Saturday, December 21, 2002

Spending 16 hours in the mall is not exactly the best way to spend your weekend.

C3 was giving away Tammy the Tamaraw plushies for free to the first 100 who came to the convention. I was one of them through the use of my special stalker powers. Actually, I was at Megamall's doorstep at 8:30 am and made a rush for Megatrade Hall 2 when the doors opened at 9 am. It's fortunate I didn't go with Bart since their car broke down of all days, overheating and causing them to arrive at the mall after opening time.

A lot of attendees were waiting at Megamall's entrance but only a few of us actually ran. It paid off since I was #5. It was supposed to be #4 but someone cut in line and the intimidating guards didn't see it. It was also of great foresight to me that I bought a ticket in advance, enabling me to stand in the much shorter line. Speaking of lines, it was so long that it filled most of the 5th floor, stretching as far as the escalators and then turning back so that it reached the carpark entrance.

As usual, the con opened late but only for fifteen minutes or so. I waited in line for an hour and a half before I actually managed to get in. Michael V. did the opening ceremonies with help from JM and Choi. Apparently, they were also selling Tammy Tamaraw plushies for P299.00 although purchasing one involves a ridiculous and tedious procedure (getting a form from the booth, going to another booth to pay for it, then going back to the original booth to get the merchandise).

Cosplay events were held in several batches and in the end, there were something like fourteen finalists. Of course the star attraction is the choreographed fight scene. There were seven participating groups all in all although half of them were utter crap.

Why utter crap? Well, four of the groups did nothing but beat each other up. Aside from the flying kicks, little else captivated people. No drama, no suspense, just pure beating each other up in tune with the music. One group though used arnis sticks in the middle although they were using them wrong (using them as blades rather than arnis sticks). The other had a gimmick when in the last twenty seconds, Hanamichi would come in and beat the rest. Just a surprise factor but it was too short, or came too late.

Third place went to Fed, Paulie, Krizelle, and Horace's group. It was a ring match with Fed and Horace playing the announcers and Paulie fighting against himself. I was wondering why Krizelle was wearing a black jacket and well, the event revealed why. She had a white bathing suit underneath and played the girl who's waving "Round 1" in most boxing matches.

Second place went to yaoi dudes with their spoof of the sentai genre, tinged with yaoi overtones. They won P3000 and a new Epson Printer.

Of course first place went to Choi and JM in their Sanosuke vs Saito skit entitled "Crouching Wolf Hidden Chicken" or something to that effect. Basically, the two fought (in perfect dramatic tension, I might add, and not the useless whacks the previous groups were doing) and before it could end, the pager system was activated and it seems that Saito is "under" someone. He loses the fight to Sanosuke and quickly departs. Not bad for the pair considering they won P5000, a scanner, and a jacket between the two of them, in comparison to the other groups that had something like four or more members.

Other worthy to note is the oversized Tammy Tamaraw plushie in which everyone was taking pictures with. There's two stalls devoted to Independent Comics (which quickly sold out except for some staples like Ground Zero and Armored Core). Arnold Arre was giving away posters, signing them, and even drawing personalized sketches. Several commercial booths as well like Smarty Toys, Comic Alley and its derivatives, Comic Quest, etc. The mechapinoy booth drew a crowd despite its lackluster background (it's all white! no posters or anything... just a table full of extravagant kits). The Aegis booth managed to draw a number of new RPG players, and some of the females were in costumes.

I guess it was shocking to see Allen Sywenson, an old friend and avid RPG gamer. In his usual style of cross-dressing in cosplays (last year he did Rei Ayanami), he qualified for the finals in his getup as that girl from Pasig (forgot her name). Also saw batchmates and what I presume is the significant other of one of them.

Of course throughout this time, I spent a lot of hours standing, including the waiting in line. When I got to the LotR premier, it involved a lot more standing, waiting, and straining my legs.

