Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fuck Unisilver



WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS UP WITH THESE UNISILVER TIME + SAM MILBY ADS?! Has anyone else experienced this? You click on a link, and instead of going to the page you expected, you get a FUCKING SAM MILBY WATCH ADVERTISEMENT. And NO, you are not whisked off to your intended destination afterwards. You have to hit the 'back' arrow -- assuming you didn't open a new tab -- and click AGAIN. FUCKERS.

I don't even own a watch and have no intention of buying one in the near future, so I'm far from the ideal target for this stupid ad. But even if I had a million bajillion pesos and was burning with an almost-sexual need to buy a watch, this ad makes me want to spend all that money on killer adamantium robots instead, who will home in on whoever thought up this campaign and torture them mercilessly for years. Money well spent if you ask me.

UPDATE: Added the graphic above, which is what the ad looks like, plus some comments by me.

Turns out I'm not alone in my annoyance. Niña commented "I know! I saw that too! It was so annoying! I thought LJ (I was replying to a comment when that happened) might have struck a deal with Sam milby, sheesh." D.B. asked "In what sites do these ads usually sprout up?"

Doesn't seem as if Unisilver has worked out a deal with any specific site; this stupid ad has attacked me while I was browsing through LiveJournal, a comics news site, a blog about the "Honey and Clover" anime series, and worst of all, my barkada's online logbook, which only members can read and post on.

Unisilver must have installed something on my PC which redirects the browser every so often to their fucking ad regardless of what you're browsing on the 'Net, and, as I mentioned before, THEY DON'T RETURN YOU TO YOUR INTENDED DESTINATION. I'm used to having to plow through ads to get to content -- hey, I read Salon -- but this is something else entirely. BASICALLY, IT'S A VIRUS.

Do any of my lawyer or techie friends have thoughts on the legal/technical iffiness of this crap?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Report on the 2006 NU107 Rock Awards



For a complete account of the 2006 NU107 Rock Awards -- winners, commentary and all -- go here! (Just scroll down.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Work for Pulse.ph

We're looking for a MULTIMEDIA ARTIST to join our footloose and fancy free Pulse.ph crew. He/she will be:
Responsible for all the video editing requirements; responsible for all 3G videos, streaming, downloading and all other related matters; responsible for all flash animation, production & action scripting; answers to all animation/video/multimedia needs of Pulse.ph and other Web and Mobile Projects.

Graduate of Mass Communications, Graphics/Digital Design or any similar course; 3-4years work experience in multi-media authoring, well-adept in the use of the World Wide Web; Knowledgeable in current music trends & technologies; Computer literate and knowledgeable in Flash 8, Flash MX, Activscripting, XML backend integration, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere, After FX, Final Cut Pro

Don't delay! Join today! :D Email me at luiskatigbak at pulse.ph

Monday, November 27, 2006

BURN Pix at Pulse.ph



Lotsa pix (230+, with more on the way) of the big BURN concert, BURN BABY BURN, here! You shoulda been there. :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Captured Koala. Hilarious stuff! But only if you grew up reading Encyclopedia Brown.

"Bugs hated being outsmarted by Wikipedia all the time. He longed to take a picture of himself with Wikipedia's hooded, naked, battered body, giving the camera a thumbs-up, like he had seen some soldiers do on the news."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Fresh BURN



Hey! The new issue of BURN magazine is available at bookstores and magazine stands now, so get yourselves a copy! As usual, we have two covers: this time, it's Bamboo and Nelly Furtado. Lots and lots of features -- Sugarfree, Hale, Imago, Narda, Julianne, Nimbus9, and others, plus reviews, columns by Lourd, Quark, and Sarah Meier, etcetera etcetera...

PLUS: a free CD as always, hosted by Zach Lucero, which this time around has tracks by Queso, Sound, Narda, Nimbus9, and even Christmas songs by Imago and Cambio! BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! Like a Best of 2006 section, which covers the trends and tendencies and of course music of the past year. I am especially proud of our Top Ten Albums of 2006, which was put together by Conch, Denise, myself and our freelance reviewers. All in all, it's a ridiculously fantastic issue, and you would do well to purchase multiple copies for posterity.

And of course, I'll see you all at the big BURN concert at the SM Mall of Asia later! :D It'll start at 5PM, and roar on til midnight! Lineup below. Yay!

Radioactive Sago Project
Sitti
Orange and Lemons
Johnny Alegre
Moonstar88
Hemp Republic
Sugarfree
Callalily
Drip
Chillitees
Itchyworms
Up dharma Down
Hale
Sino Sikat?
Pupil
Imago
6cyclemind
Spy
Bamboo
Jeepney Joyride
Nyko Maca
Dice & K9 / Mobbstarr

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hello Readers

To everyone who checks out this blog (thank you thank you), please drop by the blog section at Pulse.ph too -- I've been posting there about stuff like gigs, earthquakes, presscons, music videos, etc. Eventually, we want to get the whole Pulse.ph staff (and freelancers, yay) blogging there too: Joelle Jacinto posted something about "We Are the World," Pinoy Rock style, today. :)

And please comment, if you're so inclined! Because right now, I'm not totally sure if we've configured it correctly, so that non-staffers can comment easily. It would be nice to know. :D

80s Girls

The Seven Best 80s Movie Girlfriends. Oh, Elisabeth Shue a.k.a. First Karate Kid girlfriend! And oh, Mia Sara a.k.a. Sloane Peterson from Ferris Bueller's Day Off! And speaking of Ferris Bueller's Day Off: it's one of the few movies that I would -- and did -- actually cough up money for, to get on original DVD. Result? The disc won't play on my DVD player ("No Disc," it says). Is there a lesson to be learned here? Probably not.

