Saturday, April 29, 2006

One Summer Never Ends

The weather’s still unbelievably, thickly humid, even at night. The heat is practically a solid, living force. There’s just no escaping it. Ah, well. You just get used to it, I guess. Can’t wait for the heavy rainfall that weathermen predicted, the kind we're supposed to experience some time during this summer.

Been a tiring work week. Was able to watch a few movies and read some new comics, though. Been planning to watch the last staging of Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal, but I discovered last Wednesday that it had just sold out, according to the ticketseller hotline lady. Paolo Manalo, miraculously and thankfully, texted me and was able to reserve me some. I wanted to catch it before it becomes a movie and to see how they’ve brought Carl Vergara’s characters and ideas to life. Watching that tomorrow.

I was only able to sleep for about two hours early Friday morning. Had to wake up early to visit a construction supply convention for a PR firm, where I was supposed to meet up with some interviewees. I did my darnedest to stay focused for most of the waiting and actual interviewing process. The two interviews went well and were lengthier than usual. They were about pesticides and termite infestations, topics that don’t really interest me, so I just had to keep myself awake and force myself to understand things that they were saying. These were conducted in two separate, classy dining places, where the food we were treated to was filling. The ambiance wasn’t bad, either.

I still have to transcribe them. I’ve worked on some press releases in the past, and while these have no bylines, I do enjoy writing them. I do feel like a dirty whore for writing them sometimes, because some clients and their associates can’t make up their minds on what they want long after you’ve given them a perfectly functional one, or pretend to know how to do the job themselves when they butcher your work with their own wordings. But, well, that’s part of the nature of the selling business. And writing copy that pimps products, and interacting with interesting people can offer me new perspectives. I’m real grateful for that opportunity.

Just slept a bit through traffic in the firm’s vehicle after that. Traffic was really horrid by 4-ish near Mandaluyong, as there was, I’d find out later, an ongoing mallwide sale in Megamall. I went to CQ and checked if last year’s Marvel Universe issues were on sale (these were the themed series), and they were so I finally got them. I also got a discounted Villiains United Special at Filbar’s. It’s a great, important tie-in to read before next week’s final ish of Infinite Crisis! It felt like one of the episodes of Justice League Unlimited for me. You’ll find out why if you read it. I’m really excited with the re-appearance of another villain, too.

Went up to catch the preview of Aquamarine, a silly, cute teen flick about a mermaid and friendships. Young pop singer Jojo Levesque, the girl with the cute babyfat cheeks, is in it as one of the high schoolers who befriend the pretty creature. And for the first time in my life, I won in one of those pre-screening raffles. It was a small but heavy snail mail letter rack. Wait, I actually don’t remember if the sponsor that gave away stuff was Stresstabs or another product. But the thing I got obviously wasn’t vitamins-related. Still, a prize is a prize, and I wasn’t expecting any. I actually hesitated from going in front, answering the true or false question, and claiming the thing. Update: I just opened the box and it had twelve Stresstabs capsules in it. So cool.

Went home to discover a touching email from a sibling. That was surprising. I stayed awake to surf a little and read my comics. And I woke up about four hours later to look briefly at the paper. Was pleasantly surprised to see an interview article I wrote early this week (thanks Pam and Tim!). Got back to bed and slept some more. And woke up to the light and heat of summer sunshine, hours later. Even the bathing water is hot. Yeek.

Not Mere Words, Part Trois

VH1 recently conducted a poll for Brits’ favorite lyrics. U2 topped that with “One”. The line, “One life with each other, sisters, brothers” was deemed the favorite. There were other notable entries; just check out Google News for them.

Here are some of mine again, in some of my old and new favorite songs. They’re poetic and attractive perspectives:

“Maybe there is a God above, but all I've ever learned from love, was how to shoot someone who outdrew you. And it's not a cry that you hear at night. It's not somebody who's seen the light, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.”
--Jeff Buckley, “Hallelujah”

“To ease my pain, I took a pen and paper. Incarnate came the bleeding. Send it back before the public eye perverts it in the reading.”
--Indigo Girls, “Burn All the Letters”

“Sometimes I feel like I know too much. And sometimes I feel like I don't know nothing at all. But I can still be soft to the touch. Well, I am just a rumble doll.”
--Patti Scialfa, "Rumble Doll"

