Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Miss Namibia

One of my pet peeves is receiving text messages of the following sort:

Dito na me.
Kain na me.
Alis na me.
Tulog na me.

It’s Taglish, infuriating, and downright lazy. And it’s just sooo baduuuuy (hmmm, that was Taglish). I’m sorry, but I insist on texting in complete sentences and with the proper spelling. Well, most of the time.

I feel like shipping off the people who use the “na me” phrase to Namibia in South Africa. Let them speak to the Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, and see if they dare use the “na me” phrase.

Then again, can anyone pronounce “Hifikepunye”? How about “Hifikepunye na me”? Hahahahaha!

Buy One McVie, Get One Free!

“So what’s so great about having someone?” I asked. I wasn’t being sarcastic. I wanted to hear their honest answers.

My officemates and I were having lunch, two girls and a guy, all of them straight. The two girls are attached (one is engaged to a Danish guy) while the guy is blissfully nerdy (either he’s not looking for a girlfriend yet or he hasn’t found one to his liking). I had just declared that I might end up single for life. The girls predictably said, “You’re just saying that because you’re single now. Wait ‘til you meet him.” That was exactly how they said “him”—in italics.

“It’s good to have someone to share your life with.”

“At the end of the day, you have someone whom you can just dump whatever—all the shit you got, the small triumphs, little things that mean a lot to you but not to anyone else. And there’s someone there who’ll take all that unconditionally.”

“It’s not like your parents, because they’ll end up lecturing you.”

“And it’s not like friends because there are things that not even your friends will understand, or maybe they will but they’ll speak their mind about it. Unlike someone who’ll just take you as you are.”

“And while there are substitutes like friends and family, they cannot match a partner. You cannot compare because you’ve never had a boyfriend before.”

“And having someone is so—”

I interrupted them: “Okay, okay, okay! That’s it, I’m going to slash my wrists now.”

Actually I knew all along their answers. (By the way, the answers above were all paraphrased. Their actual answers were more of phrases, not complete sentences.) It’s just that having never had a boyfriend ever (yes, in italics), my knowledge is more theoretical than practical. It’s the knowledge gained after seeing and studying numerous relationships of other people. They say experience is the best teacher; unfortunately, I’m on a home study program only.

So for now I’m going to…. Well, I’m not really sure. Wait? Too passive. Search? Too aggressive—and too much effort. I’m lazy.

Be available. Yeah, I guess that’s a sensible approach. Be available, for a limited period only, while supplies last.

Yeah, my love life is one big promo period with no DTI-NCR permit number. No wonder no one’s buying, hahaha.

Blue Monday / Beautiful Tuesday

Oh great. This is what I get for feeling generous as a supervisor.

Last week I told one of my copywriters to take Monday and Tuesday off since she just had a hectic week launching a new show. My other copywriter was asked to come to work on Saturday, so I also allowed him to take Monday off.

Yesterday morning my remaining copywriter sent me a text message saying he’s sick with the flu.

So Monday I was all alone in my lonesome, doing all their pending work (not much, thank god) and fending off all our clients. Pakshet da puwet.

* * * * *

I just realized I have a bisexual female, a gay male, and a straight male as subordinates. Wala lang.

* * * * *

Today the television is on in the office and everyone is watching the Miss Universe pageant. Miss Philippines didn’t make it into the semi-finals again. If she had made it, maybe I’d be watching. But right now I’d rather tune out.

You see, unlike most gays I know, I lack the Miss U gene. Actually I’m indifferent to most beauty pageants, even male beauty pageants. Male bikini contests are interesting to watch, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch (unless I have a friend who’s asked me to support him/her). The only beauty contest that I’ve ever really deemed worthy of my time and attention is the Miss Gay Marikina sponsored by the Spartan Boys and held every first Sunday of January. But I watch it more for their talent portion (for the past four years they never fail to have at least one contestant who does the fire-eating thing) and their question-and-answer portion (my all-time favorite question so far: “If you had a choice, what would you choose for our country—El Niño or La Niña? And why?”)

I watch it not really out of solidarity for my sisters but because, despite the earnestness of everyone involved in the contest—organizers and contestants alike—the whole event is actually an unwitting parody of beauty contests. I think all gay beaucons are parodies, despite questions like, “What positive things can gays offer to society?”

And beauty contests in general are a celebration of the superficial. Sure, shallow is fun. But they are not good for the self-esteem of people who aren’t mature enough to put those kinds of contests in their proper perspective. Everyone can be beautiful without fitting into those vital statistics.

* * * * *

The Miss Universe has been crowned: Miss Canada. Nelz, take a bow. Time for you to bring out that slinky black dress and those high heels and start practicing for the next Miss Universe, hahaha!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I’m A Model (You Know What I Mean?)

Saturday, 10am: I received a text message from my photographer friend, Dave Fabros.

Dave: Are you up?

McVie: Yup, I’m up, what’s up?

A few seconds later my phone rang.

Dave: “You know, of course, that we have a photo shoot party today, right?”

My mind froze. Oh holy shit. Sacred feces! He told me about this earlier this month.

McVie: “I’m really sorry, Dave, I forgot! You know how it is with my work here, it can get hectic so I forget things.” Besides he never really followed it up with any reminder or confirmation, so it’s understandable why I have forgotten all about it.

“That’s okay, don’t sweat it,” Dave said. “Just try to make it at 1:30pm, same place as before. If you can’t bring some of your friends over, it’s alright. I’ll see you later.”

Dave holds these photo shoot “parties” as an ingenious way to hone his craft and network, both professionally and personally. Meanwhile, gays, faggots, homosexuals, bisexuals, bi-curious ones, and straight-guys-who-are-in-a-committed-relationship-with-another-guy(!)* who’ve always wanted professional-looking photos in their accounts in Friendster, Downelink, Connexion, Tickle, and their ilk can now have them without paying an arm and a leg.

*(Pramis, true itetch! I saw this guy’s Connexion account, he says he’s straight but in the same breath he says that he’s in a committed relationship—with another guy! You can even click on his boyfriend’s picture and check out his account.)

So that’s how I ended up helping out in Dave’s photo shoot and how, after everyone else’s photos were taken, Dave had me pose for some shots. Since I never really thought I’d be facing the camera that afternoon I didn’t bring a change of clothes. Thus the lukot-lukot shirt look.

I’ve seen your picture
Your name in lights above it
This is your big debut
It’s like a dream come true
And when you smile for the camera
I know they’ll love it

— Steele Dan, “Peg”

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Photos by David Fabros. For more info, visit his website here. For more of my vanity fair, visit The McView Point.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Thanks to Leigh’s wonderful blog entry on punctuations entitled “Lying in A Comma,” I’ve decided to come out and admit to myself and to the world what I’ve always suspected.

I have semicolonial mentality.

I love using semicolons. I love being tentative. Let me get back to you on that one. Wait, let me think. Hold on, I’m not sure I’m done here. Hold on, I’m not sure, period. Yes, I don’t want to get pinned down. I always want an escape hatch. In sentences the semicolon leads to my escape clause.

I don’t wield it properly or elegantly but with impunity, like our Spanish and American colonists. But since I’m indio, call me a semicolonist. Que barbaridad!

(P.S. – No semicolon was harmed or abused in the making of this episode, except in the title.)

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Listened to the radio this morning: “Speed Of Sound” by Coldplay. This song has been in the radio playlist for almost a week now, but I’ve always switched stations whenever I hear its intro. This morning I decided to give the song a chance.

The song starts like any other Coldplay song: steady rhythm, then a gradual build-up, layer upon layer of sound—vocals, instruments, percussion. In the few seconds of first impression, one is tempted to tune out: another formulaic song. Even Chris Martin’s vocals sound like, well, like he always does.

But then something happens; one just has to stick to the song and get past a particular point. The refrain comes on and then second verse, and gradually the song transforms right before your very ears. The song’s elegant yet spare melody, fueled by Martin’s engaging falsetto, subtly latches on and refuses to let go. It’s fascinating to hear, the audio equivalent of Cinderella transforming with a wave of the fairy’s wand.

No new breakthrough for Coldplay, though. Maybe Chris Martin and company should really start branching out their sound into new territory. Change need not be too drastic, but another album full of “Clocks,” “Yellow” and “In My Place” and one would be tempted to make a Coldplay’s Greatest Hits album into a non-stop Stars On 45 medley.

Five Questions

I got this from Sky’s The White Papers. Pasalamat siya’t wala pa akong ma-isip na episode para isulat ngayong araw, kaya pinatulan ko.

1. If you were Robbie Tan, what song would be the title of your sexy film and who would be its lead actors?
Sayaw, (Mga) Kikay. Starring Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin in their first torrid, sexy movie! Co-starring JC Cuadrado and Allen Dizon. With the special participation of Brent Javier as my ex-jowa.

2. Look to your right. What do you see? Describe it in three words starting with the letter S.
Square-ish, solid, sooo-boring (one word!). Beside me to my right is a betacam tape of an audio-video presentation for a new show.

3. You were born with synaesthesia. How would the color purple taste like? What would be the texture of a telephone ring? What is the smell of sunlight?
That's three questions, Mr. Chemist! Pungent purple, rigid ringing, citrus sunlight.

4. Who is, or what kind of woman would make you reverse your orientation, at least for a night?
Madonna—no more, no less. I want to have bragging rights among the queens in Metro Manila: I had sex with Madonna. If she is not available, Angelina Jolie. (By the way, wanna hear something creepy? At one time Luke kept badgering me to have sex with a girl while he watched. I think he likes the idea of being with a bisexual instead of a full-fledged homo. Ugh.)

5. (Reciprocity, McVie!) If you had a vagina for a day, what would you do with it?
Oh man, I’d have sex with all the cute straight guys who’d want me! Gang bang na itetch!

And here are the rules (daw):
1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying “interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions—each person’s will be different.
3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hair Ye, Hair Ye!

