Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Paint It Black!

Dingyang comes again to Iloilo, Panay's biggest festival of the year. This is the only part of the year where everything in the city shuts down ( Even us! thank God for that small blessing... ) prepares for the grandest event the city has to offer. Twenty tribes, 5 judging stations, 25 judges, 5 kilometers to march and more than hundred thousand in the stands watching and cheering their favorites. I'll let the pictures ( and captions ) speak for themselves.

Form Up!

Hail, Hail!

Watch out!

Standing Proud

Yes, we like our headdresses!

Come fly with me

Arms up!

Shiny Stuff

Flow like the breeze


Look into my eyes

Two shields are better than one

Multicolored Madness

Where we supposed to go?

The young grasshopper

Wind Walkers

Viva Sto. Nino!

Oh, if anyone is interested in coming over here to experience Dinagyang ( and the food! the seafood in the Philippines! Talaba for only p50 per bucket! w00t! ) just ring me up and I'll give you a grand tour, hehehe. I'll post a movie next time since the internet here in Iloilo has bogged down and there's just an intermittant signal every couple of hours or so. Sucks, but what can I do? Hay....

Equipment: Canon S3 IS camera, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, Mac Intel Dual Laptop

Frame of Mind: Dizzy

Song of the Day: Kundiman by Silent Sanctuary

Book of the Week: The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

Want or Need: A new internet service provider!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Birthday Blah

It was my birthday last January 18 and what did I do? Nothing special, just a quiet evening with the girlfriend. Not because I was tired ( I'm always tired ) but because I have to leave for Manila the next day. Or more specifically, Manila and then going to Cavite, Pampanga, Lipa etc. to look for a prospective branch site. This is the first time I spent my birthday quietly, without the bells and whistles attached, wherein I usually do a party at the weekend with a couple dozen of my closest friends i.e. schoolmates, barkadas etc.

But I did get something out of my trip, where I got to buy some books. Some notables include Kurt Vonegut's The Sirens of Titan, James Blish's Cities in Flight, Alfred Besters' My Stars My Destination, some DC Universe novels, a couple of Warhammer novels and also couple of DC and Image comic books. Oh, I finally found a store that sells Mac Programs cheap, and that for me made my day a little brighter.


So, now I'm 27. I look like 30. My folks said I have the maturity of 20. Huzzah. So I'll just wish for three outrageous things ( wishful thinking really ) and let it go at that.

1.) Join a band and go indie. Just so I could vent off some rage and restlessness. Even a monthly local gig would be nice. An album would be much better.

2.) Publish something. I've been ranting about this for more than a couple of years now, and I'm nowhere near finished. Perhaps this would be finished this year. Fingers crossed...

3.) Set up a sideline business, preferably a hobby store, with weekly DOTA, Starcraft and CS tournaments in mind. If I have the money and time, I'd do this tommorow, but hey I wish I could...

Oh, Happy Birthday to me. May this year be glorious and interesting.

Frame of Mind: Glorious Blah
Song of the Day: Barricade by Love Me Butch
Book of the Week: Batman: City of Crime by David Lapham
Want or Need: Lomo Camera!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thar Be Dragons!

Eragon Rant

I love the book, but movie was a little disappointing to say the least. Well, not actually disappointing, but you get the feeling that there should be something more, especially if you've read the book. The movie was fast-paced, action-packed yet tinged with drama. But the book has something much more than the movie: it has personality. Case in point: the most disappointing scene was at the Fortune Teller. I mean that should have been at least 15 minutes long, not just a few cyrptic words and then on to the fight scene. Angela's ( played by Joss Stone, which is weird if you ask me ) part should have sufficient time to explain the destiny of Eragon. I think this was the one of the most important parts of the story that the movie left out, in which Eragon discovers his destiny. Djimon Hounsou's Ajihad, the great and wise king of the Varden, is more of a background character and not one of the central ones. Murtagh was totally totally wrong; he should have been forceful and stoic, and not, for any reason at all, have any desire to go to the Varden. In the movie he was made like a background character, when he could have been a powerful player at the side of Eragon. But most importantly of all...


I mean the Varden are hidden inside the mountain fortress of the dwarven king, so the population should have been 70% dwarves and 30% humans. All I saw was some arabian-like people ... and that's it. Nothing more. And where was the Angela's werecat? Where are the cities they visited? Where are the ... Arrrrrgh!

