Sunday, December 27, 2015

13 Years!

It's been thirteen years since this photo was taken. Ilyn and I both decided to get married during December, between Christmas and New Year's Day because we wanted not only our wedding, but our anniversaries to happen when the weather was relatively cool, and there's a feeling of holiday and celebration in the air.

I still remember the day like it was just last week. We had our reception at Roño's Place, back when it was still owned by the Roños. They even gave us a free night in their bed and breakfast right next to the reception. The following day, Ilyn and I just walked a few blocks to our apartment, newly painted, with all new bamboo furniture and new appliances, utensils, tools, and bed sheets. We spent the day in bed just watching the special extended edition DVD of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. To this day, new paint and Lord of the Rings make me nostalgic for the Christmas season, and our wedding.

Our anniversary is actually tomorrow, December 28, but we won't be able to celebrate it then so we just decided to do it today.

Just like last year, Ilyn and I went on breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates here in San Pablo to commemorate our anniversary. The places we went to weren't that particularly special, but we didn't mind.

For breakfast, we went happily to Dunkin' Donuts. It just occurred to me that we also went to Dunkin' Donuts during our breakfast anniversary date last year.

I guess I just wanted to go to a place where I can have coffee and something to dunk into the coffee, proper breakfast style. Sadly, there's really no other place you can do that in San Pablo that's open at that hour. We would have opted to go to a local business, but even a place like Si Christina doesn't have anything you can dunk into their coffee. Can you imagine dunking cakes and sansrival into coffee? NO. Ugh.

The coffee at Dunkin' comes in really small though. As in tiny. See photo on the left for evidence. It's crazy. What is this, Hobbit land? Still, Dunkin' coffee is far more decent than most fast food coffee like those from Jollibee or McDo.

I went crazy and had three...THREE donuts. I wanted simple donuts. I didn't want those overly sweet, overly elaborate donuts that seem to be the norm in places like this. I would have loved to have a simple sugar raised donut, not any of these bavarian filled strawberry choco coco puff sprinkled sparkling carbonated bacon wrapped rainbow-colored monstrosities. Oh no, I'm starting to rant. Let me go and move on to lunch.

We happily had our lunch at David's Tea House at Puregold. David's wasn't my first choice, but we wanted to go to the newly opened Office Warehouse nearby. David's was the nearest, relatively decent place to eat.

I won't go at length about what we ate because I might start another rant haha. But let me just say that we did enjoy the food and I probably ate a little too much. No, I can't let this go! THEY FORGOT THE SAGO IN THE MANGO SAGO! There. I'm OK now.

For dinner, we happily ate at Simple Treats, one of our favorite places here in San Pablo. We actually struggled... STRUGGLED to decide where to have dinner. We were deciding between places like Hungry Gorilla, YOu Japanese Canteen and SuperWok, all of which are very near to our house. In the end, we decided on Simple Treats because I really wanted to have a really... REALLY good cup of coffee.

Hands down, Simple Treats has the best coffee here in San Pablo. I'm very sure you'll hear few arguments from those who have actually tried it. We like this coffee so much that a few years ago during our 10th Wedding Anniversary party, we actually asked Simple Treats to cater their coffee. No, they don't cater coffee, but since we're tight with the owner, he said OK. He even thought it was such a good idea that he might start catering coffee himself for other occasions.

Tonight, the coffee didn't disappoint. As usual, it was simply awesome.

So awesome that it made us truly happy.

It's really been such a nice day. Although today was special, we do try to make each day as special as this one, just in different ways.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Unfollowing Heroes

I've had to unfollow a few heroes of mine on Facebook. I had been very disappointed at how incredibly bitter some of them have become. Or have they always been that way? One of them seems to find the negative in almost anything that it just gets really tiring.

I do post angry messages once in a while that I'm sure would elicit negative feelings from people as well, but I don't do it on a regular basis. In fact, I've avoided posting about controversial, heavy stuff on my main Facebook profile for a while now. I reserve some of my angrier posts on my Facebook page. But even there I don't do it too often. I make it a point to post a few senseless, stupid, ridiculous (and hopefully funny) things every now and then.

