Saturday, August 21

Alien VS Predator

Whoever wins, we lose more than a hundred bucks.


I met up with Vin and Jason after work to watch the monster franchise-crossover movie, Alien VS Predator. As usual with our movie ops, after Vin closed up the store we had a rush dinner and then hurried off to The Podium.
These past few weeks, I've missed I, Robot, Catwoman, Collateral and The Village. For some reason, we decided to watch AvP. Oh well. Here we go.

Set in present day (October 2004), the movie introduces us to... well, a bunch of humans. I really don't care about any of them, and I hardly remember any of them as well. There's the lead female, a kind of mountaineering or survival specialist, a couple of archaeologists, a tough chick that kinda reminded me of Marie Fredrickssen from Roxette, a black guy with a great voice, a bunch of guys with 'cannon fodder' and 'alien bait' written all over them, and of course Lance Henricksen as multibillionaire Wayland, whom film enthusiasts will probably see as the origin of the Wayland-Yutani Corporation that's the background villain in the Alien movies.
To make a long, dragging first quarter of the film mercifully short, a heat source is detected by Wayland's satellites at the North Pole. They find a pyramid hidden under the ice, and immediately send forth an expedition. Wayland himself joins the hastily-gathered experts and manpower, despite having a life-threatening illness. Of course, the ruins are deadlier than just any ordinary fossil ground- and soon the humans are waist-deep with H.R. Giger's babies, and a team of the extraterrestrial hunters known as The Predators.

This film just screams 'rushed', in more ways than one. The characters are pretty shallow and the story is little more than an FX-fest. There are some stuff about the origins of earth's civilizations and how they are tied with the Predators, and that's pretty much it. The alien-predator fights are kinda short, and people hoping to see the predators kick major butt will be disappointed. The climax, where the last predator and human join together to fight and survive, is pretty hokey... especially the part where the predator improvises some equipment for his new ally... The only thing missing is the crab-faced alien giving the homo-sapien a 'thumbs up' and a pat on the back at the end. Heh.

In the end this is really just a harmless, no-brainer action movie that tries to use two popular franchises... an idea that has been in comics for years, but in the end the movie version just falls short... as I expected. It could have been scripted a LOT better, with the wealth of stuff and material the producers had to work with... but a lot just went to waste, under-utilized and glossed over. Dumb, heavy-handed action.

Well, I wasn't expecting much from this, so I actually had a laugh and a bit of fun. Heh. What a way to end the week.

Friday, August 20

Game Over

I've finished reading Game of Thrones.

Great read.

Off to find the next book.

Winter is coming.

Thursday, August 19

Road Rage

There's nothing more infuriating than spending almost an hour waiting for a cab along Katipunan with the sun over your head and the smell of garbage and some decaying animal cloying your nostrils, having a cab some along and then just have it taken by some FRICKING BEEYOTCH who appears out of nowhere in front of you.

I had half a mind to grab the taxi thief by the hair and piledrive her into the sidewalk.

There has to be a law, darn it. BAH.

Wednesday, August 18

The Game Continues...

Just before retiring last night, I decided to read a couple of chapters of Game of Thrones. The plot deepens, with Eddard Stark, new King's Hand, forging deeper into enemy-infested territory. However, it's not a battlefield the noble lord is accustomed to- this is a secret war, fought in hallowed halls and dark allleyways with subtle treachery, hidden daggers and sweet poison, deadly intrigue and ruthless subterfuge. Ned Stark is not without allies in his fight for the King, but his enemies are powerful indeed.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Starks, their allies and their enemies continue the high-level drama of kings, lords, bastards, assassins and knights, even as the balance of power shifts in the East, and a forgotten evil gathers menace in the North.

Winter is coming. And the Dragon may yet wake.

Don't understand a word I'm babbling about? Get yourself a copy of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones and start playing. This book has lodged itself like a sharp antler in my throat and I can't stop reading. The characters are excellently written, and there are surprising twists to the various personages encountered in the novel. Gripping stuff.

And of course, by the time I put down the book for this sitting (I'm about a third through) it was FRICKIN' THREE O' CLOCK IN THE MORNING!!! GAAAAHHH!!!

Tuesday, August 17

Dream Wars

This morning I dreamt of a battle scene which looked like something from Saving Private Ryan except with superheroes.

I saw large numbers of caped and costumed characters alongside squads and squads of regular soldiers, charging forward in a cratered, desert landscape. Sometimes explosions would rock the landscape, sending bodies and body parts flying- Yes, even the costumed guys died. It was kinda cartoony though- about as gory as a contemporary RTS computer game.
The highlight was watching the dream's 'main character', who looked pretty much like the Terminatrix from T3, charge forward, using her shapechanging powers and fighting skills to wade through squads of enemy troopers. The climax was the T-X charging into a cave, and then exploding out, locked in battle with a robotic triceratops.

Battle ended, troops cheered, heroes were victorious... and I woke up.

It must have been the pizza dinner.

