http://www.jadmontenegro.com/ is back online, BABY!!! Many thanks to Sean Kay and my husband John who spent FOUR HOURS literally hacking the server, lol. I have amazing (and scary) friends. Visit now and leave a shoutout in the comments box cos it’s full of spammiru!
Bitstrips Life - the reason why I didn’t get any work done this morning

Jad is singing a punk version of “I Believe I Can Fly” at work.

Jad watches John while he sleeps.

Jad’s first day of dieting

Bitstrips is an app on facebook that allows you to make comic strips for yourself and your friends.

Paolo sent me a comic he made using my character.


It’s like Sims Social but more fun, haha.

Okay Jad, BACK TO WORK.



Anime Diary: SAO, Space Brothers, Shaman King


What’s up guys? It’s been a while since I blogged, and it’s because I got sick and all my planned posts got pushed back. Anyway, since I last blogged I’ve been to Cebu, attended a wedding, taught my puppy new tricks, become an endorser for a cafe, got nominated for a Vocalist award, started a Movie Date podcast with my husband, and started reading and watching a lot of anime. I completed about 40 new hats for my crochet shop, and I also got a new job, plus my 2nd EP recording just began!

Whew!

I made a video for my recent taobao haul (the one with all the galaxies), but it’s like 3GIG so I need to compress it for tumblr. Sorry about the wait!

So anyway, when I crochet hats I like to watch anime to pass the time. This is possible without me going cross eyed because I actually read really fast, so I only need to glance up at the screen every so often to read the subtitles. So that’s where speed-reading comes in, huh? Lol.



I’ve been checking out a bunch of new AND old anime and this week I watched 3. These won’t be super in-depth reviews, since I haven’t finished all of them, but these posts will be more like a “check out this new anime and let’s watch these together” kind of thing.

SHAMAN KING


This is the oldest shounen/shonen of the bunch. A typical shonen is an anime that is geared towards young boys, but shonen animes are my favorite (which is why I love One Piece, Bleach and Naruto along with the rest of the horde).

Taken from Wiki:

Manta Oyamada, a shrimpy, studious, yet cowardly, middle-school student from Tokyo, attempts a shortcut one night through the graveyard to get home after a late night of cram school. While travelling through it, he encounters Yoh Asakura and his “companions”: a graveyard filled with ghosts. Yoh reveals himself to be a shaman, a medium between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Yoh also demonstrates shamans’ ability to unite with ghosts to achieve a shared goal. Quickly after meeting one another, Yoh and Manta become best friends while Yoh uses his shamanic abilities to help them out through various tasks.

The Shaman Fight is a battle held once every 500 years between competing shamans to choose a winner who will become the highly sought-after “Shaman King”, one who is able to contact the Great Spirit (the spirit that every soul will eventually go back to). The winner gains the ability to reshape the world in any way they want.

The Shaman King manga was serialized in 1998, and the anime began airing in 2003, which tells you that it’s OLD. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this and have gotten to episode 49 out of the total 64. I always enjoy shonen with a relatively small number of episodes because

1. They tend to be better-written
2. The fillers don’t ruin an otherwise perfectly good plot arc
3. They give you a good chunk of story in a relatively short amount of time

Shaman King embodies all of those qualities, but it’s not perfect. For example, some of its humor in the latter episodes include a team member Chocolove (whose seiyuu sounds suspiciously like Naruto) making semantics/pronunciation related jokes (the equivalent of an English Pun). Of course, this is a little hard to get into especially if you don’t watch a lot of anime and Japanese isn’t your first language. Despite this, the characters are easy to sympathize with, and they’re pretty well-developed considering they’re a bunch of shrimpy grade schoolers.

The art is a bit outdated, so prepare yourself for it if you plan to watch this anime. Some themes also tend to get repetitive, since I think the audience they’re targeting must be middle-school aged. Still, this anime remains a strong contender for best shonen even in 2012, so if you’re into shonen like I am, check it out.

Story: 8/10
Art: 6/10
Music: 6/10

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SPACE BROTHERS


I only started watching this anime, and I already love it.


From Wiki:

Space Brothers(宇宙兄弟 Uchū Kyōdai?) is a Japanese manga series by Chūya Koyama serialized in Weekly Morning. It has been nominated twice for the Manga Taishō, in 2009 and 2010.In 2011, it won the award for best general manga at the 56th Shogakukan Manga Awards[3] and at the Kodansha Manga Award (shared with Chica Umino's March Comes in Like a Lion). An anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures began airing in Japan from April 1, 2012. It was adapted into a live action film that premiered on May 5, 2012.

