Saturday Night Out

It’s been a while since I’ve gone out with our Pinoy circle of friends here in Melbourne and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I missed their company. Although I very much enjoy my personal time drawing, reading, writing and watching TV/movies, I’m also a bit of an extrovert. I become depressed over time if I don’t get to socialise with a bunch of other people.

Well, I can’t say it’s not my fault. After all, they’ve been inviting us over to join them in various activities and I kept passing up the invitations. So, when they organised this bowling night at AMF Sunshine Bowling Alley, I was determined to go and join in the fun.

It would have been better if Raquel could have come. But as luck would have it, she’s still afflicted by the dreaded hay fever I wrote about previously. She joked that she caught the bug from me — which is impossible since hay fever shouldn’t be contagious. Anyway, she knew how much I craved to socialise with others so she told me to go anyway while she stay in the house to rest.

So, I drove to the AMF Sunshine Bowling Alley all by myself. I’m so used to Raquel being with me in the car when I’m off to somewhere far that it feels different, like something is missing, when she isn’t there with me. I should’ve been at the alley earlier but due to my lack of planning, I failed to get the street address for the alley and I got lost driving in circles around the shops near the Sunshine train station. Fortunately, Raquel was at home and she was able to get the address for me from the Internet. She texted me the address and I finally got to the bloody alley — late!

It was good to see the familiar faces and receive their cheerful welcomes when I arrived. I immediately engaged the people I already knew in conversation and later, I introduced myself to the other people there whom I haven’t met before. Since I haven’t been joining in their activities lately, it would seem like I was the new comer to the group, actually. It doesn’t matter though. All that matters was that the more people there are, the merrier it is, as the old adage says.

Soon, those of us who were there to actually play some bowling, played. I’m glad that the others who weren’t there to play still went there anyway. I don’t think I would’ve been able to chat with them again so soon otherwise. Speaking of playing, I totally sucked that night. I simply don’t have the consistency of getting the ball to go where I want it to.

I should just give up this game, really. Maybe I should just join Arnold and his group of badminton players every Saturday afternoon and stick with that. But I’m sure I’ll just equally suck at that as well. I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter that I’m no good at either sport. I should just have fun and be glad to be out with a group of fun loving people.

Arnold also told me that he and the other badminton players regularly watch movies, too. Now that’s a kind of activity that I wouldn’t suck in, I think. Chinita and the other guys from the east also watch movies on a regular basis. However, they usually watch at Chadstone (east) which is a bit far from where I live (west). With some good movies coming out soon, maybe it’s a good time to start joining them in their movie-watching.

So, even though I didn’t get a good score that night, I’m glad to have been out with the guys again. I’m additionally pleased to meet new people there as well. And now that I had a bit of a think about it, I’m not quite sure if two of these new people are people whom I already know from my past. I wonder. I should definitely ask them about it once I get to know them a lot better.

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Published in: on August 20, 2006 at 11:55 pm  Comments (2)  

In my book

I love reading people’s responses to quizzes and memes but usually don’t have the patience to answer one myself. Which may be why it took me quite awhile to go through this particular quiz. Anyway, here goes:

1. What books sparked your interest in reading? Meaning, what books first took reading from being a forced activity to being an enjoyable pastime for you?
There weren’t many books around in our house when I was young so I picked up a high school literature textbook left by a previous tenant. It was written entirely in Filipino and featured samplings of different writings including myths, legends, love stories and fables. It started my interest in the written word and the short story form, as well as an appreciation of my native language.

2. Which three books have most changed your life (in a practical, tangible way)?

  • Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus, because it taught me that getting to the top should not come at the expense of others and losing oneself in its pursuit.
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, taught me to value friendship and the importance of trying to maintain a child-like appreciation of the world around me.
  • See answer to question 1.

3. Which three books (outside of the Bible) have most shaped your thoughts on God?
I’m not a religious person and must admit that this is a topic I don’t read up on.