More 80s funniness from Cracked.com: Eight Important Lessons Learned From 80s Cartoons and The 80s Movie Montage hall of Fame.

Monday, November 20, 2006

BURN BABY BURN!



I just want to remind everyone about BURN BABY BURN: the massive concert put together by BURN magazine. It's happening this Thursday, November 23, at the Music Hall in SM Mall of Asia, and it starts at 5 PM. (Originally slated for last September 28, it was postponed when mega-typhoon Milenyo hit.)

The lineup, if I may say so, is excellent: them big rock bands like Bamboo, Itchyworms, Sugarfree, Orange and Lemons, Hale, and Imago; the sweet bossa nova of Sitti; the virtuosic (if there's such a word) musical pranksters known as the Radioactive Sago Project; reggae act Hemp Republic; jazzhound Johnny Alegre; pinoy R&B paragons Chillitees; sexycool electronica artists Drip; rock n' soul band Sino Sikat? (I hate that question mark); the electro-latin-hiphop of Nyko Maca, and lots more -- 22 artists in all. Flash a copy of BURN issue 3 (Gary V or the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the cover) or 4 (Bamboo or Nelly Furtado on the cover, out this week) to get in. See you there!

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Tune for Broken Hearts



I love XTC. They may, in fact, be my favorite band of all time. Here is an excellent feature on PopMatters, about XTC, Andy Partridge and the Fuzzy Warbles collection.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

U2 and You



Clicky clicky on the piccy piccy. :)

Also new on PULSE.PH: Kristine Lim's Top 10 Sad Bastards Who Make Sad Bastard Music. Hee hee.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Presenting PULSE



"PULSE.PH is the online destination for any and all Pinoys who want music in their lives." For those of you who have been wondering -- yes: this is my day job now! I'm still Reviews Editor for BURN, and of course I'm still writing my column for the Manila Bulletin, but my 9 to 5 gig is PULSE.

Check it out now -- we've got a review of Narda's new album, Betty Tianco's "Confessions of a Stage Girlfriend," Danisha Sison's "Top 10 Guilty Musical Pleasures," and features on Imago, Sitti, Milagros Dancehall Collective, and more! Some stuff doesn't work properly yet -- like the registration process and the downloads -- but everything should be up and running soon. :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Narda Comes Out with Discotillion



Narda's new album is being launched tonight!
Discotillion is shot through with fierce get-up-and-dance punk energy laced with sugar-sweet hooks and squelchy electro-sounds... "Molotov" is a sonic grenade that combines yelps and croons, beeps and buzzes, urgency and sentiment; it has received airplay on NU107, and was voted no.1 this year by NU107 listeners on the Stairway to Seven countdown. "Mitsa" is an enormously catchy shout-along number, peppered with rapid-fire bursts of drumming and burning with attitude. "Kay Lab" slows things down but is no less intense, and "Alta Presyon" has a New Wave flavor but an energy all its own. "Buti Nga" is a car chase of a song: adrenaline-pumping and dangerous. Six more remarkable songs make up the rest of the new album.


It's tonight, Sept. 22, Friday 9pm at Cafe Saguijo in Makati. Aside from Narda, Bagetsafonik, the Milagros Dancehall Collective, Chicosci and Day One Movement are playing. (Invite's here.) See you there!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Pups My Pups



I want one! Wait, correction: I WANT THEM ALL. Thanks a lot, Fran. Ever since I read your post, I've been wanting a basset hound puppy. They're SO CUTE.

Sadly, since I have a full-time job and lots of scratchable wooden furniture in my sala, I don't think raising one is feasible right now. Besides, I can't even take care of pet fish, much less furry mammals. But man, look at 'em. AAWWWWW.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Saving Sally



Here's something I'm looking forward to: Saving Sally, "a Tiny Independent Film About a Girl, a Boy, a Few Monsters and Some Ice Cream." (Thanks to Budjette for clueing us in.) "This project is a blend of live actors, illustrations, 3-D characters and motion graphics. It was shot entirely on a blue screen and is currently undergoing heavy postproduction with the use of regular mac & pc desktops. The end result is a visually delightful moving picture book."

"Visually delightful" may be an understatement, judging from the trailer. (Gotta love those little robots!) The movie stills make very nice wallpaper, btw. ;) That it looks so good will come as no surprise to those familiar with the work of Avid Liongoren -- his excellent illustrations and videos have always had an eye-catching, childlike-yet-twisted quality. (Read The Boy Who Liked Bear to get an idea of the state of his brain.)

Avid's apparently using some techniques he's employed before, as in the video he did for Kamikazee, but this is the first time he's doing something on this full feature-length scale, which is exciting. I only hope it doesn't turn out like MirrorMask, which delivered in terms of concepts, visuals, and casting, but in the end fell somewhat flat in terms of story and characterization (that last bit was somewhat painful for me to type; as anyone who knows me knows, I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. Still, it's true).

So here's to Avid's labor of love. May it turn out to be wonderful (and robotful and monsterful).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

YStylin'



There's this thing at the Rockwell tent tonight at 8 PM-- YStyle's Third Anniversary. There'll be a fashion show with Ivar Aseron, Yvonne Quisumbing-Romulo and Patty Eustaquio, and the whole thing's being done "in collaboration with HG, Furball and Sweetspot."