The story follows two brothers, Mutta and Hibito Nanba, who, in the summer of 2006, discovered a UFO which flew to the moon. In 2025, as Hibito has managed to become an astronaut set to go to the moon, Mutta has not been so successful in achieving his dream of going to Mars. That is, until he is accepted to join an astronaut training program.

This is not a shonen, but I was surprised to find myself riveted to this anime. I don’t usually like stories with uber specific storylines or themes, since I sometimes feel this creates a limited avenue for storytelling, but that is absolutely not the case with Space Brothers. Even the star of the anime, a 32-year old burnout called Nanba Mutta, is the star simply because he is the least special, most ordinary, most nondescript human being you could meet. That alone already makes this anime seem like it’s going to bore you out of your mind, but it doesn’t. The art isn’t anything amazing either, but what this anime has in spades (that I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the start) is heart. After watching each episode you feel like you just shared in the personal growth that Nanba Mutta achieves, which makes him the best kind of protagonist - a relatable, imperfect human who never stops dreaming and improving.

The humor is also very subtle and not in-your-face, which the art complements perfectly.

Another thing I love about this anime is the MUSIC.

From the intro, outro, and all throughout each episode you get the distinct feeling that whoever directed the episodes put a lot of emphasis on timing the music justright. Which makes a lot of sense, considering this doesn’t have any flashy fights, effects, or anything to take away from each conversation. The music usually consists of woodwinds, orchestra, or piano themes, which are always in movies about space and starry skies. There is also the occasional punk-rock intro, which fits Nanba Mutta’s personality.

I wasn’t surprised to find out that Space Brothers is now a live-action film, because it’s the kind of anime that translates really well into human acting, so much that you forget it’s an anime and sometimes feel like you’re watching a really well-done dramedy.

Story: 9/10
Art: 8/10
Music: 9/10

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SWORD ART ONLINE

Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン Sōdo Āto Onrain?) is a Japanese light novel series by Reki Kawahara, with illustrations by Abec. It has been adapted into three manga, an anime and a video game.

In the year 2022, the Virtual reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), Sword Art Online (SAO), is released. With the Nerve Gear, a virtual reality helmet that stimulates the user’s five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds.

On November 6, 2022, all the players log in for the first time, and subsequently discover that they are unable to log out. They are then informed by Kayaba Akihiko, the creator of SAO, that if they wish to be free, they must reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. However, if their avatars die in-game, their bodies will also die in the real world. The story follows Kirito, a skilled player who is determined to beat the game. As the game progresses, Kirito eventually befriends a female player named Asuna who becomes his partner and lover. After the duo discover the identity of Kayaba’s avatar in SAO, they confront and defeat him, freeing themselves and the other players from the game.

I just started watching this anime as well, and I love it, despite my misgivings about the latest story arc. I have currently watched up to episode 18, and am waiting with the rest of the world for the next installment.

First thing you notice when you watch this anime is that the art is ridiculously good.

The anime works around a concept that hits surprisingly close to home because MMORPG’s are currently very popular in real life, so it’s not illogical to assume that the next step in gaming is to actually BE your pixelized avatar and do all the role playing yourself, inside your own virtual body. Think of it as a cross between the Matrix, Surrogates, Sims, and Ragnarok all at once.

Also because the anime is about a virtual fantasy world, the art is amazing, and never lazy.

Fight scenes aren’t as flashy as you might expect, even with all the nice sparkly effects, so don’t expect something along the lines of Bleach or Naruto where every scene is a big drawn-out fight. Just like MMORPG’s aren’t always about fighting the bosses on every level, this anime takes advantage of the gamer’s natural tendency to want to explore strange new worlds and discover new things rather than get into confrontations all the time.

It’s still roughly categorized as a shonen, but it’s also a coming of age and growing up story, so you get a lot of blushing girls, crushes on senpais, romantic themes and the occasional boob-level shot. Nothing as in your face as Fairy Tail or High School of The Dead boob shots, though.

