Tuesday, 30 December 2014

CTNx 2014: Day One

Hullo all!

Finally, after a year and a half of planning, and an even longer time dreaming about it, I was headed to CTNx!

I had bought our tickets back in February for the convention that was happening in November--talk about being early birds! I also decided to bring my brother along for this trip so that we could both be inspired and motivated to be involved in something creative, a field that we both like to dabble in. He's actually more of a photographer but this was in his wheelhouse all the same.

Obligatory airplane wing photo!

My brother and I decided to tag-team the taking of photos and videos. He just recently started vlogging himself so I was happy for any chance to be on camera as the subject instead of the cameraman.

We landed safely in Burbank after a short layover in San Francisco.

We arrived a day before the actual expo so we decided to just take it easy and explore our hotel--which had a mini arcade!

I found Galaga (I loved Space Invaders on the PlayStation 1 as a kid) and did the geeky thing of spending five dollars in change to get the high score!

This is my failed attempt at a badass face.

We had dinner at BJ's which was right across our hotel. It was a very fulfilling deep dish pizza and alfredo, but the best part was this sampler of their famous Pizookie ala mode (pizza cookie)!


The excellent view outside our window at the Holiday Inn Burbank Media Center!

Eggs Benedict is my all-time favorite breakfast food (alongside bacon and Pampanga's Best longganisa hamonado). I am constantly searching for the best Eggs Benedict in the world. True story.

My brother and his corned beef! It was a very nice sibling breakfast date. :)

Gonna fast forward a bit here. We had no clue on how we were going to get to the Marriott Convention Center. It was no walking trip so we were going to Uber it. Fortunately, a very nice Shuttle Driver at our hotel said he would take us there. His name is Jorge and he was our savior for the day! 

We got there as people were registering. I suppose a lot of people pre-registered online because the line at the registration wasn't as crazy as I expected it to be. Of course, registration also started 2 hours before my brother and I got there so we probably (fortunately) missed the rush hour. 

Some confusion over the registration process. I think overall, CTNx has to improve on their system. I had bought and registered for both my brother and myself. They couldn't find my brother's name in their system which made it difficult for him to be found in the roster/registration for workshops. I had to make sure I sorted it out with the organizers so that day 2 and 3 would be smoother sailing. 

But with that settled, CTNx officially began with a Kickoff Keynote from *drumroll*

Legendary Animator and Disney Legend, Glen Keane! For those that don't know, this man is responsible for every film in the late 80's and 90's (known as the Disney Renaissance). He was the lead animator for The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Tarzan, Aladdin well, you get the idea.

He talked about his wonderful short film called Duet. Watching this made me cry, I swear! And this film is my bet to win the Oscar for Animated Short Film! 

We had time to kill after the opening keynote so my brother and I took a look around the front of the convention center.

Hands in your pockets and away from your wallets!

Pretty graphic novels and artbooks everywhere.

Art books from my favorite people at Imaginism Studios! I ended up getting MUSE from Ronnie Del Carmen.

When it was time to head into the workshops, my brother and I had to scramble, occasionally separating. We had chosen various workshops, demos and panels. Most of them were held in conference halls such as this called Vine AB.

My favorite venue, however is Hall C which was specially built for CTNx! It had a very unconventional theater-in-the-round setup which made the speakers interact with their audience more. 

I wish I could go through all our workshops one by one. But honestly, that would be a lot of commentary! Instead, I will highlight my favorite ones in the upcoming entries!

Talk soon!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation 4

Hullo all!

Something people must know about me, I grew up on video games and am especially attached to those with great storytelling. The Final Fantasy Franchise, Kingdom Hearts, Fatal Frame, The Walking Dead, etc. are all games that I loved playing because, while most of them involved frustrating level-grinding (and nightmare-inducing concepts), at the heart are some amazing stories that I dream of being able to tell someday. 

A couple of days ago, SquareEnix announced that it was bringing Final Fantasy VII to the PlayStation 4. 

