Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cheers To All (On The Eve Of…)!

Hope to spread more cheer in the coming year! With love, from McVie to you.

Sign Off

How does one “put off” the lights?

Does one just postpone turning the lights on “when not in use”? Or do you repel it with lame jokes like, “You know, you really brighten my day!” or “Knock, knock! Who’s there? Light. Light who? ‘Light… is not at all that bad my friend, ooh-hoo. Ef you beleb in yourself…’”? Or do you make things awkward between the two of you by insulting it with, “Yuck, you’re such a turn off!”?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Like, You Like?

If Caroline Kennedy has, you know, a verbal tick of, you know, saying “you know” a lot, then I have, like, a verbal tick, like, of saying “like” and the like: “parang”, “for example” and “kunwari”. I guess I’m not as bad as the potential New York senator, but, like, I notice it a lot when I edit our Fabcasts. And because I’m the producer and editor, I have control over whether I’d like you guys to, like, hear all those “likes” and the like—which I really don’t like, so that’s why you don’t hear much of them.

It’s interesting that I unconsciously chose a simile as a verbal tick to stall while I think of what to say next. Why a simile and not a metaphor? Y theory is that I prefer rephrasing things instead of using symbolisms whose meanings may get lost in translation.

It’s like, you know. Yeah.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What Have I Done To Deserve This?

“I could leave you, say goodbye
Or I could love you, if I try
And I could
And left to my own devices, I probably would.”

In my younger years I would have, regardless if I were left to my own devices or not. Most likely, I’ll even device a way. But years of disappointment and unreturned affections have made me wary.

“I don’t wanna feel this pain no more (wanna lose touch)
I just wanna go and lock the door.
I don’t wanna think,
I don’t wanna feel nothing.
I wanna be numb.”

And for most of the time I find a way to forget. Before my means of escape has always been books, music and especially the movies. I learned early on the joys of watching movies alone in the theaters.

“Meanwhile your life is still directed as a drama,
With realism on the sparsest of sets.
Every performance tends to reach the same conclusion:
No happy endings, but a message to depress.”

Pretty soon I also found out the other joys—and thrills—that come with watching movies alone. Sex soon was added to my list of escapes. But despite all those distractions, sometimes someone comes in and reminds me.

“When loneliness induces fear,
like waves against a ramshackle pier,
When thunder and rain
scar the windowpane—
once again,
I want you near.
As long as I hear your
footsteps in the dark,
that’s all I need.

Footsteps in the dark,
Only love will break your heart.
Footsteps, footsteps.”

Now I’m a lot older. Weekdays are easy—often I distract myself with work. Weekends the bathhouse beckons. And my family is the best distraction and love affair I have at this moment.

But sometimes I slip in some Pet Shop Boys in my playlist, and I’m reminded again.

“It seems to me there’s something serious beginning,
A new approach found to the meaning of life.
Deny that happiness is open as an option
And disappointment disappears over night.

Say that love is an impossible dream—
Face the facts, that’s what it’s always been.
Relax, what you see is what you’ve seen,
What you get, is a new philosophy:

Miserablism—is is and isn’t isn’t.

But if is wasn’t, and isn't were—
You can’t be sure, but you might find ecstasy.
Oh no!”

* * * * *

(Pop quiz, hotshot: Can you name the titles of all the PSB songs used in this episode?)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Talking Bisaya

Someone—I forget who—told me the following (corny) joke a long time ago. He was singing a bastardization of the Bananarama song, Robert DeNiro Is Waiting: “Robert DeNiro is waiting, talking Bisaya (talking Bisaya!)”. It’s supposed to be “Italian”, not “Bisaya”. Anyway, I remembered that joke because of the following incidents.

* * * * *

In Manila and Cebu there are lots of call centers. In our little town of Bilar, Bohol, there is this:

At first my brother and I were wondering what “Cal” meant, until we checked closer. This Center is actually a site that commemorates the coming together of the Baquial and the Cal families. Inside we found a family tree that clearly shows that one member of the Cal family was named Marife, so while it’s possible that most people would call her “Mari Cal”, it’s not too farfetched to assume that she would be more popularly known as “Fe Cal”. Now that’s a shitty name.

* * * * *

At Sunday mass the choir was singing Lift Up Your Hands, the song popularized by Basil Valdez.

“Life is not at all that bad my friend, mmmmm…”

I turned to my sister and said, “It’s been a while since I last heard this song.”

“Ef you beleb in yourself…”

My sister’s eyes widened and I held back a chuckle. I turned to my younger brother and he too was smiling. However, the choir seemed to have recovered from that momentary hiccup, because the song continued without undue incident.

That is, until they got to the chorus.

With full abandon and much feeling, the choir raised their voices as they hit the chorus: “And He said, ‘Cast your bordens upon Me…”

We looked at each other again. “Bordens”? Snicker, snicker, snicker. I turned to my siblings and said, “Watch out for the next mention of ‘burden’ in the chorus!”

And the choir plowed right on through: “For the yoke I will give you is easy, and my burden is light…”

Huh? Whadda—?!