“Ask her how she knows there's a God up in the heavens. Where did he go in the middle of her shame? Ask her how she knows there's a God up in the heavens. She said his mercy is bringing her life again.”
-- Amy Grant, “Ask Me”

“Do you have eyes? Can you see like mankind sees? Why have you soured and curdled me? Oh, you tireless watcher! What have I done to you? That you make everything I dread and everything I fear come true?”
--Joni Mitchell, “The Sire of Sorrow (Job’s Sad Song)”

“Her boyfriend is Tom, but we call him the King of Romance. He wears an American flag on the butt of his ripped-up pants. And, will they get married with kids of their own? He says, ‘Not if she's going to college we won't’. And he kisses her, oh.... Someday I'll have a boyfriend just like that.”
--Dar Williams (left, pic from Yahoo Music), “The Babysitter’s Here”

“I can feel the eyes behind us as we walk. I can see the ears that listen when we talk.
I don’t care what the world has to say. You should know that I love you. I love you, I love you today.”
--Squeeze, “Heaven Knows”

”I saw you first. I'm the first one tonight. I saw you first. Don't that give me the right, to move around in your heart? Everyone was looking, but I saw you first.”
--John Mellencamp, “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)”

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Crayons to Cravings

My, how they’ve grown. Looking at some old classmates and batchmates’ Friendster profiles, it’s easy to assume that no, they’re not the same people I met or spent time with at school back in the day. They’re strangers, more so now than they’ve ever been. People who purported to be friends back then have moved on to different interests and have more pressing priorities now. It seemed that half our lives ago, the most terrifying thing that could happen was failing a subject, or not graduating, or getting a low entrance examination score.

It’s also surreal to see my picture beside that of another person I considered really close all those years ago, but one that I’m not particularly interested in contacting any time soon, or ever again. Quite a number of people from high school were likewise barely recognizable in many ways; I’m not sure what the hell happened to them between the last time we all left the hallowed halls of the alma mater and the time they created their profiles. But yeah, okay, life happened to them. And I don’t doubt that the same people may be thinking the same thing about me. It’s seeing the changes beyond the cosmetic that’s really amusing, that shows them as more complex creatures with constantly changing appetites. And it’s interesting that they’ve found things that kept them busy, happy or made their presences felt outside the seemingly innocent confines of the school years after.

It’s in school that we first meet people we fancy, look up to, or despise, and while there are incidents and embarrassments throughout those years that are best forgotten, it’s undeniable that we’ve often learned after stumbling. But that’s generalizing it; I’ve heard that some acquaintances are now faring poorly. Others are surprisingly doing extremely well, though, and have begun raising families or have become mentors in their respective fields. But it’s intriguing for me, personally, that the information I know of them now maps a semblance of their lives all those years. Some have obviously gone through personal hells, found or lost God, or, have become the polar opposites of their past personalities. I’d like to know a few of them now, actually, just to see how radical the transformations have been.

Ah, school. I remember a priest who asked me if I masturbated, as part of a strange q & a during confession (I'm not sure if he asked all the guys, but he pleaded to God that I be forgiven for committing such an offense before assigning some penance prayers). I remember the awful CAT marching sessions, which somehow empowered some officers to be verbally abusive and demeaning to the cadets. And I remember a stupid craphead who copied off my test paper but wouldn’t bother saying hello when I ran into him—and greeted him—off-campus.

Sometimes I wonder about them, and the time spent molding us into people that adhered to the rules and mission statements of the schools we’ve spent so many hours of our lives in. If anything, it’s a training ground for encountering and interacting with the Breakfast Club, where we discover ourselves at our purest, most confused, most selfless, and perhaps, most passionate.

LNA Announcement:

For those who’ve been looking for copies of Lexy, Nance and Argus at Comic Quest stores (yes, there are still some of you, thanks!), the comic book won’t be available there, like other consigned items, for a couple of weeks. But do check out Druid’s Keep in Magallanes (landline # 8545332) and Pride Exchange in Malate (landline # 5229429) in the meantime. Try calling them first before visiting, just in case. It will be back in CQ eventually; will announce when that happens.

One With the Cosmos

I’m loving Peter David’s Captain Marvel. It’s heartbreaking that after over thirty issues of the title character Genis-Vell’s gradual development as a superhero, he had to go crazy. As in, cosmically powered, Spectre-judgmental-mental. I wish they’d meet up—Hal Jordan- or Jim Corrigan-Spectre and Genis-- in a nice crossover written by Mr. David one day, but that’s highly unlikely now that Hal’s a GL again and Corrigan and Genis are now in comics limbo. Still, that would make a nice, offbeat team-up/adventure with philosophical and socially relevant layers. And the cosmic characters are essentially symbiotically bonded to other characters; in Cap’s case, Rick Jones is his conscience.

