I haven't had a very good ending to yesterday. It's all about the artists' support group meeting last night. No, I can't blame anyone about what happened. I was expecting to start a very good discussion last night after being interrupted last week, I arrived there at the place and everyone was gathered talking about their basketball game and I thought where does that leave me? I can't relate to their games for two reasons: I don't play basketball, much less any kind of sports and second I wasn't involved in any of the groups having their tournament. Then some people butt in and blocked my view and any chance of discussion with the others for more than a solid hour. To add insult to injury, my friend went with his friend downstairs and left me on my own. I can't believe I just sat there sandwiched between two groups talking to each other. I didn't have the mood to do anything and I didn't want to make a show out of it by walking out. This happened for almost an hour and a half, and in those times I just rehearsed some lines I wanted to say but couldn't like "Ever had those times when you come to a meeting and you go out feeling like you have accomplished nothing?" I wanted to stare at the instigators of the disruptions and hurl dagger looks their way. There were moments when I wanted to lash out at my friend for inviting some people who did nothing but interrupt the meeting and leaving me to fend for myself. I would have done so in the past and thankfully I'm not like that anymore.

Before the group broke up for the night, I left some word that we'll start again next Friday at an earlier time. I smiled to hide my disappointment. After getting out of the place I said my goodbyes and walked away without ever looking back. I sometimes blamed myself for what happened, I should have been more aggressive and I should have arrived a tad earlier. A lot of "should haves..." Would that have made a difference? Discovered a site for Christians who suffer from depression. Makes me feel better knowing there are others who know what I'm going through sometimes. I'll discuss more about this later. Maybe tomorrow.

Took another e-mode test and before it gave out the result it informed me that I'm currently about 979,791,831 seconds old. Hokay... Emode's original inkblot test result is here and it's good news:
Heff, your unconscious mind is driven most by Peace

You are driven by a higher purpose than most people. You have a deeply-rooted desire to facilitate peacefulness in the world. Whether through subtle interactions with love ones, or through getting involved in social causes, it is important to you to influence the world.

You are driven by a desire to encourage others to think about the positive side of things instead of focusing on the negative. The reason your unconscious is consumed by this might stem from an innate fear of war and turmoil. Thus, to avoid that uncomfortable place for you, your unconscious seeks out the peace in your environment.

Usually, the thing that underlies this unconscious drive is a deep respect for humankind. You care about the future of the world, even beyond your own involvement in it. As a result, your personal integrity acts as a surrogate for your deeper drive toward peace and guides you in daily life towards decisions that are respectful toward yourself and others.

Though your unconscious mind is driven most strongly by Peace, there is much more to who you are at your core.

Whoa. Hehehe... cool!

I'm still waiting for the text message my friend is gonna send me if there will be a get together with his gang tonight or not. Honestly I'm really looking forward to spending time with them (these are the same friends of his from high school) and if ever it doesn't push through I won't be disappointed. I can always go back to my favorite haunt and draw some more in my sketchpad while sipping hot choco.


This is the first time that the evaluation of an emode test shocked the socks out of me, but before they gave the results I was informed that I'm currently 11,339 days old (uh... thanks.). Here's the result:
Heff, you're a POLITICIAN!

Your personality is actually determined by two personality sub-types - your primary, or dominant sub-type, and your secondary sub-type. You are a Politician which means you are a Success / Golden. Your primary sub-type is defined by "Success" characteristics and your secondary sub-type is defined by "Golden" characteristics.

That means you're forceful, innovative, and popular with the masses. Chances are you aggressively pursue your goals, and you enjoy impressing people. You've always been surrounded by friends and loved ones and have a natural sense of showmanship.

How do we know all this? How do we know that you're perfect for any work that requires personal interaction? How could we have divined that you would never say anything that offends anyone — at least to their face?

Because while you were taking the test, you answered four different types of questions — questions that measured confidence, apprehension, willingness to take risks, and your focus on experience versus appearance — the primary traits that determine your personality. Based on your responses, we determined your personality type, Politician.

