Friday, November 29, 2002


One of our printers delivered the Christmas cards we created for a client and to my shock ALL of them were miscolored and misregistered. Obviously, the correct colors are very important (and we should know, we designed the company's logo and the damn material) which is why we go through the color sep/proofing procedure. But since when is pallid pink a replacement for intense vermillion? And the misregistration of images cause vertigo due to double vision. It is profundly upsetting to see thousands of copies of the erroneous material in my office. The printer has to reprint the entire kaboodle, of course. But the impact on our timetable is severe, given the number of projects we're handling and the virus spreading around.

Gah, indeed.

This is the part of my business that I actively loathe - the printing process. Why? Because it is beyond my control and invariably, something happens (even if you stay overnight to oversee a press check). Mad, unholy things can happen durring this time and what can you do? Nothing, until you see the final product. The only people I fight more than printers are surly waiters.

If only digital printing's costs were within reason, I'd jump. Imagine a world with color sep and highly precise computers given perfect registration.

Until then, I'm on the warpath.

The other printers better not screw up my other projects.

kullu am wa antum bi-khair

Next Friday is a holiday here in the Philippines: Eid ul-Fitr, which occurs after the end of the month of Ramadhan. Eid is celebrated after the sighting of the new crescent on the previous evening. I think it's great that some non-Christian holidays are being observed here - after all, while versions of Christianity dominate the religious landscape of the archipelago, that faith is by no means the only one observed. Especially during the current political climate where acts of terrorism make people prone to condemning Muslims as a whole, observances like this create opportunities to show that certainly not every follower of Islam is responsible for (nor countenances) the horrible things that occur.

But having said that, I feel it is the responsibility of the Muslim moderates to let their radical brethren aware that they do not support the bloodletting.

Life is too short and precious.

That, and I fear for the kind of world that my daughter will inherit and dwell in.

Thursday, November 28, 2002


Spend almost the entire day with one of my favorite clients, presenting and defending studies for their company's annual report and other materials. We then had lunch at a new Cantonese restaurant (gah! can't remember the name!) near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. What a delight to find near-authentic siw you fan (suckling pig with rice) and ap fan (roasted duck with rice) plus the usual assorted dim sum. In addition, we had unbelievably crispy salt-and-pepper prawns, broccoli in oyster sauce and the unexpectedly refreshing carrot-apple shake (yum!). Service was fast and courteous, prices more than reasonable - I'm taking Nikki and my friends there when we're in the area. (I promise to try to remember the name and post it here.)

Then it was off to Roxas Blvd. to meet with CITEM, the trade and expositions people for an event we're helping out with in February next year. Think of a huge high-ceilinged hall, divide that into a maze of warrens, and you have their office. Odd things like an Egyptian-themed chair and peculiar posters leap out at you - shaking me from my sleepiness (stress+fatigue+good food = drowsy Dean).

Next door to the World Trade Center for the Taiwan Exposition. Sorry if I offend anyone, but something smelled nasty and gave me fits.

And finally crawling through rush hour traffic back to my office where I perked up to see Tony with the completely lettered and colored Ab Ovo! It looks great! The color separators will pick it up tomorrow then it's off to the printers by next week.

Last thing I need to do is to walk home through the Christmas crowd at Greenhills to my loving wife and lovely daughter.

Another day's work.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

family tree link

Sorry, I forgot to give you all the link to the great genealogy freeware I'm having a blast with. Download it here and let me know how you're doing.


Thanks to new info from my Dad, the family tree now has 304 entries, including my cousins in the States.

This is addictive!


One of the books Nikki picked up during out recent sojourn in the States is Legends: Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy, editied by Robert Silverberg. Silverberg, best known (to me, at least) for his Majipoor books eked out new novels from a number of authors set in the fantasy worlds that made them famous. The results are impressive. Among the worlds revisted are Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea, Stephen King's Dark Tower, Terry Prachet's Diskworld, Anne McCaffrey's Pern and more. There's something for everyone.

All the authors (except for Robert Jordan and Raymond Feist who both suffer my gross disinterest) serve up great reads. Prachet's "Little Fishes" stands out as a great example of storytelling, while Silverberg himself gives us a tale of Valentine during his years as Pontifex in "The Seventh Shrine".

But the gem of the anthology, my utter favorite, is from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.

His novela "The Hedge Knight" is a delightful read. Set 100 years in the past from his current world's timeline, he writes about a not-so-bright Hedge Knight and the unexpected poltical circumstances that turn his world upside down. Martin displays the attention to detail that makes his series work, and frankly, I cannot wait for the release of the 4th book in the series: A Feast For Crows.

A collection of short stories would have been a treat, but the novellas of this book make for a hefty bite into worlds previously visited, or vistas yet to be discovered.


In the meantime, my guerilla readings of Clive Barker's Abarat have done nothing to endear me to the book. There is wonder a-plenty, but the storytelling and the characters themselves do nothing for me. And his illustrations hurt the eye. Still, it deserves to be read completely. Who knows? Maybe I'll get into the tale of Candy from Chickentown who is the only thorn in the Lord of Midnight's scheme to bring eternal night to the world of Abarat.

Or maybe not.


Here's the illustration we're using for the Ab Ovo creators page with me, Nikki and Carl. The nice thing is suddenly I got a whole new sexy bod - talk about flights of fancy. But really, this piece tickles me because of its implied naughtiness. Artwork by Carl, naturally (as Nikki and I couldn't draw a stick figure to save our lives).

Menage a trois, anyone?

writing = death

Well, it’s happening again. Acoording to AP, the deputy governor of a largely Islamic state in northern Nigeria has called on Muslims to kill the Nigerian woman who wrote a newspaper article about the Miss World beauty pageant that sparked deadly religious riots.

Just like the blasphemous Indian writer Salman Rushdie, the blood of Isioma Daniel can be shed," Zamfara Deputy Governor Mahamoud Shinkafi told a gathering of Muslim groups in the state capital, Gusau, on Monday.


I’m tempted to fully take on Rickey’s opinion on all this. What year is it anyway? Sorry, I thought it was 2002.

What does impress, if you can ignore all the human drama, is the power of the word to cause…things.

Careful what you write. It might kill you.

breath of the naga

Meanwhile, in Thailand, official investigations continue regarding a phenomenon that people claim (including the monks who have records going back hundreds of years) is the pneuma of the great serpent Naga. Once a year at around this time, fireballs erupt from the Mekong River, which is where the Naga was condemned to roam forever, after Buddha denied his request to be a monk.

A controversial documentary has been filmed, causing dismay among the monks and the believers, suggesting that the fireballs are manmade. And yet opinions differ: some claim to have seen the Naga, others say the fireballs are the result of bored soldiers in neighboring Laos shooting rockets over the river, others it is the result of trapped methane plus the earth’s proximity to the sun, while others opine that it is absolutely true.

an unexpected party

Stayed home yesterday to run errands and suddenly, family came to visit to partially celebrate my nephew (and namesake) Dean’s 2nd birthday and visit Sage. I took the opportunity to show everyone the family-tree-in-progress and they were delighted to see the 270+ people. I took portraits of people to add to the graphic portion of the tree (gah, everyone is a ham!).

