Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Last night I started dreaming fireworks.


The UK display last night was very nice, very pretty, lots of interesting new firecrackers I haven't seen before. The Russians put up a good show, and the longest yet (a full 30 minutes!), but had a different plan of attack: it was like a non-stop barrrage, a mini-war; it felt like they just threw everything they had up into the air to try and set the sky on fire. It would get so bright at times; it was lovely.

It was our first time in the proper paid admission area, and to get to it from the parking lot we were at apparently took 2 shuttles. But I think it was worth it. The fireworks seemed a lot lower last night, I don't know if that was instructed to them but seeing them up close was much better and feeling the booming explosions in the sky rattle your rib cage is more immediate and scary and exciting.

Traffic wasn't as bad, and we left the earliest we'd ever left, but we're going to leave even earlier today. Poor Le Sexy Mark Lavin watched the second display from his car.

Highlights of last night included Neva and I nearly dying from laughter listening to the first episode of The Ricky Gervais podcast while killing time waiting for the first country, and listening to Lourd De Veyra scream obscenities while watching all the families and little children walk by. I have also come to appreciate this lovely moment when the fireworks displays finally end: the crowd still quiet and expectant, wondering if it's truly the end (lots of false ends, you see, where you think it may be over but it's not), and all you hear are the car alarms going crazy in the background like banshees, different cacophonies of sound, before finally the crowd starts applauding and cheering.

And then the girls had a discussion on bras I absolutely couldn't relate to.

Monday, December 26, 2005

I forgot to post about the World Pyro Olympics, so let me rectify that mistake. It was fucking AWESOME! My family and I watched the first evening tonight and it just blew me away. I was having dinner with my family at the Blue Wave area when the second part of the show started people just started running for the back exit like mad, as if terrorists had just opened fire into the air or something. And the funny thing was that China, the inventors of firecrackers, were blown out of the water by Australia's tour-de-force show. People were gasping and oohing and aahing and there was this really funny part where these lights that looked like crazy sperm on drugs started streaking the sky and the people went quiet and Ernan (who I ran into outside; also with family) and I started saying "OK parents, explain to your kids..." really loud. If I was drinking coke it would've come out my nose.

You know how awesome it was? I was stuck in traffic for damn near 2 hours (Buendia to Macapagal highway), parked far away and walked a good deal, was starving, caught only the Australia show and IT WAS WORTH IT. I was smiling ear to ear like a kid again and I didn't get hot-headed when everyone was posing with their cameraphones and I loved when the big firecrackers just kept expanding and expanding like mythical dandelions from storybooks and unremembered dreams.

I want to try and go every night until the end; there's 2 countries a night until the last night when it's the Philippines, being the host, but joined with the other 9 countries. Tickets are 100 bucks, and Mich said it's worth it because you're right under the fireworks. Ernan and I were with the 20,000 other people who had the same idea of parking somewhere else and not paying.

Text me if you're going!


Also, have you seen that Daniel Powter video for Bad Day? I caught it twice the other day, both times the TV was on mute, and the video's quite cute, isn't it? I've heard the song and I think he sings the chorus a few too many times but I like it silent. It works. It's funny that the only way they could have improved it would be by taking out Daniel Powter entirely and just let it be this sweet short film. I didn't realize how much I missed Samaire Armstrong until I saw her. But she still looks like Anna (not necessarily a bad thing). I guess that's what happens when you do your own makeup and wardrobe.

Here's a link if you haven't seen it.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

My Christmas Day was basically spent reading Charles Burns's Black Hole, listening to Explosions in the Sky, messing around with Mittens (while Neva's in Iloilo), and eating when I felt like it.

Nice and smooth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Attention all you creative types!

Please join the 1st Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards, brought to you by Fully Booked and Neil Gaiman!

The updated (and hopefully FINAL) contest guidelines and application form are now available here. You can also join the contest mailing list by sending a blank email to gaiman_writingcontest-subscribe AT

There are 2 categories: prose and comics, and you can join both. Grand prize for EACH category is 100,000 pesos!

You have nothing to lose! Here is what I tell people: it doesn't matter if you're insecure or whatever, just do a story you want to do and if the judges like it that's it (that sounds pithy and simplistic but you'd be surprised how many people complicate things themselves). Whatever happens, at the end of it you have either a short story or a short comics story that you did yourself! Maybe both! Nobody loses! Sweet!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

"Some of the stuff that's done in comics is literally hoping to become a movie, and movies are looking to comics to find subject matter, but for people who are really serious about making comics, it's a language unto itself. It's not just a preliminary sketch for a movie. If anything, a lot of the language that you associate with cinema predates cinema. It's comics-related. Cross-cutting was invented by a cartoonist, not by D.W. Griffith."

- art spiegelman on the relationship between comics and film, from GreenCine


"I go to see Martin Scorsese, and I say, 'Don’t you think I should tell you about the lenses?' And he says, 'What do you mean?' And I said, 'Well, you’re remaking my film,' which is Infernal Affairs. Infernal Affairs was probably written in one week, we shot it in a month and you’re going to remake it! Ha ha, good luck!"

- cinematographer Christopher Doyle, from an interview with Filmmaker. Many more choice bon mots at the link. And I learned that he's the one who shot M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water, so now I HAVE to see it. And I blanked on the fact that he shot Fruit Chan's Dumplings in Three... Extremes, so now I have to find the version of Dumplings that Chan expanded to feature-length. Crafty guy, that Fruit. He took the money to make 1/3 of a movie and shot enough footage for a whole film.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Gorillaz performing "live" at the MTV Europe VMAs, in what look like holograms but actually aren't. It's some kind of newfangled digital animation projected on a special transparent foil. Industrial Light & Magic is actually going to help them with configuring a Global Tour for 2006/07. Cool beans. Notice the painstaking job they did: even when the characters aren’t the focus of the performance, Gorillaz are doing something (2D checks his cellphone, Murdoc scratches his balls, etc.)



I have a slight problem with the new Superman, and that is...

… I think I could take him in a fight. And shouldn't that just NOT BE THE CASE when we're talking about SUPERMAN here?

You be the judge.


A new carnivore is discovered on the isle of Borneo.


I forgot that Colossus is in the new X-Men. This doesn't look like him, though. This still looks like the T-1000 from Terminator 2.

Beast isn't bad-looking, though. He looks like the George Perez version of the character, and Kelsey Grammer is almost unidentifiable underneath all that makeup. Unfortunately, I wish they'd stuck with the Kitty Pryde in the first film. She was much hotter.

(click on links if pics don't work)


I didn't even know there was an RA Rivera Fans Club website, but apparently there is. So now I know, and knowing is half the battle. It also means that my favorite Pinoy music video of all time is online. I win!


While I'm at it, let me point you to Pancho Esguerra's video for Chubibo's "Patawad." Peachy keen!


Girls Against Boys is my favorite band name of all time, but I have found a contender: I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness.


When A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast, it was watched by 50% of America's viewers.


Spike Lee’s Inside Man

Brett Ratner’s X3, which is apparently partly based on Joss Whedon’s recent, excellent run, but unfortunately, all script reviews so far have been negative.

Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain

Steven Spielberg’s Munich, looking like the most interesting Spielberg project in a LONG while.

The Spielberg/Zemeckis production Monster House

Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

An American Haunting looks interesting. Included in a fine cast is Wendy from that good Peter Pan film from last year.

Remember when you take a chance on a trailer you don’t know much about and it just knocks you flat on your ass? Doesn’t happen much, does it? Try Daywatch, part 2 of the Nightwatch trilogy. The more of this franchise I see the more interesting it becomes. The director’s been attached to Mark Millar & JG Jones’s Wanted.

Surely you must’ve seen the trailer of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns by now?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I recently finished reading The Comics Journal Special Edition Vol. 4, which features interviews with 4 generations of cartoonists: Al Hirschfeld, Jules Feiffer, art spiegelman, and Chris Ware. It's the book that contained the 2 short comics stories that almost made me cry. Anyway, I wanted to share some choice excerpts from the interviews. I've been reading up on my comics literature in preparation for a possible something that may be fun but may also in equal measure be absolute torture.

First, an inspiring bit from Feiffer -

" ... what these books do for me, as I write them, is become, in their way, acts of hope and acts of friendship toward readers who read them. So that kids who feel they have no allies, and kids who feel that they're not represented, and kids who, whether within family or in school or in their own group of friends and so-called friends, yet feel like outsiders, can do what I did: pick up a comic strip, or pick up a book, and say, 'Oh my God, this is me. I recognize myself in this.' And so it's my communication and challenge and loving salute to another generation. And this is where my sense of hope lies. The forms that I loved as a kid: movies, comic books, comic strips, occasional books that I read, in one way or another, socialized me, gave me hope, and made me dream of the impossible as plausible, and if I can do that for some kids, that's quite enough, thank you."

which is how I feel.

