Thursday, September 6


The Book of Fire, the third season of the Mega-popular and critically-acclaimed animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, is still set to debut this coming September 21 (just shy of two weeks from now!). The first episode, entitled "Awakenings", literally finds Aang waking up from his coma after his life-threatening battle underneath Ba Sing Se. He awakens on board a captured Fire Nation vessel and learns from his friends Katara, Sokka and their father, Hakoda, the events that led to their current plan to infltrate the Fire Nation. Meanwhile, on the other side of the equation, Zuko finally makes his way home, dreading the possibility of being rejected once more by his father, the Fire Lord.

With a tidal wave of anticipation and hype for Season 3 from the legions of Avatar fans, Nickelodeon seems to be dead set on steamrolling the series forward. New episodes will regularly debut after the first Season 3 episode, and will be quickly available for download or viewing in iTunes or online Turbonick. Plans are already in motion for the live-action Avatar movies, and the Season 2 DVD Collection will come with a video feature about director M. Night Shaymalan and his plans for the film adaptations.

Just a couple more weeks before the most anticipated cartoon series ever continues. Wait for it, people. Wait for it.
The Touch

Nope, not the iPhone.

This isn't about that horrible, horrible Michelle Yeoh-starrer female Indy Jones martial arts snorer... it's all about the latest from Apple, the iPod Touch. That's it up there, the iPhone-like device that looks slicker than a puddle of black gold. Basically an iPhone without the phone, it's THE video iPod everyone has been speculating about. Touchscreen, hi-res 320x480 screen that's perfect for watching widescreen movies on... and it comes with WiFi websurfing as well! It's the total entertainment package, and a dream come true. It leads the pack of new iPods just introduced by Apple, which includes the video-capable iPod Nano and the iPod Classic.

But then you find your dreams dashed when you find out about the crappy fact that the Touch comes only in 8 GB and 16 GB storage capacities. WTF??! Apple finally coughs up the TRUE iPod video and they can't even give it a decent amount of storage space? The first video capable iPods had at LEAST 30 or 60 Gigs, and went even better with 80 (the newly released/announced iPod Classic tops it all at 160 Gigs). But come on... 16 Gigs??! What the HELL is that about?

Podcasts and TV shows alone will fill this up to capacity and beyond. That's without music (which a decent collection will at least have at least 4 Gigs), and full movies go upwards of 700 MB to 1.5 Gigs each. This is simply absurd! Yeah, yeah, you can swap in movies easily but come on- if the video-capable 5th and 5.5 Gen iPods had Hard Drives, why not this one? Especially since it's really a video device? Being able to drop in all your stuff and have that luxury of choice- to watch what you want, when you want since you have it all with you- that's one of the best things about iPods.

I'm hoping Apple gets their thinking in sync and fix this up right straight. Certainly an iPod Touch with a proper hard drive might be a bit thicker, but it will definitely be THE portable media player to have. For now though, I'm thankful that Apple flubbed it. Makes me enjoy my iPod all the more for now.

Wednesday, September 5

Go, Ninja Girl, GO!

I was as giddy as a little schoolkid a couple of days ago when I saw the colored art for Ninja Girl KO! Every single page of the first episode, due out soon in the second issue of Mangaholix Presents by Groundbreakers, Inc., is simply FABULOUS. I've never really been a color whore for comics, seeing as how most of my past works have been in black and white, but DAYEMN! The lines and colors of sensational artist Kriss Sison's sensational art just leap out at you from the panels. I am just so proud of this work and can't wait for everyone to see it. But on the other hand, I caught myself from spoiling anything more here on the blog. You'll just have to wait a little bit more, but the end (or the beginning) is finally in sight. WOOHOO!!!

Monday, September 3

Mummy Dearest

Hey, here's news about the next Mummy film. I really loved the first one, was meh on the second and totally wish the third 'sequel' never existed (not even my fondness for The Rock or Kelly Hu could save that stinker). But this one sounds kinda nice. The information is from director Rob Cohen, who takes over the reins from Stephen Sommers.

The story goes like this. In ancient China, a despotic emperor played by Jet Li and his army are cursed by a sorceress (played by Michelle Yeoh) to remain in terra cotta form for all time. Of course, curses have a way of having loopholes, so we know they won't stay statues for long. Fast forward to 1946. Returning heroes Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn (Maria Bello takes over for Rachel Weisz) O'Connell are now retired in England, having served as spies for the allies during the war. SInce they're bored out of their heads, they decide to accept one last mission to return a stolen artifact to the Shanghai Museum.
Meanwhile, over in the somewhat unstable Chinese mainland, Jonathan (John Hannah) has set up an Egyptian-themed bar. Rick and Evy's son, the now-grownup Alex O'Connell (Luke Ford) has followed his parents' footsteps and has just discovered the Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. A beautiful female assassin tries to kill him in order to keep the location a secret, but the younger O'Connell persists. Eventually, the Emperor's monument is transported back to Shanghai where the main plot engages as a military zealot intends to awaken the undead tyrant in order to conquer all of China.

