Friday, March 24, 2006

I Love You, You Pay My Rent

Watched Rent and Ultraviolet recently. Uhmmm… Rent had some really catchy songs and performances, but didn’t feel like a cohesive enough movie (unlike other movie musicals like Chicago or Moulin Rouge), because of the uneasy gaps between song-and-dance numbers. Ultraviolet? Ultra-repetitive. Unbeatable, expressionless Milla the Killing Machine likes striking cool action poses after stabbing or blowing up her enemies. She fights the establishment, led by a guy wearing funny-looking noseplugs.

Found Roger Avery’s The Rules of Attraction compelling, if a bit disaffecting by the end. The guy has serious storytelling chops. He was able to create separate realities that were ultimately united by sex, drugs, and the characters' unrequited desires. The ending feels inconsequential and a bit unsatisfying, but there were nice details all over that made the characters extra-lovable (or hateable, depending).

And it was surreal seeing James “Dawson” Van Der Beek play a cussing, nose-picking, masturbating, and drug-dealing bastard. Also, it was nice to see Jessica Biel as a horny college girl, Ian Somerhalder as a yoga-stretching gay guy, and Eric Szamanda as an awful filmmaker wannabe.

Action Figure Junkie

I never felt deprived of toys as a kid. I find them cool, 3-dimensional representations of some favorite comics or cartoon characters. I’m obviously more appreciative of them now. Some people like saving for fancy footwear. Others like collecting religious statues. Me, aside from my other interests, I can just sit down and admire a nicely crafted action figure. It’s also great timing that they’re making them so well now. I’m one happy geek.

To continue my dream toy set post from weeks back:

Cameron Hodge Set: Build the huge snake-like cyborg bad-ass from the so-so crossover X-tinction Agenda! The series includes Warlock (techno-organic), Wolfsbane (X-Factor uniform), Nimrod, Daytripper (Amanda Sefton), Marrow (the mean-looking, Pacheco-era one), and Lilandra (Byrne-armored version).

Awesome Andy Set: With mini-chalkboard! Assemble one with an '80s-themed series. Ms. Marvel II (She-Thing!), Aurora (yellow costume), Box I (red Roger Bochs armor, with blue variant), Dr. Druid, Silver Sable and Starhawk.

Fin Fang Foom! No real theme for this one, just some random characters that might possibly make good figures. Two-Gun Kid, Captain Britain (female Avenger), Radioactive Man, Machine Man (NextWave version, with tons of attachable weapons), Ikaris and Enchantress.

Oh, DC’s selling their super-articulated figures now. First up is the Batman set. It looks okay, but it’s P800 a figure. Yikes. Was hoping the price would be as low as a Marvel Legends’. They look decently done, but I’m not too hot for the brightly colored version of Bats. Bane and Scarecrow look nice, but I won’t buy them just yet. Will wait for them to go on sale, maybe. I’m waiting for the red-costumed Azrael figure; that one looks real good. It’s the costume originally designed by Joe Quesada way back in 1992, I think.

So okay, let’s pretend that like Marvel Legends, these DC Superheroes line will be having assemble-a-figure gimmicks too. Here are my dream sets/suggestions:

The General Series: Build the General/Shaggy Man with Zauriel, Wonder Woman (Hippolyta), Aztek, Orion (bigger than the old DC Direct version), Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), and Triumph (baddie).

Giant Anti-Monitor! Build the original Crisis villain with Troia (current costume), Ray II (white uniform with jacket), Supergirl (with flame wings), Tempest, Dr. Fate (recent one), and Dr. Light (Kimiyo Hoshi).

Leviathan I Set: Post-Zero Hour Legion series! Livewire, XS, Saturn Girl, Karate Kid, RJ Brande, Sensor (all-serpent version), and Ultra Boy.

Leviathan II Set: Another post-Zero Hour Legion series that forms the giant Violet/Leviathan II! M’onel, Brainy, Invisible Kid, Apparition, Ferro, Monstress (green), and Cosmic Boy.