And then this exchange between Feiffer and Ware (Gary Groth is the moderator) -

Feiffer: ... the very fact that graphic novels - that awful term...
Groth: That we're stuck with.
Ware: I'm glad you don't like it either.
Feiffer: [Laughter]
Ware: I don't actually know anybody that likes that word.
Feiffer: Well, Eisner saddled us with "sequential art."
Ware: The story that Will Eisner tells about why he came up with that word is heartbreaking; I understand why he did it, and I'm sympathetic... but, to me, it seems almost rude to our forebears - at least MY forebears - to try to create a new word for something that somehow sets apart what I'm doing from what they were doing, when it's essentially exactly the same thing. Somehow, it implies that I'm placing myself above them, which I'm not at all.

which got me thinking. The ongoing dialogue about a possible term for comics that is more... appropriate, for lack of a better word (semi-literally, in this case), is something I brush up against every now and then, online and with people I meet/know. The etymology of the word "comics" and "comic book" comes from its beginnings as collections of comic strips in the early 1900s, before original content was made for the books. Eisner coined the term "graphic novel" for his seminal A Contract With God & Other Stories, which came out in the late '70s. Though he wasn't the first person to use it; I believe it was Eddie Campbell (in How to Be an Artist) who pointed out that someone else had used the term (coined independently) before him. Eisner later coined "sequential art" (in his instructional books, if I remember right) as a kind of scientific/technical name, which Scott McCloud espouses. The argument goes that comics is no longer entirely accurate, because much of comics publishing these days, and for a long time now, has not been of the humor/comedy variety. And graphic novel is too open to interpretation. As someone quipped, Chuck Palahniuk writes some pretty graphic novels. And sequential art is supposedly unwieldy and sounds pretentious (it proclaims itself to be art, after all). There are other attempts: Paul Pope put "drawn novel" on one of his books (was it The Ballad of Dr. Richardson?) and Craig Thompson had "illustrated novel" on the cover of Blankets. Drawn novel sounds alright, but is vulnerable to the inevitable "what about novels that aren't drawn but painted" angle. Whereas illustrated novel could just as easily refer to a novel with illustrations, like Harry Potter, obviously not comics. Of these, the term that seems to have won out is graphic novel. This probably got cemented in most people's minds around the late '80s when certain books (Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Maus) came out that changed how some people saw comics. Publishers preferred the term because it sounded more "grown up" and sophisticated, and were avoiding the link to superhero and children's comics that was then still firmly entrenched in the populace's mind. It's probably going to stick, even if some cartoonists and purists hate it (Feiffer and Ware are far from the only ones). That's perhaps because they're not appreciating it as what it really is, which is a marketing term. Graphic novel is supposed to imply adult (not porn, but mature) and long; it differentiates the thicker books (look, Ma, I have a spine!) from those thin pamphlets of our youth (or current day, as the case may be). Bookstores and libraries have graphic novel sections, not comics sections. Graphic novel is a formal subcategory of book publishing now, even if it still has the same problems mentioned earlier as well as the fact that it's used as an umbrella for all comics that are thick and have spines. So graphic novel has its own subcategories, even when they seem to make no sense: non-fiction comics like Joe Sacco's books are under graphic novels, as are anthologies. One of the first graphic novels, the aforementioned A Contract With God, isn't even a novel itself but an anthology of 4 short stories.

Personally, I don't really care about any of it. I just call 'em comics. I don't mind if other people use the terms they prefer, though it does kind of grate my teeth a little when people try to imply their terminology is better (perhaps the only negative thing I could say about Anna on The O.C.).

But reading that exchange above introduced to me for the first time that idea that trying to come up with a new term for comics may be insulting to our forebears, that maybe it is implying that it's different when it isn't.

If so, it's a good thing I've always called them comics, then.

It came up again recently when we were trying to come up with a name for the Gaiman/Fully Booked contest. The Comics and Prose Awards didn't sound very exciting, so I came up with Graphic/Fiction, which is a kind of inbetweener, I guess. For the purposes of the contest it's what they ended up going with.

The contest has been formally announced, but I haven't talked about it yet because the contest guidelines that were uploaded to the website were not the final draft so I didn't see the point of pointing people to it when it was going to get updated and you'd need to look at it again. Hopefully everything will be sorted out soon and I'll mention it here soon as I can.

You know, I think I lost the point I was trying to make, or even if there was one. It feels good to have gotten this down, though. Maybe I'll read it again in the morning and it'll come to me.

I'll end with something from Tony Millionaire, which I found online:

"You've got to give kids really beautiful children's books in order to turn them into revolutionaries. Because if they see these beautiful things when they're young, when they grow up, they'll see the real world and say, 'Why is the world so ugly?! I remember when the world was beautiful.' And then they'll fight, and they'll have a revolution. They'll fight against all of our corruption in the world, they'll fight to try to make the world more beautiful. That's the job of a good children's book illustrator."

He is a brilliant man. Everyone should be reading Sock Monkey.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Screaming Room


The Work of Marie Jamora

Monday night, Dec. 5, 830-ish

Magnet Katipunan (across Miriam, beside Rustan's)


Late notice, yes, but we're sorry, we only thought of it (and asked Marie) last night, but we bet it'll be fun, and the dessert is good, and we love you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I must say, I've been a terrible blogger this year, haven't I? It's alright, you can tell me. It's not intentional; I just don't think there's been enough interesting things happening to me lately, and when they do, I forget to write about them, or I put it off for a few days and THEN forget about them.

I can't believe it's fucking December already. I still remember the struggle of trying to sum up last year! How can time have passed so fast? I don't think I had THAT much fun this year. In fact, this year was kind of bad.

But let's change topics. Hopefully, this month will see the return of our modest little radio show, although the name keeps changing every other day so I won't bother. But we still have the same exciting time slot of Friday nights at 9, so all you social butterflies should be listening in!

Also, the Fully Booked/Neil Gaiman contest, possibly the worst-kept non-secret of the season, should be formally announced any day now. I got to talk to Alex Niño the other day, that was cool. He was really nice, and it was funny because he didn't even seem all that interested in the contest; he wanted to talk about the local comics industry immediately. And I had to tell him that there really isn't one; I got word that even Atlas Komiks has stopped operations and are looking for a buyer.

I found myself judging this John Lennon Essay Contest for Fully Booked. I didn't even know it was ongoing. I tried to get out of it, saying that they should let the Itchyworms! judge it because they're the biggest Beatles fans I know (besides the De Dios clan), but somehow that didn't work. It was awkward for me because I am not the biggest Beatles/John Lennon fan. I mean, I love the music, but never read books on 'em or anything. One or two docus on cable, maybe, the interesting bits, you know how it is. Basically, I know about as much as the average observer of popular culture. Which meant that I couldn’t tell if someone’s encyclopedic laundry list of Lennon factoids was accurate or not. So I said to myself, OK, I'll judge this thing based on the writing. As I should, of course. The writing should convince me of what they're trying to say, and impart the feeling of significance/impact that Lennon has had on their life (a theme of the contest is that it must be personal). And mostly, it didn't. I should've expected some subpar entries, but some were just slightly embarrassing. I found myself wondering if my college Philosophy teachers felt like this; knowing that the essay in my hands contains entire paragraphs that serve no point other than to make the essay longer and thus give the illusion of content. The 2 longest essays are not finalists, for example. In fact, I somewhat felt they should get punished for making us judges have to waste so much more time on their essays.

The most difficult part was judging the essays written by people who were not necessarily exceptional writers, but were genuine die-hard fans of Lennon. Part of me felt an obligation to them since they were the fans, you know? It felt like they deserved the award, but their writing just didn’t do anything for me sometimes. Other writers ignored the theme of the contest: they wrote about Lennon but not themselves, or wrote about themselves being a Lennon fan without the unique impact he had on their lives. In this case, being a fan was not going to be enough.

But thankfully, what I feared did not come to pass. In the end, it wasn’t a case of choosing the lesser of bad essays. There were enough good ones that there were several hours where the people in 2nd and 3rd place would exchange positions. There was a clear winner: it was a brave piece, in my opinion, well-written, with a definite fan lurking underneath (thank God).

