Thursday, February 28, 2013

"SEE YOU IN 2036, MUHAHAHA" --apophis asteroid

"The most dangerous [asteroid] is called Apophis, which is 1,000 feet across and will come dangerously close to Earth in 2029 and again in 2036. The most recent calculations show that Apophis will barely miss Earth in 2029, but will actually graze our atmosphere. But because of the uncertainty of its path as it whizzes past, there is a small possibility that its orbit may be perturbed so it might actually hit Earth in 2036. NASA scientists are reasonably confident it will still miss Earth in 2036, but the head of the Russian space agency takes the threat of a collision seriously, stating that we have to prepare for the worst. If Apophis hits Earth, it would have the force of approximately 20,000 Hiroshima bombs"

full article

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

sweet valley ghost

an oxford grad student ghostwrites sweet valley high:

"Imagine, superimposed on the gray-and-grainy screen of a floundering, slightly depressed twenty-something, the shimmery outlines of an idealized adolescent world. All drawn—I just had to color it in. I could pick any colors, as long as they were pastel! The characters were already invented...The plots were already there... A plane crash in a Cessna. Hysterical paralysis following a bad break-up. The rich posing as poor and the poor as rich. The tennis star that longed to be ordinary, the ordinary girl that longed to be a starlet. Differences smoothed away by the sameness-machine of narrative. The teachers with secrets, the students with secrets, the secrets revealed, the revelations turned into new secrets. The core secret—the one I knew, and harbored myself, and saw in those around me—the bland central core of “sameness,” of normalcy... 
Your task, my thesis advisor in Oxford told my tutorial partner and me, is to be original. Your thesis won’t pass otherwise."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

just gotten started on "ender's game"

and wow. it is what the harry potter series wishes it could be. peter just talking about killing his siblings in the early chapters was far more brutal and disturbing than any of the actual deaths in the hunger games. if i had read this book when i was twelve years old i think it would have become a central text of my tweens.

ender is a fascinating character with a terrible burden. people say that about harry, katniss, and bella too, but to me ender carries his heavy destiny in a much more convincing and less contrived way. he does things, he drives the plot, as opposed to having things done to him, or having the plot carry him along, as is the case with the above YA triumvirate. he is also so much younger and more truly alone. i really, really hope the upcoming movie adaptation turns this into the next YA megabestseller.

the book also got me thinking about orson scott card and the recent petition trying to get him dropped from a superman writing gig at DC comics for his anti-gay beliefs. it was actually this controversy that made me pick out "ender's game" from my to-listen list.

when gay rights activists try to deny a homophobe a means of livelihood based on the latter's beliefs, how is that different from any other form of workplace discrimination? protests, a boycott i could understand. or maybe if the job had anything to do with the contested issue, like if card was in charge of issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

"ang maskot" short film shoot, third and final day

photos by maui mauricio and knox balbastro

location: rajah sulaiman park, roxas blvd.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

5 things you probably didn't know about mars ravelo's darna

while reading through the first few issues of the original 1950's serial on video48, i learned some stuff that today's typical darna fan, having grown up on the TV series and/or mango comics revamp, may be surprised to find out:

1.) narda and ding were beggars. 

i wonder if narda knew "sa may bahay..."
narda would sing for pocket change while ding played the harmonica. they supported themselves as well as their grandmother this way.

2.) darna's magic stone was hallucinogenic.

the stone was actually three feet away; narda picked up a mushroom by mistake.
upon first finding the stone, which fell to earth from outer space, narda is approached by a gang of kids also looking for the meteor. not wanting to share, narda hides the stone in her mouth and proceeds to trip the f out (also, the stone stays in her system permanently. apparently darna's alien gut makes her constipation-proof).

3.) seeing narda transform for the first time, her grandmother's first words were, "SUSMARIA SANTISIMANG INA NG AWA!"

which, i think, is a phrase that ought to be used more often in mainstream entertainment.

4.) darna may be a martian.

women are from venus, men are from...wait.
she comes from the planet "marte," which is spanish for "mars." no idea if ravelo meant the actual planet mars, or if he was just making a reference to his own given name.

5.) darna is missing for more than half the entire story.

"sssssssscreen time!"
after the first chapter, darna abruptly disappears as the plot focuses on valentina's birth and career in small-town evil (bonus trivia: valentina's ultimate aim is to return the earth to the age of the dinosaurs). neither darna nor narda reappear until chapter 16.

considering that the series came out twice a week, that means the title character went AWOL for about two months.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

my takeaway from the russian meteor crash

so, that asteriod that'll end life on earth was we know it? we won't see it coming.