And that's just scratching the surface.

Me? A politician?! I... uh-uh... No way!

Here's an excerpt from an interview with comic creator Carlo Vergara:

BW: You said that the characters are based on real people. Are you part of the cast?
CV: Admittedly, each of the characters has a part of me. I'd like to think that's common in a lot of creators when they write different characters.

The thing that pops into my mind is that in the same way the Creator imbued not a part of him in his masterpieces but his very own image. Wow.

I did it. I came fro my friend's office late afternoon. He even fed me some lunch (what gave him the idea that I hadn't eaten yet?). He was there with his older brother and I even sat through a business meeting together with his two brothers. It was really, cool. He even said that I should have been there earlier so that we could have eaten lunch together. Wow. I met his youngest brother, Joel, around 5 years ago and here he was again. I met his older brother this last January during our alumni homecoming. Didn't realize that business was that hard too on their part.

Joel brought along his college buddy who had a business proposition for the others about this construction deal in the province of Negros. All the while my friend and his older brother was talking about the business I imagined the words being filtered out of my brain. It was all gibberish to me. During the short lulls, I heard that the three brothers had really notorious reputations in Don Bosco. I guess if you were in high school during the second half of the 80s and early nineties it would be impossible not to hear about them. So it was true, they had notoriety back then. Anyway I already conquered my intimidation over them and am now looking at a good friend. Hehehe... oh yeah, whenever he introduced me to his friends and to his brothers he would refer to me as his batchmate. I'd like to think that it carried more weight than being referred to as just one of his friends. He has lots and lots of them.


They say that confession is good for the soul, that's why I have another confession to make. Do you know when things said or done are too good to be true that you tend to think that indeed they are? You can still strike a balance somewhere in there. The problem begins when you have been assured over and over that it's not the case. Take my friend from high school for instance. I have so much problems with my self-esteem that back then I thought that I was born to be a welcome mat. You also know how it is in high school were people project themselves to be larger than life. This friend of mine, well we weren't friends back then, was the ring leader of the nastiest bullies in school so I was constantly in awe. Fast forward to the present where I'm now reaping good rewards for the talent God has given me. Those people I was in awe of and whose antics I laughed at are now the "stars" of a comic strip that I'm doing. Friend winds up of the news after being informed by me through mail about his character, and now it's his turn to be in awe of what I'm doing. He treats me like a long lost friend everytime we meet and it's good. Seems like I'm now vindicated after all those years, he gives me some privileges (I'm one of the very select who are invited to his upcoming wedding, he invites me to his office and his weekly get-togethers with his gang, he wants to finance the publication of my book, etc.) and I'm here thinking... is this too good to be true? I'm thinking that something's still screwy with my self-esteem here to be thinking this way up until now.


It's been raining last Saturday and it seems that everyday the intensity just seems to increase. The glass door and the windows of the shop have already begun to fog. I could only think how wonderful everything is outside. Though business have been slow I can't help think of the blessings of being able to witness such a wonderful scene outside. Innocent as it may seem I just can't get over my fascination over rain. It's like witnessing a miracle before your eyes.


I had another birthday celebration for an old friend from high school and his fiancee last night. I consider it a privilege for him to be joining me in celebrating my birthday. Why? Back then in high school he was the ringleader of all the bullies in our batch with connections in the upper classmen, he's also the son of a high ranking military officer. While I was one of the more quiet ones who prefer to sit in one corner and just doodle away. I dunno the reason but he never bullied me, ever. Fast forward to a few years after our graduation, here he is all tamed and very, very cordial.


I just finished another pen sketch of two not-so-new characters on my sketchpad. Everything's so good I can't even help myself look back on those I've done and admire the handiwork. After constructing the initial pencil sketches I do the outlines and finish it with a black ballpen. I learned the use of this wonderfful pen from a classmate of mine from college. He does these incedibly photorealistic sketches using pencils, markers, and pens. I like using this particular brand of ballpen since it never blots and you can use it to achieve different shades of grey like a pencil except it's permanent.


