Thursday, February 27, 2003

the unexpected businessman

Quiet day at the office, most of us doing stuff pertaining to live projects. The good news is that we have a good number of new projects in the pipeline, including some branding work, which is always interesting. Designing a logo and creating a viable rationale and its host of applications is an enjoyable process. In addition, we are exploring a new partnership, a potential bonanza of new clients from another source and the possibility of hiring one or two more staff members (in addition to our new Art Director and a new Designer). I also met a new client who came to visit and had fun defending our design choices.

I remember the days, not so long ago, when I'd agonize about our very existence. Now, thanks to the hard work, inventiveness, patience and good humor of my partners and staff, the concern has diminished (I'd be a fool to claim it has vanished entirely). As an unexpected businessman, I've learned that, like life, business is about finding stability in a sea of constant change - finding means to press forward against the natural tendency of things to slow down or spiral into chaos. It's about rolling with the punches and developing the ability to bend but not break, creating opportunities where there are none and squeezing every ounce of potential from circumstances.

Against the advice of businessmen better than myself, I handle my affairs with both mind and heart, trying to balance the concerns of the bottom line with the fact that I'm just as flawed as the next person. Having moderate success is good, but enjoying what you do is even better - though at times you think what the hell do I do now?

Am I anywhere near I want to be? Not yet, but I've found that the adage about the journey being just as important as reaching the destination both blissfully and painfully true.

And yes, I do stop to look at the sights. That's very important, don't you think?

something for the soul

Tomorrow, the entire office and I (plus our assorted spouses and lovers) are going to a couple of museums to enrich our souls and touch base with the Filipino creative spark. I know that what we have at the National Museum and the Met pales in comparison to the grand art found in other countries (oh my eyeteeth to see a Renoir or a Degas again), but we have every reason to be proud. We have our own set of native Old Masters who worked wonder and miracles with color, texture and subject matter. Why go on an official company outing to stuffy museums instead of, let's say, the beach? If you need to ask the question, then you do not know me at all.

Apart from the Luna's Spolarium, I'd like to see Espanas y Filipinas - which is just perfect as a launching point for a Hinirang story about friendship between two women of two cultures.

We plan to have lunch somewhere in Binondo, perhaps at President's. It will be the first time for some of my crew to sample local Chinese fare in Old Manila. If time permits, I'd like to do a little walking around the old walls too.

comics, we've got comics

After an exchange of SMS messages, Vin persuaded Nikki and I to check out the new comics that arrived last night. A lot of tempting things but we ended up with the following:

Hellboy: Weird Tales - Good story by Cassaday (but I admit I'm quite unnerved by a smooth-looking Hellboy), but oh my God, what the hell is Andi Watson doing in these pages? Please, please, please. Make him go away.

The Legion - Shades of Hannibal Lecter, Batman! Ra's al Ghul escapes and I feel ripped off (and experience an odd sense of deja vu). Feh.

Vertigo X - As a magazine that provides samples of upcoming projects, this rocked. I'm happilty anticipating the multiple releases in the near future.

X-Statix - A mindtrip, as usual.

Batman - I picked it up because what fanboy can resist another Batman vs. Superman story? Did I like it? Enough to plan buying the collected editions of "Hush" when it comes out.

Darna - I wish this comic book could say a magic word and become something better than it is. I wish. I really do.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

on a train with gong li and other thoughts

Tomorrow, I'm art directing a photoshoot for a client at the Manila Peninsula - which got me thinking of directing in general, and Zhang Yimou in particular and by extension, Gong Li.

Apparently, this ethereal beauty spent a few years as a housewife in Singapore before acting in a new film - Train, which is unfortunately not directed by her ex-lover.

Initial reviews have been lukewarm (the production saved by Gong Li's sheer Gong Li-ness) but still it is something I'd like to watch. How can I resist the star of so many excellent films like Raise The Red Lantern? Now that she's back (it must be hard to have been eclipsed by other actresses, most notably Zhang Ziyi - both in reel and real life), we can hope for some more of her gossamer magic.

Which leads me to thinking of the other film I'd like to see. The Thirteen Steps was one of the two Japanese entries to Sundance and received a degree of acclaim. In a world where people are motivated by shame and censure (as opposed to Western man's sense of guilt), two men seek atonement.

Which, in turn, leads me to thinking about revisting A Clockwork Orange.

Go figure.

good porn/bad porn

Inadvertently, my email addresses have made their way to a number of database listings that proffer porn.

A few years ago, I would have been delighted by the profusion of images and naughty text, but with three mailboxes victimized it’s just getting silly.

I wouldn’t mind as much if the quality and subject matter of these things were of a superior grade, but it is not the case.

Some arrive under an intriguing subject line (“Yes, yes, I can take it!) but fail to deliver after a cursory examination.

Some are more direct to the point and quite personal (“Dean! Let me s*** your d***!”) but my jaded sensibilities protect me from porn that calls me by my first name.

Some are quite disturbing and very shotgun in approach (“Watch Me Become A Woman” or “Russian Boy in Chains” or “Best-Tiality Best Pics”).

Others come in disguise (“Update on your urgent request” or “Analysis of trends on Well-Being” or “Dean, you asked me to write you?”) then activate the tried-and-true bait-and-switch.

So of course I’ve been trying to get myself off these lists: writing directly to the list (not a good idea because you end up confirming your existence and they share your info with even more lists), blocking senders (also does not work as they generate new sender identities), blah blah blah. It is easier to set up new email addys (and just leave these ones to the gods of pornography).

Still, I wish the stuff I get sent was better.

I much prefer the mostly high grade stuff that arrives in zip files or attachments from an acquaintance from a huge international bank. He started sending porn to one of my staff members and I caught wind of it, sent him a note asking for very specific things and he delivered with aplomb. I consider him an honorary member of my company, in fact.

So, yes, my email boxes (business, creative and web-based) always have something to tempt me (bad karma for my prurient interest, haloed-do-gooders will claim), but I do also have stuff coming in that’s quite interesting (but I am looking for mpegs or pictures of Andrea del Rosario in Lupe).

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

review: the hours

Three thematically linked vignettes, powerful writing, wonderful acting from Kidman, Moore and Streep. All three actresses deserve accolades as leads.

Despite the three kisses that made me shudder , this is a wonderful film, swimming in multiple layers of text and subtext.

Life and death, freedom and incarceration, love and solitude, emotional and intellectual choices - all take a turn onscreen and we are left gasping for air, almost overwhelmed by the visceral realities both abstract and concrete. This is a thinker's piece and a blessed change from much of the inanity I've recently viewed.

You must see this.

Final Rating: The Hours

********1/2 (of 10)
tuesday at the movies

With a holiday free to do anything I want, I've decided to catch up on my movies.

