The Outcasts of Jupiter!

Back in 2007, while working at the place where I met the most awesome people in the world, I met Shobo Coker (I called him Chris or Coker. He still insists on He-man). At the time, he was the managing editor and therefore my boss. Unlike most expats at the place though, he was friendly, if a bit shy. We became friends over coffee, talking about comic books, 90s cartoons, toys, and video games.

Over the years (Seven years? Can you believe that!), we talked about our various projects – Jonah Jupiter for him, and various work-in-progresses for me. We were both stuck – because you know, pursuing your dreams always coincides with the need to pay for rent (sing with me, BUT THE LEGEND OF THE RENT WAS WAY HARDCORE!) and the need to eat regularly.

Earlier this year though, Coker had launched a project in collaboration with his two equally awesome siblings, Shof and Funlola, called the Coker Coop. They were going to make a comic set in the Jonahverse, and I watched their progress unfold on their blog, www.CokerCoop.com, and on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/cokercoop.

And – drum roll please – they’ve launched a KickStarter for the Outcasts of Jupiter!!!

Personally, I’m a little jealous (because my own projects are still up there in the ether mixing in with soul-sucking responsibilities and brain-withering technical papers), but I am mostly proud of Coker. And of course, I’d like to see the book in print (and a shirt too!) so I urge you and the other peeps stuck in a creative black hole to support this project because anything this mind-meltingly awesome needs to see print.

(Watch the video on the KickStarter to see Rita, the T-Rex.)

Before Midnight (Not a Review)

I come from a generation that had been fed fairy tales. We all thought that true love was as easy as making a deal with the sea witch and trading your voice for a pair of legs, kissing the beast to get the prince, and maybe even riding a magic carpet – shining, shimmering, fucking splendid. Then we grew up and realized that nope, it doesn’t quite work that way. You have to date, kiss a multitude of beasts and frogs and find out that they were no more than beasts and frogs.

Last night, I saw Before Midnight, the last installment of the Before series. Now, the Before series follows the story of Jesse and Celine. The first one, Before Sunrise, explored magic. How two people can meet by chance, and have such a great connection. It wasn’t quite like a fairy tale, Jesse didn’t ride a white horse and save Celine from a dragon. (Actually, I think she’s more than capable of taking care of herself, and Jesse, though he has a flair for grand romantic gestures, isn’t quite the type.) The story isn’t fairy tale-ish, but it is something we all wish for at some point: Meeting your soulmate – or at least, somebody who looks like him or her – on the train.


The second one, Before Sunset, made us question this entire soulmate business. (Spoiler alert. But then again, why are you reading this if you haven’t seen any of the films?) If they had been so meant for each other, then how come they didn’t live happily ever after? They’re the opposite of happily ever after, in fact, they’re miserable. Over the course of film though, we see that they’ve grown older, wiser, and aren’t quite so starry eyed anymore. In the end though, we’re about 99% sure that they’re going to end up together. I mean, after that song, we were all ready to marry Julie Delpy.

Then comes the third and last installment, Before Midnight. It’s a love story we so rarely see – between two middle aged people… with issues. This is not a rom-com. There is no slapstick humor or comedy of errors. Just two people starring in their own love story. It isn’t the pretty part of the story either, no cutesy-fied scenes and definitely no chasing each other on the beach. Just an honest portrayal of a middle-age couple. Watching the film felt like voyeurism of some sort, like we’re watching private moments. They’re not strangers to us, and we’ve heard this story before, but as I walked out of the cinema after having watched the film, I realized that this must be the most realistic love story I’ve seen outside of real life. No castles, no shining white horses, no singing dwarves. Just the kind of love that takes hard work to keep going. The kind with teeth grinding compromise and plain old vicious arguing.

Is it a happy ending? Depends on your general outlook on these things, really. It’s hardly the end, rather, it’s a new beginning.

