Saturday, December 20, 2003

My monitor blew up so I may not be as timely in replying (if you contact me through email).

Happy holidays to everyone! Be safe. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Last Saturday my grade school batch had a quasi-reunion. Around 20 people showed up. This number out of a batch composed of 35 ain't so bad. And to think that it's been 10 years since we graduated! We haven't all been in touch through those years; some credit has to go to friendster and the mailing list for getting a lot of us back in contact. It was great seeing Brandon, for example, who I literally have not seen since graduation. But my grade school batch has been surprisingly close, moreso than a lot of other batches. Maybe it comes from the fact that we were such a small school. Or because we were the first batch that merged AM/PM, who were usually kept separate. It was great seeing everyone. Best of all, there were no uncomfortable silences, we all just started talking and updating one another as to what we've been doing, where we're working, where we went to school and what we took up, etc. Some of the parents were exchanging baby pics (there's more parents in my grade school batch than my high school class, for some reason. I guess I expected it to be the other way around). I had a lot of fun and laughed a hell of a lot as we reminisced through the night. Some of my classmates haven't changed much, some have, some have just grown/matured in the direction I predicted (sometimes not such a good thing).

My high school class are also pretty close. The mailing list is active (what little porn I see these days usually comes from there) and we make it a point to see each other at least several times a year. I bump into them here and there and when we see each other it's like no time has passed either. I remember during senior year everyone was getting sentimental about it being our last year together and we would go home at around 5-6 every evening even when we were dismissed early. We'd play basketball/table tennis, or just hang out inside/outside the classroom, usually ending with a rice/egg dinner (a 10-peso meal for poor me) at the now-gone Goodah. Good times.

Anyway, that night I couldn't sleep. I just kept thinking how lucky I was that both my grade school and high school batches were pretty close and still kept in touch, still liked to meet up and see each other and hang out. And I got to thinking about one of my greatest regrets: the fact that I didn't stay in touch with my classmates in the US when I was there for 4th grade. I made a bunch of good friends there, had a greater time than I probably should have, and like a motherfucking fool I didn't stay in touch with any of them. It might surprise some of you that probably my best friend there was a black girl named Lenelle Moise. She was one of the few people who had a twisted sense of humor, and we got to know each other because we took the same school bus home. Another good friend was Wade, and it really pains me that I can't remember his last name. This guy was a comic-book geek like me, and he joined my Tae Kwon Do class after I recommended it. He was so nice he moved up his birthday party a few weeks so I could attend it because I was about to go back to the Philippines. Melissa, who sat across me, I became friends with instantly because she was such a reader. When our Scholastic book orders would arrive every month we'd see whose stack of books was taller.

Man, the regret kills me. If I could get to my 10-year-old self I'd kick my ass for being so heartlessly stupid.

Anyway, so I couldn't sleep. I went online and tried to find everyone on friendster. This wasn't the first time I'd done this, but maybe they'd joined in the interim. Still nothing. So just out of curiosity, I looked up the website of the school, and found a list of faculty, and lo and behold, one of my teachers was still there! So now I've got her email address. I'm going to write her and see if she's in contact with anyone (I doubt it); at the very least she can hopefully give me a class list from one of the yearbooks. Then I'll look for them again. My virtual fingers are virtually crossed.

Monday, December 15, 2003

This may seem a bit embarrassing but around lunchtime earlier today I was at the new Greenbelt 4 PowerBooks looking around and saw Gary Larson's The Complete Far Side, which to my surprise was more expensive at PB than Fully Booked (P6510, ouch). Anyway, this copy was open so I browsed through it. The table was near the cashier. I was just checking the pages, paper stock, binding, size of reproduction, etc., but came across one of my favorite strips, the one with William Tell's less fortunate son who had a humongous head. I started cracking up right then and there and for the life of me I COULD NOT STOP. I literally couldn't stop myself, but I was trying so hard my chest started hurting and tears started coming out my eyes but I just KEPT RIGHT ON LAUGHING. Finally the cashier girls were looking at me rather strangely and I decided to just put the book down and leave the store immediately. Even walking down the stairs I couldn't get rid of the stupid grin on my face and a girl who was going upstairs thought I was smiling at her. See the trouble you get into with humor?

You've gotta love The Far Side.

That book will be mine one day. Oh yes.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Neva and I went to her younger stepbrother's concert last night at IS. That's International School. He's in the advanced band. Plays the trombone. It was more fun than I expected it to be, honestly. The kids are more talented than I thought, and the selection of pieces was also surprising, from the themes of Ghostbusters and The Addams Family to requisites like Ode to Joy and Carmen Suite.

Going to IS is like going to another country. When you're inside almost everyone you see is Caucasian. The Filipinos are the janitors and security guards, with a few students here and there. Everyone speaks with an American accent, or in a foreign tongue like when groups of Japanese students pass by speaking fast Japanese with their tousled hair. The school really looks like those American high schools you see on TV, with the lockers in walls and all that. IS is also home to some of the richest students in the country. Ambassadors, politicians, diplomats, businessmen, etc. send their kids here. There's an Olympic-looking track, an Olympic-looking pool, most of their hallways are airconditioned and carpeted, their library is gorgeous (3 floors, with a great selection), their Fine Arts Theater would rival most legit theaters, and their cafeteria have stalls from places like Delifrance, Café Mediterranean, and more.

I think I would have loved being a student there, if only for the amenities.

I can't help but wonder, though, if the students remain sheltered. I mean, the school's purpose seems to be, to me at least, to allow families who are stationed here the opportunity to send their kids to an institution that follows the educational systems of their respective countries (The Japenese School and The British School are across the street). But shouldn't part of the experience be allowing them to integrate with their host country? Angus, Neva's stepbrother, tells us that some of his fellow students aren't allowed in most malls, aren't allowed out of the house all that much, for that matter, for fear of kidnapping. So much so that Angus had to buy a stuffed toy for his friend to give to his crush, because he couldn't go to a mall. I wonder, when these kids go back to their respective countries, and get asked "How was the Philippines?", will they be able to give an answer? The school seems adamant in making sure it replicates the US as much as possible. I just wonder if the kids get the cultural exposure they should, actually living in the third world.


Always good for a laugh, these particular annual lists: Film Threat's Frigid 50, and The Onion's Least Essential Albums of 2003. In the case of The Onion, often I don't know the artists they're talking about, but man, no one comes up with better put-downs than the staff of The Onion. If you've been ignoring the numerous links to The Onion that I've put on this blog through the years, you might not know that while it's essentially a humor paper, their arts coverage (The Onion AV Club) is top-notch.

Oh, and the new Fruit Basket yogurt of Nestle is deelish.

Thursday, December 04, 2003


First, a brilliant strip:

Heh. That post below sort of does sound like it came from someone who hasn't slept.

So. Quiz Night was last Wednesday night at The Craic, a bar along Jupiter St (above Max's), and it's a regular thing, with different sponsors. I wish I was able to post about it on this blog before the night itself. Next time I will, promise. We're thinking about having Indiefilipino and Hey, Comics! sponsoring nights.

Everybody should get the new Ciudad album! Now! It's terrific. And there's 18 songs, more than your measly PhP200 worth. And there's a hidden track, to boot! I have to admit, upon my first listen I somewhat felt that a few songs lost a little of their rawness, their edge, but now I'm really loving it. It grows on me the more I play it. Maybe my initial thoughts had to do with the fact that Ciudad is a band I tend to see live a lot. This and Urban Dub's Influence have given me new hope in the local scene. Not that Ciudad is a new hope, they're an old hope, have always been great.

Click here for a great, eye-opening poem about 9-11.


That's a picture from the upcoming The Mirror of Love, to be released in February by Top Shelf. It's described as an epic poem about the history of same-sex love, and if there's anyone who could get me to read an epic poem about the history of same-sex love, it's my favorite writer. Actually, it's an old story he wrote back in the '80s, for a book that he himself published called AARGH! (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia) It was an anthology of stories, and the book's proceeds went to combat UK legislature (under Thatcher at the time) specifically targeting and victimizing homosexuals/lesbians. Moore himself isn't gay, but was in a "different" kind of relationship at the time, where he and his wife had a common girlfriend. This was shortly before the marriage fizzled and they divorced, his wife going with the girlfriend. It was an 8-pager back then, illustrated by Rick Veitch and Steve Bissette, if I'm not mistaken. I've not read it but I do have Moore's script for it, one of the few scripts of his I have. So I've read the "epic poem." The new edition takes the text and is given new visuals, c/o photographer/colorist Jose Villarrubia (who is gay), and it's now a 128-page book. Hardcover, with a bunch of supplementary material. If the other pictures are of this quality, then I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I have not slept for 42 hours, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed myself tonight at Quiz Night at The Craic on Jupiter; we helped raise 4K for a scholarship fund, and had great fun to boot.