I have a love-hate relationship with my hair. I love to hate it, hwek-hwek-hwek. For the longest time I never really liked my hair. My hair lies somewhere between curly and kinky. That’s why I often wear it short. Growing up I used to part it on the side and I used a lot of pomade, Tancho first, then 3 Flowers. Ironically it was at the beginning of the gel-and-spraynet decade that I stopped using pomade or any other hair product. During the 80s I wanted to wear a cowlick to hang over my forehead, but I didn’t have the patience to endure several bad hair weeks. When Richard Gomez came out in that Bench TV commercial (jeez, that was sooo looong agooo, it deserves all the “o”s!) wearing a buzz-cut, everyone went semi-kal. Everyone except me. When the craze died down, that’s when I had a buzz-cut. I maintained it for the longest time.

It was a year ago that Ipe, my friend and hairdresser from the land of buko pies, espasol, and hot springs, Calamba, Laguna! convinced me to fool around with my hair. How did he do it? He guaranteed that he could do something with it; it was a challenge too good to resist.

The first thing he made me realize was as simple as it was revolutionary for me. Before even cutting a strand of hair, Ipe told me: “You should accept your curls.”

Oo nga naman! Tinanggap ko nga na bakla ako, pero hindi ko pa matanggap na kulot ako? Hello?!

Another revolutionary change in my haircare regimen: Ipe convinced me to use product. I now use this L’Oreal stuff which for the life of me I can’t remember now the name. It’s not as hard as wax or clay, but it’s not as liquid as gel. In fact Ipe told me to stay clear from gel. “Very 80s” he said.

Since I started using product I had to shampoo every day to clean my hair. But I was also told that every day shampooing and conditioning is bad for the hair. So now I’m faced with a conundrum. Hey, it isn’t every day that one uses the word “conundrum” while discussing hair.

I had to call Leigh and Marlon, two friends whom I trust with my life and my locks. Both were in agreement. Yes, I can use product everyday. Yes, I can shampoo every day. Marlon said shampooing will benefit the scalp more, while conditioning will take care of the hair. Leigh even recommended that I shampoo and condition every day, provided I use a light conditioner. Marlon said I’m lucky I have strong and sturdy hair. I said it’s hair on Viagara. Both recommended that every two weeks I should use a stripping shampoo (Marlon suggests Nutragena) to get rid of build-up. Marlon said I can use the stripper Sunday mornings after Bed.

I like the idea that my friends want me to buy a stripper I can use after a weekend of debauchery in Malate.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The End / The Speech

10:26 am: Gud morning! thanks at napatawad mo nako. Kung nde ka na magtitiwala sakin ok lng naiintindihan ko. Bsta lhat ng kwento ko totoo ung pic lng nde.

10:27 am: Matatahimik na rin ako. Dnt worry nde na kta guguluhin. Salamat sa lhat. I will never forget u. Im still here for u whatever happens. I luv u.

Okay, that’s it, that’s the end as far as I’m concerned. If ever I bump into Luke (he works at a call center in our office compound, after all) I will not snub him. I will acknowledge his presence; I was trained by Miss Manners and good breeding still goes a long way. But I will neither initiate nor engage him in unnecessary talk.

* * * * *

Now, on to a different topic. Let me take this opportunity to practice my Oscar acceptance speech. Hehehe.

Last Saturday when I logged on to Badinggerzie’s uber-popular Third Sex In The City blog, I was rendered speechless when I saw that he chose The McVie Show in his Tsek Na Vekvek of the Week.

What can I say?

First of all, I’d like to thank Badinggerzie for this honor. It’s actually more than an honor; his blog is so popular (you can tell in his Talakan portion) that a special mention in his blog is like having Sharon Cuneta, Aga Muhlach, Judy Ann Santos, and Heart Evangelista collectively as endorsers. Suddenly The McVie Show seems as clean as Ph Care, as jolly as Jollibee, as spicy as 555 sardines, and as shiny as Cream Silk.

I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy.

Second, I’d like to thank my on-line audience, the ones who regularly tune in to The McVie Show. Whether they participate actively or just quietly watch, your regular patronage is very much appreciated. For you guys I try my best to air at least an episode a day during weekdays. Weekend broadcasts are special broadcasts. Day-off kasi ng mga engineers ko.

I’ve made it a point to write mostly in English because I am more comfortable speaking my mind in English. (But I “feel” in Filipino, if you can imagine that. It’s just that I always process my emotions, and processing is in English.) And recently I found out that non-Filipinos have also been tuning in. However a show is a show—if using Filipino or “vhaklhur-speak” will have more impact, then so be it.

But let me now state the following for the record: in my humble opinion Third Sex In The City is, hands-down, the most entertaining and well-written blog on-line evur. In form and in content it is far superior to The McVie Show. The stories and the way they are written all mesh together beautifully in a celebration of gayness, its beauty and its pathos. Badinggerzie can breeze through a story so nonchalantly the reader is lulled to let his guard down. Then he throws in a zinger so unexpectedly that the reader is left gasping for breath from laughter. With each new entry I end up laughing out loud, giggling and gasping in a combination of surprise and shock. My immediate desk-mates often wonder what I’m reading; because they’re girls I just tell them, “You wouldn’t understand.” (Mwhek-kek-kek.)

I’ve made it a point to convert my other gay officemates to the blog; today Third Sex In The City is more than just a blog, it is a lifestyle. (Don’t ask me what that means.) Many people, including yours truly, really feel that their day is incomplete if we don’t get our fill of Badinggerzie’s fabulous and funny prose.

Last but not the least: Badinggerzie, we may or may not meet in person. We may even end up in Bed without me knowing that you are also there. I wish you well. I wish you the best with Varsity Captain. Whether you’ll end up using his fabulous abs as your laundry washboard or not, I hope you find the happiness we all are looking for.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go now. The orchestra is now playing the “Star Wars” theme to boot me off the stage.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Wrong Genre

Nelz commented in The Second Luke episode: “I smell a drama coming. ;-)”

Hay naku, kapatid. Sorry na lang si Luke, pero ayoko na ng drama. I’ve had enough of it. The McVie Show is not a soap opera. It is neither a three-hankie weep-fest nor a drama anthology. It’s also not a reality show.

My theme song these days is by Mary J. Blige:

So tired
Tired of all this drama
You go your way...
I go my way
I need to be free
So tired, tired, tired of all this drama

Broken heart again,
Another lesson learned.
Better know your friends
Or else you will get burned.
Gotta count on me,
Cause I can guarantee
That I’ll be fine.

No more pain
No drama
No more drama in my life
No one’s gonna make me hurt again

Why’d I play the fool?
Go through ups and downs,
Knowing all the time
You wouldn’t be around?
Or maybe I like the stress
Cause I was young and restless,
But that was long ago.
I don’t wanna cry no more.

Oh, it feels so good
When you let go
Of all the drama in your life.
Now you’re free from all the pain,
Free from all the games
Free from all the stress
To find your happiness.
I don’t know...
Only God knows where the story ends
For me.
But I know where the story begins.
It’s up to us to choose
Whether we win or lose—
And I choose to win.

No more pain
No more games
(no more games messin’ with my mind)
No drama
No more drama in my life
No one’s gonna make me hurt again
No more tears, I’m tired of crying every night
No more fears, I really don’t wanna fight
No more drama in my life
I don’t ever wanna hurt again
(I wanna speak my mind, wanna speak my mind)
Leave me alone, go ahead
Yeah, yeah

I’m so tired
I’m so tired
So tired
Tired of all this drama.

(“No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige)

Everybody smile for the camera. :-)

The Last Luke

Folks, let me take you through the thinking behind my decisions re. Luke.

Let me state that I value trust and being true to oneself. What I find disturbing is that Luke used someone else’s picture and then lied to me about it.

• I can understand if someone is hesitant to reveal his real identity on the net; that’s just being prudent and cautious. Most people use pseudonyms instead of their real names. But there’s a difference between withholding information and false information.
• I am also open-minded enough to allow for the possibility that he may be someone who’s so insecure about his looks that he doesn’t want to show his face (fear of rejection is something we all can relate to). But I know of people who because of their not-so-positive attitude towards their looks (and they declare it so openly), they resort to creative ways to “mask” their faces: cropping, pixelizing, blurring, or even using cartoons characters instead. For the lazy ones, a “no pic provided” suffices. Again, the difference between prudence and deception.
• Had Luke confessed the truth when I asked him about the picture for the first time, I’d have given him points for being up-front and honest. But he chose to deceive me instead. If he wants to start with a double lie, then he should take responsibility for his actions. All our choices have consequences. Unfortunately for him, I discovered the truth before he could gather the courage to tell me.

And that was how I arrived at the decision to not text him back last Friday.

Sunday afternoon found the McVie family enjoying Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith at Shangri-la Mall. It was my second time, and truth be told, I actually enjoyed the movie more on second screening. In the middle of the scene where Palpatine was seducing Anakin, I received a text message.

Luke: I really d0nt kn0w what am i g0ing to say.. But im begging y0u. Pls forgive me.. Im really really sorry..

I waited until we finished the movie before I replied.

McVie: I know you are sorry. I just want to know why you lied.

Luke: Im really sorry. Mapapatawad mo bako? Can y0u give me a 2nd chance. Im really really sorry.. Pls forgive me..

What’s with the double periods?

McVie: I can forgive you, but first I need to know why you lied.

Luke: Bec i love y0u. I dnt want to l0se you. Its hard to explain but its true. I do rely l0ve y0u.

Love? Love? Infatuated, interested, intrigued, smitten, taken—heck, even “crush” will do! But love? This early, after two meetings? There’s a difference between flattery and groveling. Besides, I believe he misunderstood what I meant because he obviously was referring to making up the story about the thesis defense. So to clarify further, I replied.

McVie: No, your first lie was using someone else’s picture. That was done BEFORE you met me. Why fake your pic?

This was around 4:30 in the afternoon. It took him several hours to reply. At 7:38 pm, I received a text message.

Luke: Sorry tlga. Sorry kung gumamit ako ng ibang pic. Mahirap i explain. Sana makausap kta ng pers0nal para maexplain kung maay0s. Kung ok lng syo. Patawarin mo ko

I received it while I was watching the DVD of The Empire Strikes Back. I was looking for the scene which Lucas inserted in this latest DVD incarnation—the scene in which the Emperor tells Darth Vader that the young boy which destroyed the Death Star was a Skywalker, ergo the son of Anakin. In the original movie that wasn’t in the scene; in fact, the actor playing the Emperor was a different one! But I digress. I finished the movie first before I decided I’ll answer him tomorrow instead.

This morning I received another text message at 8:58am.

