As of this article's writing, I and the rest of the skeleton crew of our humble company are still at work in the morning of Christmas Eve. It is on our volition by the way, never forced or coerced in any one of us.

And I still think we're lucky cause some of us get to work at Christmas itself, away from their families or homes. I have had a number of these instances when I was an outbound customer service agent and let me say it's quite lonely but thinking and missing your loved ones during the holidays elicits mixed emotions.

So I've puased all the geekiness that I have inside and outside of this blog to write this. Let me say 'Merry Christmas' to all of you! I'm saying this because I might not have any chance to greet you all on the day itself. It's a long holiday ahead after this so I hope you all have a good time too in the days that follow. See you next year!

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Gone to the mountains

Now when me and my buddies were in High School, we used to hang out and/or hike Mt. Makiling just for the heck of it. I remember enjoying it and we carried out the activity up until college.

Now I'm out of college, working and pretty much an out-of-shape white collar dude that sits in front of a PC. Now that I've a new writing gig, one of my first assignments was to go to Mt. Makiling's tourist spots. I haven't climbed in ages and I thought that I might collapse or something like that midway. At least I've made it through Flatrocks but only half-way. I've been warned by the Forest Rangers that the trail was muddy as it rained throughout the weekends. I thought they were exaggerating but when I got to the trail itself, it was indeed very muddy (knee-deep muddy to be exact).

So I contacted my editor and said that the trail was, for awhile, inaccessible so I had to turn around and be advised on what to do next.

We then postponed some of the Mt. Makiling spots for another day (summer perhaps) but the trip made me realized that 1. My body is not what it used to be, 2. listen to forest rangers, they know better and 3. I've gotta start slimming down again.

In other news, I'm excited about this:

Revoltech GUNBUSTER! News from TOMOPOP btw.

Nono can't be far behind :D

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The secret is...

...after a series of new toy photos I took with my new digicam:

SD Kamen Rider Blade gang (From left to right): KR Chalice, KR Garren, KR Leangle, KR Blade

SD KR Blade on his SD bike.
My Chibi-Ultramen

Apharmd and Temjin (2P colors) figures from Virtual-On. Made by Kotobukiya.

More of the Apharmd figure from Virtual-On (Kotobukiya)

More of the Temjin (2P colors) figure from Virtual-On from (Kotobukiya)

Mini-SIC (Super Imanginative Chogokin) Kamen Rider-1 Diorama

Mini-SIC (Super Imanginative Chogokin) Kamen Rider-1 Diorama close-up

Suffice to say I'm enjoying toy and macro photography as much as my other hobbies :D

 As for my secret "I will be writing professionally once more"

It is staring at you right now.
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What's the frequency, Raipo?

Again, another not-so-long hiatus broken by a blog post from yours truly.

And yes, you might ask: "What's the frequency, Raipo?"

Been up and around lately, a lot of good things happened. Most of it I've already braodcasted in my Facebook wall. For one, I now own a Real Grade 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam:

Real Grade 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam
I was ecstatic when I held this kit in my arms. I never usually anticipate a kit but this one made me so excited from the day that it was announced. Basically, it's a scaled down Master Grade kit with a lot of gimmicks and features not found on any other 1/144 Gundam kit. A true Bandai Masterpiece if I might say.

I just snap-built the whole thing and I'm planning to paint it. More pics of it:

Familiar pose?

On a chain base

And then Bandai announced a Real Grade Char's Zaku II, not much of a surprise since a new gunpla line often starts with these 2 iconic mobile suits. That got me excited too, so what this space for more Real Grade action.

So what else can I tell? I've bough a new camera lately which relieved the ol' PSP Chotto Shot/Go Cam's role as this blog's official camera. The gunpla pics above are actually one of the first few shots I took with it. It's a modest 10 megapixel General Elctric model with some good macro functions. And as I have said from a previous post, that is just fine for me.

Finally, there's a secret project that I've already set in motion for and luckily it is going to be in full effect around next week. Stay tuned for its announcement.

Next time!
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I learned to read through komiks...

The one that started it all
...and a whole lot of other stuff.

You may have heard of this story from every komiks artist/writer/fan: that first encounter with that 4-colored book full of stories of all sorts. Aside from the 'ABAKADA' and textbooks (remember those little yellow booklets with pictures and words on them?),komiks thought me how to read properly.
I'm sure you remember having one of these...