Giganta! Villains United theme! Create your own Giganta with Catman, Talia Al Ghul, Knockout, Scandal Savage, Cheshire, and The Calculator (with Dr. Psycho!).

Inukchuk Set: Giant Manitou Raven figure! Figs are some of the faves from the Kelly-Mahnke run: Faith, Sister Superior, Manitou Dawn, Major Disaster, Coldcast, Jason Blood, and Scorch.

Armored Krona Set: This is an all-villain set too. Fernus, Queen Bee II, Queen of Fables, Gamemnae (human form), Despero, Prometheus and Eclipso (Jean Loring).

Hope they get made. I'm not holding my breath, but, well, we'll see.

Mighty Mites

Went to Makati for an assignment two days ago and learned about different species and castes of Philippine termites. It's interesting, actually. Wrote about the anti-pest product a few hours ago.

From Hernancia Cua’s Old Songbook:

Keep me safe in your arms
Hold me tightly in the cold
Call me lover
Call me friend
Smile and don’t pretend
Sleep and I watch you in the dark
Helped me find myself
Taught me how to feel
Love me so much
Love me not
Love making love
Are the sweet soothing force
Aren’t shy with words
Are my salvation
Aren’t afraid
Are mine
Just are
Have plans and the spirit
Get pissed like me sometimes
Drool on my pillow and I find it cute
Talk about truth and I turn mute
Talk about life and I find my voice
Make sense of the chaos and the noise
Take my breath away
Make my heart beat fast
Make me feel my soul
Make me spurt
Make me calm
Make me crazy and turn me on

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Something Borrowed, Someone Blue

It’s weird when people borrow stuff from you and it takes years before you get them back. I miss my old Marvels series—five issues painted by Alex Ross—and it’s been almost ten years since I last saw them. I also have other comic books with other friends, and while we don’t keep in touch as much as we’d like, they’re still people I don’t regret lending my stuff to.

But I miss my things. I wish people had some initiative to return stuff that aren’t theirs. Some people at least acknowledge that they still have some of my belongings. But I tried contacting other people about meeting up and getting my books back but, pfft, no reaction. If my things can’t be found, just tell me. I’d appreciate that a lot better than getting no response. Please don't ignore me.

If they're lost, or in bad shape, I'm okay with getting replacement copies. I'm okay with getting their cash equivalent too, but that means I still have to look for new copies myself. Oh well.

Ain’t Cookin’ No Mo’

Hey, South Park’s back at Jack TV! Was it ever off the air? But they’re still old episodes. It made entertainment headlines again just recently, because Isaac Hayes (Chef) left the show last week. The practicing Scientologist reportedly wasn’t comfortable with the show’s irreverence towards his religion. But the show’s creators have responded that, to paraphrase, he didn’t have problems with other religions being made fun of before. Story here.

Ye Olde Bestiary

Juxta Poser and Batty (1996 and 1999).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pre-Summer Loving

Nothing much these past few days. Weather’s wonky. I have a cold. But only one nostril is clogged. Been feeling a little drowsy.

Finished season 4 of 24, which kind of fizzled out in some parts near the end, but it’s still okay. Was shocked to learn, when I visited some websites, that some characters will die early next season. Nooooo! Jack will be chased and accused of crimes he didn’t commit, as usual, and will have to spend time as a fugitive again, albeit temporarily. It’s getting a little tired… a lot tired, actually… but I hope they do a season where the bad guys capture Jack, mess with his mind, and make him one of them. That could work, and a brainwashed, terrorist Jack Bauer versus less-experienced but similarly relentless CTU agents could kick ass.

Been listening to a nice new mix CD, courtesy of Gumby. Read the surprisingly good Thing issues, #s 1-4, by Dan Slott (oh my god, that’s Brynocki from Rom!). Read and re-read some old stuff. Worked. Blah blah. Watched the pilot episodes of My Name is Earl and Everybody Hates Chris. They were both okay. Hope to catch them, and new eps of Arrested Development when I can.