Up next: The Hours, Gangs of New York and (shudder) Aimee & Jaguar (a lesbian love story set during in WWII).

review: adaptation

One the critically-acclaimed films in the Oscar race, Adaptation did nothing for me.

The lead character's internal criticism is absolutely true: it is pretentious and narcissistic. Let me add masturbatory.

The film's conceit failed in execution, almost pleading with the viewer's intellectual vanity to see its (presumed) merit. I did not apprecite the "cleverness" of the multiple layers, point and counterpoint in the least. And both the climax (of the so-called non-story) and the ending both failed to evoke any truth in development.

Seeing Nicolas Cage playing twin brothers was enough to put me off and, sadly, Meryl Streep's acting was subpar. The only highlight was the madly inspired acting of Chris Cooper (for which I think he'll be a tough contender at Oscar night).

Though not completely devoid of value, this is a film I would not care to see again.

Final Rating: Adaptation

***** (out of 10)

Sunday, February 23, 2003

parthenon in her hands

We did a double take when Sage, after rooting through some of the bedroom closets within her reach, walked around with a bit of grey stone.

It was, of course, a bit from the Parthenon in Greece.

There's something surreal about my one year-old girl threatening to swallow a part of an ancient ruin.

happiness! connected again!

Yes, after what seemed like a mind-numbing eternity, I have access to the internet at our new home. I cannot tell you how delighted Nikki and I are. It did take the Destiny Cable folk multiple attempts over the course of three days, but the results are worth the wait. I can surf, blog, download and do all the things I used to be able to do where we used to live.

Too be honest, much of my writing steam went away while I was disconnected. If you think about it, nothing should have changed, really. I still had my PC and word processor after all. But it didn't feel the same. I realized that in-between sentences or ideas, I had gotten used to surfing around, looking at things or just letting my mind roam - then I'd go back to writing. Without the internet (which, in a way, has become both tool and crutch), a lot of the writing felt more like chores - even with the inspiration (because you can only go so far with the initial jolt of inspiration, then you sort of putter around or begin pushing your car to get wherever the hell you had to go).

But now all is well in the world. Internet connected, cable TV installed, aircon fixed, comic book TPBs sorted and shelved. The only the sore point is the problem with the sink (which won't drain, and we need to coordinate with the Korean guy below for the administration guys to get at the master plumbing, and if language has ever been a barrier, this is it).

talking about incest: position and metaphors

And not because it is a favorite topic at all.

Last night, after Nikki and I had dinner at Sukhothai (our favorite Thai resto), we met up with the usual suspects and ended up going to the Podium, where we had dessert at Sitio (a new place specializing in Filipino food) and my much-reviled UCC (hideously expensive Japanese coffee place, which I only agree to go to because they have a huge smoking area).

One of the guys told us about his idea for his next book, which had an incestous liaison as its centerpiece.

Naturally, opinionated lot that we are, this immediately provoked discussion.

While I support every writer's right to write about anything he wants to, I asked whether the author was ready to defend his position (or non-position) on the matter when the publication came out. My point is that, with the near-inifinite number of possible things to write about, he chose to write about incest, therefore taking a position (whichever way it is portrayed, positively or otherwise) and implying an agenda.

Personally, it is something I would not write about, because, as a matter of opinion, it's simply too vile to consider. I have nothing against victims of incest, but the story has no true victims, as the protagonists go about it willingly (though through certain apparently mitigating circumstances).

I believe that, as a creator, I have been given three things: an gun which will sometimes shoot, an unknown number of bullets, and an uncertain lifespan. The gun and bullets are both my capacity to create something of merit and the subject matter, and my lifespan is the time in which I can go around shooting things. I do not know how often my gun will fire. I do not know how many bullets I have. I do not know how long I have to keep trying to fire the gun.

In other words, I believe in being selective about what I choose to write. Part of the freedom of being able to choose to write about anything is the fact that you simply do not have the time to write about everything. So I will definitely I need to choose what I will write about. Not out of fear of what my readers or critics will say (with all due respect to my readers, my primary audience is myself - when I write in a non-commercial mode - whatever I create must satisfy me first, then find its audience later).

Must there be a reason to write about something? Yes. There is obviously a vast spectrum of things to write about, and ultimately I will not write about something because "I just want to". For me, there has to be a greater point, a deeper purpose, even if it sounds as shallow as "I want to explore the human psyche" or as suspiciously justifying as "I want to bring attention to X because no one has". There is a degree of responsibility to our craft.

Anyway, I admitted to the author that, friendship aside, I was automatically negatively predisposed to his new opus even without reading it, because of subject matter. I admit to certain judgemental biases - I refuse to watch a film about snuff, for example, no matter how well done, or I would not read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's latest novel if he wrote about pedophilia and excrement, even if he is my favorite author in the world. Just because one is liberal or open-minded does not mean that everything is acceptable. And all my close friends know about my other quirks, like my irrational fear of butch women. Note the irrational part.

However, given that we are all supportive friends and creators, I will have to read it. So I told him first that my opinions are only my opinions and ultimately he should do what he wanted. Second, that if he managed (in terms of setting creative goals and in the manner of his execution) to subvert my hang-up about incest, then I would agree it was a bit of writing with true merit, perhaps ending up liking it despite myself.

The question is how will he do this (not for me, but for similarly-minded readers and critics). This is a different concern from the one voiced by Jason about the societal impact (yes, naturally, we all believe that there will be readers of our works, of course) vis-a-vis how the readers will perceive the author in terms of agenda.

When is incest justified? Does it have to be justified? Are we not just talking about make-believe? Is it important to even consider agenda? Are we taking writing way too seriously? (I felt like I channeled Carrie for a while there - cue: Sex and the City ST).

Through the course of the history of great literature, incest is a big taboo, a tragedy disturbing enough to upset the gods when Oedipus did the bad thing with his mom. Granted, there are cultures where it is sanctioned (what comes easiest to my mind are Egypt, where Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy were sibling lovers and rulers; and the age of kings in Europe, where royal blood simply did not mix with common stock, creating a long line of eccentrics with genetic oddities). But barring concerns of succession and a number of scattered "non-civilized" tribes (note the parenthesis and get off my ass), is there any literature that extols the virtue of a mother and son getting it together? Should there be? Would you read it?

If I flip the question and make it a personal challenge, I'd ask myself how I would write it. These are the givens: a futuristic society (where incest is still taboo - because otherwise you emasculate the shock value), a mother longing to continue her line, and a son who will acquiesce to the act (not out of lust, but out of duty or sympathy).

First, I'd freak out, then I'd get started, beginning with accepting the fact that even in a character-driven story both protagonists HAVE TO get it on (the distance between where the characters choose to go and the necessarily artificial plot point is something that needs to be closed - and I suppose that is where craft comes in). But what is my hook? What is my angle (beyond my agenda)?

