Living life Uncategorized

This knocked me off my feet

Sometime around 2005 I realized that Final Fantasy does not have a monopoly to thought-provoking and emotionally charged stories in video games. Just now, my wife and I are enjoying Persona 3 – this is immersive-RPG-experience-outside-of-Final-Fantasy #2 for us. #1 was two years ago when we played Shadow Hearts: Covenant.

This scene in particular staggered me. Karin’s pronouncement came as a total surprise following Yuri’s expression of his resolve despite the personal crisis he faced.

Sometimes it’s just enough to say it out. When the situation doesn’t provide for any other possibility and you face a dead end, with no other option but to turn around, sometimes the hopelessness can be alleviated by simply expressing how you feel without any expectations. Just say your piece and then move on.

Movies Uncategorized

Where was I last Friday?

I’ll tell you where I wasn’t. In the movies. Watching Resident Evil: Extinction.

<Rant Rant Rant> You’d think when you have this much free time, finding time to see a movie would be a cake walk. But nooooooo. Wife playing badminton. Friends out of reach/touch for one reason or another. I know, this shouldn’t have been an issue since it has always been my style (except when Cathy’s around) to see a movie alone, but this usually works only if I’m seeing one of those fairly complex flicks where I need to focus and think. Not in this one. I mean, come on, who’s going to jump off the seat and grab my arm when an icky zombie suddenly leaps into the scene? Mike? That would be kinda weird… </Rant Rant Rant>

Irony: Grizzled video gamers normally AVOID movies based on video games. Why? Because they almost always SUCK. Street Fighter (Jeanne Claude Van Damme), too campy. Mario Brothers (Bob Hoskins), overall unworkable. Tekken the Movie (animated), said to be enjoyable only for Tekken players. Who the hell said that? We almost puked out the whole VCR out the window from the sheer painfulness of the experience of watching that crap.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Huge, at least in theory. Reality bit back viciously, revealing how the movie was crippled beyond imagination, being utterly unable to satisfy both those who know the game (Final Fantasy simply doesn’t work as a 2-hour movie) and those who don’t (left with hardly a thought except a lingering “What the hell just happened?”). Mortal Kombat? Decent, to say the least, a welcome treat for those who suffered waiting along the long and arduous line of mediocre video game-based movies. But they should have quit while they’re ahead. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation? Could anything decimate a good start more effectively than this? I think not.

Then here comes RE: Extinction. Third installment of a so far above-passable series (at least compared to The Matrix trilogy). I’ve seen the first two films, and at this point I’m relieved that it didn’t require the RE gaming experience and ShadowLeggy‘s wit to convince me to like them out of pure sentimentalism. The first two Resident Evil movies were good, despite what those ignorant reviewers at Rottentomatoes say. The third one? I don’t know. But what does “grabbing no. 1 spot at the box office on its first week” tend to mean in layman’s term?  For me, well, I lived in the U.S. for six years and in all that time, I haven’t seen a box office hit that isn’t good.

So where was I last Friday?

Never mind that. Suffice it to say that rectification will be made before the week ends. With or without you.

Movies Uncategorized

Why does Nathan Petrelli fly?

Because in another life (um… movie), he was a pilot.

(Pic: Adrian Pasdar as “Chipper”, sitting behind Anthony Edwards)

Come on! If this joke hasn’t already proliferated, it should!

(Truth is, from episode 1 I’ve already recognized “Nathan Petrelli” - Adrian Pasdar – as one of the bit role actors in the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun, the film that made Tom Cruise famous. But coining jokes from superficial stuff like this could be dangerous to someone’s health, which is why it took me this long to deliver the punch. Now I gotta get outta here before I’m the one who gets punched  )

Living life Uncategorized

I can wait forever… but I’d rather not

What is that one one thing that is common to all people of all classes, ages, denominations, nationalities, ethnic groups and races?Â

We all like to eat.

There is one thing, however, that we all hate to eat. Our own words. In the human psychological make-up, the revulsion to swallowing one’s pride and retracting on self-imposed dogmatic principle is basic and elemental.