My eyes are bleary and sting a little from being awake so long, and partly from the cigarette smoke earlier.

I gave up my opportunity to see Kill Bill for a good reason.

Caught Intolerable Cruelty instead. It's a lot of fun.

More tomorrow. I mean today. Ehhh-- when I wake up.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


More here.

If you can't appreciate the humor here... I'm sorry, how do we know each other again?

Sigh. Only about 60 strips. These are the kinds of great websites where you look up a little while later and realize 2 hours have passed.
Thank you once again to Steph, who provided the link to my new favorite website (and possibly the find of the year): Grouphug. It's nothing but anonymous confessions, and it's addicting as hell. It should be the new friendster, but I actually don't want too many people knowing about it because the bullshit factor will go through the roof. The entries can go from hilarious to sad at the drop of a hat. Some excerpts to pique your interest:

"Once i said that the BeeGees were not the best band ever, when clearly they are"

"i gave a turkey and ham sandwich, cookies, an apple and a banana to a bum who had no teeth"

"Even though my mother is delusional and has never approved of anything I have done, I love her.

I just can't bring myself to tell her."

"i went to a new kids on the block concert...with my sister and my parents...and I am a guy. please help."

"my cousin sexually abused me when i was 4 and he was 16. I dont remember it but i heard my mom telling someone. It's the reason my dad no longer talks to anyone on his side of the family. I feel like its my fault my dad doesn't have a family."

"I once helped beat up a retarded kid in grade school. Not because he was retarted but because he was annoying and nobody (teachers) would do anything about it. He'd speak out loud in class, pick his nose with impunity and wipe it on desk, make fun of you while you peed in the restroom, etc...

So one day, after school, we waited for him at the bus stop, and when he got off, we dragged him behind some trees and beat him within an inch of his life, telling him that if he ever did any of those things again, we'd come into his house at night and slit his throat.

If there was a plus side, this terrified him so badly, his behavior improved dramatically, and became fairly likeable until we all graduated high school and parted ways.

No one, including him, ever spoke of the incident."

"I stretch for about 1-2 hours a day so I will eventually be able to fellate myself. I'm getting close, because if I stick my tongue out real far, I can almost reach. I hope that I will be able to do it someday."

"i shaved my happy spot and now i have little red bumps. damn, it'd look so hot without the bumps! curses on you, bumps!"

"when i was younger, i'd planned out how to kill my mother. i always hated her. then one day, i just moved out and never went back. she has no idea how lucky she was.... it was a really good plan."

"My group of friends convinced a blonde that hobbits and stuff were real. It started out funny, now its just funny and sad at the same time"

"ive downloaded over 10GB of music. but i dont feel bad, most of the artists are dead."

There are some confessions that you can kind of "feel" are fake. Some are pretty rote; the most common one, for example, is basically a variation of "I masturbate X times a day." But the site as a whole is a revelation: it's like peeling the skin back on humanity and exposing just how petty, stupid, raw, vulnerable, manipulative, insane, and shallow we can be. But every now and then there's an entry that's got a glimmer of hope shining through the rubble.

I had a nice chat with Genie about it: there really is a feeling of... satisfaction, in reading some of the confessions. Though I somewhat feel as if I should feel guilty for it. Maybe it's perverted. Maybe it speaks to something shallow in me and, possibly, everyone. The anonymity, for example, helps us to believe each confession, just assuming that the honesty is there. Some confessions make you want to cry, and sometimes you wish that there was some way of communicating with that person to try to give them some reassurance, some hope, some solace.

One of the greatest things about the site is that at first, you think it's a peek into other people's lives and how fucked-up we all are, but if you start thinking about it, the site lets you find out things about yourself, in how you personally react to each confession. In that sense it doesn't even matter if the confessions are genuine or not. Your emotional responses are, regardless.

Sunday, November 23, 2003


Hmm. It doesn't feel like almost two weeks have passed since my last post. I'm only on Chapter 2 of Voice of the Fire. Mostly things have been sort of dull. I've been busy helping around with family business, so have stayed mostly at home. There haven't been any good movies in theaters in a long time, so I was delighted when Master & Commander finally came out (watch it; I was so glad that the trailer was made from material seemingly from the first 20 minutes only, so the rest of the film was a genuine surprise).

What really consumed me for a while was TV. On DVD, that is. Burned pretty quickly through both seasons of 24. There were 2 days in the 5-day period where I practically didn't leave my room at all except to use the bathroom and to go to the kitchen to get a meal. The second season is better, though there are more instances of situations where things would be so much simpler if characters just explained who they were and what they were doing. It could be used as a drinking game: take two shots every time someone gets tortured; take another two every time Jack Bauer says "I give you my word." If you correctly guess the next person to die, take another shot. I wonder if it's difficult for Elisha Cuthbert, having to portray perhaps the dumbest daughter in all of fiction. The "shock" at the end didn't feel as organic to me as the first season's, though. Here it felt rote, like it was a requirement instead of something that emerges naturally (but I'm told it's picked up on in the 3rd, current season).

Also finished the 3rd season of The Sopranos. Man, did I miss that show. It's a little mellow and somber compared to the previous seasons, but it's still the best show on television right now. No one writes better endings. And the use of music is wonderful. I was happy that the 3 commentaries were all from the people I was interested in: actor/writer Michael Imperioli (his is the best), actor/director Steve Buscemi, and creator/writer David Chase. Now I really wanna see the 4th season.

Also caught a bit of model animation: Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire and Creature Comforts. Robbie's terrific, really funny: a concept by Richard Curtis (who I've discovered is a friend of Neil Gaiman's since before Hugh Grant made him popular), where all proceeds go to the charity Comic Relief. All performers worked for free. I wonder though if the some of the humor flies over the heads of children. Creature Comforts is a collection of some of the early Aardman shorts. As expected, they're great. Will go through The Incredible Adventures of Wallace & Gromit next.


While I like Peter Travers's review of The Matrix Revolutions, I thought Keith Phipps's was the most dead-on.


Found this wrapped around a piece of chocolate:

I burn with passion and the secret flame of love burns my heart. - A. Beccadelli

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I've begun Alan Moore's sole (to date) prose novel, Voice of the Fire. It's a novel that moves through time as opposed to place. 12 chapters, each set in his hometown of Northampton, each set in a different time period, each with a different narrator. The last chapter is narrated by Moore himself as he takes a walk through modern-day Northampton, thinking about the book. The famously-impenetrable first chapter is not as difficult as I had expected. Let me explain: it's narrated by a caveman. What Moore did is he kind of approximated a language that would be used at the time (obviously nothing close to accurate because the differences would be too insurmountable to make sense to a present-day reader), coming up with a glossary of about 1000 words, and restricted himself to using those words only. So for a lot of people, it's really difficult to slog through. I have to read r e a l l y s l o w l y, sometimes even talking out loud. At times I don't get the minute specifics of what he's saying, but there's a general understanding as I go through it. But since it's Moore, it is, of course, utterly fascinating to me. In the beginning, the caveman describes "gray sky-beasts" and I thought, okay, some kind of prehistoric flying animal. Later on he mentions herds of sky-beasts going "from one end of the world to the other," and I realize that he's talking about clouds. Later on, a mention of a black spirit-friend who accompanies him, but disappears during the "dark" (night)-- this is his shadow, which they treat as a separate creature within his tribe. At one point he comes across the body of his dead mother, and his first instinct is to fuck her. Why? To keep her warm. He's surprised that she's stiff and cold to the touch. You can't argue with caveman logic.

It's not dissimilar in that sense to Flowers for Algernon, and reminds me of one of the functions of storytelling: to make you see the world through another's eyes. We've become inured to it because most of what we've seen recently is something close to our own level of understanding. Even if it's set in Middle-Earth. But here, the lens is skewed, and there's nowhere else through which to look, so you're really forced to understand things the caveman way. Certainly, reciting out loud, and slowly, at that, helps.

