Saturday, December 31


On the verge of making the leap to the New Year, I looked back at 2005 and hey, I guess I didn't do too bad.

At the Salt Mines in the vast mountain known as the business of advertising, us miners worked to turn around the situation at the start of 2005 to reap pretty nice rewards at the end of the year. From zero to hero is a pretty cool way of putting it, modesty aside.

In the field of local comics, I participated in a couple of notable projects which came in at a photo finish near the close of 2005; the much-delayed Siglo: Passion and the soon-to-be continued Project: HERO. Along the way I was able to debut another much-delayed title of my own: Kunoichi Boy, at the quite successful First Philippine KOMIKON.

In the area of gadgets, two nifty toys stood out; my O2 XDA II Mini PDA phone which I got in the middle of the year and look to keep for quite a while... it's turned out to be the perfect phone and media device for me and continues to be my favorite tech toy despite inevitable new models coming (like the XDA Atom and XDA Exec). If there's a new phone coming this year to unseat this from my belt holster, I have not seen it.
The other device I totally dig from 2005 is my spiffy Archos AV700 DVR Recorder/Player. I haven't used it on the road yet, but hours of movies, anime and gaming vids have already passed through it into my phone. Lovely, lovely. I just hope it stays working for a long, long time.

In the field of movies, this was a forgettable year. Big films came late in the year; I was charmed and thrilled by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (IMO, the best Potter film yet), while the last installment of the lackluster Star Wars prequels just capped the trio of monumental mediocrity. I've yet to watch the biggie of 2005, King Kong... I guess it will become the first biggie of 2006 for me then. Funny enough, the last film I watched this year was a local film, Exodus, which is kinda fitting in terms of the title, don't you think?

On the Political Front, the country continues to labor along even with the ridiculously obvious corruption of the government. There were a few bright spots; the seeming stability of the economy and rising of the peso over the dollar towards the end of the year. The second, the Philippines' victory in the recent SEA Games.

At the home front, all is well though we do end 2005 with the melancholy possibility that within the next year the Sanctum's surroundings will be a lot quieter as my siblings and their families migrate to the States and elsewhere. Well, again, thanks to the wonders of modern media, we'll be able to keep in touch even across the miles.

As for the Comic Gang, 2005 saw us having fun as we had years before but eventually mellowing out our 'paint the town red on Saturdays' cycle. Some guys left, maybe never to return. New faces became old faces and thankfully there are still enough of us to bunch up together to do stuff every now and then despite our own individual pursuits.

Once again, not a bad year. Not a great year, but not bad. Not bad at all. And in these times, that's good.

Friday, December 30

The Grudge, WWE Style

Lately, an 'angle' or storyline on the WWE Smackdown show has young heel (bad guy) Randy Orton being 'haunted' by The Undertaker, whom he supposedly 'killed' (left the guy on a burning car that exploded). One of the recent shows had Orton being continuously harassed by supernatural encounters- from clocks spinning backwards to his father, 'Cowboy' Bob Orton appearing with blood dripping down his face and apparitions of the Undertaker appearing in mirrors.

The clinker that had me laughing out loud was a segment where a reporter suddenly gets 'possessed' and starts speaking with Taker's voice. Bad spirits? More like bad acting. Hoho...

Darn, when the WWE gets corny, it can get totally corny.

There's even a bit of gross-out Fear Factor stuff with the arrival of the wrestler known as The Bogeyman, who eats live worms and nightcrawlers and SPITS them onto his defeated opponents. GROOOOOSSSSS.

Well, whatever. Still a hoot to watch after all this time.

Thursday, December 29

The Wait Begins


Dead or Alive 4 is on the verge of widespread release. It's already apparently available in Asia, at least in Japan and probably elsewhere like in Hong Kong. The US will probably get theirs by tomorrow or later today. Online, forum boards are starting to trickle in with new pics and videos.

Doesn't change the fact that Xbox360s are horribly expensive here locally right now, or presently unavailable. Unless the stocks of the console go up and the prices go down, I won't be playing this next-gen brawler anytime soon. Hopefully in a couple of months... maybe. Darn. For now, I'll have to content myself with the new info and any media I can grab.

Darn. Oh well. Everything comes to he who waits.


Tuesday, December 27


Ramon 'Bong' Revilla Jr. takes on the forces of darkness.

Years ago, one of the best RPGs I played on the ol' PC was Ultima III: Exodus, which was pretty simple compared to the big budget fantasy games of today. The graphics were pretty basic, seen from a top down perspective with limited animation. Still, despite the bland visuals, I still found myself lost in the land of digital fantasy, battling terrible hordes of monsters with spells and swords in my quest for virtue in the land of Ultima.
Well, it's at least a decade later and FINALLY, the Exodus movie is now a reality.

Okay, I'm kidding. Exodus: Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom has nothing to do with the old PC game from Origin Systems. It's one of the entries to this year's Metro Manila Film Festival, a yearly event that basically takes over every theater and moviehouse from Christmas Day to New Year's Day here in our parts. I chose Exodus since the posters showed some pretty nifty costumes and I thought, what the hey... it looks a lot better to me than "Ako Legal Wife!' in any case. So, after doing my shopping for a couple of new pairs of shoes and some graphic novels, I bought a ticket and headed in.

Now, let me say for starters that I went in not expecting a lot. I am pretty jaded when it comes to local films, especially local fantasy films. I have to admit that I find that local fantasy just doesn't have the sophistication I am used to. OKAY, I know that expeting something like The Lord of the Rings from local producers is a bit much, but I say, there are things that can give a fantasy movie (or any movie for that matter) sophistication and coolness that don't necessarily require big budgets or gobs and layers of prosthetics, or stiff CG. These things include the following: A Good Script and Imaginative Direction. Sad to say, I have seen few local films in the fantasy genre (be they superhero, sword and sorcery or whatever) that take the effort to have these things. For the most part, these films let the fancy special effects and costumes do the talking.

Exodus: Tales of the Enchanted Kingdom starts off perhaps in the crummiest way possible- by actually showing THE Enchanted Kingdom amusement park. Yeah, shameless plugging there. Apparently, the Exodus movie is a ride as well. We have the logo wizard of the park appear in human/CG form along with a crappy anti-cellphone message (which is STILL ignored by several assholes in the theater, particularly some idiot sitting behind me). FINALLY, after the overlong intro, we finally go into the actual story.

The film is set in a besieged fantasy world where the last few humans are being hunted to extinction by the forces of darkness (Literally... the enemies are 'taong dilim' or night people). Outnumbered, the last remaining human city is called Bantayan, which is relying on the services of a grim, unsmiling mercenary named Exodus (Ramon Revilla Jr.), a man with a 'murky past' (this is from the movie literature). Seeing as they are about to be massacred, the human leaders send Exodus on a quest to defeat the King of Darkness, Haring Bagulbol.

Haring Bagulbol.

Okay, the first moment we hear the name of the Head Villain, Lord of Darkness and Master of Evil, we do not feel fear or awe. Who cannot help but giggle or guffaw at that fricking name?

Haring Bagulbol.


Let me name some scary fantasy villains. Darkness from Legend. Sauron from The Lord of the Rings. Black Wolf from Wizards. Nekron from Fire and Ice. Thulsa Doom from Conan.

We got Haring Bagulbol.

I don't care what it means... I'm sure there's a meaning behind the word that made the writers choose it, but DARN IT, listen to how it sounds. BAGULBOL. It's FUNNY. NOT a name for the big villain of your fantasy epic.

GAH. Anyway... moving on...

Haring Bagulbol is played by local matinee idol/singer Jar-R who appears early on in a bath scene, and like young Sting in the old Dune movie appears in his bare essentials no doubt to the pleasure of all the girls out there. Well, they should soak it in since after that one scene he spends basically the whole movie afterwards covered head to toe in ornate armor and masks. What's the use of having him in masks all the time, and having a different voice? Anyway, Bagulbol basically spends the time in his castle, looking over torture chambers and being pretty passive, only sending out his minions a couple of times to hinder the oncoming assassination attempt on him from the humans.

Meanwhile, Exodus goes off on his quest, collecting the elemental creatures that are to be his allies. He gets four of them pretty easily- a Tikbalang or horse-beast named Tayho (Benjie Paras), a sexy flying aswang femme fatale named Bangkil (Aubrey Miles), a mischievous fire-child named Silab (BJ Forbes) and a lovely but fickle diwata or wind-fairy named Lin Ay (Iya Villania). Unfortunately, the FIFTH elemental being, an elemental of spirit called a Baylan, is supposedly extinct. The only remaining Baylan in the land is Haring Bagulbol himself (NO!) and of course he won't be joining the quest anytime soon.

So, despite the seeming hopelessness of the quest, Exodus finds a new direction from a cryptic vision and with his elemental allies go off to find 'the key' to all his questions. Meanwhile, the forces of evil are closing in on Bantayan, intent on extermination. Will Exodus and his comrades find the last Baylan in time? Can they defeat Bagulbol (snicker)?


For starters, this really is just a dumb fantasy movie to please kids. There are cool costumes and some nifty CG effects, and there are attempts for some wirework sword-fu and stunts. But that's about it- nothing really sophisticated or surprising, notthing really unique to this venture aside from the usual expected fare.

The visuals of the movie are hit-and-miss. A lot of the budget obviously went into the costumes for the main heroes and villains; everyone else is second rate, and it shows. While the art direction and production team tries hard, it's still pretty funny to see people in the fantasy land of Bantayan wearing plaid shirts and polos, or the odd dress which looks picked up from some ukay-ukay flea market. As it is, the look of the film is uneven- some of it looks to be just weird or cool, which sometimes works (Bangkil wears shades, the human 'speakers' of the King of Bantayan wear divers' masks) and sometimes doesn't. Which pretty much sums up everything else in the movie in terms of visuals. Yeah, every one of the extras look like they're extras acting and that probably will never change in local movies. Sigh.