As you may have surmised, I am one of the legions of Final Fantasy VII fans that absolutely need this franchise to be remade before we die or grow too old to use the controllers with our hands. But, to many, this announcement was a let-down because they were not remaking the game--just rereleasing it.

It is NOT the same, people. Let's roll back the tape to the remake of the opening FFVII sequence (Technical Demo for the PS3), shall we?

May I have more plz?

The disappointment of a rerelease versus a remake is a feeling that I can only liken to that of when (SPOILER ALERT), Aerith is killed in a cut-scene and you hoped and prayed and wished that at some point in the game someone could just Phoenix Down her and she would be revived and all will be well---but it never happened. 

On that note, I made a quick, mouse-made little something to express my disappointment. :(

Still hoping for a remake,

Monday, 17 November 2014

CTNx 2014: The Pre-game

Hullo all!

Has it really been over two months since I last updated? Golly!

Before I get to my main post, I just want to greet everyone a super belated Halloween! I dressed up as Hipster Ariel. Who did you go as?

November is upon me and that means the most eventful month of my year begins! Seriously, since high school, November has happened to be the month where a number of events and memorable experiences have occurred--some planed, some totally by coincidence.

Anyway, off tangent--this month is finally the time I attend the Creative Talent Network Expo 2014 (CTNx 2014 for short)! I've been itching to be part of this expo for a couple of years now, since finding out about it the year before arriving here in the U.S. For those hearing about it for the first time, CTNx is a gathering of artists from the different branches of visual entertainment: animated films, illustrators, video game designers, visual effects artists, photographers, etcetera in California. CTNx hosts panels, discussions, workshops, demos and other special events for people in the industry and for those interested in making this industry their career (like me) to come together and share in their love of visual storytelling.

Right in my wheelhouse, ammirite???

But now comes the tasking--er, well, task--of preparing for the expo. Doesn't seem like I would need to prepare much since I'm going as an attendee, not as an exhibitor or a panelist, but one should not forget that CTNx is also a networking event. I may not have a portfolio to show (which I am kicking myself for), but I do have a chance to still make an impression. Many artists that I stalk follow and sometimes talk with on Twitter are going, and I wish to meet them all. But in the hubbub of a bajillion artists that are going to this event, you want to make sure you are remembered.

What better way to do that than with a business card? I heard that business cards are traded like Pokemon cards out there--gotta catch 'em all. So, gotta make myself catch-worthy. OTL

Now, you'd think it's easy, but the screenshots of the several versions of drafts I've been working on ought to show you how difficult it's been for me OTL



Until finally I thought of a concept--how it came to me, I've already forgotten, but I got very psyched about it. Process is below! :D

I suppose all it takes is a kick in the butt and a tight deadline to get me to finish this. The truth is, I ran the risk of hating it after I ordered it because I rushed something just to have cards to hand out. But I actually really like the final result!

I ordered through MOO, as I've seen many artists do for CTNx and their prints. And I'm glad I did! The cards also arrived earlier than scheduled (even if it was through UPS, which I do not like) which may be the one time I was impressed with UPS (whoops!)

Now I just can't wait for CTNx! Time to charge my camera and get ready for a blog! 


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Drained and Exhausted

Hullo all,

I usually try my gosh-darn hardest not to talk about anything too personal on this blog--or on social media in general--regardless if it's happy or sad. And as much as possible, I would like to surround myself (and eventually, my memories) with happy thoughts--most especially since I am usually treading the line between optimist and pessimist.

In any case, the past few months for me have been more than just a little bit interesting. The thing I want to talk about the most, is what I need to be most vague about. I can't bring myself to say anything in detail (because I remember my reaction to reading my high school blog--yikes). 

I've experienced a lot of things I can say with full confidence that I haven't been able to in, literally, all my life. And, in more ways than one, I've come to feel and learn things about myself that I didn't think I would find out until way later. Everything from capabilities I didn't know I had, to patience I didn't know I could practice, to flaws I didn't know I had within me. It just goes to show that there is still more about yourself that you can find out, even if you claim to know yourself. 