Back to my storyline complaint. So here you have a perfectly good premise, amazing art, pretty good pacing, and you decide to introduce an incestous theme. That’s right, in the latest arc, the protagonist Kirito has a weird underlying incest subplot with his sibling, Suguha (who is actually his cousin). This may seem a little less weird when you know that in Japan, marriage between first cousins is permitted, but it is still unnecessarily gross in my opinion. Also, there’s no real incest in the arc, but it’s implied enough to make you uncomfortable.

However, nothing has yet developed to make that uncomfortable feeling turn into disgust in my case, so I’m willing to give it a chance, especially since the rest of it is so good.

Story: 7/10
Art: 9/10
Music: 8/10


—————————————————————————————————

And that’s it for my review this week! Hope you enjoyed it!
I’ll be putting all anime-related posts under the tag ANIME from now on, so please track it if you are interested in anime like I am.
Ja ne!

Had to share this because The Boy just drew two of my favorite characters of ALL TIME, TOGETHER. Nerdgasming right now, guh
The Wind and The Leaf - by John Amor

The Boy’s work journal
His facebook art page
Haul Diary: Taobao/Stalklife #2 + The Nerve Clothing + Design By Humans

Hey guys! My orders for August have just arrived and I’m really stoked about them. I only ordered 1 pair of shoes this time, but the rest are mostly for decorating my denim vest. Hehe. Anyway, as always, I used Stalklife as my agent and I got my items with no problems at all!

Here’s what my September order form looks like:

It’s color coordinated according to seller because I’m weird like that -_-

image

Left side is quantity, color and item name, then the item price, the item local shipping fee, the url, and on the right are the seller names as well as the computations for your final payment. When using Stalklife you pay:

The item price
+ the local China shipping
+ the Stalklife 50% fee
+ shipping to your house once they get to the Philippines.

————————————————————

for example, you bought an item that costs 100 Yuan (equivalent to P700). Lots of shoes on Taobao are around this price.

The item price: 100 Yuan
+ local China shipping: 10 Yuan (depends on the seller’s shipping to Beijing, where Stalklife is)
+ Stalklife fee: 50% x Y110
+P300 shipping from manila to davao, where I am. This changes based on the package bulk, courier, and your location. If you live in Manila, Stalklife does meetups.

——————————————————-
TOTAL: P1455

Obviously, all these charges add up and if you’re not willing to pay shipping, you shouldn’t order from Taobao. hehe. :) But I do because I like stuff that I can’t find in the Philippines, and because I think the rates are still pretty reasonable for stuff that’s really awesome. Can you imagine what I’d save if i actually LIVED in China? Ah well, we can dream. :D

Here are some tips I can give (based on my personal experiences) on how to shop on Taobao/from online hubs:

1. only order “affordable” items from Taobao (i.e. below 300 Yuan each, unless you’re steenking reech. Also, this doesn’t apply to naturally expensive stuff like anime figurines or branded clothing/shoes )

2. make sure they’re items you can’t buy in the Philippines (otherwise, what’s the point)

3. Try to order from mostly the same seller (because seriously, the local china shipping charges will kill you.)

4. Be nice to your Taobao agent. In this case, Stalklife. (They make sure your orders get to you on time, and that the items are not made entirely of crap. So, treat your agent with respect and politeness, and be patient when waiting for your orders. Besides, Stalklife is the most awesome agent ever anyway)

5. Before you go nuts and order everything on the site, make sure that you check with local sellers first if the thing you want to buy isn’t available locally at the same/cheaper price. Examples of this: scarves/handkerchiefs, common jewelry, common shoe styles, common accessories. It’s all about restraint and making sure you use your money wisely. Also, don’t spend beyond your means! <3

The cool thing about Stalklife is that recently they’ve been having a 25 for 25 promo! That means instead of a 50% fee, they charge you just 25%! And that is totally awesome in my book. I’ve already put in my payment for my September  orders. But, here are my orders for August, which just arrived:

image

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When visited by their children, some parents send them home with food. My dad sends me home with a box full of Arthur C. Clarke, Terry Goodkind, George RR Martin, Zelazny, Asimov, Ron L Hubbard, Robert Jordan, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and JR Tolkien, just to name a few. Currently sifting through my treasure box. #scifi/fantasygasmSexiness part 2
[My parents used to supply books to all the used bookstores in the city as one of their businesses. I grew up surrounded by stories, which explains the now irreversible addiction. :D]
Outfit Post: Monochroma + Davao Bloggers Blocked Screening of The Avengers!