4. Which book(s), if any, have you intentionally read more than once?
The Belgariad series by David Eddings (my introduction to fantasy), Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories (Vol. 1 & 2) by Arthur Conan Doyle, Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy Emmuska.

5. Which three books would you recommend to a brand new Christian?
See answer to question 3.

6. Which three books do you plan to have your kids read? (Or – “Which three books were most exciting to read to your kids/for your kids to read?” – for those of you who already have children)

  • Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus
  • A selection of Filipino myths and legends
  • The Bromeliad Trilogy by Terry Pratchett

7. Books that stand out -(i.e. Ones we’ve REALLY enjoyed as family read-alouds: )
Hmm… we don’t have family read-alouds but some books that stood out were:

  • I am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  • Forever Today by Deborah Wearing

8. A book that made you cry
Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The story of the extraordinary courage, love and sacrifices these women gave touched me. Besides, having a traditional Chinese mum and the difficulties that presents also struck a chord.

9. A book that scared you
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Being a fan of horror fiction, it’s perhaps ironic that I would choose a non-fiction book for this. However, the industrial way of growing food in our time terrifies me. The utter disregard for the laws of nature, a heavy reliance on fossil fuels and our preference for being blissfully unaware of where our food came from, where it lived, what it ate and how it got to our plate scares me. One could argue that the facts from the book were only based on America’s food culture but I believe that the problem is a global phenomenon.

10. A book that made you laugh
Truckers (1st book of The Bromeliad trilogy) by Terry Pratchett is a book about a race of small people called nomes living in a department store and a group of outsiders who has infiltrated their small world. With the department store’s imminent closing, the nomes living inside the store must venture Outside. Yes, everyone must heed the wishes of Arnold Bros. (est 1905), revered by all and whose wishes are written in the department store’s signs. And if the signs say “Final Sale: Everything must Go”, then the nomes must see if there really is an Outside and perhaps make a new life out there.

11. A book that disgusted you
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I read this book because everyone seem to be raving about it but I found it cheesy, clichéd and not very interesting.

12. A book you loved in elementary/primary school
The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn G. Keene. I remember a friend’s older sister were renting them out and I made sure I had enough money to rent a new one each week.

13. A book you loved in middle school (yrs 5, 6, 7, 8 )
P.S. I Love You, Sweet Dreams #1 by Barbara Conklin. The Sweet Dreams series was very popular with my friends at that time and it was easy to get access to them. I think I’ve read almost every Sweet Dreams book I could get my hands on during that time but this one left a lasting impression.

14. A book you loved in high school
The Shining by Stephen King was the first horror book I’ve read and remains a favourite.

15. A book you loved in college
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy Emmuska. Set against the backdrop of the French revolution, it has swashbuckling action, a lovable hero (and heroine) and romance! What’s not to like?

16. Any more favorites?

  • Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King
  • Needful Things by Stephen King
  • The Terminal Experiment by Robert Sawyer
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

17. What are you currently reading?

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

18. What’s your family reading?
My parents aren’t much into reading and as for Geejay, please see his responses to these same set of questions a few posts back.

Published in: on August 19, 2006 at 9:07 pm  Comments (3)  

Do You Like Watching Movies?

Calling other Pinoy Melbournians. Okay, maybe you don’t even need to be a Filipino. Anyway, I’m wondering if there’s anybody here whose hobby is to watch movies like me. I’ve been thinking of an activity that I could invite other people to join me on a regular basis (like weekly perhaps) and make it as an excuse to socialise.

So, I thought, hey, I like watching movies! And maybe there are others out there who similarly like watching movies. If there are, then maybe we can all go out and meet at the city and watch a movie there on an almost weekly basis. And after watching the movie, we can hang out somewhere for refreshments and some story-swapping.

What do you guys think? If you’re interested, just leave me a comment and I’ll try to get back to you. The we can arrange when we’ll meet and so on. And if there are more than a few of us, we can even make this into a sort of social group or something. I can create a mailing list where we can discuss what next movie we’re gonna watch and when and discuss about the movies themselves.

