Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dear Bloggy

Been very busy these last two months that I didn’t notice that it’s almost March already. Almost summer again. Can’t say I’m too excited about the humidity; we’re already getting a taste of it.

But anyway, it’s been over a year since I started doing this and I must say that having my tiny corner in this strange, multishaped dimension can be liberating and useful. My rants, raves, vanity posts, my announcements and works… they document my life now, but while there are times that certain facts and details will be veiled, they’ll still talk about my feelings, thoughts and hopes. I feel blessed now and at a stage that I’m a little afraid of the future. Maybe I always have been. I’ve been living very cautiously on some days, and living others as if they were my last. Writing this paragraph is a little creepy, I admit, because it sounds and feels like I’m trying to analyze my life and put things in perspective. I haven’t done that in a while, and somehow, it feels weird. Because one, it feels like I’m typing one of those prescient notes that people write shortly before they die; and two, because I suddenly feel much older, with more grownup issues to resolve.

I’m at a point now where I’m enjoying my life. I can’t say that’s always been the case. My life is radically different now in many ways, and looking back, I see how innocent, naïve, and simplistic I was. I’d like to think that I’ve grown up some, and learned to be more spontaneous and playful. That I’m more tolerant now, although there really are people that just annoy the hell outta me (like smartass jerks who can’t keep their mouths shut while watching a movie, suicidal creeps who smoke inside the jeep, and judgmental preachers in buses…god, just keel over and die, please).

I like my life now. It’s nowhere near perfect, but I can appreciate its intricacies. It’s been lively and lovely for me so far. When I read this entry a year or so from now, I’ll be reminded of the things that I left out that needn’t be written here because I can only share so much. But regardless, I can always say that I’m glad I met certain people, learned from some mistakes, and lived my life--in my own, obsessive way--to the fullest.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Thirtysomething Channels and Nothing’s On

So the adult cartoon series South Park has reportedly gotten the attention of the MTRCB, and the Jack TV show will stop airing soon. Apparently, some people have complained about its anti-Christian content. It’s been airing for quite some time already, and these are old, earlier episodes, if I’m not mistaken.

But come on now. That’s the point of the show. South Park and the creators’ other projects have openly and shamelessly parodied and ridiculed almost everyone, whether they be religious icons, politicians, vocal Hollywood actors, Streisand, Canada, or Michael Moore. The list of people who’ve remained unscathed is getting really short. The jokes are so distasteful and gross at times, but that’s often been the creators’ way of poking fun. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always funny, that it’s creative or imaginative, or it’s for everyone—they’d have stopped airing early on if they even considered being politically correct—but it has always been different.

I’ve a few questions, as the supposed outrage against the obviously highly irreverent show raises some thoughts about censorship, free speech, and related issues:

Why does the MTRCB even have policing powers over cable TV? How do they decide if, say Sex and the City, Oz, or any HBO or Cinemax movie that has some nudity or implied sexual or violent activity should be aired or not? Why can’t adults enjoy some titillating skin, green jokes, or lesbian smooching in the privacy of their own homes, through the very limited cable services that they pay for? Just how do they decide when it’s time to reprimand the cable providers because TVE, the Tagalog channel, or the French channel showed some erotic scenes? Who decides, exactly, which butt shot, ass crack, silhouetted tit or pubic hair showing is okay for primetime or very late night viewing?

What if Sarah Silverman, an excellent standup comic famous—or in some circles, infamous—for making really irreverent religious, sexual or racial jokes, offends someone? Will they cut out the segment that she appears in, whether that’s a guest spot in Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, or John Stewart? Will those shows be suspended or stop airing? Will Drawn Together or Crank Yankers be next? What if I’m an atheist and I enjoy South Park? Or Saturday Night Live’s occasional jabs at religion and politics?

Bleargh. That’s the way things go these days, I suppose. Not everyone will be happy about everything.

Supes Returns

Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel, carrying something real heavy. (Photo from Yahoo! Movies)

Not that excited over this, yet, but here’s a pic to slightly prettify the old bloggy.