As per the story, again, it's pretty simple and basic- it's a kiddie film, no LOTR or serious fantasy film. There are resultantly few touches of sophistication and lots of leaps in logic. There's glaringly bad pacing as seems to be always the case with 'Quest' films in local cinema- there are FAR too many scenes with the heroes just walking and walking and walking and camping and walking, too few enemy action and encounters. There's little sense of tension or urgency despite the fact that the last remaining humans are supposedly in danger of invasion.
At the start of the movie, Exodus leads a small army of men armed with what appear to be primitive camera flashes to fight an overwhelmingly superior number of dark creatures. Instead of bunching the warriors and the lights together and having good tactics, they basically just do the ol' Filipino way of fighting- Exodus says SUGOOOODDD!!!! (Charge!!!) and everyone runs at breakneck speed into the enemy without any formation or direction except to kill anything that's black. Well, who am I to criticize their war strategy when they apparently win anyway, at least for the time being.

So, why doesn't Bagulbol send his armies against Exodus at the end of the movie? In fact, where are all his warriors then? At the climax, he has four guys (main henchmen who appear far too late and are pretty much clobbered too easily by the equivalent heroes) to defend his turf. Then, there's the inevitable final battle between Exodus and Bagulbol that just boils down to another wire-fu fight to save the world. No tricks, no special obstacle, no riddle to puzzle over- Exodus just kills Jay-R and that's that. Happy Ending. Oh, right, along the way Exodus finds out something, finds the key (LITERALLY... too literally) and the movie's big twist, and that's that.

In terms of acting and performances, it's all par for the course. Bong Revilla basically mugs his way through the film as the stoic, unsmiling Exodus as he does in all of his movies, save with a lot less dialogue. Yeah, he looks cool in his armor and can swing a sword, but that's that. The four elementals could have been given more to say or do at least to show off their characters more, but for the most part are woefully under-used. A lot of potential, wasted. Oh well. At least they all look good posing on the movie posters.

Well, really, Exodus: Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom really is just what I expected it to be... a simple local costume fantasy action movie. Nothing more, nothing less. No surprises here, sad to say. Well, at least it wasn't something I would be ashamed to admit watching, and it was at least a good-natured film (despite the crappy shameless plug at the start). Fun for the kids. Grown-ups and fantasy fans, you'll be thinking of tons of stuff where this could have been made a lot better. Oh well.

There's a few more days left to the Holiday Break. Let's see if I can watch a couple more Festival Films before it's over. Then hopefully I'll be able to watch King Kong finally. Heh.
Fighting Fan Service

So what's Tenjou Tenge about? Read the title post.

With the lovely and languid pace of the holiday break, I was finally able to watch the Tenjou Tenge anime in it's entirety. There are 24 episodes along with a 2-episode OAV follow-up, though the manga on which the title is based is still ongoing or far longer, I think.

Anyway, Tenjou Tenge is a martial arts title, similar to Volcano High and Ikki Tousen. Two brawling high school students, Nagi Souchirou and Bob Makuhara transfer to Todou High and find themselves joining a battle between the Jyuken Club, headed by sisters Maya and Aya Natsume, and the School Enforcement Group/Student Council. There is some romantic complication given that in the course of an early fight Nagi falls into the girls' shower room, seeing Aya naked and thus marking him as her husband-to-be. Along with the breaking bones and bloody splatters, there's some humor and jokes (even fart and armpit humor) sprinkled to lighten the generally serious tone of competing fighters seeking greater power, guilt and satisfaction with their strength.

I really wanted to like Tenjou Tenge a lot, but darn... this series has some of the weirdest pacing ever. For one thing, it has perhaps the LONGEST flashback I've ever seen... as in, HALF the series is a darn flashback. It really throws you off and was part of the reason why I quit watching this a long time ago. Also, the story is pretty complicated- lots of stuff about fighting and martial arts philosophy and the complicated relationships between the various characters prior to Nagi and Bob's arrival in Todou.

Tenjou Tenge isn't that hard to watch- if you tune out from all the plot and soap opera dramatics, you can always wait for the fights- and there are quite a few pretty cool action sequences- throughout the series. PLUS the gratuitous shots of the Natsume sisters and the other babes in the series should keep male viewers awake. Unfortunately, the ending of the series (and the OAV) is pretty open-ended (which is a nice way of saying 'bitin' and unconclusive) with a status quo situation. Animation-wise, Tenjou Tenge has some bursts of pretty cool fighting animations, but for the most part has average quality... never horrible but not that great. The character designs are cool and sexy, based as they are from the art by manga ka Oh! Great.
If you love stuff like Ikki Tousen, Street Fighter, Naruto and other fighting anime, Tenjou Tenge may be a title to see. If you can get past the first six episodes, you'll probably be fine. Check it out at good anime shops in the Metro.

Sunday, December 25

Merry Christmas

Season’s greetings to one and all!

It’s that time of the year again. This year though, there’s a bit of melancholy in the household as we face the reality that this conceivably could be the last Christmas our family will be spending totally together. Both of my brother’s and sister’s families are migrating abroad, so they’ll be spending their next December holidays overseas. Next Christmas will probably be a lot quieter in the house without the kids running around.

I’ll be working on getting a broadband connection up along with a webcam so that the grandparents will be able to check on their grandkids every now and then. With modern communication, hopefully we’ll keep together even though we’ll be living far apart.

For now though, it’s a time to enjoy the holiday break, to rest and reflect, and be content.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone.

Saturday, December 24

Traveller's Tales

Join Kino on her strange, melancholy journey.

I first read about the anime series Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World in an issue of Newtype USA. I found the animation style simple and kiddie, but after watching a couple of episodes on Animax, I found out that this unusual series is anything but. Produced by the same creators that brought anime the strange title Serial Experiments Lain, this short but sweet anime is something to see for those fans who think they've seen it all in anime.

Basically, Kino's Journey is about a somewhat mysterious and generally benign young traveller. Kino appears initially as a gender-nonspecific character... the child-like face could either be a pretty girl or boy, and Kino's body is slim and boyish, often covered by bulky travelling coats or jackets. Kino's voice is female, though this certainly isn't a conclusive point since male characters in anime have female seiyuu all the time. Still, Kino's mannerisms and empathy to other characters leads me to think that he's a SHE.
Anyway, Kino travels alone save for her sentient motorbike, Hermes. Early on we do find out that Hermes' voice is heard by anyone in hearing distance, so Kino at least doesn't have a few bats in her belfry. The presence of talking bikes in Kino's world isn't the most unusual thing- there are weird things happening in every place Kino travels to... stuff like wars, weird gladiatorial competitions, questionable morals and the occasional odd mystery. Of course, Kino is quite capable of taking on whatever comes her way- despite looking like a mild-mannered youth, Kino has some mad skills when it comes to defending herself... the times that Kuno shows off her deadly precision with firearms and other weapons provides the sharp bursts of action in this otherwise placid series.

For the most part though, Kino's journey isn't about some trailblazing pioneer or revolutionary- Kino is, as mentioned, a traveller, who comes and goes into a place for no more than 3 days (the reason for the specific deadline is revealed later on). She gets involved in the events with a measure of detachment, and little commitment, and then moves on. Kino is passive and a bit on the quiet side, but there's a lot of dialogue between her and Hermes. Despite not being your usual hero and having some peculiar thinking processes (in episode two she questions the morality of killing rabbits to help some starving travellers), Kino is an instantly likeable character, and you have to admire someone of such obvious competence (and lethality). What the point of the whole thing may be revealed in the long run, or it may be a moot point. Perhaps the old saying is true in this case- it's not the destination but the journey.

This is a pretty interesting series, though it certainly might not appeal to everyone for the lack of immediate gratifications like fan service, big action, mecha, magic and monsters. It's all about stories, some with a bit of danger, some with lots of thinking and often with a bit of sadness. It's a good title to visit, think about and then move on from. Which is pretty cool.

Join Kino on her journey with VCDs and DVDs at your favorite anime shops in the Metro.

Friday, December 23

Cab Scab

As Christmas gets closer, taxi drivers get a lot greedier, pickier and overall more EVIL. Recently, over 100 taxi drivers were caught violating LTO regulations of conduct by picking customers, contracting, refusing to take commuters and just generally being assholes.

For the past few days I've gotten my fill of bastard stinking taxi cabbies with the arbitrariness of God. Nine out of ten of these miscreants will try to justify their actions because of their economic situation, because it's not profitable for them, etc.

Well, SCREW THEM. I don't fricking care about their stupid reasons. DRIVE because it's your JOB, bastards. If you can't do it, QUIT your job or take a bullet to your worthless brain. Just DIE and give your cab to a better driver.

If a taxi driver gives you flack, REPORT them to the LTO. The hotline number just escapes me right now, but every commuter slighted by a cabbie SHOULD report these bastards so they can be penalized for making life harder than it already is.

In my perfect world, taxi drivers should be lobotomized eunuchs who know no pleasure aside from the joy of travel. Or commuters should be given the right to publicly flog or scourge troublesome cabbies. Yes.

Vanishing Ray. VANISHING RAY.

Thursday, December 22

Closing Time

DONE with work.

Salt Mines shutting down.

Turning off brain.

Need to pay bills.

Got to finish shopping.

Want to vege out.

Later then.
King Kong Lives!

Even though I haven't seen the new Kong movie yet, I won't be going into the theater not knowing how this movie ends... it's pretty much common knowledge that when the big ape climbs the Empire State Building at the end, he's not coming down... alive, that is.

But THAT can change! Apparently, Peter Jackson and the producers of the King Kong videogame have placed an alternate ending in the game which lets Kong escape his tragic fate. To unlock the alternate ending, players must complete the entire game and then go back and play through various maps and earn a total of 250,000 points – which is within reason and definitely worth the effort.
Other un-lockable features include several Weta Digital concept art galleries, interviews with both Peter Jackson and Academy Award® winner and co-writer Phillipa Boyens, an “old movie” filter, a King Kong theatrical trailer and more.

Maybe I'll give this a try. Perhaps after seeing the movie. We'll see. Heh.