My aunt and uncle helped me fine-tune some elements on their side of the family, while my sister Reb helped out with our generation. The sad elements I’ve started to add are children who died as babies.

My aunt also suggested that I go beyond the basic information I place on each person, and start putting notes on their jobs, achievements and such. This, of course, is a great idea, though a daunting one. And what I really want to put in are things of human interest – like hidden stories of passion, ambition, murder and sainthood. The stuff of novels.

A funny moment: while using ACDCSee to show my sister the digital photos I’ve taken, I mistaken clicked on another folder with a bevy of sexy girls, prompting her to ask why I had nudies of Diana Zubiri and Maui Taylor on a beach. She also saw the pictures I took of navels and was flabbergasted when I said one of those navels belonged to Maureen, our sister.

Anyhow, the real party for Dean is on Saturday, and he’s invited all his cousins, so its off to the hinterlands of Sucat for us. Thank god for the car.

if I had $100M

I would not bequeath it to Poetry Magazine, like the heir to the Eli Lilly fortune has, saving it from its regular fear of folding up due to lack of funds.

An amusing thing to note is that Poetry Magazine earlier rejected all of her poetry submissions for publication.

And she still gave them money.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

simpsons season 2 dvd

In the meantime, Nikki and I are enjoying the fantastic DVD boxed set of the Simpsons' 2nd season. Everything is well-written and like a walk down memory lane. This was during 1990-1991 and has 22 episodes - enough to last us many a dinner time viewing. And the features are neat too.

Go get it.

Great viewing.

Monday, November 25, 2002

ab ovo

For everyone who was texted and written in asking for more information about this book, be patient! The first issue is coming out mid-December! Contents include:

"Fabula Rasa" - art by Carlo Vergara - It's about being true.

"Ab Ovo" - art by Josef Garcia - Did the universe come from an egg?

"So(rry)" - art by Sidney Santos - Too many ways to say goodbye.

"The Maiden & The Crocodile" - art by Tony Bucu - Something in reverse.

We're in the midst of lettering and coloring the book (spot color: red) and we'll release it along with its funky magazine sibling, STROKE.

Watch this space!

I decided to reformat my PC at work today, which is taking longer than I thought (have commandeered another workstation for now). There was just too many things going on in my system, plus the partitions placed by my former sys ad was just fucking off the damn thing, refusing to allow me to install needed programs for no reason other than to annoy me.

I was amazed at all the junk I’d accumulated in my computer (and all the games I loved, played and abandoned, the inevitable cache of porn, videos, flash clips, comics artwork and stuff from the internet).

Anyway, I had to choose what files to backup and save, so that’s everything I’ve written, all the mail in Outlook, plus a ton of stuff I feel is absolutely integral to my business life.

Funny how it has gotten harder for me to throw anything away. A business colleague’s email from last year just might be a necessary reference, the electronic trail of how a campaign developed could prove useful, blah blah blah.

Perhaps I should be more ruthless and pretend these digital files are physical objects. Would I file them away? Would I save them, keep them, preserve them? Probably not. So why do I keep them? Because the path of least resistance is not to act, and rereading each email or file to determine their ultimate fate would be too tedious, too time-consuming, too mind-flattening?

In meantime, while waiting, I’m reduced to squatting and find myself unable to work although everything is networked and just several clicks away.

beauty = death?

Over 250 people have died in riots in Nigeria, triggered by an editorial claiming that the Prophet Mohammed would choose one of the Miss World contestants as his wife. The newspaper published retractions and apologies to no avail. Violence swept through and the contest moved to the UK.

Frightening how people take religion seriously. How often has religion been a cause of bloodshed? Too often.

paradise lost

For 10 years, the William J. Shaw Theatre at the Shangri-la Plaza was the home of Repertory Philippines (the premiere English-language theatre company in the Philippines). I worked for Rep for a couple of years, shortly after they moved in and remember how much we all loved the new theatre, despite some very obvious flaws. We launched the Children’s Theatre there (with “Sleeping Beauty”) and it was home for a huge number of straight plays and musicals.

Well, the administration of Shangri-la decided not to allow Rep to renew their lease, leaving the company without a home. Farewell to Shangri-la, indeed. For next year, only one season of 4 plays has been announced – to be performed at the RCBC building in Makati. The latter part of next year will see only 2 productions, including a musical, to be staged who-knows-where.

I’m certain that my ex-bosses Zeneida Amador, Joy Virata and Baby Barredo have definite plans as to where to house the company, but I can’t help but be affected by this turn of events.

Rep holds a special place in my heart. When the stage bug bit me, I acted with Rep (my wife even remembers me playing an old man, before we met). I worked as their Marketing Manager. I wrote, directed and edited episodes for their TV show.

It was only when I felt that the company had lost its drive (as well as its best actors) that I ceased to be a regular theatre-goer. But I would still watch the occasional big musical (like their production of “Les Miserables”). I found myself attracted by the other, newer, “edgier” companies who put up shows like “Ms. Saigon”, “Jesus Christ Susperstar”, “Rent” and “The Vagina Monologues”. But I’ve always had a tender spot for the original company which most probably trained all the newer ones.

So where to now, Rep?

Sunday, November 24, 2002

ab ovo 2

I'm excited about our new comic, Ab Ovo, coming out next month. All stories by myself and Nikki Alfar (As Snow As Blood, The Lost, Textmen) with art by Carl Vergara (cover and interior), Tony Bucu, Sid Santos, Jogs Garcia and Bok Jamlang.

And even more exciting are the preparations for the next issue: I plan to ask my comic friends to contribute 4 pagers each. I've asked Tony Bucu (P-Noise), Carl Vergara (One Night in Purgatory, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah), Vin Simbulan (Isaw, Twilight Empires), Jason Banico (Baylans) and will ask Marco Dimaano (Angel Ace) and Arnold Arre (Mythology Class, Trip to Tagaytay, The Lost) too. This will be a mixture of art and writing from some of the most talented creators I know. If there's room for me (and there ought to be!) I'll probably publish the "Asian Girl" episode I wrote in Hong Kong (illustrated by J. Lim).

With this combination of creators, it should be an interesting read, don't you think?


This is our first family day since we got back, just me, Nikki and Sage (Diovine has the day off) and it began at 6AM with my little girl awake and raring to play. Before lunch time, we decided to go swimming at the roofdeck pool, to take advantage of the healthier sun rays. Sage got into her little tankini and showed no fear of the water (despite the fact that I felt it was freezing). She also learned a little about cause and effect: splashing around may lead to water in your eyes.