Luke: Gud m0rning! Am h0me n0w and ab0ut to sleep. Again i do apologize sa lahat ng gnawa ko syo. H0pe mapatawad mo ako. I luv u. I d0nt want to l0se u. Sory.

This is getting tiring and repetitious. This is what I plan to tell him: Yes, I can forgive you for lying. But I do not know if I can trust you.

I will forgive Luke. But if he wants to prove to me that he’s worthy of my trust, well, the ball is in his court. But the more important question is: will I allow him the chance?

On the one hand people deserve a second chance. On the other hand I don’t need every Tom, Dick or Luke who contacts me to be part of my life. In fact it’s easy to cut Luke off because there are no deep ties which bind us. Deleting Luke will be painless and effortless. And I won’t have any regrets.

When you reach a certain age you learn to be more discriminating of the people you associate with. And I’ve also learned how to let go. I’m reminded of what Yoda said in Revenge of the Sith: “Attachment leads to jealousy, the shadow of greed!” (Shit, I’m now quoting a green alien with reversed sentence structure. Okay, I’ll quote Sting instead: “If you love somebody, set them free.” Hmmm, a songwriter whose lyrics sometimes border on the pretentious and perplexing—I’ll just stick to Yoda.)

Of the people I’ve met via the net (like Nelz, Kervs, Phillip, Jong, Olive, and more), all of them have turned out to be genuine people who have not resorted to falsifying who they are just for the sake of making me like them. I’m sure I don’t know them that thoroughly yet. It’s possible that I’ll find out things about them that I won’t necessarily like. Nor will we always agree on everything.

There are so many people out there who are honest and true to themselves. I’d rather waste my time on them that waste my time on someone who, to the best of my abilities, I can say this much: there’s a kid whom he loves very much. But as to the real identity of that kid and the leukemia story—well, everything he said is suspect.

But for those who are interested to take him under their care, I can always give you his cellphone number. Don’t bother looking for him in DL, he’s already pulled out his account.

Friday, May 20, 2005

A Second Luke

Thanks to an entry in Phillip’s blog, I decided to check out his DL account and take a peek at his list of friends. Who I was looking for and why isn’t the point of this episode. Suffice it to say that I didn’t find who I was looking for there.

What I saw instead was a familiar picture: a guy wearing a suit, smirking for the camera. Hey, isn’t that Luke? I didn’t know he was also Phillip’s friend. Then I saw the name: it wasn’t Luke. I clicked open his account and checked his pictures. Unlike Luke’s which had only one picture his had five, two of which were taken at a different time and place. Without a doubt, Phillip’s friend is the real owner of the picture in Luke’s account.

Then I remembered my conversation with Luke:

“Hey, when was your picture taken? Obviously it was before your sickness, but why the formal suit?” I asked him.

“I wore that for my thesis defense,” he explained. “I didn’t want to take public transpo wearing that suit, so I asked my dad to drive me to school. Funny, the girl who took my picture kept asking me to pose for her. I think she had a crush on me or something. Matandang dalaga yata. She sent the picture to me through her phone.”

My inner Nancy Drew was awakened.

• His Nokia phone is an old model, one with no MMS capability.
• Assuming that she sent it to his email address, the picture is still too sharp and “clean” to be taken via a phone camera.
• To give such a long-winded, elaborate story at a drop of a hat, one needs a certain level of lying experience. Either he’s great at adlibbing or he’s had prior practice.

I was supposed to meet up with him Friday evening. He had invited me to go drinking with him at his favorite bar in Malate. “I always go there alone,” he said. “The waiters already know me there. But at last I don’t have to drink alone.”

This morning he sent me a text message reminding me of our date tonight. I replied: I have two questions: why did you use someone else’s picture in your account? And why lie when I asked you about it?

His text message: Sorry if I lied about my picture. But everything else is true. I understand if you’re angry with me. I’m sorry.

I was thinking of texting him back, but decided against it.

He hasn’t texted me so far.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Look At Luke

Sometimes we think that our lives are so full of drama, especially the “Lord-why-me?” kind. When we become too self-involved, when we feel sorry for ourselves the good Lord comes around to slap us silly and put us in our place.

Case in point: after several days of mild depression (I rarely go into a deep depression these days; nothing can be that important that it distracts me from living my life), I received a message in my DL account. It was from a good-looking stranger, let’s call him Luke. In his profile he said he was 24 yrs old, bi-curious and a single parent to a 6-yr old son. Hmmm! Now he’s making me curious. And to make things even more interesting, he works in a call center located in our building. So to make a long story short, we agreed to meet during his 10pm break. On my way to our rendezvous place, he sent me a text message: You might not recognize me from my pic. I was sick for 3 months, and I had my hair cut really short.

I met him in front of the 24-hr convenience store at the ground floor of our building. Yes, he was a lot thinner, especially with a semikal hairstyle. But he still looked good. After the initial hi’s and hello’s, I asked him “So you got sick, eh? With what?”

He replied, “Leukemia.”


Well, what can one say to that?

He said the disease is already in remission; he’s taking medicine regularly to make sure his blood cell count remains normal and stable. And despite having leukemia, he forces himself to travel from Las Piñas to Quezon City and work on the 8pm-to-8am shift just so he can provide for his kid; he doesn’t get any help from the mother. His son means the world to him.

We ended up chatting the whole 20 minutes of his break. During that time he finished two sticks of cigarettes. “Yeah, I know it’s bad,” he said. “Ironic that I took up smoking after I found out I had leukemia. It’s my stress release.” We talked about him missing out on his teenage years, his being bi-curious, and his ex-boyfriend.

After I bade farewell to him, I was lost in deep thought on my way back to my office. On the one hand that meeting was kind of unnerving. On the other hand it reminded me to view life differently. I remember the look in his eyes, wary yet hopeful, weary yet willing to go on, full of love for his child. Life is full of surprises indeed.

Neat nickname I picked, huh?

Bad joke: What will you say to him after he ejaculates? “Luke came, yeah?”

Seeing Stars

Unexpectedly last night I found myself at an advanced screening of Star Wars: Revenge of the Nerds… er, Sith in Shangri-la Mall. I was going to watch In Good Company, but when I got there the last full show was bumped off to give way to the advanced screening—which was already sold out. I was about to leave in frustration when a lady approached me, towing two kids behind her. “Are you watching Star Wars?” she asked. “I wanted to, but it’s sold out,” I said. Turned out she had bought one extra ticket. After checking if it was a good seat (I made sure it wasn’t located on the sides), I bought it from her.

Yes, it is the best of the three prequels. Thanks largely to Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and a star-making turn by Ian McDiarmid (as Palpatine), the acting was a lot better. There were no annoyingly unnecessary characters, although JarJar Binks still appears in a cameo. The movie opens in the middle of a raging space battle. Lucas immediately thrusts us into the action, and the screen is all busy with ships, lasers, and explosions. When the camera follows the two ships (piloted by Anakin and Obi Wan) as they fly across a starship, it’s a moment which mimics the gasp-inducing, heady opening of the original movie (Episode 4).

But then all that action suddenly becomes one big soulless rollercoaster ride. It was noisy, busy but emotionally distant sequence—which isn’t surprising, since there was nothing in the movie yet with which we can invest our emotions in.

But as the movie progressed, despite the clunky dialogue, despite the multitude of ways in which Lucas employed the screen wipe as transitional devise, despite Hayden Christiansen’s distracting curls and bangs, Sith takes hold and coalesces into a unified whole, held together by the mesmerizing seduction scenes between Palpatine and Anakin.

Yes, this movie benefits a lot from being the immediate prequel to the groundbreaking, history-making 1977 original. Events in this movie have direct implications and connections to that beloved film. Thus this movie develops resonances that owe much to the succeeding trilogy.

In the future it would be very interesting to watch the reaction of kids who have never seen any of the Star Wars movies when they watch the whole six episodes in chronological order. I wonder how the original 4th episode will hold up. I wonder if Empire Strikes Back will still be considered the best of all six. And I wonder if Lucas will be tempted to tamper with the original trilogy and replace the puppet Yoda with a digital Yoda, like what Spielberg did to E.T.

P.S. – In the Did-my-eyes-deceive-me-or-what? department: In the very last scene of Natalie Portman, why was her tummy still big? Didn’t she give birth to the twins several scenes before? I know pregnant women don’t lose their tummy immediately, but hers was kinda too huge.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Merchandising Tie-Up That Should Have Been

(The following TV commercial would work best if [1] you’re a fan, and [2] they actually use the original trailer of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and just replace certain images.)

The TVC opens with a black screen. You hear that very familiar, ominous mechanical breathing. Then you hear voices:

“Lord Vader.”

“Yes, Master.”


Scene opens with just a shaft of light, smoke rising from below. Grand, bombastic John Williams score.

Cut to reaction shots from Palpatine, Amidala, Obi-Wan.

Cut back to the shaft of light: more smoke rising from below, as the breathing becomes more ominous. Something is rising from below.

Cut back to more reaction shots: Mace Windu, Count Dooku, the Wookies; Yoda turns, anticipating someone… or something. John Williams’ score soars, peaks.

Cut back to the shaft of light. It is revealed what was rising from below—an open box of Chow King Chow Fan Fried Rice. The smoke rising is the steam from the freshly-cooked rice. The illustrations on the box are from the movie.

VO Announcer: “Every order of Chow Fan Fried Rice now comes in a commemorative Star Wars box. Comes in four special designs. Only from Chow King. Hurry—if you’re a fan, get the Fan. May the Force be with you.”

End shot: omnibus shot of the four variants of the commemorative Star Wars boxes, with necessary copy, like the DTI-NCR permit number, promo period, etc.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Thoughts While Watching An Old Movie On TV

“Oh yes! Kaibigan mo ako! Kaibigan mo lang ako!” (Oh yes! I’m your friend! I’m just your friend!)
– Budjoy (Jolina Magdangal) to Ned (Marvin Agustin) in Labs Kita, Okey Ka Lang?

Cheesy line, isn’t it? But heck, that line helped cement Marvin/Jolina as the loveteam to beat back then.

It’s understandable why most people put friendship a notch below a lover. But really, why should it be the case? After all, we call our lovers “boyfriends”, right?

