Friday, May 21, 2004

Yay! We're back. I went through withdrawal the first day. Unused to so much technology. Missed the sand beneath my feet, and the wind in my hair. The sound of the shore. But, I also missed certain things, which is why we went to see Troy immediately.


If I had to sum up Troy in a word it would be bleagh. Thoroughly unengaging, it was the kind of summer film filled with "moments" instead of characters, where everything that wasn't a fight scene seemed in a hurry itself to get to a fight scene because it knew it was boring. You could invent a drinking game with the frequency of "one-liners" dropped by the various characters, most of which already came out in the trailer so there weren't any genuine surprises or keepers. I mean, "Immortality! Take it! It's YOURS!" just reminds me of Captain Planet, and anything that reminds me of Captain Planet can't be a good thing. I had to keep reminding myself that it was inspired by The Iliad and not a direct adaptation, because it was just that bad. Thankfully, this was not too difficult because, uh, THERE AREN'T ANY FUCKING GODS!!! What else sucked? Oh, the score was terrible, boring and unoriginal. Helen of Troy, possibly the most difficult character to cast, was some humdrum blonde who further reduced a cunning character (following up on the script's devaluation of her significance in all this) into a dumb blonde? That's the face that launched a thousand ships? More like a thousand yawns. One of my biggest peeves is that it's like they didn't even bother with the love angle past the opening 20 minutes. And even what was there was unconvincing and embarrassing. What, they fell in love because they'd been screwing for a week? Acting was pretty lukewarm, but I have to give props to Eric Bana for giving Hector a doomed nobility. Although in the beginning, his eyes were kind of freaky as he tried to convey panic silently. Brad Pitt got to display his two acting tricks: furrowing the brow and clenching the jaw. He cries over a fallen warrior's body but there are no tears. That's acting for ya. Sean Bean, one of the best actors we have, is wasted here; poor guy didn't even get a fucking frame in the trailer but he deserves a better salary than Orlando Bloom. Speaking of the fey one, I'm sorry but you're just too pretty. I almost thought he was Helen. Peter O'Toole got one decent scene; otherwise he was just bug-eyed. Brian Cox I enjoyed, actually; everytime he was onscreen there was a small gnashing sound in the background, I later realized it was the scenery being chewed. I'm disappointed to find out that the script was written by David Benioff, an actual novelist who was responsible for both the book and screenplay of The 25th Hour. Effects were unimpressive, but not bad; movement was stilted and crooked at times, so occasionally I'd find myself thinking, "Massive... Massive... Massive..." referring to the program invented during the production of the Lord of the Rings trilogy which specializes in armies and large groups of creatures interacting. The best scene was the duel between Achilles and Hector. Achilles had this annoying jump-in-the-air-and-strike-down move that really felt like some video game special move for his character, and I wish it wasn't TOO obvious that Hector was outclassed. Still, I liked its relative silence, and what score there was was fitting, but it was ruined by the singing at the end. There's a spoiler here, though this being one of the oldest stories in the history of the world it shouldn't be, but anyway: Hector dies. And after that point, the film just deflates, because there's no one to root for. You're just "Alright, just bring on the horse so we can get this over with." Then Achilles gets shot in the foot with an arrow, and keels over. At which point I realized they never even brought up his invulnerability, or his heel. So I felt bad for kids in the audience, who must've been confused as shit. I mean, here's the greatest warrior, and he got taken down by a stick in the foot? All in all, it was boring. The war scenes weren't very good, though I really enjoyed the choreography in the Hector/Achilles duel. I found myself thinking of various scenarios that would make it more interesting, like while Troy was being ransacked, wouldn't it be cool if suddenly you saw Jim Caviezel dragging a cross being whipped by Romans? Or if Eric Bana just turned into the Hulk on the beach and just started eating Greeks? Peter O'Toole should have called on Supergirl for aid. Orlando Bloom should have picked up a bow and arrow and started firing bolts and-- oh, yeah, that's right. Well.

I really wanted to like it. I'm in the mood for a good Big Summer Movie. And I liked some of Wolfgang Peterson's previous work like In the Line of Fire. Air Force One was okay, didn't see The Perfect Storm. Haven't seen Das Boot, though it's his claim to existence with the cineastes. But he did direct The Neverending Story, so I'm pretty forgiving for that alone.