The premier actually started at 9 pm and they didn't give away the 2003 The Two Towers Calendar (sorry PJ!). They were selling posters though for P80. Beside me was Arianna, who caught the premier in Alabang Town Center last Wednesday for answering a lot of LotR trivia (like what does Aragorn's name mean). That entailed I had someone close to a Tolkien dictionary I could refer to during the whole movie, and she did point out the inconsistencies with the novel.

While getting seats were hard since I was #238, Arianna picked a good place as I was able to implement the rule of six degrees. Xander, one of the staff in the Fine Arts department, was seated three seats away from me. Behind me my former Filipino teacher, Mr. Yapan and to several seats to his right was one of my fellow D&D gamers, Ronil. Apparently, Mr. Yapan and Ronil know each other. Ronil also got A Storm of Swords for Christmas from our GM, Mars. Mr. Yapan now wants to borrow the Song of Fire and Ice saga from me. ^^

Garrick and the rest of the Neutral Grounds staff was three rows in front of me. The row in front of me contained my batchmates, some of which I ran into during the convention. And after the movie, I saw Ambrosio. Oh, he's back in the Philippines. And no one told me...

Anyway, got home via Garrick although I had to encircle Megamall building A to find where his car was parked. Ummm, I have to wake up early tomorrow to get into the convention. And most probably, I'd get home at midnight tomorrow evening. Walking home now (after all that lining up), without dinner I might add, is not the way to survive. ZzZzZzZz

Read more!

Friday, December 20, 2002

It's me with the pre-C3 report.

First off, the tickets to the event are expensive (P150 for a single day and P250 for both days). However, the ticket quality is good and is as tough as the MRT/LRT cards. That won't prove much of a problem to Culture Crash though since they have a printing press.

Technically, today is the day when everyone sets up. It's being held at Megatrade Hall 2 (that's not the entire Megatrade, although it is the largest one of all three) and supposedly, you can't enter without a pass or some sort of identification. However, I was able to get in using my awesome stalker powers (i.e. tagging along with Krizelle, Fed, and Horace when I "ran into" them).

JM and Choi were there since apparently, today is the rehearsal for the choreographed fight scene. They're going to act out the Saito vs Sanosuke fight scene, respectively.

Me: So what time are you supposed to rehearse?

Choii: 5 pm. Why? What time is it?

Me: 5:50 pm... *that the stage is currently being constructed and the hammering can be evidently heard*

Regarding the stage, it's actually quite large. There's presumably what are two dressing rooms at each end and is the first thing you see once you enter the hall. Honestly though, I don't think Megatrade Hall 2 is large enough to hold the entire anime community. Booths, both commercial and non-commercial, fill the opposite ends of the place. Also worthy to note is that there's a screening/lecture room.

Arnold Arre and girlfriend were there today, setting up their After Eden booth. Beside them was the Comic Quest booth as well as the owner.

Ran into my old boss at Comic Alley and Carol didn't recognize me at first because of my, ummmm, new appearance (doesn't long hair suit me better?). Also said hi to Augs who was manning the Aegis booth (demoing RPGs tomorrow) and dropped a hello at Richie in the Mechapinoy booth. He was preoccupied with his new Zoid toy.

Lastly, getting out of Megamall was quite difficult, since PJ, errr, Aisa, was singing at the Atrium and giving away posters.

Read more!

Thursday, December 19, 2002

A miracle did happen yesterday and CCHQ's Japanese shipment arrived. If I was a Chobits fan, I'd get the special edition Chobits #8 manga, which comes with a lunchbox (that can store the manga) and a mousepad. It also costs P1600. There's also the oversized Hikaru no Go artbook which was on shelf a few weeks back but quickly got bought despite the P3000+ price tag. I guess that's it, aside from the restock of mangas and such.

