Saturday, June 19

Chronicles of a Dark Angel

Fallen Angel TPB is now available.

Fallen Angel may not be a comic you'd usually attribute to me. It's dark in both theme and visual style, with morally ambiguous characters and plots that may take one or two reads to be clear. But then again, it stars a kick-ass, mysterious young woman who is both beautiful and complex.
FA is the story of Lee, a cloaked, red-haired woman who is part enforcer, part vigilante, part bounty-hunter and all-around femme fatale in the steamy, shadowy city of Bete Noir. In the span of the 12 issues released so far, we haven't been given too much knowledge about her. She answets to a nun, is super strong and invulnerable, and has acrobatic agility to let her clamber all across the rooftops of the city like a cat. She has some sort of psychic power similar to telekinesis that can, if she wants, tear someone inside out. And finally, she has a creepy ability to just hover slightly above the ground, the soles of her feet never touching the ground. Is she an enhanced human? An actual angel? Only the writer knows, and he's not telling... yet.

So far Lee has shown she's not above getting in bed with the criminal elements of Bete Noir. She's not above using torture to get what she wants- a moral point that both subtly hits at the US Army's treatment of prisoners in Iraq, and shows that our heroine Lee is all too human. She's battled street thugs, criminal masterminds, sorcerous underworld figures and bloodthirsty beasts, but her most deadly foe just may be her own inner demons. It's not always a pretty sight, but for some reason watching the Fallen Angel as she walks her danger-filled path is a gripping read.

This series is one of those kinds of comics these days- an excellently-produced title that has a small but loyal fan base. I really like this title and hope it continues, that's why I support it at every turn. Comic book fans with a taste for dark, gritty, non-conventional fare may do well to check out the recently-released trade, which collects the first 6 issues of the series, and has a couple of pages of character sketches to round off the deal. Get it at your favorite comic store now!
Riddickulous Movie

Triple X in space?

Tonight, our ragtag band of outlaws- Vin, Jason, Dino, Ralph, Carl and me- broke into the heavily-guarded stronghold known as The Podium to watch the new sci-fi action adventure, Chronicles of Riddick.

I'm not really a big fan of bald bad boy Vin Diesel- at least, I didn't really know about him before the 'remixed' spy movie XXX hit theaters. As far as I know, Mr. Diesel rose first to stardom because of his role in the sci-fi thriller Pitch Black (or was it The Fast and the Furious?), as the character known as Riddick. A bad-ass superhuman convict and killer, Riddick was an anti-hero of the first degree. Master escape artist, fearless warrior and unstoppable assassin. Well, actually he's really just a loner who'd rather just live and let live. But of course, it wouldn't be an action movie if it was all about Riddick camping out in some backwoods planet so here we have big things that go to Hell real fast.

The universe is in danger. A phantom army is rapidly growing in strength and numbers, spreading like a virus through the worlds of human colonization. They are called The Necromongers, a force of gothic, highly-disciplined warriors who take over worlds and then either convert or kill everyone in sight. They are led by the Lord Marshall (Colm Feore), a half-human, half-dead being with supernatural abilities. With every world that falls, more humans join this unholy crusade. Is there any way to stop this religious cult of space-faring death worshippers? Well, if prophecy is to be believed, it lies in a race of warriors called The Furions. But for the past generations, the Necromongers have exterminated or subjugated every Furion in sight. Or have they? Enter Mr. Riddick...

I came into COR expecting little more than an action-fest with lots of eye candy, and to say the least, I was NOT disappointed. This film is filled to the brim and overflowing with incredible visuals. The gothic designs of the Necromongers are a sight to see, and the various worlds we are shown fill the screen with all the glorious scope CG effects can give.
In terms of story, there's really little to chew on- the movie is one big action romp for Riddick to look totally bad-ass and kick a lot of arse. Pitch Black fans will enjoy seeing the return of a couple of familiar faces (or names at least) from the prequel. There are some sideplots and conspiracies within the Necromonger elite, as an ambitious/loyal commander named Vaako (Karl Urban) conspires with his consort (Thandie Newton) to replace the present Lord Marshall. There's also a fair bit of dark humor in the precedings as well. Unfortunately, there's also a glaringly long sequence in the middle which brings to mind The Climb Up Mordor from LOTR- a somewhat prolonged, dragging scene. But for the most part, things ran along at a steady pace, to the final action-packed finale and an ending that just screams SEQUEL!!!!