We waited until they repeated the chorus, and true enough they repeated the same mistake (“bordens”) on the first mention but pronounced it correctly (“burden”) on the second mention. The only difference is that the first one is plural while the second one is singular, but I seriously doubt that putting a letter “s” at the end of the word would alter significantly the pronunciation of the letter “u”.

So here’s my theory: the first time the word “burden” is mentioned, the word before that is “your”, while on the second mention of “burden”, the word before that is “my”. Methinks that the “—our” sound of “your” affects the way they pronounce the “u” sound of “burden”. In effect, there is a carry-over of the “—our” sound to the succeeding word.

And that is the choir’s borden.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Images Of A Bohol Christmas

I would have added more photos but the Smart signal here is not 3G, so uploading is a test of patience, perseverance and profound waiting.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Greeting On Christmas Eve

Lotsa love, from McVie to you. =)

Paging Ms. Tural

When my sister and I first saw the sign while taking a stroll, we thought that an enterprising woman, a Ms. Biona Tural, had her own virgin coconut oil business.

And then we saw this:

Jeez fuckin’ “bionatural”.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


To come up with a theory that time and space are relative, Albert Einstein needed mathematics. But to prove it, I only needed to buy things in Bohol to get indubitable, empirical proof.

Time actually moves slower here in Bohol. Or rather, people here move slower—especially salespeople. I was buying a wall clock for our house because the old one conked out. At the cashier, three (!) salespeople were assisting a woman who used her credit card to pay for her purchase. Apparently the cashier rarely encountered such modes of payment, and needed assistance. The two were just as flummoxed as she was, and yet they proceeded to—all together now, all for one and one for all—try and figure things out. Meanwhile, not one of them bothered to check the queue that was growing behind the card-carrying lady (who blissfully accepted what was happening in an “all is calm, all is bright” attitude). I was fourth in line and growing exceedingly impatient. Then I saw salvation, in a counter far, far away—there was only one person in line. I immediately bolted out of the line and went straight to that counter which, by the time I arrived, was free. In Manila I would have spent less than a minute at the counter; here the cashier took her time and when she finished the whole transaction, five minutes had passed. Or maybe it was more than five; it certainly felt like it.

Space is also relative. Here everyone acts as if everyone is a relative; they get really, really close to you, especially when in line. The concept of “personal space” is as foreign to them as “immediate,” “instant” and “quick”. I was at National Book Store, lining up to pay for Christmas lights (again, the old ones fizzled out). The woman behind me looked like a harassed mother. She kept so close to me, she blurred the lines between “sticking” and “pushing”. At first I didn’t mind; the line was long and we were waiting for close to seven minutes already. But even after I paid and was just waiting for the other sales person to bag my purchases, she was still invading my personal space! She had her money out and was waiting for the cashier to take it; meanwhile, she also moved to my side of the counter so that she can immediately grab her purchases and leave. I looked down at her feet; she was wearing open-toe footwear. So I swiveled, stepped on her foot, and walked off. She cried out in surprise, but I didn’t bother to turn around.

Ho-ho-ho! Have yourself a merry little Christmas, folks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let’s Sit And Talk Awhile

We always joke about it with our cousins—in family gatherings, when it’s time to go home, our parents would take so much time saying goodbye. It would start in the kitchen or dining room, for the host would always be there, cleaning up or instructing the maids to pack food for the guests. Then the people would move to the living room, talking the whole time. And then everyone would inch their way to the door. And the talking would continue when they stop at the gate. Even when we’re already inside our cars and waving goodbye, there will be last minute jokes, reminders and instructions. We called the whole thing “Stations of the Cross” and would last anywhere from 15 minutes to about half an hour.

And now I have empirical proof that it’s a time-honored Boholano tradition.

Just inside our gate there’s a sitting area on both sides, so guests and family can park by the gate and, well, chat and chismis I suppose.

And just outside our door is another seat. It used to be a wooden bench but when the occupants of the house got older, they replaced it with a softer sofa. (By the way, that Santa Claus decoration has been there for ages. I never had the heart to tell my aunt—who bought that thing—to take it down.)

All those years of going home to Bohol and I never bothered to make the connection until now. It’s a time-honored tradition, but unfortunately, I’ve learned through much heartache and pain that sometimes the best goodbyes are the swiftest, simplest, shortest ones.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

For Me, Three’s The Charm

I actually like the new Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. I find it stupid that the place was mothballed for several months (or was it years?) due to controversy. Our government officials sure could use a lesson from Tim Gunn: “Make it work.”

Anyway, I like the spacious and spare design. Okay, so the lack of stuff seems to be more a function of budgetary constraints and not because of design aesthetics. Whatever. I prefer spare and sleek over the over-crowded, grimy look of the old NAIA 1. The old one seems like an old-style jeepney, chockfull of things and shops and stalls and signs—a cluttered mess that suffers from horror vacui. I like how NAIA 3 is all-business, no effort spent in prettifying the place. It acknowledges that all of you are just waiting before moving to another place. (At least the chairs are fairly comfortable enough—and plenty!)