On a side note, I really want the 12 inch Hunter x Hunter plushies at Comic Alley. It has Hisoka, Kuroro, Kurapika, Kilua, and Gon. And it costs P4000 for the set. Actually, I don't want the plush set. It'll make great gifts though. =)

Will be busy for the next three days and I doubt if I can update my blog, short of depriving myself of sleep. Tonight, I have a birthday to attend. I guess I'm fortunate the restaurant I'm supposed to eat out is near our village. But before that, I have to meet up with Chanty, give her the Lord of the Rings tickets, and surprise her with Fruits Basket #10 (unless, ummm, she's reading this now).

Tomorrow is Culture Crash's Comics and Anime Convention. Hope to see a lot of familiar faces there and give them their Christmas presents (oi! Daimira! Will you be going to Megamall tomorrow? Need to give you Rivan Codex). And of course, in the evening, there's The Two Towers. Of course since that'll end at probably midnight, it's a thirty minute walk home.

And on Sunday is the second part of the convention. Strangely, one of the biggest events in Philippine anime conventions is the cosplay. I don't have a costume but I'll probably mingle with the cosplayers once the event is done. Nagtatampo sila tuwing umaalis ako ng maaga eh.

And since I don't think I'll be buying anything from CCHQ in the next two days, I computed how much I've spent in the store (not including the pabilis) since it opened in February. As I said before, the only things I bought for myself were After Eden and a hardbound edition of Sandman: Dream Hunters. The total cost of that is P2000. And apparently, P2000 is only 8.9% of what I've spent there. Hmmmmm. Oh well. At least I'm glad the stuff I bought went to fans and friends. ^^

Read more!

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Just one more plug: Baylans, a Philippine online novel.

As for my day, there were a lot of ironies.

I guess first and foremost is the fact that I only have one class on Tuesdays, and I find out when I'm in school that the teacher gave us a free cut. *blech* Unfortunately, I couldn't go home yet because I have a group meeting for Philo, people to meet, and books to loan.

As for the group meeting in Philosophy, well, I thought I was going to expain the group's topic tomorrow but Kit thought I was hogging all the glory. Aside from the fact that I thought I could be more articulate with the topic than any other group member (as proven with the multiple questions and explanations they're asking me), I thought that was the way they wanted it. I mean in previous group reports, people were shy and didn't really want to be the ones explaining. I also thought it would be best if one speaker gave the entire lecture rather than several people trying to make sense of what the previous one said. Kit told me I was arrogant. I told him he got that part right.

Anway, when he was asking me what part I wanted to discuss, I told him any part. He mistook it for me being angry at the group, when it's just me being the lax self. I mean it is a democracy, after all, and I'm okay with whatever the group chooses. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Last Sunday, Fed told me that I have a reputation of being anti-Tolkien. And of course, I just confirmed it with Arianna today. And well, that's just a perfect example of the dichotomy of my persona. Truly people, if I were really anti-Tolkien, I wouldn't be going to The Two Towers premier. Better yet, I wouldn't have read the books at all. Or maybe I could just drop all civility and call it trash and whatever stupid thought that comes into my head. Just because I criticize does not necessarily mean I automatically despise (nor should you assume I automatically like). I find it healthy to keep an open mind and see both sides of the spectrum. And since at the time, Tolkien isn't lacking in popularity, I thought I'd play devil's advocate. But I'm sticking to the point that there's something in the writing style that drags (or fails to keep my attention).

While we're on the subject of that, I'd also like to say that I'm thirty pages away from finishing Once and Future King (by T.H. White). Why has it taken me this long (nearly a month) to finish? It's certainly not the length since I've read thicker books in less time. I guess it's the writing style. I'm just not used to it. I should have learned, considering those that recommended the book all like Tolkien (at least there's consistency). I'm not saying the book isn't worthy of praise. There's really something imaginative in it, especially the way it tackles Arthur's childhood. But I don't know, there's something that fails to make me want to pick the book up once I've put it down short of utter boredom. Of course I managed to finish Lord of the Rings in under a week (and that's three books), so you can really say Once and Future King isn't my cup of tea.