According to Cohen, the movie will have the mummy-fighting family reunited as high adventure ensues. Lots of cliffhanger stunts, avalanches, a trek to the HImalayas and encounters with yetis, big battles, a three-headed dragon (!) and a shape-shifting Jet Li too!

Okay, it all sounds awesome but darn- the Mummy Returns also sounded and looked awesome. But then again, maybe another director will succeed where Sommers turned out to be too heavy handed and clumsy. I'm wondering if Ardeth Bey (Oded Fehr) will somehow make an appearance. Hmm. Anyways, the movie is set for release in mid-2008. A ways off, but something pulp-action and CG fans should look forward to.

Sunday, September 2

Tales from the Dark Side

Last Wednesday, I headed off early in the morning southwards on a working trip with teammates from The Salt Mines and some of our clients. It was basically for bonding and brainstorming, so a nice, conducive setting far away from the everyday hurly-burly was required. Our venue was Hacienda Isabella, a hectares-wide resort/estate which consisted of sprawling lawns and groves dotted with various little villas and resthouses done in a lovely Mediterranean-style and filled with various antiques and relics. The place was the property of singer Kuh Ledesma, though we didn't have the good fortune to catch her there.

I really liked the old look of the place, though my groupmates expressed some fear that there may be restless spirits about. We were assured though by the katiwala (caretaker)that while the antiques were old and smelling of age, the buildings themselves were new and thus free of any ghosts. Which was fine, since us guys in the party decided to each take a big suite with 2-person beds to sleep in. My own room was a third-floor chamber with was basic but at least had a nice, soft bed with lots of pillows and a good, strong aircon.

The days were basically spent listening to research data and then later knocking heads together to plan stuff. But the good stuff happened at night, when we headed off to dinner. The first night, we ate at the much-talked about Sonya's Garden. This unique resto is built in the middle of what appears to be a forest, and boasts of a very green, natural ambience. We sat in the middle, enjoying the food amidst the sounds of trickling water from the surrounding waterfalls (man-made). Though I was at first taken aback by the word that the place was strictly vegetarian, I just hunkered down and made myself ready for whatever flowers I'd be served. ]

As it turned out, the place specializes in pasta and salads- the appetizer salad was simply incredible, with delicious dressing and crunchy greens that had me getting second and third portions. Nice, warm bread with various spreads ranging from sun-dried tomatoes to black olive patte and pesto tickled our palates further. The main course was fettuccine, with various sauces to mix and match. There was actually one sauce which had a bit of meat- creamy chicken- but regardless, I had a nice meal and was pretty full in a while.

The second night had us heading off to Splendido's, which seems to be a golf course or high-end real estate development. For now though, it was basically empty- a vast expanse of clear land- save for the Clubhouse that sat in the middle of the whole area. Since we went there at night, it was mostly an inky dark (not a lot of lights in this part of the country) until we finally focused on the cluster of yellow electric lights in the distance. The isolation of the place kinda mad me think that if Zombies took over Metro Manila, the rich and famous would hole up in here and spend their days eating caviar and imported sardines protected by hired guns.

Anyway, the place was mostly empty (since it was in the middle of the week) save for us and the suppliers we were meeting for a presentation. For the most part, I just sat and enjoyed dinner, which consisted of paella, a chicken dish, bulalo and more paella. The food was delicious but a bit heavy, and our hosts over-ordered. I soon found myself needing to walk around. The air was chilly, but even though I didn't have a jacket, it wasn't unbearable.

One thing that I will surely remember on this trip was the fact that the southern area still consists a lot of roads and areas that have little or no lights or lamp posts. As we drove from venue to venue, we often passed roads that were totally dark, the sides impenetrable groves of trees and wild vegetation. These inky spots filled the gaps between the area's residences, shops and commercial establishments. I found myself thinking, this is a nice place to visit... but I certainly feel lucky to live where I live.

And so back to the grind this week. After that enjoyable but tiring work trip, I'm glad to get back to the familiar, climate-controlled corridors I know as everday work. Sad, but true. Heh.