I'm thinking of getting her some baby floaters for next time, though perhaps we'll swim in the afternoon when its warmer.

christmas is coming

And the neighborhood is has put up its festive decor. The streets of Greenhills have angels attached to every lampost, and at night their red, green, yellow and blue glow suffuse the area quite nicely. Of course this also means that it is madness to go to the shopping malls. Everyone and his sister is out shopping, looking for bargains and gifts, despite the fact that people are moaning about how bad the economy is - proving that there's always room for commercialism (if you're a cynic) or generosity (if you'rr good-hearted).

For Christmas this year, Nikki and I are excited about buying things for the condo so Sage can have a taste of the season inside the house (though with her propensity for putting everything in her mouth, it might actually turn out to be a literal taste of Christmas). We are scouting for the thinnest tree possible, since space is a premium where we live. What we will skip though are the P4,500 Christmas tree ornaments (yes, almost $100 each) that the ritzy folk are crazy about. I'd rather put something Sage can eat, like candy or popcorn. It's not only cheaper, it tastes better too.

I don't know whether or not I felt this year went quickly or not. So many things happened and yet in some instances it felt like time moved too slowly. Still, I am quite amazed that the year is almost over. What to do next year? Survive again. Live a little. Laugh some more. Enjoy my family. Grow the business. Publish some books.

Same old, yet in a completely new perspective.

While I worry about the political condition in my country (a horrendously corrupt senator announced his intention to run for President, as well as yet another action-star), indicators say that the market conditions look favorable. And for as long as things are okay (no killing in the streets, good business, stuff for family), I'm willing to work it out. If not, well, then Operation: Brave New World must come into play and it's hello to the US, Hong Kong or New Zealand.

where is the leader?

I hold on to the hope that somewhere out there is a Filipino leader who will stand up and lead the country to a better position, instilling discipline and imbuing us with hope for a better tomorrow.

Because he or she is certainly not visible among the mad rabble who intend to become President.

Is it outrageous optimism? No, it's more desperation.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

play with your brain

Last night, Nikki and I met up with our friends - Vin, Jason, Marco, Carl and Alex - for dinner at Salsa Rosa and endless fun with Cranium, the new game we got in New York. After sharing our some Twinkies (which, as you know, saved the earth from being devoured by Galactus), we started off at ComicQuest in Megamall with Vin and Jason, with the highlight being Vin's spectacular clay rendition of DNA (complete with double helix) and ended up at Country Waffle where Marco's stirring charades of "Evolution" and "Short Order Cook" competed with Carl's humming "Girls Just Want To Fun" (everyone had guessed it but his teammate Jason) for the best moment of the evening.

What's is this game that got the game freak in us so excited? Well, a few months ago, Cranium, the fastest selling independent board game in history, pulled off an upset by besting such industry giants as Microsoft and Nintendo to win the “Game of The Year” award at the annual Toy of the Year. The Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) prestigious “Game of the Year” Award recognizes the most innovative, interactive and playful game of the year including board game, CD-ROM, electronic or card game formats. Cranium’s variety of outrageously fun activities outshined the electronic competition in the “Game of the Year” category including Nintendo’s Game Cube, Game Boy Advance, Microsoft’s Xbox, and the Harry Potter Levitating Challenge Electronic Skill and Action Game.

You compete as teams in a race to complete various tasks around the board, in four categories: Creative Cat (with challenges like Sensosketch, where you draw something with your eyes closed), Word Worm (where puzzles like Black Out and Gnilleps confound even Nikki), Data Head (with tricky questions that proved that Jason's double degrees sometimes mean absolutely nothing - ha!), and Star Performer (where you hum, whistle and act). The combination of all these elements provide for a fast-paced game of fun, creativity and raucous laughter all night long.

We ended up playing several rounds because, like eating peanuts or potato chips, its hard to stop. We just wished Cynthia and Arnold and Dino were with us to join the thrills!

table talk

Of course, we did talk about others things:

1. How difficult it is not to attract the attention of a Sand Worm in Arrakis (you have to be really creative in how you walk, making sure that you do so without any discernable pattern, which led to hilarious renditions of stumbling, rolling and limping around chaotically)

2. My traumatic foot massage experience in Singapore (where I was strapped down and learned the meaning of podiatric pain at the hands of an evil evil evil woman with metal and wooden implements straight out of "Hellraiser")

3. Our various reasons for happiness this year (Jason is having a hell of a good one, di ba Cams?)

4. Our various comics projects coming out in the next few weeks (Ab Ovo from Kestrel Studios, Textmen from Dynatica Comics and Zsa Zsa from Carver House) plus the projected launch of our secret web project (which is our common pride and joy - a collective creative endeavor )

5. And just who should become the new Dumbledore (nominees, all presented complete with tongue-in-cheek dialogue, included Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Max von Sydow, Mike Myers and a whole lot of truly absurd choices)

What a night.

invisible kingdom

Picked up the final volume of Morrison's "The Invisibles" for some good reading tonight, along with various issues of Grendel (the inspiration for the spot color color comic we're releasing next month - go Tony!), JLA, JSA and Lucifer. Morrison always has the capacity to surprise, even with the most throw-away of concepts. Too bad I didn't like "The Filth". Perhaps in TPB?

Friday, November 22, 2002

so flawless, its scary

Just came back from a luncheon with one of our clients at the Casino Espanol (established in 1893 for the benefit of all the Spaniards in Manila), and spoke to Carmi Martin (she of the "Chicks to Chicks" fame). I remember how sexy and beautiful she was when I was young - and to my shock and delight she looks like she didn't age a day. Naturally, thoughts of plastic surgery crossed my mind (I mean, it's scary) but I guess she just lives well. Still beautiful. We didn't get to talk too much of course, given the circumstances, but I wish I brought my camera.


Got back in time to take extra shots of our three models, all navel shots. I was even able to instruct the girls to press against each other - too bad one of them is my sister! Hahaha!

Seriously though, I'm thinking of taking classes, even just to understand how things like lighting works.


Jason led me to start creating a family tree for Sage at but I found the web latency irritating so I downloaded freeware called Great Family and started plugging away. I called up relatives left and right and ended up with a fascinating tree extending all directions (through marriage and consanguinal relationships) across the Pacific Ocean. So far, in terms of generations, I have six: Sage and her contemporaries, her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents and great-great-great-grandparents (the formidable Tekla Brion of the 1800's).

Apart from suddenly acquiring knowledge about who's who (and believe me, if you undertake to construct something like this, you'll see that it will never truly end), it has put me in touch with relatives whose link always seemed fuzzy. So what highlights do I have? We have an ancestor who killed her husband, refusing to take his surname, and passed her family name down instead. People who married too young, people who died without issue, and Mr. Doce ("twelve" in Spanish) who decided to be true to his name and had twelve children (until his wife had an affair with a man named Domingo Sabado ("Sunday Saturday") and made the brood a baker's dozen.

