I temporarily changed the old format of this blog since something went really wrong with the old one. I tried to change some codes on the HTML format after getting some practice in the offline version (which worked). Until I can figure some way to get the original format to start publishing my entries then I guess this will have to do. Isn't it neat?

Click on the archives to see what I mean.


Here's a pretty good reaction from artist Whilce Portacio to the Hulk movie that some people didn't like. I liked it.
Subject: Re: [alamat] Re: The Hulk: My turn to nitpick and grit!

Saw "Hulk" the day after it came out and loved it. Strange phenomenon...beforehand watching the trailers the CGI seemed rubbery but while actually watching the movie it didn't seem rubbery at all. As a film buff I was amazed at Ang's use of video transition effects in order to mimic comicbook panels. Split screen has been used before especially in the 70's and in Star Wars movies but here he shows everybody how to use them purposefully, he's created another video language. The action scenes surpass the Matrix Reloaded in their granduer and sheer chaos. The sense of power shown in the destruction was what I was expecting in Reloaded. The only people I have noted that didn't like the movie were the ones hoping for light entertainment like "Spiderman"...Ang's "Hulk" is dark, scary, and powerful...I hope this starts a trend in Hollywood where serious professional film directors decide to use the creative freedom that is inherent in the Superhero genre and make serious, lasting movies about the human condition like Ang Lee's "Hulk"...


Grrrr! I still can't figure out this HTML-thingie! Heffer SMASH!!!


I finished the first of two planned online portfolios here. This first one contains pen and ink sketches I did on a very grand sketchpad with a red cover (hence the title). But it's still tentative and if I get to think of a more appropriate title for the album, out it goes. Hehehe... I'm musing here that people might think there's a commie meaning behind it. I'm also thinking the "red" comes from the sense that art is my life's blood too. Hmmm... deep. Cool.


I just cleaned out my personal work space of all the scratch papers, plastic bags, books, sketches, fax papers, receipts, and an assortment of junk. Funny how artists in general can work right through a disorderly environment (I prefer to call it chaotic order) to produce something orderly and b-e-a-utiful. People marvel at the clean lines my final work produces, if they saw how I pencilled them first they'd be surprised to see how "dirty" my pencilling is. Ahem. I'd like to point out that the very first Artist also worked out something creative and beautiful out of chaos. And we, who bear the Creator's image, also do the things he did.

But the disorder inside my work space, the one I just cleaned out, is different. I can't explain how. Mebbe it just got out of hand and I can't do any serious drawing with all that junk around me, things get in the way. It's just too distracting. Now that I got those out of the way, the mighty creative powers of cartooning can continue. At least until the trash starts accumulating again and I start getting comfortable with it.

My temper would be the death of me. I still can't seem to manage it and look at all those little kiddy toes I've stepped on. To think that I used to pride myself in the fact that I love kids, now I've become an ogre. I've lost count of the times I let my temper get the best of me raising my voice against this kid who regularly plays PS2 games here at the shop. I'd be really grateful if he still decides to come back tomorrow.


I just got back from a very successful Toy Convention at the Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall. I've been there the whole day (except for about an hour when I had to rush back to the shop to make sure that my assistant has his lunch break) and it's been really, really fun. I had so much energy drawing and drawing some stuff in my sketchpad, in the sketchpad of two others, and one fan who bought an ashcan and I drew another detailed self-caricature on the inside cover. Fellow artist Dennis Crisostomo (Image's He-man comics) was stupefied that I could last that long doing all those sketches non-stop. I'm surprised myself too. Probably all those times when I was frustrated from the lack of drawing time came back big time. All those drawings... my preciousssss. Hehehe... I'm tired, I'll talk more about this tomorrow.


We another letter from the Department of Fowarded E-mails:
The Honda ad you have to watch!

New Honda commercial in the UK. Very important that you understand: There are no computer graphics or digital tricks in the film. Everything you see really happened in real time exactly as you see it.

The film took 606 takes. On the first 605 takes, something, usually very minor, didn't work. They would then have to set the whole thing up again.

