geekology 101

The years go on and we’re still fighting it

A pleasant and prosperous brand new 2008 to all! Here’s to fresh beginnings, shiny new hopes, and clean slates aching to be filled with happy memories.

Can I also just share that this year, I will be “celebrating” my 11th year aboard the world wide web. Before I acquired the domain in ’99, my very first address was at good ole Geocities1 and the next one was at Tripod.2. Unfortunately (or actually, fortunately) I don’t have screenshots of previous incarnations of my site but *gasp* it seems the wayback machine holds the key to my shame. Please promise not to laugh.

Collage 2007

I know 2007 is SO last year but I just wanted to list the good things that came out of it, in no particular order.
1. Poptastic and The Paper Basket, our Cafepress shops. Yay to designing for fun — and getting paid to do so!
2. The trips to Japan (March), Singapore (April), Dumaguete (August), and Hong Kong (November). We hope to do more sightseeing this year, finances permitting.
3. Engagements! Some of our close friends and a family member are tying the knot soon and Arn and I couldn’t be happier for all of them. πŸ™‚
4. Reconnecting with long lost friends & relatives, strengthening ties with the ones I’m in touch with, and making up with missed, estranged (well, estranged no more) ones. All thanks to Facebook.
5. Papa coming home for good. He’d been travelling to and from Japan since I was little and had lived there as a visiting Professor for a year in 1978, three years in the ’90s and then another six years before retiring last year. It’s such a comfort to know that he and Mama are both at home, right next door.
6. Arn and me turning four years strong as man and wife. Looking forward to many, many more wonderful years together. πŸ™‚

So this year kind of started with a bang — on my hard drive and consequently, my wallet. One of our home computers, the PC I use for work, CRASHED. See if this happened to my Mac3, I would’ve known how to fix it but PCs are as alien to me as Bode Miller4 so I had no choice but to bring it to a shop that charged x amount for labor, another x amount to install an OS, and x amount for a new hard drive to replace the damaged one. But then I was prepared to spend whatever it cost to retrieve the magazine layouts I slaved on over the holidays (wouldn’t you, now?) and hooray, hooray they were all safe. So yes, Wedding Essentials Jan-June 2008 will be at the stands soon … er, soon enough. πŸ™‚

It was a different case for our media collection though. We lost ALL the music, tv series episodes, and movie files we’ve accumulated these last couple of years. A few had been backed up on file, some are in our iPods, but most are now gone… forever. Lesson learned? Backup your files, backup your files, BACKUP!


  1. Get ready for this: Where was TinyURL when you needed it?[ back]
  2. A slightly easier to remember[ back]
  3. Actually I hardly use my Mac for work anymore, it’s so jurassic it can only handle web-based projects (which I choose not to do so much anymore too).[ back]
  4. Sorry, Arn is watching the world cup right behind me and I know absolutely nothing about speed skating and curling and what other winter sports there are[ back]
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In fire, in fire, down to the last wire

It’s been a while since I posted a What’s the Story entry so I thought I’d share with you a couple of really old design projects that I’ve unearthed from my ancient Mac’s1 hard drive.

Up first, Sharon Cuneta’s “All I Ever Want” album, commissioned to me in 2001. I was ecstatic when the record company called me because I thought, ahahay! A chance to create conceptual mainstream OPM album packaging! I was free to do anything I wanted, the only mandatory was that her face should dominate the page because, well, she is the main selling point of the album. Fair enough.

I came up with these roughs:

Sharon album design study

The first two are the booklet’s back and front covers and the rest are sample inside flaps.

I wanted the design to have a painted, dreamy quality using macros of almost indistinguishable nature elements because the “want” in the album title connoted “dreams, desires, & wishes” to me. (Uhm, that made sense, right?)

After I submitted them, there was no word for a few days. I finally called to ask what the status was and then was told that they2 wanted something that looked like her old stuff3 and so have decided to just ask their in-house designer to do it…

And this4 is what it looked like when it came out.

Oh well. But there’s a happy ending to this tale: I was paid a discontinuation fee.5 πŸ™‚
Here’s another design story, one that pushed through. San Miguel Philharmonic/Master Chorale’s “Great Original Pilipino Music album”.

Mr. Ryan Cayabyab is always a joy to work with, mainly because he has excellent taste not just in music but in the visual arts as well. He especially likes it when there’s a concept behind the design you present him.

When I was sent the track list for the GOPM album, “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka” stood out at once so I started sketching a couple of lovebirds under a red umbrella almost immediately. I wanted to show the surroundings in blue so that the couple (who were in color because they’re in love) would be the main focus.6 As for the jeepney, well there had to be something to make it Filipino, the title is “Great Original Pilipino Music” after all.

Here are my rough, initial studies. First in pencil, then a study in color.
Great OPM study 1

Mr. C liked it right away! I told him I would clean it up and improve on it, i.e. ask my talented artist hubby to render it like a painting.

Arn actually took it a step further. He thought the jeepney was cluttering the background so he arranged the elements in such a way that the artwork looked like it was telling a story.7 I liked it much better already!

GOPM study 2

But then Mr. C said that he liked the fact that the couple was already together under the umbrella in the first study although he likes the impressionist quality of the new layouts. He also told us that we could lose the jeepney if we wanted. Hmm, maybe he was right.

We came up with this. The lamps are supposed to make it look like the scene is in Luneta, but if you didn’t get that it’s perfectly okay. πŸ˜‰ Overall, I thought it looked more romantic and was quite sure we had nailed it.

