Saturday, May 21

Salty Smiles

Despite this whole week passing by as a blur of overtime, mixed-up responsibilities and converging deadlines in the ol' Salt Mines, I feel pretty glad that I am where I am. For me, a workplace is good if during any breaks or lulls in active creative output or elbow grease, you spend the time laughing your head off.

I remember my second and third jobs were great places and companies to work with, both learning experiences and almost a second home.
My first real taste of being an actual advertising creative person started in the now-defunct Cid/Henares and Associates, Inc., a small boutique-type ad agency. There were only about a dozen of us in the entire agency- the two bosses (Vilma Santos-lookalike Mildred Cid and sassy Rosanna Henares), four creative people (including me), a couple of account people, a couple of accountants, a media person (a one-man media department named Jojo) and a messenger/runner. It was hard work since we all had multiple responsibilities (I was both main copywriter and storyboard artist), including occasionally bringing our ad materials to production houses and printers AND cleaning up after ourselves after meals and keeping the office clean. At the time, I called it Jedi Training.
Anyway, often the day would consist of us four creatives spending the day on our workstations, our backs to each other. It would be maddening if not for the fact that all of us were pretty crazy individuals and jokes, barbs, stories, anecdotes and pranks (usually against one guy in particular) being thrown in rapid succession. Yeah, we still got work done and had fun doing it. And in the afternoons, we'd go out to the nearby sari-sari store and have fishballs and kwek-kwek (quail eggs deep-fried in batter) for merienda. That was the life.

Well, after a couple of years we all grew out of the small agency. We went our separate ways and I found myself in my third job and perhaps my best work experience ever. It was at Ogilvy and Mather that I got to work in one of the most fun, colorful and stimulating creative departments in Manila. I met the ad guru himself, David Guerrero, and worked under him with pleasure for almost three years. Alongside I had the good fortune to be with hip and wonderful people like Cynthia Bauzon, Edsel Tolentino and a whole gang of other cool dudes and dudettes. It was so fun, in the evenings people would just stay and sit in the corridors to talk about the past day, to share insights, to comment and applaud good ads and just chill. Sometimes it was hard work, but it was a great learning experience and I can say that what I got there I still use to this day.

Since then, I've been to several more agencies... a return engagement with David G. in his new (then) agency BBDO Guerrero-Ortega, a second tour of duty with Ogilvy and some short tenures at some other agencies.

And now, I'm in my present company. In my early thirties, an Associate Creative Director and all-around smart alec.

It's kinda like a mix of my first two great workplaces- a multinational agency yet having a small and close-knit creative department. The people are cool and we get along great. In the afternoons, we might not be able to go out and get fishballs, but instead we take a walk to the building's 7-11 to have merienda. Last night, while doing overtime we ate KFc and just enjoyed a long chat about B-movies and all that jazz. Funny stuff.

It's been a long week. I'm glad it's over. But I can honestly say, I am quite okay with getting back to work next week. And that, I have to say, is a mark that I love where I work. Yeah, I'm a lucky bastard when it comes to workplaces. But then, I'm nearsighted and I don't have movie-star good locks so that balances out.

Still, I'm gonna damn well squeeze every bit of R&R I can get from this weekend. Damn straight. Heh.

Friday, May 20

Extended Work Week

It's... almost... Saturday...

The weekend's practically here and I'm still at the office. No Friday night out. No bloodletting at the Blood Bank. No ogling XDA Minis at the mall since Tuesday. GAH! Well, we had to finish stuff that's crazily due first thing Monday, so what can you do? Anyway, I'll be heading off home soon (I hope) and I think the rest of the weekend is mine. Got lots of things to catch up on, to do and to plan. Next week should be less hectic, yet much more rewarding (a Mini reward... Heh). Well, crossing fingers. Expect a review of Episode III soon as the gang goes into Star Wars mode. That is, if I get myself out of the bed in time. Heh.
Pit Stop

Whew! After several days straight of overtime and working the grey matter to the bone, the payoff came in the form of a good presentation with receptive clients (and a nice lunch afterwards at The Good Earth at The Fort). We won't know immediately if we won the account, but hopefully our efforts will come with even more rewards soon.
Anyway, for me, just getting it all out is a big relief. I just want to take a break already and finish this hectic period. First on my agenda- proper sleep. Then my first watch of Episode III, of which I've received one text message from someone expressing disappointment, and another saying it rocks. Well, I'll just have to see for myself.