Anyway, will just plug this. Tangkilikin po ninyo:

Arnold Arre’s all-new comic book Andong Agimat. Buy it now! Click on the image for details.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Valerie's Letter

I wasn’t expecting much from V for Vendetta, as the previous screen translation of creator Alan Moore’s comic book project, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, was just disappointing and ineffectual. I think he had his name removed from this new film’s credits, so you just see “based on the graphic novel illustrated by David Lloyd”. Having read the V trade paperback last year, I, along with friends, wondered if certain key scenes and characters would make it to the Wachowski brothers’ script, and how radically transformed Moore’s story would be. It was surprising that the compression was watchable and penetrating.

Well, as with other comics-to-film projects, it’s not entirely gripe-free. It’s glossy, made contemporary and toned down, not surprisingly, and several character elements have been simplified or excised to fit the running time. But it took the essence of Moore and Lloyd’s gritty and pulsating masterpiece and made it a timely film that’s both stylish and substantial. They didn’t scrimp on the dialogue, and the action parts were well-placed, practically storyboarded by the existing material.

One of the more powerful scenes is Valerie’s letter. I remember reading an issue of V for Vendetta back in 1993 (I’m not sure if I borrowed it from John, who bought it from Gerry, who was selling his comics back then). But If I remember correctly, I bought a copy myself after reading it years later, when I saw it at Booksale. I’m not sure which branch anymore, but it still has its P 12 price tag. This was issue six, which had young English woman Evey (played by Natalie Portman in the movie), suspected ally of masked vigilante V (Hugo Weaving in the movie), imprisoned in the concentration camp for minorities--gays, non-whites, non-Christians--and activists.

Evey discovers a short letter written on toilet paper (that strangely looks like thick tracing paper in the film, but one’ll stop being nitpicky in a bit). That's the tragic story of Valerie, slipped through the cracked wall between their cells. It detailed how the lesbian woman, a former actress, discovered her sexuality and how she ended up tortured because she’s gay.

When I read it originally as a comic book over a decade ago, it made me sad. It was one of those stories that further convinced me that comic books can really be a vehicle for compelling, mature content. When I finally read the compilation last year, I was reminded how real she was. And that sent some tears rolling down.

When I saw her story told within that bigger, sprawling story last Tuesday, that left me quite stunned. The filmmakers didn’t remove it or clean it up. They shortened it a bit but expounded on some of the nuances. It still made me sad and shed some tears, seeing Valerie’s brief story unfold vividly.

I copied this off of the original comic book. While typing this, I still feel the source material’s power:

V for Vendetta # 6: Chapter 11: Valerie

“I was born in Nottingham in 1957, and it rained a lot. I passed my eleven plus and went to girl’s grammar. I wanted to be an actress. I met my first girlfriend at school. Her name was Sara. She was fourteen and I was fifteen but we were both in Miss Watson’s class. Her wrists. Her wrists were beautiful.

I sat in Biology class, staring at the pickled rabbit foetus in its jar, listening while Mr. Hird said it was an adolescent phase that people outgrew…

Sara did. I didn’t.

In 1976, I stopped pretending and took a girl called Christine home to meet my parents. A week later, I moved to London, enrolling at Drama college. My mother said I broke her heart… but it was my integrity that was important. Is that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it’s all we have left in this place. It is the very last inch of us… but within that inch, we are free.

London. I was happy in London. In 1981 I played Dandini in Cinderella. My first rep work. The world was strange and rustling and busy, with invisible crowds behind the hot lights and all that breathless glamour. It was exciting and it was lonely. At nights I’d go to Gateways or some of the other clubs, but I was stand-offish and didn’t mix easily. I saw a lot of the scene, but I never felt comfortable there. So many of them just wanted to be gay. It was their life, their ambition, all they talked about.

And I wanted more than that.

Work improved. I got small film roles, then bigger ones. In 1986, I starred in ‘The Salt Flats’. It pulled the awards but not the crowds. I met Ruth while working on that. We loved each other. We lived together, and on Valentine’s Day, she sent me roses, and oh god, we had so much. Those were the best three years of my life.

In 1988 there was the war, and after that there were no more roses. Not for anybody.