So sorry for missing out on a couple of days. I felt so bad after clicking the archives button and realizing that about three week's worth of posts cannot be read due to some unknown error. I thought then "What's the use of writing if it cannot be viewed?" A major blow to my artistic pride. I hate it. But life must go on. Hopefully what happened back then was just a fluke.

Aren't massages supposed to help you relax? I had my very first foot spa and massage last night and the sole still hurts until now. I thought at first that it was all normal to feel some pain while being massaged but what happened last night was sheer torture. I think the masseuse was trying to kill the nerves there in my feet.


Haha! I'm having an extended birthday celebration today thanks to family and friends! My sister gave me a Marithe+Girbaud vanity bag, my mom and dad gave me P500.00 each, my college friend, Karl, gave me a special *NSync album (hawhaw!) and an opportunity to publish a brand new strip in their magazine, and then a high school friend gave permission to move the celebration to next Saturday and sent a text card greeting me on my birthday. Cool! I'm feeling more upbeat today compared to yesterday which was quite tiring. Well, anyway, I've invited another old friend to have dinner... Ok, that friend just called me on the phone and said that she can't leave her place of work so I suggested that we'll order Yellow Cab Pizza for her and her shopmates after I get off work. I also followed up the invitations for my college friends in tomorrow's birthday dinner.

Oh yeah, this is more like it. Thanks Dad! Hehe...


One of the biggest problems writers and comic artists dread have hit me early on right before deadline: Mental Block. I'm caught in a rut, I have several situations for the next strip and I can't pick one of them. Do I use the main character's point of view to establish the joke or do I use the other character's? Trying to come up with something funny is turning out to be something I want to cry over right now.


A highly spirited man once said "Dude, there's no existing holy mess in this world that hasn't been bothering anybody and everybody, like, since forever." I thought about this after typing my journal entry last night. He's right. Which made me wonder, what was I thinking all along? It's said that the first step in winning the battle is to expose your enemy and I did, it's called: Xenophobia, a morbid fear of strangers. Creepy. It's the end result of a series of little known ADD symptoms, like the opposite of hyperactivity. It all makes perfect sense now. There are lots more that are yet to be identified, they're just there hiding in the nook and crannies of the psyche. It would definitely take a while before anything happens.

Just got home from our artists' support group meeting called the Artists' Den. Finally finished the first part of the discussion, the one I was dreading about for a couple of weeks now. How was it, you ask? If I was to rate the discussion, I'd give it an average grade. I lead the discussion and I'm giving myself an average grade. Quite ironic that one of the topics we discussed was about self-doubts and being your own worst critic... Am I being too hard on myself? If I were to ask my Dad about the way the meeting was conducted what will he say? Did he like it? Did I properly disseminate the information to the others? Did he really like it? Aaarrgh and double aaaaaarrrggh! I didn't prepare too much for the discussion! I only read the materials this morning, my mind was somewhere else I couldn't concentrate on what I was reading, I thought I could handle it. I have so many excuses. Please forgive me.

One of the things they opened up was the common fear of criticism. I was afraid of not getting one and some of them were afraid of getting one. What I got from the meeting, I thought I could read from their faces and body language were non interest and boredom or was this just me being too hard on myself? Did I get through to them? Why is the first time usually the hardest of them all? Why can't it all be easy? Dad I just wanted them to feel at home, to feel some security within each other. Why do I condemn myself over this? Dad looks at the invisible side while I remain focused on the outside. What would you say to me over all this? Did I get the answers for myself too?

On the way home, near the entrance to our street one of my childhood playmates called out to me. He was in a group of other guys having a drinking spree. I just smiled back in acknowledgment. I hate for them to think that I was a snob or something. It also got me thinking who was more intimidated? Was I more intimidated or were they of me? Do they see me as someone they couldn't talk to because I'm this snobbish guy surrounded by high walls and parents who could afford to provide for me? I'm intimidated of them because they're intimidated of me. I'm intimidated because I fear that they could do harm if they decided they don't like me. It's like I'm surrounded by my high walls and I feel safe in it. I don't bother them, they don't bother me. There's something wrong with this thinking but I couldn't get over it. Left to my own devices I really couldn't and wouldn't. Good thing he's there to help.