It's such a thrill to discover these things. :)


Awww... too sweet for words. :)

Sunday, November 09, 2003

LOT/EK (low-tech) is an architectural firm comprised of Ada Tolla & Giuseppe Lignano. One of their ideas is the MDU, or Mobile Dwelling Unit. Basically, they took one of those shipping containers you see stacked on docks and turned it into a makeshift apartment/workspace/office, with expandable slots. The idea is you can have your MDU shipped to anywhere in the world, and live there for a few months before moving on to your next country of choice. A portable home.

I think it would be interesting to do that: travel around the globe with an MDU. Just to see what it would be like, and to see the rest of the world, of course. Wherever you go, at least you'll sleep someplace familiar.

Go to the website for more information and pics. They don't allow remote linking.


"The photographs in this suite are the result of mean averaging every Playboy centerfold foldout for the four decades beginning Jan. 1960 through Dec. 1999. This tracks, en masse, the evolution of this form of portraiture."

If you look carefully at each for a while, it sort of becomes eerily familiar (though maybe this observation of mine will only apply to other men who've gone through more than one issue of Playboy in their lives). It also occurred to me that one might feel like they're staring into the souls of dozens of now-dead Playmates. Like something's going to burst out, catch hold of your gaze and drag you in.


And check out this sweet image:

One of my favorite covers of the year, for The Losers # 6, art by Jock. And for a series, almost all their covers are excellent (so far). Click on the image to see the version with the logo.

Friday, November 07, 2003


Check out Yuko Shimizu. Lovely, clean art. Beautiful, warm colors. Interesting graphics. Mind-bending stuff. And guess what? She does comics! Also check out her series Alphabet of Desire.

Found her through Design Is Kinky, who've also featured Farel Dalrymple of Pop Gun War.


Over lunch I heard someone get killed.

We were listening to an AM radio station replaying an interview that was interrupted by death this morning. A Col. Villaroel was being interviewed via cellphone when they were attacked at NAIA. He and his aide-de-camp were killed. You could hear the gunshots, and people screaming. Someone somewhere screamed "Ayaw naming mamatay! (We don't want to die!)"

But the strange thing is that Col. Villaroel's son is a pilot, who was at that moment about to land, but was told to stay aloft (as were all incoming planes. Must've been a hell of a headache for air traffic controllers). He was supposedly cursing the delay, not realizing it was the murder of his father that was the cause.

These strange things happen ALL THE TIME.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Genie is a genius.

Arcee, her costume, is the female Autobot from TransFormers. And, it being a cartoon from the '80s, you just know she's the female because a) she's pink, b) she's got lipstick, and c) she's got breasts. Of course, her being a robot, I don't know what the breasts are actually FOR, and it would've been nice if, in the series, they showed a proper function and purpose for the breasts, like a storage area for oil or something...

Click on the picture to watch them dance. And by the way, that's her twin brother Regan as Optimus Prime.


Ah, finally finished ER Season 1. It's sometimes grueling to watch 5 episodes straight because the average episode can be pretty emotional already, but 5 in a row can be devastating on your tear ducts. Was also pleasantly surprised to see the Quentin Tarantino episode is in here. I thought it was in Season 2. Been noticing also how some of these episodes are structured. Two of my favorite episodes, "Blizzard" and "Love's Labor Lost," have opposing structures: the former shows a calm before the storm, then a disaster with many cases having to be handled at the same time, and the latter begins calmly but then sticks to one, long, grueling case, that keeps you tense throughout until the bitter, tragic end.


I'm sorry, but this is just damn addicting! I know it's wrong, and there are a lot that are obviously untrue, but still...


Got Urban Dub's 2nd album, Influence. Haven't heard all of it yet, but what I have sounds good. It came with a newsletter about Cebu bands. And from the newsletter, you really get the feeling that the Cebu music scene is a very close-knit community. There were announcements of birthdays, profiles of bands, announcements of where their music was used (a mention of First Time, I noticed), an ad for Influence, and a "catalog" of previous releases, like a real label. Which floored me, in a way, because I don't know anything about the Cebu music scene besides Dub and Sheila & The Insects. They're really putting out a lot of releases, and it kinda makes me sad that that kind of community togetherness isn't as apparent here in the capital of the country.


And something interesting sent my way by Steph, whose CMJ stories are maddening, as will be Quark's, I'm sure, next we meet.

Monday, November 03, 2003

On Saturday my maternal relatives and I went to Cavite, where my grandfather is buried. I got stuck in the van with all the old people: my parents, my mom's siblings and/or their wives, two kids, and my grandmother. And it's interesting to be stuck in a situation like that for 2 hours. It's not my idea of a good time, but I can't say that I regret these experiences because sometimes I need to be reminded of how older people speak, especially with the generation gap. They tend to be slower, and are amused at the smallest things. It was also enjoyable for me seeing them rediscover old (to me) jokes through text messaging. You know, those jokes like "What do you call a scary vagina? Spuki." Some of them I haven't thought of since, uh, college.

During these kinds of family outings I always have a book, in the usually likely event that it'll be dead boring. If I'm not reading, I'm just messing around with some of my younger cousins, exchanging jokes, etc. We were ribbing my 13-year-old cousin who's on Friendster, because it says he's looking for a "serious relationship." Haha.

I also found out that Mars Ravelo is buried in the same graveyard as my lolo. My mom showed me.

Sunday was a nightmare. We were to go to Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, where my paternal grandparents are buried. We left the house at around 3, went to Max's where we'd meet my dad. He was 3 hours late because of the traffic. So we left at around 7PM, and in the middle of horrible traffic, got a flat. We changed the tire, I got a cut that I didn't notice until it was bleeding. What should've been a short distance was another 40 minutes of traffic horror. Finding parking inside wasn't as difficult as we'd expected but we had to drive a long way around because of some traffic scheme to keep vehicles moving. I can see the sense of it, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating, since our destination was pretty near the gate and we had to go all around the park.

I'm frustrated with a number of things: there are no clear signs to get to the comfort room. Every staff member I ask gives a confused answer. I find it myself. None of the lights are on, so I'm walking in the darkness when there aren't any lit candles. When I get there the women's is closed and so there's a long line of women outside the men's. When I get in there's no running water, so the trek was useless because I wanted to wash my cut. I walk back to where my grandparents are buried and bitch to my mom, who was wondering where the ladies' room was. She says that this used to be a good place, because it was run by foreigners. When the management became Pinoy it went to hell. What exactly are we paying for when we know the candles and flowers will be stolen tomorrow, when the lights aren't even ON? When there's no running water in the bathroom? I wouldn't be so incensed if it weren't so obvious. The cemetery, in this country, at least, is busiest on these 2 days. They should have prepared water, checked everything, including the lights, bulbs, etc. One of the park employees said that most of the lights were off because squatter children had climbed up and stolen the bulbs.

Without light reading my book was out of the question, and I'd nearly finished it in Max's anyway (The Best of Ray Bradbury: The Graphic Novel). So I was looking around, trying to observe people, which is what I tend to do when there's nothing to do. To my surprise and disgust, the yuppies behind us talked about nothing but Friendster, with faux-American accents, at that. Utterly irritating. Worse yet, they actually knew someone I know, one of my Comm blockmates now in the UK. At one point the pretentious bitch one was lecturing her idiot brother, saying "Not unhappy means you're happy," and I was rolling my eyes. My mom saw this and asked me "Does a double-negative make a positive?" I noticed the yuppies had shut up, maybe hearing my mom's question. I replied, loud enough for them to hear, "No. Saying I'm not unhappy just means I'm not unhappy. It doesn't mean I'm happy, either. I could be ambivalent."

Later on, a young couple arrives. They're curious because they're going around looking for a tombstone, reading everything around them. This is because THERE'S NO FUCKING LIGHT. Anyway, when they finally DO find the one they're looking for, all they do is set up two candles, light them, and walk away. No prayers, nothing. I wanted to ask them why they even bothered.

As opposed to this lone young woman tending to two graves. She had the candles and flowers set up. She was there before we arrived. I found her the most interesting. I kept wondering about the circumstances: is she an only child? Or is this her husband and son? Why was no one else with her? She just sat there pensively, watching the flames. Right before we left, she left, too, but removed the melted wax from the stones.