Geeker Speaker

I found Top Ten: The Forty Niners entertaining but a little short… it’s slightly over a hundred pages, but I wish they’d focused more on the other intriguing cop characters. Still, go Jet Lad and Wulf!

Spider-Man-Black Cat… very talky by the last three issues but still nicely written; topics like sexual assault and incest are sensitively handled, although they can feel manipulative and heavy-handed at times. But it’s still a decent book that explores the Black Cat’s character thoroughly (it was mentioned that she’s bisexual; her failed romance with Spidey is fondly dissected; the story also explains her klepto tendencies).

She-Hulk # 5 was really enjoyable. An ex-Avenger tries to fit in at the law firm. Very clever and heart-tugging, Dan Slott. Please write an Avengers title, already.

And so I talk about toys again. The year’s last Marvel Legends figures have already been announced and previewed. I don’t know yet if the line will continue under Hasbro next year or they’ll be given a brand new name altogether. I really haven’t checked. But I dearly hope that they’ll still look as awesome and still be affordable. I know the articulated joints look weird and awkward sometimes (like they have asscheeks near the singit), but majority of the Toy Biz figures have been playable and displayable. I’m eagerly looking forward to the last few sets. The Young Avengers, Onslaught, MODOK, Mojo, Wasp, Psylocke, Longshot, X-Babies!, Falcon, Warbird, Sentry, Luke Cage, Loki… aw god, I want them all. Playkit, Get the Wal-Mart exclusives!!! Hasbro, here are some of my dream sets. Make them look expensive, but sell ‘em real cheap. No Wolverines or Iron Mans, please.

Beyonder Set: Build a giant, human-form Beyonder! Space/cosmic/energy-caster lineup must include Adam Warlock (with Pip the Troll), Quasar, Janie Warlock, Nova (Richard Ryder), Dazzler (blue ‘80s costume), Firelord, and Molecule Man.

Supreme Intelligence Set: Build a big-ass Supreme Intelligence (with tank props)! The series must consist of really smart people like Forge, Fixer, Black Knight, Mach-1, Wizard (Frightful Four) and Moonstone.

Surtur Set: Mostly deceased characters. Build a giant Surtur figure! Odin, Mockingbird, Mr. Sensitive/Orphan, Banshee, U-Go Girl and Jack of Hearts.

Stature Set: A much-needed all-female series! Build a Stature/Giant Girl! Songbird, Vindicator (classic costume), Moondragon, Photon (Monica Rambeau), Rachel Summers Phoenix (Hound costume), Polaris (X-Factor Quesada costume) and Spiral (50 points of articulation!).

Atlas Set: The super-strongmen and –women series! Hercules, Hyperion, Strong Guy, Titania, Doc Samson (Byrne-‘80s design), Namorita (original costume), Gladiator, and Count Nefaria.

Thor Corps Boxed Set: Costumes must be different from previously released versions, so no repaints! Lord Thor, Beta Ray Bill (capeless new costume from the mini), Thor Girl, Magni (Thor’s son), Thunderstrike and Dargo (future Thor).

Avengers Boxed Set: Second- (or third-) stringers in one collectible gift set! Tigra, US Agent (black Captain costume), Mantis, Triathlon, Rick Jones (Avengers Forever costume) and Starfox.

X-Men boxed set: Second- (or third-) stringers in one collectible set, too! Cannonball (any design), Sage, Magik (Illyana Rasputin), Rictor (Sook design), Northstar and Jubilee.

Runaways boxed set: The original kids, plus Victor Mancha, the raptor, and Alex. Nuff said!

Hmm, I love them super-stuff.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gone, But Not Really

February 16 marked my former editor Louie Camino’s first death anniversary. He was a very generous guy who gave me the opportunity to write for the paper almost four years ago. He was a unique, fatherly individual. When I was starting out, I emailed him by my fifth published article to thank him for his continued generosity. He responded, in an email dated May 23, 2002:

“No thanks to me. Your articles are printed here because they deserve to be. In short, you write well.

But that doesn't give you license to nag me about your cheques. Kidding.”

In another message, he wrote:

"Keep on writing. For me."