My grandmother (god bless her soul) usually comes home from the public market during the weekends with the usual things: meat, vegetables and other sundries. And then there's the komiks. I would usually run to her and pay my respects before rummaging through her bayong looking for that tube wrapped in newspaper, which in actuality, is a bunch of komiks rolled together.

That was how komiks was packed in those days, 3 or 4 of them rolled together as plastic was not yet used much. There were about 3 titles that my grandmother used to buy for us back then: Funny Komiks, Bata Batuta and Komedi with the occasional Shocker, Kilabot or Romance (as old horror komiks were really, really scary) and later on Kick Fighter.

Each weekend was something to look out for because of komiks. I would read through Combatron's and Vitro's adventures along with Niknok's mishaps. I would laugh at Planet Op Da Eyps and Mr. and Mrs. strips even though both were aimed for older audiences. I'd skip to the latest Joseph Cesar Sto. Domingo story in Bata Batuta. I would scramble through the pages of Kick Fighter for the action and the video game cheat codes as well. And all that time, I wasn't aware that I was already learning and having fun at the same time. 

Once i finished browsing the titles, I would ask my favorite aunt to read it with me so that I can see if I'm reading the words right. Komiks was primarily in Filipino but there were about 2 or 3 titles inside that are in English (which were quite useful too as English became a secondary language to me).

Later on I discovered comics, the foreign kind where they have genetically altered superheroes and world-shaking plots. But I didn't forget komiks. It's something that has been deeply rooted in me. Even in my angsty, troublesome teenage years, komiks was still there, in the form of 'indies'. Most notably, Gerry Alangulan's Wasted. I am sure a lot of you can relate to this.

Good things come to an end though. Eventually, time caught up with komiks and eventually the industry collapsed unto itself. But I'm thankful that I grew up with komiks. Komiks taught me not only to read, a number of good values among other things. I can even say that komiks, in part, made me who I am today.

And I'm glad that the komiks industry is being resurrected by the same people that loved  the industry all along.

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Cure for the slump: The Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compilation

Been in a slump lately, do forgive me.

But I'll leave you with some awesome komiks news:

Guys and gals! The Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compilation (or the QBCCC if that's a mouthful for yah) will be available at KOMIKON 2010 next Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 at Starmall Mandaluyong.

Satisfaction guaranteed; 90+ pages of KOMIKS AWESOMENESS !!! Courtesy of these dudes:
- Adam David
- Ammathorn
- Apol Sta. Maria
- Bugsy Garcia
- DJ Legaspi
- Hub Pacheco
- Jim Faustino
- Jobert Cruz
- Josel Nicolas
- Mervin Malonzo
- Norby Ela
- Rex Romano
- Tilde Acuña
- Teddy Pavon

Did I already mentioned that this fine piece of literature is AWESOME??? Did I?

I was supposed to submit a piece for this one but work got a better of me. Then again, there's always the next issue :D

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The long and short of it

Been a while since I posted something relevant here. I have been preoccupied with submissions here and there as the local 'con season is drawing near. here's the short of it:

1.One of my collaborative effort's getting an English translation courtesy of an upcoming e-zine. It's this.

2. An entry in a new (crazy-ass) anthology.

3. A short story for a friend. One with fangs and claws in it and will bite with no hesitation.

So there. Will be back once I sort things out :D

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Gunpla Photography

Pardon the lack of updates. I actually have my hands full at the moment from several projects here and there. But anyway, we're going to discuss more toys/kits/action figures photography. This time we'll concentrate on Gundam plastic models or 'gunpla' for short.

The images used here is from a recent gunpla photography guide and is sourced from here.

First thing one has to take note before taking a picture is posing gunpla. Always remember that your gunpla must not look static even thought it's in a neutral or standing pose. The lower left picture here shows that a slightly bent elbow  (correct poses are shown with a circle mark, while those with 'x' marks are wrong from here on) can work wonders in a pose.  The lower right picture on the other hand shows that keeping the gunpla's body straight and checking/correcting crooked posture is the way to go.
 Next we go to action poses. The key here is exaggeration. Figure A on this page show the RX-78-2 in a shooting pose with it's feet spread wide and arms raised as if they are in mid-action. Figure B shows the correct aerial shooting pose: notice the left leg is bent more than the right leg giving the gunpla the feel of 'springing into action'. The gun and shield arms also convey action simply by bending them. Figure C shows an aerial melee pose: The beam saber is held slightly higher over the head and the shield shown full on the frame. The right leg in this case is bent more giving the gunpla a sense of forward motion in this case.