(Why am I talking like a college textbook publisher? I don’t know, must be bcos of teh sexy gal in dat pic :p )

This morning someone called me about a job opening in an ABS-CBN-owned company. ABS-CBN.  I told my wife about it and she started laughing. Why wouldn’t she? My intense dislike for that TV station is almost legendary owing to the sheer inanity of many… no… MOST of its programs (Kokey, anyone?). But hey, I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. A job prospect is always a blessing and an opportunity. Even if it is with a company that we dislike for whatever personal reasons we have. In this case, if it does come to a point when circumstances dictate that I work in ABS-CBN, what the hell else could I do?

For one thing, I could laugh. At myself. After all the times I bad-mouthed said broadcasting company, I’d end up working there after all. Wahaha. My wife is still laughing – it’s not often she sees me eating my own words. Which is fine, humiliating but fine. So what? It’s not gonna kill me. Who knows, this prospect might just lead to better things for us.

So yeah, I guess that’s the point I’m driving at. Pride notwithstanding, if you know retracting a sweeping statement that you previously declared dogma would result in things getting better, don’t hesitate. It won’t kill you. I’ve met a lot of people who won’t budge in their adherence to principles that they know had been leading them away from better opportunities just because they don’t have the balls to swallow their pride. Traditionalists. Cultured music aficionado wannabes who wouldn’t admit that they like alternative rock. “I can only work with this kind of people” pseudo-professionals. Subscribers to the people-in-a-relationship-should-stick-with-it-come-hell-or-high-water thought school.

Sometimes the opportunity one allows to pass just because of some pointless principle that really doesn’t serve any purpose other than give someone a false sense of “I’m a man of my word” honor is so huge that the waste is almost categorically criminal. Like shredding a 1000-peso note.

I’m posting this knowing full well that to practice what I’m preaching, I have to welcome the prospect of working in an ABS-CBN company. I still don’t like the idea, but now I’m keeping an open mind, lest my wife starts cackling like a hyena all over again. No big deal, really. It only hurts a little. Kind of like birthing pains. Or breaking a few eggs to make an omelet. Or winning a Fear Factor contest. None of which would kill me, to say the least

Living life Uncategorized

Good morning, heartache


One of the perks of being on “extended” vacation is being able to do something I’ve always wanted to do – drive around town early in the morning just to enjoy the morning sun and closely pay attention to and observe the things that you normally pass by obliviously in the blur of your everyday trek to work. It’s quite enlightening, really.

– McDo at Quezon Avenue, at the same intersection where you could find National Bookstore, Jollibee and Mercury Drug (I could never remember the street name) is jam-packed during breakfast. Yes, much more than McDo El Pueblo. Which is a little surprising since the locale isn’t exactly the bustling commercial spot-type that Ortigas Center is.

– You could really only enjoy an eat-all-you-can breakfast buffet when you don’t have anything else to do for the rest of the day. This is so true at least for me because I tend to get my money’s worth on buffets (is why I try to limit my binges to a max of twice every six months). This case particularly I’m talking about the breakfast buffet at Grills & Sizzles at the corner of Times and Examiner. Which is good, but not as good as that breakfast buffet served by Something Fishy over at Eastwood City (you get to try a lot of breakfast treats when your work routinely takes you to the wee hours of the morning, like mine did).

– You know what fitness gurus say about warming up first before going back to your workout regimen if you’re coming back from a long lull (in my case, two months). It is true – don’t ever see it as nothing more than popular fitness blabber for selling Men’s Health magazines – if you don’t, it WILL hurt in the morning, and in the following two mornings at the least. Well, that’s exactly what I had in mind when, before hitting the boxing gym again I decided to loosen up first on my Orbitrek cross-trainer. Lesson learned: just because it’s a home exercise equipment doesn’t mean it’s light enough for loosening up after an extended sedentary hiatus. Hell no. My legs hurt like hell the next day, and my ribs were strained to near-fracture point. Next time (though I hope there won’t be a next time), I’ll settle for the simpler push-up.

– Even after all these years, there are still a good number of pasaway drivers who think they could get away with ignoring the number-coding rule (trivia: the Philippine road rule on number-coding was once listed in some website as among the stupidest government laws enacted).