The crew spent weeks shooting night and day. By the time it was over, they were ready to change professions. The film cost six million dollars and took three months to complete including a full engineering the sequence. In addition, it's two minutes long so every time Honda airs the film on British television, they're shelling out enough dough to keep any one of us in clover for a lifetime. However, it is fast becoming the most downloaded advertisement in Internet history.

Honda executives figure the ad will soon pay for itself simply in "free" viewings (Honda isn't paying a dime to have you watch this commercial!).

When the ad was pitched to senior executives, they signed off on it immediately without any hesitation -- including the costs.

There are six and only six hand-made Accords in the world. To the horror of Honda engineers, the filmmakers disassembled two of them to make the film. Everything you see in the film (aside from the walls, floor, ramp, and complete Honda Accord) are parts from those two cars. The voiceover is Garrison Keillor.

When the ad was shown to Honda executives, they liked it and commented on how amazing computer graphics have gotten. They fell off their chairs when they found out it was for real. Oh, and about those funky windshield wipers. On the new Accords, the windshield wipers have water sensors and are designed to start doing their thing automatically as soon as they become wet. It looks a bit weird in the commercial.

It's cool but excruciatingly slow when viewed in our PC. Aargh! Have to get a better server and higher memory.

All of us are familiar with those rare times when you think and feel that nothing could ever bring you down. I'm experiencing one of those times right at this very moment. I've just had a very hearty lunch of ginisang monggo, fried bangus, heaping helpings of rice, champorado with loads of evaporated milk, and a slice of sansrival. Yum-yum! Rare are those times when you feel this good after eating a feast. Weather's good too and I can't wait to start on another West Side comic strip. Ahhh... this is the life.


One of my good friends, and all-around Event Manager, Azrael has a new blog! He calls it his own Merryland which is really cool. Nice braces too.

The computer I'm usually using is all messed up, I can't open any big files in Photoshop since the scratch disks are already full. I'm not really sure what that means but I'm really frustrated with the way things are going. I transferred all the important files to this other PC. I'm abandoning ship and I hope to salvage all the bookmarked sites that I have in that other computer.

Now I'm really hungry. Have a sudden craving for Italian spaghetti...


The curse of having very formidable padlocks is that they not only keep unauthorized people out, they also keep others from going in if things don't work out the way they should. Story begins last night after being left alone late at night trying to submit the first strip to the US via email (darn Yahoo! mail keeps bringing me back to the log-in page after every excruciating wait to attach the drawing). I broke one key which I thought opened one padlock, I shrugged it off and brought the padlock and the broken key home. Fast forward to this morning when I gave the key and explained everything to my assistant who usually comes in first to open the shop. Assistant goes back to get the broken key after finding out that the one he has fails to open the others. I told him he should bring some pliers so he could open it without any hitch. I thought he understood everything so I left him alone. Big mistake.

There was a big confusion when I got to the shop, it wasn't open and my assistant was nowhere to be found. Turns out he didn't follow my instructions and even lost the broken key. We had to spend a couple hours more standing around and calling people on the phone asking for copies of the key and having our maintenance man come over to try and shatter the padlock. After trying to saw it off, he used a small mallet (almost breaking a finger in the process), finally he used an electric driver (more like a small circular saw) effectively cutting off the metal arc of the lock. Sheesh! Why didn't we think of that earlier? After spending, like, more than three hours of our time trying to break the lock.

Awright! I just finished the second of two West Side strips and submitted it to the paper. Right now I'm all out of ideas where to bring the story next, should I continue on with the school scenes or should I focus on the appearance of a new character? I usually get to decide on the final outcome a couple of hours before the deadline, by then I would be rushing on a rough outline of the story and worry about the script after I finished coloring the strips in Photoshop. I wish I could force myself to come up with a whole month's advance submission. I also have another submission to worry about, well not exactly worry since I'm fortunate enough to work with publishers who are very, very lenient with deadlines.