I’d like to think that I became one of his trusted friends who, while not always around, was someone with whom he can be himself and share his real thoughts about certain things, touchy topics and people. Sir Louie found me “candid”, and once told me in not so many words, that like my parents, he’s also proud of me.

The last time I spoke to him was about a month before his death. He was at the office despite the doctor's advice, working his ass off to the wee hours as usual. He sounded sad but a little hopeful, but it was also apparent that he knew that it wasn’t long before he had to go.

He was a good man, and I miss him sometimes.

Alpha Flight Disassembled


What the hell? In New Avengers # 16, we're introduced to the Collective, a new cosmic-level threat that, supposedly, effortlessly killed Canadian super-team Alpha Flight off-panel. How unimaginative. Like “Avengers Disassembled”, this first part of a new arc has similarly disposed of (mostly) beloved characters to make the story more meaningful, and to show how bad-ass and kickass the new villain is. Off-panel? Geez. I don’t doubt that they’ll be resurrected in the future, revamped and relaunched, but come on. It’s like the writer’s expecting the uproar that accompanied Hawkeye’s lame “death”. And what’s up with the nine full-page pinup shots? Ah, decompression doesn’t work in this book. It’s a little sad, because the last two issues were good. I was hoping the pace would pick up and improve after that. I also hoped that this incarnation of the team would be a memorable one that redefines the concept. But the characters and distinctly different lineup pose a lot of possibilities that have yet to be tapped into.

By the way, Shaman said “Yeah, right.” Wha--? That doesn’t fit with his normal, more formal speech patterns at all, like Namor yelled “Have at thee!” during the Sentry arc (Atlanteans now speak Asgardian-Shakespearean!). Impostors? Maybe created by Wanda? Huh.

There's a rumored second Avengers title in the works. Hope Grant Morrison's doing that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cream Your Pants

Went to Greenbelt for an assignment a few hours ago. I was treated to a super-yummy Blueberries and Cream Crepe at Café Breton between a pair of interviews. Holy god. That was… ah, words escape me. It was a big serving, decked with a lot of berries, had a scoop of ice cream tucked inside the crepe, and the whole thing was swimming in syrup, powdered sugar and milk. Heavenly and sinful.

Walked around Glorietta after and checked out several toy stores. The Marvel Legends Taskmaster is still around. Good. I want it! It has a lot of weapons and an atomic steed. Also raided some sale comics bins. Ran into filmmaker Quark Henares at Filbar’s. I told him that he was noticeably thinner, and he was really happy and grinning about it. He was looking for the Astonishing X-Men hardcover, as well as some Infinite Crisis prologue TPBs. He asked if my comic book and Budj’s Trese were available there (nope, Comic Quest lang, I told him). Talked for a bit about his work (a horror movie!) and comics before leaving for home. Bought Young Avengers # 10.

Read the comic book while in a bus. It was okay; it was a quick read. There’s a new character, a potential new member. Got home, checked email, rested and bathed. I opened the comic book again. Oh my god!!!

Mostly Barely Legal Avengers Assemble!


I’m slowly liking this title. It’s steeped in years of Marvel continuity, yet accessible and independent enough to be appreciated on its own.

The Young Avengers reassemble and plan to rescue Teddy (Hulkling) from his captor, the Super-Skrull. The past few issues have practically been trumpeting that Teddy is the son of a Skrull and someone important. But eh, that’s obviously the deceased Captain Mar-Vell. Ho-hum. What made me go whoa! was when I pieced together a new puzzle. A new kid was introduced. Thomas "Tommy" Shepherd, one of those in the Vision’s future Avengers checklist, is a speedster that the team recruited to help them with the rescue mission. AND his hair is white like Quicksilver’s. He and Billy (Wiccan/Asgardian) look alike, according to the other members. So okay, they’re obviously related. When I opened the book again at home, that’s when it hit me. I looked at one of the recent Marvel Universe Handbooks, just to be sure. I checked Scarlet Witch’s entry. And there it was! The names were familiar. They’re Wanda’s “erased” twins! Tommy and Billy! Thomas and William! Separated and aged to their teens, and apparently, the Vision knew about this all along. This is a nice development and one that will hopefully lead to Wanda Maximoff’s eventual redemption and rebirth. But we’ll see. The new kid seems like a troublemaker. And straight—he gave Kate Bishop a sly, flirty smirk.