There is a need for more concessionaires, especially to service the passengers in the more far-flung gates. But over-all I enjoyed going through NAIA 3. I look forward to going through the arrival experience when we fly back to Manila next year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The State Of RP-Canada Friendship

Quite sad.

Surviving Lonely, Series 3

3 Fs And A W

In our lives there will always be bouts of loneliness, just as there are bursts of happiness. The trick is to be able to move on with the former, and prolong the latter. Let’s just tackle the first one.

One of the worst things you can do is to deny that you’re lonely. Denial causes pimples and other skin breakouts—not pretty. The first thing you need to remember is that feelings are just that, feelings. They come and go. And feelings are meant to be felt. So go ahead, embrace the feeling. The more important decision is, for how long will you wallow in it? That spells the difference between sympathetic and just merely pathetic.

So how do you get over loneliness quickly? Remember the 3Fs and a W.

Family. They are your loved ones by default of Nature. So might as well maximize, right? But this isn’t a case of settling for whoever’s there.

I remember when my grandmother died. She was the last of our grandparents to kick the bucket, so my mom insisted that all of us fly home to Bohol to bury her. We were all there, including my cousins. And when Lola was safely tucked away six feet under, our aunt gave us the keys to her vehicle and said: “Here. Have fun.” We visited Chocolate Hills, drove around the picturesque seaside towns, and took the Loboc River cruise (sans singing waiters). By the end of the trip I had fallen in love with my family. Even now, they remain my first love.

But I know that not everyone has the Brady Bunch for relatives. So what Nature has failed to produce, you can choose.

Friends. Your friends can be your second family. Gather as many friends as you can comfortable have around you. Don’t scoff at the fair-weathered ones; they too have their purpose.

I have my tried-and-tested friends for serious heart-to-heart, soul-searching one-on-ones. And I have my happy friends, those who never fail to cheer me up with simple joys, the shallower the better.

That’s why when someone tells me “Let’s just be friends,” I get a little defensive. Friends are not just friends; they’re a lot more important to me. I choose my friends carefully. I may be friendly to you, but it doesn’t automatically mean we’re friends. With the happy-happy, fun-fun ones I just make sure that we click—chemistry is the main consideration. But it takes a longer time for me to trust someone and allow him or her into my inner self.

Fucking. A fuck a day keeps the hips in shape; of course I’m kidding, a daily regimen is not advisable to most folks over 17 years old. I’m not recommending you sleep around especially if you have a partner, so just stick to, oh, once a week of sticking it in your lovey-doods (the other way around if you’re a bottom, or take turns if you’re both versa). Sex can get old fast, and it’s a sad day when it becomes work. (Unless you’re a sex worker and you earn every fucking time. But not everyone can qualify—much less excel—in that line of work.)

Speaking of work…

Work. Over the years I’ve managed to trim down my loneliness bouts to around 5 minutes. The process get easier if I’m in the office, because there’s just so much work to do. Pathetic is when you let your depression keep you from doing your work. If you use your depression to fuel your work, not only do you convert a negative into a positive, you even managed to make money off of your loneliness! (And don’t believe those who say that money can’t buy you happiness—they just don’t have enough of it. Or they want the things that money can’t buy; get real, dudes.)

Now if you can have a second-degree cousin who works in your family business and is a fubu (fuck-buddy), then you’ll be the happiest person on earth.

No wonder happiness is elusive.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Commercial Muna

For those who are interested in something different, take a look at this:

O, ang sarap pa naman ng ngiti ng Gardo, di ba? Kakaiba! Kaya go na.

Hilom Massage Center
2nd flr Moomba Plaza
Mother Ignacia Ave. cor Roces Ave.,
Quezon City (beside Will's Attic)
(02) 3850665
09233161013 (sun)
09296934798 (smart)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

PM = Papa Material

Isn’t the new Thai Prime Minister a cutie?!

His name is unpronounceable (Abhisit Vejjajiva), but we can always call him our Papa Abs. If people elected their leaders on the basis of hotness, then there will be better global cooperation because everyone will look forward to great-looking world summits every year.

(Thanks to Phillip for reminding me to blog about this.)

McVie Does Dose

Dose is Spanish for twelve, an awkward age for most boys. It is also fitting, for Dose is an awkward film for me to watch.

But first, here are the things I liked in Senedy Que’s indie film. If I also had a gardener like Danny, played by Yul Servo wearing only sando and yum-yum short-shorts that advertise the true measure of a man, then punyeta, mababakla ako ng over, pakshet! Fritz Chavez, as the young Edy, has his winsome moments. Irma Adlawan is terrific as Helen, Edy’s aunt; her hickey scene in front of the altar is a premiere acting class on great timing and subtlety. And Emilio Garcia as the older Edy has grown into a confident actor who can easily essay “swishy gay” as much as “macho gay”.

The movie-within-a-movie touch brings a certain gravitas to the opening credits “a personal film by Senedy H. Que”; kudos to Senedy for that brave insinuation that the story is more than fictional. That wonderful scene with the two Edys in one frame captures the poignancy of the present acknowledging the weight of the past.