Wednesday, December 21

Salty Christmas

Today was The Salt Mines' Christmas Party. The whole crowd converged at a posh venue in Ortigas where we partied the night away with good food, giveaway prizes and lots of laughs. Every year we have this costume thing where we have a theme- this year was 'Philippine Icons', so everyone came as some popular person, character or whatever in Philippine pop culture, history or current events. There were cool ensembles like co-creatives Derrick and 3sha who went as 'Barrel Man' and 'Barrel Woman' (popular souvenirs with barrels that reveal big springy phallic parts) to simple stuff like my outfit, 'Mang Kepweng' (a cartoon/comic character). Thankfully this year I didn't qualify for the Worst Costume Awards. Heh.

Anyway, after the prizes were awarded, a musical band came on and the party danced into the night. I went off after a dance or two... there's still work tomorrow. Sigh. Anyway, at least I'll have time to do my last bits of Christmas Shopping into the long holiday break. Yay!

Tuesday, December 20

Game Over

It happened again, incredibly enough.

ANOTHER gamer in Korea apparently collapsed and died in an Internet Cafe after playing some game for TEN DAYS STRAIGHT. What the game the hapless game addict was playing is not yet known, but is sure to be an MMORPG (Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game).
All I can say is... WHAT DA FOCK? How can you play a game for ten days straight? What stoopid cafe stays on for ten days without noticing some guy is no longer eating or drinking normally? And what kind of guy can just play like that to death?

Anyway, in related news, apparently there IS a law in China banning continuous play on videogames for more than 3 hours- how crappy is that? Well, if it prevents these brainless game drones from dropping like flies in their turf, I guess it's called for. No such law in Korea though... perhaps they should work on that.

I can see it now... Chinese SWAT teams breaking into some house to keep a guy from playing the final stretch of Suikoden III since he went over 3 hours, ratted out by his mom.

Crazy stuff.
Holiday Break

It's a couple of days till the end of 2005, at least as far as The Salt Mines are concerned. That's more than a week of rest from the hustle and bustle of the ad business for me, and I can't be happier for it. I'll hopefully have time to enjoy and savour stuff, get started on new comic projects and pretty much just CHILL. Simple pleasures, but they're all I need. Oh, and I guess I should work on seeing that Kong flick somehow. Heh. T-minus two days and counting...

Sunday, December 18

Christmas Quest

Last night, the Quest Gang and friends came together as many times before in a cozy hotel room with a ton of food and drinks to enjoy each others' company for a Christmas celebration.
Present were, of course, Dean and Nikki, newlyweds Kate and Alex and the rest- Elbert, Camy, Jamie, Charles, Dino, Ralph, Andrew myself and of course, Vin.
Aside from the food and drinks, the main focus on the night was just having fun with games- well, more or less ONE game... a roaringly fun party game called Werewolf introduced to us by Kate. A cross between murder-mystery Clue and stuff like Hive Mind, the game requires a moderator to precede over the play. Everyone else plays as villagers, of which two are disguised lycanthropes, and one a Seer with limited vision. The challenge is for the townsfolk to find the monsters before they murder too many people for a lynch mob to form and defeat them.

It's a fun game, with accusations being tossed, tension getting high (not just for the villagers but for the wolves) and laughter almost unstoppable. I think everyone should try it... all you need are cool friends, a deck of playing cards and a place where you can scream and shout without a real mob forming to run you out of time. Heh.

Anyway, it was well into the early hours of Sunday that the party finally concluded, after we all exchanged gifts and got over the bliss of unwrapping. Once again, the Quest Christmas is done for the year. People have left, people have stayed, people have joined. But as long as friends in fiction and fun remain, December will always be a time for coming together. Till next year!

Friday, December 16

The Best Games of 2005

The past year was a cool time for videogaming- even though I don't remember having any gaming marathons quite like the PS1 days, I had my share of quality gaming time in the past months. Here are some of my favorite games played this year.

Haunting Ground
An unusual but compelling twist to the Survival-Horror genre. This time around, you played not as a macho monster-hunter or even a sultry femme fatale. You play Fiona Belli, a teenage girl whose only real defense against the hostile denizens of a spooky castle are her coltish legs... and they're used more for RUNNING than actually fighting (low shin kicks are her best bet). That, and her friendship with a mysterious dog. With a good story, gorgeous graphics and some interesting new gameplay mechanics make this game a must for scare-fans wanting a new take on the genre.

Killer 7
You play as a wheelchair-bound assassin with a multiple-personality disorder, unleashing various sides of your psyche to carry out missions against a cult of smiling mutant time bombs. Sound outrageous? You haven't a clue how wild this game can get unless you shoot it out with the Killer 7 yourself. With wild character designs (from luchadore wrestler to blood-spattered femme fatales), a confounding but always-gripping story and some of the most mature language you'll ever hear in a videogame, Killer 7 is sa unique experience for the grown gamer.

Tekken 5
A refreshing of a beloved series that had sadly gone stale in the past couple of installments, Tekken 5 brings back most of the old guard with a couple of cool newcomers, great CG cinematics and the rock-solid fighting action I remember from the best of the Iron Fist tournaments. Not even the CHEAPEST end boss in gaming can spoil this winner.

Soul Calibur III
I have to admit- I wasted away hours and hours just playing with Soul Calibur III's awesome Character Creation mode, and seeing my CAS babes (yeah, who cares about making male CAS? Heh) slash it out. The enhanced 'choose your own adventure' story mode is cool, the unlockables are plentiful, the graphics darn beautiful and sexy, and the fighting action addictive as hell. This is the finest game in the series and simply the most satisfying fighting game package you can find on any console, anywhere. Bar None. Yep, even better than the DOA games. And you can quote me. Who can't love a game where cotton panties make you EVIL? Hehehe...

Shadow of Rome
Yeah, it throws history out the window but darn, this tale of two would-be heroes in ancient Rome battling intrigue and danger in and out of the gladiatorial arena is one long, satisfying trek. Some of the most satisfyingly brutal and bloody combat ever seen in a game (with moves like The Meat Grinder) and some monumental battles make this a gore-drenched classic.

I'm looking forward to 2006. Xbox 360? Dead or Alive 4? PS3? The possibilities are tantalizing. For now, I'll settle for confirmation of Soul Calibur III for the 360. WOOHOO!!! Next-gen hotties, here we come! Heh.

Wednesday, December 14

The Voyage Home

Today, Jeremy headed off on a jet plane bound for home, back to the US. While he was here I chewed him up endlessly about being a 'surly New Yorker' and having a 'marine's body with a glass stomach'. He made several anime and toy shops very happy, belted out an incredible rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody in the karaoke bar, watched Chicken Little and had his first full-color comic book launch. Five days really isn't enough of a stay to really do a lot of stuff, but I hope we crammed in enough fun to make your short visit something to remember.
You're always welcome back in The Sanctum, Jeremy! Let's work on some comics so you'll have another excuse to visit soon. Heh. Later!

Oh, and I FINALLY got to read The Astonishing X-men. As you said, EXCELLENT stuff, and I am hooked. Wow! Whedon and Cassaday really know their stuff.
First Filipino Cyborg?

She loves a certain Filipino dessert...

It's already pretty well-known that a character from the Halo universe will be making an appearance in the upcoming Dead or Alive 4 fighting game for the Xbox 360. That character is Spartan 458 AKA 'Nicole', a female Spartan cyborg super-soldier. What has been revealed today by Halo creators Bungie is 458's bio and backstory.
Apparenlty, Nicole is a 21-year old young woman born in the year 2531 in a city called New Legaspi, where she was abducted at age six and conscripted into the military.
According to Bungie, Spartan 458's unit was preparing for a classified mission on Nassau Station when the ONI stealth ship Apocalypso tumbled into real-space – being carried along in the wake of a freak slipspace anomaly. The anomaly intersected Nassau Station; creating a semi-stable "bubble" in the space/time continuum on its way back to the 21st Century.
For the time being Nicole-458 is trapped in the 21st century; guarding Nassau Station's secrets with all but lethal force (she realizes killing someone in the past could have dire consequences), waiting for the "bubble" to collapse and hopefully returning her to the year 2552.

Anyway, in Nicole's bio it says that she likes watching anime and competition shooting, and she LOVES the Filipino dessert Halo-Halo (which is basically a mix of various sweet stuff with crushed ice, milk and sugar). Could Nicole be a Filipina? Wow! It's amazing to learn that Halo-Halo still exists in the far-flung future. Filipino characters exist in other sci-fi stuff (like Ibanez and Rico in Starship Troopers), and in another videogame (Talim in Soul Calibur)... it's pretty cool that a Filipina may be a DOA girl (technically). Too bad we can't see Nicole without her armor... or can we? Oh well. We'll see when DOA4 comes out... when it comes out. Sigh.

Oh, on a side note, I've found an Xbox 360 being sold locally... at the astronomical price of 57 thousand pesos. MY GOD! Inevitably this should go down to more acceptable prices when more stocks are available and the games become more popular... for now though, only the very rich and the very hardcore gamer need apply. Woo.

Monday, December 12

Our Passions

The men and women of Siglo: Passion, Project HERO and Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1.

Saturday saw loads of today's most PASSIONATE writers and artists in local comics and publishing meeting at Fully Booked in the Promenade Mall at Greenhills. The occasion- the triple launch of Siglo: Passion, Project HERO and Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1.
Despite drizzling rain and traffic thanks to the La Salle lantern parade held in Ortigas, me, Jeremy and my brother Jun arrived at the venue pretty much on time. We arrived to find the precedings well on the way on the second floor, complete with seats for the many guests, a couple of tables for autograph signings of the books and food for the starving (GREAT brownies and other eats thanks to the mom of Camy Francisco).
With Jun happily snapping away with his 8-megapixel monster camera as if he was being paid to chronicle the event, Jeremy and I mingled with friends both old and new in the local comic biz, signing books as they came while trying to complete our own collections of inscriptions.
Dean, Vinnie, Andrew and Jamie said some words, introducing the books and enjoining all to partake of our group's latest offerings in grafiction and literature. I'd like to thank everyone who came through the rain and traffic to support us with their presence, their words of encouragement and their hard-earned pesos for our books. Thanks, everyone!