"Asteroids are tracked by telescope, as they are too far away to be detected by radar. Because of this, they are observable only when illuminated by the sun against a dark background. If they are small and dark-colored, they are far more difficult to observe. In the case of the Russian asteroid, it approached Earth with the sun behind it. 

"The reason it wasn’t detected by telescopes on Earth is because it literally came out of the daylight sky and, as you know, telescopes can’t see things in the daytime,” [NASA Scientist Bill] Cooke said."

jurassic park as children's book illustrations

lovin' these jurassic park illos by pakoto:.


Friday, February 15, 2013

read the complete 1950 run of darna online

video48 has black & white scans of the complete 1950 debut run of mars ravelo's darna, illustrated by nestor redondo and featuring darna's most iconic foe, valentina:

thanks to aris panganiban of pinoy superheroes universe for the link!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

well, well, wendy

so fastfood chain wendy's recently changed its logo, and i think they did an excellent job:

although i also think dr. monster's concept of a "grownup wendy" would've worked pretty well, too:

just sayin'.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"ang maskot" shooting, day two

photos by knox balbastro and maui mauricio


Monday, February 11, 2013

three days in birdland, day two

house scenes today.

arrived past noon. found the crew shooting street scenes along a narrow alleyway. sizeable crowds have gathered at either end. alessandra and ketchup are walking along in the sunshine, people peeking from behind parked vehicles or out of doors and windows that open directly onto the street. crowd control is a bit of a problem; thankfully the barangay tanods are there to help. "never make a movie without the cooperation of the barangay tanods," i am told. hub pacheco is there too, he's making a behind-the-scenes photo essay.

after the take i am introduced to alessandra, whom everyone calls alex.

the shoot moves indoors. the indoor location is on the second floor of a rickety-looking house, now crammed full of people and equipment. the wooden floorboards bend and squeak beneath my feet. the floor under the kitchen sink has rotted away and you can see the ground floor below. no one else seems to be worried though.

photo by maui mauricio

i hand alessandra and ketchup copies of my comics. alessandra tells me how she used to tag along to the palengke as a child, where she read funny komiks at the newsstand, and loved niknok in particular. ketchup reads ang maskot for the first time. pen medina is there. no one has introduced us yet, but i gather my courage and introduce myself while offering a stack of my comics. i am intimidated. he is gruff but gracious. he browses the comic and notes that his scenes aren't in it. i explain that i added his part while drafting the movie script. all the actors seem curious about the existence of photocopied comics. i explain a little bit about the indie komiks scene--not a bad time to proselytize, i figure.

the dinner scene with all three actors is just magic; we are talking luke/leia/han chemistry here. they have the directors, the crew, everyone behind the camera stifling their laughter so as not to get picked up by the boom mike.

i cannot describe what it feels like to have words that i thought of in my brain coming out of the mouths of ketchup eusebio; alessandra de rossi; pen medina.

after that, it's a wrap for tito pen. i am too shy get my picture taken with him, but not too shy to swipe the beer bottle he used in his scene. that is going on my desk.

more down time while stuff is being moved from the kitchen to the living room. alessandra asks me about my inspiration for the maskot character. she says being a maskot must be a bit like being a clown... no, she continues, it's like being an actor. people expect you to smile no matter how you feel inside.

by midnight ketchup and alessandra are doing the rooftop sequences. earlier i was worried that they might have the actors stand on the balcony instead of the actual roof, for safety reasons. "nah," chris says, "that would suck." ketch and alex are deep in conversation, obviously enjoying each others' company. chris quietly tells dan and lau to roll film.

when alessandra wraps and everyone starts clapping, she says, "are you guys sure? i could stay," and jokingly offers to do the dancing scene with ketchup. she genuinely wants to stay--i had nothing to do with it whatsoever but i feel touched and a little proud.

a couple more shots of ketchup on the roof, and then a few more indoor shots, and shooting is done for the day. it is 2 am. for everyone here but me, work had begun over 20 hours ago.

i head home, an empty bottle of beer in my backpack. my mind sings.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

jollibee is running out of ideas.

some time after KFC's absurd "cheese top burger" went viral last year, i posted a cartoon with a few variations on the theme, including the equally absurd (or so i thought) "coke top float:"

and then at jollibee the other day, my kids ordered one of these:

i can confirm that the ice cream and fudge syrup are at the bottom of the cup (it also costs nearly twice as much as a regular float). should i laugh or demand royalties?