Thank God we watched Shrek 2 next. It's everything you could hope for: funny and entertaining on all levels, from first minute to last. Antonio Banderas's Puss in Boots steals practically every scene he's in. There are even some geek nods to Alien and Godzilla fans.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Well, we are still stranded. What sucks is that I injured my foot recently so I can't even swim because the cut keeps opening up. I also neglected to bring a book, something I haven't done in years, simply because I didn't think I'd need it what with the location and the company I was with. Boy do I wish I brought one anyway. And if I may sound like a teenager for a second, I really REALLY miss comics. :( And music, and my DVDs, and...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


We were supposed to be in Manila by now, but a typhoon has screwed those plans, and now we are stranded. Mich and Chris have a flight tomorrow. They're PAL, and the airport is far away, but Neva and I are taking SEAIR and are waitlisted for Wednesday and Thursday so we may actually get back to Manila on Friday pa(!). Kutob niyo I factored this into my budget? Shit. Still, there are worse places to be stranded in, and worse company to be in. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I have a friend who told me about another friend of hers, who, when drunk out of his gourd, would cop feels and otherwise attempt to fondle his girl friends. But in the morning, he’d be totally apologetic and guilty and ashamed. But it would happen again the next time the guy was wasted.

I imagine it’s much more difficult for girls than it is for guys. Most guys would probably welcome the treatment (unless it was a gay guy), or at least, be less offended. But this friend says she understands the behavior. But if you’re this guy, and you know what you do when you’re drunk, shouldn’t you then go out of your way to make sure you don’t get wasted so often? Or does he remain unconcerned about the possible damage and, at the least, changing dynamic in his relationships with his girl friends? Or did he weigh the options: maintain relationships, or give up binge-drinking, and decide that he couldn’t give up the bottle?

I’m sure he’s not the only one who behaves that way when drunk. I’m sure because I saw it happen just the other night.

Yes, this is late, and I know this blog has been a bit image-heavy recently, but that's tough, you crybabies. I'm still on a fucking dial-up so don't come whining to me. Anyway, on with the show...

Not much to say about Matabungkay. It was fun, I guess, but being trapped with your family and relatives can be tiring. It was a little disorienting to have neither a television, computer, or telephone anywhere near you. Thank Christ someone thought to bring a radio, and that I had a few discs in the car, or I'd have gone insane. For the 3 days and 2 nights we were there, I must've played around 400 games of Pusoy Dos. There was just nothing else to do after reading Chris's comics and JG Ballard's A User's Guide to the Millennium. The adults, instead of Pusoy Dos, had Mahjong.

Glowsticks do not float, but can be seen underwater. That's something I learned. And Tigerfish are really dangerous.

My cousins and brother all wanted me to take "Friendster userpics," wherein they would pose and I would try to take a flattering picture of them. Kids these days.

The soundtrack of this getaway was: DJ Shadow (Endtroducing... & The Private Re-press), UNKLE (Do Androids Dream of Electronic Beats? 3 discs), Nirvana (Incesticide, Nevermind, & In Utero), Sonic Youth (Dirty Boots EP, Invito Al Cielo with Jim O'Rourke, & Kim Gordon side band Free Kitten's Unboxed), and The Best of Hanna-Barbera.

This is my cousin Raffy asleep on the hammock. He wraps it around himself to keep mosquitoes from desiccating him.

This is my cousin Pia. I waited and waited but she would not look up. She doesn't like to smile for pictures. But she does like her shells.

My turn on the hammock, with my magazine of choice, the Lapidary Journal. You can't trust your precious gems to just any hokey magazine, you know.

Here's what we did when we weren't in the water.

Here's our parents' version of Pusoy Dos (closer to Tong-its, actually).

These are the balsas at low tide. They just wash up on shore.

This was our balsa. My first time to use one of these things, actually.

2 consecutive artsy-fartsy pictures of the balsa, this one with the negative space on top...

... and this one below. With an anchor, if you look closely.

Our ambience.

That's my dad and my ninong floating. The adults don't really swim, they just float and lounge in the water like hippos. I had to wait a while for them to line up so I could take this shot but man was it worth it.

This is an ice cream vendor with his cooler on a flotation device. He'd swim from balsa to balsa, family to family.