This truly gives me lots of incentive to renew my work in comics with even more vigor. With 2005 ending with such a great event, 2006 must surely be an even brighter time to look forward to. So come and see our works and tell us what you think! We live for your praise (or your criticisms)! WOOHOO!!!!

The books on offer. Available in Fully Booked, Comic Quest and other good bookstores.

Friday, December 9

Angelic Layers

As I've often talked about here on the blog, my next BIG comics project is The Last Angel Ace Story, which will be my farewell/finale/big event for my first lady in comics, Angel Ace. It's going to be action-packed with comedy, drama, adventure, BIG reveals and BIG battles aplenty. Things are still jumbling about in my head and not everything is in their proper slots yet, and not everything is set in stone but I've got things ready to answer some questions that readers may have.

Will it REALLY be the LAST Angel Ace story? Come on...

In a perfect world, I would be able to afford to come out with an Angel Ace issue every three months or so. If I was, I'd have gone through the whole motions of a series, building up the character and sideplots which would have resulted in a big payoff with the endgame and finale. But I have to recognize that economically, the expenditures for a comic, especially an Angel Ace comic, are not realistically something I can continue to do indefinitely.
I have to be decisive. I have to be economic. So a lot will have to be left to short flashbacks, referencing and dialogue. What I hope to do with TLAAS will be to present a great story inside two covers which communicates this character, Angel Ace, across both to old and new readers. It's a tall order for one book, but I believe it can be done. After this story is done, I can walk away from Angel Ace with no regrets, having been able to tell her story fully. Whether there will be other tales to tell afterwards remains to be seen.

Okay, so what will it be about?

Angel has always been running. Running from her past and just trying to be normal. But the problem is, she isn't normal. She's something that has a purpose, and that purpose is something that will come to haunt her and even explode in her face. Destiny will force Angel to finally face up to who she really is and to face the enemy she's always known was there waiting for her. That final big battle, her secrets revealed and the resolution of her destiny is what the Last Angel Ace Story is about.

So what do we have to look forward to? Big setpieces? Events?

We FINALLY find out what the BIG PLOT behind the entire Angel Ace series is all about- with GMI (Gallowglass Mass Industries Corporation), with series' villain Mondebaine Gallowglass, and so on. There will be BIG, shocking reveals about at least one character's true identity or role. The bad guy finally shows off his powers and his big plot. More sexy SIVA assassin action. Angel kicking butt. And of course, world chaos, despair, the finale and a heartbreaking sacrifice. OUCH!

Will someone (of importance) die?


Will Kai/Agent K be in this?

Yes, Kai will be returning to settle some scores as well as stand by her friend.

Will Koko the dog be revealed as THE IMPERIOUS LEADER behind the whole plot?!


How will it all end?

With a goodbye kiss.

The Last Angel Ace Story is set for a 2006 release. Somehow, someway.
Smooth Landing

Me and my brother Jun went after midnight to the airport to pick up Jeremy. Luckily, despite some peculiarly tight traffic and drizzling rain, we found Jeremy (or Jeremy found us) almost instantly the moment I stepped out of the car. It's the first time for Jer to travel abroad on his own, so it's an exciting time for him. It's also cool to finally be able to talk to him face to face after all this time just communicating via the occasional tagboard line or email.

As always, his enthusiasm for stuff is infectious and inspiring, so I hope to get hyped for stuff and doing things very soon. I'm really pumped now for tomorrow's Triple Book Launch. We'll see what happens next. Heh.

Thursday, December 8


My cousin and comics compatriot from the US, Jeremy, will be arriving tonight. In preparation, The Sanctum's been converted from an individual's den to a 2-bed chamber. Slightly cramped, but it actually turned out nicely. I don't think we'll be spending too much time cooped up in the house aside from bed and the occasional videogame session though... time's best spent outside, checking out the malls and tiangges, visiting folks and just having a good time.
First on the agenda will most probably be the Triple Book Launch at Fully Booked Greenhills with Project HERO, Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1 and, of course, Siglo: Passion, which Jeremy contributed art for. This occasion will without a doubt be a highlight of the stay for Jer, so we'll try to make the most of this Fully Booked Saturday.

Tuesday, December 6

Movie Talk

Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong hits theaters next week, though I really can't say I'm too hot about the 3 hour length. Early word in reviews has it that Jackson kind of treated KK with the same eye for detail and depth as LOTR, which is really not necessary given that most of the characters aren't that important aside from Ann Darrow (played by Naomi Watts) and Kong itself (motion-captured by Andy Serkis). Still, the action and effects are supposed to be awesome and worth the watch once you get past the plodding opening. We'll see about this.

A new Mummy film is supposedly on the drawing board. How many times can Imhotep come back??! Fear not, apparently the next and third Mummy film will have a totally new linen-wrapped villain all the way from China! The new Mummy will be a former Chinese Emperor out to resurrect his dead army (turned into terra-cotta warriors) for world conquest. Apparently the third film will also have parts for Brendan Frasier and Rachel Wiesz once more, but their participation is yet to be confirmed.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe looks cool, and it is the film I am excited to see this December. I'm really not expecting the same depth or feel as LOTR, but with WETA behind the effects, you know this is going to be a dazzler.

An early teaser trailer for X3 is online! SPOILERS WARNING

It seems that Jean Grey (Famke Jannsen) is back from the dead, though the entire film doesn't seem to be necessarily about the Pheonix or Dark Pheonix saga. Overall, it seems the theme is about a 'Last Stand', perhaps between the X-men and the Brotherhood, or mutants against humans. Magneto (Ian McKellen) is back as the villain, with a large group of new recruits for his latest plot. Also confirmed in the movie are Prof. Xavier (Patrick Stewart), veteran X-men Storm (Halle Berry), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paquin), as well as Mystique (Rebecca Romjin-Stamos). Other mutants in the spotlight include Colossus, Shadowcat, Iceman and more. The teaser trailer also shows for the first time X-men Beast (Kelsea Grammar) and Angel. From the look of the trailer there seems to be a LOT of action... we'll see how the post-Bryan Singer X-men film does when it hits theaters in May 2006.

Hah! I'm talking as if I'm going to have lots of time to spare to watch movies... looks like I'm gonna be busy for most of the month. Oh well. Let's see what we can squeeze in.

Monday, December 5

Project: HERO

Coming on December 10!

Here's the final cover art for Project: Hero! No, it's not a comic book with tagalog-dubbed anime. It's a collaboration of our group with the aim of bringing back the no-angst, all-fun FUN of classic, black-and-white superheroes. No hidden agendas, no personal rhetoric, no grit and social relevance other than just the profound sense of wonder and the belief that good will always triumph over evil... with the right costume and some nifty super powers!

Project HERO includes stories and art from Dean Alfar, Nikki Alfar, Vin Simbulan, Elbert Or, Andrew Drilon, Jason Banico, Ner Perdrina, Jaime Bautista and yours truly. The book was put together and edited by Elbert and Andrew, with cover art pencils by myself and colors by Jaime. The stories range from the adventures of teenage cosmic guardian Kid Continuum by Vin and Andrew, to the debut story of my own Egyptian-Japanese demi-goddess superheroine Samuraisis, to the time-spanning adventures of Dean's Craft Century. There's something for everyone in this 68-page monster, so join us at the launch of Saturday, December 10, 2005 at Fully Booked in Greenhills. Coincidentally, it will also be the launch of Siglo: Passion and Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1, so bibliophiles and comic aficionados should save up for buying stuff this weekend.

Take up your capes and GO! Later, everyone!

Saturday, December 3

Dead or Alive Finale

The first Xbox 360 brawler, Dead or Alive 4, has been delayed for a while in both Japan and the US. Initially seen as a launch title for Microsoft's super console, the game will be lucky to see release in 2005, given how much of a perfectionist DOA creator Tomonobu Itagaki is. I'm hoping the delay results in more costumes, better gameplay and tons of extras to enjoy this, the latest DOA fighter. And probably the LAST Dead or Alive fighter too, if the words of Itagaki in several articles online are to be believed.
Apparently, Mr. Itagaki decided that with DOA4, he has accomplished pretty much all that he can do with the title; he has all but confirmed that DOA4 will be the final DOA fighting game, citing that the Dead or Alive story ends with the fourth game.

In DOA4, after the last tournament where ninja Ayane defeats Genra, her former master-turned near invincible killing machine, the ninja foursome of Ayane, Hayate, Ryu Hayabusa and Kasumi lay siege to DOATEC to once and for all put an end to the sinister corporation's cloning and weapons experiments. The game's main character, Helena Douglas, can only be unlocked for play after beating the game with everyone else, and her lengthy CG ending movie will be the climax of the entire Dead or Alive saga, perhaps at least as far as the storyline with the evil DOATEC Corporation is concerned.

So there's nothing more to be done to improve DOA? Now, Tekken and Virtua Fighter are already onto their 5th and 6th installments, so that's a bit of huey for me. It's a bit of arrogance from an obviously arrogant man- yeah, I dislike a lot about Itagaki, but I love his games to no end. All I can hope is that the demand for more DOA fighting action will eventually move Tecmo to go for another Dead or Alive brawler in the future.

For now though, DOA4 looks to be IT, so I hope all this last-minute tweaking results in the best game in the series... and at least a couple of bikini outfits too. Heh. No Xbox 360s yet in sight anywhere locally, but we'll see about getting our graspy hands on one AND a copy of DOA4 as soon as we can.

Friday, December 2

Making Headlines

If you have time, get yourself a copy of the Manila Bulletin today and turn to the "i" supplement.

There's a loooong article about local comic book creators, from main man Arnold Arre (Myth Class) to Wasted's Gerry Alanguilan, Oliver Pulumbarit (Lexy, Nance and Argus) and more. Oh, and I'm there as well! It's a really detailed, in-depth and insightful article by cool writer/reporter Yonina Chan. Thanks, Yonina!

