Update

It’s been a looong while since the last post.  So instead of a single topic, this one will be a multiple-post-in-one😉

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POST FOR FEBRUARY 15:  GLEE!

After six weeks of not visiting the comic book shop, I was finally able to go back to Druid’s Keep.  I picked up more than 20 comic books and was fortunate enough to buy a new drawer-type box for my comic books.  Going back to the office, carrying the box with the comics inside, I realized that I am feeling something which I haven’t felt for a long time.  It’s like the feeling you have when you were just a small child and you were waking up Christmas morning and eagerly anticipating the gifts that you will be opening.  It’s like the feeling that you have when you were a small child and you were inside the department store in the toy section or inside the grocery in the chocolates and candy section.  It’s just one word:  glee.  And I suddenly understood what Ruel was telling me way back when he explained to me why he does not want to pick up my comics for me:  “I want you to experience that feeling that you get when you buy and smell a stack of new comic books”🙂

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POST FOR FEBRUARY 25:  NICE HOMILY

This day’s gospel is about the temptation of Jesus in the desert by the devil.  I have heard this story many times and have heard the various homilies associated with it done by various priests in varying churches.  Then came Father Matthew in EDSA Shrine giving this insight:  this lenten season, we are being asked not just to turn away from evil but instead, to also start doing more good.  Nice idea, no?😉

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REACTIONS ON MARVEL’S “CIVIL WAR”

I’m going to keep this short since I don’t want to go emotional (ballistic) on the current crop of Marvel writers involved in this project.  Here goes:  the idea for the story is great.  Thought-provoking, actually.  I’m not much of an art person so I won’t comment that much but I do like the art.  It’s the execution that bugs me.  The story ended pretty “quickly” … and very “lamely”.  I’m not saying this because I’m anti-registration.  It’s lame because I read how Captain America defended his stand in “Amazing Spider-Man 537” and the way he defended his point is nowhere consistent in how he acted in Civil War 7.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s inconsistency.  Plus the fact that the underhanded tactics (cloning Thor and then Clor killing a hero, the act of hiring super villains to reel in the unregistered “heroes”, building the human rights-violating negative zone prison) of the pro-registration camp did not go “unpunished”.  I know, I know, the editorial board already commented that the ramifications of “Civil War” will be seen in future issues of  various Marvel comics but come on, be responsible in the message that you are trying to convey here because I am not seeing anything in the positive.  ==============================

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REACTION ON SPIDER-MAN UNMASKING IN “CIVIL WAR”

I finally found the right words to defend my stance.  My stance being:  that’s a load of crap!!!  Spider-Man would never have unmasked in public even if MJ and Aunt May “force” him to do so.  Spidey knows too well the (greater) danger that this stupid stunt will bring him and his love ones.  “With great power comes great responsibility”.  And in all my years of reading Spidey, his greatest responsibility is his family.

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That’s all for now folks😉

February 28, 2007 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Half-Filled Glasses: “Trese: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street”

Trese 1

My mother got me to start reading by way of komiks (yup, that’s right. “Komiks” is the Filipino term for comic books). I remember those Wednesday mornings when she would come back from the local market bringing with her a huge stack of komiks such as Aliwan, Tagalog Klasiks, Pilipino Komiks, Hiwaga, and “my” komiks, Funny Komiks. I believe that was the first thing I collected (or maybe it was alongside my collection of Yakult plastic bottles which I would use as pins for bowling with my plastic ball). It was the very first thing which I felt I had to buy weekly (ah yes. The beginnings of a comic book geek). I stopped, though, when … hmmm, come to think of it, I can’t remember when and why I stopped. Although one thing I could say about the current incarnation of Funny Komiks is that it pales in comparison to what Funny Komiks used to be when I was a small child.

When I started getting back into comic books (after stopping in college due to financial reasons ;-)), one of the things that I try to get a hold of are the komiks. Unfortunately, things weren’t as prolific before for the local comic books. As I’ve mentioned, one example is Funny Komiks which has become a “ripoff” of anime shows and other manga books. Gone are the days of Niknok and Da Planet Op Di Eyps.