Anyway, back to the book. It’s way awesome and funny. And I love how miss superior, Moondragon, was developed. Heather and Marlo! Woohoo! Nice.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Super Books and Flying How’s

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I bought the DC Comics Encyclopedia early last year. I haven’t really finished it; companion sourcebooks aren’t really things you read from cover to cover in one sitting. It has hundreds of character entries, which vary in length, depending on significance. Unlike the Essential and All-New Marvel Universe Handbooks, it has more concise data on the company’s decades-old properties. It’s jam-packed with interesting trivia, but it’s far from complete, and there are some big mistakes, most notably in Sue Dibny’s history. Still, the book is handy and comprehensible reading.

As for the current All-New Marvel Universe series, comprehensive info on strength levels and speed have been oversimplified to number ratings (0 to 7), like those of the old superhero trading cards from the early ’90s, presumably to prevent writers from being given constricting limitations. But the thick Essentials, twenty years after the original titles’ publication, still kick ass, as they thoroughly explain the fantastical physics and minutiae of superpowers, weaponry, and related paraphernalia. I’ve also been re-reading my three-year-old copy of the Marv Wolfman-written, George Perez-drawn History of the DC Universe, which beautifully expounds on the restructured post-Crisis DCU about two decades ago.

With massive crossover events currently ongoing at both comic book universes, and their mythologies constantly expanding and metamorphosing, it’s pretty useful to have these character and event bibles that, while far from complete, try to contain available, steadily growing information into organized, fan-pleasing tomes.

Easter Eggheadry

John and I watched the not-totally feelgood doggie flick Eight Below last Saturday, about husky sled dogs that got stranded in Antarctica for several months. It’s a live-action Disney film that was inspired by actual events, so expect equal parts triumph and tragedy. Basta, the dogs were really good actors.

Can’t remember anything important between that and the start of Holy Week; I just stayed home and worked on some articles.

Holy Tuesday evening, though, my editor sent me to cover the taping of two consecutive episodes of Rex Navarrete’s new cable show, Rex in the City, at the Fort-located MTV building. I interviewed the Fil-Am standup comic right after the second taping. The guy’s real smart and speaks eloquently, not surprisingly. He’s entertaining, even behind the scenes. Talked with the show’s producers and director after that, and left 8:50-ish. As I was looking for a cab, I discovered Embassy, the bar that Tim co-owns, I think, just a few meters from the MTV building. Looks swanky. People were outside looking at a photo shoot at the door, or something. Anyway, I got home immediately to transcribe, which felt more exciting than usual. Wrote and sent the article, hours before the deadline my good editor gave me.

Wednesday night, Benedict dropped by with a boxful of Captain Marvel comics by Peter David and Chris Cross, and took pics of my toys, some of which are posted below (click images to enlarge). He also lent me a copy of Donnie Darko, which is one of the weirdest, most pa-existential things I’ve seen so far. It starred young Jake Gyllenhaal, about four years before he Brokebacked. I had to look at FAQ’s of some fan sites to get what some of the scenes meant. The movie makes more sense if you read them, actually. But I still have questions. Hmm.

Black Saturday, I went to the nearby mall in the afternoon, and the food court was packed like it was a regular weekend. I find it a little strange, but good, that some food establishments continue their regular services during the three Catholic holidays. Things have changed since I was a kid; you’d be hard-pressed to find an open store or food place in commercial districts back then.

Plastic Fantastique

To Me, My Academy X

Some of the teachers and students at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, or the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, if you’re being nitpicky. I put Sasquatch there because she’s an Exiles member and that’s sort of an X-team, too. She’s the wife of an alternate reality’s Wolverine. And the Sentinel is Rover, from Grant Morrison and Marc Silvestri’s confusing but cool New X-Men arc “Here Comes Tomorrow”. By the way, Benedict posed Nightcrawler.

Villains United!

Or, Acts of Vengeance! Yeah, they're ultra-hot, looking all mean and deadly together like that. Can’t wait for the Onslaught set (Loki, Blackheart, Lady Deathstrike, Pyro, and Abomination). I want a Kingpin! I hope there’s a cheap loose figure of that (it comes with a DD figure as part of a 2-pack), and Kang (from the FF Classics). Must work more. Waah.