The music and visuals for the event are going to be interesting, I hear. Apparently, "25 musicians in an orchestra pit, 5 laptops, Wahijuara, the Radioactive Sago Project, strings and wind from the UP College of Music, and a human beatbox" will be involved. Someone will be mixing cinematic visuals in real time to the music -- I'm not sure exactly how that's going to look just yet, but it sounds good -- and it'll be conducted by Lourd de Veyra, with music written by Malek Lopez.

"Come in cinema-inspired outfits, and bring yer cameras and friends!" the text from HG honcho Erwin said. See ya there.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Back to School


"Okay, who here has read my book? All the rest of you, get the hell out of my classroom." Photo by Chris Lagman. Thanks Chris!

Yesterday I took a leave from work to lecture on Creative Writing at this Alternative Classroom Learning Experience thing (ACLE for short) at my alma mater, Philippine Science High School. I had forgotten how scary-smart and versatile Pisay kids can be; despite the fact that they’re supposed to be total science geeks, they often display an astonishing aptitude for the arts. Two budding anthology editors were planning a compilation of essays on high school dorm life by the end of the session (and asking me about possible publishers).

A quick writing exercise -- write the opening paragraph of a story based on one of two beginnings (1. “I don’t even know why I’m telling you this” and 2. “When I woke up this morning, I knew something was wrong”) -- yielded a wide variety of imaginative responses. And unlike most high school classes I’ve lectured to, the Pisay kids were actually eager to read their work aloud. (Well, most of them, anyway.)

It was fun talking informally to the students after the lecture; some of them seem more like college students in their self-possession and awareness (I take it as a good sign when people can regard their writing with enough detachment to acknowledge that it tends to be “emo”). It was also great when Yvette and I hung out with the other lecturers afterwards -- most of them were former batchmates of mine, so it was like a mini-reunion. Excellent food was provided by the Regali Kitchen (hi Jabes!). Lecturer Gang Badoy feeling up bahag-clad lecturer Kidlat Tahimik was another highlight of the afternoon.

For those who are wondering how I ended up with a degree in English after having studied in Pisay, well -- I studied BS Mathematics for two years before I caved in and shifted. (Other former Pisay students who betrayed the school by turning their backs on science include Jose Dalisay, Jessica Zafra and Allan Popa.)

Friday, September 01, 2006

"The King of Nothing to Do" OUT NOW!


Haven't blogged in a while -- chalk that up to being busy busy both with BURN magazine and with my *new* job (more on that later) -- but of course I just had to tell everyone to go out and get a copy of my new book, The King of Nothing to Do, which has finally rolled off the presses, yay!

It will eventually be sold in National Bookstore and Powerbooks, but RIGHT NOW it's available at the UP Press bookstore in UP Diliman, and at the UP Press booth at the Manila International Bookfair this week, which is being held at the World Trade Center on Roxas Boulevard until September 3, Sunday.

Thanks to Elbert, who did an excellent job on the cover and the interior illustrations! Am very happy with the way they turned out. (Although since I had most of my head hair shaved off, the caricatures don't look that much like me anymore. Luckily I'm still fat.)

Milflores Publishing doesn't have a budget for launches and such, but I have been talking to Yvette and Kidlat about holding one on my own, preferably at one of the bars I usually go to for gigs. Am hoping Hong Kong Holiday will play at the launch, if we manage to pull it off. (The other week, at a dinner party, HKH lead singer Waya sang absolutely devastating covers of "Waiting in Vain"* and "Overjoyed." You people don't know what you're missing.) :)

In the meantime, go out there and buy my book! You won't regret it. Okay, there's a slight chance you may regret it, but that will no doubt be due to some sort of failure on your part, as I am a writing genius and my book beyond reproach. Thank you.

*Originaly mis-identified as "Train in Vain." Clash, Marley, whatever.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What It Is To BURN



I'm back! Holy crap, it's good to be at home and in front of a working computer again. For a while there, I had to work in internet cafes, paying by the hour whilst surrounded by people flirting by webcam and playing networked games. Luckily, my friendly neighborhood computer genius came over and finally killed the virus that had been eating my PC alive.

So much to blog about. But first, let me just inform alla youse that BURN #3 is on the stands now! It's got features on Sino Sikat?, Chicosci, Dong Abay, Gary V, Kyla, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Dorques, and lotsa others. And of course, as always, it comes with a free CD, with Actual Music (from Sino Sikat?, Bob Aves, Faspitch, etc.). Get one now!

And speaking of BURN, last Thursday's soft launch at Embassy Cuisine was a real blast. Thanks to Yvette, JB, Steph, Waya, Lala, Karlo, Fran, JP, Indira, Earnest, Aldus, Eric, Cris, Jovan, Cait, Mon, Ramon, Pat, and everyone else who went! Drip and Sitti both played excellent sets, there was an open bar (at least 'til around 10) and plenty of eye candy for the boys and girls, and all in all, it was a damn good night. I wrote the script for the event and the text for the Press Kit and threw together the PowerPoint presentation, so I was more than a little pleased that it all went well. Read all about it in my column in the Bulletin next Tuesday.

Still on the topic of BURN, Up dharma Down fans may wish to drop by Megamall later; they're playing for the first leg of the BURN Mall Tour at 5 PM. (Complete schedule below.) See y'all there!

