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.