I will be adding to the tree when I have opportunity and our first target is to add more on Nikki's side. Currently, we have 260 people. Incredible.

Suddenly, I want to know about everyone's birthday and if they had issues out of marriage!

looking for abs

Spent yesterday afternoon looking for someone with killer abs and ended up choosing someone with a great six-pack who also looks strikingly like my former boss, the Mayor of Taguig. Ah, the tricks of the eyes.


Despite our misgivings about it (published reports claim that, we got a new walker for Sage, and right now she's happily walking around backwards. Logically, it does seem easier to press against the soles of your feet, so I'll let the little girl get over that novelty by herself. This walker looks huge to me - I guess I must have seen more of the "lite" versions, just a thin circular ring with wheels (our model converts to a rocking chair, so there you go).


Finished Gaiman's Coraline (which, as a children's book is great fun, but as a Gaiman creation is short on wonder) and am reading Barker's Abarat guerrilla-style (I had forgotten about his penchant for illustrating his own stuff, and its truly god-awful on the most part).

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

party in the morning

Today, our apparel client had its product launch for its dealers at Eastwood at 8:30AM. So, dazed and still not quite acclimatized to the local time, I took a cab to Eastwood (the IT Zone) and attended Phase 1 which turned out to be a nice breakfast at Country Waffles (a funky place that offered a choice of bacon or Spam with your waffle). After that, my partners (Dindo and Marc) and I then went to a bar called The Basement (which no doubt was one of the current trendier hangouts) for a great fashion show. The highlight for me was the AVP (audio-visual presentation) that introduced the creative agencies involved for the multi-faceted campaign marketing campaign set early next month. My company, Pipeline, was of course part of it and we almost choked with laughter when it got to the part that featured us. There was Dindo, in his shaved head glory, talking about our side of the set-up - website, digital campaign, magazine and comic book - while gesticulating wildly for emphasis. Talk about excited! And the powerful spirit of my digicam possessed me, so I elbowed my way across the sea of people and hung out with the photographers (turns out that some people just love to be photographed). Great project, great show, great people, great food. What more could I ask for?

We ended just before lunch, rushed back to the office and took the entire staff out to lunch at Aphrodisia - that restaurant with the naughty named menu. We had a double reason - one of my best designers, Noel, was leaving us to pursue further studies in the States (so it was a despedida) and we wanted to welcome the newest member of the team, Chris (a lovely lady who immediately offered me the extra shots of the infamous FHM Diana Zubiri Calendar that up to now is still the talk of the town). Another plus on her side is that she's a smoker like me, so I can count on some company in the stairwell during my ciggie breaks.

After we got back, we tackled the multiple projects that we're working on. There seems to be suddenly a lot on my plate, but I'm game (remember that I had missed working during our sojourn in the States). A lot of clients want a lot of things out before Christmas, so it's a good thing our little work system is doing okay. What I do need to do is begin translating the latest of Nikki's comic scripts for Jason's Dynatica Comics very soon!

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

my first check - as an "international" writer

Waiting for me at home was a package from Strange Horizons. I opened it and found copies of a contract for my story "L'Aquilone", my first sale to an international publication. Then a piece of paper fell to the floor and when I picked it up, I realized it was a check - the payment for my story! I cannot tell you how ecstatic I feel right now! I wasn't expecting this until next year, and here it is!

Suddenly, after a period of not writing fiction, I feel rejuvenated; liquid words are running through my head trying to drown each other out in an effort to be real, to be written down.

I am so happy! As in "happy, happy, joy, joy"!

So tomorrow I'm sending the signed contract back - and I'm not even sure if I'll cash the check. Perhaps I should frame it (how's that for sentimental madness?).

the dangers of the digicam

Yes, obviously I've gotten bitten by the camera bug. Freed from the constraints of film's conservatism (where every shot MUST count), I've taken to carrying the camera around and finally taking shots of all the interesting things, people and places I'm surrounded with.

Here are some of my beloved staff at Pipeline:

Bok (designer), Maureen (accounts), Mark Joseph (project manager) and Jolet (Creative Director)


These two are my reason for living, for being, for working, for laughing, for everything. When I see them, my heart helplessly melts under love's unconditional intensity and, lost lost lost in the color of their eyes, I am bound and freed forever, captured perfectly still in the embrace of their breath.

chamber of secrets

Last night, thanks to my sister Maureen's MTRCB (the government film review board) pass, Nikki and I got to watch the latest Harry Potter film. I was severely disappointed in the first film, being a fan of the series from its inception (and still believing that apart from "Jaws" there has never been a film version that did a book justice - well, maybe "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"). I came with almost no hope for this film and left the theatre feeling justified.

To be fair, I was entertained. There was a lot of pleasant eye-candy and truly entertaining moments - the game match and the howler scenes were precious - but overall the film could have been edited better. And what the hell was that ending? Talk about manipulative! In the book, Hagrid and Potter experienced a mutual sense of isolation, but in the film we barely sensed that feeling of being pariahs; thus all the applause for Hagrid reeked of false emotion.

I fought sleepiness (and found myself unconsciously trying to recline my chair as if I were still trapped in a long-haul flight).

Overall, this film was a dud.

A pretty dud, but a dud nonetheless.


Better to read the books.

Monday, November 18, 2002

le nouvel objet de désir

No thanks to fellow fan Marco, now Nikki and I are making plans to buy a Sony Playstation 2 (after resisting for over a year) just so we can play the latest installment of one of favorite games - Suikoden III. The irritating thing of course is that our current budget does not include this platform at all, but I did swear a long time back that the only reason I'd buy a PS2 was if this particular game was released in its format (we had a company-owned PS2 while I worked in HK and I completed the latest Final Fantasy with it, but opted not to buy the machine).

So of course it gets released in this format. And of course we have to have it.


I looked through Buy & Sell and learned that the going selling rate for slightly used ones ranges from P9.5k to P15k (or a German Shepherd puppy). I'll check out how much a new one costs and do comparisons and all that. The nice "plus" is that it doubles as a DVD player too, so there's that to sweeten the horrid purchase.

This will probably be our Christmas gift to each other.


Must get more work!

archive image purge

Due to the limited space of my domain, I've started removing images from older entries. Which means that if you're the sort who likes to look at my past stuff, you're in for a mostly textual experience. The new space, of course, will be used for new images to accompany my entries. I plan to do this purging monthly or until I get more space at another server (I know, there's always Pipeline's but I'm not like that).
what to give on a chinese wedding

Hell if I know.

But it seems that in lieu of gifts like appliances and punch bowls, Chinese-Filipino couples prefer red envelopes with cash as per tradition.

Is this true? I have to find out before December 1 when one of my partners, Dennis, gets married.

