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, January 30, 2008

Three Things

In our bathroom there are three urinals. If I’m the only one there, I often gravitate to the leftmost one. But if there’s someone already there then I choose the rightmost. If I come in and someone’s already using the middle, then I automatically take the rightmost; I don’t know why, but I think the guy will have a harder time trying to check me out if I’m on his right. That is, if the guy isn’t hot. But if he’s a cutie, then I’ll take the left and try to steal glances, hahaha.

Our bathroom also has three sinks. When I’m just going to wash my hands, I often take the leftmost. But when I come in to brush my teeth, I always take the rightmost. Of course, if someone else is on either side, I take the opposite sink. If someone is already using the middle sink, I still take the rightmost one. I don’t really know why I do it, but I did notice the pattern of behavior. Maybe I’m just a creature of habit.

One’s a personal driver, one’s a driver hired by the office, and one’s a janitor. All three were peering out the window of our pantry, talking about the traffic down below on the street. Then one of the drivers wondered out loud: “If you throw a grenade down there, will the explosion reach us up here on the 20th floor?” The other driver then asked, “How will you throw the grenade?” “Through this window,” he answered. “But there’s no open window!” argued the other. “But what if?” he countered. “You’re stupid,” huffed the other. And that’s when I snapped the pic and left the pantry.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It’s That Time Of The Year, Again

There’s this officemate of ours whose inspirational emails I almost always delete without even opening them; one look at the subject line and I hit the button. But for some weird reason I opened this latest one from her. I will not bore you by cut-and-pasting her email here; what I do want to quote (with some editing and tweaking on my part) is the following:

“Flowers, and romantic moments are only used and appear on the surface of the relationship. Under all this, the pillar of true love stands, one that lies in between the peace and dullness.

Love shows up in all forms; even in very small and cheeky forms. It has never been a model. It could be the dullest and most boring form… and that’s life. The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems, but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect.”

So do something different this February 14. Go home, put your feet up on the couch and watch “Mythbusters” while sipping Coke Light. Or have a pizza delivered to your office for dinner. Or read the final three chapters of that novel you’ve always wanted to finish but kept putting off for another time. Or play Text Twist. Or watch porn and jack off. Do the ordinary this Valentine’s Day, whether with someone special, with friends, or by yourself.

And if I see you contributing to the terrible traffic that night—whether rushing to some concert by local or foreign has-beens, or to a reserved table at some overpriced restaurant—then I’m going shove a real arrow right through your heart.

Have a Happy Valentine’s folks. Smiley face.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Consultation

This morning I had my first session with the nutritionist expert at the gym. (Yes, it’s a form of silent desperation.) Everything was going well; she had that calm, assured air about her that said, “I know what I’m talking about, so you should do what I tell you to do.” To wrap up our consultation session, I described to her the kind of work hours I keep. And that’s when she said, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be in advertising.”

Maybe it was the tone in her voice. Instead of brushing it aside as I always do, I asked her, “So what happened?”

“My parents wouldn’t let me,” she said. “So I ended up here.”

What happened next was a 20-minute consultation session with me dishing out advise to her. Because she’s just 21, I told her she can afford to reinvent herself. I painted a very broad view of advertising, gave her options and suggested next steps. I told her that she still has a fantasy view of the advertising world for now; the sooner she sees what it’s really like, the better.

She looked like a woman who suddenly had a weight lifted off her back. She thanked me, saying that she was inspired to do something with her passion. I told her that if the gym will blame me for losing a nutrition expert, I’d feign innocence.

What a way to start a Monday. (I should have charged her for career counseling.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

East So Nice!

When we Metro dwellers think of driving out of town, we often think of going north (Pampanga, Subic, Baguio) or south (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas). Rarely do we consider going east. About six years ago we McSiblings were so bored during Holy Week that we decided to take a road trip and went around Laguna Lake via Rizal province.

For the past two weekends we had a shoot in Tanay and in the outskirts of Antipolo. After Cogeo those irritating jeepneys and tricycles fall by the wayside, and the drive then transforms into a pleasant one with rolling hills and breathtaking twists and turns along a part of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

One of the locations we used is this wonderful art gallery. Located on a compound along a sloping lot, the place is composed of several houses and a huge backyard where nature and art mingle. Or at least try.

This is the swimming pool in the shape of a figure 8.

In the lot is a small chapel; inside are all these antique religious figurines. The chapel is quaint, but inside is creepy actually. I can imagine the figurines come to life around midnight.

All over the lot are man-made ponds. On top of one of them is this quaint little rest cabin, complete with toilet and bathroom. When the wind blows through the bamboo trees behind it, the effect is so relaxing.

Art work? Tribute to the Jodie Foster movie “Contact”? Or scrap metal? You decide.

Pondering beside the pond.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Coco Loco

It was one of the most surreal moments I’ve experienced so far.