I also have to admit that I've made mistakes--mistakes that I have accepted, but still make me very sad, even tearful at times. And no matter how many times I look back, analyze, point out what I could have done differently, what's done is done. Even if I have tried to remedy things, it's difficult. 

There are too many what if's and too many things that I want to happen at this point, and to be honest, it's all about to make my head explode. For the past few weeks, my general mood has made me want to cry, drink, dance, scream, run, punch and eat my heart out. And I have gone from sad to furious, but all I am now is just very confused. 

Not only is the situation confusing, but I have no clue how to conduct myself. One day I'm thinking "Yes, this is definitely what I should do. This is the situation and this is my plan of action." and the next, "No, maybe that will make things worse. I don't want to do that. Should I do that? I don't know what it all means." And I end up going through the cry, drink, dance, scream motions again. 

There are also things that I am now itching to do more than ever--the first and foremost is to have my own space. I do have a little of that here. But my current living situation won't last for long. I have made it known to my family that I want to be able to try going out on my own soon, and it surprised me that they haven't been as receptive as I thought they would be. This obviously disappoints me. There are a lot of contradictions regarding their reaction that I don't quite get and I don't know how to deal with. The thing that they probably have not known (because I did't really mention it to anyone) is that even before coming to the U.S., I've had this idea of living on my own. It is not at all because I don't want to be with them. I love my family and I appreciate all that they've done for me, but it is a phase I always knew I would go through. I know for sure that it is something I need for myself, and an experience I would learn so much from. Whether that experience will be good or bad remains to be seen. But I have already planted those seeds of thought in my parents' minds, so I do plan on following through with it. I don't want it to come as a surprise, but I also don't want it to create any tension amongst us. I have been saving and doing my research, but just this one thought alone has given me major anxiety. 

Another thing that has been worrying me has been my lack of a social life. It's been difficult, I realized to have my friends so far from me. Social media has made it so easy for us to talk, but nothing beats having them physically around you, having a drink together, or just be in the same timezone. And with the past events of the last couple of weeks, I just wish it were easy for me to call on them and just get lost in each other's company. Now I can't help but feel like a nagging high schooler that can't decide on what to do. It makes me feel like a needy friend, but I don't want to pretend that I'm okay, when I'm not. 

I have been trying to concentrate and do things to keep my occupied. I have been drawing more and getting back into exercise. I've gotten started on reading again and watching more movies which I have been meaning to get back into. Yet, in the midst of it all, when my mind decides that it wants to preoccupy itself with something, it will find a way to multitask. In short, I haven't been very successful. I'm trying so hard though, which is probably why I feel so drained all the time. 

Drained and exhausted. That is what I feel all the time now. There are so many questions I'd like answers to, but so little energy to handle what I might hear--I don't know if I'd be able to take the answers even if I were granted them. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, there always is but I have to be patient. Ah, patience. I should get a dog and name it that. I could use Patience for company, badly.

I needed this writing release. I hope I can overcome all these challenges. 


Monday, 7 July 2014

Visual Development Portfolio Vol.1: Getting Started

Hullo all!

It's no secret that, for years now, my dream job is to become a Visual Development artist.

One of the things I need to overcome, which coincidentally seems to be the biggest hurdle, is putting together a portfolio. I currently have one on Behance, but given my specific direction, I feel that I need to create a new one.

And so I figured I would do some spec work for my portfolio. "Spec" is a term I learned off studying Advertising. It also applies in portfolio creation where, instead of placing work you've already created for clients or classes, you create an entirely new piece of work on a hypothetical, what-if-I-got-to-work-on-this-project type of basis. 

I've long been a fan of thesis portfolios of illustration and visual development majors. And I'm taking my cue off of them. 

The idea for my own portfolio came on pretty quickly, and I've made many a sketch creating the characters in my sketchbook. But now it's time to start putting it all together into a few pages. 