Okay, so maybe we can’t imagine having sex with our friends. But if you read accounts about gay life in the heady 70s and early 80s (before the specter of AIDS gate-crashed and spoiled the party), gays were breaking stereotypes and pushing the boundaries on relationships. They refused to swallow hook, line and sinker the hetero model of relationships. They were homosexuals, dammit, and they were determined to forge their own path away from the straight and narrow. Most recently I read an article in Out Magazine where the author recounted how he and his friends would have sex with one another without the pressures or expectations that usually accompany a formal relationship. Mind you I’m not advocating boinking every friend in sight. But it’s interesting how back then they elevated the notion of friendship from a “just friends” to people who will stand by you no matter what, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do you part. After family, who else can be as devoted to you so unconditionally?

Lovers are careful not to hurt your feelings. Real friends will tell things to your face, whether you like it or not. Passions fade. Friendships are more resilient. It is not surprising why so many people prefer that the person they marry is not just their lover but also their friend.

So maybe if ever—heaven forbid!—Marvin and Jolina make a reunion movie, they are now old enough to shoot a sex scene between them, as friends.

Now if you’ll just excuse me, I’ll go barf.

The Godfather

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“Pssst, Luc. I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

I’m not really a big fan of kids. I’m only partial to cute ones. Ugly ones I ignore completely. When I hear people go, “Oh, what a beautiful child!” to an infant who can be a gremlin stunt-double, I just roll my eyes. No parent will admit their child is ugly, right? No parent is that objective. And I don’t like crybabies. That’s why I prefer being the uncle or the godfather—the moment the child starts crying, toss him back to the parents.

Thank god Leigh got a good-looking father for her kid. Thank god her family’s side has good genes too. It’s too early to tell, but if Luc gets his mother’s brains and sense of humor, his father’s physique and cool attitude, and a combination of their inclination towards the arts, then he’ll grow up to be babe- and gay-magnet. I’m still undecided from whom Luc should get his sense of style. Mom might make him partial to wearing unmatched socks; dad might make him partial to leg warmers and sweatbands. (Joke, joke, joke.)

I think I’ll have fun trying to fend off the girls from Luc. The guys I’ll let them hover around—but only the cute ones. Mwha-mwha-mwhahahaha.

Darn, that pic makes me look like I’m running for public office.

(And it’s Luc who looks like Marlon Brando.)

This Shirt Rocks!

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Because Leigh asked for it, and because Xander sent me an image because I was just too lazy to look for it on the net. Gracias.

Monday, May 16, 2005

She Stoops to Laugh

I met up with Marisse during lunch near my office. I love talking to her. She’s one of my favorite friends to hang out with. Our conversations swing from silly to serious in .02 seconds flat. I always tell her we should have our very own talk show. She laughs at almost anything I say—and her laughter is a most infectious one at that.

But this time it was something she said which had us laughing our heads off so loud, the customers in the other tables were staring at us. From out of the blue Marisse remembered a quote from sexy starlet Sabrina M during a feud with another sexy actress (we’re not sure now who it was). The quote said out loud and from out of nowhere sounded so incongruous. Sabrina M had said, with full conviction, “I will not stoop down to my level.”

It took us almost two full minutes before we could say something coherent again.

There’s nothing more satisfying than a full-tilt, no-holds barred laugh trip. Not even sex can match the feel-good, gut-wrenching joy one feels when in the middle of a gasp-inducing guffaw-fest. Okay, maybe it’s unfair to compare apples with oranges, but you get the idea.

Quote For The Moment

There’s a fine line between love and a waste of time.

Don’t ask me who said this, I just heard it on Chico and Delamar this morning on the car radio.

Wacky Weekend

Happiness is a weekend after staying in sickbay.

Saturday I watched a dragon boat race in the morning, went to auditions in the afternoon, ate dimsum (este, hindi pala dimsum, Chinese longganiza pala, hihihi!) early evening, then went to Bed at midnight. Sunday I played with a kid, had my head straightened out, and bought tickets to some indie film.

* * * * *

J invited me to Manila Bay to watch his team compete in a dragon boat race. It was interesting to see these rowers, all dark and swarthy, mostly sinewy men (and women, but I ignored them) all converged in one area. I got dizzy with the heat and all that testosterone. While waiting for the finals, I saw the Phil. Navy team lounging around a shaded area, looking bored and uninterested. One took off his shirt, and I could see that lovely tuft of hair leading down to his crotch—I call that the hairline to heaven. I decided to position myself there to watch the racers, not the race. When it was the Navy’s turn to compete (the military teams had a separate race), they stood up and did some no-fuss stretching; some were even just going through the motions of stretching. But when the starting gun fired, they were a team transformed. They breezed through the finish line way before their nearest rival. One could tell they put a lot of power and speed in their rowing, but they made it look so effortlessly. I was singing “In The Navy” in my head as they disembarked their boat and went back to their waiting spot. I just love sea men!
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J’s team won third place in the finals. They were beaten by a team that had ex-military men with them. Argh! What’s with all these men in uniform, ha? They were getting me all hot and bothered! I had to get out of there quickly. Besides I was running late for the auditions.

* * * * *

After the auditions, I worked out for a few hours. Then I had Chinese for dinner. Mwhek-hek-hek.

* * * * *

While waiting for midnight I hung out at Blue Wave along Macapagal Highway in the reclamation area of Pasay. It is a commercial complex housing mostly restaurants, some shops, a spa, and a gasoline station. I was looking at the logo and wondering why it looked strangely familiar. It was only this morning on my way to work that I passed by this construction site that it dawned on me—they’re constructing another Blue Wave complex in Marikina! The Petron gas station is already open, as well as Pancake House and the ever-ubiquitous Jollibee.

Midnight found me waiting for J at the Komiks bar beside Bed, drinking Chinese tea (yeah, it just had to be Chinese, huh) and observing all these guys lining up to join the Bedlam inside. There’s this guy in red who looks just like the actor in the Chinese gay film Lan Yu, the guy who played the student. Chinese na naman. I’m having dimsum overload. Thank goodness J arrived.

* * * * *

Inside Bed, I was having my fill of vodka tonic and Vodka Ice when I decided to plant myself in front of the ledge. Suddenly a guy approached me, his face somewhat familiar in a blurred way. “Are you McVie the blogger?” he asked. The first thing that entered my mind was, “I’m famous!” Mwhahaha. He turned out to be Imogen. If you check his blogsite, his picture there is intentionally blurred. At least now I’ve seen him in sharp focus.

We both wondered if Badinggerzie—the Superblogger, the Megablogger, the Blogger for All Seasons!—was in the crowd. We debated whether we should just shout out loud his Punchline of the Week quote from Dekada 70?” and see if anyone reacts, but decided against it. Feeling namin baka sandamakmak ang rumi-act.

Nice meeting you too, Imogen.

* * * * *

On the second floor I saw another familiar face. JJ! And if there’s a JJ, there must be a Phillip… and there he was, hidden behind JJ. That Phillip really knows how to hide in a crowd. I dragged them downstairs to where J was. Chikahan ever ensued. Later on they went upstairs, maybe to avoid the crush of the crowd.

* * * * *

Dancing on the ledge in Bed is some kind of a Catch-22 thing. On the one hand, you can dance to your heart’s content uninterrupted because the chances of you being pushed off to make way for another are relatively minimal (unless it’s one of Bed’s Go-Go muscle Marys, in which case I’ll gladly step aside to ogle and drool). On the other hand, you’re at the mercy of a roomful of faggots judging you from head to toe, from your looks to your outfit to the shape you’re in, to your dancing prowess. Normally when I dance I tend to lose myself to the music especially if I really, really like what the DJ’s playing. But the moment the song isn’t as grabbing as the last one, I become painfully aware that—dammit!—I need to put on a show without making it look like I’m putting on a show.

At least I was able to dance for about an hour uninterrupted. That served as my cardio for the weekend.

* * * * *

Sunday found me doing godfather duties to Leigh’s lovechild, Luc. It’s amazing what a baby can give to a person. Imagine, someone to love and who’ll love you back 24/7. But then he’s also uber-dependent on you 24/7. One can’t have it all, apparently. As godfather I’m supposed to make sure that Luc has a father figure when he grows up. Eeep! Lord give me strength, fortitude, and great acting ability to pull that off. If not… oh my god, save the baby! Save the baby! (How very Rita Avila.)

I was also in a bit of a funk lately and with the heat these days I’m finding it very hard to think things through. So I asked help from Leigh to straighten this gay out. Thank god for friends. I must keep repeating to myself the following phrases: just a symbol, fear of rejection, safety in distance.

Leigh, I wanna see my pics with Luc!

* * * * *

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I bought the whole family tickets to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith in Shangri-La mall on Sunday. Shangri-La mall is one of my all-time favorite malls: mostly high-end shops with mostly high-end shoppers, which means the cutie pie quotient is a lot higher than most malls. But don’t brand me a bourgeoisie brat; I also like “er” beauties—worker, laborer, driver, and other anak ng pawis types. When I feel like going masa, I just cross to the other mall across EDSA, Starmall. Bongga.

But I digress: Star Wars. I am excited to watch this even though the first two were clunkers. I suspect the reason most critics who’ve seen it in advance didn’t have scathing reviews for the third installment is this: this movie glows because of its close proximity to Episode 4. There’s more resonance, the events in Episode 3 impact directly on the original Star Wars movie, a movie most if not all remember with fondness.

But enough talk of resonances. For me the best summary for Episode 3 is the one on Hayden Christensen’s t-shirt in a Newsweek photo shoot. It was a silhouette of Darth Vader’s iconic helmet, and the words “Sith happens.” Hahahahaha!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Dog Day Afternoon

Earlier on Saturday:

When I entered the audition room, direk JM greeted me. “Glad you’re already well,” he said. “Here’s the script. I want you to read for Orfeo.”

My blood froze. Arf, arf.

“Ooo-kay,” I said, and started flipping the pages of the script. When I reached the end, I looked up and exclaimed, “These are two whole pages of monologue!”

* * * * *

(“Flashback, warm nights, almost left behind a suitcase of memories....)