Monday, August 16

Modus Operandi

I just got a warning both from e-mail and from my parents about a modus operandi carried out by a couple of evildoers to victimize women passengers of taxi cabs.
The schtick is actually pretty simple. The perpatrators have a taxi cab that plies routes in Makati. They pick up lone female passengers who fit their target. Then, when they reach a secluded, dark spot, the driver will get out and open the trunk. At which point, the driver's accomplice will jump out and hold the passenger at knife-point.
Apparently, the two men responsible for these crimes- Arnold Apolonario (the driver) and Nick Simpao (the knife-man) have already been caught, but have gotten out of jail due to our LOVELY justice system. While the e-mail has suggested that Apolonario may have already slipped out to the States, this scheme may still be in use by other lawless bastards in Metro Manila.

The best people, especially women, can do is just stay vigilant. Try not to show off valuables like expensive cellphones and large amounts of money when in the street, or in the cab. Try to select cabs with well-known and respected company names, and always jot down the license plate and name of the cab (real cabs have red serial numbers on the license plate) or let your companions and friends do it for you. Always keep an eye on your cabbie, and eveything he does.

These really aren't foolproof defenses against such crimes- in the best case, if the holdup men are just after money and valuables, just give them up since NOTHING is worth your health and life. Keep a clear head, always say a prayer and keep your wits always about you. Survival is always top priority.

I'm a regular commuter, but luckily I'm male, so this M.O. might not necessarily be for me. But hold-ups are a constant threat, so all I can do is keep under the radar and avoid looking like a target (especially since I walk around with a laptop and cellphone all the time). Darn. What I would give for a real working Vanishing Ray. Sigh.
Stark of Winterfell Raving Mad

Last night I started reading George R.R. Martin's fantasy novel, Game of Thrones. I've been hearing great things about this book from Dean, Gig and Vin for the longest time, so when I saw a copy at the National Book Fair, I got it.
The book's a pretty fast and easy read- a high-level tale that revolves around the powerful and embattled Starks of Winterfell, a noble family as hard and cold as the land they rule. When the Starks' patriarch, Eddard Stark, is offered a position of power by the King, it starts a deadly contest between the Starks, their allies, their enemies... quite literally, a game of thrones.

The novel is pretty entertaining- the setting is interesting and the politically-charged plots and subplots, including a growing threat of supernatural forces and a threat of invasion from overseas mixes with more personal tales of ambition and adversity. It's not your fireball-and-orc horde type of fantasy world; there are only hints of magic and dragons are extinct, but I find myself turning page after page. Good stuff!

Depending on how fast I finish the first part, I guess I'll be on the lookout for the next two parts of the saga. Only one problem though...

Local Justice

On the local news I watched a video taken by the Philippine Air Force as a squadron of helicopters and bombers poured hundreds of bombs and thousands of ammo rounds into a couple of houses on a tiny island in Maguindanao. According to the PAF, this was proof of the death of a feared Kidnap-for-Ransom gang leader and 15 henchmen. Of course, there was really no footage of the bodies... but the Armed Forces rep said that they were 100 perfect sure that their 'surgical strike' was totally accurate.

On other recent news, a man was supposedly killed then cooked and EATEN in a case of apparent cannibalism. The police found the site where the body was apparently burned, tramping across the scene like a pack of wild elephants no doubt. Of course, there are no CSI departments here to tell how many people were at the scene, what actually happened to the victim, or any pertinent data. All the police have to go on in liey of any forensic evidence is eye-witness accounts, confessions (often achieved via torture) and... MY WORD AGAINST YOURS!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Well! Doesn't that make me feel safe. Gah.

Sunday, August 15

Winning Weekend


This weekend was pretty busy. In the late afternoon, the gang (Vin, Dean, Gig, Carl, Andrew, Elbert, Jason, Charles, Jaime and of course, me) converged on The World Trade Center in Manila to attend the National Book Fair and later, the 2004 National Book Awards. Particularly, our object was the award for Best Comic.
The Book Fair was, to Dean's estimation, crap. Well, I really didn't expect anything, nor was I expecting to get anything at all. In the end though, I got myself a couple of acquisitions- George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones (which I have been hearing of FOREVER from Dean, Gig and Vin) and four choice issues of Asterix the Gaul. I even won a free umbrella from National Book Store, which was fortuitous at the very least since it was raining and I brought no real protection at all.

Anyway, the awards were held in a partitioned-off area of the Book Fair and I have to say, it was the WORST awards event I have ever seen. The plastic walls of the venue were falling off with alarming regularity, threatening to flatten unfortunate audience members, and the presentation of the awards were... not particularly engaging. Sigh. Well, at the very least Ruey's spiels were entertaining, and the Comic Award magnanimously went both to Siglo Freedom AND the competition, the Darna series by Mango Comics.
Afterwards, it was a sight to see Dean talking and discussing comics and publishing with the Yonzons, and perhaps something will come of this night that will be good for all of us comics makers.

After the awards, the group split up to make their way to Rockwell for a well-deserved dinner. Me and Jason drove in the Pinoy nomad's pickup through traffic and rain to the sound of The Lord of the Rings- an experience to remember, actually. Eventually, the group had a pricey but satistying repast at Burgoo's. Later, it was winding down time at Country Waffles, which let us talk more comic geek talk and appreciation time for newly-bought books. Then, it was home for me and Karaoke Night for most of the rest.

Today, I was lucky to have a bit of rest. The weekend's not over since I have to go attend my friend Alex's delayed birthday party. Later tonight, I hope to at least get some work done on pages. Then it's work again tomorrow. The weekend's almost over, but it's been a winner.