Friday, February 8, 2013

komikon baguio is tomorrow!

from the komikon baguio facebook page:

Komikon Baguio is organized by Bag-iw Art Society and Literati, with the support of Komikon Inc.

Join us for our first event, 'Sirko ng Komiks' on February 9, 2013 in CAP Bldg, Post Office Loop, Session Road, Baguio City

“ang maskot” movie: behind the scenes with mara andres

mara andres managed production on the ang maskot short, and she recently blogged about the experience here. lots of behind-the-scenes stuff and photos!

"...Day 2. Metrica St, Manila
First shot of the day. It was obviously a pretty hot day.

The stress of Day 1 made Day 2 seem so much more…relaxed, so to speak. Alessandra’s management initially said that she only had until 12 midnight but Alex was kind enough to stay until around 12:30 or 1 in the morning to finish her scenes.

Alessandra de Rossi and Ketchup Eusebio acting amidst the presence of styros. Haha.

We had a lot of exterior shots that afternoon. Thank goodness the skies were kind enough to give us sun. Crowd control was quite a hassle and because the houses in the neighborhood were so close to each other, it was kind of difficult to filter out unexpected noise. But hey, it wasn’t as bad the as the incidents that occurred during first day."

i can attest to the fact that these gals n guys work really, really hard, and yet can somehow come out of a 20-hour workday all cheerful and excited like they'd just arrived on-set. guess that's what happens when you truly love what you are doing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

three days in birdland, day one

the restaurant scenes are being shot in the sta. cruz area of binondo. i arrive late, sneak past the guard, sit down behind ramon bautista, and steal glances while he updates his twitter. celeb stalking is off to a good start. ketchup is resting at the far side of the room, and they are filming the kids at the center of the room. once the scene is finisihed i am greeted by chris and mihk and introduced to a few people. i sit down, watching various crewmembers busily carrying stuff around, ant-like. they are shooting two scenes simultaneously. soak in the magic. this is happening. this is really, really happening.

i am a clueless awkward bumpkin to everyone. i see lau and momon handling the maskot costume and ask them if they made it. "erm, no..." mara lets me listen to the jhollebird jingle on her iphone and i ask her if she composed it. "erm, no..." i mistake lau for director of photography dan villegas, and i ask him (lau) how he's related to dennis villegas the blogger.

when lunch break is called i walk around ongpin for a bit. my father used to bring us here when i was very young. i don't recall any specific places, but the scents, the crowdedness, the feeling of urgency, the chinese decor all feel very familiar. my body language must scream "tourist," as i am accosted twice by pimps offering me women. either "tourist" or "horny."

after lunch, filming moves to an office building where the locker room and manager's office scenes are to be shot. but first, ketchup is filmed with the costume on, walking along a busy street. the public reaction is electric. ketchup's performance feeds off this electricity and it is a joy to behold. he IS the maskot.

more scenes with ramon bautista, a.k.a. monra, a.k.a. the RB. funny oozes from the man's formidable pores. if he ever gets lost in the wilderness you'll be able to find him just by following the sound of the giggles he evokes in the local wildlife.

filmmaking is 70% moving stuff around.

i ask ketchup how he's holding up in his portable sauna of a costume. he tells me it's nothing like the prosthetic scales he had to wear all day for an MMK episode about a boy "na ipinaglihi sa syokoy." ketchup was allergic to the prosthetics and couldn't slip them off in between takes. he makes me promise to give him a copy of the maskot comic. as he is helping fund the film i consider this a fair trade.

shooting ends at 8 pm. chris hands me a mc bird crew cap.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"ang maskot" short film: behind the scenes, first day of shooting

 photos by ramon bautista, sharon see, and assistant director maui mauricio:

ketchup eusebio as maskot!
ramon bautista as the manager. he's a riot.

directors chris costello (left) and mihk vergara (right)

the mcbird counter.

doesn't look like it here, but this is the fastfood birthday party from hell.

don't get too excited, ketchup. bandang june pa ang cinemanila.

komiks to film in 2013!

aside from costello and vergara's ang maskot short film, there's also a group of DLSU students turning the first issue of trese, murder on balete drive, into a short film. and then there's that mysterious letter gerry alanguilan received from peter jackson's wingnut films...

flipgeeks interview

had a chat the other day with norby ela over at flipgeeks. we talked about the maskot movie, school run, and ricky lo.

LOKAL GRIND: Macoy – Komiks & ‘Ang Maskot’ in Film

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