1989. I was on my second year working in the Coordinating Center for Dramatic Arts of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, a.k.a. CCDA of CCP. My boss, the esteemed theater director and visual artist Nonon Padilla, approached me and asked, “Would you like to be in my play?” I’ve seen almost all of the plays he directed for Tanghalang Pilipino and I love the way he directs—a little too intellectual and heavy on visual symbolisms, but well-paced and still entertaining. But this time he had written a play, and Paul Dumol, another Philippine theater stalwart, was set to direct it. It was a loving spoof on the classic Nick Joaquin story, now entitled “Ang Pilipino Bilang Artist(a).” Who was I to refuse? Besides, when I asked Nonon what my part was, he just flippantly answered, “You play Bititoy, the son of Bitoy Camacho.” Ah, a supporting role, I thought. This should be fairly easy; I can always blend in the background.

Turns out I had two whole pages of monologue at the end. But that was the easy part. You see, when I started delivering my monologue, the set behind me—which was production designed by the (now) late National Artist Lindy Locsin—would transform slowly, from a living room to an open-air garden. Slowly plants and trees would creep in, and the roof would give way to a magnificent night sky full of stars.

So there I was, performing on the legitimate stage—in f**king CCP, of all places!—for the first time. I would gaze into the eyes of the audience, trying to connect with them. But every performance, at a certain point, I’d see their eyes slowly wander away from mine, towards something behind me. Lindy’s set, changing. And I’d hear them go, “ooh!” and “ahhh!” The audience abandoned all pretense of listening to me; instead they were raptured by the set change.

Upstaged by the set of a National Artist!

* * * * *

With trepidation I started reading the monologue. Direk JM, sensing my hesitation, immediately added, “And I also want you to read for Augusto, the lead.”

And so that’s how I ended up being offered both parts. I know my limits, I can only do one. I told direk JM I prefer a dialogue versus a monologue. The final decision, of course, will still be the director’s.

Meanwhile I made sure of one thing. “What will the set look like?” I asked. “I want it minimalist,” direct JM said. Whew. Thank god Salvador “Badong” Bernal, National Artist for Production Design, isn’t involved in this play.

The performances are scheduled on July. Stay tuned whether yours truly will actually be performing or not.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Wanted: Nicole Kidman as The Interpreter

I first met him online; on his profile was his cellphone number. I contacted him and he agreed to meet me at 7 in the evening. He’s a 28-year old Chinese-Filipino, born and raised in mainland China. He knows very little English and Tagalog. His dad is Chinese, his mother Filipino; several months ago they sent their only son to the Philippines to run their shoe business in Baclaran. They have no idea their only son likes boys too.

After struggling with SMS-ing him with a minimum of words, I managed to arrange the time and place for our meeting. I picked him up outside his place, a high-rise condominium along Roxas Boulevard. Since he lives with his aunt, we couldn’t stay at his place. Instead we checked into a motel nearby.

We played Chinese checkers, Chinese jackstones and Chinese garter.

Barely a minute after I dropped him off outside his condominium, I received a text message from him: I miss you na. Later on, a follow-up from him: I really like you, I don’t want to see other men, can you be my boyfriend?

Ano ba naman yan?!

So I replied: I like you also, but can we get to know each other better first?
Him: You don’t like me, I know.
Me: No, I like you. But I’m not looking for a boyfriend right now.
Him: Ok. I see. Night. Salamat.

Hay naku. Memo to me: do not use McSex Moves #s 17, 23, 58, 74 and 99 on impressionable kids with a language barrier. Tendency to become clingy is very high.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Childhood Sweetheart Story

The following is a true story.

When she was a young lass growing up in Bohol, my aunt had a childhood crush, a guy named Pat. She soon found out that he had the same feelings for her. But before romance could fully blossom between them, my aunt was sent to Cebu to study music. Pat got tired of waiting for her and migrated to Canada. There he found a Filipina who loved him in return and was there for him. They married and had three kids.

Years passed.

After years of working, my aunt retired early and went back to Bohol to take care of our ailing grandmother. Meanwhile after years of battling a lingering illness, Pat’s wife died. He was alone in the house; their kids were all grown up and had families of their own.

So Pat decided to come back to Bohol to look for his childhood sweetheart. There he found her, still single and quite available. He proposed marriage; she asked her siblings’ help to convince their mother to allow her to marry. Grandma gave her blessings.

After more than 50 years of being separated by time, distance and circumstance, the childhood sweethearts finally consummated what was started way back when they were kids. Fate brought them back into each other’s arms.

They were married in record speed in Manila. Then he took her back to Canada to live happily ever after.

Normally this is where love stories end.

After almost six months abroad, my aunt quietly slipped back into the country. She was alone. I only found out about it two months after she returned to Bohol. She and Pat had separated. Irreconcilable differences, my mom just tells me, then immediately changes the subject.

Once in a while Pat slips back quietly into the country to visit his relatives. His house is just two lots away from ours. But whenever he’s there he refuses to visit my aunt. My aunt meanwhile never bothers to ask if Pat’s in the country. In fact she never utters his name at all.

And here is where their story ends.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Love Life

It is understandable why most people assume that someone who is single has no love life. The common assumption is that the “love” in love life means romantic love. However if we broaden the definition of love to include platonic, erotic, friendship, familial, agape, etc, then a person can have a thriving love life even if he or she is single. Call it the classic McVie reaction to romantic rejection: change the perspective. Find a loophole in the definition and redefine.

However that doesn’t address the lack of romance in my life. Again, the McVie reaction: change the perspective. Question the need for romance. Defy.

Of course having that attitude never really quashed my need for romance. It only reins it in. Blame it on years and years of indoctrination—all those classic love stories, Hollywood romances, TV soap operas have done their job very well.

So I continue to sing to myself the kd lang song, Season Of Hollow Soul: Fate must have a reason. Why else endure the season of hollow soul? The ground on which we leave on, how strangely fuels the season of hollow soul, hollow soul. Meanwhile, focus on other loves. Choose a job you like. Have fun with friends. Foster family ties. Go to Bed. Dance the night away. Laugh. Make others laugh. Entertain with an on-line show and seek applause.

Life offers us a myriad of choices. It is up to us to choose the life we live. And live the life we chose.

Love life.

Goodbye, Father

When I got to the high school chapel where the wake was, the mass had just ended. I saw six of my former classmates there. We went over to the coffin to pay our last respects. My classmates said Fr. Macayan looked very different. I told them it was just the absence of a moustache and the frown lines on his forehead. He looked very much at peace. Equation simplified, theorem proved, problem solved.

Life well lived.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Harry Up!

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Quick! Here’s the teaser trailer of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Watch it now.

You see Harry, Hermione and Ron grow up through the years. You also see mermaids, a dragon, and some pretty and handsome supporting cast members of competing wizards from the other schools.

November 2005, here we come.

An After Lunch Afterthought (Gutom Lang Yan!)

Before you viewers peg me as a fame-whore—oh well, yeah I am, duh!—consider the following first. I read and re-read my episodes at least five times after it has gone on air. And I can safely say that 90% of the episodes in The McVie Show have been revised at least twice after it has aired. I’ve even revised several episodes days after they aired.

Obsessive-compulsive? You could say that. Careless editor? You can definitely say that. But I revise on-air because first and foremost I should be satisfied with the episodes I show. Yeah, some of them can be trivial, even insignificant. Most are fluff pieces. But I want my fluff pieces to be coherent fluff pieces.

Another thing I realized: I’m happy with mediocrity. HUUU-WHAAAT?! you may gasp. Let me explain: I want to be the best I can be; I want to be great the way I am—writer, interviewer, actor, kisser, rimmer, whatever. But I’m also keenly aware that compared to others I will not always be the best or the greatest because someone else will always be better at writing, interviewing, acting, kissing, rimming, etc. (and conversely someone will always be worse). So I try to just compare myself to me and see how I stack up. That’s why in the comedy/entertainment department, I genuflect before the altar of Badinggerzie’s “Third Sex In The City” blog. Not all of you will find it hilarious, of course, but that is my—and Sassy Lawyer’s—point. Standards are relative. Absolutes are for the speed of light and gods—and even those two have non-believers.

Okay, do I sound too defensive already? I’ll really stop now.

The Heat Is On / I Believe

Never bring home a problem from work, or rather a problem that doesn’t have an immediate solution available, or whose possible solution will depend on the decision of others.

Because if you take that and add the stifling heat of our summer nights, you’ll have one restless, sleepless evening. I was wide awake until 3:30 in the morning, my body drenched in sweat and my mind racing at a hundred miles an hour. I was tossing and turning the problem all over in my head as I was tossing and turning all over my bed. Only when I decided, “Enough, I’m sleeping!” did I finally fall asleep.

Still I woke up abruptly at 6:30am, 30 minutes earlier than what I set in my alarm clock. Argh. So today I didn’t force myself to go to the gym. I’ll just conserve my energy.

* * * * *

Taken from Sky’s blog entry, the following is by Sassy Lawyer re. blogging:

What is “good” content? May universal standard ba yan? I don’t think there is. So whose definition of “good” content should we follow? Our definition or other people’s. Again, we go back to our personal motivations for blogging. Self-satisfaction or validation? If you’re blogging because you believe in yourself and the stuff you want to publish, set your own standards. If you blog to please others, well, that’s your funeral.

I believe that my self-satisfaction comes from the validation of my viewers. I believe that unlike network television or movie companies, I’m not targeting a broad audience. I believe I will just find my audience just as my audience will find me, whether by accident, by blog-hopping or by word-of-blog. I believe that my audience will be limited. I believe that my motive for putting up The McVie Show is simple: I want to entertain the select few who find me entertaining or interesting enough. I believe the children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way. I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows. I believe the flu and the heat have affected my brain somehow.

I believe I’ll stop now.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Lesson In Subtraction

I got an email from our alumni office: “In your prayers, please remember Fr. Prudencio Macayan, S.J. who passed away in the Grace of our Lord on Sunday, 8 May 2005.”

He was with the high school Math faculty from 1966 to 2003. He was my first year math teacher. He actually looked quite funny: a bony body, a Chaplin-like moustache, and a badly crafted toupee sloppily placed on his scalp. But the moment he stepped into our classroom and fastened his stare on us, he turned into the terror teacher he was known for. Suddenly his moustache looked more like Hitler’s. His voice had this sinister growl rumbling underneath. His favorite expression was “Gad demmit!” And nobody dared to make fun of his false hair, at least to his face.

