Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Feel The Pain

:::It Burns!:::

I woke up to find my body (which anyone who met me physically knows that it is the size and shape of India) on fire and lacerated with scratch marks. Several options come to mind: first, my wife made wild and passionate love to me that would be the envy of other husbands, and will have been the talk of the town and spoken amidst large quantities of beer and slurred, envious voices. But since I slept early and my wife was up all night growing beets, carrots and god-knows-what in Farmtown, I tossed that out immediately. Second thought was that She-Who-Is-Not-To-Be-Named came into our house in the form of a succubus and made happy-happy joy-joy with my body using a unholy version of a whip, barb wire and weirdly carmelized toffee, just like she did when were in our final stages of our break up (sadly without the carmelized toffee). Though this one seems very far fetched because she doesn' t know where I live. ( I hope. She being a demonic succubus is true though).

Of course, when all the sleep fogginess has disappeared, I took a closer look to discover that the tragedy, like all other tragedies, are typically mundane and boring: I got a bad rash of allergies. To what, I don't know. To which I went to the doctor, and she took one look at my body, got a huge bottle that smells suspiciously of muriatic acid, and told me to smear liberally over the infected areas, which to my last look, now occupies 3/4 fourths of my body. If I were to describe it now it looks like the Risk Boardgame where the mighty Red Army is finally poised to conquer the last of the weary Brown Army.

So I took the bottle, went home, and with a silent prayer to St. Jude, the patron saint of Lost Causes, I took a dab of the cream and applied it to my skin.

After the screams have died down to mere mad gibberings ("Must ... apply ... it ... circularly....") I felt my skin tingle, and a cool feeling spread all over my skin. I felt like I've died and gone to heaven. Well, figuratively of course.

So, I'm in treatment. For the next ten days. Por dios por santo.

:::"Guard the bird well, my minions" said Alpha the Dobermann":::

If you haven't yet watched Up by Pixar and Disney, do yourself a favor, go out there to your nearest movie/theater/pirated dvd on the sofa and watch it. I always like Disney films (except Quasimodo, but there's always a mint hater at a ice cream shop) and this one is no exception. The plot is good, the characters funny as hell ("I'm tired. My knees are tired. My elbows are tired"). But the thing that always grips me (as with any other movie) is the soundtrack, and this one takes the cake for right on the spot. Music always evokes emotions, and the scene where they go through life every year is poignant and excellent.

The characters are very well done with very human personalities. The Grouchy Old Man, the Eager Boy Scout, The Loyal Dog Companion etc. I like the boy scout, since it made remember when I was a boy scout and attempted to cook an egg, which resulted in a tent fire and the arrival of the firetruck. Ah, the memories.

Definitely one of my favorite animated films so far. Watch it. And like the trailer, no spoilers here. Because it's fun. And fat boy scouts rule.

State of Mind: Painful Yet Satisfying
Song of the Day: One Day by Matishayu

Book of the Week: Hellboy: Odder Jobs by Mike Mignola and Selected Authors Want/Need: More Bandwidth

Monday, August 10, 2009

Starting Again, Remembering Joe and More Movies

:::Getting Up Again:::

It's really hard to write something out of nothing. To date, I've already scrapped four possible stories for the Philippine Speculative Fiction V, stories that have so much promise but when I get to the middle part it gets unraveled. Right now, I'm choosing either a bounty hunter story, a kidnapping between worlds, a tribal jungle hunt or going something contemporary in the lines of Robert Howard (Conan) or maybe even H.P. Lovecraft (Cthulhu).

I usually get disheartened in the middle of writing, like last time these past years (Palanca, PSFIV, Nanowrimo etc), but after hearing Neil Gaiman's short talk about writing, it opened my eyes, and allowed to dig in and continue. He talks that everyone can get ideas, and even from the worst situations and experiences. Like the one where he was visiting in Iceland and was wandering around blindly, lacking sleep, when he stumbled upon a Japanese restaurant. Staring at the menu, he wondered how could someone live here, and with the differences of culture and all, and wondered whether they brought their gods with them.

And with that simple off hand thought, he went back to his hotel and wrote the first two pages of what ultimately became the Nebula Award novel "American Gods". Pretty powerful stuff.

Now for me, stories like this inspire me to continue writing. All I need to do is finish it. Easier said than done I suppose.

:::G.I Joe: The Rant:::

*spoilers ahead*

I watched G.I. Joe yesterday, and as much as I tried to leave the old backstory at the door, rage creeps silently in my brain. Scarlett and Ripcord?! The Baroness and Duke?!!! The movie producers took a lot of liberty with G.I. Joe canon, then I belatedly realized that this movie was made in with the approval of Hasbro TOYS. So it probably makes sense that each of the backstory is either twisted, patched up or redone totally.