Thursday, December 1


Yesterday, while walking around Cyber Zone in Megamall, I looked through the windows of various shops. Apparently there's a bit of a multimedia craze right now, probably sparked by the arrival of the video-capable iPod. There are now lots of tiny MP3 players with video also available. These range from teeny-tiny doo-hickies with thumbnail-size screens to gadgets that look like keypad-less Nokia cellphones that play music and MP4 video. Cheap compared to iPods, Pocket PCs or high-end Mobiles, they're the way to go if you have a budget but want to join the multimedia-enabled crowd.

I have to admit I got enamoured in some of the devices, but thankfully I need only remind myself that I already have a multimedia device. What makes my O2 Mini so cool is that it's also a PHONE, so I bring it along as a matter of course. I'm not the type of person who carries around extra gadgets, since I like to travel fast and light. So a stand-alone device such as a PSP or an iPod really isn't my bag.

So it got me thinking... a device I'd probably go for would be something like a multimedia-enabled wristwatch (gives a new meaning to the word 'watch). I know there have been some forays into this, but there hasn't been really anything seriously made in this manner from any of the big mobile names. A good media or smart wristwatch would be able to tell time and sound alarms, and have stopwatch functions and a calendar. The LCD screen would be big enough for video showing, and would be customizeable so you can change the face of your watch at will (you can also choose whether you want a digital watch or a clock complete with hour and minute hands). Miniature hard drives would be cool, but realistically such a device would probably have limited memory for MP3 and MP4 video loadings (via USB). Of course, watching vids, playing games or music would be power-consuming, so there may need to be a separate battery for the clock function so you're not left up the creek without a way to tell time if you play one too many viewings of the latest Scandal video.

Still, the inherent danger of such a device is the way it's always visible. Such a gizmo would no doubt attract thieves and that is a BIG no-no. Oh well. Maybe a good, plain design can be implemented so the Smart Watch would be chic but not too attractive. Ah, the price we pay for coolness.

It's a dream, of course, for now. But who knows... maybe some Mobile R&D guy is out there, reading this blog right now and getting an idea. Just send me a sample of your gadget when it becomes reality, my good man, and I'll be satisfied. Heh.

Wednesday, November 30

When in Rome...

Bloody historical epic.

If you're my age, you'd probably remember watching Saturday Fun Machine cartoons. Included in this banquet of animated fare was the Hanna-Barbera series Roman Holidays. It was basically a throw-away, lackluster clone of the more well-known Flintstones or Jetsons series, albeit set in Ancient Rome. Of course, the real Rome of antiquity didn't have a happy home life like that of white-picket fence America, with every family owning a family chariot, a clean home with the distinct Roman pillars and a wardrobe of immaculate white togas.

Nope... life in historical Ancient Rome was dirty, smelly, brutal and bloody. There was political unrest, courtesy of the conflict between two great men- Gaius Julius Caesar and Gaius Pompeii Magnus, each commanding legions of soldiers and ranks of politicians. There was class warfare, between the common plebes and the nobility. There's sex, violence, blood and death aplenty whether it's on a road or a street or a battlefield. This is the Rome as depicted by HBO's new and gritty mini-series, and I'm hooked.
I've always been intrigued with HBO's features, such as Band of Brothers, though I've passed on stuff like Carnivale and Deadwood. HBO's Rome serves you raw, bloody sex and violence on a steaming platter with all the trimmings- crucifixions, baths in ox blood, pagan worship, big battles, bad-ass legionaires, conspiracies and political intrigue laced with poison and bloody blades. This is a Rome where family members order executions as easily as dinner (this IS Ancient Rome, where eventually the Mafia and the Cosa Nostra originate, after all), where you truly have to keep on hand free to shake hands with friends, and the other armed with a sword to keep enemies at bay. It's a terrifying time... I certainly wouldn't want to live in this era, not even if I was a noble or a wealthy merchant. But it's a great place to visit and watch.

It's epic yet base, sweeping yet very personal, as seen through both the eyes of powerful historical figures and commoners. The 'heroes' of the series, rowdy womanizing and worldly legionaire Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) and the hard-principled, morose centurion Lucius Veronus (Kevin McKidd) are great protagonists; such polar opposites that they blend perfectly together to bring humanity and humor in a very harsh and brutal time. Seeing their fortunes rise and fall with the Empire they help or hinder to build makes for an absorbing watch.

I'm definitely getting this on DVD when it becomes available. Now THIS is Roman Drama. Heh. Catch a new episode of Rome's 12 part first season (and supposedly it's already been signed on for a 2nd Season) every Tuesday on HBO.

I've been a bit free these past couple of weeks... I finished Project Hero but then I guess I got a bit sidetracked which resulted in a bit of a delay for Kunoichi Boy#1 to be released in Comic Quest. I just need to fill in some blanks and take the time to produce a batch of copies so the issue can be released at CQ branches. I'll try to do it by the weekend.

Aside from that, I'm already thinking up Angel Ace book that's supposed to come out next year. Finalizing stuff and getting ready to make this a BANG of a release. Still, I'm actually thinking of delaying the 'Last' story and instead coming out instead with an Angel Ace vs K.I.A. crossover comic. I feel that I just have to get past this hurdle before going to the endgame. Not sure yet how to go about this, but I'll figure something out.

Just goes to show how liquid everything is when you don't set it in stone. Oh well. We'll see where this goes...

Tuesday, November 29

Proudly Filipino-Made

Dean already posted this in his blog, so I'll follow suit.

There will be a triple book launch on Dec 10, 6:30PM, at Fully Booked Greenhills. On offer will be stuff our group has been working on for the past couple of years or so. There's the illustrated full-color anthology Siglo: Passion, the Just-For-Fun Superhero comic collection Project: Hero and Dean's baby- Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1. Please feel free to come and join the giddy glee of launch day with us. It'll be a BLAST!


Saturday, November 26


I've decided to stay home today. It was kinda late and I was still in the house, and there was this bit of news from my mom that the authorities found four BOMBS in a nearby mall... luckily they were found before they were detonated. Mom apparently found this out from somewhere or someone other than the news since they aren't mentioning this anywhere. Media blackout, I guess. No one wants to cause a panic. I wonder though if it's true... or just gossip and hearsay.
Anyway, I'm indoors for now, watching Saturday night TV, and it's not bad at all. I'm really getting into Ghost Hunters, that kooky show about part-time paranormal investigators looking for ghosts and hauntings in the US. It's pretty cool that every now and then they pick up weird stuff on their monitors and cameras, such as a chair being moved or someone getting bowled over by 'spirits'. Certainly better than watching bad actors emote ALL THE TIME in local spook shows.

I'm also loading up my new AV700 with videos; the recording works like a charm, capturing video and sound far, far better than the old PC capture card. So far I've loaded Ninja Scroll and Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. I'll probably stick in loads of anime and other stuff to give a variety. I don't intend to fill it up totally- gotta keep several gigs free for that odd recording need every now and then.

Gosh I love lazy, long weekends. They keep me sane and happy. Heh.

Friday, November 25


Daniel Craig- The Next Bond?

It's probably a fairly well-known fact that Pierce Brosnan won't be in the next Bond film, due both to his age (early fifties) and his demands for higher and higher salaries. I consider myself a Bond fan of the Golden Age of 007. I miss Sean Connery's gruff but ever suave Bond, or Roger Moore's gentleman rake with the lethal skills. Still, we have to move on.
Unfortunately, Timothy Dalton was HORRIBLE... he growled all his lines and the 'modern' take of Bond for his two installments- the utterly boring Living Daylights and the totally un-Bondish License to Kill was a traversty (regardless of how hot Cary Lowell was). The best I've ever seen Dalton was in The Rocketeer as the villain, so perhaps that's why I didn't like him.

As for Remington Steele... I'm mixed with Brosnan. I kinda liked a couple of his movies; Goldeneye wasn't as horrible as the Dalton films, and Tomorrow Never Dies got a bit of the old Bond flavor back with the classic maniacal villain (Media Mogul Peter Carver, played by Jonathan Pryce). Still, I always found Brosnan's Bond a bit too self-assured and too confident. Every stunt and action scene seemed to play by the numbers and just happen.

And now, we're in limbo. So far, the apparent frontrunner is Daniel Craig, whom I really really really really can't see James Bond in. He just doesn't have the look. I remember him from Tomb Raider (he played Lara Croft's rival/love interest) and while he was a cool action guy, he's not a suave agent-type. Supposedly his role in the recent film Layer Cake shows a bit of his Bond-ness, but I haven't seen that. Oh well. Who knows... I don't think anything is in stone yet. Maybe Clive Owen (Sin City) will still bite, though he has already refused the role. Gosh. The intrigue and goings-on of the making of Bond 22 could be a spy thriller in itself. More on this as it happens.

The next Bond movie is supposedly a remake and modernization of the classic Casino Royale, and will revitalize the franchise by focusing on a younger Bond and see him through the events that turn him into the veteran agent that we all know and love to watch. Look for this in 2006 or so. Maybe.
Awesome Ad

Kasumi faces her last and most dangerous clone.

Just downloaded and saw the new TV commercial for Dead or Alive 4 on the Xbox360. Thankfully, there's none of the crappy sexual innuendo and horny college boy humor from previous ads for the series (She Kicks High... FEH). The spot is composed completely of CG animation, focusing mainly on the battle against the evil DOATEC Corporation by the game's ninja characters. There are scenes with ninja heroine Kasumi facing the game's mysterious end boss, Alpha 152; her half-sister and rival Ayane getting her trademark bandanna blown off as she's casting a ninpo spell; and ninja bad boys Ryu Hayabusa and Hayate battling DOATEC troops. In the middle of spectacular flaming scenery, opera singer/new DOATEC head Helena is seen walking regally towards an apparent climactic final confrontation...

WOW. I need this game. NOW. Can't wait to get my Xbox360. DAMN.

EDIT: To see this exciting TV spot yourself, download the vid by clicking here.

Thursday, November 24

Tech Toy

My NEW Phone!!!