Fr. Macayan could throw a chalk or the blackboard eraser with unerring aim at a sleeping student or someone not paying attention. He had the habit of pointing at someone suddenly and randomly to answer a question; most of the class would be on edge, praying silently that his bony finger won’t be pointed at our direction. He always injected his lectures on math with lectures about life. And we also found out a bizarre habit of his: he talked to the trees scattered all over the campus. Apparently he believed that plants would grow better if one talks to them. I don’t know if the trees grew out of encouragement or out of fear.

Whenever we look back fondly at our high school life (cue music: “High school life, oh my high school life…”) we always mentioned Fr. Macayan with a mixture of fondness and awe. More than just math, he taught us the basic theorems and axioms of life. Now that he’s gone to the great Math class in the sky, should anyone of us misbehave, I expect a piece of chalk or eraser to come hurtling down from the sky and hit him on the head.

Adios, Fr. Macayan. That’s one more memorable priest gone. Gad demmit!

Sick Gay in Sickbay

I think it was the cold office/hot environment outside which did me in; well, that plus going to Bed every weekend for the past three weeks. So I was bedridden last weekend. I had an itchy throat, a fluctuating body temperature (now high, now higher), and an overwhelming desire to lie down on a block of ice for a bed. It’s not nice to be sick during these hot summer days and nights. You’re hot inside and hot outside. Hell on earth.

I missed a baptism, a play reading and a whole day seminar. And to think I was really planning my weekend to be totally wholesome, as in no Malate, no flirting, no sex. I got to stick to the strategy but the execution was drastically changed.

At least I had an idea of what was happening outside. Via SMS I found out the following: [1] Phillip successfully drove to Batangas pier on his own at night and had to ask only once for directions. [2] The priest who baptized Leigh’s Luc was a boyish-looking cutie pie who despite his lack of height had very long fingers. Ooh. [3] 2 gays were overheard talking just outside Bed: “One thing I hate about my boyfriend is that he left me.” Wow.

Meanwhile I watched DVDs the whole weekend. After watching House of the Flying Daggers I realized that a blind girl can run at full speed in a forest thick with trees without hitting a tree trunk head-on (yes, I know Ziyi Zhang’s character is not really blind, but at that point the audience is suppose to think she is). According to Chinese movie physics, the fourth arrow shot in rapid succession will somehow catch up with the first one. And Chinese soldiers can cut a bamboo trunk, whittle the leaves away and sharpen the edge while jumping from treetop to treetop—all in one-tenth of a second.

Kung Fu Hustle is funnier upon repeated viewing. And the actor who plays the coolie is cute in a Julio-Diaz-meets-a-kargador kind of way.

On Mother’s Day we watched The Mummy. Wala lang. And I received this text from a gay officemate of mine: Alam ko mahirap maging badish, pero shurley fuentes kong majirap mcbride din naman maging ina mesh kung baklesh ang junakis tulad natin dibash?! Happy Mother’s Day sa mudra mesh! I had a headache after reading that SMS.

Aside from a neck-ache because of lying down the whole day, staying at home the whole weekend was quite a relaxing change of pace. And it was very cost efficient—I didn’t spend for anything at all. I also didn’t have to worry about dressing up, being presentable. It’s just the unbearable heat that’s a bummer.

Talk about konsuwelo de bobo.

Today even though I still wasn’t feeling well, I dragged myself out of the house because we had our planning session in a hotel in Ortigas. Ahhh, to be in an airconditioned room the whole day! Besides I missed a chance to have sex last week because of that damn SWOT anaylsis, so might as well make sure it’s presented properly.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Friday Blues

Friday, 1:15am

I saw him from across the dance floor. He was on the stairs leading to the second floor, my friend and I were on the opposite side of the room, and he was staring at me. Looked like a Korean, I thought, and young too, early 20s, twink-ish with a slender, smooth body. How did I know? Well, he kept lifting his t-shirt to wipe his glasses, a subtle way of teasing. And was I teased. So I danced provocatively, all the while not looking at him. Then at a chosen beat, I’d stare at him—he was watching me, fascinated. Still I didn’t make a move to go near him. Let him approach me.

Later on he moved downstairs to the dance floor, but away from me. Pretty soon I saw him dancing shirtless on the ledge; other men were making their move on him. I didn’t bother to join in the fray.

We danced all night.

When my friend and I were about to leave, I excused myself to go to the bathroom first. On the way back, I saw Korean guy standing just outside the bathroom. I purposely bumped into him; he grabbed me and looked deep into my eyes. Next thing I knew we were pushing our tongues into each other’s mouths. I gripped his ass then put my hand inside his pants. He wasn’t wearing any underwear. My finger crept into his ass crack; he plunged his tongue deeper into my mouth. He gripped my hard-on.

After about five minutes we stopped to catch out breaths. Hi, I introduced myself for the first time. He told me his name; with his accent mixed with drunken slur, I couldn’t be sure if his name was Huwang or Whhrrumng. Whatever. But it sounded Korean enough.

After some small talk interrupted by more tongue-lashing, he told me he was drunk and didn’t feel like bringing me to the hotel he was staying in. Can we instead just meet tomorrow evening, go back to his hotel and have sex? Sure, I said, mentally picturing me delegating work to my subordinates. I asked for a contact number; he insisted we just meet at 11:00pm in front of Bed. If after 15 minutes one of us failed to show up, the other need not wait.

Friday, 10:30pm

Three hours later we are still in the conference room, arguing whether “too many program launches” was a weakness or a threat. Meanwhile my throat has been itchy the whole day and my muscles ache; I’m almost sure I’ll be down with the flu over the weekend. But I still have a baptism in the morning and a play reading in the afternoon of Saturday, and on Sunday I’ll be one of the facilitators in a whole-day seminar for public highs school kids.

And in 45 minutes, I lose my chance to fuck a Korean.

Fucking SWOT analysis. Yeah. I’ll just be fucking a SWOT analysis tonight instead.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The McVie Show Goes Talk: Reach For The Sky

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Okay, we have here with us Sky of The White Papers. He goes by many names, which is why we’ll just call him Sky for now. Uh, Sky? The camera is to your right, but you can look at me while I’m asking you a question. It will be weird if you keep staring at the camera the whole time—hey! You listening to me? Okay, good.

So what do I call you? Oscar? Bryan? Sibil?

SKY: I don’t have a real name. Oscar belongs to my father, and I gave the name Bryan to my son. I was also a Bryan in the church registry but not in the birth certificate. Talk about vacillating parents.

Like parents, like son eh? You have been one of the most intriguing people I’ve never met in person yet. The fact that you’re straight yet you maintain friendly links with a lot of gays is fascinating, especially for someone like me who belongs to a generation wherein straights aren’t as comfortable with gays.
SKY: My father had a gay cousin, who was also my godfather (talk about having a fairy godfather) who shouldered half of my tuition in grade school. I was confused to call him ninong or ninang. Then there is this balding middle-aged married neighbor who would fondle me every time he saw me. Childhood trauma came in a beer belly and bad teeth. Now who do you think I’m afraid of?

It seems you had Jabba The Hut as your neighbor, how traumatic. But the rest of your childhood doesn’t seem to be too traumatic. At least music-wise.
SKY: Music was incidental. Those stuff are what I heard from the radio aside from the standards my father used to hear every Sunday. My musical taste evolved during high school along with some friends who kept digging on “old” new wave stuff (and to think it was the age before the Internet) because we were so not into rap (Andrew E) and metal (Metallica) music prevalent at that time—Introvoys before Paco Arespacochaga, Madness, The Care, Boomtown Rats, The Clash. We hogged at Depeche Mode’s Violator and scoured department stores for on-sale The Cure’s Disintegration tapes. We wanted to be different.

Interesting. One day when you grow older you’ll start looking for those standards your dad listened to. You’re so into 80s music—but were you also deeply into 80s fashion?
SKY: I remember 80s fashion with nostalgia. Today’s the age of fashion-proofing on the verge of boredom as the 80s had been exciting. Acid-washed, stone-washed, “baston”, baggy and high-wasted pants. Solid neon shirts. Head- and wristbands. “Spike” hairstyle. Aqua Net hairspray and New Wave gel. Espadrilles. Nike came by way of Cash and Carry, because Greenhills was too far from our place at that time. We took our fashion cue from That’s Entertainment and associated ourselves with Chuckie Dreyfus. Michael Jackson was still black back then and it’s cool with the girls if we knew the dance steps to Billie Jean.

You knew how to dance Billie Jean?! How about Beat It? Thriller? Does your wife know you danced at all?
SKY: I even knew how to dance Bad. I look funny when I dance. Now. Aging bones perhaps. There was this 80s-themed Christmas party that we attended and I knew how funny I moved to Rico Mambo, but what the hell. I was not the only one who looked funny that night.

How come you say you looked funny dancing Rico Mambo? Were you guys dancing in front of a mirror? Or do you have a copy of that dance number on video?
SKY: The venue was some 3-star hotel in Makati, and there was mirror behind the stage. Funny that the venue looked 80s too. There was even a disco ball. I have long limbs and not the beefy type. People like me look funny while dancing.

It’s interesting that you have a picture of a Diana Ross drag queen in your flickr. I wondered if that was you, but on further scrutiny it clearly wasn’t. But have you tried drag before?
SKY: It wasn’t me. I haven’t tried drag, but I had to proxy for a Miss Engineering contestant when my wife (my college girlfriend back then) had to buy the contestant’s (a male) bra and evening dress in SM City. Me and the contestant had the same body type but he was too busy practicing. I had to fit in the bra and evening dress that the contestant will be wearing, but I was not the one who had to romp in Miss Engineering drag.

But will you ever consider going drag, even for just once?
SKY: If the act of going drag is necessary, I’ll consider. As part of a presentation perhaps, but I need to be prepared. I am not used to attracting everybody’s attention—even if I’m a veteran presenter in the engineering world—I still get the jitters. I pressure myself to successfully pull it off while all eyes are on me. So if I have to do drag I have to do it best.

You really are very comfortable among gays. Have you been mistaken for a homosexual?
SKY: Yes, I think most men are mistaken at least once in their life. There was this friend of mine, to whom I was discussing my plans—I’m giving myself three years more in engineering then move on to photography, cooking, architecture, industrial and web design—all right-brained endeavors. Then he asked me if I was gay because I cook. I said, “I have the guts to break a live chicken’s neck. Is that gay enough?”

