-shaven guy. Too bad they don't have the female Crazy 88 fighter. Disappointingly, the figure for O-ren Ishii didn't make it in this batch- perhaps next time.

You can actually take off the Bride's shoes to check out her odd-looking toes, while the Gogo figure squirts blood from her eyes if you squeeze her head... I'm kidding, of course.

I've been waiting for these figures for a while, and I'll probably get my Bride and Go Go Yubari tonight. Now all that's left is to decide whether to display them in The Sanctum or at The Salt Mines. We'll see.

It's not as cute as the real Gogo, but the toy shares the same stone-dead killer stare.

Wednesday, May 26


Even though I often save up on taxi fare in the mornings nowadays, I still end up spending almost the same amount everyday in the AM. This is because that instead of spending on the commute, I am now spending on breakfast. And since there aren't any McDonald's in the vicinity, I always find myself at Deli France.
Yep, Deli France. I really shouldn't like the place- they play Enya over and over and over, and the service usually stinks (the counter staff never seem to listen to me well enough). But at the very least, their bread- French baguettes and croissants- are tops. Well, I think they are. I assume that REAL French-made bread is probably ten times better, just like real dimsum in Hong Kong is probably ten times better than anything from the local Chowking. Well, since the last authentic French restaurant I knew, The Blue Frog at Malate, closed down the last time I checked, Deli France is the best I can go. Oh well.
Now if only I could venture out of ordering the SAME bacon and egg plate every single morning...

Tuesday, May 25


I really wanted to like the local comedy news-spoof Wassup, Wassup on Studio 23. It stars "Mr. Suave" Vhong Navarro and has a cool format that hasn't been seen since the old, old Sic o' Clock News show long ago.
But, after several viewings of the show, I have to say that it just isn't funny. The cast is energetic, what with all their gimmicky dances and gestures, off-the-wall caricature characters and deadpan deliveries, but they just can't seem to get even a chuckle from me. Furthermore, seeing interviews of what seem to be actual news footage being used for gags doesn't entertain me at all.
Perhaps it's simply because the show's an everyday program and the writing pool is just hard put to come up with good material. Quantity instead of quality may be the reason.

It's a sad thing to say but the actual news is a lot wackier and funnier. Oh well.

Monday, May 24


I'm not a morning person.

Normally, I wake up at about ten or so, at which point I bob between wakefulness and fitful sleep till I finally gain the strength to stand up and make it to the shower. The past several weeks though, I have been getting up at 6 AM so I can ride along with my sister to work, saving me the effort of having to commute. No more commuting and crowding into trains or buses with thousands of strangers. Instead, I have to wake up extra early. It's a trade-off which actually isn't that bad... once I get used to it. Just this morning though, I battled the temptation to just keep on sleeping. Eventually though, common sense won and I found myself in the shower and dressing up grudgingly. It was MUCH, much easier when I was a kid... but now, I'm a lot older and lazier. Sigh.

Really, it's all just a matter of getting proper sleep the night before- but that's something that doesn't always jive with having a second life as a comic artist, but what can you do? Just work harder, that's what.

Carpe Diem. Sieze the day. That's the ticket. Yawn. Right.
Phone Cycle

Less than four years ago, I never dreamt that I would own a cellphone, much less have my life be dependent on it. It was ironic that I was working for the ad agency that did advertising for a major telecom company, and I didn't even own a cellphone. By the time I left that agency and headed for another, I still didn't have a phone.
But then, peer pressure got to me in the next workplace. Everyone had a phone, and I could not afford not to have one. Cellphones could let you be reached, or let you reach others, anywhere you were, at anytime. Up until that point in my life, I had thought such a thing was bad or undesirable. Pagers and beepers were still in business at the time, and they were horrid things. But whatever, I had to adapt.