The epitaph on the tombstone of the person above my lolo reads: "Death is cruel loss and sad/but love I do not grudge/keep him love." I really hope mine has at least correct grammar. I like the idea of Alan Moore's suggestion: "Where'd everybody go? Why'd it get so dark?" And I remember fondly one of my favorite parts of John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, where a Savannah poet had a bench made for his tombstone on top of the hill where he was buried, so people could sit and see the ships in the distance. He had the words "Cosmic Explorer" engraved; it was the name of one of the ships he saw. I was walking around looking at birth dates, death dates, epitaphs. A four-year old kid. A baby that died the day it was born. Sons that died before fathers, with an empty grave beside them. Meaning the mom's still alive. I found that sad, for some reason. The son had my favorite epitaph in the surrounding area. It reads "Looking forward to that bright morning when we will be together again." It's really touching. When I look, the son has the same birthday as me, but six years older. He would've been 29 if he were still alive.


It's still strange when I discover ex-teachers of mine having blogs. And I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you all to check out CD's online gallery, which is so impressive it's intimidating. It's amazing to actually know such talented people. She has an exhibit opening this Wednesday, 6 PM, 4F Megamall. I forgot which gallery, though; just look around for her name (or a group of people milling about with drinks in hand).

Saturday, November 01, 2003

I went diving last Monday. Actual scuba diving. And had a lot of fun. :) I was a little worried at first; I assumed I'd have difficulty because I have sinusitis, and if you know or have it, then you know what a bitch it can be: occasional hay fever, sneezing fits with sudden temperature changes, crippling headaches. But surprising everyone, especially myself, I took to it pretty well, though I basically had to equalize every 5 seconds. I didn't panic, swallowed water only once (pressing the purge button surprised me with the force of the pressure), and though we were expected to stay no deeper than 10 feet, I got to 25 feet. :) And for my open water dive, we got to go to a wreck! Just a small fishing boat off the shore of one of the smaller islands, with the top portion of the mast sticking above the surface of the water. But underwater it's fascinating. A bush of sea urchins had made their home around the anchor. Corals were beginning to form on the exposed side of the hull, fish swimming all around. I enjoyed the feeling of weightlessness, and just floating lazily around while taking in all the sights. I saw large blue starfish, an eel that scared the shit out of me, clown fish, and all sorts of other fish I couldn't identify (though I saw Dori and Gill from Finding Nemo). It amused me that clown fish are actually pretty aggressive, and defend their homes pretty stubbornly; one bit Neva near her lip. Another, darker fish seemed to be barking at me like a dog. All in all, a lot of fun and a rewarding experience. Thanks to Neva and her family for inviting me along. They're almost all divers, so I was the odd duck. They even went night diving while I-- uh, slept. Neva said it was terrific, though the current was very strong, and it was beautiful when you turned off your flashlight because some of the fish were luminous. Another amusing fact was that she'd bump into sleeping fish who just float around, waking them up with a start.

If you're thinking of diving too, tell us and we'll hook you up with our instructors, Hernel and Joy Castillo, who were very cool and accomodating.


Am going through the first season of ER on DVD. I used to love this show, and probably still would if I didn't gradually disconnect all ties to watching television. But the first season brings back a lot of memories, and I remember learning a lot about structure from the show (especially the episode "Blizzard"), and it was one of the first shows that was almost dizzyingly fast with near-constant dialogue, presaging the arrival of Sports Night and The West Wing. It feels like I'm reconnecting with old friends I haven't seen in a while: Susan Lewis, John Carter, etc… and I'm glad that Neva's enjoying it as well. Best of all, I finally got to see the pilot episode and other episodes I missed. :)

DVD, how I love ya. Neva mentioned to me the other day how DVD was really made for people like me, because I love going through everything, so special features are a very important factor for me in considering whether to buy a DVD or not (especially since they're fucking expensive). So I almost always only buy those 2-disc sets (for films I really love), otherwise the less-than-legal versions can be mighty tempting… I remember when I last had fever I went through all 4 commentaries of both Fight Club and Seven in the same day.


"But that's the beauty of writing. It's all just words. If you can find the right words for a place, you can conjure it out of the air."

I've finished the bulk of The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore. Certainly, if you're a fan of Alan Moore then you'll love the book; it pretty much goes through his entire career. But there's still a lot of questions that editor George Khoury didn't ask, and they didn't go as in-depth into the works and thought/working processes as much as I would've liked. So it's still not the ultimate book on Alan Moore, but it's the closest we've seen. What comes to light is how, amazingly, so much of Moore's material still remains out of print. It's a damn shame. Some of my favorite parts are in the introduction and afterword, which were written by Moore's daughters. Hilarious stuff about what's it like having him for a dad.

"I am primarily a writer. That is what I'm best at. I love to manipulate words, and to manipulate consciousness by manipulating language. That's what I've always been interested in."


And here's a nice little gallery: artistic interpretations of literary figures. All sorts of good art, including a sketch by Neil Gaiman.

Check out Adi Granov's site. Some really interesting stuff. Strikes me as definitely European, of the Heavy Metal/Humanoids variety. I wonder what he'd look like doing interiors. I've only seen covers so far.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

This article sheds a little bit more light on things. He'd tracked 30 songs while working on his sixth album (called From a Basement on the Hill), and was considering a double album, even. He'd worked with JSBX drummer Russell Simins and The Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd.

It was a steak knife to the heart, in his girlfriend's apartment.

According to a source, anyway. When the news was just coming out, only one source identified the woman who found him as Smith's girlfriend (which would explain why she had a key to the place). Everyone else just said female friend. And only two sources mentioned multiple wounds, whereas everyone else either said wound in the singular or pointed out a single chest wound as the cause of death. I'm sort of anxious to see what the investigation turns up. The death was Tuesday but news broke only on Thursday so the authorities kept a lid on it until next of kin was notified. There was no suicide note, or if there was, it's been hidden away or destroyed. Stabbing yourself multiple times in the chest doesn't denote a premeditated suicide, at least to me. It sounds more like an act of passion than anything else. Don't most people with knives kill themselves by slitting their wrists? If he did have only the single chest wound then an accident might not still be out of the question.

None of this makes the loss any easier, though.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Elliott Smith is dead, an apparent suicide. Self-inflicted knife wound. This is something I dearly wish was a hoax, but it's not. Fuck.

This is really depressing news. I don't think I've felt this bad about a musician's death since Kurt Cobain. He was chronically depressed and battled alcohol and drug addiction, but it's such a fucking unfair shame that it had to end like this. I'm thinking now of so many things: the videos of Miss Misery and Son of Sam. Smith performing at the Oscars, dressed in a white tux with nothing but a guitar, as opposed to the lavish production numbers of Celine Dion and Michael Bolton. Realizing only after several months that "I Didn't Understand" is sung a cappella. Thinking that "Waltz # 1" could quite possibly be the greatest, saddest song ever written in the history of man. Bonding with Neva over both X/O and Either/Or, particularly "Waltz # 1" and "Say Yes." One of the last songs he recorded before his death was called "A Distorted Reality Is Now a Necessity to Be Free."

He had a terrific voice, that could go from a snarl to a lilting, reassuring whisper. He wrote some of the best lyrics I've ever heard/read, and really elevated songwriting for me in that regard. He played with song form and structure. His melodies were heartfelt, catchy, indelible. There's a nice line from the article above: "The songs floated like lullabies, though the lyrics could disrupt sleep for weeks."

Most of all, I'm remembering the night I was lucky enough to see him perform in Boston. It was glorious; I was happy like a kid who'd traveled halfway across the world and got to see one of his favorite musicians. I was standing up the whole evening, the whole day, actually, off to the side near the stage beside a post and a table, not trying to attract attention, alone but delirious. I was so fucking lucky to be there; read the email below for the full (somewhat long) story.

If you've never listened to him, do yourself a favor and get all of his albums; I don't think any of them will disappoint you. The standouts are Either/Or and X/O, though.

In the time before blogs, I sent this to the Heightsers mailing list on May 29, 2000. I was sending them emails about my month-long trip to the US:


Monday, May 15 -- The day before today, I wasted in Connecticut. So I wasn't able to reserve tickets, which, actually, I really should have done as soon as I set foot on US soil. Anyway, my family is supposed to be leaving tomorrow morning because my dad has overextended his vacation time, and my mom, working at a school, has upcoming enrolment to deal with. So it's their last day for shopping (and my last day of not paying for things myself). We go to another local mall, and then I'm dropped off at the subway station at about 430. Very early, considering the concert is 9, and doors open at 8. Even then, these things never start on time, and he had an opening act anyway.