There are, however, a lot of silver linings in the cloudy Filipino comic book world. The Philippines have a rich stable of great artists who draw for international comic book companies like DC and Marvel. We have Gerry Alanguilan, Leinil Yu, Wilson Tortosa, and Carlos Pagulayan. Other comic book writers/artists who have released their own noteworthy local works include Arnold Arre, Oliver Pulumbarit, Carlo Vergara, and the team of Budjette Tan and Ka-Jo Baldisimo. The latter being responsible for the komiks being focused on this review: “Trese”.

“Trese” is about Alexandra Trese, the daughter of an occultist named Anton Trese. Working as a paranormal detective (aside from running her own bar), Alexandra helps the local police investigate supernatural crimes. Assisted by her knowledge of the occult and by her very cool bodyguards, the Kambal, Alexandra can be considered perhaps a local agent for the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, in Hellboy’s world). Or, to simply put it, the person you would run to for help if you need someone to kick supernatural ass for you (sorry, I can’t put it any cooler than that).

“At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street” is the first issue in this black-and-white, cheaply-priced series (just 30 pesos) and it tackles the murder of a well-known, local spiritual entity. By who and by how is the mystery and at the onset, this reader was already hooked. Mixing in the usual local supernatural characters, like the nuno sa punso, the aswangs, and the albularyo, “Trese” has what is missing in most komiks right now: Filipino culture. Add to that the very interesting execution and we have what I would like to call a very beautiful Komiks.

If you don’t believe me, check it out first before buying it. All of the issues (I believe) are available online at http://tresekomix.blogspot.com/. Afterwards, when your eyes start to hurt from reading at the computer screen, do yourself (and the Komiks industry) a favor and run to either Comic Odyssey or Druid’s Keep for a hard copy. It”ll be money well-spent😉

January 28, 2007 at 11:56 pm 1 comment

excuses, excuses …

… or why I haven’t wrote a single post for almost / more than three weeks now.

I know, I gave my word before that I am going to try to blog once a day and I admit, I haven’t been trying for the past weeks. But not without reason (excuse).

A couple of our (work) counterparts from the US are currently visiting us here to assist us in our server rollout. What was originally slated for two weeks has been extended to three weeks. I don’t mind, though. Two (out of the three) guys are really, really cool to be with, both in and out of work. They are both very knowledgeable in their respective areas and out of work, they are very fun to be with. I’ll be writing about our trip to Taal a couple of days ago soon so watch out for it here.

Other than that, I haven’t really been feeling very well these past couple of days. Getting a bit tired because of the current load at work plus I am currently dealing with another onset of cough and sore throat. This always happens whenever there’s a change of season, though, so hopefully it’ll soon go away.

As a guide (for me) and a preview (for you), here are the future articles that would be appearing here in my “Word Balloons”:

— Rebirth! (of what? Not what you expected😉 )

— Trek to Taal

— Magoo Chronicles (wha?!? Ha! Watch out for this one😉 )

— The Tourist’s Guide to Filipino’s (based on my observation from the various reactions of people to our foreign visitors)

Till the next new post!😉

January 25, 2007 at 12:17 am Leave a comment

“Your Mission Should You Choose To Accept It …”

New Year in the Philippines means a couple of things. It’s a time when firecrackers are as important as food when it comes to ushering in the new year (it’s a popular belief that it is used to drive away evil spirits although subconsciously, I believe it is also a form of status symbol. As long as you have firecrackers to light up while also being able to serve food on the table during media noche, you’re “well off”). It is also the time when business for fortune tellers begin to pick up again (and it won’t stop until a couple of days after the celebration of the Chinese New Year). And, of course, who can forget, it is a time to set new “New Year’s Resolutions” (which, oftentimes, stay as words for some people and never translate into actual deeds. Yes, I am including me on the list of those “some people”).