I’ve been wearing a lot of color lately, but the truth is that my closet is 90% black, white, or gray. This is what I wore to the Davao Bloggers + Globe blocked screening of The Avengers last Friday:

And given that The Boy and I had barely any time to get dressed after work to to Abreeza, throwing on a black and white dress over a pair of black tights was the fastest way to go from pambahay to casual without even breaking a sweat.

It’s been a really hot summer that so far shows no sign of letting up, so I’m thankful for the fact that my dress is sheer and breezy!

My favorite part is probably the transparent black tulle over the skirt. I’m a sucker for things like that.

Paired it with white creepers and gray/white/black bangles.

By the way, I’m thinking of ordering from Taobao soon, want to order with me so we can split the 500 Yuan limit and get a 35% service charge instead of 50%? I’m going to use Stalklife as a Taobao agent! :)

Okay I know that’s really confusing but to make it simple: Do you want to order awesome stuff really cheap with me??? Lemme know! Peeps in Davao only, plz. :)

Okay, on to why we were watching The Avengers a second time! I had free tickets from Globe’s Text Holiday promotion, which I blogged about here.

According to Karla, and I lifted this from her blog:

"The Davao Bloggers, in partnership with Globe Telecom, were proud to host blocked screenings of this awesome movie just last night (April 27, 2012) at Abreeza Mall. Over a hundred people were invited; and most of them were influencers in their own social circles. There were two screenings: 6:10PM for the 3D showing and 6:45pm for the regular one.”

Photo by Renz Bulseco



Karla is a columnist and events manager, I’m a musician. There were bloggers, poets, writers, photographers. Davao Bloggers + Globe = awesome.

On the day of the Avengers screening in Abreeza, tickets to the movie plus boxes of those super sims were given to me and 2 of my guests. I brought The Boy and my friend Migs.


We went to the 6:45 screening, preferring the non-3D version to the 3D one because we already saw it during the premiere. Here’s Migs scowling.


Each box of special sims they gave us contained 10 sim packs, to give out to friends and family.

As we went inside the theatre Jollibee had complimentary snacks and drinks ready for all the guests! I had a hard time balancing the extra food in my arms considering I’d bought snacks beforehand lulz.

I couldn’t take my camera inside, so I wasn’t able to get any decent photos of the raffle they held after the movie, where someone in the audience got a free phone.

I didn’t win but I didn’t mind, because I saw the love of my life:

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  BIBI  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  BIBI  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  BIBI  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  BIBI  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

We’re married on Asgard, ok. Their laws are different so don’t gimme that look.

The Boy: “He’s skinny, cute, and has curly black hair. He obviously reminds you of ME.”

HEH.

After the movie we went to Fully Booked, like dutiful nerds.

Migs got The Filipino Heroes League, cos Tres Komikeros supports local art/writers!

If you’ve got Avengers fever and need to hear other people talk about it or share your opinions on it, go over to Tres Komikeros and check out their podcast/review which will be out in a few days!

By the way, Migs, my husband and I are complete geeks. We always go to superhero/sci-fi/pop culture/comic book-related events/movies/cons with high expectations. We compare them to books we’ve read, we reference directors, actors, and authors. We always, ALWAYS do a complete analysis of movies we’ve watched on the way home. We talk during movies (quietly of course) and say to each other things like:

“OMG they did that scene straight out of the comic.”

"That is SUCH a perfect Tony Stark thing to say."

"Joss Whedon is a freaking genius geek deity."

"She’s totally his Buffy in this movie."

"Take THAT, Michael Bay!"

"I’m so glad they didn’t make Cap yell Avengers Assemble."

"Why can’t they just replace Bendis with Whedon. FOREVER."

It’s actually fun being a nerd. For one thing, you need to be smart to get references, and you actually need to know what the hell you’re talking about when you analyze a film, book or graphic novel. For example, the dirty look Maria Hill gave Tony Stark aboard the bridge was funnier when you know they have a love/hate/sleep-together-when-mad relationship in the comics. That aside, here’s my rating on The Avengers:

Dialogue: 10/10

Character development: 10/10

Special effects: 11/10

Sound/Musical Scoring: 8/10 (I’ve accepted that John Williams can’t do the score for EVERY Western movie I like, heh)

Casting: 9/10

Directing: 10/10

Ridiculously high scores, I know, but:



The scenes were tight, the dialogue was funny, snappy, the characters were well-developed, the actors were completely in character, and even though we were afraid it would seem like a TV show with a huge budget because of Whedon, it was still everything we hoped it would be.

