Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Going Out

For the first time in a long time, I'll be going to Manila for a signing. It's for the work Leinil and I did for Secret Empire #4. It's most likely the first time I went out like this since Komikon last year, which was a very long time ago. I think I'm ready. I don't think it would exhaust me too much. I just hope Fully Booked's elevators are working because there's no way I can climb 4 stories of stairs. At the very least, I hope the escalators are working. I think I can deal with that.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Crazy

Whew. That was all I could say for a few days. WHEW. I came out of a really tough deadline and I still can't believe I managed to pull it off. After almost literally dying, I learned I had to finish not 5 but NINE pages in just a few days. Needless to say I got pretty rattled. But I just closed my eyes and just jumped into it. I felt I just had to finish it, there was no question about it. It felt like a small victory when I finished everything... perhaps maybe a day or so late, but I finished it. And I think I'm pretty happy with myself.

Sandy of Comic Odyssey wrote to me and told me we have a signing for this book we've just finished sometime next month. And I think I'm OK enough to go. It's been a long time since I've been to any kind of comic book thing. I really kind of missed it.

After that crazy deadline, I don't think any other deadline could ever be as scary or intimidating. I know now that I can meet it, no matter what. And that feels really good to know.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Thankful

I'm thankful I'm even able to write this now. I almost died this morning. I'm not even joking. I was at the hospital for a regular procedure but a nurse made a mistake, a rather big one and it nearly killed me. My blood pressure plummeted, I started to sweat profusely, I had difficulty breathing and my eyesight was slowly going dark. Ilyn was panicking and crying. It was so hard to breathe and speak and reassure her, but I couldn't even reassure myself. I was scared too. I knew what had happened and how possibly fatal that mistake could be. I didn't want to go, I thought. I still had pages to ink! I had a deadline! But that was me trying to find some humor in the situation, but it was dead serious. I could really go. For real. I fought really hard to stay because I didn't want to go. I still have so much to do. Ilyn and I still have so much life to share. But I also realized that there are things that are just beyond my control.

Thankfully, a senior nurse came in and practically saved my life. I'm so thankful to him. Thankful that I'm still here. Thankful that Ilyn and I are still together. I spent the afternoon resting and by the evening I was well enough to do some work. It seems that this deadline won't get the better of me after all.

Thanks Wendell Desaluna. I owe you my life. Thanks to Rizelle Serrano for the emotional support. I'm really lucky to have you guys in my life.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Together

I saw a crime documentary on You Tube once. There was a married couple who had been together for more than 20 years. When the husband decided to work at home, within a few months they decided to split up because they "saw too much of each other". I read an article about long time Japanese couples who finally live together after a lifetime of working hard at their respective jobs.  They split up because they realized they really didn't know each other.

I really don't understand, specially the first case. "Saw too much of each other" as a reason for splitting up? Me and Ilyn have rarely been apart in the 15 years we've been together. We spend almost all our time together. Sometimes we'd spend weeks just in the house, specially our room. We talk. We Internet, we work. We talk some more. We talk a lot. We never run out of things to say. When we're apart it feels like there's a part of my own body that's missing. Other people wonder what the hell we do in our room that we spend so much time in it. But that's just it. We're pretty boring to other people I guess. But to each other we're not.

I think Ilyn is stronger than me. If I go before her, I think she'll be strong and go on. If she goes before me, I think I'll just waste away. I really believe that. Spending so much time together... if somehow she's no longer here it's like someone took a sword and split me in half. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for my dad and my brother, who both lost their life partners. It's been years and they're still both hurting. I don't think I'll be as strong as them.

I wish we'd be together, you know, FOREVER. I know there's no such thing as forever. I scoffed at the word "forever" when I was younger. Every time I heard that in a song, you'd hear my snort from a block a way. It's juvenile. It's irritatingly idealistic and unrealistic. There comes a time in your life though, when "forever" takes on a new meaning. When you want to embrace it and live in it, hand in hand with someone who means the most to you.

Take it away, Rick.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Seven Years

I posted on Facebook that my computer conked out after 5 years of faithful service. When I opened it up in the hope of probably salvaging it, the dates on the parts told me that my computer was actually SEVEN years old. Amazing. I gave up on the idea of salvaging it. It's just too old and probably really wanted to go. Cash is tight at the moment so I had to find ways to get a new computer that wouldn't set me back too much. I didn't need to buy a new monitor, a new mouse, a new keyboard or even a new OS. I planned on sticking with Windows 7 so I can continue using my old Mustek scanner, which I hear doesn't work with Windows 10. Speaking of that scanner, it's even more amazing because that thing is now TWELVE years old. And it still works perfectly. It's an A3 scanner so it's much harder to replace than a regular sized scanner.