Yay! Weekend! Yay!

Thursday, May 19


It's been a long time since my last food post, so here goes.

A couple of night ago, I left the office at about 10 PM. I still haven't had dinner and I was craving a meal at KFC. I remembered that there was a newly-opened outlet just across the street from the building, so I made a beeline for it after getting off.

I made my order. A two-piece meal with rolls, chocolate mousse dessert and a sandwich.

I was damn hungry, and you have to understand that people are at their most impatient when they're hungry.

When I looked at my meal, I was pretty pissed that both pieces of chicken I got were wings. Now, I love wings- they're delicious, but you don't get your money's worth from two wings. I stared at the little gravy dish and it had cold gravy that didn't even fill half the little dish.

Then my sandwich was delayed for an unreasonable amount of time.

So it was that I was really pissed and mouthing my dismay at the waiter, who just replied 'Sorry sir, di ko alam. Bago ako eh", and he just walked off. This was pretty much the same thing with the cashier/waittress who just stammered out a reply when I questioned about the pieces/delay with my sandwich.

Frickin' irritaing.

So they're all new. So it's a new branch. It's no excuse. You train your crew well or you will get flack for it.

It's just good for KFC that I damn love their chicken. But their service sucks, even in their more-established branches. If only their chicken wasn't so damn good, their gravy so tasty, their stuff so guilty pleasurably delicious.

Damn I'm hungry. I want a KFC. Damn it.

As early as yesterday, some theaters in the Metro were already showing Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

I expect to watch the third and supposedly last Star Wars prequel at least twice this weekend, once with the Comic Quest gang, and another with the college buds. I hope I finish the load for work so as to clear my schedules for a worry-free watch during the breather.
Anyway, word on the latest Episode has been good. I expect to have a good watch, despite the third film being about the fall of the Jedi and the 'bad guys' winning the day. I really can't shed too many tears for the Jedi, who really didn't impress on me that they were great forces of good in the two lackluster SW prequels. All I saw was a bunch of extras and wannabees in robes, twirling lightsabres. With the exception of Obi wan and Yoda (and I guess Qui-Gon), I really don't care much for the Jedi. Their order is stiff, distrustful, arrogant and a bit wussy... I'm not sorry to see them go. Which may be a point of why Anakin Skywalker was to bring 'balance' to the Force. Whatever.

I think it would be safe to say though that the Star Wars universe will continue in some form in the theaters, be it a continuation of the New Hope characters' stories or perhaps an all-new cast altogether. This is a goldmine of a franchise, despite the fool's gold of a couple of movies. And we, of course, will always be drawn to it like moths to a flame. Ouch.

Review of ROTS to be posted as soon as I get a watch. Heh.
E3 Wrap-up

Just a bit more gaming bits as E3 finishes for this year.

Will we be seeing Final Fantasy VII remade for the next Playstation? The lovely new CG tech demo for FFVII, shown at E3, gave hints that we just may be seeing the classic PSOne game remade for Sony's next-gen system, but with totally redone graphics and movies. This makes sense to bring what probably is the BEST Final Fantasy to the young gamers who probably can't figure out why a generation of players were so affected by the original game.

DOAX2 is in the works. Yep, a sequel to the crazy DOA sports-spinoff, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is in the works. DOA creator Tomonobu Itagaki revealed in an interview that the sequel is actually complete enough to run on a regular Xbox, but will continue to be developed for release on the Xbox360. What can we expect? More volleyball, more customization and sexy swimsuits and accessories to collect, and perhaps even a new sport for the fighting babes of DOA to take on. And better breast physics. Expect this to come in well after the launch of Xbox360, perhaps in mid-2006.

As for the main Dead or Alive 4 game that's coming with the launch of Xbox360, some more new info on the new characters. The girl with long, dark hair is Kokoro, and she uses the Hakkyoku-Ken style of martial arts- the same style used by Akira Yuki in the Virtua Fighter series. The blonde-haired youth is Elliot, and his Keii Ken style emphasizes strong single hits and palm strikes. As for the 'mystery wrestler' shown fighting Bass in the trailer, Itagaki hasn't revealed who she is yet, though we're fairly certain this is Lisa from DOAX. She apparently uses a mix of pro-wrestling moves and capoeria kickfighting. DOA4 is being touted as one of Xbox360's launch titles in late 2005.