Now, I have a tendency to want to reveal everything all at once, because I want there to be a grand reveal of "Hey! Look what I managed to put together!" I figured, that if I do that, I can make a grand entrance and it's done in one go. And on the flip side, if it takes me forever to create everything and the desire fizzles out, no one ever need know that a grand idea existed that just never came to fruition. 

But no, I'm not going to let that happen this time. This time, everything comes true. So, I decided to share a little bit of my progress as soon as I make it. 

So here is the first piece that I've completed! A character lineup of my take on the Grimm's fairy tale: Maid Maleen (which I have temporarily titled "Maid Mari" given my personal take on it)! :)

Stay tuned for more! :)


Sunday, 22 June 2014

On Repeat: June 2014

Hullo all!

A lot of people may not realize it, but I consider myself quite the musical person. While not in terms of actually being able to play an instrument (I've tried the piano and guitar, with dismal results), I do like to think I have good taste in music and I enjoy it a lot. 

Nowadays with Spotify, I'm able to constantly expand my auditory horizons too. I discover many new artists all the time and I find myself adding more and more songs to my favorites. 

So, here are the songs that are on repeat for me this month of June. 

"Tee Shirt" by Birdy
This is the #1 song that's been on repeat. Not only has this been on loop for the past three weeks, but I've also been singing and humming this whenever I'm brave enough to do so out loud. I love Birdy's voice and I've been listening to her since January so to hear this song, with lyrics that I just love, is something I definitely want to be able to sing flawlessly as well. 

"Shriek" by Wye Oak
This is one of those tracks that I mentioned discovering on Spotify. It was timely, because the night that I first heard it was a particularly good night, with interesting memories. I remember drifting to sleep with this song playing, and I had a happy, knowing smile on my face. And that night made the line of the song "this present seems invaluable" mean so much more to me.

"Let Me In" by GROUPLOVE
Anyone that knows me, knows that I have been IN LOVE with GROUPLOVE since hearing 3 of their tracks as insert songs for the Japanese drama, Sprout, in 2011. Something about their tone and vibe just makes me feel free, like I want to hop in a car and drive on the interstate with reckless abandon. Theirs is the only show I've ever wanted to see live. And this song is another of those fantastic ones.

"I Wanna Get Better" by Bleachers
This reminds me more of something that probably would have been in the soundtrack of Perks of Being a Wallflower. It has a retro vibe to it, beyond the music video. The lyrics could mean a lot more than they initially seem, but I'm going to take them for what they initially seem to me and I think that I could relate with the chorus quite a bit. 

"Boom Clap" by Charlie XCX
I wasn't expecting to like this song as much as I did. I heard it once and wasn't too blown away by it. That is, until I let myself feel the music. This song is supposed to make you feel good, and that's exactly what it does. I had this song on repeat at work (with my headphones on, of course) during a gloomy, rainy day. I was eating a fat smoked salmon bagel with hot chocolate and doing a lot of filing. BOOM CLAP, this song made me feel good!

And on that explosive note, I end this mini-list. As you may or may not have noticed, a good number of these songs can be found on the soundtrack of The Fault in Our Stars. Two months ago, I found out that Birdy, Ed Sheeran and GROUPLOVE were all going to be on the soundtrack and--pardon my French here--I freaked the fuck out. I love them all and having them all on one album is just insane to me! It really made me feel like the TFiOS OST could be the OST to my own life. It's not, for sure, but I want them all to be on my life's OST. Haha! 

Anyway, I don't have a long list of on-repeat songs simply because, well, they're on repeat so there wouldn't be a lot of them to begin with. 

Which one did you enjoy the most? :)


P.S. I didn't include Ed Sheeran's songs in this list because I don't actually like them as much as his previous songs. They're brilliant, but I haven't had them on repeat. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Book Review: Never Have I Ever, My Life (So Far) Without a Date

Hullo all,

I forget exactly what led me to read it. I was jumping back and forth from Buzzfeed, Tumblr, Huffington Post and Thought Catalog (as you do in the wee hours of Saturday morning). But I eventually stumbled across this article. I read it out of boredom, at first. I related with the title and thought, "Meh, why not? It's 2AM and the struggle with potential insomnia is real."