It's all the LOTR's fault. They set the standard for epic fantasy, and when Eragon came out, it could have become a good epic movie, not just a good movie. If I was to summarize want could made it better I would say that two hours is too short, there should more character dialogues and development, no cheesy scenes ( there a point in the movie that I wish I had popcorn to gag on ) and ultimately show the audience what Eragon is all about.

Ok, I'm not saying that it's all bad, remember I'm just saying it was just a good movie. Eragon and Saphira were spot on, and Jeremy Iron's portrayal of Brom ran shivers in my spine. John Malkovich's Galbatorix was just slimy and evil, and Durza...well, it could have been better, but it was a good job.

Thing's I miss in the movie? The fortune teller scene, the big battle in the plains, the werecat, the travel with Murtagh, etc etc etc. Things I hate? What they deviated from the book, especially Brom's death and Murtagh's appearance. It was a love and hate movie, but it was good one, nonetheless.

Moral of the story? Don't judge the book by it's movie. Read the book!

Super Hero Goodness

I've been reading Mutants and Masterminds, a d20 system using superheroes as PC's. Brilliant idea, and the system, although a little clunky at character creation has it's own charm once the game gets underway. Much better than the Marvel RPG, M&M has every power available in every comic universe. And been thinking of doing a story blog based on one of the characters I've made using the system. Kinda like a noir-esque, hard boiled detective shorts. I'll probably post the link once I have the story, so it will be a while. Perhaps I'll do this a bi-monthly thing, we'll see.

Top Fives

Now that new year and settled by comfortably, it's time look back and reminisce 2006.

Top Five Albums
1. Embrace by Urbandub
2. Fragmented by Up Dharma Down
3. X&Y by Coldplay
4. Skin and Bones by The Foo Fighters
5. Revelation by Audioslave

Top Five Music Videos
1. Pag-agos by Up Dharma Down
2. First of Summer by Urbandub
3. Fix You by Coldplay
4. Here It Goes Again by OK Go
5. Martyr Nybera by Kamikazee

Top 5 TV Series
1. Firefly
2. Naruto
3. CSI
4. Bleach
5. Justice League Unlimited

Top 5 Movies
1. The Departed
2. Casino Royale
3. V for Vendetta
4. Nacho Libre
5. The Inheritance (Ang Pamana)

Top 5 Stand Alone Books
1. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (Short story goodness)
2. Just For Fun: Linus Torvalds Biography (Open Source Coding Rules!)
3. Masters of Doom: John Romero/John Carmack (How Doom started it all)
4. Thud by Terry Prachett (Sam Vines in the middle of a Dwarf and Troll War)
5. Blink by Ted Dekker (Super genius at work)

Top 5 Series Books (Books I have finished collecting or waiting for the new one)
1. Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (Finished the Storm of Crows!)
2. The Sandman Series Neil Gaiman's (autographed Seasons of Mist!)
3. Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike (the legend of Itto Ogami)
4. The Dreamers by David Eddings (New series!)
5. The Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini (Eragon's story)

Frame of Mind: Static Burst
Song of the Day: Frailty by Urbandub
Book of the Week: Thud! by Terry Prachett
Want or Need: More Internet Speed, Less Down Systems

Sunday, January 07, 2007

One Interesting Year Later...

I never thought that time would just go by so fast. Last year I remember a girl that was so stuck up I wouldn't even deign speak to her at a party, much less be seen with someone who wants to go bars where the gays are, just for the heck of it. I didn't even wonder what came over me that made me invite her as a friend in Friendster ( actually the reason was just to add more friends in my list, a shallow reason at that time ). I thought she would just add me up with no second thought, but no! I just had to get a blistering question of who the hell I was ( well, not actually blistering, just a smidgen of heat perhaps ). And that's where it all started.

After various messages, I finally got her number through cunning and guile: I asked her just to text me if she ever wants to talk anytime, pretending she has mine. Right on the money, she came with a scorching reply: she didn't have my number, she didn't want to ask her friends my number, and finally, she's the girl, why should she give her number to a total stranger?

This time, my Hamster-sense is tingling.

So I gave her my number. And it goes on back and forth, debating the difference eternal life and reincarnation, comparing notes on Tolstoy and Asimov, querying on whether Winnie the Pooh or the Smurfs are really gay, and if so, which is more gayer than the other one. Every battlefield was fought, no ground uncovered. From Japanese Anime to Japanese Indie Films, from classical greek to modern american authors, from weird teachers in high school to even weirder barkadas and friends.