He's a lot more patient with me than myself. He even knows me even better than I do. The thing is I don't get to thank him much about everything he's done for me and except for some very small talk I haven't been in contact with him for some months now. *Sigh* I aim to start talking to him again right before I go to sleep and again tomorrow and the day after that till next week, etc. I should, I haven't been my jolly old self lately and there are a lot I should be talking to him.


Here's something from the Department of Forwarded E-mails. Sometimes you get something that's worth keeping and sharing with the others. Thank you Dad for those!

* * *

Marty wakes up at home with a huge hangover. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins and a glass of water on the side table. He sits down and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. Marty looks around the room and sees that it is in a perfect order, spotless, clean. So's the rest of the house. He takes the aspirins and notices a note on the table "Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping. Love you."

So he goes to the kitchen and sure enough there is a hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating. Marty asks, "Son, what happened last night?" His son says, "Well, you came home after 3 A.M., drunk and delirious. Broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and gave yourself a black eye when you stumbled into the door."

Confused, Marty asks, "So, why is everything in order and so clean, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?" His son replies, "Oh that! Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you said, "Lady, leave me alone, I'm married!"

I dreamed of John Goodman again last night. He's my favorite actor all the way from his Roseanne days. He appeared in the second part of my dream and quite subtle at that. It was I believe in a bar/saloon near an alley in Quiapo (the whole thing had a yellowish tinge to it making it look like a scene from an old western). There were some people who were either paying homage to somebody or asking for something or maybe it was an audition for a play. What happened was, one of the guys there broke out into a song complete with some back-up performers dancing in the same way he was. I thought that this small revue was quite entertaining so I stayed on to watch. They rolled on the tables and did some great moves like some veterans from a New York musical. Then I recognized one of the back performers to be John Goodman and after the song and dance lasting for about a minute or so the group broke up and resumed their normal routine. John went out the door and walked up the alley vanishing from sight when he turned left around a corner.

I forgot the what happened next but the scene I remembered then was that were on our way to church. The church building looked like a cross between that of San Antonio de Padua in Forbes Park and that in Old Manila, surrounded by a park-like surroundings near a small craggly hill. I was with my brothers and sister (strangely I recall them being younger than I am, and me being around 10 or 11 years old in that part of the dream) and our mom. We were dressed in black formal clothes like we're going to attend a funeral or something when I saw John again coming out of the car in front of the church, also dressed in a black suit. We were already inside the church's compound when my mom saw John turn turn around towards the hill right outside the gate. She wondered where my uncle was going and asked me to go bring him back ("Saan papunta Tito mo? Sunduin mo nga baka naliligaw."). My uncle? Wow. I was extremely happy to find out that I was related to him. He was already walking up a the small hill as if he was looking for something when I got to him. The other details after this is now a blur but the scene continued right to next where we're in front of the church talking after the mass. I forgot what happened but apparently some members of the poor were holding a grudge of some sort and in a mafia sort of way, with their shotguns and riding on a blue car they drove through the church gates stopping right in front of the group and started firing (I was on a ledge at the right side of the stairs, John was in front of me with some others). I wasn't shot but I pretended to be dead, John was shot on the arm and he slumped back near me. I remember trying hard not to breathe too deep or else I would be found out and finished off. I whispered to my "uncle" that he should also lie still and pretend to be dead. He asked what my plan was and told me to be careful. It all felt so real, I could feel his weight on my upper arm. I actually felt no pain and in thinking back, I don't think I was shot at all. The dream was cut short when I moved my leg, forcing me to wake up a little and change the dream. Hehehe... kinda weird that I even tried to breathe lightly while sleeping. Small wonder why I couldn't do it.