But if it is true, how much is appropriate to give? And isn't it just... well, tacky? Because paradoxically, while I'd prefer to receive cash instead of a gift, I hate having to give cash myself.

Incidentally, December 1st is also Nikki's and my 7th year anniversary, which triggers a 3-month season of celebration (Christmas, New Years, my birthday on Jan 2, Sage's on Feb 14 and Nikki's on Feb 19).

back to work

It was great seeing my staff and partners again and catching up with all the news and projects. Apparently, the "Tofu Incident" was grander than I initially thought, and the way the guys acted out the story was simply hilarious. All the artists for the comic book we're creating for our apparel client have submitted their work, and while everything looks great, Carl's work is awesome. While the style is obviously his, he has employed a different method and the results are - yowza! You'll see it soon after the launch. All the various photoshoots for various clients also went well, with the combination of our inhouse and outsourced photographers. I am such a believer in the digicam.

We have a comfortable amount of work on our collective plates - just enough to be challenging, not overwhelming, and I am delighted to be back in the office.

So I'm spending today getting back in the groove and fighting my jet lag (which is odd since I didn't use to get - must be the act of travelling with a baby), and will end the day by going on a date with Nikki to watch the new Harry Potter film, just us.

Ah, the luxury of a yaya!

some pictures

I hooked up the Canon and was shocked that I took over 200 pictures. Here are some of the nicer ones (remember, I am a writer, not a photographer):

My favorite picture of Sage.

Sage and me at her gramma's ski lodge in Ellicottville. Do not be decieved by my t-shirt. I had turned up the heater to tropical proportions!

My lovely wife Nikki, who is even more beautiful in the cold. Am I a lucky man or what?

All bundled up!

Sage playing with a mirror in a Las Vegas casino (how can this beautiful girl be my child?)

With my father, Doug, at MGM. See the resemblance?

Sage and Nikki's mom, Mina, my loving mother-in-law.

home again,
home again,
jiggetty jig

From Las Vegas we flew to Cincinnati and then took a small plane (operated by ComAir) to Buffalo, arriving at midnight. Poor Sage had to undergo another round of time zone recalibration since she had just gotten used to Vegas time.

We spent our last couple of days doing - what else? – eating and shopping. Our last fantastic meal was at the Colden Mill Restaurant where we had huge steaks stuffed with scallops, crabs, mushrooms, cheese plus grilled lobsters. If there’s one thing I know I’ll regret months after we come home, it’s all my bitching about the gigantic portions – because I’ll be back in Manila where small means really small and large means slightly bigger. Sigh.

Everything was over so soon. Before we knew it, we were headed to Buffalo for the first leg of our trip back. Mom’s friend, a wonderful lady named Paz, helped bring our expanded luggage to the airport (being Filipino, I came back with a hell of a lot more than I arrived with, of course).

We said our goodbyes to Mom and secret agent Max, giving thanks for an incredible stay and for their unending kindness and love. These two went out of their way to make our trip memorable and I can just aim to develop even just a smidgen of their generosity as I grow older.

bye, bye, america

Our flight was delayed and we scoured the entire Northwest section of the sprawling Detriot airport looking for a smoking section and found zilch. We chose to exit the damn place, smoke our last cigarettes before the long haul, and endure the security checks again.

Finally we got on the plane and thought we were about to take off when a medical emergency forced us back to the terminal. After another interminable wait, we were finally off.

Sage as usual behaved well and charmed everyone in her immediate vicinity – to the extent that people want her to sit with them (I guess boredom plus a lovely infant makes for a good combination to while away time).

Lousy movies, lousy food and no smoking made this leg almost unbearable, but thank god for the stopover at Nagoya. From there, we raced to beat the curfew at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (apparently, the terminal closes at 12:30am and if you’re late, well, there’s always Cebu) and made it with moments to spare.

Sage’s grandfather, General Go, was there to meet us with two cars and before we knew it, we were home.

there’s no place like it

Diovine, Sage’s yaya, was almost in tears – so happy was she to see her charge again. We began unpacking but I communicated with some of our friends and Vin and Carl dropped by and we talked until past 4am.

In spite of all the things we saw, did, ate, experienced, watched, bought, visited, took pictures of – there is absolutely no place like our own home.

Looking back, it all seems like both like an eternity that we were away and just yesterday that we left.

But we’re all delighted to be back.

Manila is hot, humid and somewhat rainy, but dammit, I love it.

Next year, we’ll make plans for a longer stretch and visit friends and relatives in California, Florida and wherever our wanderlust and budget allow us. Of course, knowing me, I’ll probably stress out about traveling with Sage at 2 years old (the terrible twos), but that’s for the future.

And so we are back to our regular programming and I can blog on my consistent connection, on my own computer. Ah, I giggle in delight.

There’s work on Monday and there’s a lot to do.

Thank God!

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

the best alfar

The Alfar family drove to Belz and went wild shopping, thanks to the generosity of my Dad. We got Sage a lot of new things, including ensembles to die for. I tell you, I can't wait to dress up my daughter. Kawai! Nikki and I picked up a pair of shoes each (I got a pair of ass-whopping black Magnum boots) before hitting the clothes stores. IWe zeroed in on the Levi's store (wonder why?) and got jeans, slacks and jackets.

While Nikki and I were shopping, Papa took care of Sage, who was asleep. At one point in time, she woke up crying and he had to figure out how to comfort her, eliciting affectionate and understanding looks from other parents walking around.

pauline, dino and dylan

And at last, we were able to meet up with Pauline and Dino and their 1-year-old boy, Dylan. They came over to Papa's house and we talked about how strange it was to be sitting in another country with babies - when once upon a time we were all sexy (to which Pauline replied "We are sexy people with babies"). Pauline does marketing and Dino works for an NPO concerned with the protection of the wilderness of Nevada. Dylan charmed us by walking around - well, except Sage (oddly) who suddenly engaged in "Hey! That's MY toy!" mode). We had too much pizza and things were over much too soon, but it was great being able to reconnect with old friends.

I hope to be able to spend more time with these guys during our visit next year, when things are not so hectic. After all, Dino promised to take me to porn superstore!

Dino, Dylan and Pauline

leaving las vegas

We're taking a flight to Cincinnati and then to Buffalo, NY in a few hours time. I'm terrible saddened by the brevity of our stay in Las Vegas - I wish we had more time. But what I'm truly happy about is being able to see, embrace and talk to my father again. After all he's been through, I'm happy he was able to meet his first grandchild.

I personally do not believe in regret. In the context of my relationship with Papa, I like to think that all the things that happened occured to bring us to this very spot, as friends and as father & son with a limitless possibilities ahead of us.

So bye for now, Las Vegas. It's back to the cold of New York and then back to Manila - but we'll see you again.