Okay, so I’m thinking ahead too much. If you are interested, please let me know. I’m always eager to make new friends.

Published in: on August 17, 2006 at 11:36 pm  Comments (8)  

What Books?

I’ve read in the blog Girl About Town about this set of questions regarding books. I decided to give it a go here.

1. What books sparked your interest in reading? Meaning, what books first took reading from being a forced activity to being an enjoyable pastime for you?

It depends. My interest in reading novels started after I read The Magician Apprentice (first book of four Riftwar Saga series) by Raymond Feist. This was the first novel I really tried to read from start to finish on my own. It was hard going for the first few chapters but then it took hold of me. I just wanted to sit down in a corner and read the book through. After this, I started to read a lot of novels and other forms of written fiction.

However, I was interested in reading non-fiction books before I started to gain interest in fiction books. This was all due to reading Dungeons and Dragons rule books and supplementary guide books. Since I was the Dungeon Master (game storyteller), I had to read up on lots of non-fiction books to get ideas for our games. Yeah, I’m a geek.

2. Which three books have most changed your life (in a practical, tangible way)?

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Unearthed Arcana. It was the first ever book I had of the Dungeons and Dragons game. I didn’t understand the rules then and I had no idea what the tables and charts in the book meant. But the description of the character classes and the magical world it describes fascinated me a lot. This started me with the whole game and ultimately, my keen interest for history, religion, mythology, storytelling and writing.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. As a child, I had this ambition of becoming an astrophysicist complete with the white lab coat. I was always curious about science and Dr Hawking’s book was able to explain to me a lot of things about the universe.

Creative Writing: Forms and Techniques by Lavonne Mueller, Jerry D. Reynolds. I had this book a long time ago and I don’t have it with me here in Australia. I bought it when I was in college and it gave me the inspiration to be more of a writer than as an artist.

3. Which three books (outside of the Bible) have most shaped your thoughts on God?

I had a pretty strong faith in God when I was growing up, having been taught in a Catholic school and university, living in a country that believes strongly in God. My thoughts on God were formed during those Religion classes I used to take in school. So, the textbooks we had in those classes should count here. But let’s say we exclude those and go to the books that rocked my faith…

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. Of all the things that could have started to cause me to doubt my faith back in college, it was this book. The way the vampire Lestat seemed to contest God’s existence made me doubt His existence as well. It wasn’t a surprise to me when I found out that Anne Rice was an atheist, in those days at least.

Teach Yourself Christianity by John Young. This small non-fiction book basically introduces Christianity to the reader. And to those who are already Christians, it is a quick “refresher course” of what it is we believe in and why. Growing up, I had these questions as to why we Christians believe in things we do. I found a lot of those questions answered by this book.

Cracking Da Vinci’s Code by James L. Garlow and Peter Jones. It is not only a book that countered Dan Brown’s anti-Christian assertions in The DaVinci Code but also provides additional teachings about Christian beliefs.

4. Which book(s), if any, have you intentionally read more than once?

Timeline by Michael Crichton. I’m a real sucker for time-travel stories. Although I heard people didn’t like this book much, it had two things I like: a story about medieval Europe and a story about the science of time travel. What’s not to like? I’ve read this book three times. That’s a lot since I usually only read a book once.

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Every time a new book comes out, I couldn’t help but re-read the older books before I read the new one. It was because of this ritual that I got a major spoiler on the sixth book. While reading the older books, someone (you know who you are) told me who died in book six and who killed him. Arrgggh!

5. Which three books would you recommend to a brand new Christian?

Teach Yourself Christianity by John Young. Described above.
Cracking Da Vinci’s Code by James L. Garlow and Peter Jones. Described above.
There are more books that I think would be suitable for new Christians, however, I have them all back in the Philippines and I can’t remember any of the titles.

6. Which three books do you plan to have your kids read? (Or – “Which three books were most exciting to read to your kids/for your kids to read?” – for those of you who already have children)

The Bromeliad Trilogy by Terry Pratchett. A very funny story about a small alien race called Nomes trapped on Earth. That’s three books right there. But, if we only count a series as one, here are two others.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. A book about the value of friendship.