And I like how the film manages to pull the rug from under my feet twice, especially in the cemetery scene (“Awww, he’s dead. No wait, is he dead?”), by playing along with my expectations.

Disappointing are the small yet irritatingly noticeable stumbles. It bugs me when, while cutting from one angle to the next, the swing where Yul and Fritz are on would either be moving or still, depending on who’s within the camera frame. In the opening scene, Fritz is shown watching and mimicking dialogue from the movie Ina Ka Ng Anak Mo at the lobby of a movie house. Were betamax machines already that accessible and prolific back in 1979, enough for a small provincial moviehouse to afford placing one in their lobby? And the loving tilt up shot, showing Yul’s half-naked body in all its glory—what was that for? To show that the priest was ogling Danny?

The transfer to the big screen also leaves much for improvement—of course the director need not have any control over this. I’ve seen better transfers; here, the very brightly-lit scenes in the garden look almost solarized. Argh.

Though he has a winsome air about him, Fritz still lacked the skill to effectively essay an effeminate kid; Nathan Lopez’s Maximo Olivero is still the current benchmark. Emilio is brave, but those long lingering shots of him made it more obvious that he comes this close to relying on ticks and mannerisms. And Yul is yummilicious and a committed actor, but really, his voice is something that I really need to get used to. Sigh. Not his fault really, but it took me five to ten minutes before my ears adjusted to the sound of his voice, during which watching him was an awkward experience. Just like the movie.

Trigger Happy

Driving home after 10pm, the gridlock within the whole Ortigas area was horrendous and my irritation level was creeping up higher than usual, when I received an SMS. It was from someone I met online in one of those M2M social networking sites, a guy whom I corresponded briefly but never met face-to-face.

His message went a little something like this: A person is really special if he can bring out the sweetness in you, no matter how unresponsive you are at the start.

“Then you’re nothing special,” I muttered to myself and hit the delete button.

Immediately I regretted what I did. I wanted to quote his message word-for-word in this episode.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Surviving Lonely, Series 2

Oh Bummer: Hope And Cope

Obama ran and won under a promise of “Change”, but behind that single word is the idea of hope. Hope was the foundation on which Obama and his machinery built his campaign and which propelled him into the most powerful office in the world. One would think that hope is a value that people will embrace with no questions asked. In matters of politics, hope is a powerful ally and tool. But in the matters of the heart, hope can be a dangerous thing.

Hope can give you a reason to wake up in the morning. Hope can lighten your step with an extra skip. Hope can plaster a silly, blissful smile on your face that will last the whole day, despite you missing a deadline, losing your wallet and accidentally staining your favorite shirt. Hope can make you emotionally invulnerable.

But if the object of your affection cannot/will not/chose not to reciprocate, then you’re fucked. If the object of your affection is in that gray area of not-sure-if-he’s-reciprocating-or-just-being-polite, then you may find yourself just steps away from Heartbreak Hell.

However, here’s the rub: how to tell the difference between the two. Usually it occurs early in the game, when the two of you can’t tell if something is happening between the two of you, or it’s just wishful thinking on your part. So what to do in that case?

Most people will decide to grab on to any and every available clue they can get from the other person: Does he return my text messages ASAP? Does he always end his SMS’s with a smiley? Does he look for you instead of the other way around? Did he just call you “Googlie-Pooh”?

Instead of relying on circumstantial clues, others go the direct route—they ask. Lately I’ve been doing this a lot. But my experience with the direct approach has not been a happy one—all of the ones I asked turned me down. In the law of averages, that’s abysmal. Which got me thinking: interrogation may work during cross-examination, but romantic prospects are not very good witnesses to put on the stand. They tend to freeze, get spooked, or (and I suspect this happened in all my cases) tell the harsh truth. Ouch. Quite necessary, but still it’s a painful shot through the heart and no one’s to blame.

A variation of the direct approach is to ask other people surrounding your object of affection. Close friends and colleagues can be a source of inside information that can help you assess where you stand in his life. Unfortunately this approach is iffy since most of the time these people are also strangers to you.

Hope can make you do crazy things. Hope can also waste your time. That’s why I’d rather just dash the hope as early as possible; afterwards, I cope. And after years of training, I’ve found coping a whole lot easier than hoping.

Of course you could always say that “coping” is actually just “copping out” and you won’t hear an argument from me.


Got the following message in my inbox today:

“Hi... I visit your blog regularly (good read, nice ideas, frisky stories) and in your Mandy again entry, I am just wondering—was the place you were referring to Xxxx-Xxxxxxxxx on Xxxxx? I visited that place for the first time last Friday (I live in Xxx Xxxxx but was in the area for a party). I think you were the one I saw in the sauna but am not sure. Was that you?”

Hahaha! Good lord, busted again. For a while I thought of pulling out either my pictures or my frisky stories from The McVie Show, or maybe just limit the stories. But that thought lasted a mere three seconds. Oh what the heck. Bring it on.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kabilugan Ng Buwan, Buwan Ng Kalibugan

No wonder folks have been friskier than usual the past few days. The moon was full Friday ‘til Sunday. That explains it.