I haven't watched an action film that's just so rich in visuals, so energetic in action, so ambitious in scope and as guiltless in execution as COR, and I can say readily I enjoyed it. It's no Dune, no Star Wars, but it doesn't need or aspire to be. For what it is though, it's pretty good and that's good enough.

Catch Chronicles of Riddick- if you can, or if you dare- in theaters now.

Side note: I came home and opened the TV to HBO and the detective movie Point of Origin. Who do I see in the first scene I see? Colm Feore, the Lord Marshall, now in the role of a detective. Coincidence? Weird.

Friday, June 18


I'm going to have to hunker down and start doing the pending art requirements I have starting this weekend. It looks like the day job is going to be a fickle mistress starting next week. Yikes. Where did all the time go? I have to admit that I've been remiss in a lot of things. K.I.A. is delayed till at least August, given that the submissions are still missing a couple more contributions, and my own pages are unfinished. It doesn't help that we're still pinning down a printer/publisher who can give us a good price and quality. Sigh.

Lots of things to do. Not much time to do it. Well, what else is new? Heh...
Riddickulous, Part Deux

Tonight, Vin, Dino and I will be watching the Pitch Black sequel/sci-fi action adventure Chronicles of Riddick, starring Vin Diesel as the titular anti-hero/convict/galactic saviour. Also on board in the cast are Judi Dench as an ethereal, alien version of her character 'M' from the Bond movies; Keith David as the odd survivor from Pitch Black; Colm Feore as the main baddie The Lord Marshall of the Necromongers; Karl Urban as his lieutenant Vaako and Thandie Newton as Lady Vaako.
Reviews for this flick are mixed, but it's plainly something to see- I'm expecting XXX in Space, lots of pretty lights and sounds, funny one-liners and killing aplenty. If there's a great story as well thrown in with all that, all the better. We'll see.

Darn I miss having Discovery Travel and Leisure on cable. My present cable provider just doesn't have it. I don't really watch it for the exotic places as much as I look for exotic dining, cuisine and eats. I'm a very visual person and I eat best when I'm watching a show about food and eating. My favorites are the 'Chef's Journey' shows of Anthony Bourdain which combines New York-ish sentiments, international escapades are REALLY great eating. Lonely Planet/Globe Trekker also had cool food segments, including my all-time favorite Food Special.
At present, all I have are the cooking shows of Food Network on the Lifestyle Channel. It's just not the same. Not as appetizing. Darn.

Sigh. Maybe I'm just hungry. Where should I eat lunch today?

Thursday, June 17

The Phone Whore Strikes Again

Yeah, I've got it.

Okay, okay. I know I've written before that I was going to stay with my 6600 for a while, and that I was perfectly happy with it. And I was, given that I had spent a bundle on maximizing the phone's memory, installed a crapload of games and stuff in it as proof against boredom as long as the battery held out.

But then, the phone got blacklisted and basically was turned into little more than a glorified Gameboy/MP3 player and substandard digicam combo. As a phone, it was useless- no signal, no coverage, no life. The cause for the exile/excommunication/castration of my 6600? Who knows... maybe the original owner didn't pay his bills. Maybe the phone was frickin' stolen. Whatever ghosts of the past it had, they had returned to haunt me and the phone had been struck down.
Not wanting to switch to a rival network, downgrade to a lesser phone or redundantly get another 6600, I just decided to nip this in the bud and just GO FOR IT. I told myself it was my birthday present to myself. I told myself I was getting a higher-res camera and digicam for what I was paying for. I told myself I was at least getting rid of my problem phone and paying a lot less cash than I normally would. I told myself, WHAT THE HECK. I traded in my 6600 and got my 7610 in the box.

So here I am, with the latest Nokia on the block.

