Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5 Things I Miss

I browsed through folders in my old PC and found old image files. Some are as old as 9 years. I couldn't help but reminisce the good old days. Here are 5 things I miss the most.

1. riding out of town on a big bike

Me and the black Honda CB1 I use to own have gone a long way. I miss the group rides to Tagaytay, to Infanta and Tayabas in Quezon, to Batangas, Bulacan, Tarlac, Subic and Baguio. I miss the breathtaking landscapes that you'll see on the way to these places. I miss the wind hitting my chest as I ride along NLEX, SLEX and the Star Tollway and the freedom that it made me feel.

2. wu-shu and my straight sword routine

I took wu-shu lessons from mid 2004 to early 2007 at GymPlus at the Starmall here in Muntinlupa city. Finding wu-shu classes in my city isn't easy. If one wants to pursue this form of martial art he has to go to Binondo or Sta. Cruz in Manila. I stopped because the classes at Starmall got dissolved. I guess wu-shu isn't popular here and my schedule didn't permit me to take classes in Manila. In 2 years I only get to learn straight-sword routines and I hoped to learn other weapons like the broad sword and the staff. Wu-shu was my only cardio exercise and I got fat a few years after I stopped (like 190 lbs). Good thing I was able to manage my weight problem last year. Anyways, I still have my swords and I still know the moves. Maybe I'll make a video of my sword routine someday while this aging body is still capable of it.

3. scuba diving in Anilao

A biker friend of mine who's also a dive instructor got me into diving. We rode to Batangas with other biker buddies and had an into-dive in Anilao. After seeing the beauty of marine life in person, I took diving lessons in 2007 to become an open water diver (under PADI). I really miss the underwater-scapes of Anilao. I never dove anywhere else, actually. Anilao has 24 diving sites and I think I've only been to four. I wish I could watch marine life again in their natural habitat. I'm a Piscean and water is my element. I love being underwater - it's a completely different world that I so miss.

4. the romantic city of Venice

Back in 2002, when I worked as a jewelry designer, my boss brought me to Italy when our company joined the Vicenza Oro jewelry trade fair. After the fair we toured Venice and I instantly fell in love with the old city. Who wouldn't? Now I could only imagine being there marveling its architecture, the old churches, stone pavements, narrow passages, town squares, bridges big and small, the Grand Canal, also the gondolas, the mask shops and cafes, the street performers, and the pigeons at San Marco. *sigh*

5. my cactus collection

I always have been fascinated by these prickly petite plants. I started collecting small varieties in 1998 but I only get to collect 11 varieties (lame!) Now, because of neglect and the unideal climate here in the city, I only have 3 kinds left - the hardy and proliferating kinds of course.

It seems that I was more carefree back then. Going places and trying stuff and enjoying life. Well before, I did have the money and the time, then free time started to shrink . Now I have more time but less money because of my "quest" hehe. Yeah, I left my comfort zone and now I'm in the journey to the life that I want, a creative life and making a living out of it. So for the meantime, I will have to put the expensive leisure activities aside. But of course, in the pursuit of the life that we want for ourselves, we must not forget to live, to enjoy life the way it is now. Life's little pleasures are always around us and most of them don't cost much.

Maybe I'll get back to those 5 things I mentioned above someday soon. Hmm well except for Venice. If things turned out well maybe I'll visit it again when I retire. =P

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Amelie Felice!

I went to my niece's 1st birthday party yesterday. She's my second niece - my sister's first baby. My sister asked me to design this photo-booth image template along with a banner for the party. I enjoyed designing them because it's not the usual theme that the typical mom would ask for. She wanted the vintage Paris look.

That's my sister Jeth(1), his hubby Jigger(2), their daughter Amelie(3), my brother Mark(4), his wife Erlaine(5), my shy niece Kelsea(6), my cousin Emer(7), myself(8) and my very best friend Avee(9).

My wish for Amelie is that she grows up as talented as I am heehee!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nina Paley's Dancing Statues

I enjoyed watching this video by Nina Paley. She animated the pictures of statues (taken from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) and made them look like they're doing a production number. I love the music too!

Nina Paley is an American cartoonist and an activist of free culture, a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content by using the internet and other media.

The very title of this video, "All Creative Work Is Derivative" reflects her conviction against over-restrictive copyright laws. "Copying," she says, "is the engine of cultural progress. It is not stealing."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New BloggerShirt Design
for November

Here's our new design for November, by the way. It's our first shirt with Tagalog words. It's also, I think, our first humor shirt. Hmm maybe not. Our "Caution" shirt has a bit of humor.

Anyways for my readers who speak no Tagalog, it says something like, "When a blogger has nothing left to spend, on blog contests he will depend." ^_^

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Playing Back The Good Old Stuff

Did a little cleaning today and saw my old music CD collection had collected some dust. I thought that it's a perfect day to listen to music that I haven't heard for a long time. Of course not all the songs in every single CD was ripped into my portable devices. It's a good thing that my old stereo is still working.

Listening to them brings me back to the 90's - the pre-MP3 player days. Today I listened to songs by Sheryl Crow, Bjork, Tori Amos, Third Eye Blind, The B52's, The Mamas and the Papas, 10,000 Maniacs, Sunny and Cher, Douglas Throwbridge and Vivaldi. Yeah, I'm quite eclectic when it comes to music.