It's the AV700, and it's INCREDIBLE!!! I knew I had to give up my XDA II MIni when I laid my eyes on it. How can you resist that HUGE, 7-inch screen?! Yes, you heard that right... 7 INCHES! Yeah, I need a clutchbag to bring it around in, and I can't really put it on my belt or my pants will sag, but DARN isn't that screen lovely? Oh, and it can't get a signal worth shit. But DARN it has a huge screen. Well, with 40 gigs of space in the hard drive, I don't really have time to call or text anyone when I'm busy watching vids, right? MWAHAHAHAHA!!!

I'm kidding of course.

The device above is the Archos AV700, and it's a portable Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and player. I wasn't pulling legs with the 7-inch screen though. I read the review in M/PH (a local tech mag) and just felt this was right for me. All week I've been troubling over three possible things to get for myself- it was a toss-up between a Playstation Portable or PSP, the new I-Pod (with video) and an Archos PVP (Personal Video Player).

I got thinking... the PSP is really nice and the price has gone down a LOT... but the games STILL aren't worth playing for me. There's Metal Gear Acid, but it's a darn CARD game. Not even Solid Snake can make me like a card game. Games on UMD are horribly expensive (at least 3K a pop), though you can now get games directly recorded on memory sticks from certain stores... it still doesn't change the fact that I still don't like any of the games and I don't really play games outside the house. So... even though I was tempted when I saw an actual PSP on display with Ridge Racer running on it amazingly at Megamall, I wasn't swayed. Give me a Tekken, DOA or a Streetfighter III title, Final Fantasy or something worth my time, and maybe I'll spring, Sony.

The new Apple I-Pod looks pretty awesome. It's thin, the screen looks great and you can bring 60 gigs of video and music around. Awesome! However, it has been made clear to me that the new I-Pod is first and foremost still a music player with video tagged on since the battery only lasts for little more than two hours playing video. Anyway, in that case, my O2 Mini still works perfectly as my portable video player, and I don't need to expend the extra effort to bring it around. basically, the I Pod just clones my phone's functions for a bit of cool factor and extra weight. It was a nice dream but really, nope.

So we came to the Archos PVP. I finally decided on it thanks to the recording capability. I can finally give my PC's old, old video capture card and the now weirdly-reduced Hard Drive a rest. The AV700 can record from TV, VCR, DVD and other sources simply by plugging in the docking station, inserting the proper AV-Ins and letting her rip. The resulting AVI files are crisp and easily convertible via PocketDIVXEncoder for mobile formats. The only problem here is that video copied from 'legit' DVDs can't be played on anything other than the AV700 itself, thanks to copy protection (I'll have to get special stuff to get around this problem... or just get pirated DVDs aplenty). There are tons more options on it aplenty, including on-board video editing, music and photos and more.
Bottom line is, I love video and recording video and all that jazz, and the AV700 gives it to me in Spades. It's something I will actually use, and use a lot. And that's what really counts when you get tech toys. And I can actually bring it along for trips with a library of movies to watch in a snap. And yes, I can now watch movies in the bathroom. HOHO!

An early Christmas present, and hopefully not the last. Heh.

Wednesday, November 23


Early today, I rode with my mom to my drop-off point and we were listening on the radio to how a lot of hospitals are closing down because of the lack of doctors and nurses to man them. Mom was pretty worked up today and exclaiming how this all served the crappy hospitals and doctors right after all the years of abusing nurses. She said that today, while doctors earn huge salaries, nurses earn barely minimum wage in exchange for doing all the dirty work and facing abusive treatment from pompous docs. Nowadays, nurses are in big demand overseas, earning hundreds of dollars a day. That's why there's a big migration of nurses, and even doctors now passing themselves as nurses, to work abroad.

The stream of thought eventually got Mom telling of how, when she was a nurse in her younger days, she got into a big fight with a patient's relative. Apparently, the argument got so bad the other woman started hurling expletives at my mom, particularly "PUTANG INA MO!" (which basically calls your mother a whore) This got my Mom angry as well and hurled back 'Don't call my mother a whore!" The opponent then threw an ashtray at her, and in response Mom threw back a vase. She resigned soon after that.

Ah, Mom. No one else like her.

Tuesday, November 22

X Marks the Spot

Today, the first next-gen gaming console arrived in the U.S. as Microsoft's XBox 360 hit store shelves. The ultra-powerful game console beat the upcoming Sony Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Revolution to the punch; both opposing consoles aren't due for release until well into 2006.
For now, early adopters will surely be going for the new uber-toy, opting for either a basic set or the premium bundle which comes with a 20 Gigabyte Hard Drive. The graphics on the 360 games indeed look awesome, as seen in online videos and reviews on the launch games.
The earliest games available on the XBox360 include the racer Project Gotham Racing 3, the mature First Person Action Adventure Condemned (which puts you on the trail of some truly twisted serial killers) and the shooter Perfect Dark Zero.

It's a no-brainer that I'm getting myself the console, but I'm going to hold off until Dead or Alive 4 becomes available, and when the cost settles from the sure-to-be-overblown early price tag.

Darn, I'll have to make room in the ol' gaming wing again. Sigh. Man, but that's gonna be a pleasurable chore. Heh.
DOA Movie

The DOA girls. In a row. With swords. EH?

The movie adaptation of the Dead or Alive series of videogames is well underway. I've just seen the trailer, and it seems pretty tongue-in-cheek and comedic, playing on the expected girl-power theme of the movie. The bad thing is that the characters don't seem to 'feel' like the actual characters from the game- they just all seem to be generic tough/sexy girls, which is kind of a shame. Still, the fighting scenes look pretty cool (Corey Yuen's fight choreography should shine through no matter what) so it should be entertaining. It does at least show the girls doing lots of fighting in little clothing (of course, there's the ol' ambush on the girl while she's fresh from the shower scene), so I'm game. Heh.

I would have preferred though something even remotely close to the ninja-centric action of the game's plot, with additions of some of the other characters into the mix. What is coming out though seems to be a whole different monster. Oh, well. Whatever. At least there's the obligatory and much-hyped beach volleyball scene. Heh.

Dead or Alive the movie has been described as 'Charlie's Angels meets Enter the Dragon', mixing sexy ladies and martial arts. The movie will be directed by Corey Yuen (Drunken Master ) and stars Devon Aoki as ninja girl Kasumi, Shane Kosugi as videogame ninja hero Ryu Hayabusa, Holly Valance as Christy the Assassin/bounty hunter, Jaime Pressly as wrestling star Tina Armstrong and Kevin Nash (WCW, TNA) as her over-protective father Bass. Other cast members include Natassia Malthe (last seen in the Elektra movie), Eric Roberts and Robin Shou.

The promised Beach Volleyball scene is IN.
Another Con

Cebu played host to this year's Advertising Congress.

Over the weekend I attended the Awards Night of the 2005 Advertising Congress. It was a tiring but fun way to spend time, although it did take it's toll on my stamina. The actual Ad Congress actually took place over the entire week, but I only went to attend the finale. Took a nice, short flight over via Cebu Pacific Airlines and finally had my first vist to Cebu.
Cebu's a nice place- it actually reminds me a lot of Manila, save for the occasional Cebuano name and the way they don't use jeepneys for their... well, jeepneys. The place has a rural feel to it, which is refreshing in many ways.

We all stayed at the Waterfront Hotel, which is one of the nicest hotels I've seen locally. Too bad I only really got to stay there barely two days. And most of that time was spent working on our stuff for the AdCon's Awards Night, preparing our stuff for the parade which was the highlight of the event.

We gorged ourselves on great food at a nearby restaurant. YUM!

Sadly I wasn't able to go around much, but I did partake of a feast at a nice restaurant called The Golden Cowrie. We had sisig, tinola,tuna fillets, baked scallops, ribs, crispy pata and MORE. I mean, the food seemed to go on forever. It was bliss. After a while my jaw just got tired of working and I settled into a nice buzz. Well, we needed that energy for the night. The opening parade of the Awards Night had several competing agencies show off costumes done to the theme of 'The World's Great Cities of Advertising", and we got Mumbai, India. Our idea was basically a walking Kama Sutra, and we had these large boards with images of the erotic artworks (properly censored, of course) with holes for our faces. Several dancers showering the place with petals and drummers with body paint completed our entourage. How did we do? To put it simply, we were a hit with the crowds and we took home first place for the night.
The fun didn't end there, and our agency took home several awards, ranging from a Gold to a couple of Silvers and several Bronzes. Not as much as some of the bigger ad agencies, but it was a GREAT showing compared to our last AdCon. Bottom line, we went away happy.

We celebrated at the Hotel Casino's restaurant, pretty much starving after the several-hour awards night. By the time I lugged myself to bed, it was about 3 AM. We all got up at around 7:30 AM to check out and get ready for the flight home just before lunchtime.

All in all, a tiring, whirlwind weekend that was, thankfully, extremely rewarding and memorable. Here's looking forward to the next AdCOn in 2007!

Friday, November 18

Hot Pot

The best Potter yet.

The Harry Potter movie series is a pretty special franchise for me. While I have to say that I am an on-and-off reader of the books, I have enjoyed the film translations immensely from day one. Up till now, my favorite has been film three, Prisoner of Azkaban, which was exceptional thanks to the darker look given by director Alfonso Cuaron, more sophisticated crafting in general as opposed to the more pedestrian handling of the first two films. When Cuaron was replaced by director MIke Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) for Goblet of Fire, I had the slight worry that things might take a step back.

Thankfully, my worries were unfounded and after watching HP4, I can honestly say it's my favorite of the series so far and perhaps the best Potter film yet.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire brings back the entire cast for the titular wizard boy's fourth year at Hogwarts School for Witches and Wizards. This year starts with the grand event of the World Quidditch Finals, a glorious contest marred by a subsequent attack on the gathered spectators by a group of masked wizards known as the Death Eaters, otherwise known as the followers of 'You Know Who.' Soon afterwards, a mysterious wizard casts a fiendish and sinister sign onto the sky, the Dark Mark- You Know Who's symbol and a message to all that The Dark One, Voldemort is about to make his terrifying return.
Well, that said, it's all back to Hogwarts for Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), his best friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and the rest of the young wizards and witches of their generation. But this year isn't just any year, as shown by the spectacular entrances of entourages from two other wizarding schools- the fierce Cossack-like boys from Durmstrang, and the graceful girls from the French college of Beauxbatons. As Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) informs them all, this year will see the holding of the latest Tri-Wizard Tournament, a long-standing competition of wizards for everlasting glory.