I believe that everyone wears a mask at all times. A different mask for different occassions and circumstances, but always masked nonetheless. Thus, there are a certain set of things we will do or not do, depending on the mask we wear. I need to get to the point where my protagonists will do the deed. That will necessitate putting them in a place or circumstance where they are suddenly unmasked (or have no relevant mask). Only by doing so would their "true" selves be revealed, and the lack of a convenient mask (with its set of clearly defined behaviors) would allow them to do something their masked selves would not do.

Those are the times when people we know do extraordinary things.

But even given that, I'm not certain I could do it. Granted, I could rely on tricks of the trade, but an honest-to-goodness story of that nature?

I don't know.

What matters is that I am sufficiently intrigued to see how my author friend's process goes - from idea to script to publication and beyond. I still have a lot learn and the one of the best ways is through what my group does for each other: listen, critique, help, back off, watch, read, support and be truthful.

the line is drawn here

After we went home, Nikki and were still talking about the art of writing, subject matters, preferences, comfort levels and responsibilty.

We drew up a list of the top 3 things we will not write about (unless of course the inner writing whore in us is offered a gazillion). Not suprisingly, they are all sexual in nature (because either of us can offensively write about god and any other taboo thing at the drop of a hat).

Nikki's list

1. incest
2. pedeophilia
3. excrement (scatological tales)

Dean's list

1. incest
2. BDSM (Bondage & Domination, Discipline & Submission, S & M)
3. pedophilia

Which, in the realm of human sexuality, still leaves a distubingly huge universe of other things to write about.

The funny thing is that it seems you'd sooner see the Alfars write a touching bestiality story before you see anything about incest.

Are these hang-ups things I want to get rid of? Would I be a better person if I accepted and extolled these things?

I think not.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

an evening at comic quest

Yesterday, while waiting for Vin (and Nikki who was shanghaied into looking at a new bookstore), I got a chance to talk with Kensai Yonzon, the EIC of Mango Comics. He is, of course, very excited about the upcoming launch of their comic book next week. This year looks like the Year of Darna, given that Ballet Philippines is mounting a huge production based on the character and storyline, plus the Darna tribute album and other really cool stuff.

Mango Comics is going all out on this comic, with a huge print run, media support and fantastic word of mouth. Elements that we poorer comic creators can only dream of. Kestrel Studios is behind them all the way and wish them the best. Remember that in our industry, the success of one is the success of all. The new comic readers that Darna creates will hopefully pick up other books by other Filipinos.

What is absurd are the usual grumblings of some pathetic oafs who claim that Darna is just more superhero trash, as if every book in the universe has to be of the "indie" mold (you know, black and white angst about life and relationships juxtaposed against a so-called real world background, with pithy one-liners and metaphors of staggering depth).

Feh. (And lest I be misquoted, let me say that I generally enjoy said "indie" type comics, spending quite a bit on them. Except for Andi Watson who writes pure drivel, who- by the way, is co-writing Namor for Marvel's Tsunami - oh the mind boggles).

Nikki and Vin arrived with the new stocks and Marco whipped out his pasalubong for us: necklaces and bracelets from exotic Boracay (ours, naturally, in classy black).

Later Ruel de Vera joined us and we had a great time comparing reviews of various things, noting the inordinate amount of useless trivia we knew. That was when I told them one of maxims: If you have nothing nice to say, say it loudly. Ha.

Later, Nikki and I abandoned everyone and had dinner, celebrating her birthday at her favorite restaurant.

Let me tell you, I am so in love with this woman.

Walking home, hand in hand, we laughed at the taxis that made futile efforts to lure us into their air-conditioned interiors. There is power in being able just to walk home and not be at anyone's mercy, knowing that you are less than a thousand paces away from your little girl.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

lost pages update

I've removed the three pages here because the damn blog slowed down just a little beyond my level of patience. Next time, I'll put up a pdf or something.


Mango Comics (hey Kensai!) invites everyone to celebrate the return of the greatest superheroine the Philippines has ever known - Mars Ravelo's DARNA. The Darna Golden Anniversary Edition Comic Book Launch will be at Eastwood City Central Plaza on February 28, 2003 at 7pm. Lots of fun and music featuring SUGAR FREE, SOFTPILLOWKISSES, DIRTY KITCHEN, NARDA, and THE MONGOLS.

Go. Support komiks!

review: chicago

Based on the eponymous award-winning musical, this film was a welcome surprise. I mean, really, what do you expect from Zeta-Jones, et. al.?

But it was a tremendous effort yielding tremendous results.

The script adaptation was superb, the editing almost impeccable, the art & constume design spot-on, and the camera play was intelligent. Music and lights - all great.

The actors were a revelation - they all sang and danced. The only acting sore point for me was the presence of Gere, but even he managed to shine with his Razzle-Dazzle number.

But it was the lead actresses, Zellwegger and Zeta-Jones that took the cake.

Impressive performances, excellent choreography.

Now this is a film that deserves the awards it picked up at the GG and the nods it got from Oscar (among them Best Picture, and acting nods for Zeta-Jones, Zellwegger and Reilly).

Even if it wins nothing at the Oscars, it is certainly one of the best films of the season.

Final Rating

Chicago - ********* (of 10)

vignette: ser lardizaval's engkanto

He was searching for a wife when he fell into the trap, the cruel ironshod teeth of the device bit deep into the soft part of his leg. He did notscream then, despite the brilliant pain that threatened to engulf his senses; instead, he set about working free of the cold metal. So deep was his concentration that he did not hear the footfalls on the forest floor nor notice the men who had gathered around him. Not until one of them spoke did he raise his impossibly handsome face (though crossed with pain and surprise and horror) and forced his features into a scowl.

"Engkanto," one of the men said, quickly making the sign of the Tres Hermanas to avert evil.

Another man, their leader, gestured for silence. He spat into his hands and took a length of rope from his tubao.

happy birthday to the best wife

beyond being
my wife
my partner
my best friend
my lover
the mother of my child

you are
my reason
my justification
my stronghold
my purpose
my joy

happy birthday, beloved

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

review: daredevil

Okay, so with Pipeworx as one of the sponsors of the advanced screening of Daredevil, my staff and friends and I packed ourselves into the shockingly crowded theater and watched the film last night.

Carl (seated next to me): Can I ask you a favor?

Me: Sure.

Carl: Can you restrain yourself if the movie turns out bad?

Me: Just tell me if my hurling popcorn at the screen bugs you.

Did I hurl things at the screen? Well, by the end of the torture I was so drained I could barely lift the empty popcorn container.

It reminded me of fresh dog crap gleaming in the rain. It was slick and shiny but still shit.

I was irked by the script, the acting, the editing, the lighting, the music (oh, spare us the creepy hymnals), pretty much everything. And I say this not even as a sometime-fan of the comic book (because the difference between the established mythos and the movie is not relevant to the review).