My plan was simple. Get to The Roxy (where he was playing) first, get tickets, then go around to this store I knew that was in the area, which sold used CDs. So I took the T (Boston's subway, and first in the country) to Boylston, and come out next to this park where, as luck would have it, I chanced upon the graduation ceremonies of Emerson University. I figure, I'm early enough as it is, I have some free time, there might be a nice photo opportunity here, so I stay a few minutes to watch. The part where they all scream and throw their hats in the air is nice to see firsthand. This is my first time to see it happen, except of course my high school graduation, but that sucked because it was held in the evening and was inside the covered courts anyway. This was a beautiful (albeit cold and slightly windy) day. I must say, they're very LOUD. Screaming abounds, and continues for a good few minutes even after the tossing of hats, and the tumult subsides slowly. It's a very senti moment, because everyone's hugging each other, crying, or jumping up and down in pairs or groups. One girl even kisses me in her delirium, running around the grass. On the cheek, you perverts. After absorbing some more good vibes, I head towards The Roxy. When I get there, there's a small group of people outside of the building. A small knot forms in my stomach. I go up to the least-threatening-looking of the bunch, and ask if this line was for the show itself or for tickets. "For the show" was the reply. A little twinge of panic slices its way into my gut as I enter the Roxy and go upstairs, looking for a ticket booth. The walls are already posted with promotional pictures of Elliott Smith and the new album. When I get to the second floor, I see the ticket booth, with no one there. The lights aren't even on, so I have to go nearer to it to see the sign beside it, which I thought would say when it was open. When I read it, though, my heart freezes into ice.


I'm in shock. Well, I should have expected it. I should have reserved tickets. Shouldawouldacoulda. I can't speak, and inside I'm kicking myself in the head. I go down the stairs with my heart heavy, and it doesn't even occur to me (as it does now) to at least steal a poster. What now, I think. Well, I should come back later, try and see if anybody's scalping tickets. It's worth a try. So, with a few minutes spent in shellshock and the onset of heavy depression out on the curb, I head for my other destination - the used CD store, Looney Tunes.

Turns out it's not in the area after all. Massachusetts Avenue is a long, long road. But I don't care. Depressed as I am, I decide to start walking since I'm really early anyway, and so I begin to walk, wallowing in self-pity. I pass the FAO Schwarz, even stopping by to check out the place. There's an entire section on Star Wars, and the people there just depress me further. It's nothing compared to the New York branch, of course. I walk further and pass 3 different Starbucks, 2 Au Bon Pains, several book stores (some of which I check out), the public library, and when I get to Looney Tunes, apparently it's at the END of Massachusetts Avenue. I figure I've walked about as far as from Ateneo to Greenhills. At Looney Tunes, I am able to get some CDs, then see a big-ass Tower beside me, and check it out too. Apparently, I was already on Newbury Street, though I didn't know it. I get a DVD (Short: 3; it was cheap), since I'm still depressed.

The Tower is beside the subway station so I decide to use that since I know I won't make it in time if I walk again. Besides, my feet were killing me, depression or not. I realize I've walked the length of 3 subway stops, which is pretty far. When I get to the Boylston street stop, I eat dinner at the nearby Subway.

It's a weird thing not to speak for an entire afternoon. I don't think I can really do it. Even if I tried, to spend so many hours just absolutely's just impossible. I'd end up singing a few tunes from my Last Song Syndrome. Or make up conversations, or at least maybe laugh at some people who look stupid.

Anyway, after dinner I go back to The Roxy, and it's about 9 PM already. I never have a watch so I'm never really aware of the time. It's also a nice excuse to ask pretty girls what time it is, even if you know perfectly well that they don't have watches too. But most of their voices suck. The line is pretty much gone, everyone's already upstairs. There's a cop car outside the place, and some cops hanging around, thinking there might be trouble. I position myself outside the place, trying to look as sad as possible. This is the routine, right? You hang around, and then someone approaches you asking if you'd like to buy a ticket? At least, so I figure. If the cops ask, I'll just say that I'm waiting for somebody to show up.

There are other people hanging around. Two girls, a group of students, and another solitary guy in an orange jacket. He's asking out loud, "Anybody got any tickets?", which was a better strategy than mine, but I somehow couldn't bring myself to do it, especially with the cops around. So I hang around, and the line becomes nonexistent. Everyone's already in, and the show should have started about now. Up until this point, I'd still been wallowing in my self-pity, and I had no intention of letting up. And while I thought I couldn't feel any worse, I was mistaken. As the minutes continued to tock by, I felt worse and worse, and the cold seemed colder. Then, one policeman started walking up to people, asking why were we hanging around here? Were we waiting for someone? Did we still want to buy tickets?

DID WE STILL WANT TO BUY TICKETS?! I ran up to him and asked "Are they still selling tickets?" He looks to the bouncer, who has a radio. He asks, listens to the reply, and says, "There are about five left." So of course I run for the door, bulky backpack and jacket and all, and head up the stairs. I'm stopped at the top by somebody. "ID?"

"Uh, I'm not a resident, but can I use my country's driver's license?"

"Do you have your passport with you?"

"No." I'm panicking, and I stutter out: "Look, I'm 19."

"When were you born?"

"1980. Besides, I won't be drinking anyway--"

"You won't be drinking? Oh, okay then, go right in." I get a red X on the back of my hand.

In my rush to get upstairs, I even accidentally hit someone. But I don't stop to say sorry, as I customarily do. After all, they might want tickets too. I get to the ticket booth, now manned, out of breath. The girl looks at me for a few seconds, and I manage, "Elliott Smith, please." (the booth was for other events as well) She, in turn, looks to the girl behind her, who is apparently in charge of the Elliott Smith tickets and already has her coat on, about to leave, and she says


I slam my 16 dollars on the table and swoop it up.

The gig hadn't even started. Whiskey Biscuit was opening for him, and they weren't onstage yet. Meanwhile, I'm finally able to buy Figure 8. Unfortunately, they don't have Roman Candle, the only other Elliott Smith album not currently in my possession. I'm able to also get a video of the music video of Son of Sam, and steal another one for Quark.

Whiskey Biscuit are good with melody, but their singer needs some work. He's like a punk, but with a hick accent. The kind that's high-pitched and sings about lost loves.

Anyway, he comes on about a half hour after Whiskey Biscuit conclude their set, dressed in a simple black shirt, black cap, and corduroy pants (add respect points). The songs are, of course, mostly from Figure 8, since it's a promotional tour for a new album, and so I'm not able to sing along as I would have wanted. This would have proven awkward anyway, since I was alone. However, he sings some favorites, like "Bled White," "Bottle Up and Explode," and the newer songs are so good that I have no reason to complain. His third song was "Everything Means Nothing To Me," which is basically his voice, and a piano, until the end when the song erupts with drum accompaniment. This was one of my favorite performances, coming as it did after a noisy song ("Bled White"), where he just stopped, and held his guitar to the side while the pianist already began. If you've heard the song, you know how good it is. Don't get me wrong, every song he sang was excellent, and sang well, but some stood out. "Amity," which wasn't always my favorite song, featured a new arrangement and really impressed me. One time, during the fourteenth song, he interrupted himself when he said, mid-song, "FUCK! I CAN'T HEAR SHIT!" and waited while they got him a replacement guitar.

He had an encore, which is famous, I find out later, for being very intimate. This was no different. After a few minutes of the crowd's continuous applauding, he came out, alone, with nothing but a guitar, and sang the more intimate songs.

Here I have to digress a bit and address my appreciation for the crowd. Having been bred on insipid audiences back home who don't know when to shut up, this crowd was perfect. No assholes to shout during moments of silence, no immediate clapping when he ends a sentence. They knew when to be quiet, and even waited for Smith's prompting before they clapped. Maybe it was because he looked so fragile and vulnerable, and we didn't want to scare him away. I know I didn't. But God bless Boston, and its people. They were very well-behaved.

Another aside: most of Boston is young smart people, because it's a college town. In Boston proper alone, there are 19 universities, excluding Harvard, since that's in Cambridge. Perhaps this explains the excellent crowd. Lots of brainy people.

The best perk of the concert was Smith sang 3 brand new songs.


Rest in peace, man. God knows you deserve it.

This is horrible. I really feel like crying.

Friday, October 17, 2003

I realize that I haven’t written anything creative in a long while. Nothing substantial, anyway. Not to denigrate my recent projects. I think I did okay with both First Time and Captain Barbell, but they were both projects with clearly defined parameters: one had to have a girl getting devirginized, and the other was a remake of a character with his own history, powers, continuity, etc. And both were commissioned works. No, what I mean is I haven’t written anything purely for myself, to satisfy no one but me, in a long time. Where I can do anything I like. I thought I’d take the chance again, but it’s scary. I’m out of practice.