I do understand that following someone who just keeps posting angry things every single day can be emotionally exhausting, specially if this is a person who, at some point in your life, you idolized and admired. Is this what's in store for me in the future? Will the comics industry disillusion me to the point that I become as bitter and angry as well? I hope to God it doesn't happen to me, no matter how negative my experiences could be.

In a way, I do understand the need to vent and express your emotions. That there are issues that you need spread awareness of. But I believe that the constant and relentless anger oftentimes cloud the message and the incessant slapping you in the face with these issues can close off people from looking at those issues more closely. What's the use of your message if people stop listening to you?

Christmas 2015

Christmas was pretty quiet, subdued and simple this year. It's two Christmases since my mom died, and the only people in the house are Ilyn, me and dad. We tried to keep the Christmas spirit alive by putting up the tree the lights early. We never got around to playing any Christmas music though... and in spite of the tree and the lights it didn't feel so Christmas-y for us this year. For the first time in my life I wasn't able to finish Christmas Mass. I had to go home because I wasn't feeling too well. As I write this I'm already feeling OK, having gotten a bit of a rest and some quiet time with Ilyn.

I guess I can never really go back to that time in my life as a child when Christmas was so thrilling and exciting. I didn't have any worries about life back then, never had any responsibilities. It isn't to say I was miserable this time around. No, actually I am quite happy and content with the life I have. I guess I've just come to accept that life is like this now, and I've decided to find happiness wherever and however I can find it. I've got a great job inking Star Wars comics in a season when the new Star Wars film just hit and everything is all abuzz with it. I'm still here, still alive and I never ever take that for granted.

Noche Buena was simple but nice. We had some ham my brother gave us. (My brother isn't with us this year. He's in Manila with his son spending Christmas there.) I also made soup from roasted squash and bell peppers. Even I couldn't believe how good it was. We had some peppermint hot chocolate, some grapes, fruit salad that Ilyn made and just regular plain cheese. We were unable to get a Queso de Bola this year, but that's OK. And for the first time in years we didn't have anything that was even remotely alcoholic. I did have a Dr. Pepper with a slice of lemon, which was just great.

Fireworks came early, as it usually does here in San Pablo. I guess over the last few years a few San Pableños got it in their heads to blow up some firecrackers to greet the coming of December 25. When I was younger I loved firecrackers. I lit up up a box or two of them myself, Right now I'm just not interested in it anymore. And it frightens Bugel so I have to go and try to calm her down and reassure her that nothing's gonna happen to her. Even the faintest firecracker from far away drives Bugel into a panic. Poor dog. We'll have to give her some extra attention come New Year's Eve.

I usually wake up really early, but tomorrow, Christmas Day, I plan on sleeping in. Just stay in bed and sleep until maybe 7 or 8am. Crazy, I know, but considering I usually wake up at 4:30am, that's pretty late for me.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars!

Just came home from a screening of The Force Awakens and holy shit on a stick, it was just awesome! I won't spoil it for you guys, but there were plenty of hair raising moments throughout the film that would appeal to long time fans. I made sure that I caught the very first screening here in San Pablo because I wouldn't want to be spoiled by nutjobs posting spoilers online. And with things that happened in this film, they would be truly heavy spoilers.

It's doubly exciting for me because I get to go home after watching Star Wars and actually work on an OFFICIAL Star Wars comic book! I'm currently working on inking Star Wars #16 with my longtime penciller Leinil Francis Yu.

Previously, we worked on The Darth Vader annual, with me inking, Leinil pencilling and Jason Keith coloring. I'm particularly proud of being involved with that one because I think we did a pretty good job.

To those who asked me if I will be at the book signing/launching of the annual this Saturday at Greenhills, I would have to say no, and that's because I wasn't actually invited. To be honest, I'm kind of bummed. It would have been nice to be have been part of it. In any case, I made other plans for Saturday instead.