Here is a simple gunpla photo booth. If you notice, the background is just a piece of colored paper (choose according to your preference) tacked on the wall adjacent to a table. Note that the background does not lay flat on the wall and instead is placed rather bent and tacked unto the edge of the table.

You can use an ordinary desk lamp for lighting coupled with a do-it-yourself light filter made from tracing or filter paper attached to a frame. This will soften the light striking the gunpla. Again, like in my last post, a simple digital camera mounted on a small tripod can be used in gunpla photography.

Now position the gunpla in between the light filter and a piece of white board. This is commonly referred to as a 'reflector' which does what it is named after: it reflects light back to the other side of the model. This way, you won't have to use another lamp.

After you have set up the model, shoot away! Simple isn't it?

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First Impressions: Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders

The first episode of Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders is up and it's living up to my expectations.

The show is all about gunpla fascination no less, with Haru the protagonist, representing all of us gunpla builders. Everyone starts with his/her first Gundam kit and so does Haru. Remember how it felt when you first bought and assembled your first Gundam kit? Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders captures that moment's ecstasy.

What made Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders a bit more exciting other than showing kids how-to build gunpla (Gundam plastic)  kits is the fact that in their reality, they can ACTUALLY pilot their Gundams via a video game interface which requires them to link up their Gunpla to it, in turn enabling the builders to operate their respective mobile suits.

I'm not really surprised by this element, since Japan is leaps and bounds in terms of video game technology. There's quite a few games capable of bringing the mecha pilot experience already: Virtual On Force, Border Break, Gundam: Senjou no Kizuna to name a few. Maybe we're looking at the future of mecha games with Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders? Who knows?

So to sum it up: Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders is an anime full of Gundam and Gunpla goodness. It may take some of the hardcore fans of the series to swallow this one up, but as they say in Lucky Star: "Its is a Gundam series. No matter how ridiculous it is, it is our obligation, nay duty, to watch it!".

Check out the intro below:

And check out episode 1 here. Enjoy!
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Simple & Practical Toy Photography

I'm not a photographer. I'm a snapshooter. And a scale modeler/action figure collector at that. Normally when I finish building and painting my toys and kits, I take pictures of them to post online.

Here are just a few simple guidelines I follow:
1. Any camera will do - You don't need a Digital SLR for toy and figure photography. Believe or not, I take most of my pictures with a PSP Chotto Shot/Go Cam. It doesn't have a flash and it's only at 1.3 megapixels.


So what if it has limited features? Point is as long as it can take a decent picture, it will work out. For me, the PSP Chotto Shot/Go Cam is enough as it has a macro feature that enhances a toy's/model kit's/action figure's details (that's what I love about it). Heck even a celphone or simple digicam will cam will do. You don't have to get all fancy-schmancy about your gear.

2.Do mind the basics - of photography. Even a snapshooter should put into mind the basics such as lighting, composition and the rule of thirds. Technique and style will follow suit.

3.The pose -  you just can't tell a toy to pose on it's own, you'll have to do it yourself. For starters, think of a scene from the comic, cartoon or anime/manga in which the figure came from. Try to copy the pose and look at it from the camera. Then move on to more dynamic poses that will push a toy's/model kit's/action figure's articulation. One simple rule: If it looks good, then it is GOOD.

4.Background and composition - in my case, I keep it simple. For most of my toys/model kits/action figures, I either use the black or white side of an illustration board.

You might be thinking:"That's absurd!". But it is simple and practical. Yes there are commercially available toys/model kits/action figures photo backgrounds, though if you can make a cheaper but nonetheless effective alternative then why not?

I've tried my uncle's old scrap paintings for backgrounds and they work well too. See? It doesn't take that much.

5.Mind the size - usually, forums and social sites have ground rules on picture sizes. Make sure to follow them.

6.Most if all, keep the fun intact - after all, aside from saying to the world that "I've done/finished this!", keep in mind that toys/model kits/action figures photography should be fun.