Sunday, April 09, 2006



Infinite Crisis # 6 is out. Good slam-bang-heavy issue overall. Superboy Prime returns from the Speed Force, where he claims he was imprisoned with red sunlight for years. It’s good to know that he’s not Anti-Monitor-possessed, that they didn’t resurrect the old villain anymore, and crazy SB Prime’s just sporting energy-draining armor he designed based on the old one he scavenged pre-IC.

The sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths has been enjoyable so far, as it upsets the status quo in the DC Universe again. The body count, the eventual resolution to the funks that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have been in, and the expected sacrifice of Superboy (Kon-El/Conner Kent) are some of the many highlights of the penultimate issue. Among COIE’s significant deaths was Supergirl’s, and having Superboy perish this time seems apt. I was kinda hoping for a déjà vu moment where SB-Prime would finish him off the way the Anti-Monitor terminated the original Kara, but it’s a good thing they didn’t go that way.

I actually liked Conner-Superboy immediately after he debuted during the Reign of the Supermen arc, and through the years, he’s been the fun, fresh, naive superhero that added an integral hipness and attitude to several teen teams’ rosters (he was a member of the Ravers, Young Justice, Titans, and the Legion of Superheroes). I especially liked Joe Kelly and Pascual Ferry’s take on him, as well as his portrayal during the Abnett-Lanning stint in Legion just two years ago. I’m not a fan of the brooding and more mature character he’s become lately in Teen Titans, but well, he, along with goofball speedster Impulse had to grow up and become more serious about the superhero biz some time. Conner had a nice sendoff anyway; his and Wonder Girl’s relationship was nicely addressed in the recent Teen Titans Annual. It was obvious that he was going to get killed off soon, and not Nightwing as the previous IC issues have been trying to misleadingly hint at.

And so he’s gone, until he’s resurrected in a future mega-event, that is. But these changes will stick for a while. One issue to go, but we all know the story doesn’t really end there. There’s still 52, the IC Aftermath series of limited series, and of course, the somewhat spoiler-ish One Year Later-arc titles.

Speaking of status quo shakeups, Marvel’s New Avengers: Illuminati special is interesting. This leads to the Mark Millar-penned Civil War limited series, which will pit hero factions siding with and refusing the new Superhero Registration Act against each other. Illuminati is quite good; Bendis shows here that he’s capable of telling an intriguing, self-contained story in one issue. The secret gathering of some of Marvel’s superhero community leaders breaks up over some of the Illuminati members’ recent decisions. The premise is sound enough (although people will question several continuity points), and the Civil War preview (the last few pages of the special) ominously depicts an event that will affect Marvel for the foreseeable future. Or at least, until the next extra-lengthy, everything-changes crossover.

Oh, I also read Young Avengers # 11. I was right! Good thing they didn’t drag the children of ex-Avengers arc out too long. Good issue.

And All-Star Superman # 3: Not as fun as the previous issue for me, but it’s still entertaining. I like the new super-strong mythical characters, as well as Lois Lane’s brief costumed persona as Superwoman.

I’m still randomly reading Essential Marvel Universe Handbooks entries. Informative and very much worth owning, if you don’t have the complete sets already.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Stranger Things

I was finishing my late lunch at a nearby mall’s food court when an old guy, whose height is about 5’4”, stopped by about two feet to my left. He fixed his backpack on the table parallel to mine for a few minutes, and just as he zipped up his bag, his spread-out wallet fell from the side of the table. He didn’t notice.

He was about to walk away when I tapped him by his side and told him, “nahulog ho yung wallet.” He looked surprised and puzzled, so I pointed down. He was happy, of course, and proceeded to thank me.

“Naku, thank you… kung sa ibang lugar ko nahulog ito, walang malasakit ang ibang tao. May kaunting pera ito pero ang mahirap mawala eh ‘yung mga ID.”

A brief, reluctant conversation ensued, but we didn't really bother introducing ourselves. He told me that he was already 79, and politely asked my age. I told him, and I quickly mentioned that telling him about the dropped wallet was no big deal. But he was really grateful.

“Totoy, mabuti na lang may mga taong may good manners and right conduct. Pagpalain ka sana ng diyos!”