Why does reality have to suck so much? This was something that's bothering me earlier today while I was trying to recall my dream last night. I didn't have a very good start right in the middle of breakfast. I guess I shouldn't have reacted in such a way too, that instead of letting it get to me I should have let it all pass around me like a brick wall. The thing with fantasy is that you can expect everything to be really different and out of the ordinary. And mostly because it's a world of your own making. In it you can expect everybody to be who you expect them to be. For comic strip artists, it's world populated by stereotypical characters plus some talking animals. You don't expect it to be suck since they're your own creation and they can't do anything that would surprise you. That even without a map you'd know everything is and there's remotely anything dark in it. At least in my comic strip world. Maybe that's why fantasy appeals so much to us, if reality works the way we expect them to be then there would no need to dream or hope is there? Creativity would be stifled. Now that sucks.


I got to watch the VCD part of the Linkin Park album that I bought last Sunday. I haven't listened to their music and I probably won't given the contents of the lyrics I read over the internet. But I have to admire these guys for coming up with a great concept album that includes a booklet with the lyrics and some shots of the graffiti artwork they did while recording it. I haven't explored the interactive part of the CD since my PC's getting screwy with the memory. I'll get back to that later. Then the VCD part, it features all 34 minutes of footages and interviews with the band members recounting their experiences and concepts while making the album. Turns out they started eighteen months ago with bits and pieces of some guitar riffs and what-have-yous they recorded while on tour (apparently they made a make-shift recording studio at the back of their bus so they could record some ideas as it comes to them). I also learned that Mike Shinoda's the brain behind the group. Ok, include Joe Hahn in the picture but Mike's more active in directing the flow of everything in this album. I don't really know if that it's a common practice, but the way they did it here was to split the recording of the instruments (come to think of it, it's almost the same procedure for doing comics) starting with the drums, then the bass, guitars, disks, and finally the vocals. All in all I like the lot and there's a lot to get from the video too. Hmmm... that's about it.

Just got home from eating out with the family in Bubba Gump, Greenbelt. They have a very nice set up, very casual and quite homey. The service is fast and effecient, and the food! Oh you have to see the size of the shrimps they serve. Oh boy! The shrimps are really big and fresh. I had the drunken shrimps with sausage and mashed potatoes and they were deeelicious! But enough endorsements here, I scanned the place where I could take my friends for a belated birthday celebration this weekend. I'm seeing that some of the restaurants there are too serious, like you have to be on your best behavior when you're there. Decisions, decisions. Hmmm... do I take them to a bar/restaurant? Was it a good decision to ask my friend to bring the wife? He did last year and I thought that maybe he will be doing the same this year, why not ask? Should this be a boys' night out instead? If I change the invitation, would the wifey get miffed? Decisions, decisions.

Some thoughts on turning another year: Yeah it's been okay so far. The morning was great, my family's really great with all the birthday greetings and birthday hugs and birthday smiles. Everything's great. Really. Even my Tita Letty from Malolos sent me a text message saying: The day is not yet over. Nakahabol pa ako. Happy birthday Ariel So far it's been mostly women who remembered my birthday today. There's one guy who greeted me on my birthday but he wasn't sure if it was today and one longtime friend who remembered my birthday by calling long distance from the U.S. (thanks bro! I apologize I didn't recognize you immediately. But it really meant a lot to me you remembered). Ok. As opposed to my landmark birthday last year, I had something to look forward to since I had dinner with a long lost friend and his wife in Makati. This time I have the remaining weekends of this month for me to be with my friends. I've always been expecting one's birthday to be really full of activities and people remembering to greet you with all smiles and gifts. It's something I kept from my childhood and something I wouldn't let go. I could be king for a day! I wish everyday could be my birthday (a wishful thinking that comes second to "I wish it's Christmas everyday") It happens without fail, every year I look forward to a noisy birthday celebration and every year I get a moderate gathering of a handful of love ones. Not that I'm complaining here, it would have been nice though if there were many people to celebrate this special day. I've had enough with apathy here... the silence is too deafening.