Should I get into teaching, I hope I don't have to encounter too many bad papers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tomorrow there are several events deserving of your attention and patronage, if possible:

Yvonne Quisumbing-Romulo, Rom Villaseran, and Juan Caguicla; all members of HG, all have exhibits opening at the LRI building (I believe it's on N. Garcia?), the one across Allianz Francaise, if you're familiar with that. So that's paintings, sculptures, photography, and clothing. You're set. I saw part of it being set up last night and it should be a sight to see. Some of Gabriel Barredo's works will also be on display, if you weren't able to catch his [IN]VISIBLE exhibit at Ayala Museum.

Also tomorrow night, the ITCHYWORMS! launch their 2nd album, Noontime Show, at 6underground. Admission is free. Ciudad (among others) are opening for them.

Then on Friday the 18th, the Itchies return the favor by opening (among others like Monsterbot and Daydream Cycle) for CIUDAD's 3rd album launch, ITS LIKE A MAGIC, at Saguijo. Also free. 10 PM.

There is an indie film opening today, it may need your support. Harry something.


Neva's in China right now, watching the Tennis Masters Cup - Shanghai. If you have Star Sports you may see her in the seats. Her mom over in Nigeria has seen her already, though I haven't, and I've been watching the games! :(

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Go to Genie's exhibit! The internationally-renowned Miss McDonald (complete with her own Japanese fansite!) exhibit is at Store For All Seasons until the 25th. Including never-before-posted pictures! More details here.

Alexis "Male Model" Tioseco launched his website, Criticine!

Fuzz Lee and his bandmates in Phorous have made their new album available for download at their website!

Mich Dulce's website is up!

Michel Gondry's new White Stripes video can be seen here! I only wish he was my friend! It gets a million bonus cool points for having Conan O'Brien!

Here's another lovely music video, for Broadcast's "Tender Buttons," directed by Ramon Bloomberg.

Now here are a gaggle of movie trailers:

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Loft

Noah Baumbach's The Squid & The Whale, which looks great!

George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck, his second directorial effort (he co-wrote it this time, too).

Atom Egoyan's Where The Truth Lies

Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, Chris's most awaited film of the year.

The President's Last Bang, which we saw some weeks back during Cinemanila (it won the Grand Jury Prize).

Stephen Gaghan's Syriana, which looks like Traffic, but with oil instead of drugs.

I'd never have guessed that this trailer for Match Point was for a Woody Allen film.

An American Haunting looks interesting. It's the girl from Peter Pan!

The Dying Gaul also has me curious. Great cast!

The new Chronicles of Narnia trailer makes it look even more like Lord of the Rings.

Albert Brooks's Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World

Neil Jordan's Breakfast On Pluto

The Takashi Miike/Fruit Chan/Park Chan-Wook horror omnibus Three... Extremes

Adam Goldberg's I Love Your Work: great cast, great trailer in a style you don't see anymore

The new King Kong trailer finally shows the Empire State! In a shot that made me hold my breath!

Man, sometimes I just forget about this thing, don't I?

Anybody still reading?

I've read 2 comic short stories in the past 4 days that nearly made me cry! And one of them was only 12 panels long! And the OTHER one was by someone I wasn't even a fan of! How nice to be surprised, sometimes.

I love comics!

The 12-panel one was so good I showed it to Neva and she loved it too.

Also, the Fully Booked/Neil Gaiman thing is on the verge of being announced! I hope a lot of people I know join!

Also, Shaun of the Dead is still one of the best movies ever!

And how was your day?

Saturday, October 08, 2005



Short Films by DAVID LYNCH & HAL HARTLEY (rare stuffs!)


They have some excellent desserts, I have found. Keeping them down during the Lynch stuff will be the challenge!

Let us watch some strangeness and talk of the future! Please forward to all your friends and strangers who you suspect may be interested in the slightest! Hint: they like "art" films, "foreign" movies, "literature," and/or "experimental" film. Likely smoke.
Just some quick notes:

Try and catch David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. It's getting no promotion at all and will probably disappear come Wednesday.

I probably don't need to tell you, but The 40-Year-Old Virgin will destroy your lungs and jaw from laughing. Also make your bladder hurt from holding in pee.

Check out the Spanish Film Fest at Greenbelt 1, which ends on the 16th. They're showing some odd selections (Almodovar's All About My Mother? Not Bad Education? Not even Talk To Her?) but there are some real gems (not that All About... is bad, it's just... not new). I'm intrigued by Intacto, whose trailer was good, and the write-up of November has me interested. But the real attraction is the opportunity to see pretty much every film of the amazing Alejandro Amenabar: Tesis (Thesis), Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), and Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside). The only thing not showing is the non-Spanish language The Others. Mar Adentro is a real departure for him, but it's a fantastic film and has made me cry each time I've seen it (twice on planes). Don't watch the pirated DVD if you don't want to be sorely disappointed; believe me...

I'm glad there are suddenly a lot of good movies to see. I haven't seen Dark Water yet (though I've heard it's not scary), or Corpse Bride, and I'm actually jonesing to see The Transporter 2 after some ridiculous fight scene was put online (the one with the fire hose). I'm excited about Wallace & Gromit & Andrew Niccol's Lord of War. I've seen Serenity; I wish they'd screen MirrorMask here. Something that skipped my notice is that it's got a relatively lower-than-expected Tomato-score (49%!). Anyway...

... carry on.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Last night I wanted to do this thing I used to do when I couldn't sleep, which is pluck out a book from my shelf without looking, find a good part, and then try to sleep after reading a couple of these random excerpts. Anyway, the lucky winners of last night's attempt were Thomas Lux's New & Selected Poems and Alex Garland's The Coma. And I liked both excerpts enough, so I'll share them with you here.

From The Coma:

"A final thought occurs to me... It's the formulation I made while standing on top of the building opposite the bookstore: You wake, you die.

The reason is this. Everybody dreams. Everybody dreams, but nobody has ever managed to tell me what their dream was like. Not so that I really understood what they saw or felt. Every dream that anyone ever has is theirs alone and they never managed to share it. And they never managed to remember it either. Not truly or accurately. Not as it was. Our memories and our vocabularies aren't up to the job."

I picked up The Coma at the Edinburgh Int'l. Book Fair almost exactly a year ago. It had just come out, and we attended his talk and he let us interview him and he was really nice and I bought The Coma even though I wasn't planning to, just to get it signed. But it's a very good book. Kafkaesque, though I usually dislike that term. Very precise, with perfect accompanying illustrations from his father Nicholas. It's short, you can finish it in a couple of hours (I read it on the plane ride home, along with Frank Cottrell Boyce's Millions). Though he's only written 3 books, Garland's one of my favorite writers.

Thomas Lux:


You've seen them, these semi-urban birds
who live, not in, but on the edge of great cities.
No longer wild -- of the cornfield, or resting high
in rafters of deserted tobacco barns. They venture
to the borders, but will not cross, where city sends
its last tendrils out and park gives edge
to woods, where the first lawns
larger than billiard tables grow
each block a little larger
with the houses. These crows

like old and gnarly pines
to graze beneath, aloof, and to sit in. They are not
so bold as smart and seem to know that laws exist
against the discharge of shotguns upon them.
Old blue-black aristocrats, they prefer
to saunter, at midday, across lawns
of pine nuts abundant, the best spots
to steal what lesser birds hold dear.
Maybe this is why a groups of them is murder.
They are everywhere where they never used to be.

I hate to see it: a bird so crafty, so sure,
moving in where it's easier to eat
and they grow dim. What logic
sends them here and not so far away
only fieldhands know them? Maybe
they come to us, to live among us
so they can claim it as their choice -
which makes them proud and bright,
though does not cease their doom,
nor preserve their haughty, haunting cry.

I was in a bookstore in Boston in the summer of 2000 when I came upon this book. I'd never heard of him but took the book down and read several pieces; I liked them. But when I got to this poem, it was just weird. Neva and I had just gotten together around this point, and then I had to leave for vacation for a little under a month, to Boston AND New York, my first return to the US since 1990. So we were missing each other like crazy, and I had just emailed her a really long letter, which included a bit about being scared of the crows in Boston because they were huge and ink-black and would swoop down and try to take my ears off. She even turned my letter into a poem. So when I came across this poem, with its title, it was just too perfect, and I got a copy for me and for her. I didn't see any crows in New York, though.

And this last one is from Douglas Coupland's Eleanor Rigby, which I've just finished:

"Though I was swamped with homesickness, part of me was also enjoying a sense of inner freedom that I now know evaporates after about the age of twenty-five. It was a small joy finding an all-night gas station called Elf, maybe a few hundred yards around the corner from the hostel complex. The guys inside saw me coming from a long way away, and I could tell they were used to having girls from the hostel visit in desperation.