In 1992, after the take-over, they started rounding up the gays. They took Ruth while she was out looking for food. Why are they so frightened of us? They burned her with cigarette ends and made her give my name. She signed a statement saying I’d seduced her. I didn’t blame her. God, I loved her. I didn’t blame her. But she did. She killed herself in her cell. She couldn’t live with betraying me, with giving up that last inch. Oh Ruth.

They came for me. They told me that all my films would be burned. They shaved off my hair. They held my head down a toilet bowl and told jokes about lesbians. They brought me here and gave me drugs. I can’t feel my tongue anymore. I can’t speak.

The other gay woman here, Rita, died two weeks ago. I imagine I’ll die quite soon. It is strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and apologized to nobody.

I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch. It is small and it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in the world that’s worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I don’t know who you are, or whether you’re a man or woman. I may never see you. I will never hug you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you.

I hope you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you.


Babyng Mataba

Inosente pa at may gilit-gilit ang legs. Napaka-'70s nung headboard, o.

Bloody Heck

Got this Jay Hernandez-Hostel pic from There was one of him gagged and about to be tortured, but I didn’t feel like posting that here, so I chose this one. Saw the movie last Tuesday too. Was able to catch one of the afternoon previews. Jay's the Latino boy from Crazy Beautiful, I think. All I gotta say for now is, if you have the stomach to watch his character get beaten up, vomit, or get real bloody… well, watch it. But worse things happen to other characters. I’d rather not say anything about that. It’s R-18, damn gory and uncut, so it’s only screening at non-SM cinemas next week.

Some young women entered as the end credits were rolling. They brought food and drinks with them. Big mistake, ladies.

Good Mourning

X3: Beast, Colossus, Kitty, Iceman, Rogue (photo from Newsarama)

Don’t know who the lady at the left is or the character she’s playing. But it’s safe to assume the assembled people are mourning a dead friend. Friends? X-Men? According to some rumors, a few will bite the dust. The second trailer is out, but I’ve only seen some screen caps so far. In another scene, Magneto leads a mutant army, with Callisto, Pyro, Madrox (I think that’s him) and a resurrected Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix walking beside him. Hmm… where is Mystique? She’s there in the movie but I wonder why she’s not beside her boss this time.

This opens on the last week of May worldwide. Hope to watch it two weeks before that. I’m a little excited.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Delivered copies of Lexy, Nance & Argus to Pride Exchange in Malate early Friday evening, something I should’ve done months earlier, as the comic book had sold out there quite some time ago. Went there with Malate newbie John, who found the streets of the Nakpil-Orosa district and those leading to A. Mabini fascinating and textured. They were so removed from how the rest of Metro Manila’s commercial establishments looked—the area's a mixture of decades-old structures and new food and recreational joints—and you just know the people working there have really colorful stories to tell.

Ended up eating dinner at Robinson’s Place. The Comic Odyssey shop has transferred to another part of the mall and is now bigger and better lit. And they had the nicest looking action figure sets on sale, too. Worth going back and checking out again. It reminds me a bit of Druid’s Keep, which has affordably priced toys and related items. And speaking of hobby shops, Comic Quest looks different now because Vinnie moved his things out of the Megamall store. It’s strange, actually, to see his clutter of comics piles and toys gone from that corner. Hope he’s well and enjoying life away from the family business.

Benedict dropped by last Saturday night and brought some borrowed DVDs. We watched the 1988 suspense flick Apartment Zero, which starred a young Colin Firth. That was weird. But Firth’s good, even then. We also watched the last ten minutes of Memento, a part which he hasn’t seen yet because his copy was broken. We were able to watch 40 minutes of the excellent Serenity too, but we were too sleepy already to fully appreciate it so we stopped it and just rested. He was supposed to take pics of my toys again but we can do that next time he’s around. Gave him my Brokeback Mountain preview ticket, production notes and pictures, since he liked the movie and felt really depressed about it for several days. Oh, and we shared a Big Mac.