Surviving Lonely, Series 1: “Beauty And The Bell Curve”

(In the Fabcasters’ Christmas Get-Together, several guests and I talked about how I, as a 42-year old man who’s never been in a formal relationship, deal with being single and being lonely. Teens would call that angst; for those approaching middle age, that juvenile term is better known as depression. Be it angst or depression, loneliness is something that you learn to deal with over time; you develop coping mechanisms so that every time loneliness strikes, you figure out a way to get over it as quickly and as painlessly as possible. And at my age, I’m an expert in dodging depression of more than 5 minutes. My methods may not be the most mature, but they keep me sane—for now. Someone suggested, “You should write a survival book about it.” The others chimed in: “Better yet, blog about it.”

Blame the following series on them.)

* * * * *

Beauty And The Bell Curve

I recently met a fellow blogger who’s also an avid viewer of The McVie Show, and afterwards he very graciously complimented me, saying I was “more beautiful in person” than in my pics. Muchas gracias amigo.

Before I’d be all bashful and embarrassed and would most likely disagree in a public display of humility. Nowadays I’ll take any compliment as it comes. Guys, didn’t I mention before that even though I seem so lucky at sex, 4 out of 5 times I actually get turned down or rejected? Well, my batting average for getting compliments on looks is much, much lower than my sex-ess rate. If I had the looks that will make heads turn, most likely there wouldn’t be The McVie Show; I’d be too busy giving and getting good head.


Be that as it may.

It is a form of survival mechanism, this hoping that you’re cuter, hotter and more handsome-looking than you really are. It is also rightfully called delusional when one starts to believe in one’s own mental hype. It’s a very tricky balance: you’d want to think positive and boost your self-esteem and ego, and yet you don’t want to go overboard and self-inflate yourself to the size of a zeppelin—look what famously happened to the Hindenburg.

Most of us fall within the middle of the Bell Curve of Hotness—there will always be people more beautiful than us as well as people who are more ugly (let’s not mince words here) than us. Theoretically it sounds great—we win some, we lose some. But life isn’t always fair, and things become trickier when you’re placed in situations with a group of people where the Bell Curve of Hotness swings you towards the shallower end of the gene pool. Clang! Ouch. We win a few, we lose a lot.

So what do I do in that situation? In classic survival mode, it’s either fight-or-flight. I don’t fight it because I’m sure I’ll end up losing and feeling much worse from the start. Instead I take flight. I stay away from the action—all that preening, flirting and jostling for position. I busy myself with other folks, or preoccupy myself with several tasks. In staying away from it I hope to eventually rise above it.

Does it work? Most of the time it does, and a side benefit is that I get to bond more with the other people. But it only works if I keep away from the action. The moment I see something, or hear something, or is informed by someone that so-and-so did blankety-blank with you-know-who, then the carefully constructed Wall of Invulnerability comes crashing down, easily.

Guys, there are times when, truly, ignorance is bliss.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mandy Once More

Last night I was feeling frisky, so after waiting for the heavier-than-usual Makati traffic (thanks to the anti-GMA, anti-cha-cha rally) to subside, I headed out to my ever-reliable bathhouse. But as I was pulling out of our building, I spotted a friend and fellow blogger walking out (he also goes to the same gym as I do). I decided right there and then to give him a ride home; unfortunately his place is in Quezon City, which is in the opposite direction of my favorite Sodom & Gomorrah. But I decided to prioritize a good deed over a good lay last night—maybe I was not as frisky as I thought I was.

While on the road we exchanged the latest gossip about gym trainers who give massage with extra service on the side. That led to talks about massage parlors and masseurs. By the time I dropped him off I wanted to be naughty again. But when I swung by F, I worried about safe parking. So after a quick self-check, I decided to not be naughty but just be nice.

I pulled up to this legitimate massage parlor, the very same one I featured a couple of seasons ago because of this masseur named Mandy. That particular episode of The McVie Show had generated the most reaction ever, with viewers asking me for the name of the place and the masseur even after a full year since that episode came out. The problem was I never went back to that place. Plus I heard from common friends that Mandy had resigned.

So when I approached reception I only had a good massage in mind. Okay, okay, to be perfectly honest, I was also open to the possibility of some extra service or a bit of action in the wet area. But if the massage turned out to be straightforward, and the wet area dry of any hot action, I’d still be okay since I really wanted a good rubdown (I had an extra heavy session with my trainer that morning).

Imagine to my surprise when, after I specified for a male masseur, the receptionist said, “Sir, I’ll assign Mandy.” What? He’s back?

In my room I waited for him to arrive, wondering if it was the same guy I “had” about a year ago, or just someone with a similar name. He came in; I recognized him immediately. Yes, it was him. He had filled up, though; he was not as thin as before. Maybe all that work and additional earnings have added muscles and fat to his frame.

“First time n’yo po, sir?” he asked. He doesn’t remember me, I realized. When I told him my last visit was a year ago, he merely nodded and asked me to lie down on my stomach. He offered to take my shorts off; I allowed him. Then he proceeded.