I thanked him and told him to take care. It felt good to do that simple thing, basically because I expect people to do the same thing for me should something similar happen.

Bizarro Superman

Not really, but that's the new Clark Kent's reflection. Brandon Routh/Superman Returns pic from Yahoo! Movies.

Grown-up Matters

Got this comment from Alejandro Abadilla, who responded to witty, rabble-rousing Adam David’s questionnaire about Filipino comic books.

Adam: Do people still say that comic books are for children?
Alejandro: No. But it isn't a bad thing. Nor is it a general thing. It's not a blanket condition since there are exists comics out there that are "meant/designed" for specific age groups. If so, why do comics manufacturers insist on labeling their works "for mature readers only". Some would say that it's meant to be a joke; that their comic books are not intended for readers who are in their 30s but are too immature when it comes to handling their relationships or credit card debts or something. But who are they kidding? They put the label precisely because a four-year old kid would never understand the problems of Lexy, Nance, and Argus.
- - - - - - - -
I emailed him the following, to elaborate on my book’s “mature readers” label (Update: I just noticed that this is a slightly edited version of the email I sent him. Okay, must sleep now.).
- - - - - - - - -
Actually, the "mature readers only" label in my case is there precisely because, yes, kids would never understand the problems of the book's characters, and more so because it's a disclaimer if ever their parents or elders discovered them reading or browsing through it. As something that has partially seen print in a magazine (first 18 pages/Chapter 1 of the book), I've gotten some feedback from adults, way back, that were less than encouraging, as well as reactions that have been very supportive of a future compilation or a continuation of the story. I knew I'd be making some people really uncomfortable with some of the subject matter I'd be exploring. So I put the "mature" label there too for those who are bound to dislike the fact that such topics have been discussed.

The immature adults are there, as expected. “Immature adults” at the back cover was meant as a jab, a warning that certain people will not like or appreciate the comic book’s takes on non-traditional ideas. Many months after the comic book was released, for example, my sister told me about an incident wherein her friend's pre-teen/grade 7 sister was caught by their Opus Dei mom reading the comic book. They (my sister and friend) had to point out that the girl rummaged through her brother's things without permission, and the disclaimer on the cover--and the "sex" in the title-- were there all along. The mother was nonetheless scandalized.

There was another incident. My friend gave a copy to his straight male friend as a gift. He (the straight guy) didn't finish reading it--he had about ten pages left-- because he felt that the friend who gave it to him was, to paraphrase, "pushing the gay lifestyle on him". He returned the gift.

And recently, I gave a copy to someone whom I thought might be receptive to it. But after reading it, she apologized because it was "too adult" for her. But I understand what she meant, and I appreciate that she was really sensitive enough and honest to admit that to me. I don't expect everyone to be receptive to it, as that would be grossly unrealistic.

I also put the "mature readers" label there so that salespeople who have no idea what the comic book's about won't accidentally sell them to kids. I didn't wanna complicate things with the shops; I didn't want them to get complaints from angry parents if such things happened. But the three stores where I had them consigned, thankfully, are careful enough not to sell them to minors. They're used to the label, actually, as they sell other items with mature themes or content as well.

I'd like to add that I didn't wanna inconvenience anyone if ever problems regarding the sexual or religious content arose, that's why I decided to make/publish/market it myself, under its own indie label, if it can even be called that. I didn't wanna implicate any publisher or organization by association if certain people felt offended by it.

Thanks for the comment, Alejandro. That made me think.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Like Chocolate Cake, Like Cigarettes

If you sit down at Glorietta’s Food Choices food court long enough, you’ll notice that they keep looping two songs over their audio system. One is Bachelor Girl’s “Buses and Trains”, and the other is No Doubt’s “Simple Kind of Life”. It was only last Sunday, after several times of hearing them in the past few weeks that I sat or ate there, that I discovered that they were actually showing the videos of the two songs between ads in an elevated TV. How odd, I thought; I wonder why they don’t change them. But the food joint workers there must’ve tuned them out by now. Not that they’re not catchy, but, you know.

I actually had the Bachelor Girl album on cassette tape. I really like that song most of all, particularly the lines, “I know they’re bad for me but I just can’t leave them alone” and like some vices, “a man can kill and still be the sweetest fun”. Brilliant, brilliant.