How Megaworld Got Me to Restoring My Bug

So last Wednesday (a holiday, Independence Day), I went to Kuya Nards’ shop in Buendia to get my bug a new carb spring. While at a vulcanizing shop, Remi and I noticed that we were leaking engine oil. The engine had to be removed, since the oil gaskets needed to be replaced. I also got a new generator pulley and had Kuya Ter check the distributor parts (condenser, rotor, and contact points). I also had a change oil.

Happy with having the car maintenance stuff out of the way, we went home. To a memo. From Megaworld. It basically said that I could no longer park for free outside the condo-slash-suburb’s perimeter and that I have until Monday (June 17) to move my car elsewhere. They graciously offered to give me a list of available parking slots for rent inside the gates. Just how much is parking in Rich People Ville? Here’s the breakdown:

Security Deposit: PHP 7,500
Advance Payment for 3 months: PHP 2,800 x 3 = PHP 8,400
Subsequent Payments for 9 months: PHP 2,800 x 9 = PHP 25,200

7500 + 8400 + 25200 = 41100. Forty-one thousand, one hundred pesos. For a year. Of parking. For the purposes of comparison, my house rent is 3,000 pesos.

In my mind, I had three options: a. find myself a new parking slot elsewhere (because fuck you Megaworld, and fuck you too, homeowners’ association), b. park at Rica’s parent’s house in Sikatuna Village (which isn’t really near, but near enough), or c. sell the car. Option C seemed the most likely and practical to me, but Remi thought it was stupid. She’s right. Why would I want to sell the car because of a stupid memo?

She then offered Option D: Restore Car-car. It’s a brilliant solution. I don’t have to sell the car, I won’t have to worry about parking in the next 3 or 4 months, I would still pay but the money would be better spent in restoration than in aforementioned Rich People Ville parking.

As it happens, while waiting for the repairs to finish last Wednesday, I got a flyer from Kuya Nards. It was for a shop called ROS Autoworks[1], and they were offering body work and painting services with a quite yuppie-friendly payment option (6 months to pay). I contacted the owner of the joint, Rex Oliver Sembrano, and by Saturday, we were at his shop in Greenfields in Molino, Cavite. I got a very reasonable quote for body work and paint, and we commuted home. Funny how the universe works, no?

Anyway, work on Car-car is underway! I’m very excited. In lieu of this, I’ve decided to finally buy bumpers (the square ones from the Brazil models) and I’m getting a rain gutter for the decklid as well. I can’t wait to see the progress, and of course, the finished product as well.

1972 Volkswagen Beetle

Oh rust, thine greatest nemesis.

Interiors

The bug in front is in far worst shape than Car-car.

Front fenders and hood removed

Scrape to metal, stat!

At the moment, it looks like somebody shot at my passenger side door.

My relatively okay engine and semi-scraped rear-fender.

Seriously, I can’t wait to see Car-car back to his shiny, pogi self. Let the War Against Rust begin!


1. If you want to know how that turned up, contact me.

Lego Brickmaster: Star Wars – Worth the Retail Therapy

So last Tuesday, after having Mo towed from Las Pinas to Buendia (that’s a different post), Remi and I went gift shopping. To reward myself for finally getting Mo moved, I bought the Lego Brickmaster: Star Wars from DK Publishing (I know it doesn’t make fiscal sense to buy something to reward myself for something that will cost me more money, but I’m borrowing Mabie’s Logic of Retail Therapy, so it makes perfect sense.).

Anyway, back to the Brickmaster. To put this product into perspective, it combines two loves quite nicely. It’s a book which contains Legos. You can put together 8 models (2 models at a time) from the 240 bricks it has and it comes with two minifigures: a Clone Trooper and a Battle Droid.

The box says it’s for ages 7 and up, but the builds are quite intricate and quite satisfying for a nerd like me.


It’s a really good buy for 969 pesos at National Bookstore and if you’re somewhat of a neat freak, this is for you. The book comes with a pouch where you can store the Legos when not in use, and the geekgasmic instruction booklet is printed in thick, glossy paper with random Star Wars facts and full color illustrations.