To be fair, he had improved as a masseur—his hands were a lot skillful and swifter than the last time. And he also didn’t fail to apply the moves on me—his fingers would graze at the McJewels every so often. And when he kneaded the buns of my ass, his thumbs would travel deep down into the middle and brush the hairs near my hole.

But despite his skillful swipes, he failed to make me rise to the occasion. I did sport a semi-hard on, but that was it. By the time he was winding down, I had gone limp again.

Maybe it was the idea of a round two with someone who can only offer me a hand job. Maybe it was the thought that I could get more sexual satisfaction for far less pesos in a bathhouse versus a massage parlor. Or maybe I just don’t like paying for sex anymore.

In the end Mandy didn’t even bother to offer me extra service. He just gave me his tip envelope then left.

There’s always the wet room, I murmured to myself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Trailer

Just watch the trailer of Ciao:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I have quite a diverse taste in music, but I was never a fan of ballads. I found most declarations of love too icky sweet or, if love lost, sadly pathetic.

I’m also not a big fan of R‘nB and hiphop. There are several songs from those genres that I really loved, but most are fast tracks, usually the more bitchin’ danceable ones.

But of all the genres in music, the one I steer clear of the most is gospel. It’s not that I am faithless; I just refuse to wear my faith on my headphones. For me faith is something very personal and indefensible—just like one’s taste in music. But unlike taste where there’s no dispute, faith has been the cause of many a long-standing clash. Wars have been started because of faith. Meanwhile, no one has ever smashed an airplane into a building to bring it down “In the name of Mariah! Aaaaaaaaa-iiiiiiieeeee-hiiiiiiiii-aaaaaaaah!” (with matching falsetto birit).

Which is why I was shocked at myself when, upon listening to Beyonce’s latest double-CD album I Am… Sasha Fierce, I immediately fell in love with two songs: “Halo” and “Ave Maria”. Not only are they slow love songs, they have religious references as well! Actually, they’re more of religious metaphors: “Halo” is about meeting a guy who’s like an angel to her; meanwhile, I’m not too sure whether “Ave Maria” refers to her mother or herself, but it’s less about the mother of Jesus and more about a woman blessed. But the song actually borrows Schubert’s “Ave Maria”, and while that’s not strictly gospel, it’s religious. Then again, when it comes to classical music I’m more tolerant of any holy overtures because, well, back then religion was a major muse of musicians.

Speaking of I Am… Sasha Fierce, I surprised myself by actually liking almost all the tracks on the first of the double-CD. You see, Beyonce and producers have stacked all the slow songs and ballads on the first disc, then all the faster or fiercer songs on the second disc. Why?

Methinks she and her producers have learned a thing or two from Janet Jackson. You know how all the albums of Janet, er, Miss Jackson (cuz I’m nasty!) would start strong with the fast tracks, then eventually downshift to the ballads towards the end? Eventually Ms. Wardrobe Malfunction also had a malfunctioning public image—on the one hand she’s “Nasty” and dying to “Throb”, but on the other hand she admonishes the guy to “Let’s Wait A While”.

Well, Ms. Knowles apparently refuses to be sonically schizophrenic. So she split the album in two. If you look at the album cover, the first part is “Beyonce I Am…” and the second part is “…Sasha Fierce”. The first part has all slow songs, and Beyonce’s persona is the well-loved artist. The second disc lets loose her inner diva, full of fierce attitude (although two songs towards the end, “Hello” and “Scared of Lonely” show the diva’s more vulnerable side).

That I like all but one song on the first disc, while on the second disc I like two, can tolerate two more, and skip the rest—perhaps it’s just proof that Beyonce’s better at slow grooves instead of treading on Missy Elliot’s territory. Either that, or I’m just getting old.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

March In December

It was my first Pride March ever. I’ve always wanted to go, but only to watch and party afterwards. But when AJ of BaklaAko, May Reklamo? organized the Rainbow Bloggers group, I now had a group I could join in the march.

I came prepared—SPF15 with moisturizers on my face, and SPF45 on my neck and arms. Vanity is a form of pride, right?

AJ had a tarp made, plus colorful balloons of phallic proportions. While waiting for the march to start, we laid them down on the ground first. The cement was so hot several of the balloons burst; thankfully, the march started before the heat could wipe out all the balloons. They were a big hit, especially among the street kids and their mothers who kept begging for one. Even when we were walking, adults would use the kids’ names in vain (“Para lang sa bata po!”) just to get a balloon. Jeez louise.

One of the funnier sights was this group of anti-gay protesters led by a Caucasian guy who kept spewing Bible passages; I assumed he’s a minister. A very dark foreigner with short curly hair (can’t tell if he’s African-American or Jamaican or from some dark continent) was also with the group and carried a sign that read, “Only Jesus can save ME from Hell.” We yelled at him, “Good for you!”

It was a short but sweet march, covering about two or three blocks only. The weather was very cooperative. And thanks to the protesters, the representatives of each group that marched had some ammunition to fire up their introduction speeches onstage. Most pointed out the logic flaw in their argument: God hates sinners. It’s a sin to discriminate. But you’re discriminating against us gays. So God hates you.