These “resolutions” may or may not come into fruition for some, but it is fun making them. Although, I would rather think of them as “objectives”. That way, it sounds more guiding and scientific (hehehe). And when you get to achieve them, you will have a sense of fulfillment😉

So, without further ado, here are my objectives for 2007:

— at this point, you do know that I’m a comic book geek. For this year, I am going to start on (one of) my comic book geek quest: complete the “Sandman” trade paperbacks by Neil Gaiman. There are ten all in all and I have only the first one, “Preludes and Nocturnes”. To make things much more gratifying, I am going to set a rule on this one: these TPBs must be acquired either as a gift or as a purchase but only through cash.

— talking about comic books, I believe I still have a couple that I have bought that I have not read yet. For this year, I will start (and finish!) reading the following (not necessarily in order): (a) Maus, (b) Watchmen, (c) Murder Mysteries, (d) 1602, (e) 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, (f) Owly: Flying Lessons, (g) Bone book 3, (h) Rose, (i) Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, (j) Teen Titans: The Future is Now, (k) Y, The Last Man volume 7: Paper Dolls, (l) Exterminators volume 1

— if there are comic books that I have not read yet, there are books that I have that I have not read yet, too. The list for 2007 includes: (a) Starship Troopers (I’m one of those who loved the movie and I really want to read the book since the protagonist is a Filipino), (b) The Complete Chronicles of Narnia (okay, can I ask for some slack here? Up to “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” only for this year), (c) Ice Wind Dale Trilogy by R. A. Salvatore (was able to read “The Dark Elf Trilogy” in graphic novel form and I loved it!). There are many others but that would be all for this year.

— other things I “need” to acquire this year: “30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow” (so that I can finally complete the trilogy, an action figure of Iceman and Cyclops (I already have Wolverine, Colossus, and Nightcrawler. Those two will complete my own X-Men strikeforce), DVD copies of “Justice League Season One” and “Justice League Unlimited”, “Teen Titans Season 1 and 2”, and “Avatar, The Last Airbender The Complete Book 1 Collection”

— finish learning C programming via the “Teach Yourself C in 24 Hours” Internet copy I stumbled upon

— pass Exam 2 to be able to get Level 1 certification from the Linux Proficiency Institute (this is part of my objectives, too, from work)

— learn to administer Solaris and improve in being an AIX and Linux administrator

— and of course: plan my wedding properly, attend to fixing/tweaking the house, and be a very good husband to Bheng🙂

That’s quite a list. I really hope I can achieve most, if not all, of them. After all, these are not just resolutions. They’re objectives😉

P.S. for this post: Be careful of those who say that they “do not believe in New Year’s resolutions”. They are either broken-hearted and, as such, might get into your nerves when they start complaining (and reminiscing) or are non-dreamers (in which case, they would likely help kill your own dreams for you).

January 7, 2007 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

2007: Happy(-ier) New Year!

A very happy new year to everyone!

Another year has passed and a new year is coming in. Old year out, new year in. It would be so simple to think of things that way but that would also be so unfair to one’s self. After all, life is not just looking forward to a good destination but also having the best times in getting there.

Much like some TV shows and radio programs, let’s have a look back at the year that was (2006) and what things it brought me:

— started the year with a bang (!) — Bheng and I finally decided to get married in the following year (2007). We told her parents on the night her father arrived from the US. We were waiting to leave for dinner when her father started talking about us (Bheng and I and Mitch and Mon) proceeding with our “plans” and how it was all right with him should we push through with our respective marriages even if the immigration papers of Bheng and Mitch has not come out yet. At that instant, Bheng and I decided to announce that we were planning to get married on the following year. I was surprised (and amused) to learn later on that her parents was shocked when it was us who announced a wedding (they were expecting Mitch and Mon to be the ones to get married first)😀

— my first travel out of the country! Those who know me know that I am one of the least travelled person in my family. My first visit to Baguio was sometime around 2000 (or 2001), my first travel-by-plane was to have a vacation in Boracay back in 2000, my longest bus ride was a travel to Ligao, Albay in the Bicol Region, my first travel-by-plane alone was an emergency business trip to Cebu, and the longest time that I was away from Manila was when I had to teach in UP Iloilo. Other than that, I admit I have so many places in the Philippines that I have yet to visit. Although I got my passport way back in 2000, I never got to use any of its pages. The renewed one, though, finally got some international ink on it — I got to travel to Hong Kong this year (!!!) together with Bheng and her family🙂