I was walking around the compound our relatives rented and came across this stack of black wooden crosses with garlic hanging on them. In October they line the driveway with these crosses to ward off evil spirits. Creepy. Thank God we didn't come here in October.

And a hallmark to end our post. Low tide sunset, my cousins collecting shells on the beach. All is tranquil.

Now back to life.


I have always wanted to see The Exorcist compressed into 30 seconds, and enacted by cartoon bunnies with high-pitched voices. Voila! I got my wish.

I wouldn't mind having a devil duck sitting beside my computer, especially when its eyes light up when reading/transferring data, but I would very much like a Godzilla with 4 USB ports on its back, especially when both its eyes AND its mouth lights up!

Here is a somewhat creepy animated short.

A while back some of you may have read this post on Neva's blog, where she talks about this music video she came across on TV and it made her cry. Well, I found it, and it is indeed quite good and tear-jerking. Neva was watching it again over my shoulder as I watched it for the first time and when I looked up, she was crying again.

For you Sims fans, here's the essay Neil Gaiman wrote for the previous one's manual/booklet.

Here's a nice little strip about the literary life, courtesy of Posy Simmonds.

See my little friend over on the left with the raging boner? That's James Kochalka's Fancy Froglin. He has a book out called Sexy Forest. Anyway, there are 2 sick and twisted fan films you should see: here and here. The first is kinda graphic, so parental guidance is advised. The second has a cool rap. You can't beat a frog rapping.


I've seen the trailer for Before Sunset, and I don't hate it. In fact, I think I'm looking forward to it, even though it slams shut, with finality, that somewhat open ending on Before Sunrise. Garden State looks really interesting; I LOVE the images in this trailer. And I love Peter Sarsgaard. He was good in Center of the World and he's amazing in Shattered Glass. He's the best young actor to come along since Ed Norton, I think. Collateral looks really intriguing, too, and it looks like there's a mix of film and DV like Mann did with Ali, but I'm just glad to have a new Michael Mann film coming out! And I am excited for The Bourne Supremacy, even if it isn't being helmed by Doug Liman anymore. If you need a laugh, check out an over-the-top Christopher Walken in Undertaking Betty. Hilarious.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004



This is my cousin and my new cousin-in-law.

Monday, May 10, 2004


Yesterday everyone was talking about the fight and I could probably care less but won't make the effort. I caught the first 3 rounds before falling asleep. We were at my lola's for Mother's Day (which very few people seem to have remembered) and I was tired from tearing down political posters some motherless fucks posted around my lola's property. My dad and brother didn't really help-- they were watching the fight before Pacquiao's.

Now, everyone's talking about the elections, and some of the opinions genuinely surprise me. It was like a zoo without cages when I voted yesterday. Saw some neighborhood friends I haven't seen in years.

The past few days I've felt dreadful before going to sleep. And this is not one of those attempts at colorful language-- I really felt full of dread. I feel like something bad is going to happen, and that I should prepare. But I don't know what, and I don't know how.

I hope I'm wrong.


This is the review I was talking about, Mikey. It's Stephen Thompson's review of Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism. Well-written, in the way that I think deftly encapsulates what the album is about, reveals something new for those who've already heard it, and sells the reader on getting it. I wish I could write as well as The Onion AV Club crew.

This is a nice ad from Ate Cyn. She mentioned this a while back, I forgot to link to it. I first heard it at Quark's; it's Francis Ford Coppola interviewing his daughter, writer/director Sofia, when she was 6 years old. He was working on Apocalypse Now, which shot here, and she sings "Lupang Hinirang" pretty well.

This is from Ylai, and I laughed out loud. And since Mikey isn't updating as frequently as he was, and because of recent entries, Ylai is now my favorite blog.