– It pays to be a morning person, I discovered. I think I’ll start calling it in much earlier so I could enjoy more eventful mornings like these before I eventually go back to work (which I suspect is approaching real fast).

Good morning, everyone

Raves and Rants Uncategorized

Why I stopped reading DC Comics

I hate DC Comics for turning one of my favorite sources of entertainment into a principle-bereft money-making machine. No more Batman, no more Ion, no more Justice League. Sad. But I’m not going to put up with this sleaze-ball act. Another prime example of the pull of money compromising the distinguished accomplishments of past luminaries of the trade.

This is from a Wiki article on the controversial character Maxwell Lord:***************

“How Lord recovered his original human body and received a different variation of his telepathic powers has not been revealed, and fans have criticized this reboot of the character, especially after interviews where prominent DC comics administrators revealed they knew about the continuity problems but decided to ignore them (see next paragraph). In-story, it is possible to explain the various continuity errors as one of the side-effects of Superboy Prime “punching” the universe and changing history (see Continuity changes during Infinite Crisis for more details); this may also explain his character change from hero to villain, as might influence by Alexander Luthor and/or the Psycho-Pirate. While it is was probably the writer’s intent to suggest that Lord’s previous ‘heroic behavior’ was simply a part he played to ingratiate himself with the heroes before his intended plan of betrayal, this is contradicted by his various thought-bubbles over the years.

At the “Crisis Counseling” panel at Wizard World Chicago, Dan DiDio explained DC’s reasoning in using Lord’s character in Infinite Crisis. After going through several possible characters who could be the “new leader for the offshoot of Checkmate”, Maxwell Lord was suggested. Many of the editors thought that the idea made sense, as Lord had been shown to have a mean streak and to have killed previously. The idea was dropped due to the continuity errors, such as him being a cyborg, but they went back to it later after deciding none of the other possible characters were suitable. “We thought about that aspect of the story [where Maxwell was turned into a cyborg] some more,” DiDio explained. “And then asked, ‘Did anyone read it?’ No. ‘Did anyone like the idea?’ No. So we moved ahead with Max as being a human, and having been a human, and not letting that small part of the past stand in the way of this story. We wanted what was best for Countdown [to Infinite Crisis], and for us, that meant that Max had to be a human.”[1]


So the legendary Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire run of the 80s Justice League, including all its spin-offs that covered almost a decade, plus this highly entertaining sequel storyline, suddenly never happened?

The sleaze that media money grubbers are willing to commit never fails to astound me. In a bad way

Raves and Rants Uncategorized

Another sleeping giant?

Heh. Yeah, I know I’m a full season behind, but that doesn’t invalidate this possible vision for greatness. After all, Michael Jordan’s championship Bulls team were assembled in 1987 but couldn’t bring home the gold until 4 years later.

So, are we looking at the next dynasty?

(As a fan, I hope so)

Raves and Rants Uncategorized

VDU Awards?

YouTube rocks! Yeah! Thanks to them, I could now catch up on old trailers, old commercials, music videos and other cool stuff that I used to only hope to chance on while watching TV. Add to these all the cool stuff that could be found there that I never thought existed – fan-made videos made by people who got genuine movie-making talent and loads of free time. If I’d been a movie mogul, I’d hire them on the spot!

Anyways, here’s a short list of the best of the best – my favorite among My Favorite compiled videos.

1) Best Car/Car maker commercial – first aired, if I remember it right, during Superbowl XXXII, a little under 10 years ago. Notorious pigeons lock on their helpless target, and then find out later on that it’s anything but helpless.

2) Best official game trailer – No, it’s not a Final Fantasy, but the trailer for Shadow Hearts: Covenant (subtitled “At last Midway did something right” =p ).

3) Best Fan-made trailer – A piece made from Final Fantasy VIII FMV shots. Simply awesome. I wish I could figure out where they got the music (because I know for a fact that it’s not from FFVIII)

4) Best Fan-made theme video – a collection of scenes from Final Fantasy VIII, IX and X, with music from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Wheel of Fortune). Simply too good to be categorized as amateur video

5) Best commodity commercial that never saw the light of day – Xbox 360 TV ad that allegedly was banned apparently for promotion of violence. Which IMO is ridiculous. This would have tripled the sales of the 360 if it had aired.