One of the most hilarious and well-applauded intro spiels was from this Amnesty International (AI) guy. He delivered his speech in true beauty contestant mode (he introduced himself as Angel Locsin), with matching intonation, lilt, and the kilometric run-on sentences said in one breath. (I suspect our skill at giving blow-jobs trains us to hold our breaths for long periods.) Prior to the introductions, he performed a dance number in the middle of the street.

(The Go-Go Boys of Bed on top of a flatbed—what else?—truck easily upstaged the protesters when they arrived.)

Early on I greeted Danton Remoto who managed to be everywhere despite stopping to be interviewed by TV crews. I bumped into him again during the intro speeches, and I said, “Oh, here’s our future senator!” He whispered conspiratorially to me, “Number three na ako sa surveys!” Can he milk the surveys into votes come election time? We’ll see. Then he told me about the African member of AI who was in the country for the first time. He marveled at the speech of the local AI guy. “The guys in Amnesty New York are so serious and stiff,” he told Danton, “while here, you have a beauty contestant. I love your country!”

(Having a ball at the parade.)

(The Library contingent. On the left-most is their Joey de Leon look-alike.)

I wasn’t surprised that only four bloggers attended. A lot of them are from out of town. And most are actually anonymous online. Only a few gay bloggers are out enough to slap their faces onto their blogs. What’s funny is that I’m not officially out to my family. And there I was, proudly holding the tarp of the Rainbow Bloggers in front of numerous photographers and TV crews. Good thing my mom doesn’t watch the weekend news.

(The pro-gay Metropolitan Community Church.)

(The gay priest leading the crowd to shout at the protesters at the back, “Would Jesus discriminate?!”)

I decided to skip the actual beauty contest (there was one after the speeches) and headed off to explore Robinson’s Place Ermita and have dinner. When I came back past 10pm, the street party was just about to start. By 11:30pm the party was warming up, and the usual Malate crowd was pouring in. By midnight I ducked into Bed.

Before I left for home, I checked out the street party again. A group of guys had commandeered the stage, dancing as a group and putting on quite a show. It’s obvious they’re a barkada who loves to dance; they had well-executed choreographed moves for certain songs, and they didn’t hesitate to vogue in front of the crowd. Their palpable joy at performing for themselves and for appreciative strangers contributed to this infectious, collective feeling of happiness and joy for that night. They let themselves loose, and in turn the crowd loosened up and cheered them on; some even joined them onstage.

It was pride at its giddiest.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Must Be The Season (And All That Traffic)

I was born a year after my brother, so our parents tried to play fair to their two boys. They gave us the same of everything (especially with clothes), or in the case of toys, similar ones.

I was always compared to my brother, and so I tried my best to be the same. Unfortunately he got better grades, was more popular and better looking than me. He’d always be number 1 academically in class, and he’d often be voted class president; I, on the other hand, barely scratched top 10 and hung out with the nerds and the athletically inept. But I kept at it—with the grades, at least—because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. Yet every time the quarterly grades came out, I knew I could never match my brother.

So when the teenage years rolled in and rebellion was the norm, I strove to be different from my brother. I joined the grade school theater company. I became more interested in the arts. Movies and music became my sources of comfort—and escape.

And yet, the fear remained—that I was a disappointment, especially to my parents (I never heard them say it, though). That’s why for the longest time I hoped I was not gay; I thought that being gay would be the ultimate disappointment for them.

Disappointment meant failure. Years of training in the honors class taught us to always succeed. Failure was an embarrassment. Our teachers never bothered to give us a healthy perspective of failure, that failing could actually lead you to greater heights (especially if you learned from it).

Another area where I felt like a failure was in my love life (what love life?!). Because I never had a boyfriend ever, for the longest time I feared I was not worthy for anyone. I often wondered what was it about me that kept guys away. Lack of looks? Lower middle-class status? Lack of social skills? Lack of sophistication? Or too much sophistication? Too simple? Or too smart for my own good? Too intimidating? Too pedestrian? Until now I have no idea, only hunches that are ultimately unhelpful. But the longer I went boyfriend-less, the higher the stakes climbed. Perhaps that is what’s keeping me single ‘til now: the disappointment and fear of failure in a relationship.

But funny, isn’t it? For how can a relationship fail when there’s always a failure to launch one?

Nowadays I know better. I treat myself better and even though I still end up comparing myself to others, I try to put things in perspective. Approval from others is something that is like an unexpected gift, wonderful to receive but ultimately beyond my control. And having a boyfriend, which is also an approval of a significant other, is something I’ve learned to live without.

But there are days when the curiosity is particularly killing.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

100: Now Showing Na!

From the ClickTheCity review: “Comparisons to the Nicholson/Freeman starrer The Bucket List are unavoidable, but ultimately pointless. 100 is a completely different creature, one that approaches depths that the previous film could never have imagined.”