Several things come to mind:

Snake Eyes never took a vow of silence, he was wounded during the war and his throat was torn out.
Ripcord is a paratrooper, not a pilot, hence his codename. But why quibble over small details?
Hawk was ok, but Duke is a idiot. Channing Tatum must have taken lessons from the Keannu Reeves of Acting School.
Scarlett was a such a bad-ass, I almost forgave her for hitching up with Ripcord when it was supposed to be with Snake Eyes. Scarlett made my day.
Cobra Commander comes across as a homicidal maniac, but his back story is just atrocious. Brother to the Baroness? Where did that come from? Star Wars?
Destro was also ok (he could have been more bulkier), as was Storm Shadow. Again the back story is totally warped. Storm Shadow killed the Hard Master and blamed Snake Eyes, thus having the allegiance of the ninjas to the banner of Cobra
Heavy Duty was just meh, as was Breaker. It would have been more cool if it was Lifeline, Dialtone and Roadblock.
Finally, what the hell was Brendan Fraser doing in the movie? Supposedly he was to play Gung Ho, but I watched the credits and never saw his name.

So, taking these all out. I could say that I enjoyed the movie as an action smash-em-up, but as a G.I. Joe original? Epic fail. Looking back at all the battle scenes, I'm guessing the next step. Games in Xbox 360 and PS3. The whole movie is actually a game, and the dialogue are the cut scenes.

Good lord, I miss Mutt, Shipwreck and Bazooka. And especially Sgt. Slaughter. Hmmm...where's my G.I. Joe TV series...

:::Movies to Watch Out For:::

Fresh from Howl's Moving Castle, visionary director, producer and all around 'supah creative genius' Hayao Miyazaki again creates another sensational masterpiece entitled Ponyo. Normally I wouldn't judge any movie by its trailer, but with Miyazaki's track record (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and all the other greats) I have no question this is going to be another one of those Miyazaki films: powerful, fun, intense and deep inside the plotline, a moral story. If you haven't yet seen any Miyazaki film, please take the time and watch one, especially the Oscar winner for Animation "Spirited Away". Can't wait for this one.

If you're like me, you would be somewhat late 20's and remembering the awesome movie Tron (this was after Star Wars). The plotline for that one was simple: a programmer (Jeff Bridges) got his program stolen by a company, which then used it to bring millions of dollars into their own bank account. In the attempt to get his program back, he broke into the mainframe and accidentally sent himself inside the computer, where he had to battle it out with the security (think Norton Anti-Virus as the massive police network. After surviving the computer and getting out of the system, he became the CEO of the company ( my mind is foggy as to why, I'll hunt my VHS and watch it again.) Anyway, the trailer is gorgeous to behold, and it shows Jeff Bridges, older now, watching the program. I don't know any more details, but again it's so shiny.

Imagine a world in an apocalyptic state. Imagine the world without humans, only big, giant, nasty robots. Imagine that you're small doll made of rags and sand. And imagine that you're mission is to save the human race. Tim Burton's 9 promises a lot and more, and with a power cast of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly and a whole slew of good actors, this promises to be one very good eye candy. Slated on September 9, 2009 or 9/9/9, I think one will work well with the masses. Here's another trailer of 9, and introduces the 9 and a glimpse of their personalities. Personally I like 5, hehehe.

State of Mind: I See Paperworks ... Everywhere.
Song of the Day: Welcome Home by Coheed and Cambria
Book of the Week: Death at Koten by Shawn Carman
Want or Need: A Clean Desk ... Without Paperworks

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Words! My Kingdom For Words!

:::Words Fail Me:::

I finally have plotline for the Philippine Speculative Fiction V, which the October 15 deadline looms nearer and nearer. My only problem now is the numerous writer's block that assails me everyday, causing me to sometimes delete whole paragraphs and pages. Once I even started over, as I reread the damned thing and discovered that my characters are flat as an ironing board.

Dealing with "Da Block" is an arduous task. Some people recommend spending an off day not writing is actually a good idea, or doing something totally different that it takes your mind off the story. Me, I play SNES.
So right now, I'm in the middle of Soul Blazer, a RPG game that sets you off as the earth's defender, and God (technically the disembodied voice from above) sends you to various areas, clearing it of monsters and making it habitable for the people. After this, I'll probably go play (again!) Chronotrigger, Harvest Moon and Ogre Tactics.

Anyway, going back to my story, I hope to finish a rough draft by next week. Then will do a second rough draft as August ends. God willing, I'll have a final draft by September.

:::Words Beyond Borders:::

So my wife and I are planning our 1st anniversary this October, when Mike texted me this very surprising development: Manila International Book Fair. It starts September 16-20, and given the chance to buy books at very low prices (80% discount!) or going to Cebu, Bohol or even Hong Kong, there's no question we'd rather spend our 1st wedding anniversary thumbing through hundreds of paperbacks and hard covers. Hopefully, we can be there on a Friday and go back here in Iloilo on Sunday, three days of mind numbing leisure searching of our favorite titles and stories. Can't wait!

:::Words for a Living:::

I've been writing reviews for Mezzo Magazine for four months now, even doing a couple of articles. Usually, because of my work schedule, I usually do my writing on a Sunday, and reviewing books and music that, in my opinion, are slightly beyond mainstream. I found out that it reached appreciated ears when I did Up Dharma Down's Bipolar, and also when I reviewed Just for Fun, the biography of the creator of Linux. It makes me think that there's hope for Iloilo yet, even in just that small demographic that appreciates books and music.

But for now, I'd rather concentrate on my short story entry.

And I really need a new thesaurus.

State of Mind: Buzzed
Song of the Day: Stricken by Disturbed
Book of the Week: Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft (Collected Works)
Want/Need: Time Stop ... and a new thesaurus.