Monday, November 11, 2002

tofu found

Marc wrote to tell me that Tofu, the missing poodle from the photo shoot, was finally found among the deep cogon grass. Pipeline offered a $100 reward and the dragnet found the poor thing, cold and hungry but very much alive - to our collective relief. This means that my mother, the dog fancier and owner of Tofu, will not have my balls cut off and bronzed as a token of vengeance. Smile Marc! They call this kind of experience character-building! How I long to be home!

plane crash

I just read that a Fokker crashed into Manila Bay and that 14 or 18 people died. Just terrible.

FHM Diana Zubiri Calendar

Ha! Thanks to Mimmon, my former colleague and associate director at k2ia, I have crystal clear images of the entire calendar that has been the object of many a lustful eye. Vin got me the real thing, but with digital pictures, well, a lot can happen.

digicam 2

To my shock, I got another Digicam from my dad - can you believe it? This one is a new Olympus filmless digital printing camera with a built-in Polaroid printer, so I have the option of printing right away or saving it to my hard drive.

Hmmm. Maybe I should start hinting about a car or a house?

I'm so delighted that I think I'll be an amateur photographer. Or do porn. LOL

we are family

Spent a lot of time bonding with my dad and let me tell you - it felt great. We'd pass Sage between us and talk about the old times and the future and how life was the stuff of uncertainty itself but how some things remain constant. Sage took an instant liking to him and gave him the honor of falling asleep in his embrace.

Later, we meet up with some members of my family on my father's side that I had ignored for most of life due to the divorce and all that crap. I want to touch base with everyone so that Sage grows up with notion of an vast network of extended family everywhere. We met my cousin Joel and his family who were in Vegas visting from California - his 27-month-old son Jonesy and Sage became pals. We also met another cousin, Iris and her family, before we all went off to a casino for buffet lunch. I'll spare you the details simply because there was just too much food, too much variety and champagne flowed like water.

It's great to rekindle relationships. Next year, we plan to go back to the US in October and visit family in California, Oklahoma, Florida and god-knows-where-else. Invitations to house, feed, entertain and drive us around came from various family members. Ah, family.


Papa wanted to take us everywhere and was distressed when our first priority was the giant Barnes & Nobles and Borders (Sightseeing is nice but books you can take home and read). So off we went and stocked up on more stuff from our list. I got "Abarat" by Clive Barker, "Summerland" by Michael Chabon (both in nice hardcover), several TPBs and a copy of Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics" that I've been looking for (it's his other book "Reinventing Comics" that is usually available). Nikki got a ton of stuff on her fantasy/horror list. And Vin - yes, I finally got you a lot of the stuff on your list! I so desperately wanted a "Series of Unfortunate Events" t-shirt, but they were all medium size. Oh, the sadness.

And there was, of course, a lot more we wanted.. sigh.

viva las vegas

And finally night came and we hied off for the Strip and too many casinos! MGM, Excalibur, New York, New York, Bellagio, Venetian - all madness and color and light and sound. We did a lot of things (and Papa won Sage a white tiger) and I did have my digicam so pictures will follow. Suffice to say, Vegas was overwhelming and when we got back home, Sage, Nikki and I fell into deep slumber, utter exhausted by the glitz of the sprawling city.

towards las vegas

Nikki, Sage and I took a two-leg flight to Las Vegas to see my father, whom I haven't seen for quite a while. Thanks to the power of online ticketing, we had to go south to Atlanta, Georgia, change planes and then take the freaking long trip to Nevada. The thing was, the length of the trip took us by surprise - I was honestly expecting a nice little jaunt little realizing that thousands of miles had to be crossed.

We left New York at 5PM and arrived at Las Vegas at 11PM local time, utterly exhausted and pissed because Delta ruined Sage's stroller. I was considering fighting them over it was just too tired and just wanted to see Papa. But let me tell you, carrying a ruined stroller up escalators and the like was a trial. I think I will just dump the damn thing (but the fact that I paid an arm and a leg for it gives me pause - baka naman puede ayusin).

in my father's house

While wandering around baggage claim in a foul mood I was about to clock this bozo who sidled up to me before I realized it was my dad! Embraces all around and the introduction of granddaughter to grandfather - all beautiful. We finally got our bags, climbed into his Benz (that's my dad) and went to his fine fine house, where we made BLT sandwiches, drank Bacardi Silver and began catching up on old times. One of the perks was Papa's porch where Nikki and I were able to finally smoke after that grueling flight!

He surprised me by playing a tape from1972 of me (at 3 years) relating my convoluted version of "Goldilocks" and "The Three Little Pigs" (proving my early penchant for fairy tales), before launching into a mindboggling rendition of "Where Have All The Flowers Gone". Nikki, of course, was rolling in the aisles. Furthermore, he showed me copies of my first two published pieces of short fiction from 1991 - of which even I do not have copies of, after all the termites and moving and such. I was so delighted I'm having them photocopied at a Kinko somewhere.

Because of various things including unexpected relatives who want to see us, we won't be able to attend the lunch party for Pauline's son Dylan. Instead, I spoke to her mom to try to arrange a late merienda or dinner tomorrow.

Las Vegas is nice and cool, not freezing, so at last I have the right kind of clothing! And he has killer laptop with this incredibly fast connection. I'd be in hog heaven if I wasn't too sleepy.

comedy of errors

Marc wrote to tell me that they lost my mother's prize poodle, Tofu, during a Pipeline photoshoot yesterday. This would be hilarious if it were not serious. Apparently, the leash broke before the photos were taken and Tofu ran out the building, across C5 and into a huge golf course and beyond into the snake-infested cogon grass. I hope they find the pup because I will be crucified upon my return if they don't. Sheesh. Well, at least it wasn't the award-winning whippet.

Saturday, November 09, 2002


Gah. I really am a blog addict! One of the things I missed (apart from not having the silly digicam with me) was not being able to write for the past few days. Anyhow, lots of things happened, so off we go!

on the road to NYC

I am really not one for long distance driving. The sheer length of confinement in a car drives me nuts, so when the projected drive from Ellicottville to NYC (5.5 hours) ultimately became 10 hours (with various stops to ohh, ahh, eat and pee) I was frothing at the mouth – quite unlike Sage who enjoyed the trip (breaking the law by refusing to use her baby car seat and preferring to act like a little contortionist all over me or Nikki).

We left the snow and found the last remnants of autumn along the road – the Catskills were gold and red, orange and yellow and at last I understood the phrase “purple hills” when the trees that had no leaves blurred into a lavender haze.

We must have passed through a trillion little towns with funky names – some derived from the old Indian place names, others from settlers who must have missed their old homelands and therefore named places after existing ones. Other were just mindfucks, like “Deposit” or “Fishs”.

Again I am struck by the vastness of space here (something that would be reversed later by my impressions of Manhattan). Endless hills, roads and forests and not a single person walking around (America = car-is-a-must-have).