BURN SM Mall Tour

August 05 SM Megamall 5PM (Up dharma Down)
August 12 SM Southmall 5PM (Barbie Almalbis)
August 19 SM North EDSA 5PM (The Dawn)
August 20 SM Mall Of Asia 5PM (Nina and Christian Bautista; front act - Callalily)

BURN Main Concert: BURN, Baby, BURN!

September 28 SM Mall of Asia, Music Hall 6PM

Featuring: Bamboo, Imago, Itchyworms, Sugarfree, Sitti, Radioactive Sago Project, Up dharma Down, Drip, Chillitees, Callalily, Sino Sikat?, 6cyclemind, Hale, Orange and Lemons, Pupil, Nina, Christian Bautista, Barbie Almalbis, and lots more.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yay for Yvette!



Now that the winners of the First Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards have been announced, I can finally publicly congratulate the wonderful and talented Yvette on being one of the finalists! Though her story, Stella for Star, didn't end up ranked among the top three slots, I liked it the most, and not because I'm just generally crazy about her -- it was both genuinely horrifying and affecting.

I would also like to remind everyone that Yvette's column at gmanews.tv has fresh installments every week or so -- my favorites so far have been her pieces on X-Men 3 and the McDo Greenhills breakfast club (especially the breakfast club one), but every installment has proven interesting, well-written and entertaining, even if it weirded me out to read about my brother and sister-in-law's mating rituals. Other topics covered so far include Stephen Chow, time management, and a food trip to Quezon. Go read!

Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You, Part Two


Only about a month to go before my second book, The King of Nothing to Do, comes out from Milflores Publishing! Once again, that cover design you see on the right is just something I whipped up for fun. I love the actual cover design done by artist extraordinaire Elbert, and can't wait to see it in print and hold the book in my hands. It's going to have no less than fifty essays culled from over five years of writing -- stuff about love, city life, TV shows, secondhand books, writing workshops, imaginary friends, the concept of Pinoy time, how not to get your hair cut, the history of horse racing in the Philippines, and lots more. You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll buy multiple copies for all your friends and relatives! Or at least I hope you will. I have a heroin habit to support. And by "heroin" I mean "pizza."

"The Awwww Song" by Jorel Corpus


Me and The Happy Meals, during the interview I conducted for BURN. That's Jorel on the right.

Here's a fun little song that combines a laid-back, at-the-beach feel with earnest, heartfelt sentiments: it's currently untitled, but its lyrics will make you go "awww," hence the placeholder name. It's by self-described "all-around music guy" Jorel Corpus, who you probably know from one of his many bands: Kjwan, The Happy Meals and Brigada. Go here to download it!

On an earlier post, Jorel has a disclaimer regarding the raw nature of the demos he puts up on his Multiply page ("I recorded them using my very basic set up. Which is ... MY PC, hahaha"), but the strength of this song really comes across. Heck, it's been days -- no, weeks! -- since I first listened to it, and I can still sing the immensely catchy chorus. Would love to hear a fully fleshed-out final version of this song someday. Maybe with a horn section and backing vocals... Okay, maybe not. Still, whether stripped-down or lavishly produced, I'm sure its basic charm will remain intact. Good stuff.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pill-Poppin' Fun


Photo taken from The Bitter Pill's yahoogroup.

Yvette and I wrote about The Bitter Pill -- the indie super-band with Mong Alcaraz from Chicosci, Mikey Amistoso from Ciudad, Isa Garcia from Cousin Ed, Diego Castillo from Sandwich, and (at the time) Pao Santiago from Join the Club -- for the first issue of BURN. Here's the intro paragraph:
"More! More! More!" everyone in the bar was chanting, heedless of chairs and composure, all sweaty from dancing and yelling and crowding into each other. We had just been blown away by a handful of raucous, joyous, punk-energized, pop-catchy songs, delivered with astonishing attitude, liveliness, and an almost-psychic rapport by the five-piece band known as The Bitter Pill. Formed about half a year ago, they’ve been converting indifferent crowds into on-their-feet fans at every performance, and we were no exception. Alas, there was no ‘more’ to be had: "Sorry -- that’s all the songs we know!" apologized Diego Castillo, before staggering off the stage.

And now, you can feast your ears on one of The Bitter Pill's songs, specifically "You and Me and the Devil Makes Three" -- um, that is, if you join their yahoogroup and go to the "Files" section. (I don't think you can right-click and download it, but you can listen to it via Quicktime.) Though it's deceptively simple and one of their slower songs, I can attest to its hypnotic, near-delirious power when they play it live, and this cleaner studio version has its own charms.

It begins with a simple piano and electric guitar back-and-forth, then builds and repeats and builds and repeats until somewhere near the end when the guitars get all urgent and near-frenzied you can imagine the audience howling and breaking all the furniture in the bar, and then it quiets down and fades out. Very nice. I can't wait for a full album proper from these guys.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"So Hard to Find My Way" by Jackie Greene

I swear to God, if my life were a sitcom, this song is what would be playing over the opening credits sequence. As Lazlo Bane's "Superman" is to Scrubs, as They Might Be Giants' "Boss of Me" is to Malcolm in the Middle, so this song is to the nonexistent, award-winning, cult success series based on my life:



I've played this song so much over the past two days that the stray cats who occasionally wander into my garage can sing along to it now. I air-guitar to it. I air-horn section to it. I air-handclap to it. No, wait, scratch that last part: I actually do literally clap my hands to it. Because that requires no actual musical ability. It's "a fantastic upbeat, retro-sounding tune combining piano, banjo, and Memphis horns," as Heather of I Am Fuel, You Are Friends says; what more do you need to know? Go here and get it already!