My first phone was a big, clunky and heavy Motorola... I forget the exact model. It looked and felt like a walkie talkie, had a green digital display like a calculator capable of displaying only two or three lines of text, max. Furthermore, while it had caller ID, it did not have Texter ID, which made it a PAIN to figure out who the hell was texting me at any given time (I had to resort to writing down numbers on a piece of paper). Somehow though, I was able to make do with the thing.
I eventually LOST the phone on an FX taxi. The phone came with a leather jacket with a clip that fitted over my belt. Unfortunately, the clip really didn't have a good grip, and one day, as I got off a cab to Megamall, I did so sans my mobile. I was halfway to Comic Quest when I realized it, feeling an empty space where the phone was but minutes before. Oh well.
Of course, after a couple of months using a cellphone, I realized I could not exist without one. So a day after losing my Motorola, I was walking around the fifth floor of Megamall, looking for my next phone. At the time I was flush with cash, and I ventured to get a nice, feature-laded model.

As fate would have it, I saw a flyer for the newly-released Siemens M35i, a sporty little phone that boasted a rubbery exterior grip, a nice green screen (still monochrome), a '3-D'maze game and something arcane called WAP. For 8K I could own this state-of-the-art marvel! So, after just the time it took to withdraw from an ATM, I had my new phone.
I loved my M35i. It fitted me, and it was always on service. Sure, I didn't have any of the pop polytones Nokia phones had (WAAAAHHH...); All I had were the crappy tunes 'mixed by the hottest DJs' loaded into my Siemens. But nevertheless, I turned away from the 3210s of the time and just kept on truckin' with my little German workhorse. And it would serve me well for more than three years, the high point being it being stolen (and subsequently recovered) by a pickpocket on the EDSA MRT.
As time passed though, the weaknesses of the phone soon began to weigh heavily on me and the phone. About a year ago, shortly after I joined my present ad agency, the phone let me down. During a phone call, the battery died even though it was just recently charged. Perhaps it was just the battery. But perhaps as well I just wanted something new. I decided there and then I had to get a new phone.

The weekend after the incident I was in Greenhills, looking for a simple but snazzy new mobile. For all the models on sale, I found myself drawn to the Sony Ericsson T68i (I love 'em i's, don't I?). It was the same phone as my friend Dean, which for some reason made it seem ultra-hip and chic. I got it and I was at once enamoured with its tiny size, the wealth of features and... oh my gosh, the lovely, lovely color screen. It was Noel 'Flim' Lim who told me that once you move to color, you can never go back, and it's true. I stowed away my old M35i for retirement, though I would eventually give it to my Dad to use (he would later give it to our household helper after I gave him a new Samsung C100 for Xmas).
I was dazzled by color. For the next few weeks I preoccupied myself with putting cool images on my T68i's screen. Since it didn't have bluetooth, I had to upload images to a site and then download them to the phone via WAP. It was a pain to have limitations of having only 4000+ colors though- pictures became pale shadows of what they once where once they appeared on the phone, but at the time I was happy with my cool little toy.
For some reason though, I was pretty open with getting a replacement phone a month or two later. One weekend, I found myself again in Greenhills, looking for a phone. One thing led to another, and the next thing I knew, I had traded in my T68i and some cash for a T610.

Another Sony Ericsson (my anti-Nokia spirit still held sway then) and one of the best phones of its class, I was thoroughly into it. I loved having a camera phone, though I used it mostly to grab images for the screen wallpaper. Later, I would use it to phlog. The T610 looked classy and smashing, it worked great and I was happy. Happy, but strangely I kept switching covers. Oh well.

Then, a couple of months ago, I was walking in Greenhills yet again, when a Nokia 6600 appeared in the secondhand phone display of one of the kiosks. It was the only secondhand 6600 in the whole place, so I took notice. I had been lusting for the 6600 ever since I heard about its features- still and video camera, internet, HUGE color screen that was miles better than the T610's, games, memory card expansion... this was my dream phone. A trade-in and cash payment later, and the dream became reality. My FIRST Nokia, and IMO the best Nokia phone, had arrived.
At present, my 6600 isn't so much a phone as it is an entertainment/media center. Installing some cool programs turns it into a portable theater capable of containing whole movies if I wanted to (I make do with shorter clips, trailers and excerpts though). Installing an MP3 player sweetens the pot even more. Who needs a digital cam/ I Pod/Gameboy/MP3 Player/Portable TV when your phone has MP3s, video capability and extensive gaming? I guess it's okay for me to lavish and spend on my 6600 when it pretty much saves me from having to buy any more extra gadgets.