I was able to watch another movie last night just to satisfy my curiosity: Darkness Falls. The story starts out really promising with these old sepia pictures and a narration that sets the plot of the movie. The title comes from the name of a small, sleepy coastal town with a dark secret. There lived an old widow named Matilda Dixon in the same town 150 years before, children adored her for the gold coins she gave to them in exchange for their baby-tooth (thereby earning the nickname "Tooth Fairy"). But tragedy struck one night, a great fire burned through her house severely disfiguring her face. She also suffered pain when her burned skin is exposed to light so she only went out at night and she wore a white porcelain mask to hide her disfigured features. One day two children failed to come home after going to her house, an angry mob forcibly took her from her house and tied a noose around her neck. Before they hanged her they tore off the mask exposing her face and with her dying breath she cursed the people and the town vowing to return everytime kids lose their last baby tooth. Those who were unfortunate to look at her whenever she visits, she kills off. "What was done in kindness, she now vows in revenge." Or something like that. It was unfortunate for the townspeople to do what they did when the two children who were supposedly lost came back the next day. They hushed the news and buried the body along with its dark secret.

Fast forward to the eighties where a kid, Kyle, loses his last baby tooth. He's very much aware of the tale of the tooth fairy (at least the version in their town) and he's worried about what could happen. Unfortunately when the tooth fairy came he got a peek of her face and she tried to kill him because of this (getting a look at her ghost was a big no-no). He hid in the bathroom where a strong light was left on and she killed his mother in turn. Morning came, the authorities carted him off to some foster homes and subjected him to further psychiatric tests. Those were the good parts, the movie went downhill from thereon. The movie didn't stay on plot and the ghost of Matilda just killed and killed almost every adult in town (maybe she finished off all the kids except for one so she's going after the ones she missed?). My parents were right, there were hardly any light in the movie and it was hard to see any details. Aside from the fact that the ghosts was going after the adults, why was she solid and tangible? Weird. This proved to be her undoing in the end.

While surfing the net for some reviews of the movie I came across some funny ones like this (Just keep your eyes peeled for films like "Jack Sprat" and "Humpty Dumpty" in the near future....), this (When the curtain rises on Darkness Falls, eyelids fall.), and this (This movie should have been put under a pillow). If you have watched it and you want to see what the ghost looked like without the mask click this. This site offers a flash animation expanding the legend or history behind the tragedy of Matilda Dixon.


I'm here right now renting an internet café for an hour (me thinks they're using DSL). The stag party didn't push through *whew!* The story why is worth recounting too. I closed the shop early and jumped at the next available MRT to Makati, I sent a text message to my friend Jorge apologizing for being late but that I was on the way (by this time rain clouds have covered most of the sky). I still didn't know what to expect so I was very nervous so I did the only thing I knew whenever I'm scared: i>I talked to my Dad. I whispered my prayers saying I was really, really scared about all this and I needed his help. When I arrived at the Ayala station and well on the way up to the exit I still kept on praying and praying and asking God to deal with the situation. I'm not going to be scared about all this and just leave everything in his hands. Right after exiting through the turnstiles I looked at my phone and saw that Jorge sent back this message a few minutes earlier: txt denis. im stil here at my gf haus. my parents kci will visit tom. i might be late. It was already raining very hard and I didn't want to wait at the gas station where I was to wait so I sent a text message to Dennis asking him where the party was going to be held. I while the time I went to KFC and ordered some mashed potatoes and Mountain Dew. In the whole 40 minutes I waited I sent two messages to Dennis thinking that maybe the first one got lost in the transmission. Not that I would mind if the party didn't push through. A little after 9 pm he texted back: di pa nagttxt c edsel. mukang cancel na yung party. inform mo c jorge I heaved a sigh of relief upon reading that message. I didn't compromise anything and nothing was lost tonight (I have too much respect for women to able to survive one stag party with its provocative actions and stuff). I bought an MRT ticket for the way home, withdrew some money from the ATM near the mall and informed Jorge about the cancelled party. Wow... this is another answered prayer. What's so good about the whole thing was the storm came unannounced, it was the only time it rained that hard (rains stopped around the time I got the last message) and since. Thank God he came through for me.