The writing and editing truly deserve shout outs for their pathetic attempts at manipulation. What is it with films of this genre, anyway? Where is the invention, the subtleness, the texture, the respect for the viewer?

It was a big mess of crap - and I can say that with my so-called "critic's hat" on AND off. God save us from movies like this. Before the halfway point I wanted to go home but was trapped in the center of the row of seats.

Like One Hour Photo, it was a waste of life.

So, to complete the barkada review spectrum: Jason loved it, Marco is in the middle, I call it shit.

Final Rating:

Daredevil - ** (of 10)

Monday, February 17, 2003

weekend in review

All brief due to time constraints. Will write more during the week.

loving friends

Instead of going though packed restaurants, Vin, Carl, Jason, Cams, Nikki and I had potluck dinner at Megaplaza. We missed our other friends (one of whom was galavanting shirtless and intoxicated in Boracay) but raised a glass to love and friendship - before gorging ourselves on pasta and chicken.

Afterwards, we tried a new game about someone's stolen pants.

sage's party

With nearly 30 people in our new place, you'd think that we'd be squashed like sardines, but everyone fit wonderfully. We served pancit palabok, tempura, barbeque, japanese rice, fruit salad and a lot of soft drinks to the crowd that included immediate family members. Sage was very sociable - she walked around looking at everyone then come back to Nikki or myself to see if we had abandoned her, then move around again. Later in the day, exhausted, she ignored her guests and crawled into bed to sleep.

I was worried about the emptiness of our new place (we need more furniture) but it turned out that what we had was sufficient.


Nikki requested that I run a game so we rounded up Vin and Carl and started of with the introductions of their characters, in a world with echoes of the BPRD of Hellboy. Carl, in particular, had an emotionally wrenching time playing a housewife who develops uncontrollable empathy.

Someday, we'll play again and get the show on the road.


Nikki and I celebrated Valentine's holding hands and walking around the Galleria. I got her a rose and we had dinner at Mario's - salad, gambas, lengua and thou.

Friday, February 14, 2003

vignette: tiq'barang detective fragment

Veronica Bunsong-Bu’an, the detective-in-charge, shook her head and finished taking the last of the witnesses’ statements. She had been summoned only minutes after the murder and had lost no time in finding her way to the site of the crime. She had looked carefully at the remains of Diomedes Senal and ascertained that he was dead before he struck the ground, his head cruelly twisted from back to front.

The Tiq’Barang stretched to her full height and fought off her fatigue. Like most of her race she could endure more than men, but when the Tiq’Barang tired, they needed to rest longer than anyone, and Veronica had returned from an especially long investigation in the Ispancialo garrisons in the dark north. She absentmindedly rubbed the end of her equine snout and took some time to review what she had already noted.

To the eyes of any man, Veronica Bunsong-Bu’an was a creature of contrasts. She was indisputably beautiful, but her intimidating size and scale dwarfed the tallest of men. She stood almost ten feet tall and the cloak of the guardia civil did little to hide her massive shoulders, yet her eyes, a pale liquid grey, betrayed an air of kindness, and her voice was never raised above the barest of whispers.

She was Tiq’Barang, half-horse, half-human, and born in a distant province. Unlike most of her kin, she was raised in the Faith of the Ispancialo and rose quietly up the ranks of the clergy. Her inquisitive mind and natural powers of observation and deduction earned her the position of ecclesiastical detective, responsibly handling criminal matters that the Church preferred to remain secret, earning a reputation for solving the impossible, until that particular night when she had to make a painful choice between loyalty and truth, and chose truth.

The guardia civil were more than happy to catch her at the terminus of her fall from grace, and added her to their ranks with understated pride, for already she was known to possess one of the finest minds in all of Hinirang.

A mind that was perplexed by current situation that her notes did nothing to illuminate.


And of course I'm told that my crush Diana Zubiri was signing magazines at Greenhills yesterday, and is doing the same thing right now at Megamall. And naturally I can't just hie over there right this minute, despite the fact that my digicam is primed and ready to go. Gah.

One day. One day, I promise you.

And on top of that, since we don't have a cable connection yet (poor Nikki is going through Kim Possible withdrawal), we can't watch Survivor: The Amazon.

Being disconnected sucks.

sage turns one!

Oh my god.

My little girl turns one today.

I can't believe it.

Soon she'll want to run away with someone and break my heart.

This morning, Nikki and I gave Sage a gift (we got her several, to give at different times today and tomorrow, when during her party).

She played with the giftwrapping until her excited mother and father tore it up for her, exposing her new draggy toy - which she played with for a while before opting to terrorize me by pushing my Magic card boxes around.

She is such a darling. Look at this picture of her. She's sitting on this little chair I bought for her when I was shopping with her Ninong Vin. See how her legs dangle a quarter of an inch from the floor? Oh, and she's calling me on her cell phone.

We're so excited about tomorrow and I had to restrain Nikki from showing Sage her birthday cake and giving her all the gifts.

We love this little girl so much that I have a stupid smile even as I write this; even as I went to my farflung pulp client this morning (and got two deals, by the way - yay!); even as I inched through the traffic.

to my favorite wife

That's you, Nikki. Now and always.

Happy Valentine's.

eyeing the president 2

One of the more amusing moments of my time at the World Trade Center was seeing how close I could get to the Lady President who is surrounded by her security people. My motive? To get as close as possible to take a picture.

The answer? I got within 5 feet, and there was no one between me and the leader of my country, except for the podium. If I were a bad man, I could have done something horrible (only my camera was checked - I could have had things in my shoes, under my balls or strapped to my legs).

I got my picture and sat down right there, suit and all, to listen to her (behind me were the big time technology people).

Her speaking voice is really bad, like a static on AM radio. And she's painfully petite.

But smart.

Being the President, she naturally commanded the attention of everyone in the hall, except perhaps me, as I was thinking of how orange actually suited her. Remember that there was this big hoopla about her image and her handlers were harshly critiqued for how she was was positioned.

Things were over soon, and she was shuttled off to the next event. And the flash of orange was gone.

The reason I was really there was to see how our design of a client's exhibit booth was implemented. Pipe did the concept, layout, copy, photography, everything. The result - an exhibit that breathes and looks quite elegant, emanating trust. Client loved it, passersby loved it. I'm delighted and proud of my partner and staff.

Of course, Jason was there, as part of Yehey!'s new thingie. We had breakfast and talked about his Hinirang story and other potential things we can do in the future. Later, we met my (Kestrel Studios') production manager, Tony, who was at the event with Digital Filipino.