So I’m thinking of getting ideas from other people. Collaborating. Primarily, comics. At least, right now. There are some film ideas that are in various stages of development, but those can wait. I’m sort of excited to go back to writing for comics since I’ve been away from it for too long. I’m asking all sorts of people for their portfolios to get an idea of what they’d like to do, what they’d be good at, or just for inspiration.

So while I am writing for myself, I am also, in a way, writing for other people. The artists. Because I don’t want to simply hand them a script and wait for the art to return, I want them to become involved in the story and its creation, I want them to be enthusiastic about it. Also, I think it’ll be very interesting to see what I come up with in collaboration with others as opposed to merely working by myself. Should be surprising. At the very least, the prospect is exciting because I’ll be working with some people who I’m big fans of, and I feel that they’re truly talented.

And right as I was finishing writing this, I got asked to co-write another remake. But one that I was thinking about before Barbell even came my way. Ah, such is life… :)


Shotgunned through Douglas Coupland's All Families Are Psychotic in 2 days. Then, went through Hey Nostradamus! in a little over 24 hours. Whew. Haven't read a book in a day since... Choke, I think. Am now reading Chuck Palahniuk's Diary.

Saw Matchstick Men. It's terrific! Just a great little gem of a movie. :) Very nice surprise indeed. You think the con is the center of the plot, then you think it's the father-daughter relationship, then it's back to the con, but then, at the end, it's really about none of these things at all, and the center is what's been in front of you this whole time, and that's what makes it unique, to my mind. It very successfully plays several cons on the viewer, but as Roy says, "You didn't take it, I gave it to you."

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Someone took the time to type my poem and put it on their blog (or lj, if you're anal). I don't know the guy (Paul Doble?). This is the second time it's happened (that I know of). Thanks to Alexis for the heads-up.

Friday, October 10, 2003

"Don't forget, with Lacuna, you can forget."

And here is the actual trailer, which is great, and just makes me more excited about it than I already am.

Some other great trailers have come out: Tim Burton's latest, Big Fish, which gives a kind of The Majestic feel. The Majestic was kinda bland, though not without its merits, but I don't want to get that feeling from a Tim Burton film. Some of the scenes remind me of Katherine Dunn's book Geek Love, which Burton was slated to adapt at one point, so it's looking rather doubtful he'll still do that. Also, a powerful trailer for Gus Van Sant's Elephant, and the latest from Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu, 21 Grams. It's a better year for film than I thought.


The Italian Job is a horrible film, way worse than I expected from director F. Gary Gray, with decent photography, and only the first 20 minutes takes place in Italy. It's a good ad for the Mini, though. I wanted one after watching it.

I'm currently enjoying Gabrielle Bell's When I'm Old and Other Stories. She's a real find. Good storyteller with good stories and an idiosyncratic art style that can change as needed. I can't remember the last time I was this impressed with an indy creator.

Also barrelling through Chris's copy of Douglas Coupland's All Families Are Psychotic, which goes straight onto my list of Favorite Book Titles. It's quite compelling, as I finished half the book in a day. Very difficult to put down. Got two books waiting for immediate consumption after this: Coupland's latest, Hey Nostradamus!, and Chuck Palahniuk's Diary.


Scary fact: California, by itself, is the world's fifth largest economy. And now Conan the T-800 is Governor. And he is a devout Republican. Who loves Bush. So we're looking at a 2nd Bush term.

We're fucked.


Go here. I don't have the words right now. See for yourself. And check out the health benefits.

Monday, October 06, 2003


An example from the "graphic design playing" period, quoting one of the comics that dragged me back kicking and screaming into a final, conclusive, lifelong commitment to comics. Written, of course, by Alan Moore.

Dated Oct. 21, '99.
I've started downloading fonts again.

The other day Neva reminded me that I used to download fonts all the time, particularly when I was depressed. At the time I was still playing around with graphic design (and I do mean playing). It got to the point where I had something like 700 fonts on my computer. Sometime between then and now, my computer crashed and I lost everything. But the downloading fonts thing was something I forgot about until recently. So I have begun again, and am surprised that I still remember the names of some of my old favorites.

And the idea has struck me that you could use font selection as some kind of a personality test. I mean, the fonts I get now are probably much different than those I used to get. So if someone could analyze the choices and come to some conclusions, those would be interesting. Would it only be developing tastes, or would it have something to do with my outlook on life, attitude, etc.? What does it mean when I still love a particular font, and would now never use another font that I used to love?


Some new links for you: Rinzen and Floria Sigismondi. Sigismondi's one of those surreal visual stylists; she's directed some really good videos including Interpol's "Obstacle 1," Tricky's "Makes Me Wanna Die" (a nice disturbing video I recorded onto VHS back in the days...), one for Sigur Ros, but maybe the work most people have seen is the one for Christina Aguilera with all the butterflies ("Fight"? I don't remember the name of the song). My favorite video of hers is David Bowie's "Little Wonder." Amazing stuff. The photo gallery has a few pictures with Melissa Auf Der Maur, too. Sigh...

And it occurs to me that Aguilera's had some good video directors: David LaChappelle, my favorite photographer, Sigismondi, Jonas Akerlund...

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Today I went over to Erwin Romulo's house and we were both photographed by his lovely and talented girlfriend Yvonne while in conversation in his driveway. And I saw his room which sort of looks like mine except it's bigger, with more space and shelves. He's got hundreds of books, all of which look interesting. He's a big Alan Moore fan, and has the original VG edition of Voice of the Fire and The Spirit Archives Vol. 1 which has a Moore introduction. He's got DVDs, VHS tapes, and CDs strewn about.

Best of all, he showed me a couple of comics that Yvonne did. One was from college. Both were good, but I liked the one from college better. It was bleaker than 8mm, if you can imagine that. Not a single ray of hope or sunshine in its sci-fi universe. Which is certainly not what I expected from the cheery and sunny Yvonne.

Meanwhile, recently Alexis told me about someone he knows who's also an Alan Moore fan, who got him to read the massive, yet unforgettable, From Hell.

See? EVERYBODY loves comics.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

My desktop wallpaper for the past 2 months (and one of the pictures I'm proudest to have taken).


And here we go.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Have You Forgotten?

by Red House Painters

i can't let you be
'cause your beauty won't allow me
wrapped in white sheets
like an angel from a bedtime story
shut out what they say
'cause your friends are fucked up anyway
and when they come around
somehow they feel up and you feel down

when we were kids
we hated things our parents did
we listened low
to casey kasem's radio show
that's when friends were nice
and to think of them just makes you feel nice
the smell of grass in spring
in october leaves covered everything
have you forgotten how to love yourself?

i still can't believe all the good things that you did for me
backyard summer pools
and christmas trees were bright and full
and the sentiment
of coloured mirrored ornaments
and the open drapes
looked out on frozen farmhouse landscapes
have you forgotten how to love yourself?

I swear to God, the Japanese have something for everything.

Saturday, September 20, 2003


I cannot WAIT for this! I found an interview with Tarantino and just reading him describe it made my mouth water: they used three different kinds of blood. The main fight sequence ending Volume I took 8 weeks to shoot, whereas the entirety of Pulp Fiction took 10 weeks. There's 8 minutes of anime in Volume 1 alone (showing the origin of a character; there's some in Volume 2, too) done by the people who did Ghost in the Shell and Blood: The Last Vampire. The soundtrack is almost entirely composed of music from other films. It's basically his ultimate fanboy geek dream, an homage to all the genre flicks that made his youth worthwhile. Even something like The Bride (Uma Thurman's character) arriving in Tokyo, he wanted a specific look like he'd seen in Godzilla films, so they used the model set of the most recent Godzilla flick.

But Vol. 2's in February?! What the--? I think it's an interesting idea, having a film split into two parts. Not a trilogy. But part of me chafes at the fact that I'll basically be paying twice to see one film. Combined it's 3 hours, and hey, we all sat through Titanic, didn't we? Why not this, then?


"My wife asked me why I draw myself so fat. I told her it's because fat is funny. My daughter asked why I draw Mommy so skinny; I explained it's because Daddy's no fool."
-- Kyle Baker

Thursday, September 18, 2003

A TV distributor from Italy emailed me asking about Lino Brocka films, because they’re planning on airing a retrospective of his work. Which makes me glad to know there’s still interest in his work, from other countries, so long after his death. But it also reminds me that there hasn’t been much to speak of since he died, has there?