It's an unexpected dent on the budget so it's going to be really tight the next couple of weeks. I hope I get paid really soon! I probably need to add more pages to my art for sale page now that I've got the computer working again. I'm probably going to be adding pages from IVX as well as Monsters Unleashed.

A lot has happened the past few days. I had a talk at my museum the other day. There were a couple of strong earthquakes just in the last week. I had some visitors. And the stress and hassle of dealing with the crash. Thankfully enough I'm holding up rather well.

It's almost 2am and I just sent off a couple of finished inks from Secret Empire. I need to go to the hospital early tomorrow so I guess I need to get to bed. Gnite!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

It's a Miracle!

I went to an Orthopedic doctor yesterday and today to finally have something done about the problem I've been having with my knees for quite some time. I've had difficulty walking which severely limited my mobility for a couple of years now, and I never went out of the house without a cane. The doctor recommended a procedure which would remove liquids from the joints of my knees. I asked if it would be painful. He said it would just be as painful as the bite of an ant. So we wouldn't be needing anesthesia, he said.

HE WAS LYING.

It hurt like freakin' hell. And since the procedure on one knee took a while, it was a sustained kind of pain which lasted at the very least 10-15 minutes. It took that long because he needed to extract a lot of liquid and there was a LOT. I hardly ever scream when experiencing pain, but I let it all out. It was just horrible. Seeing how much I suffered yesterday, my doctor said he'll do my other knee today, with anesthesia. Thank goodness for that.

Earlier today I went back and he said it looks like the knee that had the procedure yesterday still seemed to have liquid in it so it had to have a second procedure. OMG. This time I came emotionally ready though, and of course Ilyn was there, not to hold my hand, but to be a squeezing bag. I tried very hard not to hurt her, but I was squeezing so hard that it should have been unlikely I didn't hurt her at all.

Two knees. Holy crap. I walked out of the clinic without my cane. The surprise on the eyes of the secretary was quite memorable. You can walk!

YES I CAN! It's a miracle!

I can walk up or down stairways now without much of a struggle. There is still some pain, but I'm not sure if it's just me just being careful because I don't fully know how far I can take it. I'll take it easy though, and take it slowly. I don't want to push it. Over the next few days I'll be sure just how much mobility I got back.

As the needle was winding itself inside my kneecap, I kept thinking about the guys at Komikon, having so much fun. For a brief moment I was envious. I wanted to be there. It's kind of a happy place for me. It's good to think of a happy place when you're experiencing pain. I think it really helped me deal with it a bit.

Hopefully I can be there for November Komikon. It really depends if Kevin and I can finish our project by then. I really wouldn't have anything to promote or sell otherwise.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Going Out

I'm finally OK enough to go out of the house on dates! It's been a while and I really missed it. We tried going out a few weeks ago and it really exhausted the hell out of me. We went out last night to check out this new Mediterranean restaurant and it went really well. The food was OK, but the best thing is I felt good all throughout.

At home it really hasn't been a problem. I've been working steadily for a while and right now I'm inking Secret Empire over Leinil Yu. We started with issue #4. I don't know how long we'll be on the book and how many issues we will do.

The other weekend my dad celebrated his 80th birthday! Amazingly, he's still very strong. He's still actually working, teaching at the St. Peter's Seminary. Here he is surrounded by some of his students:


I'm really grateful for these guys because they've been very generous about donating blood for my benefit over the last year. One thing I haven't mentioned yet about my pneumonia was that it really wreaked havoc with my hemoglobin and platelet, both of which dropped dramatically during that time. I needed blood transfusions and these seminarians stepped up and went to the hospital to donate what they could. I'm very thankful to them for having done this. I'm glad dad invited them all to his birthday celebration.