My Hamster-sense is tingling madly, its been telling me that the past few weeks are a sign of the end-times.

But I succumbed. I fell down willingly. I gave myself up. I betrayed the whole nation ... of singlehood.

Now I have been single for quite some time now...ok, fine, I have been single for seven years. I have been on dates, and while they were ok, they were either: a.) wouldn't want to do anything with me b.) accept me just as a Kuya c.) can't take the pressure that I'm their boyfriend and can't live up to the expectations of the people. Ok, so I made up letter C. But the thing is, perhaps fate or destiny has someone else in store for me, even if I have wait for seven years ( I hear my girlfriend cracking her knuckles on the chance to do battle in debating Fate and Destiny, but that's another story ).

So there I was, like a little boy lost in the woods, blurting out if I could ever court her. Now that was the hardest thing I ever did. How hard? If there was a choice of between asking her and being pinpricked by needles, I'd go with the needles...and I really really loathe needles. "I hates them" as Gollum might say; it's my ivy arrow in Balder's story, my heel in Achilles' legend.

She said yes.

Ok, so what now?

Never have I been so lost at that moment. Do I want to be aggressive and go directly to her house and woo her? Do I need to be with her every moment of the day just to show her how much she means to me, effectively be a stalker? Will I ask her parents her permission, going the conservative route? What should I do?

I pondered and procastinated. I thought hard till beads of sweat fell down my face. I meditated everyday and focused my chi in the finding answer to one of man's greatest questions. I went up the mountains and asked the holy men for the meaning of life and the essence of courtship. I searce the depths of the ocean to look at the glyphs of the sunken continents, vainly looking for even a half-an-answer.

In the end, I did nothing. NOTHING! Ok, maybe not, but it was just being myself all of the time. Never would I thought that being my goofy, geeky self would get a girl to fall in love with me, I was thinking more in the lines of being sauve, sophisticated and withdrawn. Like James Bond, or maybe like one of those english gentlemen with their "Fancy a cup of tea dear? Oh, yes I do love you actually. Would that be one lump of sugar or two?

In the end, me and my geeky, goofy self fell in love with the woman of my dreams, someone who actually has a brain and knows how to use it. And I can't still believe that it came true. So to this woman I say...

"Ronstadt, I love you. This past year has been a blur, but happy blur nonetheless. I never met any other women who can match my brainwave and talk in the same wavelength. This is just one year, but a special year no doubt. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, even how cheesy it sounds, no words can describe what I feel right now. Thanks for being my Arwen, Leia, Ce'nedra, Katala, Haimya, Diana, Thessaly and all other strong women out there. But most of all, thanks for being my Ronstadt."

Oh, here's our video of our first year anniversary at Hotel Del Rio.

Frame of Mind: Blissfull
Song of the Day: Volare by Gypsy Kings
Book of the Week: The Dreamers: The Treasured One by David Eddings
Want or Need: A new hamster cage ( ongoing project )

Monday, January 01, 2007

Another Year Passes By...

I started the year by waking up from a 20 hour hibernation. Last December 31 saw me shifting stuff in my room, going through the annual Room Purging Rituals, lest self combustion happens when I'm sleeping. I finally got through cataloging my books and cds, throwing away stuff that I don't really need ( and yes there's a lot them: some stubs, used tickets, old newsprints... ) and keeping some others in the family bodega ( some stubs, used tickets, old newsprints ... I kid myself silly). I even realized that I bought a book twice; I haven't had the time to read the original one before and forgot about it. So, all in all, the day before the new year arrives saw me in Operation Dustus Exterminatus, the better to breath in deeply and finally find some room to walk in my room. Then I fell asleep.

I fell asleep at around 11:30, December 31, woke up at 2pm the next day, slept again by 3 after a slight lunch and woke up again at around elevenish just to hear the fireworks go off. Then sleep again after a couple of hours or so. I loved that day. What really amuses me that day also is the sign I saw outside our subdivision. I only noticed the Christmas Celebration part when I finally saw what's written underneath:

Ok, so how do we celebrate our Christmas and how will we usher in the New Year? I know, let's have an Miss Gay competition and a Bikini Open the next day! Wow, I feel the spirit of Christmas already! And a Bikini Open before New Year?! What a great idea! And our theme will be ... "GIVE LOVE ON CHRISTMAS DAY!" Holy Macaroni! Where's my thong and make up?!!