PS. CONGRATULATIONS to Indira! :D Yaaay! You rock.

PPS. Welcome back, Kristine F.! Now post something with words! ;)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Poptastic! Too: Absentee, Casper & The Cookies, The Bees (U.S.)


More songs to put a spring into your step and a hum into your heart! (Yes -- hearts can hum. Some of them are often off-key, though.) This time, instead of solo artists, it's a buncha bands. If three can be called a buncha.

First, you must go here and download "You Try Sober" by Absentee. It sounds happy and jaunty -- and Dan Michaelson's ridiculously deep voice is a treat -- but listen to the lyrics and they tell a tale of a relationship fucked up by alcoholism. "You can't just come here when you're drunk," Michaelson grumbles; and keyboardist/vocalist Melinda Bronstein answers (I love boy-girl tradeoff vocals in pop songs, btw) -- "I wanna make things right." "Why don't you try sober, if you're so sure?" Michaelson retorts. Great stuff.

Then go here for the 70s-sounding "Learn How to Disappear" by Casper & the Cookies. Yes, I know, horrible name. Good song though -- like "You Try Sober," the tune will get your toes tapping while the lyrics get your brow furrowing. "Better learn how to disappear, get yourself away from here. Change your name and your address, and get a brand new face. Erase the memories from your head and act like someone else instead." It's so catchy you'll be singing along to the paranoiac chorus as if it were "You Are the Sunshine of My Life."

Finally, my current favorite -- go here and get "The Country Life" by The Bees. No, not those Bees -- The Bees U.S., apparently. This piano-enhanced country-pop-rock song has even more of a 70s vibe than "Learn How...", and it rollicks. It is rollicking. It will have you hand-clapping and harmonizing and forgetting you are a city boy (or girl). "I just wanna sing my song. So long to city lights, so long to neon signs -- I'm gone!" Sweetness. Over much too soon. Hit the repeat button.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You


It gives me great pleasure to announce that my second book, "The King of Nothing to Do," will be out very very soon, from Milflores Publishing! In July, most likely. Here's the brief intro I wrote:
Hi there.

This is a collection of nonfiction pieces that I wrote, for various otherwise reputable publications, over the past five-plus years. (To my horror, the earliest of these essays dates back to over a decade ago; talk about time flying.) Many of the pieces collected here -- particularly the ones dated from 1999 to 2001 -- originally appeared in the much-missed online magazine LegManila, either as features, contributions to the Urban Shoes section, or installments of my column, "Where is my mind?"

The more recent pieces are from "The King of Nothing to Do", my current column, which appears on a biweekly basis in the i section of the Manila Bulletin. A handful of these essays came out in magazines like MEGA and the Philippine edition of Cosmo. Those of you who have followed what could be jokingly referred to as my career (hi, Mom) know that I wrote a truckload of stuff during my years as a staffer on PULP and MTV Ink -- interviews and reviews and events coverage -- but, though I’m rather proud of that material, I decided not to include any of it here; perhaps it will be gathered in a future collection dedicated to music-related matters.

Anyway, I hope you have fun reading this. I had fun writing it, for the most part, but I imagine that the real fun will be when the royalties start coming in. Thank you for helping to make that happy experience possible.

Those images on this post (clickyclick to make 'em larger) are my attempts at mock covers for my book. Rest assured that the final cover will be much snazzier, as it will be designed by the very talented Elbert Or, who is also doing interior illustrations. YAY!

PS. The 26th installment of my column will be out this Friday, in the Manila Bulletin. That's right -- 26th! I've been writing my latest column for exactly a year. Yahoo!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Poptastic! : Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado, David Mead

Here are songs to make you smile! Unless you see your life as unending black bitter torment only occasionally relieved when you stop to drink the blood of infants, in which case they may only make you twitch a little.



First off is the appropriately named "Smile" by Lily Allen. Go here and download it now. "What can I say? I can't resist fun, summer-y pop made by pretty girls," says someone named Matt. You and me both, my friend. And speaking of pop by pretty girls, go here for "Glow" by Nelly Furtado, produced by Timbaland. "Are you fucking serious?" raves Rollie. "BRZZZZZZZZT that synth just gave me freezer burn... Can anyone agree that Timbo is like 20 years ahead of anyone else producing pop music today?" Let's see hands! Up in the air like you just don't care! Finally, go here for "Chatterbox" by David Mead, who is not a pretty girl, but has his good points anyway. "This is pretty much the most ridiculously infectious and happy pop song I have heard in a while," saith Ms. Browne. Woo, say I, followed immediately by hoo!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Talking Ducks and the Kama Sutra


Hey hey! I've got a new short story, called "Anas Luzonica," in the June issue of Manual magazine, on sale now. Here's a brief description of it, from the magazine's site:

"What's a guy to do if his best friend is a talking duck and his girlfriend, a potential aswang? Why, sit down to dinner, of course, in this amusing tale of love in the time of the bird flu."

The funny thing about Manual's monthly "Quickie Fiction" is that EVERY story they feature must make use of the following three concepts/elements: the Kama Sutra, aswangs, and bird flu. I know: how insanely random can you get? But sometimes it's fun to work with such oddball restrictions. The EIC told me that sometimes the writer just mentions one or more of the elements in passing, without really working them into the story, so I was determined to make each seemingly incompatible concept integral to "Anas Luzonica." I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Yay!