Right now I'm pretty much back to how I was before I got sick and it just feels great. The first thing I'll be doing publicly is to give a talk here at the Komikero Komiks Museum for the National Book Development Board's National Book Stop Tour. I'm glad they chose the museum as the venue of one of their stops so when they invited me to talk, I didn't hesitate. It won't be so difficult for me because it's practically next door and it's an opportunity to talk about komiks, which I love to do, but I have painfully little opportunity to do so lately. This will be on Satuday, April 8 around 2 pm or so. I really am looking forward to that.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hoping I Make Sense

Me reading this many years from now I hope I'm making sense. It's probably cliche to say that everyday is a struggle, but it's so true for me. The thing that divides those who last and those who fall by the wayside really is will power. Sometimes even something as simple as getting up from bed. Sometimes it's something more simple, like just moving your arm can be a struggle. But you move your arm. You get up from bed. And you just keep going. Your mind has to be stronger than your body. You need to use your mind to blot out the aches and pains and weaknesses and just. keep. going. The last few months have been like this. But I feel a whole lot better now than I did last January. End of January and early February was perhaps the worst. In the middle of all that I just had to keep going.

The bigger struggle is going back to being creative. Sometimes all your effort goes into just surviving that you just have no time or energy to think of creative things. I think I've done the surviving thing so now I have to get into creating. And I think it's about time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What a Deadline/On Selling Art

I just got done meeting this crazy deadline for IVX #6. Leinil Yu had already started with the book as I was recuperating, but I did manage to ink at least 9 pages of it when I went back to work. But the deadline was crazy. One of the most challenging I've ever had to face. Actually, to be completely honest, the deadline was a few days ago and I just spent the next day sleeping and the next day goofing off just to allow some time for me to rest and recuperate (from the deadline). And as I usually do after a deadline not knowing when we'll be starting the next book, I've had my technical pens cleaned of ink. I think that anyone planning on using tech pens should think about.

Today I went over my stack of original artwork, selecting a bunch that will go up in my art sale page. There's no particular financial reason for it. I figure that there are some people out there who just might want to own original art from a published Marvel comic book that's not as expensive as one might try to get at Ebay or other places internationally. There are pages here and there from selected titles that I have chosen to keep for myself, but I think I will sell most of them eventually.

Superior #3 Page 8 (Sold!)

Original art from my own creations like ELMER are a different matter though. Obviously, every single page is special to me and for a long time I didn't want to sell them. But I have decided to do so anyway because there might be people out there who might want to own a page from it. But I really can't offer them at an inexpensive rate. I call it the "I don't want to sell this" rate. It can be very prohibitive. But if anyone wants it at that price, I can let it go. I've already sold a few, specially when I went on a mini signing tour of comic shops in Paris a few years ago. If DSO ever reads this, I want to thank him specially for buying a page from Elmer. I know it cost a lot and I know how hard you work. Let me just tell you that I appreciate it and won't forget it.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Homebody

It's actually not that hard for me to stay at home all the time. A lot of the time I prefer it. If ever I'm arrested for a crime and held for house arrest, I would not mind. I like staying at home and not go out for long periods of time.

Aside from my regular visits to the hospital, I really haven't gone out of the house in two months. Readers of Crest Hut Butt Shop #4 would be aware of a chronic condition that I have that I have to deal with for the rest of my life. It's a condition that probably weakened me enough to get pneumonia over the end of the year. This horrible time of illness has forced me to seriously consider something I've been thinking about for the past few years. I have to withdraw from a lot of comic book related activities that would require me to make trips to Manila. Travelling has really become not only very expensive, but exhausting.

Expensive because I can no longer commute as it would be too physically difficult for me that we have to always rent a van. Exhausting because well, it's just exhausting for me.

That means far less comics events, no more seminars, talks, interviews, panels, consultations or meetings of any sort that require I be there in person. I really have to conserve my energy and my strength to just stay home and do my work. Right now that's inking for Marvel. That's the only way I can do the work and finish the pages in a timely manner. A single trip to Manila would wipe me out for several days. And several days off doing work is something I can't now afford.

I felt it last year when I had to cancel an appearance at Komikon after I had already paid for my table. This year I've had to cancel an appearance at Komiket after my pneumonia episode.

Will I get better? Hopefully I do. I've had my chronic condition for a long time now and in that time I was able to travel to other countries and participate in lots of activities. I guess right now I'm at a low point physically that I really just have to withdraw and conserve my strength and concentrate on working and getting better.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sleepless and Tired

It's 1:30 in the morning and I should be sleeping. But lately for the past several weeks I haven't been able to sleep well at all. I'm not sleepy. Just tired, and that's a big difference. Being really tired doesn't ensure I'll fall asleep.