Oh yeah, we had a big breakfast this morning at the Peninsula Manila in Makati, our first after more than 6 years. Kuya Jim and Ate Gladdys also gave us these neat-o gifts for no reason at all. I got this unique fountain pen with a metal body and luminous colored cap. It has also has these six extra cartridges just in case it runs out. Mama and Daddy had to go meet some potential buyers of this shop leaving the rest of us sibs and sis-in-law some money for coffee in Starbucks. Here's the weird thing, we got to the hotel around 7:30 or a little before 8 am and we went out before 10. That's two and a half hours for breakfast and then coffee at Starbucks for another 3 hours. Then I had a haircut (which looks really good with the goatee) after going home. I'm here at the shop looking at the clock, I'm planning to close up for the night around 7 pm and commute to Makati to meet up with my friend. Hopefully I'd still have time to eat dinner before the party.

Here's an interesting question posted in PEx: if you found out you're going to die in 6 months... can you list down 10 priorities, things you would like to do before you die? Here's what I posted based on the given limited time period:

These are not necessarily in order but it's a pretty good list.

1. Have some time alone with close friends for a series of outing and talking about things I want to say. Finish intructions and talks with friends about their plans for the future.

2. Instruct the next Moderator who will be taking over my duties about the things to expect and do.

3. Draw, draw, and draw everything I could while I still have the strength for it.

4. Publishing and promoting a compilation of works.

5. Print a book about the lessons I learned in life, for private distribution to friends and relatives.

6. Make peace with people I had previous fights with.

7. If budget allows for it, go on a trip to Ireland for a few weeks.

8. Organize one last high school reunion.

9. Distribute material possessions to family and friends.

10. Finalize details for the happy-happy-joy-joy wake and funeral.

I hope this is enough. Speaking of which though, if I had a chance to choose I'd like to go while sleeping on a bed due to old age. By then I'm sure I lived a full and fruitful life.

I'm invited to a stag party tonight in honor of a classmate from high school, it's my first time attending such a thing. What am I supposed to expect? Will I be forced to do some things I would be regretting later on? I'm thinking of giving my friend an advance warning to not make me do things I won't be comfortable with. Nervous? You betcha. But then again maybe I'm just freaking out on this unknown something. Ergh.


For the first time in a very long while i'm enjoying peace and quiet in the workplace. There are no kids playing PS2 and those Battle Realms and Beach Head games in the PCs. Those little noise polluters think and act like they own the place, scaring off net surfers off the place. Think I'll settle down to watch some Miyazaki toons.


There are some things I learned from that visit to a friend earlier this afternoon and some of these are the things that I'm still digesting right now: the reversal of roles and the puzzled look of another old classmate at the sight of a large pizza bought for no reason other than for sharing. The reversal of roles that I'm talking about is between two classmates of mine from high school, Jorge the former bully and Dennis his best friend. Jorge was the feared one in the old times and he's now the more affable chap, while Dennis was the one who clowned around during high school and he's now so serious that I can't help but feel a bit apprehensive around him. I bought some Yellow Cab Pizza on my way to Jorge's office and met them in Figaro's near it. I first met with Dennis and we a little chat (very business like), then after a while Jorge came with a big smile on his face. All throughout our time in that coffee shop Dennis maintained his businessman-like mien while Jorge continued to be very cordial and open. The second thing about the puzzled look on Dennis' face when he saw the pizza, well he certainly didn't expect it but did he enjoy it? Bah! It's just a small matter... I just can't over it. He's really changed or maybe he's just puzzled that I dropped by. Especially since I'm not part of their barkada ever since high school and I'm starting right now. Maybe that's just it. Jorge invited me to the stag party of another friend of theirs (another old classmate of ours) on Saturday. He actually insisted I come without consulting his friend if I should. Hehehe... He's really making sure that I'm comfortable around them and really part of their circle. All this for making him a part of my stable of characters? Whatever the reason is, I sure am thankful that he's turning out to be one very considerate friend.


I was thinking about this yesterday and earlier today on my way to work: What does it feel to be in love? It's been a very long time since that I forgot all about it. Then the lines from a song came to mind,

"You're just too good to be true,
Can't take my eyes off of you.
You'd be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much,
At long last love has arrived,
And I thank God I'm alive.
You're just too good to be true,
Can't take my eyes off of you.

I love you baby, and if it's quite all right,
I need you, baby, to warm the lonely night.
I love you, baby, trust in me when I say:
Oh pretty, baby don't bring me down I pray,
Oh pretty baby, now that I've found you,
Stay and let me love you, baby, let me love you."