Friday, June 09, 2006

BURN #2



Been sick for a week; came down with a fever and spent a whole night throwing up, which, as all-night activities go, is not one of the funnest. Have also not been online in almost that long; just been resting and reading, mostly. I can keep my food down now, but I still don't quite feel well enough to venture out into the world, which is why I don't have my own copy of THE NEW ISSUE OF BURN yet. But YOU -- you HAVE NO EXCUSE! Go out and buy it NOW NOW NOW. As you can see from the pix above (click on 'em to make them grow magically), the second issue of BURN has two covers, one with The Dawn (Happy 20th Anniversary!) and one with Pink.

(Thanks to Denise for the jpegs; since these were early versions that Dave laid out, the actual covers on the stands may look slightly different.)

This issue features Indira Endaya's lengthy interview with The Dawn, a feature on hot young bossa nova singing star Sitti by Yvette Tan (who also writes about industrial band Interlace), Eric Melendez interviewing Slapshock AND Cheese, a Kapatid feature by Denise Mallabo, a Chillitees feature by Cris Ramos, Inky de Dios giving samba percussion lessons, the debut of Sarah Meier's column (and second columns by Quark Henares and Lourd de Veyra), me writing about Bagetsafonik, The Happy Meals, and Swing Out Sister (corresponding with Corinne Drewery was a thrill), and more, more, including of course the FREE CD hosted by Zach Lucero, with tracks by the Chillitees, Bagetsafonik, Giniling Festival, Concrete Sam, The Happy Meals, etcetera. Wahoo!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

BURN Like That



Here are a couple of links to things that have nothing directly to do with BURN the magazine, but which remind me of it anyway, because of the titles and the music connection and various other less easily explained reasons. Go here and download Rainer Maria's "Burn," an excellent song. Then go here and read "Desire to Burn," a short essay about poetry, Kurt Cobain, and "the true lesson of creativity".

She believes if she could only overtake
The riding rhythm of things,
Of her own electrons,
Then she would be at rest
If she could forget school,
Climb the tree,
Be the tree,
Burn like that.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Shaolin Robots Attack!


Look! Chinese superheroes! They're called The Great Ten, but considering that one of them is "Mother of Champions, who can give birth to a litter of 25 super-soldiers about every three days" and another is called "The Seven Deadly Brothers" and is "a martial arts expert who can divide into many," it seems to me that there are a whole lot more than just ten of them. You would think that since Marvel already has a crappy Chinese superhero called The Collective Man -- who "can call on the collective strength of all of the people of China," which should make him one of the most powerful comics characters of all time, but instead just makes him utterly sucktastic -- DC would steer well away from these similarly 'collective' concepts.

I don't know. These character designs and names remind me strongly of those idiotic multicultural Superfriends that no one liked. Remember Apache Chief, El Dorado and Samurai? (Click on the links, lots of funny stuff there.) I mean -- "Accomplished Perfect Physician"? "Socialist Red Guardsman"?! Jesus. But apparently mad genius Grant Morrison is behind all this, so... benefit of the doubt.

Luckily, we'll probably be spared the ordeal of outsiders imagining Filipino superheroes based on mistaken assumptions and cliches -- not just because outsiders don't freaking care, but because even if they did want to, they'd be too ashamed, considering Arnold Arre has already successfully created contemporary Pinoy superheroes that are fresh, exciting, and draw on Pinoy mythology and pop culture -- in other words, totally kick ass. Yes, that was a plug for Andong Agimat, which I finally read last weekend, and which I liked a lot.

Just had a thought: I post about comics so much that I'm thinking about starting another blog altogether and just posting about music here. Because, of course, the world really needs another comics blog.

Isha Plays



Will be in Ortigas this Wednesday, May 31, to catch a performance by Isha (a.k.a. Peach Abubakar-Quebral) at Kenny, the jazz bar near Pier 1 along Julia Vargas. The set starts at 9:30 PM; Peach will be playing covers of beloved jazz and new wave songs, as well as her originals, in her inimitable Tori Amos-influenced style.

To find the place -- which is walking distance from Antel Global, where our old office PULP is -- Peach says "Just go to Home Depot, sa gilid may strip na puro bar at resto, nandun yung Kenny." She describes Kenny thus: "There's a baby grand, low lights, the works! Perfect for smooching away." Heh heh. Cover charge is a mere Php50.

Good news is, she'll be playing there every Wednesday night from now on -- "My first regular puesto, yehey!" So people who can't make it on the 31st will have at least one chance a week to experience Isha's stuff. See you there!

PS. Happy Birthday to my Mom, belated Happy Birthdays to Avel and Kidlat, and an advanced Happy Birthday to Emon!

PPS. Go here to download TV themes galore, from the A-Team to the X-Men. :) Just grabbed Duck Tales and the surprisingly regga-ish Care Bears theme.

Friday, May 26, 2006

BURN at SaGuijo's 2nd Anniversary

Okay, back to music-related stuff! Denise informs me that BURN Magazine is one of the media partners for SaGuijo's 2nd Anniversary gigs, and I couldn't be happier. I mean, check out these lineups:



May 26: Friday
(That's tonight!): SaGuijo 2nd Anniversary, Part 1

FEATURING:
Ciudad, Pedicab, ChicoSci, Soapdish, Blast Ople, Boldstar, Sleepyheads, Monkey Spank, The Bitter Pill, If Disco Is A Crime, Sandwich, Sugar Free, Imago, and Angulo

(That's at least seven bands I really enjoy watching, and seven bands I'm okay with, or curious about.)