I've slowly been getting back into the groove of working. I've had a really slow start but I feel I'm getting faster. Early today I started a page which I finished around 11 in the evening. I was so tired after that, but no matter what, all I can do is stare into the darkness of the room, tossing and turning. I really want to fall asleep so bad.

I've tried playing music in the background. A nasty attack of allergies even gave me an excuse to take an antihistamine the other night and it actually did help. But I don't want to get used to that, my God. I take enough maintenance everyday as it is.

The good thing is, when I do get sleepy at odd hours of the day, sometimes 10 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon, I take that opportunity to sleep. I hate sleeping in the afternoon though because it just screws me up. Upon waking up I feel so terrible that I regret sleeping.

I'm gonna go and try again.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Barbaro and other Francisco V. Coching Books

Vibal Foundation, in cooperation with the Francisco V. Coching family, will be coming out with its second collection of classic works by Coching, namely, "Ang Barbaro", and will have a launching on February 8, 2017 at Fully Booked, BGC, Pasig.

I remember when I first approached the Coching family about doing the first of such collections. I had chosen "El Indio" (which Vibal eventually published). Mrs. Luming Coching had wanted me to do "Ang Barbaro" first because Barbaro is in fact, the first part of a two-book story, El Indio being only the sequel.

But I had my heart set on El Indio because I felt it represented the peak of Coching's artistic powers (a peak that never faded, in fact, and continued well past his retirement). In Barbaro, he was still developing his craft. I felt the drawings in El Indio were much more solid, much more well defined and confident, and it contained illustrations that were just spectacular.

El Indio eventually came out in 2009 and Vibal, as well as the Coching family, wanted to continue coming out with these books, Barbaro being the one they wanted. But by 2009 I had realized how time consuming it was to restore such a book. It took me and Zara Macandili around 4 years to digitally restore El Indio. Barbaro was a much thicker book and will definitely take much longer. I had returned to inking for Marvel by then and was too busy to take on such a challenging project. I had to decline.

Years later, the Coching family found a way to collect further volumes in a format very much like the Vibal collection including stories like Lapu-Lapu, Dumagit, Taga sa Bato, Condenado, and even their own version of Ang Barbaro. I thought it was amazing. I visited their booths at komiks events and bought as much of these books as I can. The Coching family editions are far more limited, I'm sure, than the Vibal ones, and print runs are painfully small.

Photo by Macoy Coching

And now Vibal has come up again and decided to do their own collection of "Ang Barbaro". I really wish I could go to this launching. Any new book collecting works by Coching is always a cause for celebration.

But having just come from a long illness which I'm still recovering from, and having been advised by my doctors to avoid crowds for the meantime due to my lowered immune system, there's no way I'll be able to attend this launch next week.  I'll be sure to have a copy reserved for me though! I think this is very exciting!

Facebook Event Page

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Good Morning Bugel

It's a nice morning whenever Bugel comes up to me for a wake up call. I'm already awake though, having been awake as early as 5 in the morning. At that time I'm usually at the computer doing computery things. Mostly news surfing, writing, processing artwork. I don't really browse my Facebook feed that much anymore because it's so full of volatile, angry people. In many cases legitimately so, I'm afraid. We're in a very dark place in the world right now, but I choose not to dwell on it. I just concentrate on doing my work, concentrate on my family, keeping myself happy and healthy.

It was tough getting back into the groove of work. It took such a long time to finish that first page, but once I got through it, I knew work would flow much faster and easier, I hope!

There are still some health issues I'm dealing with. I've started coughing again. Not badly enough to be a cause for concern, but I guess it's all my own damn fault. I love spicy food you see. And I've been eating a lot of spicy food lately. My EENT has actually advised me to avoid it because it aggravates my gastric reflux, which I'm sure I'm having right now. Sigh. The healthy life is just so damned boring.

And because I've been eating a lot (because of the steroids), I think I've eaten too much specially over my epic birthday weekend so I'm desperately trying to cut back. But with the steroids it's hard because it really makes you hungry and forces you to eat. Worse, as I said in a previous post, it makes you fat in weird places. So right now I've got this weird big face. I can't wait for my platelet to normalize so they'd take me off the medicine. I'd really like to live normally again. And talk about normal stuff. Like eating.