I also bumped into my step-brother, J. Disini, the top cyber lawyer of the country. We spoke briefly about business, shook hands and moved on. It was good to see him, as I rarely see members of my step-family despite the fact that some of us actually occupy adjacent industry space. I recall the time we'd cram everything in a VW Beetle and sputter to school, and then when we were older, having a series of devastating occurances that forever colored our opinions of each other. Such is life.


The other business unit we've created is called Pipeworx. It'll be positioned primarily as an events management company but with enough flexibility to adjust to market demand. We've already lined up a list of clients and events to target and have begun the process of marketing the company.

My partner, Camille, is GM for the new company. Given her previous experience and savvy, we should be looking at moderate success soon. Pipeline Media occassionally runs into clients with event requirements and this is our way of serving them.

Besides, I want the free tickets to films, concerts and bar tours!

Thursday, February 13, 2003

eyeing the president

I'm in coat and tie. In a couple of hours, I go off to see the Lady President make a speech. Then of course I'll applaud with the rest of the well-dressed crowd (the heads of technology companies and their various floating initials) and mingle.

What strikes me as odd is that this will be the first time I'll see our country's leader in person, complete with her Nora Aunor-mole and diminutive stature. I recall being elsewhere during the so-called "revolution" that brought her to power - I has hardpressed by my British and Chinese counterparts to explain how the process could be democratic as opposed to an ochlocracy over the morning's first shot of liquor. And I remember hating the process but desperately wanting the results, because the incumbent womanizer was just too much a burden for our country to bear.

So what did this intelligent woman do?

It depends on whom you ask. In the final scheme of things though, it seems to be less than what was promised, leaving us to manage our own expectations.

So I see her in a while.

Frankly, I'm more interested to see what they'll feed us.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

best foreign film

With the Oscar nominees out, I skipped the usual Best Actor/Actress lists, and looked at the category that I like: Best Foreign Film:

"El Crimen del Padre Amaro"
An Alameda Films/BluFilms/Foprocine/Gob. del Estado de Veracruz-Llave Production

A Beijing New Picture Film Company/Elite Group Enterprises Production
People's Republic of China

"The Man without a Past"
A Sputnik Oy/Pandora Film/Pyramide Prods. Production

"Nowhere in Africa"
An MTM Medien & Television München Production

"Zus & Zo"
A Filmprodukties de Luwte Production
The Netherlands

To my shock, Almodovar's "Talk to Her" or Cuarón's "Y Tu Mamá También" weren't on the list, but "Hero" is. Can it win? Possibly. But the buzz on "El Crimen" is pretty good.

where has the magic gone?

Into storage, that's where.

Once upon a time, I played Magic: The Gathering a lot, helping create a nice population of players in the Philippines. My little playgroup was pretty group (consisting of two National Champions, a National Finalist and much-awarded members who competed in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Seattle).

And so I had a lot of cards - which I lug around every time we move after culling the older ones (with 28 sets, you just can't bring everything).

Last night, as I sorted cards to put into storage, Nikki and I relived many fond memories of the 5 or so years we played (me as a some-time competitor, judge and organizer; she as the one-time highest ranked female in the world):

**Rickey's proposed strategy at the World Championships in Seattle (he'd slowly pick up a card and pretend to not fully understand it, in the hope of having his opponent underestimate him - which would really not work because he obviously made it to the Championships!)

**ESPN2 following Nikki around Hong Kong and making her lose her concentration

**Richard Adelfin faking a press badge and getting into all the events

**Horrible misuse of cards (without malice) creating shocking powerhouses in Davao and the Visayas

**Ordering food in Japan based on cost rather than what the food actually is (because none of us could read kanji)

**Dozens of tournaments in various halls, malls and ships

**Losing my temper, like clockwork - sigh

Though neither Nikki nor I play competitively anymore, we still like to make decks once in a while and have a go - reliving the good times when we were younger and had money to spend on cards.

like water in a dry desert

That is how I feel about the escalation of expenses related to post-moving: having the aircon cleaned and installed, buying the necessary items for the place, paying for all the people who've been helping do a variety of things, getting cable TV, an internet connection, a phone line, blah blah blah.

It's absurd.

And, of course, it's Sage's birthday on Friday (but we'll celebrate on Saturday) and Nikki's birthday on the 19th - and I intend to make both days special for these two girls I love so much.

Thank god Pipe has been winning the occasional project here and there (still no word on the real big one I'm keeping my toes crossed for).

We also had a hard time sleeping last night - siguro naninibago (we're getting used to the new place).

writing in Hinirang

The great thing is that, in the past couple of days, I've been able to read the first versions of new Hinirang stories from Jason and Vin.

Jason talks a bit about his journal-style horror story in his blog. Apart from some suggestions on tone and styling (and a comment on preserving Hinirang's primacy as The Locale), I enjoyed reading his first two installments. I hope to see the complete serial soon - but we will be publishing the sequence at the Hinirang site as the story develops.

Vin, under severe pressure from me (hahaha) to finish his Tsino story and The Humbling Forest, whipped out a complete new short story, Pula (Red).

The interesting thing about this is the experimental form he adopted, alternating English and Filipino language to correspond to Ispancialo and Katao viewpoints. Expect it in Hinirang soon.

Because of the sudden delicious appearance of new stories, I also feel compelled to write a couple of stories out of schedule (consigning the poor Tiq'Barang lady detective to yet another cycle of waiting) - except that I can't wrap my mind around writing anything of worth just right now. Sigh.

But what's wonderful is that - fiction-wise - Hinirang will have 5 principal authors - Nikki, me, Carl, Jason and Vin. More fiction from us means more interesting stories to read.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

is this home?

We made the move yesterday and did our best to smoothen all the rough edges (gah - even thinking about all the little things that went wrong irks me now), but suffice it to say that we did it and collapsed exhausted on our new bed amid the clutter of our boxed up past.

Our room has a glass wall overlooking the city. Last night, Nikki and I moved the bed against it and spent some time in silence just looking at the lights, forgetting about all the stuff that still needs to be done.

Sometimes, I guess, you just need to stop.

And breathe.

(City is picture is not Manila, but Buffalo, NY)

Monday, February 10, 2003

moving day

Today is moving day and the 3 Alfar family members split up to do their own thing: I had to go to work because of another client Annual Report presentation (which went swimmingly well) and to handle all the other business matters; Nikki handled the movers, heading taking stuff from 2 locations (and we're expecting the delivery of all the furniture pieces we ordered from Our Home in Megamall tonight); and finally, Sage spent the day with her Grams, doing all the stuff she does (running around, exploring new things, eating strange food).

Our new place is a spit away from a mall, is one floor below the roofdeck with the pool, sauna, gym and playroom, and is a third larger than our previous digs. Gone will be the days of walking to work, but hey, I'll find another way to exercise (though oddly I think I've unexpectedly lost an inch around the waist because I fit into some old pants I found while packing). I won't really miss the Greenhills area, since my office is still there and I can walk to the barber's for my oh-so-manly routine.