May 27: Saturday: SaGuijo 2nd Anniversary, Part 2

FEATURING:
Up dharma Down, The Christmas Lights, Daydream Cycle, Bagetsafonik, Makopa, Sino Sikat?, Sound, Sun Valley Crew, Chillitees, Nyko Maca, Kompressor, Sheila and the Insects, and Severo

(Another excellent lineup. Yay for UdD ddc Bagetsa SS? Sound SVC Chillitees Nyko Maca etcetera!)

Looks like two nights of lots and lots of great music. Congratulations to SaGuijo! We'll be selling BURN magazines at the venue, for those of you who (shame, SHAME) haven't picked up copies yet. And our second issue should be on the stands very, very soon.

SaGuijo is at 7612 Guijo St., San Antonio Village, Makati City, Tel. (02) 8978629

PS. Some of the BURN core staff is going to be interviewed on NU 107 later, at 3 PM. Tune in!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Scenes You Won't See in X-Men: The Last Stand #3


from The Uncanny X-Men #153, one of my absolute favorite issues

The X-Men as Pirates. Yes, Pirates.

The Dark Phoenix saga, retold as a fairy tale of sorts involving pirates, wizards, and bamfs. "Who DARES?!" "Who else, babe?" "Talk is cheap, star mama!" Should be read to be believed.

PS. For those of you who are wondering what a bamf is, please click here.

Scenes You Won't See in X-Men: The Last Stand #2


from The Uncanny X-Men #183

Colossus Dumps Kitty Pryde

Aaarrgh! Stop breaking her heart, you big stupid fucker! STOP IT!!

Scenes You Won't See in X-Men: The Last Stand #1


from The Uncanny X-Men #169

Callisto Kidnaps Angel

Talk about kinky. Not only does Callisto have Angel bound and helpless, she slapped some diapers on him too. Come to mommy Callisto! *shudders*

Ten Things About X-Men: The Last Stand



Holy crap, Brett Ratner pulled it off.

Yvette and I watched X-Men: The Last Stand at the Podium last night. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much. I mean, X-Men was pretty good and the sequel was even better, but everyone knows that Bryan Singer, the director of those two flicks, decided to run off and do Superman Returns instead of a second X-sequel. That left someone whose main claim to fame was the Rush Hour movies, starring Jackie Chan and whatsisface, to chronicle the next -- and quite literally most explosive -- chapter in the Marvel mutant saga.

And yeah, Ratner pulled it off. It's not award-winning artsy stuff, obviously, but it is a hell of a ride. Since the first two movies established all the rules, this one hits the ground running. And now here are Ten Things About X-Men: The Last Stand:

1. Yes, Stan Lee has a cameo (it comes early in the flick).

2. And yes, fellow comics geeks, there is a fastball special.

3. Also, there's a scene where Rebecca Romijn is nake-- *sound of readers stampeding to movie theaters* Hello? Hello? Is anyone still out there? Oh well. I guess I'll go ahead and do the rest of the list anyway.



4. I am so glad that they got Kitty Pryde right. Growing up, reading writer Chris Claremont's run on X-Men (and yes, regarding his artistic collaborators, I prefer the Cockrum/Smith/Romita Jr. era to the Byrne stuff, and of course to the 90s stuff as well), despite the fact that to my knowledge I was never a teenaged girl genius with phasing powers, I was totally, totally into Kitty's story: the ups and downs, her triumphs and heartaches. (The issue where Colossus dumps her because he had fallen in love with some dead alien woman -- oh, man.) She was the soul of the X-Men, for me. And she may not have gotten much screen time here, but what little moments she did have were great -- particularly the one where, in time-honored X-Men comics fashion, she defeats a foe she should have absolutely no friggin' chance against. Plus, Ellen Page is such a cutie. I would have felt slightly creepy about typing that last sentence, but a quick IMDB check confirms that she is, in fact, of legal age.

5. Storm does have much more to do here: aside from gaining a few cool new tricks in battle, she's portrayed as more essential to the team and the school. In fact, in one scene, Prof X tells her that she is the one he envisions taking over the school in the event of his passing on. It brought back nice comics memories of when Storm became the X-Men's field leader after Cyclops/Scott Summers left. Made for many many good stories by Chris Claremont, way back. However, the movies will never, ever get her hair right, ever. It may be that it's not humanly possible to get that mane of white hair right outside of the comics. Funny, because I would have thought it would be Wolverine's hair that would be impossible to portray onscreen.



6. And speaking of Wolverine -- of course he gets the best lines and the key scenes. The movie audience has spoken, and they likes 'em some Jackman (why that sounds vaguely dirty, I don't know). Even in the comics, he's by far the most popular, so there may very well be something inherent in the character that appeals to people. However, like most fans who have been reading comics since the 80s, I'm pretty sick of him getting the spotlight all the time -- but the interesting thing is, Wolverine-as-pivotal-character does work better in the movies, probably because Jackman-as-Wolverine is funnier, less angsty, and yes, more domesticated than the comics version. Also, he was established in the first movie as being the audience's POV character: the one with the irreverence to remark to the Prof, "So, she's Storm... he's Cyclops... who are you, Wheels?" Having said all that, I am amazed at how many people they depict him eviscerating onscreen. Total disregard of the usual "only kill when there is no other option" comics rule. So in a weird way, movie-Wolvie is both more candy-ass and more bad-ass.



7. Famke Janssen really throws herself into the role of Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix. Her acting's almost too much, at times; but then, hey, this is super-powered soap opera we're talking about. The story calls for her to be -- by turns -- vulnerable, savage, detached, ambivalent, and fucking scary, and she does it all convincingly. There's a certain scene where you won't know whether to be turned on, or horrified, or, God help you, both.