To continue the dichotomy that is me, there's also the sentiment that people think I'm anti-yaoi. Me? Anti-yaoi? The only reason I discourage yaoi in the mailing list I used to moderate is because it's a general patronage mailing list, which means kids and other "unenlightened" people. Not that I think there's something wrong with yaoi but at the time, most of the topics revolved around graphic scenes involving acts tantamounting to sex. For the same reasons why foul language and hentai were highly discouraged in the POML, so was yaoi, not because I have a personal vendetta against it but because it was my duty was moderator to do just that: moderate without impunity. And ummmm, girls have been talking in yaoi jargon around me for quite some time. The only reason I'm banned in pinoy_yaoi isn't because I'm against it (I was actually a lurker that made occassional posts) but because one of the moderators is so insecure that she has a vendetta against me (which is, of course, another story).

Jaime told me that she'd get paid for the paper she was going to fax. So I grabbed it and threatened to plunge it down the grate. And then I asked her why we left the FBR building to go to Intermatrix. She answered that it was because she was going to fax the paper.

Me: But there's a store where you can send fax in the FBR building...

Lastly, took a trip to A Different Bookstore since my carpool brought me to EDSA at 5 pm (which is early for me). Finally got a copy of Pier's Anthony's Xanth novels, the first three in the series neatly packed in a trade paperback. I was also going to get a copy of Edding's Belgariad (in two trade paperbacks, the first combining the first three novels, the second the last two) but I ran out of money since someone's asking me to buy Priestess of Avalon for them. I think it's the sequel to Mists of Avalon (another book that took me quite some time to finish).

Read more!
I just have to rant about this:

There's a new Hunter x Hunter OAV!!! It's entitled Hunter x Hunter G.I. (Greed Island) featuring the continuation where the last OAV left off. It's eight episodes (bundled as four OAVs) and the first OAV is set to release on February 5 of 2003. Vol. 2 is on March 5, Vol. 3 on March 19, and finally Vol. 4 on April 16.

Read more!

Monday, December 16, 2002

I guess I was desperate enough for cash yesterday that I asked mom for a Christmas advance. Of course it doesn't seem enough when I take into account all the debts I have.

Anyway, bought CCHQ a bag of assorted cookies from Mrs. Fields. Hope they liked it. ^^

I guess the tragedy is that CCHQ's Japanese shipment is in the country but it'll arrive at their house on Saturday... a day too late. Maybe a miracle will happen.

When I finally got back to school, saw Louie waiting for Bart. Also met up Cathy who's frantic since she's in Ambeth Ocampo's class and they have an exam tomorrow. No matter how much I tell her that it's useless to prepare for Ocampo's exams (no amount of memorizing will do since the exam is open notes... just do what he asks of you and don't fret about it... there's no way you can really prepare).

No English Lit. class since Mr. Pulan was apparently in a meeting. But he told us last Friday the meeting would be on Wednesday...

Also had dinner at Gloria Maris since it was grandmother's birthday. Never mind the fact that she wasn't there. *sigh* I hate these Chinese traditions. I'm sick and tired of the people, the food, the whole ritual. It goes on and on every year, every month, every special occassion. The routine never changes. My relatives don't even change. They're still obsessed with themselves. Want an example? My cousins live in Australia and they're complaining about prejudice despite the fact that only 1/6 Australians are actually Europeans and the rest are immigrants. However, when it comes to here in the Philippines, they look down on non-Chinese (although they won't admit that), probably not even allowing their children to marry someone that's not Chinese. And of course, businesses must be relegated to Chinese. To do so to a Filipino is unthinkable for them, unless there's a real advantage to be gained.

Read more!

Sunday, December 15, 2002

I don't think my day could be as busy as yesterday (Sunday).

Started off the morning by walking to church since the driver wasn't available. Not that I needed to actually attend since it was the Christmas party and there was food, food, and more food.