Kaya para sa mga “Ay, parang Bucket List” commenters: POINTLESS KAYO. Panoorin muna ninyo ang pelikula, at saka kayo mag-comment, ha.

To read the whole review, click HERE. Better yet, STOP READING THIS, LOG OFF, AND WATCH! Choose from the following: SM North EDSA, SM Megamall, Robinson’s Galleria, Robinson’s Ermita, Glorietta and Gateway.

Thanks to Eugene Domingo (o, say!) for the heads-up regarding the review.

P.S. – If there’s another movie where the following saying from Moliere would fit best, it’s with 100: “Unhappiness has comic aspects one should never underestimate.”

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

One Out Of 100

Watching the film 100 should be one of the things in your “to-do-before-you-die” list. So if I were you, when this film opens tomorrow (Dec. 3), I’d line up and watch it immediately or else. Who knows, you might get hit by a truck or something. Not convinced? Read on:

(copied from Chris’ Fezbuk)
* * * * *
Film Development Council of the Philippines
Summation of CEB members’ comments on “100”
Grade: A
Martinez-Rivera Films

Joyce (Mylene Dizon) finds out that she is on the brink of death. Her cancer has spread to other organs of her body and there is nothing much that can be done. What does a person in the prime of her life do in this instance? How does one face death? How can one make her dying a graceful exit? Joyce does not want to be a burden to anyone and so she makes a list of things to do – from the more mundane ones, like packing her things in the office, making funeral arrangements and “shopping” for a casket, to the more personal ones, like telling her mom and finding Emil, her long lost ex-boyfriend. Her Post-It’s, things to do that must have added to a hundred, are taken off the wall one by one, except for the difficult task of telling her mom.

100 is an entry in the 2008 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, is well written piece. The members of the board rave over the screenplay – “finely crafted story,” “painfully beautiful,” “the scenes are touching without being too melodramatic,” “funny and moving,” “believable characters in a believable drama.” One member, though, notes that the story is moved by the characters singular acceptance of her condition from beginning to end, making the series of scenes look like routine. However, the dramatic moments are examples of excellent writing, notably the scene between Joyce and her mom (Tessie Tomas) when the mother finds out about her daughter’s condition; the funny and equally tender scenes between Joyce and her best friend (Eugene Domingo); the hospital scene between Joyce and her brother (Simon Ibarra); the hospital scene with Joyce and Emil, her ex-boyfriend (Ryan Eigenmann); even the scene with Joyce and her secretary, as Joyce bequeaths her laptop, is funny and touching. These good scenes flow from a well-written screenplay.

Working on his own screenplay, Chris Martinez has directed this film with certainty and control. The members of the board are unanimous in complimenting his measured direction – “brilliant,” “excellent,” “impressive.” One member writes that Chris Martinez manifests in “100” a “sensitive and imaginative” direction, “admirably disciplined.”

The production elements, like cinematography, music, sound, production design, and editing, all contribute to the over-all accomplishment of this film. However, the cinematography of the Hong Kong scenes and the Enchanted Kingdom sequence suffers in comparison to the main body of the film. The music score reinforces the dramatic moments without getting in the way: but, one member notes, the song for the end credits seems too mainstream.

The performances are excellent. Eugene Domingo as the best friend and Tessie Tomas as the mother have their dramatic moments which they accomplish beautifully. But “100” is without a doubt, Mylene Dizon’s film. Joyce, the cancer stricken woman, lives on the screen as a complex person. Dizon’s performance, one member writes, is “outstanding in every aspect of cinema acting, to a level rarely seen.”

“100” is a beautiful piece of work, a fine cinematic experience. The Cinema Evaluation Board is unanimous in granting it an “A” grading.


So What’s With The Title?

I actually quite enjoyed Quantum of Solace in spite of the title. The movie actually works as a series of high-fueled action pieces set in impossibly photogenic locations (in Bond films squalor looks exotic) strung together by flashy gadgets and vehicles (although the gadgetry has been turned down several notches), sexy women (why only women?), foppish villains, the oh-so-magnificent Dame Judy Dench, and Daniel Craig, possibly the most physical and vulnerable Bond in ages. With him, Quantum morphs into both an action and a drama movie.

As for those who got lost in all of the huffing and puffing, wondering if they should have crammed for the movie by watching the previous film Casino Royale, the answer is—duh, just pay attention. All you needed to remember is that Vesper got killed, and there’s a bigger organization behind her killing.

I liked how in the new Bond order, the heroes and villains are almost interchangeable. Especially poignant for me is the scene where Bond’s ally, Rene Mathis, ruefully reflects on the certainty of youth, how easy it is to know right from wrong; as one grows older though, friends and enemies are a lot more difficult to distinguish.

But what really sealed the deal for me with this movie is the death of one of the females that Bond, ah, bonded with—she ends up dead in bed covered with oil. This is a tip of the hat to Goldfinger where a girl ends up dead in bed covered with gold paint. Crude oil or petrol is also called black gold; also, the position of the body mimics that of the 1964 Bond film. I must admit after seeing that scene, my enjoyment of this latest installment of the Bond franchise grew by quantum leaps.