Of the several places we stopped to eat at along the way, the best was dinner at the Boulevard Grill in Mahwah, New Jersey, with its Nouvelle Cuisine (think scallops on a bed of blue crab cakes with papaya wasabi sauce and blue cheese sirloin).

When we finally arrived at our lodging at Staten Island, we were just about ready to collapse. We made some last minute preparations for the next day, leaving Sage with her Granma. Yes, Nikki and I, both first-timers in New York, would negotiate Manhattan without any help, in the spirit of the Amazing Race.

“dean & nikki
married couple”

Bright and early the next day, we took the Staten Island Ferry got a chance to see the Statue of Liberty. Immediately, my preconceived notions about the scale of the thing were dashed cruelly into the cold waters. Lady Liberty was not so imposing, and in fact, looked kind of small and sad, despite its jaunty lime green coloration.

On the ferry, Nikki braved the freezing cold wind and water and stood at the prow for the entire trip, while I sensibly stayed within the warm confines (having forgotten my homeboy cap and macho black gloves in my excitement). Stepping off the ferry, I half-expected someone saying "Dean and Nikki, you are the first team to arrive."

Once on the southern tip of Manhattan, we had a choice of subways to take. We decided to take the red line going north to Times Square and paid the dollar-something fee. The subway is as grimy as we imagined, and once again, smaller than we expected. We could not help but compared it to Hong Kong’s MTR, or Japan and Singapore’s mass transit solutions – which were infinitely cleaner. It was distressing to realize that there was no lit guidepoints to show where you were on the line (unlike HK) and that you had to rely on the garbled announcements.

When we got off at 42nd St., we finally got the longed-for sense of awe. The first two things we saw were the lion’s head symbol from “The Lion King” musical and a wonderful ad for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (with the tag line “Have we Met?”). Turning left we found Times Square and we were in tourist heaven.

Especially when I discovered, along 8th Ave., a plethora of adult peep shows, bookstores and the like. Nikki and entered them all!

It was truly a melting pot of culture. We asked directions to a bookstore from a black man with funky hair (who took us to the Port Authority), were served lunch at Smith’s by a Bellorussian girl, were assisted jeans shopping by an Ethiopian woman (who was so beautiful I simply had to tell her so), and made unexpected eye contact with hispanics in the porn stores. Nikki was hit on the streets and shops by a variety of nationalities including Sri Lankan, European and God-knows-what (“Where from you pretty lady?”).

We found the Broadhurst theatre and were stunned to realize that “The Producers”, “Phantom”, “Chicago”, “Mamma Mia” and everything else were playing next to each other. We tried to scalp our extra theatre tickets and failed (we had total of four orchestra seats – sayang Vin!) to even give them away before the show.

“Into The Woods” was wonderful as a revival. Nikki and I were thrilled to find that they had added new songs and lyrics. Vanessa Williams was stunning as the witch. Different from Bernadette Peters, but equally charming.

Note on scale again: The theatres are small! All along I expected huge auditoriums (kind of like Radio City Music Hall)!

After the play, we fulfilled a fantasy and had dinner at Sardi’s – just Nikki and I. We paid just under $100 for the meal and coffee and 20% tip (sue me, I’m generous) and it was worth every damn cent. How often do we get to eat at Sardi’s anyway, right? Damn right. We had fun trying to identify all he actors and actresses based on the caricatures that festooned the restaurants.

By nightfall, the temperature went below my comfort level again – but I was delighted to dressed in my trenchcoat - so style won over comfort (though I bitterly missed my gloves). Took the subway and ferry back to the little daughter we missed for a day and collapsed in bed.

i’ll take manhattan

The next day, we had to decide on exactly where to go since it was impossible to see everything. Taking Rickey’s word, we opted not to visit the Met (next year, we’ll devote an entire week just for it), ignored Ground Zero (tama na yan please lang) and made for 5th Ave.

We looked at the statue of Prometheus at the Rockefeller Center (and was struck once more by the SMALLNESS of things – the skating rink you see in all those movies? Hey, the skating rink at Megamall is larger!) and looked inside the various shops there.

We had lunch at Cinema Café (fantastic prawns for me at earth-shaking prices) and visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral (with the model of the Pieta), Sak’s and Tiffany’s all the way down to Central Park where we took a $34 hansom carriage ride. The hilarious Irish carriage driver told us lies about what actor lived where and how many statues there were in the park – all in good fun.

Then we hit FAO Schwartz and I went to toy heaven. A part of me will forevermore remain a child and I just went gaga over everything here (even their inane jingle). Sage and I played at the baby section and were joined by 3 other babies and their mothers. One of them, Rowena, even took pictures with her digicam and sent them to me (thanks!).

I realized though that everything about me had changed when the only purchase we had was something for Sage. Sorry Lego and all you funky games, daughter comes first.

By the time we returned to Staten Island, we were too zonked out to even consider going to a “nice” restaurant and zeroed in on a local White Castle, ordered 20 of their yummy burgers and various little things and chowed down.

So after everything, Nikki and I have revised our list of cities we want to live in. The new top 3 are:

New York - only if there is a good school and rent doesn't cripple us
Hong Kong

bye bye nyc

We left the city the next day and got a last good look at it from the Palisades, across the Hudson. Then off to West Point, late lunch at Bear Mountain and finally home to Ellicotville – only to have to pack up for our flight to Las Vegas in a few hours.

Checked my email (too many to respond to), wrote this quickly (sorry again for grammatical lapses), and am now laundering our clothes, then packing our bags and stuff.

See you in a few (unless my dad has internet access).

It’s off to Sin City (and Pauline, Dino, Dylan and Xtine!).


Vin – got some books but not those from your list. Jayce – I mailed them by priority mail Tuesday before we left for NYC. Noel – sorry, didn’t see Captain America Legend, you’ll have to go to bed with the Hulk again. Ate Cyn – completely forgot about the Visitor’s Center in Times Square in our excitement. Marco – gah! We also saw the Wild Arms 3 game for PS2. Carl – I hope the pages are coming along nicely!
Marc – got your mail, good going, will respond soon.

Kisses to Joseph and Maureen – will see you guys soon!

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

and even more food

I swear to God, a huge percentage of our trip here is spent in transit to food places and eating in them. Case in point, the lovely town of Portsville, NY, which is probably known for things other than Sprague's - an award-winning Maple Syrup manufacturer with one hell of a restaurant that serves killer portions of everything guaranteed to overload your arteries. We drove over an hour just to get there and enjoyed pork chops, turkey, corned beef hash, sausages and a stunning variety of pancakes and waffles served with their ubiquitous syrup.

At the risk of threatening Marco's claim to being the foodie blog, I must tell you that the other night, we braved the snow to find Tips Up, a friendly bar and cafe with fantastic lamb chops, escargot, perch and a pesto sauce to die for. I think I've gained a lot of weight here. It's impossible to move without eating.

Just now we had lasagna, prawns in lemon butter sauce, greens in a piquant dressing and a variety of muffins and bread.