About three years ago, though, I ran out of blank tapes for my recorder, so I used that for an interview. I think I may have promised myself to get a replacement copy of that one day, along with new copies of the second Merril Bainbridge and Tara McLean albums, which I had to use for different assignments. But I'm not really sure.

I discovered their still-intact lyric sheets and cases piled in a dusty part of my room. I cleaned that up a few hours ago. I just transferred most of my old, now-unused tape collection onto a shelvable plastic container with wheels that no one was using. The items ranged from stuff I got back in high school, to those I bought dirt-cheap in 2003, as well as recordings of interviews with celeb and non-celeb subjects. The collection was yet another colorful, mnemonic map that triggered memories of specific events and phases.

I didn’t really organize in any order; I just needed to get them together into the plastic box. I stopped every few minutes of stacking to look at them. There were Lilith Fair ladies (Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Sinead O’Connor, Sheryl Crow, etc.) mingled with some new wave albums (the Beggars’ Banquet Collection, River Detectives, The Cure’s Disintegration, etc.), pop ones (Billy Joel’s Storm Front, Wilson Phillips, Richard Marx’s first album!), techno and electronica-related acts (John Digweed, Gus Gus, etc.), and soundtracks (Go, Pretty in Pink, Twin Peaks, etc.).

“Through times of joy and suffering, the music flavors everything”, goes a line from Human League’s “Soundtrack to a Generation”. How true, especially for me. Music has been, and will always be, important to me. Even after I’ve moved on to CD’s (basically because the tape players have stopped working, among other reasons), the countless songs will continue to express words I connect with or need to say, or provide pounding rhythms that soothe my mind and calm my nerves.

The last CD I bought was Vienna Teng’s Warm Strangers, a few months back. I’ve also been enjoying Gumby’s great mix CDs too, which compile my personal ‘80s-to-present pop, folk, new wave and corporate rock favorites. Most of them are songs I previously had as tape tracks. Others are songs I missed from way back. But each song has sentimental worth.

One day, I’ll be moving on to a trusty gadget that compresses all the songs I need to hear in my lifetime. I honestly can’t see that happening any time soon, but I gotta admit, I never saw myself eventually owning a CD collection, however small, back when vinyl records were the coolest thing, either.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pretty Sinful

It's past 1 a.m. and I'm craving for pizza and ice cream. Not too satisfied with the pancit canton I ate for dinner. But that’ll have to do, I guess, since I’m sleeping in a bit.

Was finally able to try out a slice of Sbarro’s Chicago Deep Dish Pizza last Tuesday. Hm. It was thick and real meaty. Yeah, it’s actually meat pie; it had slices and bits of, if I’m not mistaken, pepperoni sausages, ham and other similar toppings. But these were all compressed inside over an inch-thick pie, with tomato sauce and cheese topping its upper crust (or whatever you call it). I had to see what the fuss was all about. It tastes pretty much like your typical meat-lover’s flavored pan pizza to me, like you took two big slices and pressed their upper parts onto each other. It’s not something I’d regularly eat, though, because it has more meat than I’d like in one serving. And the price, for me, makes it for special occasions only.

Speaking of food, Bodhi has the shrimp okoy mimicked with their new crunchy vegemeat product. It looks, tastes and feels the same, except for the part where your mouth gets pricked by shrimp casings (or shells? I dunno). It’s okay. Okay okoy. But I hope they make bigger servings.

Enjoyed Chowking’s Halo-Halo Fiesta a few days ago. It has two small ice cream scoops (melon and ube flavors) and the usual toppings, like banana slices, ube, leche flan, beans, sago, pinipig, and kaong. Yummy summer dessert. Gah, it’s late and I’m still thinking of food.

Pretty Evil

Some of TV’s pretty faces of evil: Desperate Housewives’ Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom, above) and 24’s Mandy (Mia Kirshner, below). Andrew is the malevolent gay son of control freak Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross). In season 2, the war between homophobic mother and rebellious child escalates, with Andrew relentlessly manipulating his boyfriend (played by Ryan Carnes) to make her snap. But he gets meaner with every appearance, and continues to be one of the show’s more intriguing scheming characters. Obsessive Bree, however, isn’t without tricks up her well-pressed sleeve.

Bisexual assassin Mandy, meanwhile, is a recurring villainess in 24. She’s blown up a plane in the first season, targeted the president in the second, and staged an impromptu hostage situation in the fourth. Hope she reappears in season five. Super CTU agent Bauer needs more deadly, resourceful enemies like her.