That's when I remembered how.

There's a recent surge in exhumation of historical personalities like Chris Columbus, Billy the Kid, and now Queen Nefertiti. Purportedly they would be doing some DNA testing, but the question is why only now? Why the exhumation of the bodies one after the other? Maybe they're putting all the DNAs together and cloning them to create the anti-Christ. Hmmm...

Starts humming the theme song of Twilight Zone "nu-ni-nunu-nu-ni-nunu-nu-ni-nunu..."

Half-moon sightings on cloudless blue skies are such a wonderful phenomenon. Short of being called a miracle (which I think they are part of the everyday sort) people don't really stop to take notice of it. I was on my way back to the shop after eating a very late lunch at home when I noticed it. The "darker" cyan tone of the sky easily blending to a lighter one as you train your eyes from the very top down to the horizon. You won't very much notice it in specific areas but in general. I'm so fascinated with cloudless blue skies that I think it rates up there with rain. Hmmm... I do have something that's itching to be answered: is the color of the sky a reflection of the sea or is the sea a reflection of the sky (in which case the atmosphere filters out the color of space which is in truth the hue of midnight blue)?


I'm almost finished with the coloring and editing of the latest West Side strips and I must say that I really, really enjoy doing it. Though the snail's pace of the PC can be trying at times the rewards of seeing your work look good is reward enough for me. To think that I'm doing all this detailing for me and a small number of people in the mailing list. Well mostly for myself. When I'm all hyped up with my work the juices start running and I get all ready to do the next one. If writing the strip could be that easy as drawing it then what a grand 'ol time will I have then. Next up, another round of West Side strips and the first strip of a new title for Fusion magazine. I already have the ideas and the plot, I just need a good script. Argh!

Btw, my strip got its first comment! To think that I wasn't satisfied with that submission, I'm redoing it all over again with a much better punchline and drawing. I'm also thinking if she's the daughter of my high school barkada. But she couldn't be that old enough to relate to the strip and I haven't really stressed the name of the paper I'm working for to my old friend. Hmmm...


Finally, finally I was able to draw the strips. The mood struck me just like that after returning to the shop after a second round of lunch at home. All artists know how hard it is to get into the mood and do something really worthwhile. Deadlines can wait, unless you're a walking assembly line who could do artworks in a snap. I know someone who could do comic strips just like that and he's just positively brilliant in absorbing things and having a hilarious output. I wish I could be like that. Then while I was "thumbing" through my old files of our home PC when I came upon a compilation of text I copied from a forgotten website. In it were different letters, the first batch were from the adults and they asked very hard questions and they demanded much explanation for all the ills of man (think Bruce Nolan from "Bruce Almighty") and the second batch were written by kids. One would be taken aback by the simplicity and innocence of their letters.

So what's the point of this anecdote? Just this: that kids can look at life without complications in the same way that all kids have this love for art that they abandon as they grow up. Though some of them continue to draw and create, the complications and priorities of the adult life takes over the original sense of creativity. It has come to either creating for the sake of money or fame and doing it just because it's a job. Art, then, has become lifeless, without soul. How about going back to the original purpose of why were doing art? That we're doing because it's fun? I hope it'snot too much to ask.

Guess what? They just added the word bling-bling to the Oxford English Dictionary.


Here I am doing the procrastination thing again. I should be drawing that strip whose deadline is today but since it's a weekend I have a sorry excuse to lay it off till tomorrow since I could submit it on Monday. Geez. Scott Kurtz is also looking for submissions for his guest week at PvP Online and the deadline's at the end of this month. I guess I should be getting ready for that too. Which reminds me I also have another deadline for that strip I'm supposed to submit to Fusion Magazine next week. Living dangerously on the edge of a deadline couldn't get any better than this.


Got a question? The almighty but mysterious advice bunny will give you the answers you've been looking for. Yes or No questions only.

I was finally able to catch up on my rest right at the couch. I was beginning to get bored here at the desk when I thought of getting some strips done, or probably just read a book. One thing led to another till I fell asleep. Good thing too. A bit too late to get some dinner at the mall, maybe I'll just grab a quick bite at Dunkin Donuts after this. PEx is now back online. Hooray!


