Monthly Archives

April 2016

ART, DESIGN + NICE THINGS, NERD SPOT

Comic Jammin’

Today I’ll tell you about a very, very nerdy event I attended…it was awesome.

img_1830-1See, I have very, very talented friends. Not your Instagram celeb kind of friends,  but a group of comic maven geeks who i can call my bros. They are part of this independent web comic crew called Indiellusions.

A couple of weeks ago I helped them out organize for their fist Comic Jam, a free event for comic/manga fans to hang out and create together.

It consisted in a creativity workshop where participants would draw comics in a limited time frame, based on subjects picked at random from a fishbowl. Neat stuff, i tell you.

Basically, once you got there, we would hand out blank layout grids and pencils. Attendees could bring their own supplies as well. It was an exercise for creativity, storytelling and mental wits while sharing what their projects are and how they end up doing these things.

Some of the random combinations(based on pure chance, believe it or not) were: Hero, Columns, Race, Maple Syrup. I did sketch out this one but it was bad!

Another i remember was DNA, Death, College and Lobster. Curious thing was I did a little Google research and found out some studies proved lobster cells are indestructible to some extent. Myth says lobsters are immortal (crabs too) and had I been drawing, that would’ve been my general concept! Come on, lobster immortality? heck yeah!  

People from all ages attended, and it was a refreshing thing to witness. There were very young kids with all the imagination, and older people with technique that can only be polished with experience. It made me glad to see people take interest in cultural activities for self growth and I’m proud of my friends for their success doing what they do best.

On that same day, I scratched my car’s door with a metal rod. But that’s another token in my jinx library!

Also, they recently launched a web comic called Blueprint, with drawings from the ultra talented Albert Weand. I admired his work from when I first stumbled upon it a couple of years ago, then ended up hanging out with his friends and colleagues, such if life.

Synopsis from their website: Gustavo, a young architect who has achieved success, finds himself in a motionless period in his career, while Megumi, still in her college years, foresees the day she makes her dream of making manga a reality. Both of them, Megumi and Gus, find in each other the ideals and answers, to questions that by themselves, they could’ve never discovered.

Click here or on the image below to learn more about their project available every Tuesday and Thursday.

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POPCORN TIME

IFF PANAMA 

Roughly 2 weeks ago, the International Film Festival of Panama took place. On its 5th edition they showcased more local films than before, living proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Cultural projects are often neglected by the government and associations that are meant to support emerging talent. This event lasted around a week so naturally, with design and film titles under our belts and a thirst for entertainment, we managed to attend a few of them.

I might get a bit in trouble for saying this, but the organization and their ticketing system SUCKED. You weren’t able to buy them online unless you had a Mastercard. And when you tried purchasing them from an authorized seller (brick and mortar shops) you ran the risk of them telling you there was just one seat available or they ran out of tickets to print. It happened to me and I missed a couple of movies I really wanted to watch like Magallanes, Viva and The Thin Yellow Line/La delgada línea amarilla (and meeting some celebs as well, who roamed among us mortals during that time). Also, I couldn’t get in for the Opening/Closing galas. At $30/each, I couldn’t bring myself to shower them with my pretty pennies. The Thin Yellow Line was only going to be shown at the Closing event, so unless i cashed out and got all fancy for the night , I didn’t stand a chance.

On Monday night we attended the Premiere for Salsipuedes, a Panamanian film about life in one of Panama’s most famous neighborhoods – all of its idiosyncrasy and violence. Took us about two hours to get to this particular theater cause we got caught up in a Friday night traffic jam. The National Theater, which they used for this particular set of events, got shut down last year for lack of maintenance, so we got the Teatro Balboa left. 

The film itself… I give it a 3/5. I was expecting to finally be blown away by a national film but I left underwhelmed. The cinematography was nice, I believe they took a risk with some shots and they were a hit, but the acting left much to be desired. Apart from a few actors, I felt they failed hard at casting people aptly qualified for film (or they were not well trained for the part). You know how theater acting is different from film acting? That.