My model is black and shiny, with metallic brown highlights- a limited edition, the salesguy said. Riiight. Whatever. Anyway, the 7610 is just as tall, but a lot thinner, narrower and a bit lighter than the wide-bodied 6600. The screen is the same size, though it has straighter sides than the more TV-esque screen of the 6600. The 7610's screen IS noticeably brighter and prettier to look at. Really.
The keys are odd- that's easy to see straight off. Surprisingly, they're not hard to use at all. The joypad though is a bit stiff- especially with downward motions. I hope this gets easier to use with practice. Aside from that though, using the 7610's keys are snappy, responsive and quick. Texting with it should be a breeze in a day or two.
As it is yet another Symbian 60 smartphone, the 7610 works with most, if not all, applications made for these models. My favorite third party app, namely Smartmovie, works PERFECTLY. In fact, I'd venture to say that the 7610 plays the AVIs even smoother and clearer than the 6600 ever did. WOOHOO!!! Other games and apps I installed also worked on the get-go. Coolness.
As for sound, the 7610 kicks the 6600 easily- ringtones and sounds from media come in fuller and brighter. For calling, I have yet to use the phone extensively, but there's really no reason to think that it won't.

Another issue is memory- the 7610 uses Reduced Size MMC cards that are different from those used in the 6600- making my previously acquired cards useless. I hope to acquire larger-capacity versions to replace the 64MB card that came with my phone. For now though, I have to choose what stuff I pack my phone with. Sigh.

Well, that's it... Oh, wait. Yeah, the camera.

The 1 Megapixel-camera rocks. The pics are far, far better than any previous Nokia. I haven't taken too many clicks yet, but when I do I'll post them at my phlog or here. Suffice to say, the change is a world away from the blurry pics of yesteryear. As for the videos, I haven't yet even started to film my first 7610 movie, but the editing features and other doodads should be something cool to play with when I have the time.
Aside from the phone itself, the 7610 came with a manual, a charger, a USB cable to link with PCs, a headset and an attacheable wrist-strap. Didn't get the CD with the Nokia PC Suite- I'll have to follow that up.

I'll post a more in-depth review as I use my new toy more. For now though, the phone's great. Well, for what I paid for it, it SHOULD, damn it. Heh.
Bon Voyage

Last night, our friend Cams left for the US, this time for good. Well, she'll be visiting probably every now or then, but from now on she'll be living and working overseas.

I'll miss being your carpooler, Cams. Take care, stay happy and always update your blog! Later.
Shot in the dark

Yesterday I spent the whole time at an old house in Quezon City, overseeing the shoot for a television commercial. There were three scenes, with little variation in camera work, and pretty much just one to three sentences of copy to be said by the various performers. I expected a quick shoot, finished by mid-afternoon.

EEEEHHH!!! Wrong.

While our first talent delivered her lines perfectly and had tons of great takes, the second and third talents took far, far longer to coach and guide to usable performances. Plus, in the early evening, a torrent of rain fell, holding up the shooting for a while since we were recording live sound. By the time we shot the last frame and our director, the cool Raymond Red, said, 'Pack up!', it was 10 PM. Oh well.

It just goes to show that even the best-laid and best-prepared planscan stumble with the slightest hiccup, from human factors or atmospheric conditions. Anyway, I'm thankful that we were able to finish with good takes and the satisfaction that our day was well spent. Spent to the last, but well spent.

Tuesday, June 15

Loyalty Reward

It's good to be a Yahoo user. Well, a longtime Yahoo user.

When I logged in this night, I was pleasantly surprised to see my Yahoo mail account considerably improved. I now have 100 MB of storage space, the ability to receive and send up to 10 MB sized-files, and a new, streamlined interface.

COOLNESS! Well, it's about time I got something back after all these years. Thanks, Yahoo! WOOHOO! I mean, YAHOO!!!
Dark Endings

I just watched Army of Darkness on cable. It's the third movie in the Evil Dead series, and my favorite. It's also the most comedic and action-packed of the trilogy, a far cry from straight-up horror feel of the previous films. More an action-fantasy, AOD has former convenience store employee Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) trapped in a midieval land beset by 'Deadites'- undead creatures that exist to torture the living. After he gets captured by a nobleman's knights, Ash soon becomes the de-facto leader of the human resistance against the Evil Dead.
It was years and years ago since I watched this first in theaters- I always found the ending a bit too bleak- after defeating the Deadites, Ash is given a magic potion that lets him sleep until his own time. However, he miscounts the drops required and wakes up in an apocalyptic future.