:)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Back to Work

As of today, I'm back to work! As it turns out, I'm back to work on IVX (Inhumans Vs. X-Men), this time issue #6. Below is a panel from IVX issue #2.


There's actually lots to do before starting work again after a long break. First I needed to have my pens cleaned. I work almost exclusively with technical pens when inking Leinil's work. A lot of people complain that technical pens jam easily, but I just don't think these people know how to use tech pens properly. Since I have an architectural background, I used tech pens, specifically Rotring, for 5 years during college. I've pretty much learned how to use them inside out as well as the best ways to maintain them.

To keep tech pens from jamming, the cap needs to be replaced tightly after every use. And if those pens won't be used for more than 3 days, the ink needs to be removed and the pens cleaned thoroughly. And if the pens will be used constantly, they need to be cleaned thoroughly at least every month, just to keep dried ink from accumulating in the cap, the tip and elsewhere.

I also needed to have my table cleaned of accumulated dust and I have to make sure my printer is properly maintained. I make sure I have enough ink installed and I have enough ink on stand by in case they run out. Out here in San Pablo it can get difficult to get supplies, but with the introduction of more computer shops and a large branch of Office Warehouse, it's gotten quite easier. I also make sure I have enough paper, and looking at my stack I think I still have enough 11"x17" paper to last at least 6 more comic book issues.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Offline and Online

I had promised Leinil that I'd be ready to work again around January 26, which is exactly two weeks after my doctor told me to take a two week break. I took advantage of those two weeks as best as I possibly could, enjoying not really doing anything. But I haven't exactly not been doing nothing. I've been writing, playing computer games, watching videos, cooking, reading comics... stuff that I enjoy doing on my off time. I've had my fill of doing those things and I'm just itching to go back to my drawing table and just DO something.

Early January 26 I got an email from Leinil asking if I was ready to work and I responded with yes, of course!

So of course, naturally, my Internet goes down immediately after sending that e-mail. With all the craziness that's happened this January, I had forgotten to pay some of my bills and the PLDT bill was one of those. And they have a tendency to just cut you off a few days after their deadline without any kind of disconnection notice. In the old days, they'd wait two months before they disconnected you. Now it seems they just can't wait.

I'm just waiting for Zara to arrive so I can have her pay the bills and pester PLDT to bring back my connection as soon as possible. Who knows, Leinil might have already sent pages for me to ink and I'm sitting on my ass without Internet twiddling my thumbs.

12 noon update: Online again, obviously. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Saying Goodbye to my Old Blog

I think the time has come for me to fully acknowledge that I can no longer fix my old blog that was located here or here: gerry.alanguilan.com

It's too bad because that blog has been in existence since February 2007. I did have a previous blog even before that which extends way back to 1997. I guess it's a consolation that the blog will still remain there, albeit in its erroneous state for the foreseeable future. I don't know exactly what went wrong. There was a big Wordpress update a couple of years ago, plus a server move by Yahoo (I think), which screwed up coding of my entries. Punctuations were introduced where other punctuations were before, screwing up html links and links to photos. That's why most of the photos don't appear. The files are still there, but the links are so screwed up that they don't link properly.

Later on while looking for old blog entries about Arlan, I realized that some blog entries had been cut short. Some paragraphs have disappeared off some entries. It's also entirely possible that whole blog entries might have been deleted. I know this because some pages have disappeared including my "About" page which listed my entire published work since 1990.

It's heartbreaking looking at the blog now so I don't really go there often anymore. It's not entirely hopeless though. I know for a fact that my entire blog is saved in pristine, complete condition at archive.org's Wayback Machine. So I guess if I want to see the complete version of my blog I can just look there. I can, of course, re-edit my old blog using data from archive.org, but I really don't trust Wordpress anymore. After fixing everything who's to say another update won't screw everything up again? I just can't invest that much time and effort on something sitting on such shaky ground.

I remember being on Blogger many many years ago and how easy it was to use. Now that Blogger is part of Google, I'm more relatively confident that my blog will be here for quite a while.

Remembering January 12

January 12 wasn't that long ago. In fact, right now that was just two weeks ago. But it was probably the most horrible day during the month and a half I was sick. I was actually getting better from pneumonia, but my shingles was just starting. The day before (January 11) we went to a dermatologist to show her the rashes that appeared on my back. She did confirm it was herpes zoster, in other words, shingles. She prescribed a set of really powerful drugs, but she wanted my other doctors to confirm if I could take them, given my other conditions. And they went ahead and said I ought to go and take the drugs. At the back of my mind it was quite a relief because I wanted a solution right away to my shingles and if these powerful drugs can make it go away quickly then I'm all for it.