This is some great news: Fantagraphics are going to publish the entire run of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, in nice handsome editions (hopefully something like their Krazy & Ignatz collections, which are beautiful but affordable). They’re aiming at two volumes a year, each volume containing two years’ worth of strips, so it’ll take 12 ½ years for the entire 50-year lifespan of Peanuts to be collected (Jesus, I’ll be 35). Some of my fondest strips are from the early period, when the children looked much different and Snoopy actually looked like a dog. This is probably because of that book my mom gave me in high school, her own Peanuts book from when she was a kid, which was published in the mid-60s. It’s still on my shelf.

The 25 volumes will be designed by Seth, who’s a die-hard Schulz fan, and who made one of the most moving tribute strips I saw upon Schulz’s death: he drew all the popular settings of Peanuts, sans people: the pitcher’s mound, Lucy’s psychiatry booth, Snoopy’s doghouse, and a lone football on the grass… almost brought a tear to mine eye.

And in other not-so-terribly-good news, it seems a sequel to Before Sunrise has just finished shooting. It takes place 9 years after their night in Venice. I like the movie a lot, but don’t feel it would be better served by a sequel. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, I don’t know.


Passed by Libris the other day with Neva and got a great stash of books: Projections 5 & 8, Ethan Coen's book of poetry (The Drunken Driver Has The Right Of Way), Supertoys Last All Summer Long & Other Stories of the Future by Brian Aldiss, and scripts to Boogie Nights and Requiem for a Dream. All for 1100. It should be closer to 6000. Also, we were delighted to discover that they've begun to publish books as well. They're the ones behind 7 x 10, where 7 noted writers choose 10 influential poems. Neva got it and it looks great. Ernan recommended it too, and I'll be going through Neva's copy when she's done.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Scattershot sentences that don't necessarily have any context or connection to one another:

I caught the premiere of First Time last Saturday. Under the circumstances Lyle had to work under, I think he did the best he could. They did their damnedest to hide the lack of acting from most of the cast, so much so that it's almost unnoticeable (almost). The cinematography is gorgeous; I especially love Neil's work in Erwin's episode. And there's this great scene where Joel Torre takes off his clothes in the middle of Quezon Ave, where you have no doubt that you're watching an ACTOR, and not an artista, and it feels good that there are still people like him working in this industry.

As for my episode: most of what's there comes from my script, though most of the dialogue has been changed. There's a whole other character, who was added a day before filming began, who had no lines since she didn't exist, so lines were chopped up and given to her so she'd have something to say. But a whole lot's been cut out, or wasn't shot at all, and it was most of the bonding scenes, too. Not bondage, you filthy bastard. Bonding. As in all the scenes where I tried to flesh out characters. But this is not Lyle's fault; I know where the fault lies and it unfortunately can't be helped because without the perpetrators there wouldn't be a film to begin with. There are two massive changes to the ending (which, thus, isn't mine): one I object to, the other I'm ambivalent about. I really enjoyed the montage where Diane beats the shit out of Christian. :)

Lyle's one of the nicest guys you'll find working in film. I sure as hell don't hold anything against him; he kept me informed all the way, and with the amount of shit he had to go through, it's amazing he was able to maintain his sanity to the end (though he himself might contest this). For some reason, he really values the input of his writers (a rarity among directors, especially those working here), which was something I appreciated (as did Erwin and Lyndon) and will never forget. It was an honor and a pleasure working with him, and I would do so again in a heartbeat.

"Sana sa susunod, wholesome na yung script mo para mapanood namin."
-- Neva's friend Dang, said with a smile, just a few hours ago.


It just struck me what Friendster is: a giant hyperlinked slumbook. And I'm glad to say I finally hit my Friendster threshold. Which means that for a while, I admit, it was like a new toy and I played with it for hours on end, checking all the features and whatnot... remember when blogging was new, and you'd post every day, and check every chance you were online whether or not someone had left a comment, but now you could really give two shits and let it wait? Sorta like that. Though secretly I wish the charges would come in so I could just drop it altogether.


Read this. It's a little disturbing, in a good way...


There are some books at CCHQ that I keep looking at whenever I'm there, and When I'm Old & Other Stories by Gabrielle Bell was one of them. Finally I was able to get it last Saturday (and Neva got the handsome The Iron Wagon by Jason), and that night I check some websites for comics news and I discover... wait a minute...

She's cute!


Charles Bronson died about a week or two ago. Then, just the other day, Johnny Cash, and surprisingly, John Ritter. Ritter was only 54, which is younger than both my parents, and can be a little frightening fact if dwelled on for too long. He couldn't really escape the shadow of Three's Company, could he? Last thing I saw him in was Felicity, where he played Ben's dad. He was damn good, too.


Last week's bout with Badminton made me realize: I really, really miss Ping-pong. And I shall try to get my friends to bowl.


Had my first post-grad anxiety nightmare! People have been telling me about this dream for ages, but I had my first one last night. I was the only one in class who didn't study for an exam (under Mrs. Rodriguez, no less... I was horrible in her class because my Tagalog vocabulary is severely limited to conversational, though I was always interested, really I was...) and was really going to pieces. Plus, the exam was in a room that felt like it was underground, with bad lighting, and, of all things, Alia was my proctor! But not any kind of proctor, she sat beside me and talked to me as I was taking the test! Just striking up a conversation, or watching a TV that was for some reason beside her. And I just wanted her to give me the answers because I was sweating bullets. Then I woke up.


Cine Europa and the Australian Film Festival are coming up. If any of you want to waste an afternoon, let me know.

"This is Major Tom to Ground Control..."

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Ahh, Friendster … didn't you used to be called Six Degrees (which is still up, but I haven't looked at it in such a long time that I recall neither my username nor my password)?

A few people asked me to join it back when it started up in April, and I resisted, but it's almost impossible to say no to Ate Cyn, so I relented and joined, but remained inactive. Then recently other people started bugging me about it, and it was people from high school, even grade school. Some friends who are now in the US. So, alright, I admit it, I'm now a friendster. Though, just for getting me back in touch with those high school/grade school friends, it's served its purpose, as far as I'm concerned.

I only found out more about it yesterday while talking with some friends. Sexy Man Mark "Lotsa" Lavin mentioned that it's supposed to be a dating service, but I don't think anyone I know is really using it as such. And that while it's all the rage on the West Coast, the East Coast hates the damn thing. Neva mentioned that too, and I'd read an article that Mischa linked, which sheds a little more light on it, and the bugs inherent in the site (it says Friendster beta on the homepage for a reason), and also discussed the impending arrival of charges (what, you thought it would stay free forever?).

It's a shame, though; I was thinking it'd be good karma to have Jesus Christ as a friend.


Was in Ateneo yesterday. Visited Ed Ibarra, my high school classmate and ex-Narda guitarist, now a guidance counselor. Saw Trinka, who came from Quark's shoot for Rivermaya. Found out Quark had a talk on screenwriting that afternoon, and I wanted to embarrass him slightly by showing up, but got waylaid at CCHQ since I hadn't been there in a long time, and Mikey and SM Mark Lavin showed up. Then we ended up killing time at The Old Spaghetti House, where Fullhouse used to be. Nice ambience, cool music, food was pretty good, too. Methinks I will be eating there often when I'm in the area.

Actually played badminton with some friends last night. I haven't played since high school. Woke up sore and aching, but surprisingly much less than I expected.


The Onion's great this week. This had me in stitches, and I'm sure Chris, at least, should get a kick out of this.

Added Gay to the links box. :)

And just as a reminder, Neva's poems can be found here. :) Though Poacher-Killed Deer is on itself, where she not only got published in one of their print volumes, but was asked to be a judge last year. :)

And also because of her, I am enjoying the HELL out of David Bowie's Changes.


And no, I haven't forgotten what day it is. For the world, or a certain now-defunct group. Still, the vitriol in last year's post holds up, if not the current facts. If you only knew what Bush's administration has gotten away with since 9/11, you'd weep. And that's only for what has been discovered. Whatever they're keeping from us, it's much, much worse.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Maybe no one remembers, but I wrote about Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman here, back in June.