Writer Allan Heinberg has yet to reveal details about this, but the characters have been cleverly and lovingly handled, so far. Jim Cheung’s art is clean and well-suited for the title. Decent job, as usual. I hope they keep it up. Man, that was clever.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Don't Know How to Quit You

After tuning out countless "bareback mountin’" jokes for the last couple of months, I finally got to watch Brokeback Mountain last Wednesday at the Powerplant Mall. ‘Twas sad and sweet. Lesson of the story: Guy, if you think and know you’re gay, don’t marry your girlfriend, because she can’t ever compete with cock.

Regular screening on February 15. Let’s hope it stays unbutchered by cuts.

Ash & Spawn vs. Warblade & Witchblade vs. T.A.O.
Panel from a tryout sequential page I drew back in 1998. Super-cluttered pencil drawing. Click on it for a bigger version.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Andrew Wolff, Margie Holmes, IC Mendoza, et al

The newest Icon (Jan-March 2006) is the "Fresh" issue. I interviewed sex therapist Dr. Margie Holmes last October; it was an exceptionally mind-opening one. That took us over an hour to finish. But it's easily among the comfiest I've ever done. She was really just so cool. And, she called me "cute". Ehem. Half of that interview, the more gay-themed one, appears here. I submitted an entirely different article, the part concerning other sexual matters, as well as sanity and spirituality, to the paper. Hope they'll use that one of these days. Knock on wood. :)

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Some highlights of a surreal, fun, educational weekend. Not necessarily in that order.

Was with the unholy popes (John and Benedict) last Saturday. Ate a very late, 2 a.m. dinner at Chowking, somewhere in Quezon City. While they were talking about work and stuff, the radio played Maria McKee’s “Show Me Heaven”, a simple but beautiful ballad that’s been covered many times in the past decade by other female artists, including Tina Arena and Jessica Andrews. I really like that rarely played original version. It was part of the Days of Thunder soundtrack, back in 1990, when couch-jumping Mr. Cruise and the talented Ms. Kidman just became an item. Here are the words:

Show Me Heaven
Maria McKee

There you go, flashing fever from your eyes. Hey baby, come over here and shut them tight. I'm not denying, we're flying above it all. Hold my hand; don't let me fall. You've such amazing grace. I've never felt this way. Oh, show me heaven, cover me. Leave me breathless. Oh, show me heaven, please.

Here I go; I'm shaking just like the breeze. Hey baby, I need your hand to steady me. I'm not denying. I'm frightened as much as you. Though I'm barely touching you, I've shivers down my spine. And it feels divine. Oh, show me heaven, cover me. Leave me breathless. Oh, show me heaven please.

Do you know what it's like to dream a dream? Baby, hold me tight and let this be, oh, heaven, cover me. Leave me breathless. Oh, show me heaven please.

John and I gave the Piglet “free” arcade game stubs that we got during a preview screening. They’re not really free because you have to pay for the swiping card thing, but it’s still an okay bargain. Got to play some cathartic shooting games at Megamall and Market, Market too.

Benedict and I met up with Comic Brooker Gumby briefly at DK. He gave me a lovely new mix CD, once again.

(James-Laid, Sophie Zelmani- Always You, Iron and Wine- Naked As We Came, U2- Stuck in a Moment, Leona Naess- Lazy Days, Poison- Something to Believe In, K’s Choice- In Your Room, Sinead Lohan- No Mermaid, Sundays- Wild Horses, REM- Leaving New York, Motels- Suddenly Last Summer, Asia- Days Like These, Amy Jo Johnson- Puddle of Grace, Kim Carnes- Bette Davis Eyes, Lemonheads- Paid to Smile, The Bible- Graceland, Sarah McLachlan- Blackbird, 38 Special- Second Chance, Kenny Loggins- Conviction of the Heart, Heather Nova- We Can Work It Out)

Finally met ProGay Philippines president Oscar Edgar Atadero. He gave me a very informative Pink Card, which he passes around in certain parts of Quezon City. At the top part of the multi-folding paper, it says:

“The purpose of this PINK CARD is to ensure the safety and security of bar patrons and party goers, especially those who are Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders (LGBTs) from corrupt law enforcers/police and criminals who pose as law enforcers.