Okay, here's the reason we never told Mr. Burden about the gas station bathroom: its employees were the handsomest men any of us had ever seen, sculpted from gold, and with voices like songs. And there they were, in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, going to waste. They ought to have been perched on jagged lava cliffs having their hearts ripped out as sacrifices to the gods. On top of their physical blessings, these guys were charming and attentive-- in both a humanitarian way and a frisky way, even charming to me-- and... well... I'd never been flirted with before, nor has anybody flirted with me since.

They spoke their schoolboy English, with heavy Italian accents I'd always thought were a cliché: Hello-a young-a lady. Good eve-a-ning. All I could do was blush, and as I knew only Latin (B+) it was flummoxing to have to ask for a key, but obviously they knew what I needed, and handed it to me like a crystal champagne flute. I may have been desperate for that key, but I still dawdled; it was heaven. And best of all, the bathroom was spotless and even held a small bouquet of irises-plastic, but it's the thought that counts. When I returned to the hostel, Colleen was just waking up. I told her about the station, and she returned a half-hour later, aglow, saying how much she loved Europe. By the end of the night, all the other girls loved Europe too. We couldn't wait for daily sightseeing to be over so we could run to the Elf station. We were awful. Nature is awful."

Also a very good book. Coupland's novels have been maturing alongside the author himself, and it kind of gives you a warm glow. That same empathy is there, but now it's tempered by an almost paternal feeling. In the same novel he can make you feel like this world is hopeless and later on convince you it's worth saving.


So. Muzak's been downloaded 28 times and only about 6 of you have mentioned downloading it, let alone whether you liked it or not. Tsk tsk. Did no one read that part of the post? I was trying to gauge if I should do it again. Maybe you didn't like the songs? That's alright. Or are there just a couple of lurkers who don't wish to reveal themselves?


A bad trailer for Aeon Flux. Makes it look like the female equivalent of Equilibrium.

Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha. I haven't read the book, but I thought this was set in Japan? How come it's all Chinese actresses? The only Japanese people I recognize are Ken Watanabe & Koji Yakusho, who is probably most famous now for his collaborations with Kiyoshi Kurosawa, but who I first saw in the original Shall We Dance? Of course, this is all moot because it's written by Akiva Goldsman. Another famous novel (in addition to The Da Vinci Code) given the Kiss of Death. Just listen to the sparkling dialogue.

Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote.

A different trailer for Thumbsucker.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

RARR!!! (RA Rivera Retrospective)

Sorry for the late notice, but if you see this in time please go to the RA Rivera retrospective tonight (Monday) at Magnet Katipunan. I think it starts at 9 and a good time will be had by all. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

At 6 minutes after midnight I grabbed Neva's phone and showed it to her; the front where you can see the time in the corner. The wallpaper of the phone is her making a face. She looks at the phone and makes the face she had on in the wallpaper. "No," I say, suppressing a laugh, "look at the time." She looks. "Oh, it's midnight. Did you want to watch Conan?"

After laughing for a good while, I say "Greet me, bitch!"

And this is my girlfriend… !


Instead I have a gift for you. Go here and click the "Free" button at the bottom, follow the instructions, and you will get a folder of music. It's 28MB, so be warned. It has 5 songs of no major significance; they are not about birthdays and are not clues to my state of mind these past few weeks or anything emo-shitty like that. They are simply songs I have been playing often this month.

The songs are:
* Regina Spektor's "Ode to Divorce" - this is not the song that made me want to listen to her album (that would be "Us") but it is the first track and is damn good. If you like Fiona Apple you may like her. Then again you might not. If you look her up on the Intarweb she is under the "anti-folk" genre. What the fuck is anti-folk? I swear they're just making 'em up these days.
* Aqueduct's "The Suggestion Box" - probably my most-played song this year after Bloc Party's "So Here We Are." It's so fucking addicting. I play it in the morning and when I go to sleep. I sing it in the shower and scream it in the car. It makes perfect sense that this guy opened for Mates of State. I can't believe Ylai's already listening to stuff like this. When I was a freshman in high school it was what, Smashing Pumpkins? "Indie" wasn't even a popular term then, it was still "alternative." This is from I Sold Gold, another Great Album of 2005. Seriously, almost every track is fried gold. And the songs have great names, like "Growing Up With GNR" & "Frantic (Roman Polanski version)"
* Nouvelle Vague's "Friday Night, Saturday Morning" - not so much addicting as it is hypnotic; it's good background music while you're working at the computer. It's the kind of song for a montage scene where the main character's making a mess of their life (getting drunk and into fights) and just hitting bottom after their main love interest has dumped them/cheated on them.
* The Cribs' "Another Number" - this and the last song bring THE ROCK. Just a great little pop song with great hooks and under 3 minutes. Let's see you do that, Coldplay.
* Sleater-Kinney's "Jumpers" - big and rich like a slice of cake you thought you could finish but is more than you bargained for and is probably bad for your health when you think about it but damn it, it tastes so fucking good. Chocolate!

I was going to put Pavement's "We Dance" which is also terrific and is, in my opinion, one of the most romantic things that any man has ever written (but then again I'm weird like that), but I left it in the car CD player. Just download it yourselves or something. I've been listening to Wowee Zowee again and damn is it a timeless album.

My only request is that if you download the songs, you mention who you are in the comments. And then after you've heard the songs, let me know what you think. That is a fair trade, is it not? And go ahead and share the link if you like. Oh, and the file will disappear if it hasn't been accessed in 30 days. Whenever someone downloads it the timer's reset. I think.

And don't forget to hug and kiss the next Ramon you see.


If I could meet and speak to my 15- and 20-year-old selves I could tell them some useful things but then after listening to me speak and finding out more things about me they would probably gang up and beat the crap out of me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I was disappointed with DCFC's Plans. That's the problem sometimes with high expectations. Maybe it didn't help that I was finishing a book in bed while listening to it. But I think I only looked up at tracks 4 & 9, and then it was done. It's a bit flat, has very little of THE ROCK that I miss. It's not terrible, but it doesn't really leave much of an impression. I don't know. I should give it a few more listens, maybe I'll like it better.

Recent additions to the Great Albums of 2005 so far include Mary Timony's Ex Hex, Bloc Party's Silent Alarm Remixed (admittedly based on bias) & Sigur Ros's Takk. Takk was a surprise: less somber, more alive, with more experimentation with instruments and arrangements. Hurrah.

I also really like Snoop Dogg's R'nG, and am considering listening to the new Ludacris next (though everyone says his last album was better). Almost had Julia convinced I was now hip-hop when she got in my car and Gift of Gab was playing.


I recently finished God of War on PS2, which I think is the best game I've played in a while. The graphics and movement are just terrific, and the blood/gore/violence/heaving breasts didn't hurt. Great ideas abound, particularly for stages (at one point you are killed and sent to hell, and you have to fight your way out! Outrageously fun) and scenarios (stuff towards the end, which I won't spoil for Quark's benefit).

I also recently finished the race portion of Burnout 3, the game that came closest to convincing me to get a PS2. Actually, it was just this morning that I finished, after 2 grueling Grand Prixs that were 4 races each. I finished at a little past 3AM. It was very rewarding, but super damn difficult. I was cursing like a sailor, punching the floors, scaring Neva and Mittens.

Still, I'm glad I'm still nowhere near the level of obsession some players have (even among people I know). And then there's this poor bastard, who keeled over dead (heart failure at the age of 28!?) after playing video games for 50 hours straight. At least he finished his game.


I didn't realize it had been over a month since I last updated. Wow. Where does the time go?

Someone got to this blog by looking up information on Ma'am Beni's poetry reading last night, but the search words he/she used were "Benilda Santos Conspiracy." I henceforth submit that The Benilda Santos Conspiracy is a great band name.

Check out Michel Gondry's video (20MB) for Michael Andrews's cover of "Mad World." This is old, but I only saw it recently and it's awesome. As usual, for Gondry.

Is this serious? I hope so. It would be so interesting if he actually won. And in this crazy world, who knows…

Goldie answered a survey and this brought a smile to my face:
1. get prosecuted for something that is 100 percent driven by truth and my beliefs yet wrongs society at the time then get praised for it after"

Check out The Onion's Michael Bay article. (or should that be Michael Bay's Onion article?)