Another one from the Department of Forwarded E-mails:
A wandering monk walked barefoot everywhere he went, to the point that the soles of his feet eventually became quite thick and leathery. And because he ate very little, he gradually became very frail. Several days often passed between opportunities to brush his teeth, so he usually had bad breath. Therefore, throughout the region, he came to be known as the super-calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.

* * *

A few days ago I was having some work done at my local garage. A blonde came in and asked for a "seven-hundred-ten".

We all looked at each other and another customer asked, "What is a seven-hundred-ten?"

She replied, "You know, the little piece in the middle of the engine, I have lost it and need a new one." She replied that she did not know exactly what it was, but this piece had always been there. The mechanic gave her a piece of paper and a pen and asked her to draw what the piece looked like. She drew a circle and in the middle of it wrote 710.

He then took her over to another car which had its hood up and asked "is there a 710 on this car?"

She pointed and said, "Of course, its right there."

This one's a riot!


"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts." ~ Shakespeare, As You Like It (1599), Act II, Scene vii.

I'm resigned to the fact that some people will just never get it. There are times when I sorely tempted to pass the blame back on those people and tell it to their faces, why can't they be more sensitive to the needs of other people? People are different from one another and the mere fact that I chose to be an artist or the fact that I was born to be this sensitive does not mean that I should be relegated to one corner and not be heard. I did earlier this morning and what I got was a rationalization that people in general where materialistic and success is measured by the amount of money you rake in with your chosen endeavor. I thought later on that all people are actors! That's it and I should learn to be one. I should learn to smile and hide all my disappointments and frustrations under a mask of a radiant sunshine! No sir! There's nothing wrong with me! See this smile? I'm strong! Nothing can hurt me! I can stand on my own and take it like a man! I'm an oak standing brave against the storms of life! Tut-tut! There's no room for melancholy, no room for sensitivity! Take all your individuality and all the talents you were born with and shove them in the garbage can out in the back. The world doesn't like your kind. Where's the money in that? If you want to join the rat race then you should be like one of us! Expression? Express this!

Do you know how hard and frustrating it can be for an artist to be denied his freedom to be heard? While everyone has this and that and they can talk about it all they long and they can find their audience easily. "Why I do this! I am the best there is at what I do! Hahahaha!!!" they can brag all day long. "I bought this new dress! Blah-blah-blah! This is my friend, yakkity-yakkity-yak!" While artists like me can barely open their mouths without being overtaken by their fear of being misunderstood. Nobody takes artists seriously. "Say what do you do? Ahhh... So you're an artist? That's good." (insert awkward silence here until he/she spies a friend at the other side of the room) "Hey! Harvey! Excuse me." or a more oft said line "So you're an artist? Can you draw my face?" But that's about it, you just smile and gently, silently dismiss their stereotyping with a polite affirmative response. It's been said that to me that they don't understand exactly because I don't tell them anything about my profession, the reason I don't tell them anything about my profession is that nobody really understands and almost everything I say is easily dismissed as nothing really important. Such a cruel, cruel world. I give them the courtesy of a listening ear and a helping hand and I only ask a reciprocation when the need arises. So many times I've been denied this opportunity. Ralph Kramden's rant in one episode of the Honeymooners perfectly echoes how I feel right now: "HOW ABOUT ME? HOW ABOUT WHAT I FEEL?!" Thanks a lot.

The movie Ang Tanging Ina ("An Outstanding/Exceptional Mom") tarring comedy queen Ai-Ai Delas Alas is a winner in my book. Directed by a newcomer(?) Wenn Deramas the story tells the story of the travails of a single mom with more than a dozen kids (a product of three marriages wherein the husbands always succumb to a tragic death). Most of the kids can be a real pain in the rear since some of them, most especially the older ones, were used to more affluent surroundings before they lost their wealth. The movie shows the lengths mothers would go through just to be able to provide for their kids. It would make you appreciate your mother even more for going through so much for the sake of their kids. Bring your mom on a date when you watch this.