The Harry Potter series. Of course!

If I was the one doing the reading, I might also read them the Belgariad series by David Eddings.

7. Books that stand out -(i.e. Ones we’ve REALLY enjoyed as family read-alouds: )

We don’t really do family read-alouds. Books that stand-out are books that make me think about the possibilities. Those are typically non-fiction books or science fiction books such as:
– The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan
– A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
– Flashforward by Robert J Sawyer
– Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax) by Robert J Sawyer

8. A book that made you cry

I’m not much for reading sob stories (sob movies, yes. sob novels, no.). But one of the saddest moments I’ve experience while reading was probably while I was reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelly.

9. A book that scared you

The Shining by Stephen King. From all of Stephen King’s books that I’ve read, this one scared me because of my long-time fear of haunted houses.

10. A book that made you laugh

Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming by Robert Zelazny and Robert Sheckley. It’s a very funny book about the turn of the millennium (year 1000 AD) and the forces of good and evil vying for the chance to reshape the world. It was the first book that made me laugh out loud.

11. A book that disgusted you

Even though I’ve read a lot of Stephen King books (including a short story of his about this guy stuck in an island who had to amputate his own body just so he has something to eat), I can’t say I’ve read a book that actually disgusted me.

12. A book you loved in elementary/primary school

Sad to say, I’m not much of a reader back in those days. I do read but mostly my dad’s collection of comic books.

13. A book you loved in middle school (yrs 5, 6, 7, 8 )

See answer 12.

14. A book you loved in high school

See answer 12. Although, at this time, our literature teachers were trying to get us to read more by giving us homework where we have to read a book and give a summary for it at the end of the week. Sad to say but I sort of cheated in that I just read the summary on the book itself and just paraphrased that in my homework.

15. A book you loved in college

This was when I only really started reading. If I had to pick one, it was a compilation book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that a friend of mine lent me (which I can’t remember ever returning). From then on, I was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and have read his other many adventures.

16. Any more favorites?

Apart from those already listed elsewhere in my answers, here are some more:
– Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (I guess you should count the rest of the Vampire Chronicles series up to Memnoch the Devil)
– I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (oooh more vampires)
– Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
– Prey by Michael Crichton (I don’t know why people didn’t like this too much)
– Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein (I specially like the part where in this original version, the lead characters are actually Filipinos and not Latin Americans that speak in an American accent like in the movie)
– The Genesis Code by John Case (mixes genetics and religious themes. What’s not to like?)

17. What are you currently reading?

A very old hard-bound tome about the history of Melbourne. I’m currently researching the way of life of 19th century Melbourne for a story I’m writing. And if I’m not reading that, I’m reading some of my art books to get inspiration for the comics I’m drawing. I really have got to free up some more of my time to get back to reading Humans (the Neanderthal Parallax book 2) by Robert Sawyer and my newly bought book The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking.

18. What’s your family reading?

My mum and brother aren’t much into reading. My dad, on the other hand, reads a lot of Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum. Back in the old days, at least. And as for Raquel, my wife, well, you’ll just have to read her answers to these same questions (to be posted later).

Published in: on August 17, 2006 at 7:42 pm  Comments (2)  

Hoodwinked!

The 3D animated film Hoodwinked is now showing in Australian cinemas at last (a year after the US showing). I’ve been waiting for this movie for a while now. From the previews you may have seen of it, you’ll see that it doesn’t compare that well, quality-wise, to recent 3D animated offerings such as Over the Hedge and Cars. Still, I anticipated the showing of this animation because my brother was lead animator for one of the characters.

Yep. This 3D film was animated in the Philippines by Filipino animators. The reason for the apparent low quality of the film was mostly due to the limited budget the producers had when they started. Not to mention the fact that this was the very first project animated by the team of Filipino animators who did this film. They finished making this film a couple of years ago but had a very tough time getting it distributed in the US. It only got a limited release in the US on December 2005.