So the night of January 11 I took my first dose. I had a nice dinner and I was even able to finish the two page spread from Monsters Unleashed. Tired, I fell asleep right away as soon as I got in bed. I woke up the next morning in the same position I was when I fell asleep. It was already light outside. I must have been really tired the previous night because I usually wake up while its still dark. Immediately I knew something was wrong. Without even opening my eyes or moving my head, I knew that I was terribly, terribly dizzy, and nauseous. I tried calling to Ilyn but my words were coming out slurred. I was trying to tell her that I was really dizzy and that she ought to probably take my blood pressure. Thank goodness we have this sphygmomanometer at home and that Ilyn is an expert at using it. Much to our shock, my BP was up to 190 over 110. She immediately gave me Catapress under the tongue to bring it down. But after a while my BP wasn't going down. I held Ilyn's hand and told her I was scared. I was never more scared in all the time I was sick than during that moment. I could get a stroke. I could die. It was a real possibility. And I thought it was those damned drugs that I took the previous night. They were just too strong for me. We texted our doctors and they confirmed that we should stop taking the drugs. I didn't need their confirmation anyway because I had no intention of drinking any more of those.

By lunchtime things hadn't changed. I felt bad because my dad was celebrating his wedding anniversary (mom passed away two years ago) and wanted a nice lunch of chicken and pancit malabon. I just couldn't eat anything. I stayed in my room and tried to eat, but I just couldn't retain anything. I just slept.

Later in the day I felt kind of better. I was less dizzy and my BP had improved. I knew the worst had passed as those damned drugs were slowly getting cleaned from my system. It would take another day for me to be completely free of the effects. By then we decided that we would just treat my shingles with a cream applied on the rashes themselves rather than take anything orally. I never want a repeat of that day again.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

And Now I'm Fat

Those who remember me from 10 years ago would recognize what I look like now. Well, not exactly. Steroids do give you quite an appetite to eat, but it gives you fat in all the weird places. In my case, it's my cheeks. It actually doesn't bother me that much. Right now I'm concerned that I might be eating just a little too much and I should just dial it down a little bit. After all, my birthdays are over and I've thoroughly enjoyed myself. Time for a little self restraint.



I do feel bad that I've had to close my FB wall to posting aside from myself. In the past people used my wall to promote their own personal stuff. And I didn't like that. People should just promote stuff on their own pages and avoid using mine. My wall is for my personal use. Unfortunately, it did prevent people from posting birthday greetings. I posted something on the third day of my three day birthday and people used that to comment their birthday greetings. And I'm so glad to see so many sent me birthday wishes. In the old days it kind of embarrassed me. I was hesitant to experience all the fuss. But now I recognize that people just want to greet me and now I've got a new appreciation for that. I really am thankful to all those who left messages. It's truly heartwarming.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Birthday Day 3!


It's the third day of my three-day birthday celebration! Breakfast consisted of champurado with tuyo, coffee, orange juice and an oatmeal cookie that Ilyn baked. But the real celebration was lunchtime when my family, Ilyn's family and friends would come over to eat! My mother in law and auntie brought over dinuguan as well as Pinoy style spaghetti (Mama's specialty!), and we in the house cooked fried chicken marinated overnight in calamansi. That was rounded out with mocha cake and surprise gifts from Zara, my assistant: a birthday sign and balloons as well as my favorite, pistachio ice cream! Thanks Zara!


Clockwise from the back: Malou, Aling Vilma, Dyan, Zara, Auntie Pita, Kayla, Mama, Seya and Dad.


With my birthday sign and balloons!

The great weather carried over the last three days which was just terrific. It's probably the best birthday I've had in a very long time. I think that aside from the great weather, the great company and great food, my contentment comes from just letting go. I no longer try and hide my birthday, nor do I deny or be evasive about my age (I'm 49!) It's just life, you know? What's important is what you do and not these little details. And what I do, how I treat and regard others is what I would consider more important now than anything else. For this to come at this late age... I guess I'm thankful it came at all. Before it was all too late.

I feel I'm getting a whole lot better from what has ailed me during the last month and a half. I feel that I'm well rested. I think that by next week I can go back to work. I no longer get tired too easily. I'm getting my strength back. I'm a whole lot bigger and heavier, but I need that now.