6) Video award for the angst-riddled – a feature article from the Discovery channel where a pissed off adventurer perforates his custom-made car with a chain gun.

7) Best music video – TIE BETWEEN: MJ and MJ! Michael Jackson joins forces with Michael Jordan in the music video “Jam”! AND This thought-provoking music video, “Woman In Chains” performed by – coincidentally – another collaboration. Oleta Adams side by side with Tears For Fears

8) My personal favorite sports moment – a piece of “documentary” of the last 28 seconds of the 1997 NBA Finals Game 6 between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz.

9) “I just have to capture this” Moment – awesome 2 part ending of Final Fantasy XII. Like, the immense epic cinematic feel is there even if you haven’t played the game yet.

10) Favorite “Cavalry” moment caught on video – Attack of the Silver Dragons, from Final Fantasy IX

11) Speaking of video game endings, Best overall Ending movie from – you guessed it – Final Fantasy VIII

12) From endings to beginnings – or intros, hehe. Best Game Intro – Gran Turismo 3, awesomely accompanied by Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way”

13) Best Game-based music video – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus song “You’re Guardian Angel” with scenes from FFVII: Advent Children

More to come!

Living life Uncategorized

Scarred to death

I discovered this morning that sometimes you do know when you’re talking in your sleep. It was probably because I was already half-awake that I remembered this dream I had. About my ex, Grace, and how we bumped into each other at an East Bay town situated about an hour away from San Francisco. We become sort of friends again. Then one day I was looking for her at her house and couldn’t find her. When I ran into her later that day she said she went to drive a “friend” of hers (a Chinese-Fil-Am who had been flirting with her) to the airport, and then saw a movie. Knowing her, alarm signals immediately went off in my head, which was confirmed when I saw that Chinese-Fil-Am guy still later that day – turns out they never went to the airport. She said she saw a movie alone to account for the hours she was gone. I said “I don’t buy it” after which she gave me a treatment of her patented guilty silence.

Here’s where I knew I was talking in my sleep, when I told her “Eto ka na naman. After all these years hindi pa rin natatapos ‘yang kalokohan mo. Bahala ka na nga. Buhay mo naman saka pamilya mo ang sinisira mo. Siguro kaya hindi tayo nagkatuluyan para hindi ako ang mamroblema sa ‘yo.”


Disclaimer: the above were all just a dream. Grace and I didn’t end up with each other because she two-timed me. Three times (yeah, making me one of the dumbest guys on the planet, I know). But I haven’t heard from her in two years so I really don’t know where she is or what she’s been doing with her life. No idea whatsoever.

The point is this: it’s been years and I still sporadically find myself thinking or having dreams about her, particularly about her unfaithfulness. The issue of a girl’s infidelity delivers a particularly staggering impact because of the hard times I’ve had to go through brought about by her repeated two-timing (I suspect at least 4 guys she had slept with in the 6 years we were together – one of the 4 is confirmed. That was how dumb I was then).

So, does this mean I still love her? Or I still have feelings for her of some sort? Or I’m still hurting?

Nope. If any of the above were true, I wouldn’t be able to speak openly about this in a medium where my wife could see. I wouldn’t be able to speak openly about this to her at all. But I could, and I do. So no, no leftover feelings, no leftover hurt.

But “it left a scar”, so said Sara Milas, Eva Mendes‘ character in the movie Hitch.

Yeah. Sometimes the wound cuts so deep that although you’ve already healed, it still leaves a scar. The painful experience becomes something that you will always remember for the rest of your life.

Is it a bad thing? No, not necessarily. Scars of past “war wounds” only become a bad thing when we misinterpret in entirely. Case in point: a friend of mine, when speaking about his ex, always wonders if maybe he still loves her. I wouldn’t know for sure, but all indications tell me that it’s a scar he’s mistaking for something else.

A scar is nothing more than a mark where a serious injury used to be. We should never play the romantic by seeing it as something else – as some sort of a link in the past that maybe we should never have left behind, and that maybe we should at least catch up with. Some hurts are so serious that you never forget. Remembering the boy and remembering the feelings are two different things (Joey Albert, wahahaha ), and we should learn to discern which is which in order for us to get on with our lives.