Metal Gear 4 is coming to PS3, and despite some earlier news stating the contrary, original game creator Hideo Kojima will be returning in the director's chair. Also, Solid Snake will be the main character (though expect pretty-boy Raiden to appear in some form). No word yet on the story, but there will be a reunion of sorts of returning characters such as Revolver Ocelot, Meryl and Otacon. Expect this to sneak into stores with PS3s in 2006.

A Tekken movie is in the works with Sony signing on to distribute the film in the US. Based on the Namco videogame series, the film will revolve around two friends who join a martial arts tournament and eventually discover the secrets within the Tekken Corporation.
According to screenwriter Mike Werb, "The idea here is to make a realistic movie out of an unrealistic stencil… What we hope to do with Tekken is to entertain both those who have played the game, and those that haven't – there's got to be more than effects and skirmishes on screen to hold an audience."
Sounds like yet another Streetfighter debacle in the works for me- giving this game to another non-believer who's going to over-rationalize everything and ruin the franchise. Just give the damn thing to Stephen Chow so it'll be great and true to it's martial arts fantasy roots.

Gotta keep saving those quarters. Lots of gaming goodness coming next year. Woohoo!

Wednesday, May 18


Darn, things are crazy in The Salt Mines these days.

I'm thinking of several big things at the same time, along with several little things nibbling at my sides.

Better focus or I won't be able to think of anything.

Gotta get things done.

The weekend's reserved for good stuff. Watching ROTS with the gang(s), one week closer to my O2 XDA II Mini, and much-needed rest for the wicked.

Just have to get through the next couple of days, dammit.

Tuesday, May 17

The Future of Gaming

Dead or Alive 4 on the Xbox360.

My gosh.

Go online with a good broadband connection and just suck in all the E3 goodness. There's so much next-gen gaming eye candy and mind-bliss floating around, gamers' heads will be spinning afterwards... I know mine is. This early, start saving up those quarters. Start racking up those rackets and earmark those bonuses. Any hardcore gamer will NEED to have an Xbox 360 and a PS3 by 2005's end.

Some of the sights and teasers shown online...

A peek at Tekken 6 (yes, 6) which is basically just a look at a VERY lifelike Jin Kazama flexing and doing some wicked moves. The tagline 'A New Reality' hints at visuals and action a level above what we've yet seen.

As I've mentioned earlier, Dead or Alive 4 has been announced. Just saw the TRAILER, and it's full of sexy gaming goodness. The veteran fighters are back alongside new faces and bodies, including dusky-skinned Lisa whose mysterious fighting art is apparently luchadore wrestling. The stages in DOA4 look positively AWESOME, and include obstacles and elements where fighters can get slammed into and knocked over. In one stage, fighters can be thrown onto a raging freeway with cars speeding to and fro, threatening to clobber characters unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The animation seems fuller, with new moves and tactics (guard breaks). This will sell a LOT of Xbox360s, mark my words.

A new Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children trailer was shown, showing off more footage that will have fans of the classic FF foaming at the mouth to have a copy of this upcoming CG movie. Lots of new scenes including more action with Tifa and the rest of the FFVII cast (even some Turks action) and a certain one-winged angel showing his silver-haired presence...

Still on FFVII, a tech demo of the classic game was shown, recreating the opening cinema of the PSOne original, except with PS3 graphics. All I can say is... MY GOSH.

It's never been this good to be a gamer ever. Heh.
Dead or Alive 4, Part Deux

The E3 Entertainment Expo is starting off with Sony officially announced the PS3 as their next-gen console, to take on the recently-revealed Xbox 360.

Dead or Alive 4 has finally been announced officially by Tecmo of Japan for a late holiday 2005 release on Microsoft's Next-Gen console. The game will feature even more of the gaming goodness first seen in Dead or Alive Ultimate, including more options for online gaming, the return of DOA3 characters Christie and Brad Wong, the debut of new fighters and- get this- tons more skimpy outfits for the sexy DOA babes. Also, the latest installment of the popular fighting game series will push forward the individual stories of the characters through incredible CG cinematics.