Shane Black's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

A new trailer for Fernando Mereilles's The Constant Gardener

Anand Tucker's Shopgirl. This is especially of note for me, because it's his first film since 1998's Hilary & Jackie (which I LOVE). One of the things I actually asked Frank Cottrell Boyce (who wrote Hilary) when I got to interview him in Scotland last year was why Tucker hadn't done a film since then and he replied that unfortunately every project he was developing didn't push through for one reason or another, so I'm glad to see him back. This is the adaptation of Steve Martin's novel, by the way, adapted by Martin himself and starring him as the elderly gentleman whose love interest (the shopgirl in question) is twentysomething Claire Danes. Shouldn't Woody Allen have directed this? Don't mind my snark, it's actually a good trailer, with great music up until DCFC's "The Sound of Settling" kicks in (not that I don't like that song, it's just that everything before it was good and unknown to me, and a known song kicking in can sometimes deflate things). Maybe I should read the book first.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Okay! I will answer the clamor (actually just 2 people) for new posts! But! This is not the Neil Gaiman Weekend post. It will be done when it gets done, and will actually go up on my LJ and not here, as I feel it belongs there. Hopefully the wait will have been worth it, because it looks to be the longest post I've ever written (which isn't actually any indicator of it being any good; I'm just saying). And this may actually be the first time I've mentioned that I have an LJ on this blog.

So instead I will write some stuff about books and movies.

August is the bibliophile's favorite month of the year here in Manila, because Powerbooks is on its annual sale, where almost everything is 20% off, and the Bookfair is at the end of the month (check the remember! box on the left for details).

I recently got a chance to check out the Powerbooks sale, and got some stuff I really wanted. I've been cutting back on my spending since around mid-March, so I'm actually quite proud that I've only bought 3 things: Douglas Coupland's Eleanor Rigby, Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted, and Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys (because it was at 30% off!). See, ma? No comics! (Not yet.) I'm a Coupland fan and have read all his novels so Eleanor Rigby was a no-brainer. In fact it was a nice surprise because I didn't even know that he'd written it until I saw it on the shelves a month or so ago. I thought his next book was the sequel to Microserfs (which I anticipate mightily). Ditto for Chuck Palahniuk; even his non-fiction books I have. And Haunted contains Guts, the notorious short story that caused either fainting/vomiting in almost 75% of all stops on his last book tour when he read it out loud. I am eyeing several other books, though, like Bruce Wagner's Force Majeure and Brad Meltzer's The Zero Game, but I'm waiting until the end of the month to make my decision. Ditto on the comics. But if you go, I heartily recommend the following off the top of my head: Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy is, I think, at 30% off. Among the graphic novels, Birth of a Nation by Aaron McGruder, Reginald Hudlin, and Kyle Baker; the Catwoman TPBs of Ed Brubaker, and David B.'s Epileptic, which is in the autobiography section.

If, like me, you are on a budget, allow me to point you in the direction of some cool stuff available for free online, including whole books! It ain't called Mindfuel for nothin'! (actually yes, it is)

Rosemary Mosco's 55 Words are a series of microfictions, each composed of only (can you guess?) 55 words. 365 Tomorrows presents a new ultra-short story every single day, and most, if not all, are science fiction (hence the tomorrows).

Of course, my main introduction to short shorts was Richard Kadrey's Viperwire nanotales on Infinite Matrix. They're all still there, but his new novel Blind Shrike is available for free download, as is his previous novel Metrophage. Then there is Cory Doctorow, who has made all of his novels available online for free download on his website. That's 3 books, one of which is brand spanking new!

Finally we have Joey Comeau, who I first came across through his A Softer World, who is pre-selling copies of his first novel Lockpick Pornography. Basically the whole thing is up online if you would like to read it before ordering it, but the hard copy will have more material (the online chapters are, I imagine, an earlier draft of the finished novel) and come signed, with a bonus zine to boot. I'd actually like to order it myself, as I haven't read any of Mr. Comeau's stuff yet that I haven't liked (and he wrote a story I would actually like to read out loud), but fucking Paypal still aren't allowing us Noypis to sign up for their "service." Who's got Paypal? It's cheap! Only $10. It would make a great gift for poor booklovers whose birthday is in August, wouldn't it? Wait, did I say gift? I meant I would pay you back. Probably.

I almost cried today while reading the new 100 Bullets volume, The Hard Way. It's a series that I love but it's usually smart and dark and violent and wily and just gangbusters, but then out of the blue comes these real emotional moments that just take you by surprise. Anyway, good shit, and still utterly unpredictable. Definitely one of the best comics series being published today. This, a few days after finishing the latest Y The Last Man volume, Ring of Truth, which is also fucking fantastic, with the usual terrific cliffhangers but more character and plot development and filled with terrific moments that make you gasp and stop reading for a few seconds because your heart might burst. So, 2 of the best comics series being published today.

Have you heard of the Singapore Writers' Festival? It's from Aug. 26 - Sep. 4. Colleen Doran is a Guest of Honor, and Ho Che Anderson will be there as well. Also, SF writers Bruce Sterling & Cory Doctorow.



So the trailer of James McTeigue's adaptation of V For Vendetta is out, and it makes me feel slimy. In my lack of shit-giving I did not realize that it also stars Stephen Rea and John Hurt. Oh well. The lines "This is exactly what he wants." "What?" "Chaos." actually made me groan. There you have a pretty good example of changing the message of the original series. So everyone, please read the book before you see the movie. Which reminds me: Gio finally returned my copy after taking 7 years to read it. Who wants to borrow it next? Just be quick about it!

Also! Rich Johnston reviews the V For Vendetta script here. "Are you, like, a crazy person?" indeed!

The trailer for Ingmar Bergman's Saraband is horrible. I mean, art films have a tough enough time of it, but this trailer does nothing for the film. Almost put me to sleep.

Of films I know nothing about, Junebug, Green Street, and The Chumscrubber look interesting.

Richard Linklater's Bad News Bears remake, with Billy Bob Thornton apparently reprising his acting from Bad Santa.

Joss Whedon's Serenity has a new trailer, better than the first one.

Liev Schreiber's directorial debut is the adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated (shot by Matthew Libatique).

Marc Forster's Stay has me curious (Forster's carving out an interesting career for himself; none of his projects are alike).

Tony Scott's Domino gets a better trailer. Marketing this may be tricky since the woman it's based on was recently found dead.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell has an unrated trailer that you must see.

Sam Mendes's Jarhead looks good.

Gus Van Sant's latest, Last Days (supposedly "sort of" inspired by the last days of Kurt Cobain, the same way Elephant was inspired by Columbine)

Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist gets a full trailer.

Mike Mills's Thumbsucker finally looks like it's going to get released.

Michael Haneke's latest, Cache; alas, the trailer's not translated, but it looks fantastic and fucked up.

Andrew Niccol's Lord Of War, which I pray is better than Simone (it looks promising).

Jim Jarmusch's latest film, Broken Flowers

And a Japanese trailer for Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown.

!!! Benilda Santos is going to read some of her poetry next Tuesday, Aug. 16, @ Conspiracy. 7 PM. Go if you can!

Friday, July 08, 2005

I am giving him dried mangoes for sure, but I don't know what else.

Forgot to mention that the Writers' Forum with Neil Gaiman on Monday at Music Museum is now open to the public. Go here if you're interested. Or call up British Council, because they have to mail the invites and I don't know if there's time.

So anyway, here's the loophole. It's quite obvious and nothing earth-shattering, but basically, they recently amended the rules so that if you only want one thing signed, you don't need a book pass. But if you want, say, 3 or more items signed, you need the stub. Unless! You bring along several people, not necessarily friends, and give them an item apiece to have signed in your name. Someone on a mailing list has mentioned he's bringing household help and his driver, to get something like 7 things signed. That way you don't have to buy books you may already have (especially since he's not promoting anything new; Anansi Boys comes out in September, I think) just to get more passes.

Tune in to NU 107.5 on Monday morning, around 1030 there'll be a Gaiman interview. Cool beans.


"I felt like Karen Carpenter and I could've been good friends, if only she wasn't a singer-superstar and if only she didn't have anorexia and if only she hadn't died."

Nice to see Neva posting again.


Here's the first trailer to emerge for Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown.

And some goodness for your day:

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Hey, think about it: Neil Gaiman is going to be here tomorrow! Cool. Do you know what you want to have signed yet? There is a bit of a loophole in the new rules for signing that Fully Booked put out; I'll reveal it on Saturday morning if you haven't seen it yourself yet.

I am definitely going to meet him at some point thanks to the fact that I do some work for Fully Booked, so I am trying not to get too excited. The problem is it's already Thursday and there's still so much to do! Is there a burning question you would like to ask?

I am also thinking of giving him a gift. Something cool, that if possible is also Pinoy, without being bulky or too expensive. Any ideas? Help!

There is a new Mirrormask clip online, and it's beautiful and creepy at the same time.


Haven't been to a gig in a while, so last night's debut of The Bitter Pill was fun. But man, SaGuijo's becoming Too Hip Gotta Go! It gets too full, there's no space anywhere and it kinda pisses me off to pay 100 entrance when you can't even sit down, plus I'm not really a drinker and don't like their iced tea so the consumable is lost on me.