Oh yes! I have seen gays break a live chicken’s neck. They do that a lot during the talent portion in provincial gay beauty contests.
SKY: You should have seen me gut a pig for roasting. He he. I felt pity but we have to eat. As your shirt said, it’s a dog eat dog world. It’s how life is designed.

Okay, so you’ve been mistaken for a homosexual. But has anyone been foolish enough to actually make a move on you?
SKY: Foolish enough? You should say how poor the taste of that person is! He he. Yes, I’ve been the object of hits too. I take them casually—“pampahaba ng hair” in your lingo, because at least I know I have an appeal of some sort. I’ve not given in, though. Not even in the drunken state.

You’re too pa-humble about your looks. You’ll be surprised at how low the standards are when influenced by the spirit of alcohol, HAHAHAHAHA!!! Seriously, everyone is good-looking in some person’s eyes. So don’t tell your wife she has poor taste, hehehe.
SKY: I always anticipate that somebody will be online and will find out about this interview. I’m avoiding the word “assuming.” And it pays to be humble sometimes. He he.

Speaking of being online (hanep sa segue), how long have you been blogging? Whatever in the world made you start blogging in the first place?
SKY: I’ve been blogging for more than two years, first in a group blog that my high school classmates started. I started blogging while in a faraway place—I was staying for a month in Shanghai and having nothing else to do after (and even during) work, blog on my impressions of the city and debate with my idealist friends on the Philippine condition. I don’t know why, a strange land is very fertile for Pinoys to blog as you may have observed. I officially started in blog-city when I came back, and some of my Peyups.com articles were spawned there, including Shanghaied for a Month.

So now you’re not lonely anymore, why still blog?
SKY: I want to create a diversion. I’m swamped everyday in meetings, project plans, technical drawings and scientific papers. Previously I dreamt I got small and was inside this equipment that I used for my project, and one of its parts kept running after me and I woke up panting and sweating. I want to flex my right brain. I had to do this or have a nightmare again.

Have you ever blogged something which you regretted putting on-line? And do any of your family (wife, brothers and sisters) read your blog?
SKY: I did regret one of my posts and I had to put down the whole blog. I avoid blogging about my work, since I may leak some confidential information, or my ex-manager may find out how I hate him to the bone. I avoid blogging about my family, but subtly in some instances, because I am paranoid about somebody finding out about my kids and make them targets. Nobody in my family knows about my blog. I don’t know—it’s cheesy, there’s censorship, we might run out of things to say when we're by ourselves, or a post may turn out to be a fine piece for a good shouting match. Does your family read your blog?

Good point—no, my family has no idea I’m gay, so my blog remains a secret from them. (Well, to be fair, I’m just assuming they don’t know I’m gay, since no one’s asked me yet.)
SKY: I guess most bloggers don’t divulge their blogs to their kin. Anonymity is fun, but that’s just my guess.

You said there’ll be censorship if your loved ones read your blog, but isn’t there already some form of censorship when you post on-line? I mean, you don’t blog about your work or employers, isn’t that a form of censorship?
SKY: Yes it’s a form of censorship, but self-imposition is more palatable than other persons telling me what I should and should not post. I am my own MTRCB.

Your first e-book, Warmbodies, was amazing. My favorite was Coleen’s “Kwentong Lovelife.” Any particular favorite of yours?
SKY: Thanks for calling it amazing. Since I anticipate some of the blogger participants to be reading this interview, I won’t play favorites. But let me say that they have distinct writing styles and, being original posts from their blogs, portrays truth, honesty and straightforwardness not found in any other works, fiction or nonfiction. Take Coleen, since I know her personally, she shows how bitchiness arrives in the unguarded moment. Angel kills her inspirations then “sings about the grief.” Mud proved he’s the only living boy in Manila. Noreen, who coined The Kris Aquino Complex, takes Valentine Romances to the literary level. Freude typed like he was Hugh Jackman in Swordfish—you know, the uhm, scene where Halle Berry.... We still have not verified, though, if Shane really participated in the Bench underwear show.

So let’s flex your right brain, shall we? If you HAD to choose, what would you eat: ube na lasang tae, or tae na lasang ube? And why?
SKY: Is this a psychological question? Di pa ako nakatikim ng tae, kaya ang pipiliin ko ay ube na lasang tae. At least, may idea na ako kung ano ang lasa ng tae, pero pagkain pa rin sya. Ube sya e. Ang tae, kahit lasang litson pa yan, tae pa rin. Litson na hindi natunaw sa tyan kaya itinae na lang. He he.

If there's any “trait” that gays have which you'd like to have, what would it be?
SKY: Creativity, for obvious reasons.

Why do you think gays are creative? Not all are, you know.
SKY: I agree, and I know that I tend to generalize. But most gays I know are in the creative industry. I think gays are creative because they want to see beauty, and if there’s an absence of it, create beauty for themselves, even in states of pathos. I’m tired of pathos, though. I want calm. Calm is beauty. Not fabulous beauty but calm beauty. Whatever.

Gee, that wasn’t so terribly creative, was it? Okay, how about this one: let’s say the singer Isha asked, nay, begged you to have sex with her. But before you go into her bedroom, you find out that upon climax, she magically transforms into Madame Auring (apparently there’s a curse on her; she reverts back to Isha after calming down). Will you still push through?
SKY: Vagina is a vagina is a vagina. But can I make a request? Lights out when she’s transformed to Madam Auring.

But you’ll still hear her raspy voice and feel her hands on your body and feel her body under you.
SKY: Vagina is a vagina is a vagina. I’ll just concentrate on that thought.

Complete the sentence: If I had a vagina, I’d ___________.
SKY: ...want to get pregnant. The only thing that men can’t do—create life. Ang baduy ng sagot, sige iba na lang.

...put my finger in it to understand how female orgasm is like. Baduy pa rin. Di ko alam. I love Sky Jr. too much.

“I love Sky Jr. too much.” Hmmm, does that mean you’ve never experienced penis envy ever?
SKY: I know that penis envy is for those who don’t have a penis. Why would I envy something that I already have?

Okay. Given your philosophy of “Vagina is a vagina is a vagina,” here’s a philosophical question for you. Who would you have sex with—Madame Auring or Tiya Pusit? (Again, assuming you had to choose otherwise your family will be harmed.)
SKY: Not that this is related to the first question, but I’d go for Madam Auring. I think she knows how to give Archie good head, the reason why the boy is staying. He he. Tiya Pusit was married to someone younger but not as young as Archie, and I heard they separated.

Ahhh, go for the one with the track record, eh? You seem to be steeped in showbiz pop culture. Do you watch showbiz talk shows a lot?
SKY: Right now I’m trying to avoid TV. Showbiz talk shows get my ire unlike the way they used to be. Or I was just too young then to understand that to gain media mileage for a specific movie or show, one has to embroil himself in controversies. What we had back then? Sex videos of Coney Reyes with Eddie Ilarde, and Sharon Cuneta with Richard Gomez?

Growing up in the 80s especially before the advent of the Family Computer, entertainment consisted of five channels, right? I can’t say I’m steeped in showbiz pop culture—some of the questions I posted in my blog were previously provided by my wife, but those are the choices I had back in the 80s. Being the only kid in the house with a group of teenage cousins didn’t help either. Essentially it’s about acceptance, I grew up knowing these things and it’s not a weakness. It’s not baduy. I grew up with Transformers and Superfriends too, so I think the equation cancels out.

Yes, you should avoid TV. Just watch The McVie Show. That should guarantee a loss of just an IQ point or two instead of 10, hahaha!
SKY: I always click on your channel everyday. No day is complete without The McVie Show (except on weekends, I take advantage of free office internet) for me, even the episodes that deliver the shock factor.

Okay, don’t make me blush. I know you read Badinggerzie’s blog. Do you actually understand what he’s saying?
SKY: Gay lingo is so different. Even though I barely know a word or two of Ilocano, German or Mandarin, I can grasp the feel of the conversation I overhear. Gay lingo beats me. It’s funny the way it is, but I have to slow down to “decipher” and understand it. What Ginny Banaag, my Comm III teacher and first known babaeng bakla in UP, taught us before looks outdated now. Gay lingo is dynamic, as Badinggerzie would put it.

Do you forsee yourself putting a halt on your blogging?
SKY: I tried to halt my blogging before when I put down my blogdrive, but it seems the blogging bug can’t stop itching. It was easier to stop before because I only wrote for myself. I write for company newsletters, I write for technical publications—limited audiences. But now that there are thousands of potential readers, the self-absorption factor won’t let me go of blogging. I hate to admit it, but blogging to me is untrammeled self-love and I need it to live.

Ah yes, the greatest love of all is easy to achieve, online. So The White Papers continue, Warmbodies is now a sequel and on its way to become a franchise... what next? Any dream project in the future?
SKY: I just hope that when we reach the 100th Warm Bodies entry we can publish a collection in hard copy. That way, more people can read it anytime even without a computer. Our team still has to learn the ropes of book publishing though.

I’m also planning a food e-book (not necessarily a cookbook) in the near future but it’s still a long shot. Jamie Oliver get out of my way. My monuments of self-absorption. Ha ha ha.

Well, it has been great talking to you. I’m sure the viewers of The McVie Show will be wondering, “Why interview him?” What will you say to them?
SKY: “Inggit lang kayo, saksakin ko kayo dyan eh.” Just joking. Why interview me? For the simple reason that you approached me, that my blog is perceived as gay-friendly (and sometimes safe for work) and I obliged. It doesn’t make a dent in my sexuality anyway. Oo nga, why interview me? (pa-humble effect) I have no idea.

Winner answer! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here's a toast to monuments of self-absorption, hahaha!
SKY: Thank you! I had a great time answering them too. Toast!


Early this evening I received an invitation via email. It was for a reading, not an audition, this Saturday for the play Mist. As described in the email, the play is a “philosophical tragicomedy written by Miguel Unamuno.”


My first reaction was one of incredulity. You want moi to act in a play? Growing up I’ve always fancied myself an actor; years of actual stage experience proved that I’m more of a comedian instead of a thespian. Still, a small part of me longs to one day go up onstage and address the Hollywood pantheon with the words, “I’d like to thank the Academy.”