I remember the time when all I had was the radio as a source for new music. Now I'm glad there are online radios where stations are categorized by genre. There I get to discover new and old artists that are not mainstream here but make music that I really dig. No commercials, no blabbering DJs, and if you don't like the current song just skip to the next. I'm also glad that today's technology has allowed us to find, collect and store music that we like. Ain't life great? What would life be without your own playlist? ^_^

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why Not Live
in the Countryside?

This is a magazine clipping I've kept for years. I got it from an old french interior decor magazine. I just love its rustic style - the thatched roof and the white stucco walls. I thought maybe I could have a house like this built someday. I think I could live in the countryside, grow and raise my own food and sell some of them to pay for other stuff like internet connection hehe. Of course I would still need a window to the outside (congested and polluted) world.
Actually, an opportunity to built a house like this came. Five years ago my parents bought land (almost a hectare) in Cavite, about a kilometer away from our business warehouse. When I learned they plan to build a small vacation house there, I showed this clipping to may dad. When he saw it he said, "Mukhang bahay ng squatter" (Looks like a poor man's shanty) - and there goes the opportunity. There's a house built there now and it doesn't look like anything that belongs to a rich man. It's really sad when money goes to people with no sense of style.

Anyways, back to the clipping. The house belongs to Munnu Kasliwal. He and his brothers own the famous Gem Palace - a jewelry company in Jaipur that catered to the royals around the world since 1852. This humble house used to be a cowshed and Munnu converted it into a stylish tropical resort-like haven.

Check out the awesome interior. See more by clicking the clipping below.
I wonder if my dad would change his mind if he saw the interior. Maybe not. It's too late anyway. Oh well...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I couldn't help but ponder on this quote that I came across on the web. Are my artistic ambitions a needless want? This quote is about simplicity and I wonder, if my life would be less complicated if I just stay as an employee, designing for a boss, and enjoy my pay? Maybe it would but my business goals are pretty simple anyway...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We Are Very Busy People
by The Limousines

I leaned about this song through a friend, about a year ago in his mobile phone playlist, and it became one of my favorite songs. Aside from the jumpy electro-pop tune, I find the lyrics quite amusing. You'll hear words like "...we'll stay up late making mix tapes, Photoshopping pictures of ourselves, while we masturbate to this pixelated videos of strangers fucking themselves..." haha! This song sounds like the perfect anthem for deadbeats. Hmm is this why I like the song? Wait, I'm not a deadbeat!

Actually it's just now that I get to watch this video. I'm not sure if it's the official but it might as well be. I like the concept. The photo editing time lapse is just perfect for the song. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Favorite Tomb Statue

It's All Souls Day. Already did our annual visit to the graves of our dearly departed folks (grandparents, aunts and uncles) at the Manila Memorial Park in ParaƱaque City.

Much has changed over the years at the memorial park. I remember how pristine and serene it was back in the 80's - the vast unoccupied lawns, the nicely landscaped artificial brooks that lead to the (not yet stenching) man-made lagoon. I wonder if the management ever thought of restoring the beauty that the memorial park was once known for.

Well there are things there that remained beautiful. Like this favorite tomb statue located near my grandparent's tomb. It is nicely sculpted in marble (or maybe cast marble) reminiscent of tomb statuary in the Renaissance period. Years of exposure to the elements gave it more drama. It belongs to the V. Roxas family.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Saint, Demons and Art

As an All Saints Day special (coinciding with the Halloween celebration), let me tell you of a saint whose story, about his torment by the devil, has been a subject of interest to many renowned artists.

Saint Anthony, also known as Anthony the Great, was born in Egypt in 251 A.D. to a wealthy family. His parents died of illness and was left in the care of his unmarried sister when he was 18. At age 34 he decided to follow the words of Christ who said, "If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come follow Me." So that he did and lived as a hermit.

For a time he lived 13 years in the most rugged part of the Egyptian desert, completely cut off from civilization. There the devil afflicted him with boredom, laziness, and phantoms of women, silver and gold, which he overcame by the power of prayer. Of course the devil doesn't give up that easily. When he was hiding in a cave he was beaten to death by a gang of demons. But his life didn't end there. He was revived and he continued to live an astonishing ascetic life until it was time for him to go at the age 105.

The story of his torment in the desert has caught the imagination of many artist, from the renaissance up to the 21st century, each with his own interpretation of the horrifying scene and of how demons look like. Here are a few faves. Click for a larger view.

Above is Michelangelo's rendition of an engraving by Martin Schongauer.

This engraving is by Lucas Granach the Elder.

This is one of a pair of paintings by Matthias Grunewald. It seems that in the old world, demons are perceived as beings that are a mash-up of different animals.

Remember, Remember
Your Goals Through November

So November is here. In the past month, I have been working on putting together all the things I need to start another business which is the digital portrait painting service. I've spoken to prospective suppliers (framers and printers), did research on different portraiture styles, checked out photography service outlets at malls, and planned the transaction process. There is yet so much to do - like finalizing the prices making samples to be shown on the website, that I've already created.

So now I have two online stores on Multiply. The other is for my own brand of shirts and anything else that I can produce and sell. These are the two businesses I've been meaning to jump-start for the longest time. Let's see which one will be launched first.

Materials, knowledge, and skills - aside from these, there are things I need to put together and apply on myself: patience, perseverance, diligence and determination.

Most importantly, I hope I will always be inspired.