Mich's birthday party was a blast, even if I missed Ciudad, dammit. Saw a lot of people, took a lot of pictures. Almost everyone got drunk from P's secret Iced Tea of Doom. Probably the best thing, besides the company, of course, was getting to see 2 bands I haven't seen before: Enemy of the Enemy (excellent name), and Giniling Festival. Both kicked ass. And Lacson Jackson did very well, for their first-ever gig in front of more than 2 people not in the band itself. Goldie will be a rock star one day, and I hope her guitar will still be yellow.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I’m having some friends over this Saturday afternoon at my house. If you have nothing to do then, and don’t mind a trip down South, feel free to come. It’s an informal meeting of the comics discussion list I moderate, so there’ll be some comics being shown, but we’ll also basically be hanging out, watching stuff, etc. You can bring food, comics, drinks, DVDs, a PS2, whatever. If you’re interested, email me privately and I’ll send you my complete address and directions. I live near Bicutan, and it’s near impossible to get lost because from C5 it’s only 3 left turns and a right.

If you don’t know my email address, send me a message on Friendster. Or leave your email ad in the comments. :)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I caught the lunar eclipse! Man, was it cool. Made me feel like a kid again. Every boy goes through 2 phases of utter fascination: astronomy and dinosaurs. Hadn't thought about this in a while.


Saw Man on Fire the other day. I liked it for what it was worth: a pure revenge movie. What I expected to dislike, I disliked: the overabundance of style at certain points, particularly Creasy's "drinking" montage. Still, with such a simple plot, it's nice to see a Hollywood film take the time to infuse character; the movie's over 2 and a half hours. And if there must be an overabundance of style, you could do much worse than have it be Tony Scott style. I really disliked his use of Carlos Varela's "Una Palabra," though. I feel that it's so effective and unforgettable in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's BMW Film Powder Keg that he should've used something else. And he used it twice in the last 15 minutes of the film. The photography, especially the colour, is sumptuous; kudos to DP Paul Cameron. I also liked Christopher Walken. There's a particularly Hollywood "twist" towards the end that I disliked too; it robbed the main character of his purpose, and this wasn't reflected as much as I wanted it to be. Still, it was fun watching the single-minded drive of Denzel's Creasy mowing down everything in his path. The irony that it's written by Brian Helgeland (and that it's a second adaptation) isn't lost on me; as Nathan Rabin said in his review in The Onion AV Club, Helgeland "owns the peculiar distinction of having, in two consecutive years, adapted a contemplative critique of the futility of revenge (Mystic River) and a simplistic celebration of vigilante justice."

Saw Hellboy last week. I enjoyed it enough. Of course, having read the comics before I saw the movie, I was somewhat expecting to be a little disappointed. I loved the BPRD, and Ron Perlman as Hellboy. There were some lines of dialogue that were really true to the character, like when Abe discovered 3 eggs in HB's right hand and he just quips, "Didn't even buy me a drink." I enjoyed the fanboy things like seeing the stacks of pancakes and the lines "I'm gonna be sore in the morning," "That's all for you," etc. I loved the scene where Hellboy's following Agent Myers and Liz. He really seemed like a teenager when he was pacing back and forth going "She took his picture. She took his picture!" Things I didn't like included Abe Sapien, who is the coolest character in the comics but here seemed a little too fey. David Hyde Pierce was the (uncredited) voice, but a different actor was the body, and he must've come from mime school or something because he was overacting like crazy. What I disliked the most was that the villains just DID NOT translate well. Beyond simple things like "Why are all these Russians and Germans speaking in English when they're amongst themselves?" they were hammy actors burdened with pompous dialogue that may be alright when read, but said aloud just sound ridiculous.

I've finally seen The Passion, too, but that's its own post.


You know how people who've had a string of bad luck take comfort in the karmic notion that there is something great waiting down the line? I wonder if it works the other way around. Do people who've had an amazing life and all the easy breaks worry that something terrible is bound to happen to them? Does this worry paralyze them? Or are they comfortable in thinking that so long as they fully appreciate and respect what they've been given things will be alright?

I don't think I believe in karma. But there is the law of averages.


Good news for geeks: Millennium Season 1 and Batman: The Animated Series Season 1 Box Sets have been announced.


I love Adrian Tomine:


There's a whole mess of new links in my links box. Especially since everyone and their ghost (or pet) now has a blog. Please notify me if there's a broken (or stale) link, or if you don't want your URL out in the open like that. There'll be no offense taken, believe me; I understand some of you want your privacy and want only friends to visit. Some people have more than one link; if you would prefer it be reduced to just one, please tell me. Or if I haven't linked you yet at all. Or if your link disappeared from template updates. It's cute to see that there are now complete sibling sets online: the Costello Sharp-Tongues, for example, and The Martinez Sorority.