The storyline itself was a bit poor and predictable for my taste, but cinematographically I feel it succeeded.

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Now let’s move on to A la deriva. What a documentary. We waited at the rush line cause we failed at getting tickets (read above). 10 years ago, over 200 thousand cough syrup bottles were distributed to the Caja del Seguro Social patients. Little they knew they had used chemicals intended for the automotive industry. People died from poisoning and survivors live with permanent damage, inside and out. Physically and emotionally. It was a touchy subject with raw emotion that moved across the movie venue. It was filmed and edited almost flawlessly in my opinion. 5/5.

afiche-sin-filtroDays later, because our busy schedules kept us away from the venues… Sin Filtro. Technically, we didn’t watch it ~during~ the festival, but at a private screening from my workplace that took place simultaneously. It was featured at the IFF though. A chilean film about being your true self when with others. I felt identified with it. It was about a lady who had a seemingly well-put home life, a successful job…but she was a pushover and it was affecting her health, physically and emotionally. She worked at an Ad agency – hello! And they were trying to overlook her experience and hard work for a Youtube Vlogger with bird poop for brains. That, among other things. Until she began speaking her mind. It was wonderful, refreshing, hilarious and approachable. 5/5.

Last but not least…Dheepan. My boyfriend suggested we watched it. We saw “Indian themed things” and went for it without knowing what we were gonna sit down for, so we proceeded to buy the tickets and called it a date.

dheepan_1Dheepan was more than that. It was directed by Jacques Audiard, the same guy who brought us Rust and Bone. The story began in Sri Lanka, in the middle of a civil war, and was about a Tamil freedom fighter who fled to France, along with a woman he barely knew and an orphaned kid. They formed a family to the eyes of others, in hopes of building a better life for themselves in France, and relatively safe haven. It was raw, emotional and sadly, the true story of millions from anywhere and everywhere who have flown home just for a chance of a future, for better or worse. I liked it a lot. It was a bit slow at times, I attribute that to the director’s style, but it grabbed your attention right from the get go. 4.5/5.

And that’s a wrap! These reviews are based on no other than my personal opinion and experience. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your own experiences, reviews and suggestions in the comment section below.

 

 

PAULIE SAYS

FROM HERE TO THERE

It’s been very hard for me to approach this subject because while it has been an important part of my life, it’s been painful at times. Long distance relationships. I became an internet user at the tender age of 12 or so. Maybe even earlier than that. From there, I met so many people and some of those friendships went beyond screens and borders. And those close to me somehow always moved elsewhere. Even I did for a while.

70cb02d6dbd011e2813a22000a1fb833_7Now, this post was intended to shine a light on how my cards have been dealt and how coincidentally, I’ve had to deal with all kinds of long distance relationships for as long as I’ve known it was possible. Most of my friends I met online while living in separate parts of the world, others I met in person and life made us part ways, I had a previous LDR before meeting Ed (to whom I almost didn’t give a chance given the circumstances), two of my siblings live overseas ever since i was a kid…

People came and went. Met people who lead me to meet more people and build relationships. There was this girl who i befriended, who introduced me to someone else who turned out to be a good riddance, but who would eventually lead me to my friend Annie… We remained friends, traveled together and through her I met more people that I now consider family.

This person, a former friend, who used to criticize me behind my back saying I was someone who was unable to form “real” relationships. What’s real if the lines have been blurred for decades now?  It crushed me because I knew it wasn’t an impossible task, but it was partially right. I have a mild form of Social Anxiety and it’s hard for me to open up to new people quite as easily as most folks – but was this correlated to the fact I ALWAYS ended up separated from the ones I loved? Who knows. It is what it is.

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Us – watching a movie together while apart.

Growing up I figured I’ve worked hard to make long distance relationships work, with friends, family, my boyfriend…Luckily I no longer have to with the latter, but these things have been rewarding. Sometimes I do wish some of them would text me more often, but I get everyone gets caught up with their lives at some point.

