Saturday, April 12, 2003

Your Chinese Friend Called

While I was eating dinner, my mom suddenly intruded and told me that statement. "Your Chinese friend called."

I don't know what made her say that statement.

"Ma, I studied in Xavier, a Chinese school." I also wanted to add that a lot of mom's friends were Chinese, a lot of Ateneans were Chinese, and even my brother and sister's friends were Chinese.

"I think his name was Edelbert."

Apparently, it was Elbert. Then again, other people don't get my name right as well. It's usually Char-les or some other variation of it, never Charles.

Coraline Coraline Coraline!

I passed by Fully Booked to kill time since I had a meeting at 3 pm (and I knew my employers were going to be late) and it was just 2:45. Strolled around the bookstore and found several piles of Coraline, each going for P600+. Nearly as cheap as Powerbooks, but I have discount at the latter.

Also interesting is that they have the paperback copy of George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords. Actually, the line of Song of Fire and Ice books have their own stand, albeit the first book, A Game of Thrones, is nowhere to be seen.

I am Destined to Wait

Here in the Philippines, when you come on time, developing the virtue of patience is a must. Because even if you do come on time, it's naive to expect it from other people. It's only a matter of how long before the people you're expecting arrive.

Apparently, Studio 23 has an event at Rockwell so there I was at the office, waiting at the sofa as various people entered and left, some hauling heavy equipment, others dressed in formal outfits (and some skimpy ones too).

Twenty minutes pass and I eventually get to talk to my employer. And well, the probably with dealing with executives is that there's always someone above them and the vision of the one above them differs from the executives themselves. So naturally, there's a lot of changes they want for the Flash program I've been working on.

Building from Scratch... Again

So I'll start working on the third draft of the program which I can hopefully finish before Holy Week. And well, it doesn't help that Jaime, "head programmer" and coworker is in the US. Our graphic artist, Elbert, is currently having technical difficulties ever since his best friend spilled coke on his computer. And my employers have new things they want incorporated even if they don't have the material yet.

But none of this is really surprising. Actually, I want to start from scratch, since the best thing about on-the-job training is that you learn. And while my second draft was better than the first, it's just as inefficient in the long run, which I hope to correct when I start working on the third draft.

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Friday, April 11, 2003

You Know You've Been Working Too Hard When...

Well, I just woke up from a dream. I was working on Flash. *.* Speaking of Flash, my weekend got cut short when I suddenly received a text message several hours ago from my employers asking me if I could meet them tomorrow, two days sooner than expected. And apparently, they have more revisions.

It Was Fated

Woke up early today because I had to school to get my grades. And well, every other line but ours was moving. Those in charge of distributing the grades to students from S to T were late by thirty minutes. Whether it's due to volunteer neglect or on the part of accounting, I don't know. But this isn't the first time that's happened.

I don't know why but every year, there'll always be one subject that hasn't submitted to the registrar my grades. So among the C+, B, B+, and A grades, there's an *. That's one unknown mark.

Of course getting late grades was just the start of my problems. Apparently, even if I'm required to take summer because U flunked one subject, the school list of reg forms to be distributed doesn't have me listed! They told me to go to the registrars, which I don't know where it is located, since Ateneo has made some changes in the past year (mainly due to PAASCU). The last time I checked, it was in Xavier Hall so I went there looking for the registrars, but failing to see a sign that says so.

I did approach accounting (since that was where some students were) and they redirected me to Bellarmine. And that's quite a distance from most of the Ateneo buildings.

When I finally reach the place, I give them my ID and my advisement slip and I wait.

Suffice to say, I'm not the only person suffering from the screw-ups of Ateneo. Unfortunately for us students, the registrar had a meeting today of all days. So definitely, there was a delay in the processing. I gave them my ID and my advisement slip and was told to wait. One hour passes and it seems that other people have resolved their conflicts. I hear my name called and they return to me my advisement slip. They tell me to come back at 1 pm. Oh wow, and I hoped I would get home early today.

To Call Charles

On my way back, I passed by Xavier Hall and ran into Mimsy. She's infuriated because I didn't notice her.