Monday, May 03, 2004


as Kelvin Yu replied when I sent my condolences about his grandmother's death some weeks ago. Last Friday, we buried my tita in the morning, celebrated Neva's birthday in the evening, and the next afternoon, Saturday, I watched my cousin get married to his highschool sweetheart.

It was a small, intimate event: close friends and family only. What I will remember most about the ceremony was BB, my cousin Ray's yaya, who's been with them since before he was born, bawling her eyes out into a handkerchief. This is the woman who bathed him as a baby, wiped his ass when he took shits and took care of him when he was sick, made his beds and cooked his dinner. Kind of his second mom. I have my own BB: Ate Susan, who's also been with my family since before I was born. In fact, she was with my family when my dad was still young and they all still lived in Leyte. She's the only other person in the house who speaks Waray besides my dad. I'm godfather to her firstborn. I was wondering how she'd be when my time came. This has become common in recent generations: with mothers working fulltime, we're raised by our helpers, and these helpers stay with us their whole lives sometimes, and effectively become part of the family. There were times when Ate would have rows with my mother, and she'd leave for a few months to work somewhere else, and her presence would be missed, not only because we had all these chores to suddenly handle, but simply because she's the person who's always at home, who answers the phone, whose cooking we know best.

So my cousin Ray married Yoya, his girlfriend of what, 7 years? When I first heard they became a couple (senior year high school), and got more information about Yoya, the connections were almost uncanny: her best friend was my batchmate in grade school. She lived in MY village, and was dating MY first cousin, who lived far away in North Fairview. But they make an excellent couple.

Things are set up in such a way that I should hate my cousin. Because he is blessed: good looks, great family, good grades, and more. Growing up, I often heard various paraphrased versions of "Why can't you be like your cousin Ray?" He was valedictorian of his batch in grade school. Graduated high school and college with honors. Plays guitar and cello. Did I mention the good looks? Crush ng bayan yan. Even straight guys would have a crush on him. He was one of the glee club's stars in grade school, and hosted some show with Gary V. that was a big thing for my relatives then. In high school, he was an actor in Dulaang Sibol, and went on to be the definitive lead in their play Sinta. See what I mean? He had everything going for him, at least from the standpoint of the shy, insecure bookworm with average grades. Probably the closest he came to disappointing his parents was choosing to take Management Engineering (reputedly Ateneo's hardest course) instead of Biology (his parents were hoping he'd become a doctor). And of course, he had Yoya, who was the crush of 2 other people I know, and was always being compared to Liv Tyler before I finally met her.

I should hate the guy. But I don't. I love him.

Ray is my closest cousin, one of my best friends. Beyond that, he's one of those people I admire, whose sheer niceness and generosity of self have been an example, and a sign of hope for this sad, doomed world. He is one of those people I can claim to know before I am turned away from the pearly gates at the final judgment, and hope maybe that'll buy me some time before being cast into the fiery pits. With all his blessings, there's another, more important one: he's just a nice guy. He never made me feel any less of a person. He appreciated black humor. We would have vacations at one another's house during summer vacations. He taught me to shoot pool. We watched VHS tapes (or was it Betamax?) of recorded Simpsons episodes I borrowed from Gab. I can still say to him "Lemonade?" and he'd still know to reply with "Pleeze." and I would conclude with "You're my best friend." We would sing along to "Beat It." We biked around his village in the rain, and I crashed my bike into an open manhole hidden by a small flood. We both had crushes on Alyssa Milano in "Who's the Boss?" (who didn't?) I lived in his house for six months, half of my first year in high school, because we thought it would be easier than my staying at home in Paranaque, and he would get mad at me because I burned through his Michael Crichton and John Grisham books before he'd get to finish them. For the past 2 years he's stayed over with us on weekdays and went home on weekends, because he used to work for Ford over at Laguna but now is at Unilever, still a far drive from Fairview. I can't say I won't miss him, but of course, being now married, he'll be with Yoya.

Did I envy him at certain points in our lives? Hell yes. But I never, EVER wished anything bad for him.

In another world, maybe I hate him. In this one, I am one of the people who brag about him first and fastest. You'd think he was my son or something.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that. I'm really happy for him. And yes I cried during the wedding.