Looking forward to my 50th birthday next year. I think it's going to be a huge one!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Birthday Day 2

Today is my actual birthday. I'm 49 years old! This day is as beautiful as the past few days so I'm really thankful. Once again we had our breakfast on the patio and it's a bit more special today.

I had strips of bacon, dinner rolls, butter, tea, and freshly squeezed orange juice. all prepared by Ilyn just for me.

Ilyn and I spent an hour or so just dining and talking. I never realized how simple pleasures like this could be so awesome once you just sat down and thought about it, and not take it for granted.

I might have been sicker than I thought because coming through it has given me a better appreciation of life and less appreciation for the shallow and petty concerns that often plagued me before.

Because I need to be at the hospital starting noon today until late in the afternoon, we really won't be able to celebrate my birthday properly today. So we're going to do it tomorrow. My mother in law and auntie will be cooking something special for me and we'll be cooking fried chicken here at the house as well. There would be a cake and everything. All that's for tomorrow!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Birthday Day 1


This year I decided to have a three-day birthday starting today and on to Friday and Saturday. (Friday is my actual birthday.) This is to make up for the Christmas, New Year's and wedding anniversary we were unable to celebrate because I had been so sick.

Breakfast was a very simple one. Lucban longganisa, sunny side up, fried rice, coffee and orange juice. I also had a bit of carbonated water (as a way of weaning myself from sugared carbonated drinks). We decided to put our table out on the patio just as the sun was coming up. It was very windy and cool and everything looked really nice and beautiful. January has been filled with beautiful days so far and it's just fantastic. I'm a morning person so I really just love that time of day. To me it symbolizes new beginnings and bright optimism.

This afternoon we'll have a nice snack of Orient D'Original Buko Pie straight from Los BaƱos which I'm really excited about. It's my absolute favorite buko pie and it's been such a long time since I had some.

Yeah, I guess our celebration centers around food. Just a month or so ago it would have been unthinkable because I had absolutely zero appetite. I just couldn't eat anything and if I did I'd almost immediately lose it. They'd buy me one of my favorites, a one piece Chicken Joy with rice and I'd just have a bite or two from the chicken, maybe a quarter of the rice and I'm done. (It made Bugel or Milky very happy because there's more for them to eat). In a span of a couple of weeks I lost 10 kilos.

One of my doctors has since prescribed some steroids for me, mostly to increase by blood platelet, and partly to boost my appetite. And it's done incredible wonders. Now they'd buy me a two piece Chicken Joy with rice and I'd pick those bones clean, finish the rice and look for something else to eat. Maybe some ice cream. Of course! So yeah, right now I just love eating. And I'm gaining lots of weight from it. And for me that's actually good because I had become frighteningly thin over the holidays. It's gotten so that I don't mind being heavier and looking at this flabby face in the mirror.

What's for breakfast tomorrow? I'll post about it then! :D

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 15 Update

Today I'm completely free of pneumonia although my doctor has insisted I take a break for two weeks before going back to work. The last thing I worked on was Monsters Unleashed #3 where I was supposed to ink 30 pages for. I ended up inking 25 pages before I was struck sick. I was in the middle of inking this really incredible two page spread when I had to stop working. I'll include a bit of that spread here, I think that should be all right. It's Fin Fang Foom after all and he's awesome:


That spread sat on my table for a month or so before I went back and tried to finish it. By this time they were already looking for other inkers to finish the book. Understandable because the book does have to come out. But I did ask if I could try and finish the spread because I love working on it and I really want to leave my mark on it. It was so hard. I would work an hour and stop because I'd get so tired. Eventually after two days I was able to finish it. The next day my doctor told me to stop working and rest. I really want to thank Leinil and Marvel for allowing me to finish this spread.

By this time I developed some kind of rash on my back which turned out to be shingles. SHINGLES. The fun just fucking never stops. It's an annoyance more than anything else, but it's still a pain.  I was able to get through pneumonia only to get shingles immediately afterwards. I had chickenpox when I was in high school and because my immune system got so weak after my pneumonia, it reactivated into shingles. Ugh.