— spent the majority of the year as a systems administration in a big bank. I tell you, that was the most hectic (almost toxic but that would be exaggerating it) work I have ever done, especially towards the middle part of the year since I was left alone to attend to the production servers of the bank. It was very rewarding, though, in terms of the things I learned and the people I got to know🙂

— this year marked the “shortest” employment period I have ever had (hopefully, this would be the “shortest”): one year and one month. From a bank, I moved to a multinational IT company (also my first time to work in a multinational company). I really hope and pray that things would go much, much better in this new company, in terms of training, learning, earning, and travelling😉

nakumpilan na rin ako sa wakas!!! As part of the requirements that I need to complete for the marriage, I needed to undergo the sacrament of confirmation. Finally, I am “officially” a “mature” member of the Church😀

— and, of course, I’m very glad that this year also brought in new friends (and good ones at that). To Jill, Kim, Karen, Mike, Tim (and all the other “new” people I got to meet this year): thank you for being a friend to me😉

Wow! When I started writing this, I only got two items in my mind. Glad I took the time to look back. I was already thankful for year 2006 but now, I am even more thankful🙂

Happy New Year again to all of us! May this new year bring us more blessings and more experiences that make life so much more enjoyable and rewarding. Cheers to the new year, 2007!😀

PS. If my arithmetic is right: 80 more days to go😉

January 3, 2007 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

what i got for Christmas …

Christmas Gifts 

… nope, not my two front teeth (although I’m thankful I still have them and that they are more aligned than ever! Hehehe).

After my “wish list” post, let’s see what wonderful gifts I got this Christmas. From the office: a wooden 3D puzzle of a vintage car (from Karen), a daily diary/planner (from Wilson), “Daily Bread” and a utility knife keychain (from Bico), a picture frame (from Joey), a candy cane (from Mon), a LED torch (from Sir Sof), a box of tarts (from Angie of Fritz and Macziol), and a card wallet (from Lenovo).

On the family and friends side, the following “filled the stocking”:

— from Pam: “Abadazad: The Road to Inconceivable – Book 1” by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog. I’ve heard lots of great reviews on this book and when I saw the comic book-like interiors, I decided that I have to have this.

— from Mike: “Clue” boardgame. Back when I was a kid, we used to spend lots of time playing “Cluedo” (I always choose Col. Mustard because his token is yellow colored). Being one of my favorite games, I “needed” to have my own copy (yup, it’s the completist in me). Good thing a new edition came out, with much, much improved game tokens.

— from Ate Yeng: a pink polo shirt from Bench (my first pink shirt!)

— from Kuya Eboy, Ana, and Miguel: “Express Lane Meals” by Rachael Ray (!)

— from Kuya Rommel: Body Shop kikay thingies for men: shower gel, face protector, face scrub, and face wash all inside a beautiful kikay bag😉

— from Mitch and Mon: a pair of Bench overhauled jeans (yay!)

— from Bheng: “Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition” 14-disc DVD set encased in a tin box (a request from me) and a pair of Giordano jeans (yipeee!!!)

All in all, a very good haul. A very good haul, indeed! Hope yours is as satisfying as mine! Continue having a blessed and merry Christmas season🙂

P.S. for the day: Bheng and I watched a movie in Edsa Shangri-La Mall earlier (review to be posted later). Afterwards, we ate dinner at Shabu-Shabu (yummy and filling!) and went to Marks and Spencer to buy a gift for our dentist. What every parent’s fear about their child in a fragile section came true for me: I dropped and broke a glass of air freshener! Good thing it was the tester bottle (I didn’t get charged)😉

December 26, 2006 at 11:51 pm 1 comment

Wish List 2006

Absolute Kingdom Comeabsolutewgs_400×600.jpgJLA-AvengersRachael Ray’s Express Lane MealsDark Elf Trilogy BoxedSandman The Doll’s HouseAdidas Superstar II

Five days to go before it’s Christmas time again!  And what better way to make things even more exciting than with coming up with this year’s wish list!  I know it may sound pathetic to some but I like making a list of things even if I know I won’t be able to get them all.  Dreaming and hoping always beats sulking, I say😉

I was suppose to make this list 7 days ago so that I’ll be able to list 12 items on the list for my own  12 gifts of Christmas but I was not able to come up with 12 wishes.  Add to that the several parties that I had to attend and what have you got?  I know, I know:  a late post.