PINK CARD is an initiative of the RAINBOW RIGHTS Project (R-Rights), Inc. 27 Oakville Street, White Plains, Quezon City 1110 EMAIL: r_ rightsproject AT yahoo DOT com.”

R-Rights, it adds, is a group of lawyers and legally informed activists which “provides the LGBT community with an academic think tank and legal resource center dedicated to sexual orientation law and public policy.”

The card has small charts that break down info when one is arrested, or is threatened with arrest. For example:

Usual Targets: Sex acts inside cinemas, restrooms, and public places
OFFENDER: Any person who shall offend against against decency or good customs by any highly scandalous conduct.
NOT OFFENDER: You are NOT liable for GRAVE SCANDAL if:
-you are NOT doing anything offensive or highly scandalous conduct; or,
-it is not a public place; or,
-nobody would be scandalized.
ALLOWED DETENTION PERIOD: 12 hours (within this period, you have to be formally charged; otherwise you should be released)

The card also lists helpful information if one is accused of prostitution, vagrancy, and the like. It lists numbers that one might need during related emergencies as well. Thanks to hardworking and noble volunteers Oscar, Attorneys Angie Umbac and Anne Lim for sharing some enlightening and realistic views about such issues. For further information on gay rights issues, events and the Pink Card, visit ProGay’s blog and the listed addys above.

Watched some really awesome episodes of Justice League Unlimited. Spoiler alert for those who’ve yet to see "Grudge Match". The most memorable episode for me to date brings back Roulette, but this time, she's mind-controlled the heroines of the JLU! Ultimate girl fight! Fire versus Black Canary! Black Canary versus Huntress! Vixen versus Shayera! Canary, Huntress, Vixen and Shayera versus… Wonder Woman! The Amazon princess was shown in its first season to be capable of going toe to toe with Superman, so imagine the shock of the assembled female crimefighters when she enters the ring. Damn, the JLU DVD is gonna be one sweet commodity one day. I love this show. Hope it airs forever.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Apocalypse, Yow! and Evil Old Geisha

I was able to complete the Marvel Legends-Apocalypse set the first day it came out in stores! Yay! Was able to assemble the huge bonus figure immediately. Downside, each figure now costs thirty pesos more. Groan. And my Maestro Hulk figure doesn’t have the belt-to-elbow coil that should accompany giant Apocalypse’s arm. But since I also got the white Sasquatch too, the extra arm has the rubber coil thingie. White Sasquatch was originally Snowbird, and later the vessel housing original orange Sasquatch’s soul (long story), but the character was sort of revived as a member of the dimension-hopping Exiles. There, she's a black Heather Hudson, the wife of one reality’s Wolverine. I got it too because it's like having an altogether new character. The repaint looks good.

Haven't been exercising lately. Gaining and losing considerable weight has been a constant for the last three years. Quirky part of the family genes, I suppose. Last month or so, I ran into an acquaintance who told me, “Magpataba ka pa para walang magkagusto sa iyo.” Whaddafuck?! Spirit of the Staircase—I should have reacted, now that I think about it—“Okey lang. At least di ako nakakatakot na gurang tulad mo.” But during the time, I just said something like, “that’s just the way my body is” or some such. He answered, “That’s a defeatist attitude”. Well, in a way it may be. And I understand that he was trying to encourage me to slim down in his own unorthodox way. Well, I didn’t really expect or appreciate that piece of sage advice from someone I barely know. Or like. Eh.

But I do miss being lighter. I still can be, if I watch my diet more carefully and exercise more; I’ve done it before and I can be that way again. But I’m being realistic. I can’t get back to being really fit, like in this picture, taken when I was... almost half my age now, I think. Was doing push ups like crazy then, and didn't eat merienda and just stayed in the library during breaks. Wow, I looked kinda hot and virginal. If I do say so myself.