I hate it whenever I'm in a creative straitjacket. When anything that requires thinking becomes a struggle. I probably didn't help with me being in front of the computer surfing the net from morning till night with the radio on plus the TV showing the most boring movie I've ever watched. I got a bit of a cold that ended with a mild headache that made thinking even more of a struggle. I was researching something on how the armor of a roman soldier works and something on the subject of fear that will be discussed before two different groups. Good thing the meeting for tomorrow was cancelled so that leaves me enough room to research for the artists' group. The load's not that heavy given the time I have to work on. I think that maybe thinking too much at the same time contributed to my burn out. Funny thing too, when my friend Azrael from the Artists' Den invited me to eat out with him in a nearby mall he told me that he's also experiencing a burn out. Good thing he invited me out, I needed a time out at the time. I managed to eat something through that headache, not much to eat but it did the trick. We went back to the shop and waited till it closed before going home. Tomorrow's my birthday and just when you're expecting everyone to be there at home watching TV or reading the papers, they're asleep. *Sigh*


I swear to never eat another Ebi Tempura and dumplings in Saisaki for years on end. Even after so many months of staying away from Japanese buffet, the moment I took a bite of the dumplings and the tempura I was ready to surrender. Don't get me wrong, it tastes really great, but if you're nearly full from a couple of plateful of Japanese food prior to that then you would know what I'm talking about. It brought my appetite to zero. Good thing there were some ice cream and fruit platter in that place.

We still had a very good celebration of Mother's Day for this year. It's a bit amusing and heartwarming when everybody thinks that their mothers are the best. Over all the years of tutoring us in school and bearing with all our shortcomings it's only fitting that we show her how much we love her. Pastor Steve had a good message about the faith of mothers in our morning service, then it's off to the music store to buy the Linkin Park CD (got me a free magazine and bottled ice tea too). I browsed through some titles and listened to Aaliyah's song again. I really liked her song "I Miss You", I could also use the story she used in that song for my strip too. Passed by Powerbooks and the former Tower Records before walking back to the MRT. On the way home I thought of buying some flowers for my mom, I withdrew P200 and looked at the two available concessionaires but it was way over my set budget. Then I thought of buying a cake but the selection was too small and it didn't feel right buying them. I sent a SMS asking if she'd rather watch the new X-men movie later. On the way out I passed by Art Cakes and bought a ready made cake that fits my budget to a tee. Good looking cake too with nice balance of colors and small silver balls scattered around its surface. Wonder if it's edible.


Now that the exciting phase of planning is over the most important thing to ask oneself now is: Now what? We already announced the plans for the return of the workhops in the artists' support group, divided the crowd into smaller groups, and scheduled them accordingly. I'm looking at the two topics we have to dissect and expand in time for next week's meeting and my mind's blanking out. There's going to be a lot of research involved here and I'm going to need all the help I can get. I just have to get my act in order before anything else.


It's been close to three years ever since we established an artist's support group and it's almost a year since we last met together doing activities that fostered creativity bonding different artist together. Back then I was one of those who helped thought of those activities I wasn't a facilitator. I'm an introvert, I don't talk to people much. Now that the group's meeting again for weeks minus my friends and co-founders I'm forced to take charge of the group. At first I was in denial, I couldn't and wouldn't take the job vacated by my friends. I was willing to attend the meetings, become an observer and that's it. I was afraid of making a mess of things so I took the easy way out. But you just can't leave these people without doing anything. If you're given the opportunity to lead would you give it up? Turning one's back on something he's meant to do will be like, as one prophet said in the past, "a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot." *sigh* In my search for help in how to go about it I came across this site that details a series of workshops custom made for artists, writers, and performers. At least I have something to work on this time.