So, without further chit-chat, here is my wish list for Christmas 2006:

1.  “Absolute Kingdom Come”.  An oversized hardcover with slipcase version of the hist “Kingdom Come” graphic novel from DC.  It tells about a future ruled by the next generation of superheroes and how the “old-timers” show them how it is not just to be super but to be heroes as well.

2.  “Absolute World’s Greatest Superheroes”.  Another oversized hardcover from DC with art (or rather, paintings) from the great Alex Ross.  I’m more of a story-over-art person but when it comes to Ross’ art, I can forego the story.  Good thing the stories here are at par with the art (so I’ve heard).

3.  “Absolute JLA/Avengers”.  Third in a row of absolute graphic novels.  This one collects the latest crossover between the big two in comic book teams (JLA and Avengers) and between the big two in the comic book world (DC and Marvel).  This latest incarnation features story from Kurt Busiek and art from George Perez (if I’m not mistaken. I’m feeling lazy right now to Google it, hehehe).  This, I believe, is the best crossover story ever between the two companies.  Must buy, if only to see if Superman can lift Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.

4.  “Rachael Ray’s Express Lane Meals”.  From comic books to a cooking book!  I chose this over all the other Rachael Ray books because (a) it’s the only one I have seen (so far) with pictures (hehehe) and (b) it has a list of what you should be stocking in your pantry.  Oh, and if you’re wondering what’s a cooking book doing here:  i love to cook because i love to eat.

5.  “Dark Elf Trilogy” box set.  I have heard a lot about this book waaay back in college(?).  Recently, I was able to download the graphic novel version and this story really rocks!  Fantasy, philosophy, and action (and elves and trolls and fairies and giant spiders … oh my!), this one takes one of the cakes when it comes to fantasy stories.  The graphic novel version, though, lacks a little bit of the action (which, by today’s standards, is already more than enough!) which I know the original books are full of.  Hence, my wish for the boxed edition.

6.  A pair of Adidas Superstar II and a pair of cross-training shoes.  The Adidas is for the “day-to-day” commute to and from the office and the cross-trainers are for when I exercise and when I jog.  Nothing beats working hard and playing hard except for working hard and playing hard while wearing great shoes.

 7.  Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” graphic novel, volume 2 and above.  No self-respecting comic book collector should be without these.  The first volume, “Preludes and Nocturnes”, was actually what introduced me to the “mature” side of comics.  Being the completist that I am, completing the whole series will be a dream come true for me.  Guess this will be one of the quests in my life.

These are what comes to mind right now.  I’m sure there are a “lot”(!) other things that I can include in the list, like DVDs like the original “Star Wars Trilogy” (episodes 4 to 6, where Han shoots first!  And contrary to popular belief, there is NO episodes 1 to 3.  They do not exist, hehehe.), the extended edition of “The Lord of the Rings”, the extended edition of “Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, and seasons 3 to 9 of “The X-Files”.  There are other graphic novels that I would also want to have like “Invincible: The Ultimate Collection Volume 1” (one of the better superhero comic books right now),  “30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow”, “300” (which will be shown in theatres soon), and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:  Black Dossier”.  For audio CDs, the new album of the Corrs will be at the top of the list (not that there are others on the list, hehehe), while for games, Cranium, Nintendo DS Lite, and Nintendo Wii are the wish-i-haves for me.

This list has gone longer than expected.  I’m sure I could list so much more if given the whole day but for now the only thing left to say is:  Merry Christmas!  May we always be content with what we have been given🙂

December 20, 2006 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

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