My brother animated the high-strung squirrel, Twitchy. I realise that Over the Hedge also has a high-strung squirrel called Hammy but I believe that Twitchy was animated this way first. But, here in Australia, Over the Hedge was shown in theatres first so it would seem like Twitchy is the copy cat (er, squirrel). Anyway, I’m so proud of my brother’s accomplishment with this film.

Sure, in terms of 3D graphics, it could’ve been better but given their limited budget and experience, I think they managed to pull it off anyway. You’ll notice that the quality slowly and steadily improves as the film progresses.

Story-wise, I found it hilarious. It is certainly different than what it first seems from watching just the trailer. So, even if you may not be impressed by the quality of graphics on this film, I think you’ll find the story quite interesting and funny.

Published in: on August 16, 2006 at 12:37 pm  Comments (9)  

Hay Fever Day Two

As expected, I’m still down with the hay fever. Not much sneezing now but a lot of coughing. My throat’s quite sore and itchy. I wish I’m cured already. Now, I mentioned that the off-the-shelf hay fever cures weren’t that effective on me. Okay, they aren’t really cures as they should only manage the symptoms of hay fever. Anyway, I gave one of them a go. One that I haven’t tried before. Who knows, right?

Anyway, I took one tablet for the night. Before I take any medication, I usually look for some directions on the box. Just to be safe. I took a photo of the back of the box for you to see. Click the thumbnail for a closer look. I’ll just quote the bit that caught my attention: “In New Zealand, please refer to the accompanying consumer information leaflet.” Er, what about us Aussies? Don’t we get this special consumer information leaflet? What are you telling the Kiwis that you don’t want to let the Aussies know about this drug?

Just kidding. Pff. Okay, that wasn’t as funny as when I first brought it up to Raquel. Give me a break. I’m sick.

Published in: on August 15, 2006 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hay Fever

I have hay fever again today. I always feel absolutely miserable for up to a full week whenever I’m down with the bloody thing. Today is no different. It started with the slow build-up of mucus in my nose. By the time I get to the office in the morning, I’m sneezing in frequent random intervals. By the afternoon, my eyes began to water and my eyelids felt heavy. Come evening, I already feel very tired. It could have been another symptom of my hay fever or maybe just all that sneezing tiring me out.

It wasn’t always like this. I remember when I never had hay fever. And that was before I migrated to Australia. I’m not sure if it is just me getting old or if there’s something in the air in Australia that my body doesn’t agree with. Dictionary.com defines Hay Fever as such:

hay fever
n.
An allergic condition affecting the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes, most often characterized by nasal discharge, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes and usually caused by an abnormal sensitivity to airborne pollen. Also called pollinosis.

So, I’m thinking that maybe my body isn’t used to the pollen in the air or there’s just that much more pollen in Australia’s air. I don’t really know. I do know that it is common enough that they have lots of advertisement on TV for hay fever medication specially during spring season. I was told by other migrants that they only started getting hay fever after they moved here. Whatever the cause, it’s a big headache (literally and figuratively).

I did a little research and here is what I found from the AllergyNet Australia website:

In Australia, seasonal hay fever usually occurs in spring and early summer. The southern one-third of Australia, especially the south-east, has the most severe problems. Melbourne and Canberra are notoriously bad areas for spring allergy.

Come to think of it, I never had hay fever in the three months I lived in Sydney. I started getting it only when I moved to Canberra. And then I began to get it more often when I moved to Melbourne. That’s just great! Well, here’s at least one reason for me to move back to Sydney.

Anyway, I think it wouldn’t be too bad if the advertised anti-hay-fever medications on TV actually worked for me. I tried the different brands but nothing seems to help me much except the Sudafed decongestant and anti-allergy tablets. The big downside of taking Sudafed is that it makes me really drowsy. And nowadays, it doesn’t help as much to fight my hay fever. A friend of mine suggested I take Claratyne but I discovered that it isn’t any more effective than the other antihistamine medication I’ve tried in the past.

