Son of Guerilla Writing
Tyler looked up from his book, appalled. "Jennifer Graciella Mutungi, what the ding-dong-hey's goin' on out there? I told you, I have to concentrate in here!"

The jumbled sounds of metal and plastic bangs and thumps stopped. Heavy bootsteps on hardwood tromped towards the bathroom door. Towards Tyler.


No answer.

Tyler wished his trousers weren't around his ankles. Wished that there were some way to see outside. Wished, insanely, that his apartment's bathroom doors had more locks than the measly little latch.

The bootsteps stopped just outside the door. Tyler strained to hear something. Anything. He heard the faint sound of a metal click.

Tyler. Slammed His Book. Shut. Reached For The Plunger. Raised It Just As -

The bathroom door was kicked in. A small shower of wood splinters and metal pelted Tyler as he charged blindly at the door, swinging the plunger at chest height. His ankles caught on his pants, and he stumbled and fell.

More Than Meets The Eye!
Check out this site. It's got all the transformers and how they transform on it. Watch out though - a lot of images.

Filipino Martial Arts impressions
Inspired by a recent post on the blog of Dean... I've decided to post some of the knowledge I've picked up in the few years I've been trying to study Arnis...

One thing I noticed is how similar the development was to the stereotypical "Kung Fu Western". There wasn't a set system, per se... just different fighting styles or techniques. More often than not, the philosophy was to have a tight set of basic manuevers that your practiced over and over again.

Then the neighboring rival (or enemy) village or region would be on the receiving end of this technique and develop a counter-technique. The techniques (and skill with them) would then escalate. Techniques were guarded closely, for reasons similar to the "Kung Fu Gunslingers"... constant challenges.

Interestingly, teaching the Filipino Martial Arts made you a target. Teachers were hesitant to allow students to teach other students because any dude walking by with a technique or skill could challenge them to prove their technique's viability.

Sikaran is our version of a kicking martial art. Someone I knew from Arnis actually competed in some Saudi Sikaran tournaments. It's pretty vicious... closest art would be Tae-Kwon-Do, but Sikaran has some great close-fighting kicks. There was allegedly a kick that Tae-Kwon-Do adopted from Sikaran, but I've never seen it. I wouldn't be able to vouch for the lineage even if I did. Sikaran has a cool advantage though - some of its kicks look very different from kicks from other styles and they can throw off your opponent for a while. My friend did that when sparring against a TKD man.

As for Arnis / Escrima / Kali - it tends to borrow and adopt things between schools. Modern Arnis (the style I currently study) originated with the late Grandmaster Remy Presas. But, his parent style was the Balintawak Style. Comparing the two, the Balintawak style is superior in one-on-one toe-to-toe fighting. It's a duelling style. Modern Arnis assumes more than one opponent and so has footwork that supports that philosophy. There's another style that never retreats. There's another style that is for fighting in the jungle and therefore allows for strikes from around tree trunks and through branches and allows for using trees and plants as cover or shields.

Arnis follows a different philosophy from the Japanese arts. In most Japanese arts, you start barehanded and only use weapons when you've become advanced. In Arnis / Escrima / Kali, training begins with weapons - only when you're advanced do you learn the mano-mano (barehanded) applications of the art.

We currently do drills called Sinawali - allowing us to get used to the increasingly complex interwoven movements of two sticks and the footwork and distancing necessary. We drill at largo, medio, and corto ranges. We also practice the basic strikes and blocks (force-to-force and with-the-force variations), use the abanico for both blocks and strikes...

Feh - enough for now.
One Year
Well, one year ago today I started up this blog.

It was originally titled "Champions & Princes", a spin on the meanings of my two names... but then I changed it to "It's in the Vlad" for no real reason than to change the otherwise loft sounding title. Maybe the next one will be Sexy Asian Women in the Nude with Farm Animals... though that may garner too much unwanted attention.

It's interesting to go back and look through past posts. I also find that blogs are a great way to keep abreast of what's going on in friends' lives, as well as allowing them to know what's going on in yours.

Quote for the Day
"As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we must all be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

- Justice William O. Douglas

Force Nomad
One of my favorite comics series was Alien Legion.

I came into it late. My buddies had been collecting it even when i was in the Philippines, but I couldn't get into it much. I got into it by chance when I saw the 2nd Alien Legion series that took place after Nomad had been stranded on a hellhole of a planet.

Skathe Mescad had died already in a graphic novel. Torqua Dun and Tank had died on the hellhole. Torie Montroc, Jugger Grimrod, and handful of others had survived and were nastier than ever...

Tough as tungsten and loyal to the bitter end. Long Live the Legion!
More Non-Fiction Books
I've decided to expand my work on researching for the Hinirang RPG into just researching on the Philippines in general. I've dug up one of my old books, a decidedly "worker-oriented" work focusing on the land reform (or lack thereof) during the Aquino era: Philippines: Fire on the Rim

One of the things that struck me is how bloodlines and family really impact behavior and social dealings in general. Your name does carry weight, moreso with people who know nothing about you. Perhaps in game terms, you'd get an advantage / disadvantage rating for a specific name with specific groups of people.

New Comics
Thanks to Popit who sent me some Queen & Country books. Operation Blackwall, Operation Crystal Ball, and Declassified. Now I just need to get the 1st two TPBs...