GOPM approved design

And we did! It got approved. And produced shortly after. πŸ™‚

Before I end this, I would like to share something with you.

With Neil Gaiman

We met him! And had dinner with him8!

The last time he was here, we queued in Gateway but didn’t get a chance to have our books signed, although Arn had a lucky encounter (and photo op) with Mr. Gaiman in the washroom. A few days later, Azrael posted that photo in his blog. Mr. Gaiman saw it and wrote Az: Thanks to you… I learned that the nice man next to me at the sinks in the mall was Arnold Arre, whose art I had been admiring a few hours earlier. (And I wished he’d introduced himself.) Mind-blowing, right? Two years later Arn, who was a judge for the Graphic/Fiction Awards’ comics category, finally had the chance to introduce himself properly, and Mr. Gaiman was gracious enough to actually remember Arn’s name and the incident, and reiterate that he really does like his art. What a fine, fine gent.

More kwento and tons of photos in my Multiply.

  1. My G4 is turning 8 next month! I hardly use it anymore.[ back]
  2. I’m actually not sure as to who “they” referred to.[ back]
  3. Why oh why?[ back]
  4. It doesn’t look bad but I’m sorry, looking at it again 6 years later, I still think my design should’ve been given another chance. At least mine had a concept.[ back]
  5. And so should you if you begin a project that doesn’t get fulfilled. Remember to have that clause in your contract.[ back]
  6. Cliche, I know but hey, it works visually.[ back]
  7. That’s my hubby, a natural storyteller![ back]
  8. Well technically with him tablehopping in the room. But we got to talk to him and we actually really had dinner with his son Mike who was seated at our table.[ back]
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If life is just a stage, let’s put on the best show.

I’ve been so delinquent in updating that — I have to admit — I’ve forgotten how to do this. And then I remembered that lists are always foolproof. So here are some random things that I’ve either recently discovered or am currently into that I would like to share with you:

Sean Lennon
FRIENDLY FIRE – I really loved Sean Lennon‘s debut album “Into The Sun1 when I first heard it in it’s entirety about eight years ago. It was so good from start to finish that I thought there was no way his next album can possibly be more beautiful. So I was wrong. “Friendly Fire” serves up a more mature sounding Lennon and musical growth is apparent in the more complex and experimental instrumentations right down to the heart’s-been-broken and world-weary subtext in his lyrics. Consider the first track “Dead Meat“.

Dead meat, don’t you know you’re dead meat?
You just messed with the wrong team
Better not try and fall asleep now.

Watch the video here or download the mp3.
At first glance2 and maybe because of his trademark mellow vocals, it seems like a harmless albeit angry letter to a person who wronged him. It turns out that the song is addressed to an ex-girlfriend3 who cheated on him with his childhood friend who subsequently died in an accident before he and Lennon could reconcile. Yep, heavy stuff, a big departure from the easy, breezy, crashing-on-Yuka Honda4’s-couch days of old. With that back story in mind, give it — and the entire album — another listen. It just brings a whole new dimension to it. As for my favorite tracks, everything sounds fabulous really but I like listening to “On Again, Off Again”, “Spectacle”, and “Tomorrow” over and over.
I think what I especially admire about Sean Lennon is that he struggles to make the music he wants without resorting to the obvious (i.e. going the POP music route and capitalizing on his larger-than-life surname).

SCRUBS5 – Because of the void left by “Heroes” and the demise of a certain feisty little blonde girl’s tv series, I had to look elsewhere for entertainment. I remembered that Budz & Nest told me that it was a good show so I decided to check it out. Suffice it to say that now, a day is not complete if I don’t get to “spend time” with JD and company. I think it’s also because I’m reminded of when I wanted to be a [insert gasp here] doctor when I was 56. It also doesn’t hurt that a lot of Felicity alumna appear in the series from time to time.

Harry Potter 7
HARRY POTTER 7 THEORIES AND WHATNOT (SPOILER ALERT). In anticipation of the final book of the series, fans all over the world — yours truly definitely included — have been speculating: Will Harry survive the final battle with old Voldy? Will Hogwarts reopen? What or where are the remaining horcruxes and will some of them represent the 4 Hogwarts founders? Will Harry reconcile with Ginny? Will Ron & Hermione end up together? Will Dumdledore reappear ala Gandalf or Obi Wan? Was Snape ordered to do the deed (see book 6) by Dumbledore himself? Alas, only she knows. Incidentally, with regards to the last speculation — I personally believe that Snape was under Dumbledore’s orders and that he is not evil.

I seem to be getting quite a number of hits for the following terms: “Arnold Arre” (ahem, my hubby), “Andong Agimat“, and “movie”. So… is there anything you guys would like me to confirm?

Sorry I have to cut this short, work awaits. Follow my tweets, if you will. πŸ™‚

  1. And I have to credit an old …friend for giving me that album as a birthday gift hence introducing me to Sean’s music.[ back]
  2. and if you don’t follow his career like fans (like me) do[ back]
  3. Not Yuka Honda. I’m talking about the more recent ex, Bijou Phillips.[ back]
  4. Don’t get me started on Yuka, she’s another musician I greatly admire. It broke my heart when she and Sean broke up.[ back]
  5. I know, I know, I’m 6 seasons late in the game![ back]
  6. My mom’s a pediatrician and I used to tag along when she did her rounds/attended to her patients in the hospital. My bubble burst when I didn’t make the cut to enter PSHS by a mere 4 points — I passed the screening to take the test though. On hindsight, I think pursuing the arts instead did me good.[ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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