Of course, Harry is quite happy to just watch and enjoy the precedings, especially since the 14-year old wizard is far under the required age of 17 to join. However, his name inexplicably appears from the Goblet of Fire, forcing him to become the unprecedented FOURTH entrant in a contest between three wizards- something that readily puts Harry in hot water. As anyone can probably tell, there are dark forces at work in Hogwarts, and not all is as it seems.

Prior to the release of GOF, many readers expressed worry at how good a translation of the book would be, since the fourth book is a very thick chapter. Fortunately, the script is pretty tight and skims over events such as the opening World Quidditch Finals fairly quickly. From there on, it's a pretty well-paced story through to the somewhat dark ending.
And the film is dark- GOF makes Prisoner of Azkaban look like a comedy. The film starts in a shadowy and gothic graveyard, then quickly shows a magical murder of a hapless Muggle. Along with the intense action of the Tri-wizard Contests, there's the climactic confrontation between Harry and You Know Who which results in another character's demise.

Still, this all goes hand in hand with the book, and while Harry Potter 4 is definitely the darkest so far, it's also the best in many ways. Visually, it's positively SPECTACULAR. I read somewhere that director Newell chose the effects crew of the earlier two films instead of the team employed by Cuaron in Azkaban... and while there aren't as many camera works as in HP3, Goblet's use of visuals and the sheer wonder of the sights shown are nothing short of magical. Sights like the World Quidditch Finals, Harry's breakneck chase with the dragon and more are easily the most impressive in the series so far.

Aside from the effects, I have to give props to the script by Steven Kloves, which is the clearest and most concise of the Potter films, expertly cutting out extraneous plots and leaving still a gripping, well-flowing narrative. Other than being the darkest, HP4 is also paradoxically the funniest- I can't count the times I found myself just chuckling and laughing out loud at moments onscreen- Newell is able to bring out moments of good-natured humor readily, whether it's from the eternal foibles of Ron Weasley, the antics of the two elder Weasley brothers Fred and George (who are pleasantly given quite a lot of screen time to provide much of the film's comic relief), the somewhat overgrown matching of Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and Beauxbaton's headmistress Madame Maxime (Frances de la Tour).

The cast of the movie certainly has that homey, familiar feel- something that has borne fruit thanks to the so far more or less consistent appearances of the actors. Of course, the three leads- Radcliffe, Grint and Watson- ARE Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, literally. I truly can't picture anyone else stepping into their roles down the line, so I really hope they stay on for the duration. HP4 gives them more dramatic chops to take on, and a bit more angst into their roles. I found Radcliffe's Potter in Goblet his best performance yet, whether it's in the physical events or just being Harry. Ron gets to have a bit of angst along with his humor, while Hermione positively blooms in an evening gown during the Hogwart's Yule Ball.

Michael Gambon's Dumbledore, for me, is solidified in this one. Others may find the more energetic Arch Wizard not as gentle or as grandfatherly as portraryed by the late Richard Harris, but I really like the more crafty, more human but certainly the more forceful Dumbledore as acted by Gambon. If I'm going to have someone to watch my back against Voldemort, I want someone you can feel has the craftiness AND the strength to back it up.
And speaking of Voldemort... Ralph Fiennes. The Potter movies have always had great choices for casting, and having Mr. Fiennes is just as inspired as the choice of Gary Oldman as Sirius Black. Fiennes gives Voldemort the character and the menace he was missing (he WAS a CG character after all in the first film, and a snotty teen in Chamber of Secrets) in previous installments. After seeing the incredibly dark and scary climax of Goblet, I can't wait for him and Harry to cross wands again in the next movies.

As for the rest of the cast, they're all truly in fine form, albeit some have seriously reduced roles. Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) gets at least one scene to harass Potter, and has a hilarious classroom scene. Sadly, Sirius Black is limited to one scene, and in CG at that. Still, it's great to see that characters like Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) and even Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson) are given their moments.

The new characters also pull through well- veteran actor Brendan Gleeson makes for a suitably MAD Mad-eye Moody, and he's alternately scary and hilarious to see onscreen. Miranda Richardson's Rita Skeeter loses a LOT of her teeth in the film, but she does get to be a pain for the moment she's there. As for the young 'uns, Katie Leung's Cho Chang is suitably charming and lights up the screen when she appears, while Robert Pattinson as the pivotal character of Cedric Diggory is handled well enough for the character to have the impact needed later in film's climax. Victor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski) and Fleur Delacour (a lovely Clemence Poesy) don't get as much lines or screen time, but at least Mr. Krum gets the best girl on the dance floor, while Fleur gives Ron his reason to smile.

After watching Goblet of Fire, I honestly wish to see it again in theaters, something that I didn't feel with previous entries in the series. This is certainly the most satisfying, most enjoyable Potter film yet.

As the 'Empire Strikes Back' chapter of the Potter franchise, Goblet of Fire opens the door to the more mature chapters beyond. And given the excellent quality of this latest movie, I can't wait to see Order of the Pheonix and Half-blood Prince in theaters.

Watch Goblet of Fire in theaters. NOW. While it's HOT.

Wednesday, November 16

Cover Girl

Tales to Amaze!

Here's the long-overdue 'cover' (or page 1) of my Samurai Sis story for our group's upcoming Project Hero comic anthology. I'll be finishing it all up tonight and turning in the stuff to the editors tomorrow. The art's sketchy, pencilled look is cool, but I wouldn't want to do it all the time since I'll get rusty with ink pens. I had fun with Samurai Sis, but only time will tell if I delve deeper into the story of the young Sobek siblings and their nasty Noodle Nemesis. We'll see.

After this, I'll finish up the Comic Quest release of Kunoichi Boy 1, and then it's on to other titles. Stay tuned!
Welcome Back, Potter

Today, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire hits local cinemas. I'll try to catch it within the week since I won't be able to watch it on the weekend since I'll be heading off to Cebu for the awards night of this year's Ad Congress. Luckily, I wasn't a delegate so I only have to go off on an overnight stay in the Crown City of the South. The homebody in me is retching at the lost weekend, but whatever. It should be an experience since this will be my first time going to Cebu.

Anyway, back to Potter, the latest HP film looks to be at least as good as the previous entry, Prisoner of Azkaban. It's a lot darker, and having read the book I'm looking forward to seeing the storyline unfold. I'm hoping that the series regulars- Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson- stay on for the rest of the Potter series of movies... I just can't imagine not having them for the later films in the series. After four films, I've grown attached to the Hogwarts trio.

A review to come as soon as I see the movie.

Monday, November 14

Latino Heat

When I saw an montage of WWE footage of wrestler Eddie Guerrero set to sad music on Jack TV, I knew it wasn't good. When I saw the date underneath- 1967-2005, I suddenly realized that one of professional wrestling's contemporary stars had passed away.
Eddie Guerrero was found dead Sunday in the bathroom of his hotel in Minneapolis. The exact cause of his death is still unclear, though heart failure may be a possible cause.

I've been watching the adventures of 'Latino Heat' for the past couple of years on the WWE, laughing at his antics and being thoroughly entertained by the wrestler's over-the-top character. Recently, after a long heel (evil) turn which set him on a fierce fued with luchadore Rey Mysterio over custody of the latter's son, Guerrero was put in a semi-face (good) turn as a questionable good guy on the side of current WWE Heavyweight Champion Batista.

It was fun watching you perform, Eddie. Rest in peace.

Friday, November 11

Fine Dining

Several weeks ago, our office building's main canteen area closed down for financial reasons, which was funny since I always found the place full during lunch. Well, it was really no loss for us since we all didn't like the place as it was- it was dimly lit, the food quality ranged from average to old-tasting, and the place made you smell of food after you ate. And so it was pretty cool that weeks later, the nameless food center has been replaced by Triple-V Express.
Now we have a food center to be proud of. The place already has us impressed and coming back for lunch and dinner for nice meals from Japanese to Filipino to pasta and other stuff. Plus, it's all a work in progress- even more eateries and better furnishings are coming within the month.

Now we look forward to eating in again. Yay!
WWE Civil War

I love the current Raw vs Smackdown feud in the WWE shows. It pretty much is like a live-action war between two comic book universes (DC vs Marvel?). Personally, I like both shows- I like both current champions (rapper chief John Cena and half-Filipino powerhouse Batista) as well as various members of each locker room/roster. It will be cool and interesting to see how this all culminates in the upcoming Survivor Series. For now though, it's fun to see members from the opposing shows 'invading' the enemy program. Gosh, I love Jack TV.

Thursday, November 10


Last night I caught an episode of Mad TV on Jack TV and they were doing a spoof of the series Lost. It was pretty hilarious in that they really got people on the show to look like the Lost characters. Of course, with MAD twists, like making old man Locke a psycho survivalist who picks his nose with his knife. Pretty cool, and a blast for fans of Lost to see. Given how Jack TV loves re-runs, they should re-air it soon. Mad TV is shown I think every other day, or every day.

Jack TV has easily become my favorite channel these days, for my WWE fixes and the occasional mature comedy skit. It's good that they seem to have new episodes of Mad TV and The Daily Show, but I'm still pissed that they are STILL re-running the old episodes of their G4 shows, X-Play, Cheat and Filter.

If you've already picked up the EXCELLENT Soul Calibur III (which, I believe, is the finest fighting game package out right now), you may want to check out some other titles which are either on or coming soon to videogame stalls locally.