Even as my wasitline widens I feel my mind shrivel (I look absurd in my spankin' new thermal undies - like a stuffed turkey nightmare that just won't go away).

digicam woes

the canon s20 I got for $350 did not come with a stupid rechargeable pack or an AC thingie. So we called Canon's offices and ordered all that plus a CF card of a decent size (96k). I wanted the 256k CF card but was stunned into silence when I was informed it cost $299 - almost as much as the damn camera. So we're having all of this Fedexed over to Ellicottville while we're in NYC so I can take pictures in Las Vegas. The obvious bummer is no digipix in NYC. That and the fact that this camera and its accoutrements total $700 - waaaay too much more than I anticipated. But flip side, of course, is that after all this money burning, I can take pictures to my heart's content.

off to NYC

So tomorrow, bright and early, we're driving to New York City to do the tourist thing and watch a play. I'm still looking a for decent adult bookstore or porn shop because I can't find any here (then again, it should be a cinch in Las Vegas). I'm not certain I can afford internet cafe access in NYC so this poor blog will be in limbo until the 8th when we return.


I was able to call my office and touch base with my partner Marc who's bravely handling everything while I'm away. Everything seems to be in order and the accounts we have are coming along nicely. I do wish I were home to do stuff, though. I've been doing some work here and sending it via email, but it's just not the same. Must rethink digital agency.

utos kay vin

Vin, please get me the blasted FHM calendar with Diana Zubiri! Naked pictures or not, it seems to be a cultural phenomenon.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

more food

It never ends! In the past few days, we've gone to the Brew Pub in Buffalo (where peanuts in shells and popcorn is free and the Sirloin Steak Sandwich to die for) and several other places including pop culture reference Krispy Kreme.

Krispy Kreme is fantastic! My friends would kill for all the doughnut goodness they offer. Everything about it is true (and I can't believe I'm raving about a doughnut place). Sage (and I) was delighted at the doughnut machine that showed their entire production process, end-to-end yumminess, so to speak.


We had several inches of snow and Nikki's earlier snowman was swamped by the new batch that fell last night. With my new gloves I can handle the freexng stuff wth comfort, whch means sooner or later things will degenerate to a snowfight, and we'll see who the best Alfar is.


Stopped for an hour at a bookstore and tried desperately to find things on everyone's lists. Sorry Vin, but your stuff is not to be found (yet), but we were able to get some of the books we wanted, such as the Lemony Snicket Autobiography, the Carnivorous Carnival (Book 7?), the thief book, the new Majipoor volume, Coraline, and a few others. I was severely tempted by the David Blaine autobiography and the ton of TPBs they had stacked in 2 shelves (I'll just have to order all the other Daniel Clowes stuff from Vin).


The cold doesn't faze this little girl, and she look darling in her fleecy outside cold gear. She and I have matching homeboy/homegirl skullcaps (in pink and black).

She makes friends with everyone she meets, pouring on the charm and eliciting affection and cries of "how cute". And she loves the attention (that's my blood in her veins!).

Her gramma has gotten (and continues to get) her a pile of stuff - clothes, supplies, toys and every little thing a little girl could possibly want.

Sage loves it all!

jason's birthday

And it was Jason's birthday yesterday! Happy birthday, buddy! I hope Vin, Marco, Carl and Arnold took you out naman!

Friday, November 01, 2002

an early thanksgiving

I mentioned that I had never really experienced a full-blown homecooked thanksgiving dinner with all the frills (various hotels don't count) and a friend of Nikki's mom immediately spent a day preparing a feast. So we all had an early thanksgiving replete with turkey, stuffing, green beans, corn bread, gravy, mashed potatoes, crnaberry sauce, pumpkin pie, ground coffee, a bouyant white wine and a friendly merlot. Stuffed as usual, may baon pa!

This massive dinner for 5 happened on Halloween and from time to time the doorbell would ring and kids would be there in costume shrieking "trick or treat"! I was not really amused, but offered to take my turn answering the door and handing out candy (I didn't want to appear like I was all mouth and stomach). During the course of my duty, I actually enjoyed myself. A kid in a Moses robe and white face paint rang the doorbell. I ask him if he's biblical. He says he's Osama bin Dead. Next, I see a large high school boy in a little red riding hood costume which looked liked it belonged to his kid sister. The contrast of golden girlie curls and his scruffy beard was enough to break down my antipathy.

Me (noticing his hairy legs) : You gotta be kidding me.

LRRH: No, and I wore this to school.

Me (offering my entire basket of goodies): Take what you want, you poor thing.

I also handed out candy to Britney Spears, two of the Osbornes, a Pink Lady from "Grease", Elvis, Spiderman, and more silly pop culture references than I care to acknowledge. But it was fun.

are you...?

I forgot to tell you. At dinner in one of the great restaurants here, the manager came over and chatted with us. Halfway though the conversation he asks me if I'm ever mistaken for Chow Yun Fat. I smile and relate the time in HK when a floor at a department store thought I was him, and how, during the Gen Con at Wisonsin, people followed me around asking to be photographed with me.

The thing is, I really do not think I look like him (very flattering though). But a lot of people seem to think so. Must be the buzz cut.

seven current heartaches

1. more snow
2. Shi-ann, my beloved bitch queen, voted out of Survivor: Thailand
3. dry skin
4. snail speed internet connection
5. need to be selective with the books we get (because we want them ALL)
6. all the stupid DVD films and tv series I want are available here
7. being unable to refuse all offers of food and wine


Traffic to this blog spiked suspiciously with the timing of the release of the FHM Calendar with Diana Zubiri and the end of the month. Normally, I don't pay attention to my web stats, but I was wondering if people thought I abandoned this blog to die a slow death because I am unable to consistently post on a daily basis while abroad (this lovely chalet has a 56k dial-up but I'm hoping for a DSL set-up before I go home - never thought I'd see the day when I'd think my Destiny Cable connection is superior to something over here). Anyway, a lot of you horn dogs went searching for nakedpictures of Diana Zubiri and Maui Taylor and sad to say, I don't have them! Look somewhere else! Unlike you, I just want the calendar and I posted that little thought last week! I'm sorry brothers, but I don't have the stuff you're looking for.

new york city - las vegas

Early next week, we're off to NYC. We've found a nice (inexpensive) place on Staten Island and plan to take the ferry and do the tourist thing - ground zero, broadway, fao schwartz, big bookstore, the met, central park - in 3 days time. I know we probably won't see much, but what the hell.

Then back to Buffalo for our flight to Las Vegas to visit my father and our friends in the area. Hey Pauline and Xtine and Ron! Please email and post your phone numbers again as I stupidly misplaced my notebook. In Vegas, we'll look for the CSI team (just kidding), catch a lounge act, do some gambling and visit adult bookstores (without Sage, of course). And eat. And catch up on old times.