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? :)