Sunday, March 29, 2009

Siga


Left: Carlo Caparas heroes (left) versus Mars Ravelo (right). I'm going for the Caparas heroes. Lastikman and Flash Bomba are too weird for my taste. GMA wrecked Kamandag, so here's to hoping they don't destroy any of the remaining Pinoy komiks heroes.

I actually liked ABS-CBN's first chapter of Ang Panday. Echo Rosales was a pretty decent Flavio replacement (although he technically wasn't a blacksmith). I still say Bong Revilla was the best Captain Barbell, and nobody beats Anjenette Abayari's Darna.

Seriously though, all these recent "remakes" of these heroes don't even do them a bit of justice. Compare GMA's pansy Kamandag to the one you see up there in the image. If anybody who isn't even remotely musclebound plays as Armadong Armas, I will revolt. Lastikman was played pretty well, except that for somebody who's supposd to be a Plastic Man / Mr. Fantastic rip-off with Spiderman's wit, the TV version didn't do him justice.

Anyway, here's a question. Who's your favorite Pinoy superhero?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dogs EDITED (read to the end)


First, a video. I've always known Maroon 5 was a pretty decent band (Nina will say that they are AWESOME), but I've never known that they could play like this:

check out that guitar outro, man

I've always loved their music for their groove driven tracks. This is just acid jazz that balloons into a blues-inspired rockfest at the end. Wow.

Speaking of music, there's this petition for a musician called Habagat happening over at the Apacible corner of Taft avenue, right in front of the Aglipayan cathedral. I pass by the area whenever I walk to the gym, and while in the late afternoons to the evenings, there's a street vendor selling his stuff out on the sidewalk, during the day there are these two dogs sitting on top of a chair side by side. They remain there, almost motionless from I believe ten in the morning to past one in the afternoon (I believe they have lunch breaks), with baskets in their mouths and a sign underneath the chair asking for donations for Habagat, whoever he is.

I'm thinking this character is a blind musician who's looking for more income to buy better gear. Thing about these disabled folks is that they're usually virtuosos on their instruments - there used to be this blind band over at The Marketplace along Kalentong avenue that could play hits from Deep Purple. And there's this guy over at Baguio who's reportedly one of the best guitarists this country has to offer.

But I digress. Whoever this Habagat person is, I can't help but notice that his dogs are amazingly well-trained. To sit on a wicker chair for more than an hour with baskets in their mouthes is a chore that only efficiently trained animals can stomach. To do that out in the sun makes it even worse. So at first, I thought this was an act of animal cruelty.

But after passing by the dogs several times, I began to notice some things:

  1. The dogs, though mongrels, are pretty clean animals. They have spots and some tangles on their coats, and their claws could use some clipping, true, but other than that, these animals are immaculate.
  2. If this was animal cruelty, you'd think that the dogs would be undernourished. But upon closer inspection, they are actually healthy-looking beasts, with very few bones bumping up from the skin - so no, these animals are apparently well taken care of.
  3. I don't know how any beast can take the heat of the sun at twelve noon, so I'm guessing that Habagat or one of his cronies relieves the dogs of their duties for an hour or so. This gives them time to eat and drink, as well as do their business. Then it's back to work.

So this wasn't animal cruelty. Which means to say that this Habagat person isn't exactly a man without means - if he can afford to feed dogs and train them to work for him, this can mean two things. One is that he is, in fact, a man with a decent paycheck or at least a goodly amount of money tucked in for himself and his family / animals.

The second possibility is more grim. If he is indeed a blind musician, which I suspect, then he might not be making enough out of his showbusiness to satisfactorily feed himself, his family and his dogs. So either he doesn't have any family, or he skimps on himself in order to make room for the animals.

Of course, he could just be a small-time grifter looking out for number one by making dogs do his job for him. But I am an optimist, and I'd rather believe the previous two examples.

One of these days, I shall take a photo of the two dogs and post it here. They are actually good-looking animals, and I have resisted the urge to pet them more than once.

EDIT: Apparently, Habagat is the dog, and the other dog is his trainee. They have a lovely story behind them. Read it here. I'm not kidding, it's a very good story.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Here's Something we all Need


Sometimes, the links Nina sends me are so-so. But usually, they're hilarious / impressive. Some of the sites, I end up finding things like this:

Now, tell me we don't need more free shit.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Machines are Taking Over!


Well, we all knew that when the unemployment rates of the world started to decline post the industrial revolution, but then again, it was only a matter of time before science fiction slowly became a reality.

I mean, there was the moving sidewalk. Most mile-long airports have them these days. Bullet-speed locomotion. Flight and interstellar travel. In-vitro fertilization.

And now, this:

Let me present to you the vendo pizza maker

Sounds nutty, but it's the real thing. And the most impressive part is, it doesn't just store cold pizzas and defrost them - these things make pizzas from scratch. And they cost less than your traditionally baked pizza, too.

Imagine having one of those in the office. You can pool some cash with friends, and you won't ever have to worry about where the hell you'll end up eating - ever! And think about the parties you can host in-house. Just slap on a little videoke or an Xbox or PS3, and you've got game. So to speak.

Oh yeah, the pizza vendo might be one step further into the slow decline of humanity into infantile helplessness, but damn I would love to have one of those nearby.

Still think I'm shitting you? Read the full story here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Feeling Dumb


What do you do when the one thing you're supposed to be the best with is the one thing you can't do effectively for two straight weeks in a row?