THAT ending was the only ending I've known in Army of Darkness. However, there actually is an alternate ending- or, actually, the official cinematic ending, known to the rest of the world. SPOILERS AHEAD! The theatrical ending was the one shown in the US and most everywhere else, and has the potion working properly, letting Ash return to the present day- and a job at S-Mart. We then see him recounting his adventures to a disbelieving audience. At that moment, a Deadite appears and a fight scene breaks out, with Ash taking the baddie out with a well-placed shotgun blast. The film then ends with the words, 'Hail to the King, Baby', a phrase that appears in the Evil Dead: Army of Darkness videogame released recently (so that's where they got it).
I've never seen the theatrical ending- perhaps I should take a trip down to the DVD market and see if there's a disc available. We'll see...

Monday, June 14

Phone Whore Lusts Again

Just as the new Nokia 7610 debuted in stores yesterday, news arrived online about the new WCDMA Megapixel camera phone from the Finns. It's called the 6630 and it's yet another Series 60 Symbian smartphone. It's usable almost anywhere in the world, and can pretty much connect with anything. Equipped with a 1.23 Megapixel phone, this baby can take hi-res phots and up to an hour of video. Looks like a bastard mutant child of the 3650 and a 6600 to me- don't really like the curved bottom, and I don't know how big it is yet. Not that hot about it right now... perhaps when we get more news. Oh well.

Over the weekend I had four different celebrations of my passage into the next year.

On Friday, I celebrated with my officemates and my boss (who also turned one year older) over trays of luscious cold cuts, cheeses, bread and wine. It was cool to just eat and drink and chat about fun stuff and not have to worry about work, if only for an hour or two.

Saturday noon was with the family, a gathering with the parents, siblings and their kids with the classic spaghetti, barbecue and chicken.

Saturday night was with my 'Now' crowd, the Comic Quest group. At Don Henrico's we trooped and sated our craving for Buffalo-style Fried Chicken drowned in ranch garlic sauce, complimented with three-cheese pizza, pesto pasta and enough bottomless soft drinks to replace our actual blood supply.

Yesterday night, I had my college friends over, and we had spaghetti, roast beef and barbecue under the stars as we reminisced about old college war stories and rummaged through our newlywed-friend Mayee's wedding photos.

All of it passed like a whirlwind, amidst wet evenings of rain.

Even though right now I finally feel the weight of all the effort running around like a headless chicken right now, I enjoyed every minute. It'll be back to regular living tomorrow, and so on and so forth until the next celebration.

Can't wait. Later, guys and gals.

Sunday, June 13

Older, wider, MADder.

I turn one year older today.

I'm getting old.

I guess I should stop wearing t-shirts and jeans and sneakers, and start wearing barongs and black pants and comfortable slip-ons.

I should start dyeing my hair to hide the whites.

I should get rid of the frivolous games and stop watching cartoons.

I have to give up doing comics. It's bad business that gives little returns or profit.

I have to start living more carefully and worry more about my health. I'm not getting any younger.


The fun's just started in the MADman's show.

Thanks everyone for tuning in. We've got a lot more stories to come.
It is here!

The latest Nokia has arrived in Manila.

I was walking around Mega's IT Center and as I expected, the Nokia 7610 had arrived in a couple of stores. This latest Finnish mobile model has all the features of my current fave, the Nokia 6600. The 7610 is a Series 60 Symbian smartphone, equipped with an integrated camera and video recorder and all the other trimmings, including an MP3 player and expandable memory via reduced-size MMC cards.
The biggest upgrade from the 6600 in the 7610 is the 1 megapixel camera, which takes much higher-resolution photos than pretty much almost all previous cameraphones. You can also take videos of up to 10 minutes- videos that you can edit and play with on the phone to make mini-movies and MTVs.
The phone seems to be as tall as the 6600, though the shape is straighter and narrower, like a T610. It's also not as thick as the 6600. The screen is the same size, though reviews have commented that the 7610's is much brighter.

As expected, the phone is PRICEY at about 35K (pesos). Not something I'd be able to pick up in a snap... if I wanted it right now, I'd have to sell my 6600 and add a bundle of cash. Of course, I have no intention of doing that today, tomorrow or even next month. I am quite happy with my 6600 right now... I can wait for more in-depth reviews and information and for the price to go waaay down before I even think of moving onto this flashy, fancy new toy.

At least, I hope I do. Heh...

Damn, it looks nice... Damn nice... Sigh.