The deeper I got into the article and Katie Heaney's "Lighthouse Theory," the more I realized that I felt the same way towards my other girlfriends. They were lighthouses and I was, for some reason, a Bermuda Triangle. I bought Never Have I Ever that same night.

Katie's premise is simple: she was 25 years old and despite all her crushes and "experiences" with different guys, she was still very single and nowhere near being in a relationship. And, sure, I knew that statistically-speaking she and I weren't the only two people in the globe that were 25 and single, but it was enough for me to pick it up.

Within the first couple of chapters, I was convinced that Katie was my American Doppleganger--at least in the love (or lack of love) life department. It was as if she had been living a mirror image of my own experiences. I remember thinking near the tail-end of the book, "Well, she hasn't done a chapter on online dating..." and five or so pages later, BAM, there it was. So, change the names, switch the locations, tweak it here and there, but keep the humor and the over-analytic thoughts plus the "WTF did I just do/say" actions, and viola, you've got a Never Have I Ever Volume II by Mishie Del Rosario (hmm, let me revisit this idea later).

I've already lost count of a number of things while reading this book: my wide-eyed "Oh my God that's exactly like me!" reactions, "I know how that feels like" smiles, "Aww man, I know exactly how that feels like" slow head shakes, and most of all the "Me. I'm reading about me," thoughts.   

More than the experiences that Katie recalls in the book though, the one thing that made me relate to her stories the most is her humor. Mayhaps because it is almost exactly like mine in that she (in hindsight) sees this stories and tells them in a self-deprecating, sarcastic manner--or maybe the quirky side comments she adds (I too have a tendency to get carried away with side-comments. I have way too many thoughts in my head). You just don't think that way in the process of these events unfolding, but this tongue in cheek humor that she adds in the retelling of them entertain me the most, as if I were telling my own stories to people. 

And apart from her misadventures with boys are her girlfriends that she takes along for the ride. Somewhere past the middle of the book, in her section in grad school, she gives all her girlfriends roles to play whenever she is over-analyzing and freaking out over a guy: the level-headed, logical best friend that just tells it like it is, the uber optimistic friend that is convinced it is meant to be, the friend that freaks out along with you and justifies your craziness and a couple of back-ups that may or may not actually be as invested in your love (or lack of love) life. This part elicited my wide-eyed "oh my God that's exactly like me (and my best friends)!" reaction. They know who they are, and what role they play, and they know me. 

It is a highly enjoyable book that I've found myself reading anywhere: in bed, on the train, on the bus and during lunch (okay, maybe not during lunch where I might tempt someone to ask me what the book is about and why I like it). 

The only thing that I was unsure what to feel about was the Epilogue. I suppose I didn't really know how she would end it. Obviously her life continues, and I couldn't really see how she would end it properly apart from eventually finding a long term relationship. Part of me thought that it sounded like a cop-out. Katie made it sound that she had just learned to accept herself for who she was, a single learn who just did not know how to get herself into a relationship. It might have had more impact if I didn't already think that way about her all throughout the book. 

I thought of myself, about being too similar to her. I had always been that way: an overthinker that knew what I was expecting and what I wanted, even if it did not seem realistic to other people that have actually been successful in dating people for longer than a couple of dates. I don't know, I just felt that there could have been a different way to do it. But then again, maybe that's also be being idealistic, not real. Maybe there really isn't a way to properly end it because there isn't much to end--her trying to find a date still continues. 

Did I make sense?

But there's the rub: while most people will stop right there--simply enjoying the book, putting it down after and shelving it maybe permanently--I will do the usual me when it comes to anything that hits close to home, I analyze. I think. I over think. Guh.

By the way, this is where the review ends and the bonus (?) material begins. 

Soooo, I'm like Katie Heaney. 25 years old, now working my way up the ladder, had my fair share of struggles with guys (see below GIF that illustrates perfectly my struggle with crushes).