But I did feel a bit sad, because I have only good memories of Le Gran.

I talked to Nikki about how we felt everytime we moved as a couple in the past 7 years.

* Fort Bonifacio to Makati

NIKKI: "We were proud and angry and glad to be free."

* Makati to Fort Bonifacio

NIKKI: "We were sad to move back, but happy that we had the house all to ourselves. Of course, there was the lack of water and electricity..."

* Fort Bonifacio to Makati

NIKKI: "We so happy. We had such a larger unit, you did cartwheels. And we had electricity. And water."

* Makati to Hong Kong

NIKKI: "Happy to move! We were together again!"

Hong Kong (North Point, HK Island) to Greenhills

NIKKI: "Happy! Sage was on the way, Pipe was new, and you loved Greenhills."

Greenhills to Ortigas Center

NIKKI: "Arg! Too many small things to pack. I'm just focused on getting us there."

DEAN: "Well, I'm kinda sad."

SAGE: "dog."


Dynatica Comics' new book, TXTMen, is out at last, in full-color glory.

DC's head honcho, Jason Banico, put the creative team together, acting as EIC: Nikki Alfar (Words), Armand Roy Canlas (Art) and me (doing my first ever published Filipino translation, in a manga-esque book, nonetheless - Gerry will choke on his gardenias!). The first issue moves quickly, introducing various characters briefly before getting down to the exposition of what is going on (but not really - ah, read it).

The challenge here for me wasn't working with Nikki's script (no problem there as we have great synergy), it was the actual act of translation. I had to use a mix of vernacular and formal Filipino to get the point across - and in some cases opted to use Taglish (combination of Tagalog and English), and when it made sense, I used the original English - since reading English is not a problem with majority of the Filipinos.

Was it fun? Yup. Is it something I'd do again? Yes, with a thicker dictionary and talaverbo.

So give the book a chance - pick it up at National Bookstore, Powerbooks, Comicquest or Filbar's - P60 only (forgo your Big Mac Meal this time).

Saturday, February 08, 2003

update on fumes 2

The telco presentation went well (though there is an undercurrent of something else going on there), so that was fine. Getting there though was horrible, as I creeped ever-so-slowly in the traffic due to some clever official's wonderful idea of removing the color-coding system.

But the best news was from the final client of the day. I got a text from my team over there and they wowwed the client, hopefully clinching the deal.

So, how did my work day that began at 3AM end up? Quite fine, thank you.

Friday, February 07, 2003

update on fumes

Well, did better than I expected at my early morning presentation, due to marvelous designs of my creative director. I let myself go on auto for a while until the inevitable question and answer portion arrived. And surprise, surprise, I had answers.

They were pleased by the entire thing and I hope to God we get this account. If my blah blah is persuasive, we'll be positioning all their malls in a brand new way, using language.

Keep your fingers crossed, please.

So one more client to go today and I can get a shave.

running on fumes

I woke up at 3AM and wasn't able to sleep again. Poor Nikki was conked out after the inital phase of packing up our stuff (a hell of a lot of comics, trades and books - despite The Culling, when Nikki and I make harsh judgements and condemn certain reading material to obliviion, to the shock and consternation of our friends). Sage tried to help but of course her version of helping is actually unpacking packed things. So my poor wife is dead tired and I have no one to talk to in the wee morning hours.

And my internet connection, as per my instructions, is gone - so no surfing.

I smoked a ciggie at the terrace and though about how things were going in my life, my business, my craft. All in all, still great, no true angst, except for the occasional zinger that comes unexpectedly.

So here I am at my office, absurdly early and half-zombified by sleep deprivation. To top things off, I have 3 client pitches/bids/presentations scheduled for the day, in addition to the usual things I need to do. My partner Marc is off to distant Laguna for a client photoshoot, my best Project Manager may have been striken by an ameoba, my youngest designer doesn't come back until after next week, blah blah blah.

A thousand things to do and I feel like a cat died in my mouth, despite repeated toothbrushing. And I haven't shaved so I look...shifty.

Well, off to Presentation # 1. I'm hoping my mouth goes on automatic because, really, I'm running on fumes.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

art strong

I attended a client's product press launch and had lunch at Tavern on the Square with Marc and Cams.

The last time I was there not much of the restaurants were open, and so I was surprised by the number of new places to eat or hang out in. Of course I knew about Twelve and Uva, but didn't know that Big Buddha, Hue, Sentro and other places were already packing in customers.

Food at the tavern was wretched, but my time was not wasted because of the excellent band that played during the launch: Art Strong (I don't know if the name is actually one word though). They had this lovely mellow-ska-rhythm-jazz-chilloutish-but-not-really sound that appealed to almost everybody at the Tavern.

I think its time to start listening to live music again. Even if only once in a blue moon.

contract signing

Today I met my landlord and we hit it off immediately. This nice guy turned out to be the owner of a chain of stores plus a lot of real estate (so in the midst of things I set an appointment to formally present Pipeline's credentials). We ended up laughing when he revealed he was half-Cantonese and I threw out all the Cantonese food phrases I knew.

Due to the goodwill generated, I got an extra week free of rent, plus all the keys.

And of course a severe dent in the bank account due to all the advances, deposits and assorted fees.

But we are a go for Monday!

So we move in with the stuff we have and wait for the new things we ordered (which includes the beds).

Thank God Nikki is handling most of this - given my stress level at work, I think I'll just slowly sink in despair at all the details.
new fiction at

Head on over to the Hinirang project site and check out the new stories. This month, Nikki Alfar contributes two Katao fiction pieces while I have an Ispancialo one, all accompanied by wonderful illustrations by Carl Vergara (thanks to Jason for the upload!)

Teasers from the stories (remember that you can read the full version for free):

Ang Mahiwagang Manok ni Menggay (Menggay's Magical Chicken) by Nikki Alfar

Menggay’s chicken was magic.

It had not been her chicken to begin with, exactly—it was one of a flock belonging to her family—but she was the one who discovered its clairvoyance when she accidentally dropped an entire bilao of uncooked rice when crossing the yard one afternoon.

“Ay!” cried Menggay, watching the precious grains go flying.

The family chickens, as appropriately chicken-hearted as always, squawked in dismay and scurried to the other end of the dirt yard. Except for the odd-colored chicken (black where it should have been brown, and brown where it should have been black), which only flapped its wings, and raced forward on its scaly pink feet to peck at the fallen bigas in a most unorthodox manner.

Terminos (Endings) by Dean Francis Alfar

The Apocalypse arrived that night, like an unexpected thief, triggered by the loss of one little boy’s faith. In their fury, radiant devas came to Miguel’s room on shimmering wings, shattering the walls of the house.