Caedmon's Call

Sometimes I believe all the lies
So I can do the things I should despise
And everyday I am swayed
By whatever is on my mind
I hear it all depends on my faith
So I'm feeling precarious
The only problem I have with these mysteries
Is they're so mysterious

And like a consumer I've been thinking
If I could just get a bit more
More than my fifteen minutes of faith
Then I'd be secure

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

I've begged you for some proof
For my Thomas eyes to see
A slithering staff, a leprous hand
And lions resting lazily
A glimpse of your back-side glory
And this soaked altar going ablaze
But you know I've seen so much
And I explained it away

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

Waters rose as my doubts reigned
My sand-castle faith it slipped away
Found myself standing on your grace
It'd been there all the time

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

* * *

This is one of the songs that my fave radio station has in its hit list. Good melody, even greater lyrics that speak of what I feel a lot these days.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome's a new medical term I read from the Kevin and Kell strip yesterday. What I found out on the net about it looked very interesting:

CTS occurs when tendons or ligaments in the wrist become enlarged, often from inflammation, after being aggravated. The narrowed tunnel of bones and ligaments in the wrist pinches the nerves that reach the fingers and the muscles at the base of the thumb. The first symptoms usually appear at night. Symptoms range from a burning, tingling numbness in the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers, to difficulty gripping or making a fist, to dropping things. Some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome are due to work-related cumulative trauma of the wrist. Diseases or conditions that predispose to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome include pregnancy, diabetes, and obesity.

Given the length of time I spend typing in front of the computer I think I should be a lot more careful. Who says you can't learn anything from comics?

Is the barber considered an artist or a craftsman? We, three friends who founded an artists' support group, discussed about the difference between a craftsman and an artist. A craftsman is someone who by undergoing apprenticeship under a master artist got the hang of replicating the same work of art over and over again almost never deviating from the same format. If ever the craftsman deviates from it, there’s not much of a difference from the original. While the artist creates something material starting out from an abstract idea. The work comes alive as he/she pours out his heart and soul into the art. Now given the different "canvasses" barbers are given to work on their stuff, can they be regarded as artists or craftsmen? They’re bound to adapt the haircut depending on the shape of the head, so this makes them more of a craftsman? Are all hairstylists artists? But there are barbers who undergo extensive training for them to be more proficient in their job. After they graduate from these schools, are they now called artists? Hmmm… prolly depends on how inventive they can be with new techniques as they go on.


Today's Cartoonist Day in the U.S.! Hooray! I just learned about it when one of the regulars of the Alamat Comics mailing list brought it to our attention. Coolness. You can check out the official site for this event and see a list of some of the best web comics there is. Here's an additional list of web toons I frequently read:

Beerkada. Bias aside this strip is indeed really funny. The only limitation here is that the characters sometimes talk in Tagalog.

FoxTrot. This isn't a webcomic in the strictest sense of the word but at least I get my daily dose of humor online if ever I miss the paper.

General Protection Fault. Really funny but it gets too deep sometimes so starting from the very beginning is very much recommended.

Hound's Home. This is one of the best strips about high school life. I give this two thumbs up for making me laugh out loud like an idiot. Start out from the beginning to get a feel of the strip and the characters.

Kevin and Kell. A divorced rabbit with an adopted English hedgehog and a wolf widow with her cub gets married. How much crazier can it get? More than you can ever imagine. Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud!

Ozy and Millie. Mildly funny but you'll get used to it.

Pearls Before Swine. One of the best I've ever seen and read, you'd hardly believe that this is made by a former lawyer with no background as an artist or cartoonist. Hallmark cards type of drawing with biting humor. Yum!

PvP Online. Scott Kurtz's strip is one of the best known in online comics. So successful he was in fact recently signed up by Image Comics as one of their current lineup of titles.

Sherman's Lagoon. This is also a syndicated strip that appears in some newspapers.

The Class Menagerie. This has one of the best written storylines in comic strips. Too bad he had to retire the strip to pursue other interests. Best read right from the beginning and get the tissues ready when you get to the last installment.

The Adventures of Skully. Morbid humor at its best.

That's about it. Hopefully next year Cartoonist Day would get a bigger attention and hopefully I would be able to contribute something to Free Comic Book Day too.