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Saturday Morning Cartoon Nostalgia

Growing up in the 80's was great. I'd wake up early on a Saturday morning so that I can watch my favorite cartoons which airs 'til noon before the variety shows kick in.

I would have to say that cartoons in the 80's were very different from the ones shown these days. In those days, cartoons were all in English. It's not that I am against localized cartoons and anime but somehow, those cartoons taught me how to express myself in another language. Sesame Street is another influence but that's another story.

80's cartoons have moral lessons at the end of the show, such as in He-man, She-ra and Bionic Six where they teach kids everyday values and virtues. That's a rarity these days when cartoons and anime seem to be overblown toy commercials.

Sure they were campy, even the seemingly sensible ones like Thundercats and Centurions were downright camp (I've only just realized this when I reached my 20's) they make more sense and are much more coherent than today's cartoons and anime.

A week ago, I suddenly had the urge to post a sliver (actually the intro) of Inhumanoids, an 80's giant monster cartoon. The theme song just slipped through my mind so I decided to post it on my (social network) page. Before I knew it, a number of my friends, most of whom are about my age, satrted posting comments on how they miss cartoons like these. I posted another intro video, this time of The Visionaries, followed by a lot more. Suffice to say, my social network wall looked like it was a internet message forum filled with nostalgia.

Don't get me wrong, I watch and love recent stuff. Thing is, the good ones can be culled to only a handful.

It was fun reminiscing though. this goes to say that some things from the past are better than what we have now.

Oh, and the toys were better too in those days don't you agree?

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Danny Choo is an Otaku hero

You may or might not know Danny Choo yet, but he's a hero.

An otaku hero. Danny started out as an otaku wanting to live and breathe Japan much like most of us. He struggled and worked his way, never forgeting his otaku ways and bringing it whenever he goes. Eventually he rose up to the challenges presented to him and became CEO of his own multi-media company Mirai Inc. All with his otaku fancy still intact.

And now, with all his efforts, he brings to us his own TV show Culture Japan which aims to show the world how life and culture thives on the land of the rising sun.

So go on ahead, watch Culture Japan episode 0 and breathe all that otakuness courtesy of our good friend Danny C. full of his antics all the while dressed up in his trusty Stormtrooper armor.

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October's Coming...

..and Halloween's not far behind.

Perfect time for some good reads, in the form of Diliman and Trese.

Lemme tell you more of these gems: 

Gundam "Say What Now?"

Still at the subject of Gundam, here are a few memorable quotes spread around the series:

"Char!" - Amuro Rei (Mobile Suit Gundam)

"Amuro!" - Char Aznable, in response to Amuro shouting his name in his ear through the comms. (Mobile Suit Gundam)

"I am not a girl!" -Camille Vidan (Mobile Suit Z Gundam)

"The name's Judau Ashita, in case you didn't know" -Judau Ashita (Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam)

"I want to have a hamburger" -Bernard Wiseman, before being incinerated by the Alex's beam saber (Mobile Suit Gundam 0081: War in the Pocket)

"Aina!" -Shiro Amada, calling out to Aina (Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th Mobile Suit Team)

"Solomon, I have returned!" - Anavel Gato, while firing the GP02's nuke at the Battle of Solomon (Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory)

"Usso, to the right!" -Usso's Haro (Mobile Suit V Gundam)

"Shut up, Haro!" - Usso Evin, telling his Haro to shut up (Mobile Suit V Gundam)

"My fists, burning! Telling me to finish you now! Here I go! SHINING FINGER!" - Domon Kasshu, to anyone unlucky enough to face him (Mobile Fighter G Gundam)

"I will kill you" -Heero Yuy, to just about every person he meets (New Mobile Report Gundam Wing)

"Tifa, hold my hand!" -Garrod Ran, to Tifa (After War Gundam X)

"Whoa! Easy White Doll!" - Loran Cehack (Turn A Gundam)

"Kira is that you?" - Athrun Zala, upon his meeting with Kira Yamato (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED)

"Where's the mobile suit?" - Kira Yamato to Laccus, before receiving the Strike Freedom Gundam (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny)

"I AM GUNDAM!" -Setsuna F. Seiei (Mobile Suit Gundam 00)

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