So now I'm on a bit of a break. Which I really, really need. After I'm OK I'll just concentrate on work and not much else. I'd have to sacrifice a lot of other things. That said, I won't be able to go to Komiket this February as I had planned. Kevin hasn't finished the book we're working on yet so that's one thing we're waiting for.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 9 Update

I've gotten so many messages on FB and elsewhere during this time. I must apologize that I haven't been able to respond at all to most of them. It's been so hard to just sit and respond. But I am very touched at the messages of concern.

Over the last couple of days I have begun the process of returning to work, but it's been very difficult. I get tired easily. Perhaps I just need more time to rest and not force myself to activity that might cause a relapse.

Because of the steroid they gave me I've been eating a lot. Which is good because eating is giving me lots of energy. I haven't been spending my time just lying in bed. I've been sitting and reading. Sometimes I try going around the house. One time I did some cooking, but it really exhausted me. But it was one awesome pot of pork and beans, from scratch.

Been watching lots of You Tube and Netflix. Ilyn and I have been watching lots of Star Trek: Voyager. Capt. Janeway is now our favorite Captain. I've also been watching  a lot of food videos, fail videos, paranormal videos, lists, movies and TV related videos on You Tube.

I do feel bad that I kind of missed celebrating Christmas and New Year's properly. I guess I'll make it up on my birthday.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

January 7. Thank You Very Much

I really should be more careful when I say "I'm getting better." because as soon as I say it, I'm flat on my back in bed, weakened and cold. Pneumonia really is a bitch. I hate it. But today, 7 days after saying "I'm getting better.", I think I actually am getting better. The last few days after my last blog entry I just spent in bed, unable to get up. In a way it was no longer as worse as before because although I still cough, gone is the insane lung busting coughing from before. I no longer have fever. And more importantly, I got a bit of my appetite back. Just 2 weeks ago I was averaging around 71 kilograms. Yesterday I was down to 66. Hopefully I get my weight back because right now I feel so bony. My Hematologist prescribed me a low dosage steroid to help increase my platelet and a few other blood related things. And since it's a steroid it will also definitely increase my appetite. When I took it last night during dinner, just a couple of hours later, I felt suddenly ravenously hungry. I have never felt that kind of hunger in quite a while. I had to control it because I don't want to suddenly blow up from so much eating.

Today I woke up feeling really good. I spent most of the morning on my lounge chair just appreciating the awesome morning under the shade of our macopa tree as the cool December wind blew all around me. It was so great. I even had a bit of energy to direct one of our housemates on how to cook some homemade pork and beans for breakfast tomorrow.

Right now I have a bit of strength to write a blog entry and later, I think I will be able to start working again. I won't be pushing it because I don't want to find myself flat on my back again. I have to take it easy. I have no choice.

That said, I must say here how truly grateful I am for all those who sent help and support my way during this time. I truly am overwhelmed. I haven't had the energy to respond to everybody, but please please know that I read every single one of those comments I take them all to heart and I'm just speechless to realize how many people truly think well of me. This will take some time to digest and understand. But please know that I truly appreciate it.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017!

We had a nice, simple New Year's celebration. I didn't have the strength to prepare our usual midnight meal of ham, roast chicken, wine and stuff like that. Ilyn and I had simple chocolate chip cookies she baked and we shared one packet of Swiss Miss between us.

We had been wondering for weeks how President Duterte's presidency would affect fireworks throughout the rest of the country. He had previously successfully banned fireworks in his hometown of Davao when he was mayor. Although he didn't say he'd ban it nationwide (I think he could have if he really wanted to), I was still hoping he'd do something. The only thing we heard about it is that they would just leave the decision to the LGU or the Local Government Unit.

Which was just crushingly disappointing. The LGU here has a history of doing whatever the people want afraid of losing votes, or for whatever reason. No political will whatsoever. That's why the public market is such a congested mess because they just let vendors and public utility drivers do whatever the hell they want.

So of course, it was WORLD WAR 3 tonight. The explosions were so strong they rocked the house. The worst of it lasted around 15 minutes, but it seemed like it would never end.

Ilyn and I (with Bugel at our feet) just sat at our living room sofa side by side just listening to everything. I wasn't afraid anything bad would happen, except for the old paranoia of being hit by a stray bullet. Good thing though, I didn't hear any shots fired from guns in our area.

Right now I feel very sleepy. I actually feel quite OK, if a bit full. My temp didn't rise at all today which I'm happy about. Hopefully, I'm really on my way.

Happy New Year's to everyone reading this. I hope this year brings good things to you.