Anyway, Ultrazine, the website that kind of kick-started the whole project that became the book, have apparently taken my post and used it on their website, translated into Italian, no less. It's on a page compiling comments on the book, and I'm on a list that includes Dave Gibbons (illustrator of Watchmen, the Martha Washington series, and the forthcoming The Originals), Stephen Parkhouse (illustrator of The Bojefferies Saga), John Coulthart (who works with Moore on his performance pieces and designs the CDs), Rich Johnston, George Khoury (whose The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore I am set to devour next) and Scott Morse (writer/illustrator of Soulwind, The Barefoot Serpent, Volcanic Revolver, etc.).

Which puts a great big smile on my face. Check out their website, it's pretty cool. I got a lot of stuff from them, and am glad that in some half-assed way they have been able to use something of mine.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

What a great fucking cover. I’ve not seen this film, nor heard anything about it, I only know that Jeline has it and tried to lend it to me before but somethings happened and it never came to pass. Maybe sometime…

I have stumbled across the website of Nick Bertozzi. I don’t recall reading any of his works, but I like how he uses color.

Here are some other people who are inspiring visually (though that doesn’t mean they can’t inspire in other ways). Some do comics, illustration, writing, or a combination of all. I’ve probably mentioned them independently through the months.

Paul Pope
Brian Wood
Bill Sienkiewicz
Rian Hughes
Tomer Hanuka
James Jean
Carlos Segura
Arnold Arre
Cynthia Bauzon

There are also some purty pictures at Phil Noto’s site (he draws women especially well, and is also interesting with color), Kaare Andrews’s, and Ashley Wood’s.

There’s a lot of others, of course: Dave McKean doesn’t really have an official site, nor does Chip Kidd, and there are a lot more indie kids who I’ll get to eventually.


Go here to see what all the kids are wearing these days. And the Lost in Translation trailer is up.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

And here is the bad PS: Lyndon and I (maybe Quark, but I'm not sure) were mentioned in an Abante article about how the creative team of Captain Barbell has changed. But it seems to sound like we were replaced because our work sucked.

And during the First Time presscon, when Lyle mentioned the 3 writers (Lyndon, myself, and Erwin Romulo), some "reporters" assumed that Lyle had brought on Erwin to "fix" our script (we independently wrote an episode each).

So I'm wondering if we already have a reputation for bad scriptwriting, when not a single one of the films we've worked on has even come out yet.


Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Confession Time!

Big Thing WAS Captain Barbell. Lyndon Santos and I had been tasked to write the new Captain Barbell film for Viva. Which was, honestly, a sort-of exciting proposition for me, not simply because of the comics/superhero angle (actually, superheroes as a genre doesn’t particularly excite me any longer) but because I actually DO have fond memories of the ’86 Herbert Bautista-Edu Manzano flick (I was six at the time, what can I say).

On the day I found out about it, there was already a meeting that evening, where we hashed out a plot in a little under 2 hours, mostly dictated by Ogie Alcasid, who at the time was the only star attached to the project (he was to play Tenteng, though none of us could remember the name, so we got it wrong and his character was named Enteng). I wasn’t exactly excited about this plot, which, while not bad per se, was a little traditional and obvious, so I drafted a different plot with some themes I thought would be relevant to Mars’s original work on the character. Thankfully the powers-that-be liked it, and we went to work with more research (under a ridiculous deadline). We went through some articles about the old comics material, Mars himself, etc. This research was used in a thesis by friends of mine, so I was glad it was close at hand. We were also given photocopies of old Barbell comics, written by Ravelo with other artists.

We wrote the first draft in something like 3 days. All at Quark’s house, using a pretty detailed outline we had come up with a week or two previous. Quark, at the time, had been attached to the project, even when it was announced as an entry to December’s Film Festival.

Anyway, I liked what we came up with. It needed some more tweaking, but I felt it was good, and could be good, and I was glad Quark was the director because we were worried about it falling into the hands of someone who wouldn’t get the comedy. There were nods to Mars everywhere, from locations to character names. Thematically, I thought we had the spirit of some of his original stories, but contemporized and, I suppose, re-imagined. We even had the continuities merged, where, out of fondness and respect, this film acknolwedged the events that transpired in CB’86. We even had a cameo appearance by Herbert.

And here our troubles began.

Quark was under pressure with Keka. He had a playdate/deadline that he had to stick to, which he met, but meant he was being rode hard. He was working almost everyday for several weeks, and it’s a miracle he didn’t get sick. Still, after this, he was understandably wanting a break and passed on Barbell.

Another reason is that they were taking so long on casting, and the “deadline” was looming. If this was a Film Fest entry, it needed to come out in December. And this has more effects, understandably, than your typical film. It was getting late, and the schedule looked like it was going to be ridiculous again, which none of us wanted (least of all Quark).

So. The project was given to Mac Alejandre to direct. And I guess he didn’t like our script, because he gave it to a friend of his to rewrite. Us writers weren’t told, I had to find out by talking to the producer and asking her about it on the set of another film. The new script has 3 super-powered villains (Daga-Man, Freezy, and some Pyro-like guy; this reminds me of that cartoon show with Spider-Man, Iceman, and Firestar). We had one John Constantine-like bad guy (the character that Epi said he enjoyed).

Anyway, it’s September, and they still haven’t started shooting. The cast changed almost every other week. Ogie as T/Enteng was solid, but Barbell went through (at first) Richard Gomez, then Ogie himself (which we all preferred, actually; Dolphy did it like this), then Marc Nelson, then Borgie Manotoc, then, out of the blue, Bong Revilla, and just the other day I found out that it’s now, get this, Edu Manzano. Again. The love interest was Nina, then Issa Calsado, then Jolina Magdangal, and now I think it’s Regine Velasquez.

So don’t draw any conclusions from me. Captain Barbell may be Redford White by the time it comes out.

They’re competing with Gagamboy from Regal, and Fantastic Man (Lastikman 2, basically) from Octo.

The possible happy ending is that, if they’re starting from a new script, Quark and us can still use our draft for Barbell 2, should they decide to make one. But I’m not holding my breath or anything.

I actually do hope that Barbell makes money, if only so we could do ours. At this point, though, I’m sort of glad that I’m not involved with the project any longer because it looks like their schedule will be murder, and good luck to them.

A happy PS is that I downloaded some issues of Alan Moore’s Miracleman the other day, and discovered that his treatment of the character’s transformation to and fro his alter ego was similar to how we treated it in our Barbell script: by focusing on the reactions of other people. Miracleman is a seminal series he wrote in the early ‘80s, that I hadn’t read until now.

And yes, the transformer above has nothing to do with Barbell whatsoever. Ain't it cool, though? :)

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Sorry, but I must blog about this.

I was watching a few scenes from the VHS of Amateur Quark and Lia gave me yesterday, and really missed the film. Then I decided to look up Hartley online to see what he's been up to (his last film was No Such Thing), and what do I come across but a notice that Amateur is finally coming to DVD in November! Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, the only feature included in the announcement is a 15-minute documentary (I really hope there's a commentary). Henry Fool will follow in December.

Also, yesterday afternoon I was discussing Promethea on a mailing list. That evening Quark & Lia gave me Promethea Book 2.

Links, links...


I also love this trailer. Nice to see Maria de Medeiros again, who seemed to have dropped from the face of the earth.


from Steven Grant’s August 27 edition of his column Permanent Damage:

“So far there's only one genuine crime that can actually be traced to the Hand Puppet (George W. Bush)'s Administration - ultra-rightwing commentator Bob Novak himself verified that his information that the wife of a diplomat critical of the White House was a CIA agent came from inside the Administration, and revealing that is a Federal crime - but this, if not actually a crime, comes close, and I expect we'll see lots of civil suits if not criminal prosecutions over it once the seriousness of the situation sinks in: it has come out that, for reasons of ‘national security,’ the White House ‘convinced’ the Environmental Protection Agency to bury the information that the air in New York City following the destruction of the World Trade Center was simply not safe to breathe. Instead, at the behest of the White House, they gave it a clean bill of health, even though much of the air in Southern Manhattan and surrounding areas was suffused with a fine dust of glass, concrete, steel, asbestos, carcinogens and other dangerous pollutants. (It's okay to walk on concrete and use glass in windows and Coke bottles; sucking particles of either into your lungs can lead to hemorrhaging, cancer and other ailments.) In other words, it was deemed more politically expedient to ‘put a good face’ on the situation to the rest of the world (not to mention to prevent the prolonged shutdown of the Stock Market) than to protect the health of tens of thousands of Greater New Yorkers.”

Hm. This post turned out longer than I expected.