Basically, I feel terrible at this very moment. And if past experience is any indication, I’ll probably feel just as terrible tomorrow. Here’s hoping I’ll be cured by tomorrow.

Published in: on August 15, 2006 at 12:01 am  Comments (5)  

Blast from the past

Geejay and I spent our Saturday afternoon at the State Library of Victoria. Yup, that’s right, 2 geeks spending a bright, sunny day inside a library poring over books. Why, you ask? Well, hubby had to do research for a story he was planning for an anthology. He wanted to set the story in Melbourne circa 1881 and luckily for us, there were some books with photos of Melbourne during the Victorian era. Browsing through the Victorian-era books, I was fascinated to see familiar streets and buildings around the city during the old times. In one of the captions of a photo I was looking at, there was mention of a newspaper called The Argus, which was supposed to be the most popular paper during those times.

Three hours passed and hubby wanted to find out where all the newspapers are kept. He wanted to know how much it was to rent a room during the 1881 and thought that the classifieds would provide this information. He asked a lady at the counter where he could find this information and was shown the steel drawers where the microfilms are kept. He retrieved The Age and Sun and loaded it into a microfilm reader, which took a while since it was the first time for both of us to use a microfilm reader. Except for the familiar masthead logos, everything looked different. For one, the price was printed as 3d (3 pennies), it wasn’t until 1966 when Australia would change its currency to decimal. Next thing we noticed was that there are no headlines on the front page. Instead, the classified ads were in front followed by the announcements then the news articles, which doesn’t even have proper titles. It was while we were poring over some of the ads that an announcement was made that the library would be closing soon. We tried some of the newer microfilm scanners connected to a computer, hoping to scan the page and save it to my mobile. Unfortunately, although my phone was able to connect via the computer’s USB port, it wasn’t treated as a removable card.

Armed with a dongle type USB key today, we went back to the library during lunch hour and headed straight for the drawer containing The Argus. We then tried our luck saving an electronic copy of the micofilmed page. While hubby was busily scanning an issue from 1891, I thought it’ll be fun to see what was happening on July 17, 1873 – exactly 100 years to the day of my birth. Well, as it turned out, nothing much was reported that day as the first few articles of news involved a debate about the Ministerial Budget and the financial failure of the National Agriculture Society of Victoria. Hmmm… nothing exciting there. What really caught my eye was a report about a young woman charged with deserting her child, not because of the supposed facts surrounding the case, but because it reminded me of the Sherlock Holmes stories I’m so fond of. Here’s an excerpt:

This young woman was charged a week ago with deserting her child, and remanded. When the case came on for hearing last Tuesday, the girl’s mother made her appearance, and with great volubility proceeded to put the Court in possession of what she stated to be the facts of the matter. It appears from her statement that the putative father’s mother had agreed to take charge of the infant, and the fond parent seems to have dropped into the arrangement with an alacrity which speaks volumes for the strength of her maternal instincts. But apparently the “father’s mother” repented her of her rash act, and, being tired of her bargain, exposed the child in the street, where it was found by the police. This is the “mother’s mother’s” story, and we must confess that to us it appears “very like a “whale.”

Some advertisements for the same issue include the following:

EVENING CLASSES (separate), ladies, gentlemen, English, mathematics, bookkeeping, French, 21s quarterly. King’s College, Apsley-place, Victoria-par.

WANTED, GIRL, about 14, to make herself generally useful. Apply Claremont house, Greystreet, East Melbourne.

AT 3 Young street, Fitzroy, Parade end, comfortable BOARD and RESIDENCE, 16s per week. Single rooms.

Since we only had a limited time today and because hubby realised that he scanned an issue in the wrong year (1891 instead of 1881), we plan to go back tomorrow. It may be boring to some but reading those old newspapers felt a little like time travel to us, giving us a glimpse of how life used to be in those days.

Published in: on August 14, 2006 at 11:03 pm  Comments (1)  

Frustrations

There’s something that is preoccupying me whenever I’m at work lately. I feel frustrated and paranoid but it’s something that I can’t just vent out carelessly in a blog for fear of being dooced. That in itself is frustrating yet again. So, let me see if I can explain what I’m experiencing in another (and short) way.