8. Magneto will fuck your shit up. You will believe that a man pushing 70 can tear apart a city with the power of his mind (and some fancy shmancy hand gestures).

9. As you may have already gathered, there are a lot of characters here; literally dozens of them, mostly based on the comics, though you wouldn't know it to glance at them. Recognition usually comes when a character calls another character out by name ("That's Arclight?!"), or in some cases, when the end credits are rolling ("Where the heck were Psylocke and Jubilee?"). Certain characters that had major roles in the first two movies have either had their roles reduced or are completely absent this time around. Nightcrawler is nowhere to be seen; presumably he rejoined the circus. And, this may be a bit of a spoiler, but Rogue doesn't have much to do here either. Comics fans will realize that she played such an active role in the Claremont and post-Claremont stories because she had already permanently leeched off Carol Danvers' powers of flight, super-strength and near-invulnerability by the time she joined the X-Men, and thus was much more handy in a fight; that hasn't happened -- and most likely never will happen -- in the movies. Still, despite the huge cast, many members are given a chance to shine.

10. The story, despite weaving together no less than three major plotlines/themes from the comics and a whole bunch of other subplots and sub-themes, is remarkably simple and easy to follow. Motivations dovetail nicely; setpieces spring out naturally. The people who put together this movie knew what to use and what to leave out: it is, after all, possible to do the Dark Phoenix concept without involving the Shi'ar (and thank God, because Lilandra's hair is more impossible than either Storm's or Wolverine's. And can you imagine the giggles that Gladiator's space mohawk would have garnered?) There are some relationships that originated in the comics but are handled slightly differently in the movie (like the enmity between Storm and Callisto), and some that for the most part belong to the movie alone (the Iceman/Pyro rivalry); as noted, these guys knew what to leave and take and what to invent. In terms of juggling, many balls are tossed into the air, and it's amazing how many of them are caught once again by movie's end, though there are one or two that end up falling to the ground.

And that's all for now. So, is X-Men: The Last Stand worth seeing? Let's ask Kitty:



X-Men: The Last Stand -- a film about prejudice, equality, power, responsibility, and hair.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Two in One



From Cynthia's blog:
"These four albums from SonyBMG are just the first batch of a series of 2-in-1 cds that feature the music of 90s bands like Yano, Sugar Hiccup, Sandwich and Color it Red. Don’t mistake them for greatest hits collections though -- they’re actually a repackaging of two original albums per artist that came out in the last decade. So buying one cd will actually give you two albums for the price of one, neat-o!... The cds go for P285 each, and please stay tuned because there are six more coming."

Very nice work! Am definitely getting the Sandwich set. I only ever had a cassette copy of grip stand throw (and even that is missing now). Will have to think about Sugar Hiccup though, since I do have a CD copy of Womb. Then again, I think P285 is actually less than the first CD originally cost. :)

Am wondering what the "six more" that are slated for release are...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dan's Top 10


Calling Colin Farrell a "Boyzone reject," naming Sex Lives Of The Potato Men as one of his favorite films, and oh yeah, writing over a hundred excellent short stories -- gotta love Dan Rhodes. I'd like him even if he didn't marry one of my favorite friends from college. Go here for his "Literary Top 10" in the May 2006 issue of Pulp.net. No... not that Pulp.

And speaking of matters literary, today's the deadline for The Bridport Prize and I'm going to miss it! Just like I missed the Palanca deadline last month. *slashes wrists* Sometimes I really just want to drop all this other writing crap that I do -- well, maybe not my column -- and just try to seriously get back into writing short stories again. Oh well.

Waya, this Wednesday


Waya quietly sips tea just before ROCKING YOUR BLOCK OFF

Waya Gallardo is probably the best singer I have ever seen perform live, and that's not something I say lightly, and it's not something I say just because she's my friend. I still remember watching her do a Led Zeppelin cover at Mayric's -- she was on her knees by song's end, singing her guts out, sending electricity up everyone's spines, bringing smiles to the faces of whatever Rock Gods may exist. She's equally adept at doing soulful renditions of songs by such masters as Al Green and Marvin Gaye, and let me tell you, you have to be really good to even attempt to do stuff that those two have already done.

One of my top three gigs of all time has to be the one where Waya and Beng Calma jammed with Squid 9 in Big Sky Mind, over two years ago. Waya and Beng improvised impeccably, weaving lyrics and melodies over the stylish sinuous sounds of Raimund Marasigan and Company, with Rann Golamco on riff-slinging duties and Raimund himself freestyle rapping. It was impressive as hell, and loads of fun.

And now, after a too-long hiatus, Waya's doing gigs again. She's got a gig on May 17 -- that's this Wednesday -- at 10 PM, on the third floor of Bite Club, Katipunan ("Sa tapat ng Blue Ridge"). She'll be doing covers of David Bowie, Scissor Sisters, Duran Duran, and other stuff. See y'all there.

PS. Non music-related plug! Aside from rocking people's blocks off, Waya also bakes great desserts. (I especially enjoyed her "dessert dream list" post.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Songs from Sesame Street



Oscar the Grouch and Johnny Cash performing "Nasty Dan"! Grover and Madeline Kahn singing "Sing After Me"! Bert doin' the pigeon (get your minds out of the gutter)! AND The Pinball Number Count and The Ladybugs' Picnic! Get 'em here. :)