Dropped by Neutral Ground where a LotR card game tournament was supposed to be held, in which the proceeds would go to charity. It was 12:30 pm and the tournament is supposed to start at 1:00 pm. No one in sight except Jacob who isn't even the event organizer. Oh well. Off to Megamall to attend Gem's birthday party.

Well, Gem told me to meet her at 1 pm. Since this is Filipino time we're talking about, people don't show up on time. To put it in another way, Gem planned us to leave Megamall by 2 pm. The actual departure time was 4 pm.

In the three hour interval, my "stalker powers" (which actually means I accidentally run into people) were working. I dropped by Powerbooks and I was sorely tempted to get Gem a copy of Good Omens. Unfortunately, I only had P240 and the book costs P289 (hint: get this book now!). I spent my large amounts of money on an Angel Sanctuary postcard book which I planned to give to the cosplayers (mostly female, since Angel Sanctuary is as yaoi title, after all). However, when I went to Comic Quest, saw a familiar face.

Sheila: Charles... what did you do to your hair?

Sheila couldn't go to Gem's celebration since she was sick, not to mention tired from ice skating for the past few days since she's been practicing for her competition. She agreed to split Good Omens with me so we went to Powerbooks (after a quick visit to National Bookstore) and bought the book.

Also bought Flip #4 as well (it's out!) and I ran into another friend, Gabs, who gave me a quick lecture on the books to get regarding Middle-Earth's mythology (since they're now available at the bookstores). I would have gotten her a copy if I had the money.

Off to Encore! Encore! to meet Gem but she wasn't there. To sum everything up, in the span of three hours, the OAV people, the yaoi dudes, Kero, Fed, and Krizelle, showed up. During this time though, I felt my "stalker-sense" draw me to Comic Alley. On my way there, I ran into Rin. Gave her a postcard and told her where Gem was. Apparently, Rin also wants Backgammon. To give to Tchan or to Rin? Hmmmm... Off to Comic Alley.

*gasp* They have available the 12-inch Hunter x Hunter plushies seen at previews! It has Gon, Kilua, Hisoka, Kuroro, and Kurapika. The set also costs P4000...

The trip Gem's aunt's house involved a lot of turns. There were three drivers and I don't think any of them could have gotten us out of that village without proper directions. Anyway, Krizelle brought her PS2 (somehow, she managed to find the money) so we essentially had a DVD player. Fed brought the Extended version of Lord of the Rings. The others brought their bathing suits.

Basically, in the first two hours, people were eating and the guys were staring at the TV, watching footage of how the designers made the costumes for Fellowship of the Ring, even as the girls were swimming in the pool. Yes, I chose to watch Lord of the Rings instead of watching cute girls swim. That's how much of a geek I am.

Eventually, there were only four of us who weren't swimming, mainly because we were either sick or didn't have extra clothes. The TV broke down as it had the "blackout" symptoms similar to what occurs on computer monitors. Of course there's usually a temporary way to fix that: by hitting it. After a few hours and a few hits, the TV was working again and people were ready to sing Karaoke. Unfortunately, I had a curfew (this was around 10 pm already) and well, I didn't know how to get out of the village, much less commute home. I was going to commute out with Hazel but I don't think P20 will get you far. Yes, I'm broke. Again.

Fortunately, as we got out, everyone figured out that it was time for us to go home as well. We convoyed Tobie out of the village and I was riding in Mitz's car as he drove us all the way to EDSA...

Note that we came from Pasig. Because of a missed intersection and low fuel, we somehow ended up in Antipolo. Oh well. At least now I have a general idea of where Sta. Lucia is. Soon, we were in Katipunan. They were going to turn right towards Cubao (which entails a longer walk home for me) but thankfully, Mitz missed it so we had to take the Boni-Serrano route, just beside Annapolis.

It was a walk home at midnight. Ugh. And I told my parents I'd be home at 10 pm.

Read more!