I’m used to people looking up to me and my abilities. When that confidence in my abilities is not apparent, I usually begin to feel paranoid. Am I not meeting expectations? Am I thought less of? Am I not good enough? Am I as bad as that guy who got poked fun of that left the other day? People I talked to assured me that this wasn’t the case at all. And yet, I don’t believe it.

In retrospect, I think it’s just me being silly. I sort of hate myself for feeling frustrated and paranoid, actually. I wonder if this paranoia is a by-product of aging. I used to be very optimistic (ask Raquel), but lately, I find myself more and more cynical with the world and of everybody around me. I also used to be a very cheerful and friendly person. But, nowadays, I feel more introverted. Sometimes, it’s only through force of will that I engage in conversation with somebody else. Then again, maybe it’s just me not in the mood to speak out loud in English.

After having thought about it some more, I’ve decided not to let this kind of thing get me down. I’ll try to be more positive and just do my best whether or not my best is appreciated. The joy of being able to accomplish things (and, ok, my salary) should be enough reward for the work I do.

Of course, this is all easier said than done. Hopefully, it’s just a phase and I’ll feel a lot sunnier again soon.

Published in: on August 10, 2006 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Ponju Comics Anthology Project

The people of the Ponju “Piggy Farm” online community of webcomic artists, writers and fans (of which I’m a member) has recently started a comic book anthology project. The end product is a book the size of most American graphic novels you’d see in Borders nowadays, but maybe thicker. Instead of one long comic book story, it’ll contain a collection of short comics each created by a different team of people who are members of the community. That includes me.

For the past few days, I was heavily preoccupied with my contribution to the project: a short comic about a violinist busker who lives in the Victorian-era Melbourne. Well, that’s the plan, at least. I’m still working out the details. Nothing is set in stone yet so the setting and the way the story flows might still change.

Now, I don’t want to spoil the story for you so I wouldn’t be saying anymore about the story. I can show you some of the sketch studies I’ve been doing though (click thumbnails to view the larger image):

Violin Studies
violin studiesI don’t own a violin and I’ve never played a violin. So, I had to spend quite some time looking for violin and violinist photo references. At first, I had a hard time drawing a decent looking violin. Eventually, I figured out a technique to help me draw a passable violin from any angle easily. By passable, I mean that the violin wouldn’t look wrong even in the eyes of somebody who is not a violinist.

I’ve shown this sketch to friends of mine who play the violin and they said that, apart from the violin being a bit on the small side, it looks quite believable as a violin. But, to get some more knowledge about violins, I visited the local music shop to hold it my hands and get a feel for it. And now, I’ve also been listening to a lot of violin and fiddle music.

Dress Studies
Dresses StudyI’ve numbered the images so that I can reference them easily here. Okay, #1 shows what the heroine of the story will look like. It’s not the final design but it’ll be something like that. #3 (yes, #3, since I drew that first) is my first try at drawing a dress for her. It wasn’t based off any reference material I have so it’s historically inaccurate. I’ve just thrown things in there that I like such as the low neckline, the outer corset and the leather arm braces. But, no, I’m not going with this design, even though my brother loves this one.

#2 was the next design I came up with based on some old photos in the books I have in my collection. I wasn’t too happy with it so I continued to look for other dresses to base the design from. #5 (yeah, I drew this before #4) was based off actual Victorian-era photos but it looks so stiff. So, “un-fun”. Like a strict teacher’s uniform, somebody told me.

That leaves design #4 which I’m actually favouring for the final dress design. This dress was based on clothes worn in towns around Melbourne during the 1800s so it should be appropriate for the ear and setting. I’m thinking of embellishing it some more with ribbons or scarves so that when she dances, there’d be something that I can draw the swishes around her to imply motion.

Anyway, this is why I haven’t been able to blog a lot lately.

Published in: on August 9, 2006 at 12:23 pm  Comments (2)