It felt like a movie with all the expectations I had when I first went to watch Captain America, but with none of the disappointment.

I know I sound like a huge Joss Whedon cultist right now, but even if I had never seen Firefly or Serenity or Buffy, even if I had never read his Astonishing X-Men run, or watched Titan A.E, or Atlantis or even freaking Toy Story, I would still have enjoyed The Avengers.

Because it was just an excellently done superhero movie. And I appreciate well-done stuff.  It pains me to say it, but Thor and Cap were better written in this movie than in their own respective films.

I’m not gonna be a douche and spoil everybody about it right now, but I’ll probably do a written review in a couple of weeks. In the meantime:


Avengers Assemble,
Jad

2 notesoutfitsavengersmovienerdgeekerytres komikerostkeventsgigsevent photospostersevent

Rurouni Kenshin Teaser Trailer

You gais, anybody have any idea what the name of this anime is? Curse my feeble bilingual brain, it does not have room for a third language. u_uUPDATE: MY friend&#8217;s japanese boyfran translated the Kanji for me and it&#8217;s Katanagatari!50 whole minutes for each episode, but there are only 12 episodes. But on the other hand, NO FILLERS! YAY! I&#8217;m so happy when the universe allows me to get my way lol. Now I have a new favorite series to obsess over :3
This photo still from the Live Action Rurouni Kenshin Movie is making me very giddy. (Insert Sean Astin&#8217;s Goonies voice here: &#8220;YOU GUUUUYYYYS, LOOK!!!&#8221;)It looks like a scene straight out of the Seisohen OVA (events which took place several years after the popular manga storyline and is not really part of the original story), so I don&#8217;t know if there will be any fight scenes or if this is just a flashback.I really hope it&#8217;s awesome, because if it isn&#8217;t my heart will just BREAK I tell you, into a million tiny pieces. -_-Moar photos: http://twitchfilm.com/news/2011/12/first-look-at-live-action-rurouni-kenshin.phpOfficial Warner Brothers countdown site: http://wwws.warnerbros.co.jp/rurouni-kenshin/
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.That&#8217;s Nobuhiro Watsuki watching the live action set for Rurouni Kenshin being put up. That&#8217;s a photo of the Kamiya Dojo!
*fangirling*
I can&#8217;t wait. Click photo for full article and moar photos.
Pixel Mario + Knit Stitch in Crochet?!

So I’ve been really determined to figure out a BETTER way to put designs on crocheted objects, sort of like knitting, but with a crochet hook.

Well, I freaking figured it out. My first attempt is with a pixel Mario - I graphed him and mathematically translated him into stitches. He’s a little wonky, but it’s my first try, k.



I also used the hook differently, sort of like a knitting hybrid. Some countries call this the afghan or knit stitch. I’m sure somewhere out there there’s a blanket with like, the whole gamer saga on it, but I’m pretty proud of just this humble little crocheted rectangle.

I feel like such a nerd for doing this, but I couldn’t sleep until I managed to get that pixel into the real world and out of my brain!


Husband is pining away for this gadget, says he’ll die of a broken heart if he isn’t united with it soon.

"Wacom introduces Inkling, a new digital sketch pen that captures a digital likeness of your work while you sketch with its ballpoint tip on any sketchbook or standard piece of paper."

I’m thinking of giving it to him for a birthday present, and win 1000000000000000 awesome wife points.

I just finished the poster for the Durian Bar 4th Year Anniversary. For those who don&#8217;t know, Durian Bar is like the Mayric&#8217;s of Davao - it&#8217;s a dark hole in the wall that has a colorful history and is home to plenty of different characters. Lots of bands got their start here, and it&#8217;s slightly intimidating for people who are new. They don&#8217;t know that the people here are actually really friendly! :)
To me, Durian Bar is a second home. I met so many creative and interesting people, did crazy things, and formed some really good friendships in this place.
I was only too happy to make this poster for the anniversary. I wanted to try steampunk colors without too many images. If you live in Davao, come on over, I&#8217;m playing on the 27th!
1 noteself photomusicdiygeekerydurian bardavao cityeventsgigsevent photospostersevent

These films were an integral part of my childhood, and I love them even more now that I’m grown up. They became even more beautiful decades after I first watched them.

Try applying that same principle to the original Thundercats, heh.

This fan art is stunning.