Events Girl Camille's message:
“Non-Linear Editor / Motion Graphic Artist Prime Movers Productions, Inc. is looking for full-time Non-Linear Editors/Motion Graphic Artist with experience in Final Cut Pro and Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. Interested Applicants may get in touch with Ms. Joane Fernandez for Interview. Pls prepare Demo reels and CV. Prime Movers Productions, Inc. 7296390-91 PMPI Creative Suites 1486 D.Oliman St. Santiago Village, Makati City”


It’s really annoying when store employees don’t want to help you because they’re too lazy to do their job. Whenever I look for certain things in music stores or other shops, it’s easy to tell when they don’t wanna help you because they don’t even bother checking their stock lists, and just tell you point blank that they're not available. It’s happened to me a number of times. “Wala kaming Marvel Select”. Or, “Wala kaming ganung CD.” Sometimes, they don’t even know what they’re selling. Once, I asked for Cynthia Alexander’s new album, and one saleslady asked her co-worker the same question. That other person responded, “Alexander? Movie? ‘Di ba ‘yon ‘yung pumatol sa bakla?”

They shrug and say they’re not available, looking at me sometimes as if I just made the stuff up. But I feel vindicated when I look through their display items, show them when I find what I’m looking for, and tell them, politely, “Eto, o.”

Jeez. Sometimes, some snarky and sarcastic mall security guards have the same nasty effect. That’s another thing entirely, but it all boils down to bad training. As customers, we deserve much, much better.

Super Foxy Chocolat

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Aisha Tyler (pic from Yahoo! TV)

Saw some episodes of 24 (season 4) earlier this week, too. It started off pretty much by the numbers, even with most of the cast replaced and new characters putting a new spin on the conceit. Jack Bauer has a female boss now; the president is a new one; Kim, Chase, and Michelle are gone. The only familiar character aside from Jack is Chloe, and the actress looks skinny now. The suspense and dangers proceed like clockwork. But I was surprised with the guest appearance of Aisha Tyler. I loved her in E!’s Talk Soup. I like how she hosted that, and I miss her infectious, bordering-on-drunkenness laughter. She plays someone serious and mysterious (in this show, who isn’t?), a techie named Mary Anne. I hope she does more shows after this. Aisha was way subdued in Friends as Charlie in the last two seasons. It’d be great if her fans can see her comedic host-side again. I miss her going, “Heeeeyyyy!!!!”

Hero Watch

The Exiles (pic from

Infinite Crisis # 5 slows down after the action-packed previous issue. A lot of it is foreshadowing for the next two issues’ big battles, no doubt. The death toll has also slowed down, but someone buys the farm, and we don’t know exactly why, yet.

Astonishing X-Men returns with the all-new Hellfire Club, still communicating with Emma Frost. I hope she doesn’t turn out to be evil all along. I’m sure that she’s got a grand plan of her own come the arc’s climax. She’s more interesting as a bitchy, manipulative character that stands out in the flock of angels, than a villainess that gets her ass handed to her occasionally by the heroes.

Exiles (pictured above) is really fun. It gathers less popular characters from Marvel’s infinite Earths (Blink, Morph, Spider-Man 2099, Longshot, Sabretooth and Power Princess make up the latest lineup), who guard the realities from interdimensional threats like Proteus, an evil Hyperion, and so on. I found the “Destroy All Monsters” storyline one of the title’s cooler arcs. The heroes’ jaunts through the New Universe and the 2099 reality were also memorable. The mix of familiar characters and concepts, and the non-stop visits to Marvel’s forgotten franchises offer infinite story possibilities. The art could be better, though. And Claremont will be taking over the writing chores soon… I’m not too excited about that.

Leave ‘Em Wanting More

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Bye, now (pic from silverbulletcomics)

Justice League Unlimited is over. The show ends with a full-scale alien invasion, just like in the first episode about four years back, and everyone, even the Legion of Doom, is fighting for the planet’s salvation. Man, it’s one of the most memorable cartoon series ever. It's been a fine final season. In the concluding episode: Superman cuts loose! Batman lightens up! Martian Manhunter returns! And Flash gets a kiss! This show will be missed. But it’s still airing over Cartoon Network and Jack TV, methinks. Hail and Hallelujah.