I'm so glad we've got The Daily Show now. Informative AND hilarious.
Essential TV viewing.

I still haven't seen War of the Worlds. Is Fantastic Four any good?

People are still getting sick. I'm fortifying myself for the weekend.



First, two interesting articles: one by author Neal Stephenson on Star Wars, and another by Salon's Douglas Wolk on Alan Moore's Promethea, well-written even if I don't necessarily agree with some things (I do agree with most, however).

Trailers for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, with some great shots that just get me more excited to see it.

A new trailer for Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride!

An intriguing trailer for a documentary called The Aristocrats on what is considered to be the dirtiest joke ever told.

An ad that Ricky Gervais did for Live8 and a clip from his new show Extras can be seen here.

Oh, and a little something I like to call KING KONG.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Whew. Haven't blogged in a while.

I was sick about a week back; was in bed for 3 days. I don't even really know what it was; I was very weak but couldn't keep anything down and generally just felt miserable. Got a lot of reading done, at least. 4 books during one particularly long day. There must be some bug or something going around because lots of people were sick when I was and others are sick now. Hope it's nothing serious.

Getting onto Neil Gaiman's blog made my week, though. And the blogad I was quoted in is now being used to sell more... well, blogads.


I loved Loved LOVED Batman Begins. I love it to bits. I have seen it twice. It is fantastic.

The first Batman was a monumental event in my life. I didn't even get to see it in a theater (we couldn't watch movies, they were too expensive). I was in Boston, 9 years old, and it had just come out on Laserdisc, and it was one of the first Laserdiscs we ever got and I ever saw and that might've helped because it was clearer and sharper than a movie screen seemed to be and it just blew my little 9-year-old brain away. It melted my eyeballs and made my jaw drop. I'd read Batman comics before then but the movie turned me into a huge fan; that year I got A Death in the Family and The Killing Joke (which was probably my first exposure to who would later become my favorite writer, Alan Moore, though at the time what was most impressive was that there were naked breasts in it). I got all this ridiculous Bat-merchandise (wallet, mug, plaque) I can't even remember all of it. I even have a picture with the Batmobile, when it came to Boston for some car show. One of my prized possessions, and still my favorite Batmobile.

Anyway, Batman Begins. It rescues the character from the ass-raping of Schumacher and Goldsman. In my mind the last film was Batman Returns, but that was way back in 1992. So that's a pretty long wait. When I first heard about this film being made I tried not to get too excited. Nolan hadn't made a film I didn't like yet, but he'd never worked with a budget like this before. Screenwriter David Goyer wrote some excellent JSA stories but he also wrote the Blade trilogy (and directed the last). Besides which, DC kept fucking up its characters in movies: LXG, Catwoman, and then Constantine. So I held off reading up on it, just watching trailers and the like. Boy was that a good decision. It was good to be surprised by Linus Roache as Thomas Wayne (an unexpected, but inspired choice), Rutger Hauer, and Tom Wilkinson. The flashback structure in the first 3rd works well. Whenever it takes a slight turn towards something I might not like, it rights itself eventually by leading to a great point. It stays in continuity mostly, but its changes are understandable. Doing the beginning of Batman affords great opportunities for drama, moreso than in other parts of his "career" because you can show Bruce Wayne making mistakes, learning as he goes. He's not yet that sure of himself, that capable, that confident in his abilities. So it's right that in his first meeting with Gordon, he can't quite pull off the "disappear-without-a-trace" trick until later when he's Bats. And if you notice, everyone seems to be smarter than him; he receives some kind of lecture from pretty much everyone, but he takes the necessary lesson from each lecture, even the one from Falcone the mob boss. The cast is terrific, except for Katie Holmes who, while not bad, is out-acted by almost everyone. There's an appearance by one of the best Batvillains, Mr. Zsasz. The score is good: moody and heavy at the right moments, stirring and frantic when it needs to be. The Batmobile is inspired by the one in Dark Knight Returns (and the whole movie is heavily inspired by Frank Miller's other Bat-classic, Year One [calling the bats is lifted directly from that book]). There's some kind of secret, special delight in seeing a story you're so familiar with from countless retellings and interpretations being done right, while seeming fresh at the same time. And in a different medium, no less. Cillian Murphy was a great creepy villain. Particular kudos to Gary Oldman who made a great Jim Gordon. He's an underrated actor; I wish someone would exploit how good he'd be at comedy. I love the scene of Batman's first "appearance," which is treated as a horror scene from the POV of the criminals. Just how it should be. I also loved him beating the crap out of a would-be killer in the background while Katie Holmes is in the foreground with her taser. The closest thing to a negative for me is that when Bale does his Batman voice, it sounds like he's really trying to lower it and be intimidating, when for Michael Keaton it just seemed to come so naturally.

Basically, at the end of it I'm just so glad they got it right, you know? I didn't realize how much I'd invested in it subconsciously. I think if it was terrible I would've been really depressed, because if someone like Christopher Nolan can't do it, what hope is there? I actually cried in one part, not because of any particularly emotional scene but just because it was so good and I was loving it. it's that shot of Bats standing on the corner of some skyscraper like a gargoyle, nothing but silhouette with the camera circling the building. I was still quite nervous at that point, because I was having so much fun but absolutely dreading that it might somehow fuck up into some stupid Hollywood shit by the end. So when the credits came on I breathed a sigh of relief and my whole body relaxed and I felt elated and like a 9-year-old again, wanting to read the comics.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is fun, great at times but sometimes a bit off in others. It's in the spirit of the book, though, which is good. It also continues the tradition of Hitchhiker's being different for every medium it penetrates. There are characters and events not in the book, but I'm not complaining; Adams wrote the script himself (though didn't complete it since he died). It's almost a little too faithful to the book sometimes; wildly digressing is easier in prose than in film, because it loses flow and can get dangerously close to tedious if not carefully done. Whereas in prose, you as reader can control flow. Or at least, the speed at which you read. I must say, though, that the scene where Arthur met Trillian at the party and they bond was, for me, very romantic. It's very short but there's just this terrific authenticity/silliness to it that struck a chord with me. The fact that I love both Martin Freeman and Zooey Deschanel helps.


Wimbledon's begun, but I have to go to Neva's to watch because we don't have Star Sports. Nadal's out, unfortunately, losing in the 2nd round to Muller, though grass isn't really his turf so it's understandable, and he's young yet, only 19.

Did you see the video of Tom Cruise getting squirted with water? I didn't even find it funny, but you can't not watch. It takes all he's got to keep from slugging the guy. When someone tries toweling his face he shoves it away with just a little too much force and you can tell he's just about to explode if not for all the cameras and people.


Goddamn, I do love a simple poster with a bold graphic. This poster is worlds away from the earlier one, but still good, and just makes me want to see it more.

On to more film stuff:
A trailer for Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardener, his first film since City of God. It's an adaptation of a John Le Carre novel, which comes as a surprise since he was talking about a different kind of film as a follow-up to City of God when he was here for Cinemanila.
A teaser for Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist, his first film since The Pianist.
A new trailer for Terrence Malick's The New World, his first film since The Thin Red Line.
A trailer for Curtis Hanson's In Her Shoes, his first film since 8 Mile.
A gorier trailer for George A. Romero's Land of the Dead, his first zombie film since Day of the Dead.
A teaser for Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, his first film since Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas(!).
A preview of Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, his first film since Vanilla Sky.
A trailer for Takashi Miike's Yokai, his first film since last Thursday. Just kidding.
A new trailer for Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean's Mirrormask.
A trailer for The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

At Salle a Manger on Thursday (tomorrow, basically), there will be a reading of Coraline by Neil Gaiman (of sorts). The unabridged audiobook, read by the author, will be played starting from around 7-730. It has music by The Gothic Archies. It should be fun. Bring your copy of the book so you can read along. I’ve never actually listened to an audiobook, much less in the company of other people, so it should be interesting.

Since it’s a café you can have dinner there, and the food is good. :)
Salle a Manger is at G/F Acrocity Bldg., 1116 antipolo St., Poblacion, Makati City

From Buendia, turn onto N. Garcia and drive straight on until you pass an intersection with a Jollibee on the right corner. Acrocity Bldg. is almost right after the Jollibee, on the right side.

EDIT: This was canceled unexpectedly, and will be rescheduled. :(

Friday, June 10, 2005

No Gweilos Hour tonight either. Either we’re canceled or something’s in the works, so I don’t know and won’t say until I know more.

Did you know that over 100 Japanese citizens commit suicide per day? And yet, despite that statistic, they are second in the category of country suicide rate, following Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka?