“So this is the one who brought about the End of Things,” the fiercest among them said, pointing to the sleeping boy with a sword that burned a flame unseen since the Beginning of All Things. With a soundless cry she struck Miguel Lopez Vicente once, as was prophesied by the Great Book, then flew with her legion into the sky that wept blood and stars.

Asin (Salt) by Nikki Alfar

Sweat pooled beneath her breasts as she climbed the highest outcropping overlooking the sea, for here, at least, after her father cast off each morning, she could sing out her sorrows without shame. Shame that she was intruding upon his grief, shame that she dared to think her loss as great as his, her anguish as important.


Next month will bring three new stories from the Hinirang creators. I can guarantee my "Dragon Eyes" but will keep the others as a surprise until the next monthy update.

If you like what you see and read (heck, even if you don't), take time to drop us a note. Send mail to Let us know what you think.

hinirang interview

Jason, Cams, Carl, Marco, Nikki and I were interviewed for a magazine last night, and the topic was Hinirang. Thus we expounded on the origins of the project, about our sentiments and goals, and related many an amusing anecdote. It will be interesting to see how things turn out when the story appears in print.


Of course, all of this was on the heels of frankly heart-breaking news that pertains to my business.

Still not comfy writing about it, but I felt a great deal of sadness last night.

But things change, you move on and look forward. Perhaps even hope for better things.

There is a reason why past is past: so you can be free of its numbing touch.

More when I'm able to write.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

vignette 02: mirror

That night, she stood in front of the mirror and held up the photograph next to her face.

At first, nothing happened, and she felt relieved, stifling a laugh at the absurdity of her expectations.

Then the man in the photograph moved.

She fought the urge to run away from the reflection’s motion and stood wide-eyed instead, watching the man’s expression as it turned from frozen passivity to terrifying anger.

His hands sought the edges of the photograph, as if it were a box that framed him.

When he finally managed to touch her face, she moaned his name softly and wept tears of shame.

status check: kestrel studios

I had a spare 20 minutes today at work and decided to rearrange the hideous mass of papers, artwork, pitch materials and other things that had overwhelmed my desk at Pipeline.

Of course, the debris is not only from Pipeline, but from Kestrel Studios as well. As I moved stuff around (in a futile attempt to organize the chaos) I started looking at what Kestrel had actually accomplished in its almost 2 years of existence (since March 2001, with the launch of The Lost #1).


Because, from time to time, I believe in assessing exactly how things I'm involved in are doing. And to benchmark success or failure against others in the same space or industry.

When Nikki and I formed Kestrel Studios, our goal was to develop and provide quality content - not just in comics, but in a variety of media. It was (and is) a lofty goal, but something we felt we truly wanted to achieve. Here are some of the things we’ve done, in terms of Content Development:

Print Media

The Lost #1 - Alfar, Alfar, Arre with Bucu, Vergara, Dimaano
The Lost #2 - Alfar, Alfar, Arre with Bucu, Vergara, Dimaano
Ruin - Alonto, Vergara, with Bucu, Alfar, Alfar
Ab Ovo #1 – Alfar, Alfar, Vergara, Bucu, Santos, Garcia, Jamlang
Ab Ovo #2 (Feb 24) – Arre, Banico, Dimaano, Simbulan, Vergara, Bucu, Ibardaloza, Palumbarit, Alfar, Alfar
Stroke #1 – Alfar, Alfar, Magallanes
Stroke #2 (Feb 28) – Alfar, Alfar, Aquino, Jimenez
*The Lost #3 (sigh, this is all done, but financing is hard) – same team

Television & Digital Media

Simeon Rex: The Odyssey Begins (market)
“Codebreaker” TV series (in dev)
“Dreamer” TV series (in dev)
Hinirang fiction

Film & Scripting

film company consultation
scripts for various corporate accounts

Hmmm. Not bad, given that 95% of my time is focused on Pipeline (and now part of my brain will be allocated to Cams and Pipeworx). The comics and books cost an arm and a leg and are true labors of love, and surprisingly the money came in with the animated TV series development (Kestrel was paid for concept, bible, loglines, the works) and the actual scripting (plus my fees as a director during production). So can a livelihood be made from all this? Sure, if you don’t mind the “feast or famine” reality of things.

I want to publish more, though: KC Strange, The Lost, The Strong, Cuentos du Hinirang, Tales of Southern Stars, plus a book of my plays. And Kestrel will, somehow, though with a slower pace.

But still, being a literal “Mom & Pop” operation (with a lot of outsourcing) and having modest success doing something we like is enough to keep us going. And of course, the wonderful thing is that a lot of our friends have similar "studio-esque" set-ups that allow us to work with other either gratis or for professional fees, depending on the project: Arnold and Cynthia at Tala Studios, Jason at Dynatica Comics, Marco with MAD, Carl with Carver House, Vin with QuestVentures, Noel with Flim, Teret with Glue, and so on.

So is it possible to put out a comic book? Yes. But make sure it's written well. Pretty pictures are pretty, but content is king.

A magazine? Yes. Book? Yes. Website? Yes. TV series concept? Yes.

Just think it through and find a way. We've been doing it for a almost two years.

Two years in March.

Imagine that.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

vignette rationale

I've decided to start posting the occasional story, tale or scene I suddenly elect to write. Normally, these things are small and unrelated, often having no place in my formal writing time (which, right now, is filled schedule-wise with Hinirang and the not-so-distant rumblings of the Palanca season- feh!).

So expect to see bits and pieces of stuff, maybe even a complete tale.

Whenever the muse strikes.

vignette 01: the princess who wanted the moon

Once upon a time, the youngest princess of a distant kingdom suddenly took ill. Her step-mother, the Queen (for her deceased father had taken a new wife before he died), was beside herself with sorrow, because the best physicians, apothecaries and chiurgeons could do nothing for the little girl.

Now news of this nature travels faster than lightning and there came to the kingdom a young storyteller. This man had no healing skills beyond his firm belief that there was nothing a story couldn’t cure.

The Queen, at her heart’s breaking point, allowed the storyteller to see her daughter, offering him anything he wanted, if only he brought back, hale and healthy, the laughing child that once ran circles around the palace guards and brought dismay to the cooks in the great castle’s kitchens.

The storyteller sat beside the princess’ sick bed, took her temperature, felt her pulse and looked at her pale tongue.

“What is wrong with you?” he asked.

“I saw the moon one night, beautiful and silver,” the weak little girl told him. “And when I realized that I could never have it, I felt like life was not worth living.”

“What made you think you couldn’t have the moon?” the storyteller inquired.

“Well, my step-mother told me that the moon is half the size of the kingdom and made of purest silver. Apart from being heavy, it would take more horses than the kingdom has to bring it to me.”

“Ah, I see.”