I am happy to have survived the distance with him. The planets lined up and sacrifices were made. I feel i finally ~broke the curse~ and came out with funny stories to tell. I want to say LDRs are 50% about location, 50% about perception. I never felt Ed was 16 hours away from me and that kept me going.

My life as a meme. I didn’t choose the LDR life, the LDR life chose me.

 

NERD SPOT

MTG: Shadows Over Innistrad Pre Release event

I’ve been a Magic: The Gathering player for about a year now. The Mr. has been playing for around 13 years and counting, and he was the one to introduce me to this fascinating world of creatures, spells and a crap load of expensive cards.

This past weekend the Shadows over Innistrad Pre Release event happened. It was tough, it was exhausting, it was so much fun.  We usually attend these events at a local shop called Level Up, its where they first taught me how to play while Ed was away. Also because it’s closest to his place/my workplace. The owner is a cool dude, and I met really nice folks in there. I feel comfortable playing there too, I try to avoid this other place where most egomaniacs meet.

I normally don’t like competing, let alone in draft formats –but last night they held a 2HG event. It stands for “2 Headed Giant”. A DCI-sanctioned multiplayer format, 2 vs 2 , 4 rounds of aprox. 50 minutes each and 30 lives for each team.

The sign-up cost of a Pre Release is $30 that includes a sealed pack with 6 boosters, a spin dice and a promo card. I got “Thing in the ice” –  from what I was told It’s a pretty powerful, sought after card. I failed to take pictures of the matches cause we used my phone’s life counter app while we were at it. Sawry!  I was a bit bummed we didn’t get any Planeswalker. I want a Sorin for my deck. This particular new set is revisiting Innistrad, and it’s Victorian/Gothic Horror themed. It is the 70th Magic expansion… that’s a lot of cards since it first started in 1997. It’s got spirits, vampires, humans, werewolves, zombies and other interesting things not for the faint of heart. Artworks are impressive as usual.

Here is a storyline from MTG Salvation: Innistrad is a world beset by terrible evils on all sides and betrayed by the hope it held most dear. Avacyn has finally returned, but what new evils have come with her? Madness is plaguing the inhabitants. Terror falls from the skies on blood-spattered wings and nameless horrors lurk in the shadows. Odd things are afoot: the forces that had protected the humans have been twisted into something dark and strange. Jace Beleren of the Gatewatch investigates its dark mysteries. Meanwhile, Sorin is in search of the whereabouts of Nahiri.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 8.27.02 PMI always let Ed do his card voodoo thing and build our decks. From what I’ve learned from him, they need some synergy to get positive results. Trusting your partner, people! (On a side note, I have never played in a sanctioned tournament against him, I’d rather just grab my stuff and run!)

I played Black-White. It had a ton of enchantments that helped us diminish the targeted damage and filled our battlefield with spirits and tortuous creatures. He played Red-Blue, which controlled our opponent’s creatures and did damage. I’m not going to go into details, but you basically draw cards and the same time as your teammate, attack at the same time and are able to discuss your strategy at any time.

So, we got got randomly paired against people I was a bit intimidated by. Others had never seen before, some were older than me, others were kids that warned us “not to get fooled because they were kids”. Right. Kids that most likely have more free time than I do to play Magic! So, I bought myself a new set of counter dice and my friend Chef gave me some Barbie-pink sleeves for my deck. I was armed, dangerous and ready to snatch some wigs.

Ultimately, we placed second, after winning the first three matches and losing the final round to this guy I met one of the very first times I walked into the shop and asked strangers to play with a noob.  Ed was THRILLED cause we won a bunch of boosters. I had fun, I think it’s the best I’ve done in a tournament like this. Got to defeat guys that have obviously played much more than I have or do regularly. We might buy a booster box –  and if we do, that’s gonna be another MTG post.

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