But of even more substance is the announcement that the DOA fighting system will be overhauled for DOA4, incorporating the most complex and in-depth countering system ever for the series. Despite this, Tecmo assures that the series will retain the fun, easy-to-pick-up-and-play style of gameplay for accessibility for all skill levels of gamers.

Sounds awesome. More DOA4 info will be revealed as the E3 Expo gets underway later this week.

Monday, May 16


Okay, don't get me wrong.

I'm really glad that Dean let me borrow his old Nokia 3100 to use while I'm waiting to get my next super phone. And really, it's a very nice little phone and the ease of use, battery life and cute form factor is just testament to the best of Nokia's designs. But darn...

No camera.

No videos or music.

No games except Snake.

No themes or wallpapers (that I actually want to look at).

No touchscreen to fiddle with.

No synching with the PC.

No notes or sketching with the stylus.

No pocket apps.


This is probably how Sauron felt, right after Isildur cut the One Ring from his fingers. Reduced to a shadow of his former self, a mere phantom. A festering eye that can do naught but stare and look about in longing.

Heh. I'm exaggerating of course. Really.

Well, for now all I can do is muster in my tower, have my orcs multiply and prepare for the day when absolute power is in my hands again. Soon. SOON.

Sunday, May 15

Cooling Off

As if in answer to the heat, my college buds came around in the afternoon and we went off to enjoy the free climate controlled temp of the mall. We headed off to Greenhills and walked around, eyeing this and that. In particular I bought some anime- the first couple of episodes of some of GONZO's latest- the supernatural ninja action series Basilik and the sci-fi vampire-fighting title Trinity Blood. Also got myself pretty much the whole Tenjo Tenge anime, from the TV series to the OAV follow up. On the gaming side, I got a couple of new titles- Jade Empire is a martial arts-based action rpg from the creators of KOTOR, while Brothers in Arms is a World War II simulation that puts you in command of a squad of US soldiers out to take back Europe from the Nazis one street at a time.

Lots of stuff to watch and play with... when I get time to enjoy them, though. The night should end with pizza and soda (no chicharon though), winding down with some TV and perhaps getting started on an article I have to write for work. Oh well.

I don't wanna turn on the airconditioning to conserve a bit of electricity. Also worried that the cooler might just give up from the heat. The laptop's giving off so much warmth, I feel like I'm typing on a toaster. Sweating like a glass of cold water, without the cold. I watch a crappy San Miguel commercial featuring Kris Aquino. What the heck was that spot supposed to be about? My gosh. Maybe I should just get out and watch a movie. Or just go and enjoy the climate control in some mall. Or go window-shopping and ogling my future O2 Mini. Mmmm. Well, whatever. I want a shower, damn it.

Today, I sold off my lovely O2 XDA II. This is in preparation for my upgrade to the O2 XDA II Mini, but I won't be able to get my next Pocket PC phone for a bit- perhaps a week or two- so in the meantime I will be using a simpler Nokia 3100 to keep in touch with the world.

I dare say it will be a bit of a jar for me to suddenly be back in the world of one-handed texting with a solid, real numerical keypad and looking at a tiny, non-touch sensitive screen. But then, I'll be back into the hi-tech world of portable computing and multimedia soon enough.
Anyway, the day for me was genuinely pleasurable, since I bequeathed my former PPC phone to my good friend Dean, whom I dare say deserves to have a nice toy to play with in between his hard work as the GM of his own company. It was really cool to show someone the wonders of a field or a world that you have come to enjoy yourself. With the XDA II, he can do stuff that he previously could only do with his laptop or a variety of devices. Now, with the phone he can do guerrilla writing, note-taking, taking snapshots and vids, doodling, playing games, surf the web, read documents, watching whole episodes of favorite shows... Darn, technology is so amazing these days, and that I was able to give someone the same pleasure just makes my day.

In the meantime, I'll be keeping myself occupied as well. Encoding videos, making new wallpapers and looking for more stuff and goodies for my upcoming new phone. In between staring at the O2 XDA II Mini review in the latest issue of T3, that is. Heh. The days should pass fairly quickly. Really.

Everything comes to he who waits. Soon.