I'd love to say that I am totally happy with my present phone, since I am. But given my history, a new phone swap might not be far away. What with models like the Nokia 7610 and the Sony Ericsson S700 about to break into local markets next month. We'll see.

Tech-head and Phonewhore signing out. We now return you to your regular scheduled blogging.
Sob Advertising

Over the weekend I saw the latest ad of a popular fast food chain here in Manila. It was a well-made ad, but somehow I just find the idea of pairing something as frivolous as fast food with terminal illness... wrong. Perhaps it's just me. It's in the same vein as showing poor people or beggars outside restaurants, or people dying because you didn't get your insurance or mortgage right. But then, for some ad agencies and clients, these things are all just part of the arsenal to catch an audience's hearts... and purses.

Ah, well... back to work then.

Sunday, May 23

Shrek 2

Ogre power times 2.

Yesterday I ventured off to Greenhills to get my phone memory upgraded yet again to its 256 MB limit. It was quite a trick but now I've got enough storage space to fit in a bunch of MP3s and tons of video. As I prepared to leave for Mega, the rains increased and I found myself stranded. Theater Mall beckoned and I eventually decided to watch the sequel to Dreamworks' most popular and successful CG movie.

Shrek 2 reunites the cast of storybook characters from the first one- grumpy but golden-hearted ogre, Shrek (Mike Myers), princess-turned-ogress Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and sidekick Donkey (Eddie Murphy) as their lives continue after happily ever after.
It seems that Fiona was destined, at least by the resident do-gooder Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders), to marry Prince Charming (Rupert Everett). But since someone threw an ogre into the mix, all that went to pot. So now, Godmother, Prince Charming's mother actually, hatches a plot to 'correct' the mistake. Her plan starts moving when Shrek and Fiona are invited to the Kingdom of Far, Far Away by the King and Queen, FIona's parents. And of course, hilarity and madness ensues.

This movie is a riot! The laughs, spoofs, pop culture references and sight gags come fast and furious from the first minute, and they hardly let up for the duration of the movie. It's great to revisit the Shrek universe and see the characters in action again. Aside from the original cast (who are in fine form), the new characters blend in perfectly. Stealing the show of course is feline mercenary Puss In Boots, voiced perfectly by Antonio Banderas (who is without a doubt emulating his own Zorro character and having a lot of fun with the role). Also of note are the King and Queen of Far, Far Away (John Cleese and Julie Andrews respectively) and the various members of Shrek's Posse. The CG is much improved this time around, and the whole film is eye candy from beginning to end, and with a couple of cool musical numbers for good measure. GREAT stuff for one and all! Grab your loved one, family or barkada and catch this in theaters now, now, NOW!
Suikoden Manga

Revisiting the world of knights, magic and ducks.

Over the weekend I picked up the first volume of the Suikoden III manga from TokyoPop, the comic translation of the popular PS2 RPG. While I would have loved to see a manga translation of the earlier Suikoden 2 (my favorite of the series), the three-sided tale of war, betrayal, dark magic and the 108 heroes is an excellent epic fantasy to read.
The art is excellent, and the story seems to follow the game's plotline quite faithfully. Also, it seems that the book will take great pains to include most if not all the characters in one way or another.
Suikoden III manga is a MUST for fans of the game, and for manga fans who are aching for an great swords and sorcery adventure to get into. Get your copy at Comic Quest or your favorite comic shop.

Beautiful day.

I don't know about you but for me, rainy days are gorgeous. Well, not if you're out in the street, miles from your safe zone, your socks and shoes soaked to the grain, your body shivering in cold. Nope, rainy days are best seen, not felt. Seen from a window, preferably with a nice view. Perhaps overlooking the city, with the skyscrapers little more than ghostly silhouettes. There's a constant pitter-patter of droplets hitting the glass in a futile attempt to strike you. Wind howls like a soothing melody, rattling the panes gently like a caress.

Another great way to enjoy a rainy day would be curled up in bed, under warm covers. The sound of the downpour serves only to massage your eardrums, a lullaby from the sky.

Today was pretty rainy throughout... I am glad to say that I was able to have a couple of hours of restfulness as it poured outside. Here's to a rainy, lazy day as well today.

But DAMN I hope it's all cleared up by Monday.