Tres cool: How to Make Your Own Totally Sweet Mario Question Blocks and Put Them Up Around Town Because It's Really Awesome. I like these little artbomb ideas, like Space Invader.

So there’s another dig at Pinoys in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and it reminded me of something I completely forgot to write about in my discussion of The Life Aquatic. Ordinarily whenever there’s a negative reference to Filipinos in the movies or TV I don’t care. I know the truth that these generalizations don’t apply to everyone and are actually misrepresentative so I don’t lose any sleep over it. But in The Life Aquatic (and here there’s a bit of a spoiler) their paths cross with Pinoy pirates when they go through unprotected waters. And for the first time in a long time, I felt bad. Because this was Wes Anderson, you know? I love the guy. The pirates had bolos and a 3-legged dog. But if you actually watch the scene closely, only one guy speaks Tagalog well, everyone else has this thick accent like they just learned it. Anyway, after seeing the film I was online digging up stuff about The Life Aquatic and found on its IMDB Trivia page this relieving bit of information: in the script the pirates are Indonesian, but they couldn’t find enough Indonesians in Italy where they shot the film. And what is there always a lot of no matter where you are? So Pinoys it is.

Still, the scene did produce this gem: Bud Cort (all grown up from Harold & Maude!) translating “major shitstorm” as “matinding bagyo ng tae,” which had me guffaw.

Yes, guffaw. When it is that sudden and unexpected, and that loud and that ridiculous-sounding, that laugh is a guffaw.

(Mr. & Mrs. Smith is better than I expected, but the ending sucks)

(And speaking of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, there's a little scandal brewing over the Teen Choice Awards nominating the film when IT HADN'T COME OUT YET, striking further blows for its credibility)


It's not The Onion, but...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

(slight spoilers, though I doubt no one's not seen this already)

So, Episode 3. Long story short: I think it's the best of the prequels, but it's still nowhere near great. Even "good" is stretching it. I'll just say "Thank God it wasn't worse." The dialogue was still atrocious (they all speak the same, do you notice?). A coterie of good actors in the film and only Ewan performs up to par. Portman particularly looked like she had nothing to do but pout. I thought the Wookies would be the Ewoks this time around but I guess not (not entirely a bad thing). Grievous wasn't menacing at all. I was unimpressed by the saberfighting until the showdown of Anakin & Obi-Wan. I think that worst of all, the handling of Anakin's "turning" was fumbled so much. It was bad enough that Dooku was killed so casually in the beginning (which kind of undermines how much of a threat he was in Clones). But later on, the impetus for the turning is introduced as Anakin's fear of losing Padme. Lucas could've played that up a bit, related it with his mother, but the balance between that and his thirst for power (the selfish reasons, basically) weren't handled well. So that scene where he turns just came across as so flat and uninteresting (and Mace Windu, who Lucas promised a cool death, doesn't get one. Actually, couldn't he do that soft landing he did in Clones?). There's no sense of TRAGEDY. I mean, we all know what's going to happen but we should be wishing it didn't HAVE to. But here we're mostly just nonchalant. And then one of the things I was looking forward to didn't happen: they didn't explain how he got the name Darth Vader. The Sith generally have cool names: Sidious, Tyranus, Maul, etc. But during the naming it's like Palpatine's eyes were scanning the room for something to use, and he just blurts out "Uh... Darth... Vader." Ditto the naming of the Twins! It was so funny: "It's a boy." "Luke." "It's a girl." "Leia." WOW! What poignance! And her cause of death! "She's lost the will to live." That's scientific progress for you. It's a little disheartening though that Padme's character couldn't even muster enough will to live, if only FOR HER NEWBORN TWINS! Ah well. There were some things I really liked, though. That silent scene where Anakin and Padme are enjoying vistas of the city while apart, each in deep contemplation, that was the closest to subtle Lucas got, but it felt like something from a Ridley Scott movie. The fight between Palpatine and Yoda was fun. I mostly enjoyed the final duel of Anakin and Obi-Wan, particulary Ewan. His voice, on the verge of cracking, mixing anger and despair, was very effective. He was so angry and felt like he failed at the same time. And the last shot gave me a little tingle, staring into the twin sunsets.

And here's a little thing for y'all, but particularly Quark: our favorite moment from Episode 3. I thought these scenes had already expired into parody. See Team America for a better rendition.

I saw Episode 3 at Cinema 2 in Gateway, which I think may be the best new theater we've got. It's a huge theater with a huge screen. We want to watch the summer blockbusters we're looking forward to there. Unfortunately, not all theaters in Gateway are that big. I saw the next film in Cinema 5, which was also big but not as big as 2's, with a screen comparable to Greenbelt 3.

So: Sin City. Good but not great. It's a literal translation, not an adaptation. The first story, The Hard Goodbye, suffered from being rushed. They kept talking so quickly, not letting any lines sink in. And I didn't like how Mickey Rourke moved as Marv, all animated and flailing arms. It was like he was some kind of neurotic, which I never associated with Marv. They also didn't do one of my favorite scenes from the book, where Marv flings himself at the steel doors before trying the bars. I thought the acting was terribly below average for such a cast. Clive Owen was the highlight, but his accent slipped every now and then. Nice to see cameos from people like Nicky Katt & Rutger Hauer. The Big Fat Kill, the middle story, made the best transition, though Brittany Murphy was particularly bad as Shelley. That Yellow Bastard had some pacing issues too, but was mostly just marred by bad acting by Jessica Alba. Nicely shot chase sequence, though. And I didn't like the score. I loved that they got the flying/jumping cars right, but other things didn't translate so well, like the almost cartoonish strength/invulnerability of Marv. And how did Hartigan know where Nancy lived? He went straight there after getting out of prison but I thought she never gave any clues in her letters as to her identity and location?

And yes, the cuts were terribly jarring. But I figured there'd be no other chance to see this on the big screen.

I loved The Life Aquatic with Team Zissou. I was a little worried because reviews were varied, but I loved it just the same. People had said that it's the least emotional of the Wes Anderson films but for me it only seemed that way because the characters were less expressive. As in the feelings were all under the surface instead of brought up in hilarious circumstances/dialogue. But towards the end the emotions rise to the surface. The closest thing to a negative I can say about it is that it reminds you a bit of The Royal Tenenbaums, but only in that there's a patriarch and the ensemble cast revolves around him, etc. The soundtrack as ever was fantastic; I'm biased but I especially loved the use of Sigur Ros for the reveal of the Jaguar Shark. And The Zombies' "What I Feel Inside," which almost made me cry. Now I really love that song.

Team America is hilarious. They hit all those Jerry Bruckheimer notes (credits explode toward the audience) and the cinematography was pretty spiffy! It helps that they got the cinematographer of Spider-Man 2 and The Matrix Trilogy. If I have a gripe, it's that the final setpiece was a little similar to the South Park movie, but it's no biggie. I'm going to try and find that song about Michael Bay movies and download it. MATT DHAYMN!

The French Film Festival is ongoing at Greenbelts 1 & 3 until June 15. The write-ups of the films are here, but their schedule is inaccurate. Use Sureseats to find out what’s playing. I haven’t seen most of these films, but I do recognize most of the names, so I’m hoping it’s good.

Friday, June 03, 2005

No Gweilos Hour tonight, unfortunately. We are being pre-empted by the live Bamboo launch at Megamall. Which I don’t mind; it’s perfectly understandable, although I wish that when it happened it meant we get 2 hours next week. :)


Apparently the Sin City being shown here has a lot of cuts; basically all the nude shots have been removed, including sex scenes. But the cuts are jarring; beyond scenes being removed, lines are mangled and the pace is ruined several times. Some friends are decrying the MTRCB but I suspect this to be the work of the distributor, in order to get the rating down to an R13 from an R18.

They should’ve had a clue with the name SIN CITY, don’t you think?


I’ve been watching and enjoying this year’s French Open. I haven’t been following tennis in years but this tournament’s been on Sports Plus almost every time I turn to that channel (it’s after ETC) so I ended up watching and realized there’s almost no one I recognize, beyond Mary Pierce. And Sharapova, who I know by reputation. Even Kuerten’s out on an injury. But the matches have been mostly incredible, and definitely unpredictable. In the beginning it was funny, because it seemed like a tournament between Russia and Spain. There were so many players from both countries it was almost ridiculous. But now things are getting interesting towards the finals, with Davenport and Sharapova, the world’s no. 1 & 2 seeds, respectively, being defeated in the quarterfinals by people ranked way lower than them. So now it’s anyone’s game, and that can be exhilarating. The other thing is that the French Open has the rudest fans, in my opinion, of any sporting event anywhere. They scream and shout bloody murder, they’ll heckle you while the point is being fought! Which is a big no-no in other tournaments, who will stop the match until the crowd calms down. But just the other day, in this match between Nadal (Neva’s crush) and Grosjean, the crowd wouldn’t shut up for a good 15 minutes, and I was just watching and laughing. It was live so they couldn’t do anything about it, and even Frenchman Grosjean was looking embarrassed, and Spaniard Nadal’s displeasure was evident on his face, but he knew if he did anything, he’d get heckled and booed. There’s also been the occasional amusement, like when Henin-Hardenne and Petrova had a match and emerged wearing the exact same outfit (both are sponsored by Adidas). Tres embarrassing!