Mimsy: Charles, I've been calling you kanina pa (for quite some time now).

Me: Really? I didn't hear you. How were you calling me?

Mimsy: I was saying pssssssst!

Me: So you expected me to hear you say pssssssst in this crowd? And know that it was me being called? If you want to call my attention, say "Charles!", not "pssst!"

New Anime Magazine

Apparently, New Line of Magazine, publisher of Chemical, will release an anime/jpop magazine this May. Aaaagh. And I didn't even know about it. I wonder when people would start hiring me to write anime articles. My talent is being wasted...


So after meeting with the Comicol members (and some pretty girls), I go back to school at 1 pm. And wait. And wait some more. At least the Ateneo volunteers were cute.

I hate it when people pester the volunteers. Don't they know they're already trying to solve the problem. When things are done, it'll be done. Time spent distracting the employees is time spent not fixing the reg forms.

Of course one and a half hours later, I finally get mine. And you know what, it's a blank sheet. They didn't even list the subjects I'm supposed to take.

So I basically waited a total of two and a half hours for a blank piece of paper.

Oh they, they also implemented a new random numbering system to speed up the registration process. And guess what my number is? 2000+. So theoretically, I'm 2000th in line come registration day.

Rounding Up Today's Post

Filipino English has evolved from its Western counterpart. Even more interesting is the slang language that's developed. For example, here are two words that have the same English spelling but different meanings.


US English meaning: to save or rescue.

Philippine English meaning: to slaughter and throw in a ditch somewhere.

User friendly

US English meaning: easy to use, especially when it comes to electronic equipment.

Philippine English meaning: a person who befriends someone for the sole purpose of obtaining some use from him/her.

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Thursday, April 10, 2003

More Work

It's been what, one entire week of me working on the Flash project? I've been spending at least 12 hours each day on the computer, tinkering with the program to suit the needs of some corporate executives, to be distributed not only around the Philippines but worldwide as well.

Submitted the second draft today and I'm waiting for them to record their voice overs and a few more pics before I start working on the last changes. Over Holy Week. Of course once Holy Week's over, summer school starts...


Well, Elbert did tell me to meet him shortly before 2 pm at Starbucks to meet our employers. Of course when we usually meet, it's at Starbucks 6750. Elbert also complains that he doesn't know how to get to Rockwell, the place where we're meeting our employers.

So I'm at Glorietta and I tell Elbert that if he's in 6750, he should just send me a text message. The time was 1:30 pm. He immediately replies that the meeting place was Starbucks Rockwell.

Apparently, it takes me 5 minutes to sprint (which involves running, stopping, catching my breath, choking from the pollution, and running again) from Glorietta to Buendia. And 10 minutes to walk from Buendia to Rockwell. Obviously, I'm out of shape. And the pollution coming from EDSA doesn't help either.

The Present

Right now, I'm pooped and taking the time to write this blog entry. Nothing releives stress more than writing about it. Haven't been reading much of late, because the only thing I'm facing most of the time is the computer.

Only TV shows I watch is CSI, Fight School (yey, last ep tonight!), Futurama, the occassional Simpsons episode, and well, anime.

Final Fantasy Unlimited is better than its predecessor, a four-part OAV that had little in common with the video game. The story is actually building up to something better. Not exactly "the best anime out there", nor is it for everyone, but it's a guilty pleasure I enjoy.

The other anime I really like is the boxing anime on GMA 7, Ippo. Perhaps it doesn't have a wide a fan-base as say, Slam Dunk, but it's anime with good pacing, good storyline, and a very determined character (typical of the genre). It's also more serious in tone but there's the occasional light humor thrown in. The music suits the setting and so far, I haven't seen any impossible extraordinary effects. If it comes out on DVD or on video, I'd probably pay to get it, especially since I didn't get to see the start (I what, started watching somewhere along the lines of episode 30+?).

The Future

Will try to take it easy for the next few days, but that doesn't seem possible. For one thing, tomorrow we get our report cards and registration forms. Then there's the peddling of Grafic, plus I have to remind Elbert to meet with the Comicol members.