“Then the court Wizard told me that the moon is twice the size of all the mountains in the kingdom and made of painted rocks. With the moon being secretly dull, we didn’t have enough silver paint in all the kingdom to keep it shiny if he brought it to me.

“Is that what he said?”

“And the court Jester told me that the moon is a hundred times the size of the largest poppy seed bun and made of empty air. Apart from being too sweet, it would put all bakers out of business if he brought it to me.


The princess sighed the softest sigh and looked longingly at the moon framed in her window.

“But what so you think?” the storyteller asked her, after a while.

“I think the moon is exactly the size of my thumbnail (because I can cover it when I put my thumb against it) and made out of whatever metal coins are made of,” she told him. “That’s what I think.”

“In that case, I’ll fetch you the moon.” the storyteller stood up and smiled at her. “But for now, you must sleep.”

And with those words, he left her to the arms of slumber.

The next evening the storyteller presented her with a small metal coin, no larger and no smaller than her thumbnail. On both its faces were symbols of the moon.

“Here you go,” he said as he pressed the coin into her hand. “The moon is yours.”

The princess took the moon with great happiness, and immediately color and laughter filled her spirit and she ran all the way to the great court where her step-mother was utterly surprised by joy to see her.

“I have the moon, mother,” the princess said in her step-mother’s embrace. “He gave me the moon.”

At that moment, the Queen and the storyteller exchanged winks before the Queen, holding the princess by the hand, pulled on the curtain cords. The moon, large and full, glimmered in the night sky.

“But then, my beloved daughter, what is that?” the Queen asked, pointing to the moon in the sky.

“Yes, my princess, how can you have the moon I gave you when it is floating high in the sky?” the storyteller asked, with a forlorn expression.

“That,” the princess said, pointing to the moon outside, “is tonight’s moon.”

“This,” she said, raising the coin the storyteller gave her, “is last night’s moon. There’s one for every night.”

“Ah,” said the Queen.

“Ah,” smiled the storyteller.

“I’m fine with just one,” said the princess, closing her hand over the coin.

Years later, when she herself became Queen, the princess would take out the coin whenever circumstances were unkind and remember the time when everything in the world had an answer, if one just took the time to think things through.

yamashita kaboom!

Road workers north of Manila thought they had found a portion of the legendary Yamashita treasure when they stumbled across mustard-colored bars along with rusted Japanese bayonets.

For those unfamiliar with the legend, during the end of the war in the Philippines, the fleeing Japanese hid their gold somewhere. This became the basis for much speculation, digging, scams and the occassional film.

Anyway, the road workers were dismayed when they realized that what they had was not gold, but over 40 kilos of vintage Japanese bombs. They turned these over to the police, after almost a year, along with a corroded 250kg missile.

24 hour comic

Thanks to his courier, I got a copy of El's 24-hour comic in digital format (html and pdf). One of the cool things about his format is that like a DVD, you can read his comic book with commentary if you want (or just read the normal version). In addition, he added other cool things in the package.

A 24-hour comic is a book done in 24 hours: writing, illustration, colors, letters, edits, packaging, the works.

I'll need to set aside time to digest all of this, because unlike printed comics which I carry to bed or bathroom, I need to explore his work via my computer - like a website or the digital content that my own company, Pipeline, does from time to time.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how he brings this all together - because this is the exactly the manner by which Marco, Jason and some others of the Hinirang creators plan to release comics in the future: a combination of print and digital media.

Monday, February 03, 2003

old man in my mirror

Being surrounded everday at work by younger people and raising a little girl has finally combined into a powerful epiphany, so sublimely obvious yet desperately overlooked by me - I'm getting older.

It's not that I'm experiencing physical "old man" age symptoms: no athritis, horrible back pains, no scaly skin. I'm in reasonable health (despite my smoking), my erections are fine (haha), and I walk everyday.

And it's not a matter of mentality. I still find myself thinking like a young man sometimes, especially when I need to do something absurd or find myself in truly peculiar circumstances.

What I have noticed about myself is that I have, unknown to myself, started to enjoy (and expect) things older people like.

For example, my now weekly visits to my barber. I have my head shaved every other week, and have the rest of my face shaved weekly. In addition to all that shearing, I get a free massage.

Anyway, I end up on my back at the barber's, listening to the news on the radio, commenting on the distressing events that color local politics. My barber and I exchange small talk, and I realize that - with the addition of a chess set - I have become my grandfather.

I also enjoy quiet places, eschewing loud music and silly babble. I find myself appalled by what passes for fashion - too much revealed from people who have too little to show. And of course I find myself thinking of the future - which really was not a dominant part of my mental landscape.

What I, an old-man-errant, want is this: more time to grow with my daughter.

And maybe write one hell of a book.

notes from the weekend


I was playing with Sage, with the TV turned on to the news, when I heard about the tragedy of the space shuttle.Columbia.

What made it even more horrible, more terribly human, was the series of interviews they showed of the crew - talking about circling the moon and watching the Earth spin like another world.

Immediately, people talked of the possibility of terrorism, with the shuttle and its crew the victims of more hate. Possible, yes, but too abominable to think.

I'm saddened by the loss of these people whom I never met. They represented much of what is good in all of us, cutting through the artificial barriers of culture and color.


In a surreal twist, we have to burn some of the work we've done for a client, due to a belated reaction from upper management.

I didn't know whether to feel flattered or offended at first, as my mind reeled from the unexpectedness of the instructions.

Ultimately, I took it with a smile, set my heart on professional automatic, and began a metaphoric bonfire - recalling other publications since consigned to flame.

The important thing to remember is this: ownership of work done clearly for hire is always the client's. Not mine. Not anymore.

So burn, baby, burn.

carver house built

Carl has given in to his dark side and created his own blog, Carver House. Expect blogworthy commentary and lovely art (once the poor guy has time, given the sheer volume of stuff he's doing).

As readers of Notes from the Peanut Gallery know, I have absolute adoration of this man's work, which includes One Night in Purgatory, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Ruin, Ab Ovo and much much more.

Welcome, Carl!

hinirang: TVC?

While joshing around with Flim, we talked about the possibility of creating either a short feature or a thirty/sixty-seconder for our web project, Hinirang, with Carl volunteered against his will in a starring role.

If do this, it has to be in a way that is cost-effective (read: no budget), although I volunteered Jason as producer, also against his will. But can you imagine this? It'll rock!

darwin and mites

Thanks to the kindness of Patrick over at Strange Haven, Nikki and I were able to read 3 issues of Jay Hosler's Sandwalk Adventures.

This ambitous story, about evolution, is told in several layers and modes in a charming and truly inventive manner: Darwin has deep conversations is a mite in his eyebrow. Of course we loved it!

We also gained a deeper understanding of evolution and fitness, much like we learned about bees in his previous work.

Go find this book.