Wimbledon’s right after Roland Garros in the Grand Slam calendar, so I think I’ll be tuning in for that.


Two more additions to Great Albums of 2005: Pedicab’s Tugish Takish and Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods.

For some reason I can’t get my Tugish Takish to work in the car’s player. It’s frustrating as hell. Mich mentioned that some of her friends can’t play the VCD that comes with it. Inksurge’s design is appropriate. The cover reminded me a bit of Supergrass’s Life On Other Planets. The sleeve was a nice touch, and a nice design, but somewhere along the way (probably the manufacturing end) someone didn’t account for how tight it would be, and it was a goddamn bitch taking it off. I didn’t want to tear it, and now, well, it looks like I’ll never put it back on because I don’t want to go through that headache again. I think Quark tore his. It’s a Weezer-short album (30 mins.), which I wasn’t expecting, but beggars can’t be choosers.

A pet peeve of mine with buying local CDs, and locally manufactured CDs, is that the quality control is so low. Pedicab, for example: when I opened it up, the inlay card had lots of creases and folds along the spine. It looks like a second-hand package. And the aforementioned problems with playing the discs. Quark & Lia gave me a great Christmas gift last year, the Pearl Jam greatest hits package, but unfortunately the same thing: creased/folded inlay card, which I had already come to expect by that point, but the kicker was that there was a piece of rubber adhesive on the second disc, which I tried to remove carefully but to no avail, and so the last two tracks skip like crazy. I mean, it’s this shit that makes pirated goods more attractive. Because at this point, that’s really what you’re paying for, isn’t it? The quality. You’re paying full price and for what? A disc that looks like someone previously owned it (and wasn’t very careful with it, either)? That shit ain’t right.


David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence, which is an adaptation of a graphic novel by John Wagner & Vince Locke.

2046 is only coming out in the US in August, but the trailer’s nice. Kinda thriller-ish, with some very nice cuts.

A new Charlie & the Chocolate Factory trailer, with more footage (only now do I realize, for example, that Charlie is played by Peter from Finding Neverland, so he and Johnny Depp must be good friends by now). Exciting.

Guy Ritchie’s latest, Revolver, which sounds and looks like his previous films, Swept Away aside.

Via Minay, Crying While Eating. Not a movie, but amusing just the same.

Matt Madden’s finished his Exercises in Style, and it’s now got a website. I used to follow them when they were on Indy, but it’s nice to see it all done now, and I await the forthcoming book. It’s a very interesting project, particularly for those who are interested in storytelling in general (taken as it is from Raymond Queneau), and comics in particular.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Some big Alan Moore news, if you'll allow me to geek out a bit about my favorite writer. Rich Johnston returned his Lying in the Gutters column to break the news about Moore effectively dissolving his relationship with DC (basically for the second time). Their relationship has always been spotty; Moore & aritst Dave Gibbons felt slighted when DC made so much money off of Watchmen in the '80s. There was a deal that the rights would revert to the creators after the work was out of print, but neither expected DC to keep it in print for 20 years (it's still one of their best-selling graphic novels). Also, buttons sold by DC at the time were listed under "promotional items" and not "merchandise," so they wouldn't be obligated to give a cut to the creators. Moore swore never to work with DC again. When he was about to launch a new line of comics (America's Best) in the late '90s under Jim Lee's Wildstorm Comics, things almost came to a head because DC bought Wildstorm, and Lee had to fly to England to smooth things over with Moore. Moore's instinct was to call it off, but he felt obligated to continue because some artists were already hard at work on stories and had turned down other jobs to do his comics. A system was set up so that Moore would never technically work for DC, receiving his checks from somewhere else, though effectively DC distributed America's Best. Since then 2 semi-scandals occurred: an issue of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was pulped because of an authentic turn of the century ad that DC found offensive, and a short story wasn't allowed to be published because it featured L. Ron Hubbard, father of the lawsuit-happy Scientology religion. This was discredited when a story about L. Ron Hubbard was found in a DC-published anthology.

Looks like the final straw was the V For Vendetta movie. Moore always tried to separate himself from the film adaptations of his works: he didn't want to be involved, he was happy to just receive credit and the checks. But when he was sued (along with 20th Century Fox) by a screenwriter claiming the film LXG was a rip-off of his screenplay, he had to undergo a 10-hour deposition defending his own comic from the screenplay he had nothing to do with. In fact, the similar elements were ones the studio added that were NOT in the comic, such as Tom Sawyer and Dorian Gray. After that, he didn't want his name to be used, or to receive money from any movies; his share would be redistributed among the artists involved. But at the V For Vendetta press conference producer Joel Silver implied that Moore endorsed the film's script, when something more like the reverse happened (see the column for details), and Moore demanded a retraction and apology from Silver and Warner Bros., who own DC. It didn't come, and Moore basically said that was it; after my contractual obligations are complete, I'm leaving and taking League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with me (he and artist Kevin O'Neill own the property in full). They took it to Top Shelf, a small publisher who have done good by Moore for the last few years, publishing new editions of his Mirror of Love and Voice of the Fire, as well as handling the publication/distribution of From Hell.

Though I'm obviously biased, this is just ridiculous. I can see DC doing this to a lesser-known writer, but pissing off Alan Moore? I mean, not only is he possibly the greatest writer the medium's had, everyone KNOWS he can hold a grudge like nobody's business. DC just kissed off a whole lot of money.

Moore, in a rare case, spoke against the V For Vendetta script (presumably because it's the cause of so much trouble): "It was imbecilic; it had plot holes you couldn't have got away with in Whizzer And Chips in the 1960s. Plot holes no one had noticed.

They don't know what British people have for breakfast; they couldn't be bothered. 'Eggy in a basket,' apparently. Now the US have 'eggs in a basket,' which is fried bread with a fried egg in a hole in the middle. I guess they thought we must eat that as well, and thought 'eggy in a basket' was a quaint and Olde Worlde version. And they decided that the British postal service is called Fedco. They'll have thought something like, 'Well, what's a British version of FedEx... how about FedCo? A friend of mine had to point out to them that the Fed, in FedEx comes from 'Federal Express.' America is a federal republic; Britain is not."

He's also said that from now on he's not going to allow any work of his to be adapted into a film if he can help it.

A title was given for his next novel, "Jerusalem," which, based on its description, will not replace the previously-mentioned "A Grimoire" (perhaps only delaying it). Where his first novel "Voice of the Fire" took place entirely in his hometown of Northampton over a span of 10,000 years, "Jerusalem" will take place in the space of 3 or 4 blocks in Northampton where Moore grew up.

He's working on a graphic novel for Avatar Press.

He also proposed to his long-time girlfriend Melinda Gebbie (artist of Lost Girls) and she accepted.

And on the Alan Moore Fan Site you have a chance to ask the magus himself a question.


Promethea Vol. 4 (already out)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2: The Absolute Edition (June)
Top 10: The 49ers (July)
Tom Strong's Terrific Tales Vol. 1 (August)
V For Vendetta HC (September)
Absolute Watchmen (October)
Lost Girls (December)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Dark Dossier (sometime this year)

(not Alan Moore):
The Complete Calvin & Hobbes (October)

What can I say? He is my favorite writer. And C&H is my favorite comic strip.


I've been using my LC-A less these last few months (hopefully this will be rectified). I developed a roll the other day and it's funny to see how many events are on it: the earliest pictures are New Year's Eve pictures, reunion dinner with my high school classmates, CD's exhibit at Saguijo, then there's our picnic at The Fort, Singapore visits 1 & 2, the HG shoot with Amanda Griffin/Georgina Wilson/Ronnie Lazaro, my quick jaunt in Malaysia, ending with the Camiling Story showing at UPFI.


Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, an adaptation of English author Diana Wynne Jones's fantasy book.

A new Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit trailer, less cheeky than the first.

Continuing with the Alan Moore mayhem, here's a short trailer for the documentary on him, The Mindscape of Alan Moore (I hope they come up with a better title).

And we haven't had Milkman Dan recently, so