Shadow of the Colossus (PS2) is from the makers of the enchanting PS2 classic Ico. This time around, it's not about a boy leading a wispy girl around. Nope. This time, the girl is DEAD, and the boy has been charged with bringing her back to life by hunting down and defeating 16 monstrous colossi... basically, the whole game is a series of Boss Battles, each one different from the last. All you have is your magical sword, bow and arrow, your loyal horse Agro and a good deal of physical agility, and you'll need them all to defeat some of the most amazingly huge enemies ever seen in videogames. A totally unique gaming experience not to be missed.

The Matrix: Path of Neo (PS2) just may be the better-late-than-never game that actually makes great use of the ultimately disappointing sci-fi trilogy. Instead of casting players as forgettable side characters, MPON puts you in the role of The One himself. WHOA! This game goes through the whole story and all three movies, from Mr. Anderson's feverish escape from agents in his office building right to the final battle with the Super Smith. A lot of things are now more detailed and in-depth, such as training levels to build up Neo's fighting skills, to branching paths from the original films (what if Neo escaped with Trinity in the office scene?). There's even talk of an alternate ending to the depressing wind-down of Matrix: Revolutions. So far, this game looks incredible, and the prospect of being able to be the real hero makes for an interesting notion. Look for this very soon.

The Movies (PC) is the latest from game god Peter Molyneux, and puts you in the seat of Studio Head for a film company, and you're tasked to produce the next blockbuster. For the sim enthusiast, you can play the game from the ground up, building your studio from empty lot to star-studded stable. Or, you can just go into sandbox mode and just film the movie you've always wanted to do. The scope and stuff you're supposed to be able to do with this game just blows me away, and I'm certainly going to try and get this and try it when I can.

Gun (multi-console) is a western shooting and action game that should be in vogue right now given the popularity of the recent HBO series, Deadwood. Players step into the boots of a revenge-seeking cowboy out to take down a rogue's gallery of villains with his six-shooters. From deadly poker games to quick-draw gun battles to breakneck horse chases, this is sure to be chock-full of action.

Check these titles out! I know I sure will. Heh.

Tuesday, November 8


As an anime fan, I'm often familiar with names of Japanese seiyuu (voice actors). But interestingly enough, I don't know too much about US animation's vocal greats. I grew up watching series like G.I. Joe, Thundercats and Superfriends, so maybe I should. Well, on a whim and a random thought, I looked up some voices on Google and this is what I found...

Michael Bell is one of the more recognizable voices in cartoons during the 80s, as the voice of main man Duke in G.I. Joe, and also as evil COBRA henchmen Scrap Iron, Xamot(Strange that Tomax seems to be another actor) and Major Bludd. He also appears often before the camera, notably as an alien in the pilot episodes of Star Trek: TNG.

The dangerous Destro, as well as heroic Joes Iceberg and Stalker were given their distinct voices by Arthur Burghardt

Most people may not know who Peter Cullen is, but he's the man behind the sinister voices of Venger from Dungeons and Dragons, the heroic Optimus Prime in The Transformers and K.A.R.R, the evil A.I. car in the original Knight Rider. And yes, he does those movie trailers with that deep voice, though not as many as we all would think.

EVERYONE who watched 80s cartoons without a doubt knows the acidic voices of evil Starscream and Cobra Commander. The voice that gave them venom belonged to actor Chris Latta, who unfortunately passed away in 1994. Oh, those were the days when evil sounded... EVIL.

Actress B.J. Ward voiced the lovely and deadly Scarlett, as well as the Princess Allura on the Voltron series (gah). She's also Velma in the newer Scooby Doo movies and has worked on series like Gargoyles and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest.

Frank Welker is familiar to me, and no wonder- he's the voice of Megatron from The Transformers, Fred in Scooby Doo, Ray Stantz and Slimer in The Real Ghostbusters and gobs more roles. He also unfortunately starred in the Macaulay Culkin magical adventure The Pagemaster. Geh.

Amazingly enough, the Thundercats series was voiced by just a few actors, who also did double duty on sister-show Silverhawks. Many of the actors did double duty, playing both heroes and villains throughout the show. Despite the use of vocal acrobatics, you could tell that the sexy Cheetara and space cop Mandora were one and the same (Lynne Lipton. Actor Larry Kenney gave the heroic Lion-o his voice.

And of course, America's Top Ten Casey Kasem did roles from Robin the Boy Wonder in the Superfriends to Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

Sigh. Too many voices in my head. But they're all in there, squabbling away and I'm glad that they're there. Mad, it is. Mad.

Monday, November 7

Back to the Salt Mines

I'm back to work after a whole week spent cooped up in The Sanctum. I'm really not the travelling type, as most people who know me can testify. I really just love vegging out at home with a supply of chichirya, the latest PS2 games, a pile of new mags and comics and a new internet card. Basically, I just stayed in and rested ('cept for the days I was sick... then I was convalescing), not venturing out even for food long after my cache of junk food and sodas was exhausted (had stuff delivered until I ran out of funds). Good thing I was so engrossed in Soul Calibur III that food actually became a non-essential. Well, it's not often that I get to just chill like that, so it was great to do so, having no cares in the world except how to unlock so-and-so hidden character or beat the frickin' cheap-ass end boss.

Unfortunately, staying home too long also started to get me to start watching the daytime soap mini-series my mom watches at lunch, so I guess it's better to get back to work. Too much of a good thing is never good.

Besides, staying at home all that time made me neglect shaving and the next thing I knew, I could see my own stubble moving over my lip as I chewed my food. Hmm.

Anyway, it's back to work and life goes on to keep earning and learning.

Saturday, November 5

Angel Ace the Fighting Game!

One of the coolest things about Soul Calibur III for the PS2 is the Character Creation Mode. As I’ve mentioned in my review, it’s more ‘dress-up’ a character than anything else, since you can’t actually set moves attacks. However, it’s still a blast to try and make up a fighter based either on your personal preferences or other titles/franchises. Online, I’ve heard that players have been creating everyone from Sephiroth to Abraham Lincoln in the mode. Well, I went off and created my own original comic book characters!

Angel Ace

Hi there! Wanna spar?

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any aviator goggles in the medieval ages… what with flight being non-existent and all... the closest I could get was a futuristic visor-thingie that the programmers put in as a way of recreating another Namco character in the game. It’s a little odd looking, but the effect works, I think. I would have wanted to give her a long trailing scarf, but that one in the game unfortunately covers up half of her face, so I opted for the smaller scarf. No billowy cloth, but in the end it works, I think. Again, it’s even better to see Angel in action in the game, especially when she does some of the more high-flying, gravity-defying attacks and moves in the game. Pretty cool.

Agent K

There’s no mistaking that fierce, determined expression. Or that nice gap in her top.

Kai was easy to do, thanks to some specific parts like the leg bandage which just nails her look. The short hair with the bangs is also spot on. But if you think she looks great in a still, she’s even more dynamite in action. Give her a katana and she’s ALIVE. It’s quite thrilling to see Kai in full color and animation, and this is probably the closest I’ll get to seeing a live Agent K… unless I put my plan to have a live-model Kai cosplayer ready for the next K.I.A. comic release. Heh.

Vanya (from K.I.A.)

Vanya, as K.I.A. readers should know, is the cruel commander of KALI, and Kai's boss. The scar probably isn’t on the right eye, but what the heck… even I can’t remember where it is exactly all the time. Heh. The coat and dress she's wearing up in the pic is a bit too conservative for me... it's probably not a 'combat' outfit, which should be more in the line of what Kai wears (mmm). It should be cool to see her and Kai taking out their stress on each other. Maybe I can even do other K.I.A. characters, like the love-smitten Shikage or other SIVA or KALI agents?

Gregor the Wolf

I'm getting too old for this...

And then. where there’s Angel, there should be Gregor. It would be cool to see them actually sparring together, I thought. So here he is! He probably wouldn’t approve of the balding hair though… but it’s really the closest thing aside from really cropped. Couldn’t find a trechcoat, but I think it works. Heh.

I could have gone on and tried doing Mike and Rip, but they’re strictly non-combatants. Maybe one of these days I’ll do Kunoichi Boy CAS characters too. So, what’s the best thing to do with Angel and Kai in Soul Calibur III? Pit them against each other and finally see who’s really the better fighter, of course! Heh. What can I say? Soul Calibur III ROCKS! Heh.

Okay, back to work…

Friday, November 4

Sick as a Dog

I've been down for the past few days all week. Haven't been out of The Sanctum at all, be it for work or play. My body clock got all weirded out, then I caught a bad bug and my muscles got sore. The result? Haven't been able to do much save just sleep. I haven't been able to finish stuff, and that sucks. I'm going to have to pedal faster to finish requirements. Well, what can I say? I'm only human. Well, I hope there's still time to do what has to be done. All I can promise is to try my best.
Initial Dub

I've never really liked cars... not that I don't appreciate them, of course, but I've never really gotten that thrill of seeing a new car for the beauty or the desire to own one. I just see them as a means to go around. But if someone gifted me with a car, I'd be pretty happy. Heh.
Anyway, the point is that as a non-car lover, I would probably NEVER like the car-racing anime series, Initial D. Even just seeing the show for a few seconds doesn't do it for me... the art is UGLY (perhaps it is fitting that the cars look nicer than any of the people), and looks count a lot in anime for me. Then, there's the recent much-hyped release of the title on local Animax. The show had been dubbed by local talents- particularly young racing champ Matteo Guidecelli (who plays the lead guy) and Angel Locsin, actress and former 'Darna' star. The result? As far as everyone in an anime group I know is concerned, the local dub is horrible.
It's not that tagalog isn't good... a totally Filipino dub would not suck- I have heard shows on the new anime channel Hero dubbed in tagalog and they don't come off bad or jarring at all. What makes the Initial D dub suck is that its in TAGLISH. Irritatingly, droningly so. Everyone seems to speak like some monotone, robot kolehiyala, alternating between Filipino lines and 'high-sounding' english. It really sounds so fake, or just bad. Mr. Guidecelli may be a great driver, but that doesn't necessarily make him a fit voice actor. And as for Angel Locsin... well, someone on a mailing list put it best... Miss Locsin is better seen than heard.

Oh well. Whatever. Let the show go as it will, and just go another road.