Some people, when they have trouble working on their work, a good walk out in the streets or a nice weekend out of town does the trick for them. It's like getting a massage for your mental faculties. It serves to untangle the mental knots brought about by repetition, and once they're back on their desks it was as if the stress was never there at all.

I'm not like that. I don't destress easily. Funny how the words destress and distress are just one letter apart yet differ from each other so much.

But something Chris Rock said in his video for The Black List made me think and consider how this is actually a chance to grow.

The license to be bad. And come back. And learn. Wow. That's so brilliant. Yeah, I know it's not rocket science, but sometimes it's the simple things that we don't notice. These are the things that make the biggest impacts in our lives - because these are the things we don't usually notice in our psyche.

So yes. I'm feeling dumb now. But this can't last forever. That's good enough for me to live on, for now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Meme-type Thing


Got this from Mahal. Damn her. I got hooked.

1 - Go to "Wikipedia." Hit “Random Article”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together
5 - Post it to FB (I also posted this in Blogger, and subsequently, Multiply) with this text in the "caption" and TAG the friends you want to join in.

And here are my results:

album cover

I tag everybody. Special mention the people I talk to all the time. You know who you are.

Friday, March 06, 2009

It Wasn't That Bad


I'm talking about Watchmen. We caught it at Cineplex 10 earlier, and while we weren't able to finish it - I was in the company of the squeamish - what I managed to watch was entertaining enough AND close enough to the original graphic novel as can be imagined.

Now that's a tall order - if you talk to Jose, he will chew your ear out (no offense meant bro) with all the reasons why the graphic novel couldn't, and shouldn't, be turned into a film. And the truth is, he's right - something the breadth and width of Watchmen just can't be converted into something that's 180+/- minutes long. There's just too much territory to cover:

  • The opposing extremist philosophies of Rorschach and Ozymandias as they go about their own ways of developing their own way to save mankind - and how they got there in the first place.
  • Dr. Manhattan's internal struggle of what it is to be human and godlike at the same time - and how it is to love when you can see through the folds of space and time.
  • The sublime terror that the poor and eventually tragic Comedian is slowly subjected through, being the man who serves as a reflection of the world's face.
  • In the midst of it all, there are the Nite Owls and the Silk Spectres, trying to find a way in the world after their days beneath the mask.
  • The biggest problem with converting something of this grandeur into a three-hour flick is establishing the society. Zack Snyder isn't like Terry Gilliam. Gilliam can show you how dystopian a world has become by painting a living room scene (think the film Brazil), while Snyder is known for his signature bullet-time KICK. The only time Alan Moore was excited about making a Watchmen film was when Gilliam was supposed to helm the project because one of the most important factors of the story is the mood - you can't show an alternate universe of the 1980's cold war gone wrong if you're too busy trying to show how awesome Dr. Manhattan's lower body - complete with penis - is (btw, prepare for full frontal nudity - you will see a flaccid, luminous penis not once, but at least five times throughout the film).

That's a lot of things to consider, all things told. And we're not even talking about the dialogue. See, in Watchmen, there's hardly any action whatsoever - the brutality, the pathos and the horror of living in a world where not even superheroes can save your skin are all told through dialogue. It's almost like the same pathetic mistake Jackson did with Lord of the Rings, except that this time, there's less room to tell the tale, which means people who aren't familiar with the comic won't even know what's happening half the time.

Thanks to a lot of saving graces, however, the film didn't turn out so bad as it should have. As a matter of fact, if you forget about Alan Moore for a bit, it might even be one of the best films of 2009.

Why? Because despite the rather silly (not to mention alarming) series of trailers touting the entire Minutemen crew in what could be some of the lousiest costumes ever envisioned, most of the heroes spend very little time in costume - and those that do don't really look that bad, save for Hooded Justice and Ozymandias. Dr. Manhattan's skin looks like skin - again, I should mention that his penis is rather visible throughout the film - while Rorschach looks like Humphrey Bogart with The Question's mask on a very, very bad day. Peter Wilson does a very good job of Nite Owl, while Silk Spectre II needs some work. Her mom was way hotter than she ever was - that scene in the dressing room will be the stuff of male boners for at least five months.

The biggest problem here is Ozymandias, who looks like he'd been reading way too many Batman and Robin comics, and decided to take the latter's look into consideration upon conceptualizing his outfit. And Hooded Justice just doesn't look like hooded justice at all - he just looks like a fat man in an executioner's mask.

I love how Jackie Earle Haley decided to copy the way Alan Moore envisioned Rorschach's voice to be, though. If you remember a couple of posts ago, I put up a video of Moore reading the very first lines of Watchmen, and it was spine-tingling to hear something close to that same rendition throughout the film. Let's face it, Rorschach is one of the best characters in Watchmen, and if you cannot at least get him right, it isn't worth creating a film adaptation at all.

Another good character portrayal would have to be Jeffrey Dean Morgan's (of Grey's Anatomy fame) take on The Comedian. Brutal, bro, brutal. He was the gung-ho Comedian to the T. True, he could have used a little bit more muscle on him, but details, details. He is the one character you will hate from the very start of the film - as it should be - but the tragedy of his death (no spoilers here, it happens at the very start) and the way he lived is poignant and well envisioned.

I have yet to see the ending - I made it all the way to Rorschach's term in prison - but I hear that this was where Snyder did a few changes, with the blessings of Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons. I will probably watch it again tomorrow. The quality of the film, for good or ill, is that it is worth seeing at least once. And that, my friends, is good enough for any film.