I finally submitted two weeks worth of comic strips to Philippine News and just in time too. I got the notice from their webmaster and layout artist, Rey last Friday leaving me with three days to do the comic strips. I did the best I could do with an idea for the punchline minus the script which I could leave for last. Weird as it may sound, I like living on the edge and having a deadline loom in the horizon works wonders for this cartoonist. For this week's edition I poured everything on the visuals and not much on the script. I haven't got enough handle on the new characters to throw a really good joke, they could act well to deliver a good story but that's about it for the moment. My previous characters took years before I figured out their personalities and maybe these set of characters will take that same route too. Right now I'm thinking of introducing new ones into the stable. I'll just stand back and see if there's going to be some chemistry between all of them.


There's something really awesome when you see an old friend after all these years. There's still that unspoken bond between two individuals that remain unbroken even after some years of no contact between them. It's like what I said to one of our high school pals on his despedida party: "The friendship will always be there and it will never be broken. Just think of it as being put on suspended animation to be revived again when the opportunity comes." This exact thing happened between me and my high school friend Mark. Funny how I only got to know him through my friends on our second year high school and how we turned out to be that much closer to each other in comparison to the others in our group. Even after all these years his appearance never changed much, he still has that almost round face, stooped chubby figure, brown hair, and bawdy attitude. We talked about his wife, kids, job, plans for the future, and the things he experienced in the United States. He's leaving again on Friday and I do hope that we and the others in our group could go out have an early birthday dinner before that. I also pray that we could have some more time to talk and catch up with each other before he goes.

I finally got to watch the X-Men movie last night! All I can say is it's all worth the expensive movie ticket paid for in Rockwell mall. The story set the stage for the appearance of the all powerful Phoenix in the third installment. Wolverine's character stands out again along with Mystique, who thankfully makes a comeback this time. Another unforgettable scene invloves Nightcrawler's fight scene teleporting in and out, socking and bopping out the secret service agents (the explosive sound his teleporting creates never sounded that good). Lady Deathstrike's character could have been a lot better and the same goes for Pyro. Other mutants who made a cameon in movie are Colossus, Siryn (?), Kitty Pryde, Gambit, and Hank McCoy.


I got an unexpected SMS message late this afternoon from one of the administrators of PEx, Mike's mother died in an accident in Caliraya. Mike's the site designer and one of the founders of the forum, the same guy who gave me a ride the last time the forum Moderators and Administrators had dinner in Makati early this month. The news came as a shock even though I didn't really know him that well, I could only text back and ask for his number to let him know that I empathize with him in his time of grief. But when I got the number and I was composing a message my mind went blank. What do you say to a man who just lost his mother? All the messages I tried to compose came off too imposing or too distant. I gave up after three attempts and sent a text message back to my friend asking for some news as they come. I could only empathize with Mike's family, usually in times of sadness and grief the mother would be there to console the others with her presence and love. But what happens if it's the beloved wife and mother who goes ahead of the others? Who then would bring the same consolation to the others?

About an hour ago, on my way back to the shop from the bookstore, I thought of the events again and how fleeting life could turn out to be. Some people would just live life the way they please without any thought of its impact in light of eternity. Sometimes I find myself asking, what would people say about me when I die? How many lives have I impacted for the better? What would God say to me when I meet him? Would he affirm my life as something that pleased him? I read in a book somewhere about the wishes of a faithful servant and how he wanted to be remembered by three simple words written on his tombstone: He loved God. I also want the same.


Should I or shouldn't I get the Meteora album by Linkin Park? Why? Well first of all the CD comes with a neat behind the scenes look at the creation of the album (a steal at P500), I'm impressed with their work ethic towards the creating the best possible music they could offer, and I wanna have a goatee like Rob does. Hehehe... Ok the last point is moot. I'm also reading through the lyrics of the album's songs right now. After the first couple of songs that talk about independence from the regrets of the past, the other songs now begin to speak of pain, regret, anger, confusion. Now that's really scary. The last song speaks of wrapping oneself in a shell to keep out all the pain, the sadness and the hurt. So scratch the album. I won't try to listen to it but how about the VCD? Is the VCD worth five hundred smackers? Can I just buy the whole thing, sell the album and keep video to myself? Now why would I like the video? What's it worth to me? This requires a lot more thought. Later.