I have accepted that part of me, but now what? Just because I've come to terms with my past, doesn't mean that I am willing to continue on this way for the rest of my life. Okay, not the rest of my life--until further notice. The dilemma is, though, that I perfectly happy with the way I am, thank you very much (except the over-analytic part of myself. I'd like an adjustment with that very much thanks). 

I am single, but having someone would be nice. Not necessary, but nice. I don't need someone, but would I say 'no' if I were asked "do you want a boyfriend?" I honestly doubt it. I have survived by myself for 25 years, you know, having a partner-in-crime doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. Besides, not to brag, but I feel like the cumulative experiences of my friends has taught, armed and maybe even molded me into being what I imagine to be an effing good girlfriend. I also know this for a fact because I have none of the signs from this totally legit list

That doesn't mean to say that I'm desperate and will just say 'yes' to anyone right away. I have some dignity, I know that I'm a catch. But we'll see. No amount of planing, hoping, wishing and wondering will make any of it come true. So, we'll see. Either way I know when the time comes, by entourage of girlfriends will be there to back me up (or confuse me even more) along the way.

Now let me revisit this Never Have I Ever Volume II idea. 


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

PHL Part 3: Reading Terminal Market

Hullo all!

By far, though, my favorite part of this trip to Philly was Reading Terminal Market.

Yes, yes. Leave it to me to make anything that has to do with food on top of the list.

Some shelter from the rain--eeek!

The first thing that washed over me when we went inside was a feeling of overwhelming awe. The place was huge! I wish my camera could capture it!

Bizarre Foods America is currently one of my favorite shows. I can appreciate it so much more now that I'm actually living in the U.S.

Reminds me of Honeydukes (I say this as if I've been there before. Spoiler alert: I have not)!

Fun fact (?): I never really understood why Easter is celebrated with the symbol of the rabbit. Back at home, the mention of the word "Easter" to me meant the time to visit fourteen (seven, if I'm lucky) churches has arrived and I have to drive and park in tight spaces again. Not as exciting as chocolate-covered bunnies.


The search for the best Philly Cheesesteak (I kept saying "Chilly Feesesteak" by the way *headdesk*) has begun!

The Flying Monkey!

Signage, signage! I just loooved the signage in this place!!!

This man had such a booming voice that made me think of what Santa would sound like. He is also pretty much what I imagine Santa doing on his off-season--selling cookies.

Gotta be honest. When I saw the lobsters in the tank, I thought "awww" and "yuuum" at the same time.

A big part of Reading Terminal Market houses Amish-owned stores. This little boy was helping out his dad for the day! So cute!

Aaaah, cute!

Yikes, they caught me!

Scented candles. These have been a waterloo of mine in recent months. I just loooove searching for a candle with the perfect scent. Karen and I must have spent half an hour at this stand sniffing through each one!

Just look at all those lovely pastel colors! I love looking at them all!

I ended up walking away with two scents: Sweet Pea (for my mom!) and Love Spell (because I fell for it)! And I'm realizing more than ever that, as much as I love food, I'm not fond at all of pastry-scented candles!

Lilies are my all time favorite flowers--especially white ones because I'm such a white person. :)))

And because I was getting so overwhelmed with finding the perfect Chilly Feesesteak (lol) stall, I just opted for ice cream!

I got Dark Chocolate Chip and Butterscotch Vanilla--BEST THING EVER.

Cool story, bro.

I love the idea for this book! I browsed through the inside and there are actually whole passages from Alice in Wonderland that are in between the recipes! All cookbooks should be like this from now on! Imagine an illustrated Harry Potter series of cookbooks!!!!

Speaking of Harry Potter--does anyone care to come to Witch Camp with me?

Troll head wind chimes! I love it!

I got exhausted after this stall--we had spent over two hours inside Reading Terminal Market! And that was just through one, very meticulous run through the place!

I'm definitely coming back here to get my Philly Cheesesteak and maybe that ice cream again too!


Read more of my mini-adventures in Philadelphia!