Again, this won't be the last time I'll be seeing my Flash MX. The good thing is that I'm really learning a lot from this work experience.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2003


I have a cold. And I've been alternating between the computer and sleeping. Ugh. And I only have on day left to cram work, and it's only 2/3 done.

Love your Job

I guess it's really important to love your job. And while I do like what I'm currently doing, a bulk of the work is doing senseless coding (copy paste, copy paste).

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Monday, April 07, 2003

I Forgot to Mention it Yesterday

Yesteday, the rendezvous to meet up with Elbert and Jaime was in Starbucks 6750. Since I didn't want to wait outside, looking like an idiot, for thirty minutes, I ordered a drink (not coffee, it makes me dizzy, and not the regular frap, since I'm allergic to chocolate). Of course when I saw the cashier lady, a hint of recognition flickered in my mind: I've seen her before. Of course as I came closer, it was evident in her facial expression that the same thing was going through her mind.

When I was finally there, she asked me "CCHQ right? You're the guy usually at CCHQ?". From there, we started talking since she knew the former batch of Ateneans who graduated and liked anime.

Of course last night, it dawned on me where I saw her. Not at CCHQ but at one of the anime conventions (C3 if I'm not mistaken). She was one of the volunteers assigned in coordinating with the cosplayers. Oh well, maybe I'll her in the upcoming con a few weeks from now, Telesuccess's Anime Explosion.

Speaking of Telesuccess

They're releasing a comic anthology. And well, they got one of the most popular franchises here in the Philippines: Voltes V.

Of course if we're talking about Voltes V franchises, they got it dirt cheap. Something like low five digits (if I get a job, I could probably earn it in a few months) for 3 years, or so my "reputable" sources say. And it's understandable why it's priced that low. Voltes V only became popular here in the Philippines.

If you want the first super robot, that's Mazinger Z. And even its second sequel, Grandizer, was more popular than Voltes V because at least Grandizer got serialized in Europe and in the US, as well as Asia.

If you want "combining robot" which is what Voltes V is known for ("let's volt in!"), there's Combattler V, the one that started it (well, actually Getta Robo, but Combattler V had more realistic combination sequences).

One look at the Super Robot Wars video games proves this theory. The early games had Combattler V as the combining robot. And Dancougar. And other popular robot shows. It's only recently (meaning the past four or five years) that Voltes V started popping up in Super Robot Wars. And I guess an acquaintance was laughing his heart out when Voltes V and Combattler V appeared in the same game. But I'm digressing.

Even Daimos is more popular than Voltes V, and similarly, its franchise is more expensive (but still affordable). So Telesuccess did a smart marketing move, since they did manage to acquire a popular franchise, and they got it cheap (it's not even 5% of Starbuck's franchise!).

Anyway, the anthology is entitled Questor Extreme Mangamania and it's priced at P100. It has a colored cover, but like the saying goes "don't judge a book by it's cover" it's in B&W (hehehe, our practice in Comicol). It's also 72 pages long (I don't know if that includes ads).

The cover is featuring a redesign of Voltes V. The art looks good. Of course it remains to be seen whether the execution and storytelling is just as good.

Concept of the story is it happens 8 years after the end of the TV series and "Little Jon" is now the head honcho assembling a new crew to face "a new threat".

Meanwhile, the other three stories are original ones (as far as I know). One is Cante Ista, a story about people from various parts of the world being called The Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Another is Free Spirits, a tale of seven friends taking their vacation in a rest house but the rest house is occupied by souls seeking to be set free. And lastly is Sidesweepers, which is written by Igor. Concept seems good, as Sidesweepers are cops 20 years from now. Aside from arresting criminals, they double as officers directing traffic (the equivalent of the MMDA) and "cleaning up the streets" (whether that refers to actually doing some cleaning or used as an expression to mean they arrest people, I don't know, but I think it's the former).

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Work Work (in Peon tone of voice)

You guessed it, my time working on this Flash project is consuming bulk of my time. Of course I have a set deadline of this Thursday, so hopefully I'll be free by next week. In the meantime, you'll have to content yourself with this not-so-updated blog.