So I sent a text message to the director of the play, JM: “What is the play about?” Hey, might as well find out what he wants me to do, right?

He answered back: “It’s a funny existential play with a talking dog.”


So I text him: “I have no problem with the talking dog—think Fulgoso in Marimar—but I’m worried about the existential bit.”

He answered: “Just attend, okay? It’s funny.”

JM never really mentioned anything about what part he wants me to read. But somehow I can’t help thinking of dog collars and fake tails as costume.

So I Googled “Miguel Unamuno” and “Mist” and found out that the “towering figure of political, philosophical, and literary controversy, Miguel de Unamuno was the leader of the brilliant Generation of 1898 that ushered in a second golden age of Spanish culture.” Mist is actually a novel, not a play. Its characters include “Augusto Perez, the pampered son of a recently deceased mother; the deceitful, scheming Eugenia, whom Augusto obsessively idealizes; and Augusto’s dog Orfeo, who gives a funeral oration upon his master’s death.”

Make me Eugenia, please. But I’ll also start practicing my bark just in case my acting career has really gone to the dog. Woof, woof!

When Numbers Align

Today, 05 May 2005 is 05-05-05.

Wala lang. I think I want tuna for lunch and sardines for dinner.


On our trip to Bohol earlier this year I found out that the very first Filipino hijacker is a provincemate of ours. Mario Rabuya hails from our hometown of Bilar. Talk about close to home, but that’s not all. It turns out that the NBI agent who arrested Rabuya for committing the very first aviation crime in Philippine history is also from Bohol. Boy Sagun, also from Bilar, is not just a relative of ours; he is also my godfather.

Mario Rabuya served time in jail and was released; he died a free man. Today his younger brother is a respected guitar maker in Bilar; he also repairs pianos. A few years ago when we were in Bohol my older brother wanted a guitar. My parents bought one for him from Rabuya.

Ninong Boy is now with the airport police in Los Angeles. A few years ago when my parents visited the States for the first time, he gave them a pair of brown shoes to be given to me as a gift. As far as I know that’s the only gift I ever got from him.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Can This Be It?

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I have never liked Sandara Park. Even when she was still a wannabe-actress in the Star Circle Quest, I felt she lacked the talent to make it as an actress or as a singer. But she kept topping the Texters’ Choice Votes. Why? After SCQ she continued to be in show business; instead of fading off into obscurity, she seems to be gaining more fans. And with her movie Can This Be Love making a killing at the box office, it is undeniable—she has a hold on the Filipino public. Why?

Let me go out on a limb here: I believe Sandara Park has the potential to be the next Jolina Magdangal. Ack! But her being Korean will also mean there will be distinct differences between the two.

More and more I’m convinced that she has “It”, the inexplicable x-factor. It can neither be taught nor created; it can only be harnessed, fine-tuned, and exploited. Like Jolina she has somehow captured the imagination of the Filipino masa. Maybe they were looking for their very own San Shai (the Meteor Garden heroine). Maybe they liked her combination of beauty and innocent charm. Her very cluelessness seems to work for her; they are very protective of her when she is accused of having no talent. She has talent, they claim, she’s just shy to show it. And they easily forgive her lack of English and Filipino speaking skills. She’s just being herself, they say. I suspect they found a doll they can call their own; certainly she dresses like one. She’s not one of the masses but she certainly belongs to them. Her cluelessness is very natural and makes her funny in an endearing way.

How far can this cute factor take her? How long will this love affair between the Filipino masses and this bulol-speaking Korean girl last? Who knows. Is she relevant? Heck, relevance is not an issue here, not when you’re dealing with a krung-krung girl anyway.

Meanwhile you can snicker all you want at her crooked English and Filipino, her colorful outfits, and her seeming narrow range of facial expressions available at her command. Just remember that she and Hero were the main reason why Can This Be Love did more than 20 million in its first week. I bet she’s snickering more.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Random Thought for the Day

Would “guilt-ridden slut” qualify as an oxymoron?

Public Announcement: Free Movie Passes

I am giving away three movie passes for free to the Hero Angeles-Sandara Park starrer, Can This Be Love. I need to dispose of them before Friday because most theaters don’t accept them on the third week (it’s now on the second week). They are valid on most days except Sundays and holidays. Each movie pass can accommodate two people at the most.

Star Cinema usually gives us movie passes for most of their releases. I always turn them over to our maid but now that she’s gone, I have no one to give them to.

Those who want one or all but are embarrassed to admit it publicly, just email me (see link). A caveat: if you want the passes, find a way to come over to where I am. If you expect me to go all the way to Tuguegarao to give you the passes, you are sorely mistaken.

This is your chance to see firsthand the inexplicable “It” factor that Sandara has that’s endearing her to the Filipino masses.

I have seen the movie already. At best it is serviceable; Joey Javier Reyes is a competent director and he works well with his actors. In total fairness he was able to squeeze a mostly effective performance from Sandara—she can be quite endearing in certain scenes. There are the usual leaps-off-logic that a Filipino melodrama is required to have. (Why, oh why can’t we have a love story that can also make sense? I know love isn’t logical, but do the plot and character motivations have to be illogical too?) The biggest problem I have with the movie is the pacing—it would have worked better as a cute no-brainer if it zipped by so fast the audience doesn’t have time to ponder about the logical loopholes and inexplicable character choices. Still, aside from entertaining the audience, Joey Reyes also manages to inject relevant social commentaries about the influx of Koreans in the Philippines and the desire for Filipinos to leave for better opportunities abroad.

So comment, email or SMS me ASAP if you want to see Can This Be Love for free.

Long Weekend Snippets

The song playing right now in my iTunes is Macarena.

I met with several TA alumni to discuss the workshop we’ll be conducting next weekend, a confidence-building workshop for high school scholars. After our meeting we had dinner in Shakey’s. It was fun connecting with that group again. I saw these “kids” grow up from insecure, idealistic, innocent college freshmen to experienced, confident, eager young adults wanting to make their mark in the world. Time and age will slow them down, but for now they’re all fired up. We need their energy, their enthusiasm. They are the ones who keep me young and optimistic. Now that I’m turning 40 next year I should see them more often.

Segueing from Macarena to Angeleyes by ABBA gave me a surreal rush.

I just bought new books. Oops, I mean only one new book, blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Interesting premise—how snap judgments can actually be more effective that deliberate, cautious thinking. I have some initial reservations about what he calls “the power of thinking without thinking” but I’ll wait until I finish the whole book. The other three books aren’t exactly new: books 4, 5 and 6 of Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events. We used to have all 11 books (so far), but one day those three books mysteriously disappeared. We’ve been looking for them for the longest time to no avail. So when I saw the three on sale in The Podium I grabbed them immediately.

After ABBA was Madonna’s Ray Of Light. This is getting so gay.

I also bought new DVDs this weekend. The one I’ve been waiting for was Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle. Loved the soundtrack, loved the humor, loved the special effects. It’s a Warner Bros. cartoon come to life. I also bought the special edition of Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It’s not an exceptional movie, but I remember watching it four times when it first came out in the theaters. Back then Kevin Costner looked more heroic than hard-headed, Christian Slater was a talented rising star, and Morgan Freeman could spout still words of wisdom and wield a sword in the same scene. But I watched that film mainly for Alan Rickman. He played the Sheriff of Nottingham so deliriously over-the-top he stole the movie right from under the Prince of Thieves’ nose. He looked like he was the only one in the cast having so much fun. The reason why I bought the DVD was because it had 12 additional minutes of deleted scenes, mostly with Alan Rickman. You see, when the movie was first edited Kevin Costner complained that Alan Rickman upstaged him, so he had those scenes chopped off from the theatrical version. Unfortunately the movie didn’t age very well. Even the additional Rickman scenes didn’t fly—they were best left on the cutting room floor. The original release was already sprawling and uneven, and the additional 12 minutes made the pace all the more plodding in certain points.

But Rickman’s performance is still the best reason to watch the movie. It was his performance that made me want to play a villain. Villains have all the fun scenes and fun lines. I wanted to be a Disney villain. Ursula, move over! Jafar, get off that throne! Mwha-mwha-mwhahahahahahaha! (insert thunder SFX here)

Wow, from Ray Of Light to Emotional Rescue by the Rolling Stones.

Last night J. and I went to Alabang to have dinner with Phillip and to cheer him up because his beloved dog died. I don’t know if we succeeded in cheering him up—I think someone else j-j-j-j-j-just beat us to it—but at least he was happy after last night. And we had a good albeit late dinner.

Now it’s U2’s Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses. Time for me to have lunch.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Party People In The House!

11:30pm, Saturday: I was watching this Korean movie in Arirang Channel. It's a tale about a boy monk. No wait, excuse me: it's a very quiet, slow, meandering tale about a boy monk who catches rabbits, misses his mom, and almost got adopted. Watching the movie was like going on an hour of meditation. I had to get out of the house.

Went to Bed; place was packed as usual. Got my usual vodka tonic. Then later on another vodka tonic. But the place was so packed I had a hard time trying to keep my drink from spilling. So my third drink was vodka in a bottle. Ah, vodka! Thank god for the Russians.

Because many people were still coming in after the Circuit Asia party, the whole place was still packed and still gyrating to the beat at 5:30am! When I stepped out there was light already; people were having breakfast. I walked away from Bed, the heavy thump-thumping of the bass from inside fading off, to be replaced by the sounds of a typical Sunday morning: roosters crowing, the ting-a-ling of the taho vendor, jeepneys roaring to life.

Stopped by the 24-hour Burger King along Marcos Highway. I ordered a double Whopper meal for breakfast. Mmmmmm!!! I'm beginning to really, really like the Whopper.

When I got home, my mom had already left for the 6am Mass. But she left me a note: my younger brother was inviting us to go on a day-trip to Tagaytay that day. Oh no. I had to pass; I needed to pass out quickly.

The moment my head hit the pillow I was out like a light.

Wednesday evening I was in Government until 3am. Thursday evening I was in Bed until 2am. Friday I stayed home. Saturday I went out again. Is this the proper lifestyle for a 39-year old? My body clock has adjusted to the abuse; now I don't get sleepy until after 2am. Aaargh.

I need to ease off a bit on all this partying.