So it’s okay to remember, really. Just don’t misconstrue it as “having something left over”. You can breathe a sigh of relief now because it’s done. Kaput. Finished. You just have a scar. You’re fine. No problem.

Idiosyncrasy Uncategorized

“I didn’t know you did something creative!”

Something I have been dabbling with… for about 8 years now :p


He could still recall the time when the walk towards his college building was, for lack of a brilliant streak in the witty term coinage, a pain in the arse. How he almost despised always having to be compelled to get up every five in the morning and wait the long line for the shower, only to find out the chillingly hard way that the water heater had broken a regulator. Such pathetic exercise was just a start. Francis never liked crisp bacon, but the dorm mistress always insisted on serving this on account of it being healthier, with all its cholesterol melted out and all. Why couldn’t she just serve greased cucumbers or something? At least it didn’t leave tiny bacon bits and oil on your fingers.Â

A litany, that’s what he used to have in the mornings, and it was usually composed of a series of dirges about the regular morning migraine, the foot traffic along the busy catwalk on the way to the annex, the heat, his dilapidated shoes, etc etc etc. Upon emerging from his building, he would normally see his fiancée, Rachel, waving at him from her dorm building. That would be the first passably pleasant sight his eyes would gaze at, before she had to meld in with the teeming crowd of squealing, semi-mature (or so they said) denizens of the university’s prissy population.Â

Something was awfully wrong about this morning, Francis began mind-mumbling as he passed by the infamous Mi-Lard convenience store – the only such allowed within university premises – which he swore specialized in high-fat foods and snacks (hence the name?). No, his so-called gut feeling didn’t particularly link with the store, but then, it never did whenever he thought like this, which was practically every day. In fact, he seldom thought of anything even remotely ‘good’. Though he tried to hide it, Francis Tracer was a cynic and a chronic self-hater – and those were his good points. His fiancée, Rachel, was a veritable ray of light and salt of the earth. Pretty, cheerful, hospitable, kind, patient, and the best listener this side of Gaia, Rachel could cause a group of astronomers who, after waiting five years for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to observe a supernova within three light-years and then seeing them all squashed like a squad of squirming squeegee by wrongfully forecasted thunderstorms, to turn into a There’s-Always-The-Next-Supernova-To-Watch-Out-For (a.k.a. We-Forgive-The-Weatherman) party with her presence and almost mystically charged words of encouragement. If Francis didn’t know better, he’d think he was affianced to the goddess of feel-goodness.Â

Of course, that was ridiculous. She was simply what the doctor ordered for Francis ‘Mr. God-Hates-Me’ Tracer. You see, this guy was quite fond of bad-mouthing himself as though he deserved it. Francis, due to an aforementioned crippling lack of self-esteem, considered himself to be at the bottom rung of the top 1% ugliest males on the face of the known planet. This was, in all practicality, contrary to the truth. He wasn’t exactly ignorant to all those girls who at the very least gave him a double-take whenever he passed by. By all respects, he could actually become a campus heartthrob if he wanted to, so said his friends. All he needed was to be more conscious with the clothes he wore everyday. Nothing of the t-shirts, torn denim jeans and canvass shoes he seemed to be so fond of. But Francis would never hear of these things, or the stories of that junior high hottie – Anna – who reportedly followed him to his dorm room one night after an impromptu introduction at a nearby pasta place. The why? They could only speculate. Francis must have undergone something superlatively traumatic as a kid to consider himself as the world record holder Mr. Hideous Toad. Needless to say, Rachel disagreed, every time vehemently, while still managing to shine through with her trademark feel-good smile.Â