The Bookstore

Of course just because I'm working doesn't mean I don't get out. Since my meeting was in Rockwell, what better opportunity than to drop by the Powerplant Mall (the layout of which I should be familiar by now). As usual, there's only one store in my opinion worth visiting in that place and it's Fully Booked (formerly known as Page One).

Their book prices are still way out of my budget, although there are books being sold up to 90% off (then again, these are the books that suck). They also have a wide selection of DC and Marvel comics.

Of course perhaps Fully Booked (whose supplier is Bibliarch and that other bookstore in G3) is best known for its artbooks, which you probably won't be able to obtain anywhere else. But they're still expensive, and they used to have these magazines on layouting and typesetting (which have tutorials for the latest programs like Flash and Photoshop) but alas, I couldn't find them.

Since I was with Elbert, we dropped by Megamall to meet his coworker and friend Jansen. Since they were being buddy-buddy, I stole Jansen's date, errr, friend and we talked. Of course it was my mistake that when she said that she studied in St. Scho high school, she was referring to the one in Metro Manila.

Moving on, since we were in Megamall, we dropped by Powerbooks. Well, they're now selling Beyblade VCDs at Music One/Tower Records...

That aside, it seems there's a new stock of Good Omens available. And Coraline is finally at the right section: the children's section, although it's still not enough copies.

And even until now, Elbert doesn't beleive me that when I say once you've seen one National Bookstore/Powerbooks, you've seen them all. So when we dropped by the Podium to see the "National Bookstore Bestsellers", well, it's the same selection without the discount card of Powerbooks.

I forgot to add that Fully Booked has an interesting sign: "you open it, you pay for it". Which in direct comparison to the likes of Powerbooks is where people get the store copy and read it in a comfortable chair.

Elbert's jaw dropped when I brought him to Ink and Stone. Different selection, like hard-to-find books at not-so-expensive prices (sure, it's not as cheap as National Bookstore, but not as expensive as Fully Booked). And the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is well worth it. For P700+, it's six books compiled in one hardbound book.

Better yet, it seems that my 10% discount card for "Charles Donald Tan" which originally applies to A Different Bookstore also applies at Ink and Stone. Heck, I bought myself a copy of Savage Species (that's one book less to ask Carlos to buy when he goes off to the US) since I was already tired at this point to go all the way to Glorietta to avail of the 10% discount. Which is a good thing since I discovered this neat fact.

I probably would have gone to Books4Less opposite UA&P but by this point, my legs were killing me. Books4Less, I might add, has affordable prices, but availability of particular books is unpredictable, which is the nature of used-books shops. Of course I wish I've visited Books4Less more often, but the fact of the matter is, I've only been there once. So any judgements I make isn't so reliable.

Speaking of Judgements

It dawned on me that the worst thing than an unreliable source is an unpredictable one. I mean if you know a source is reliable, then you can count on his information. If he's proven himself to be unreliable, you also know that you don't need to act on that particular information. But what happens if he's not consistent? He's sometimes reliable, and sometimes he isn't. What happens then? You're torn between whether to beleive your source, or not. In the end, you do more work since you double or even triple check to make sure his info is correct, or to verify that a particular rumor is true. More so if a lot of people tell you it's not true because you have to dig extra deep to learn if something really isn't possible (and just a false rumor) or if it's just not well-known.

The Bane of Compiled Books

For readers of SF&F, you'll notice that some books get compiled into hardbound and trade paperbacks and come out cheaper than the individual books. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings paperback edition, for example. Or Douglas Adam's The Ultimate Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Even R.A. Salvatore's Dark Elf series or David Edding's The Belgariad part 1. Of course lately, there are banes to such releases. I am talking about the "children's version" of these books, which do the complete opposite. You're essentially paying more for the same product. A book like Sword of Shanarra gets divided into three books, each costing less than the original novel but when added up, is more than the novel is worth. Sure, it might open the genre up to younger readers (then again, you might be underestimating these "young readers") but for someone who has a limited budget, this isn't exactly the way to go to promote a book.

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