Sometimes I just despair for the people here in the provinces...

Anyways, so what's in store for me this 2007? A lot actually. Here's some examples...

1.) My brother annouced that he's getting married this June 28. And yes I'm pretty much proud that he's taking the next step ( some would say fatal ) in life and wish him the best of luck. I always said that he's the one getting married first because a.) my girl hasn't graduated high school ... I mean law school yet, hehehe, with a bar exam to boot, and b.) everything is perfect for them and the only thing left is to walk down that altar. Besides, I was the guy who introduced his girl to him, hehehe.

What really gets into my thungas is that people are going around jokingly telling me how sad that my brother is getting married first than me. I mean, so? What's wrong with that? At first I thought it was politeness or some sort of nonsensical witticism but after a couple dozen of people or so it gets pretty tiring. And they have to buy me a gift because they're going first! What's with that? So that I could forgive them for getting married? I raise my eyebrows a couple of centimeters higher than usual. Then I just found out that it's an old wives tale ( but still practiced today nevertheless ) that in the event that a younger sibling gets married first than the elder, the newlyweds must buy a gift to elder sibling so that he or she will still get married in the future. Hey, I'm just happy my bro and his girl got hitched, no need to thank me, much less pay for my services.

But in the end, I relented to them offering me a Nintendo WII.

At that point my sensibilities crumbled and squeeked out an "Ok, whatever you want" with visions of me playing Zelda in the living room and making a bow motion with my hands ... Nah, I'm just joking. There's no need to give me anything, I'm just happy he's getting married. 'Nuff said.

... ... ...

Thanks in advance though, hehehe.

2.) I have just been promoted, nay, shanghaied into taking another responsibility. I am now Head of Sales and Purchasing, the two sides of the coin. My brother used to be the head of that department and now he's being transferred into Finance and Admin, my auntie's position. Our Head of Purchasing has gotten a good offer at the US and she's taking care of her papers in the event that everything is ok with the Embassy. So I have six months to try and learn her work and eventually take over both departments.

Oh, I now worked 11 hours a day at 7 days a week. Yep, that 8-7 everyday from Monday to Sunday. And it just hits me so bad that I couldn't lose weight even though I'm working at those hours. One good thing, however small, is that during Sunday I get to have the office to myself and finish up whatever needs to be done and just deal with the incidentals during the normal working days. And yes, finally, I can probably update this blog every Sunday, barring deadlines and such. I can thank you for that small measure.

3.) The reason my bro's taking over Finance and Admin is because my Auntie is diagnosed with cancer, and it's the fourth stage. We can't even visit her, even during Christmas, because of the limited contact rule. That doctor says that the less outside contact ( or germs ) the less chance of a complication. So for now, we just talked once in a while just to cancel out her being alone.

4.) 2007 marks the 10 years after we have shaken off and burned our high school clothes and proceeded out to the wild with a complete and utter understanding of the world. 10 years later, we just found out we were completely and utterly wrong about everything. Nah, just joking. This is year marks our 10th batch anniversary, so who do you think people is looking forward to arrange the reunion? Yours truly. As if I have the time to even talk with my batchmates, much less arrange one. We'll see as time goes by I guess...

My batch has always been close, my barkada even closer. Hell, even my best friend and me started out during kindergarten, along with half our barkada. So it's no surprise that even through the years, people still get in touch with each other. Even people who loathed each other in high school now talk to each other as if they were the best of friends. Weird. I guess the correct term is not Batchmate but perhaps Hivemate... or better yet, Spawnmate! Yes, we started out in kindergarten ( the spawning ground ), got out of elementary ( the cocoon stage ) and finally high school ( where we got our fangs and horns ). This reunion promises to be chockfull of hidden surprises ( you're pregnant?! ), malicious intrigues ( who's the father of your child? ), lost loves ( What do you mean I gave you syphillis before?! ) and flashbacks galore ( I remember dancing with you to the tune of " Wake Me Up, Before You Go-Go!" ).

All in all, just your standard High School Reunion. Can't wait for this one.

This Sunday I'll finish with my thoughts and plans for the new year.

Frame of Mind: Dying Buzz
Song of the Day: Hey Preppy ( Ascolto Mix ) by Drip
Book of the Week: Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Want or Need: More Sleeping Time