No one in his outer circle knew about his ‘The Overlord of Misanthropism’ attitude; Francis didn’t dare tell his classmates for fear that his already pathetic and socially malnourished existence would look even more like a baby stricken with Beriberi.  He had what one could say tons of friends, but none did he maintain closer than what he had with Rachel, and one other person. He went out with the guys occasionally, sure. He lunched with his project peers and even went sightseeing in Balamb with fellow members of Thrill-Seekers Inc – a school club that endeavored to promote extremism in outdoor activities. But Francis never did grow intimate with any one of his peers and colleagues. He either didn’t want to or didn’t know how. He used to have several friends that could be categorized as intimate, but they all lived in Esthar now. Rachel had always believed that being left behind in Deling City while his friends achieved skyrocketing scholastic accomplishments in Esthar had something to do with her fiancé’s confidence crisis. She’d always tell him that he shouldn’t worry too much about this, that he was among the smartest people she ever knew and the only reason his friends made it and he didn’t was they were more interested.Â

That, and something more that always put a smile of appeasement in Francis’ face; that he stayed in Deling City because God wanted them to be together.Â

Francis may be an insufferable cynic, but his day always looked up whenever Rachel was around.Â

He was talking to his friend, Amber, and telling her how wonderful Rachel was and how lucky he had been to have been the one for her. Amber, who knew Rachel since childhood, agreed. How could she not? The two had been talking over the phone for the last fifteen minutes, a rarity for Amber, a person who was always on-the-go so much that people sometimes thought she’d be electrocuted if she stayed on one spot for more than a second. For the past fifteen minutes, Amber hadn’t heard much more than Francis showering his fiancée with well-deserved praises. But it wasn’t really that which had been keeping her glued to the phone, it was the fact that Francis sounded distraught while talking. She could tell that he was trying to camouflage it, and she couldn’t shake off the stinking feeling that he was about to confess a sin.Â

Francis spoke of how suddenly he stopped seeing university as the most profound torture chamber in the civilized world, and how much he had lately been enjoying his normally burdensome walk, as though Deling City’s superfluously warm weather was a heavenly blanket that suffused every cell in his body with happy energy.Â

Happy energy?Â

Amber frowned: what ever kind of nonsense, droll, cheesy, Power Rangers-worshipping lame drivel was that?Â

Amber had known Francis for five years, and she knew him enough to realize that only one thing could possibly be making her 200+ I.Q. friend talk this nauseatingly idiotic.Â

A girl was involved.Â

“Francis,” She said slowly, “I’m pretending that Rachel isn’t my friend since she was ten and I was five. I’m trying to forget for the moment that she’d always been there for me whenever my parents had to go away on those archaeological trips. I’m not trying to recall how she was the only one there for me when my no-good boyfriend dumped me for a guy.”Â

”That is so sad.”Â

“Shut up, please.”Â

”(muffled snort).”Â

“So you know that I’m your friend too, and I’m here for you. And whenever you say that you need to talk to me about something, I’m ready to listen to you. You know all those things, right?”Â

”Yeah, but…”Â

“I promise not to tell her anything.” Her would be Rachel.Â

”… You sure?” Was his delayed reply. Amber couldn’t avoid shaking her hear at what seemed like skepticism on his part.Â

“Yeah.” She said reassuringly.Â

”All right. Here goes…”Â

“You did something stupid, didn’t you?”Â

”Amber, good listeners don’t exactly butt in in the middle of the FRIGGING SENTENCE!”Â

“Heh. Sorry about that.”Â


“Thank you so much, my friend.”Â

”Now, do you mind?”Â

“Not the slightest bit.”Â

”Thank you. Now, where was I?”Â

“You were about to tell me whether you did something stupid or not.”Â

This was the part where things would start to get serious and heavy, Amber thought when Francis grew silent at the other end of the line. She wondered if he was drinking something with cyanide in it, or if Rachel was holding his head up with a boa constrictor and making him drink something with cyanide in it. Nah, couldn’t be, she thought. Cyanide was expensive.Â

Amber waited. But Francis didn’t come back to her with ’You’re probably thinking I’m drinking something with hemlock in it.’ They had known each other for so long that they had begun to think alike, at least when the need for sarcasm arose. The fact that he didn’t unleash a similar rejoinder told her that he was now, genuinely, deadly serious.Â

“Francis, you okay?”Â

”I almost did.”Â


”I almost did something stupid.”Â

“Stupid as in ‘stupid’ stupid?”Â


“With whom?”Â

”You have to ask?”Â

Amber didn’t.Â

“With… Rinoa…?”Â

”Yeah.” Â

To be continued…