Last night I rushed to Robinson’s Galleria to watch Condo starring Coco Martin, he with the sad eyes and oh-so-pinchable cheeks (especially now since he’s gained weight). I’ll refrain from commenting too much about the movie; if it weren’t for the sight of Coco, I would have nodded off somewhere in the middle of the movie. He plays Benjie, a security guard who uses his job to withdraw from the world. The filmmakers want to make a particular point (the irony of an emotionally guarded security guard must really looked good on paper) but the ultimate message that I got in the end was: Benjie needs a pair of glasses. OMG, this is the indie film equivalent of an “Acebedo Optical, Acebedo Optical!” commercial. (Even Jao Mapa—whom I had a big crush back when he was just starting—cameos as an optometrist. I didn’t recognize him at first and was shocked when the credits rolled.)

The movie ended at a little past 11pm. When I stepped out of the movie house, Galleria was unusually empty of people—except for security guards! What was even freakier was that there were more than one security guard in every floor I passed through on my way to the basement parking. I mean, how freaky is that?!

But the freakiest bit was this: none of the guards looked anywhere near Coco Martin. Damn.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Gone!

No, I don’t have a lisp.

(April 4, 1979 – January 22, 2008)

Dead at 28. It’s sad if the last Ledger entry would read: “death by drugs.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Un. Re. QUIT. Ed.

Last night I watched the movie Sikil for a second time. It’s the first movie in a looong time that I’ve gone out of my way to watch in the theaters more than once. When I was in high school and college, I’d make it a point to watch movies several times; first to enjoy it and the subsequent viewings to re-enjoy it again while breaking down the technical aspects of the film during the parts that I really, really liked. Why did the director shoot it at that angle? How quick was the cut-to-cut editing in that scene? How did Meryl Streep do that? After going through the technicals I go back and enjoy the scenes as a whole again and again, reliving the feeling. That’s why I end up watching at least 3 times; my most watched movie of all-time is still E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, with a total of 7 viewings in the theaters (video cassettes and DVDs are exempted). Damn that Ken Escudero. He’s the reason why I’ve seen the movie Sikil twice.

Okaaay, I exaggerate. So maybe it’s not really his wounded puppy eyes that keep drawing me back. It’s really the oh-so-familiar story of a gay man falling in love with his straight friend. It has happened to most of us at one time or another—having a crush on a straight friend. But while most gay men would move one with nary a scratch on them, I perfected the art of unrequited love. With my first childhood crush I fought with my brother for his attention; in the end he preferred to hang out more with my older brother than me. In high school, college and several years beyond, I “pursued” four straight guys for at least a year or more (not all at the same time silly, one after the other). And there were a few more who attracted my eye and kept me busy trying to get them to notice me. But with all of them I ended up with nothing. Well, all except one.

He was the one who was different from the rest. Maybe it was his (relative) youth that made him fearless. Maybe it was his exposure to cultures other than ours that made broadminded. Maybe he was just flattered with the attention and importance I gave him. Whatever the reasons, he was one of the few exceptions who didn’t wince and pull back their friendship when I revealed my true feelings towards them.

One night I ended up sleeping over at his house after a party. As luck would have it, the others who were also going to sleep over decided to pull out last minute. In his room I offered to sleep on the floor; he insisted that his bed was big enough for the two of us. But won’t you feel uncomfortable sleeping beside me knowing my feelings towards you, I asked. Nope, he replied with a shrug and a smile. I decided to push it. Can I hug you while we sleep? I tentatively asked him. Without missing a beat he said sure. And he laughed and joked: Basta hug lang ha? Hehehe. Without missing a beat I said of course.

A few hours later I woke up to a very dark room with my arm around him and my face inches away from the back of his head. I could still smell the lingering scent of his shampoo; his nape had that hint of Ivory soap that’s so sexy on a guy. I listened; his breathing was slow and deep. I lifted my head and moved closer to look at the side of his face. He was deep in sleep. From that angle I couldn’t see his eyes but I knew they were closed; I couldn’t see his lips but I knew they were partly opened as he breathed in and out. Inside me I sighed: so near and yet so far.

Then I lifted my arm off him and turned to face the other side of the bed, my back now facing his. And I forced myself to sleep again.

The next morning whatever romantic inclinations I had towards him evaporated like a wisp of a dream that, a few seconds after snapping awake, disappears forever into the mists of night.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Shakespeare Pop (Commercial Muna Tayo)

Tanghalang Ateneo Goes Pop in Shakespeare’s Hakbang sa Hakbang

Tanghalang Ateneo and TeatroFilipino Integrated return to Shakespeare with a novel rendition of Measure for Measure, a play on desire, morality, and justice. Translated as Hakbang sa Hakbang, the production marks the first time the play will be staged in Filipino. It will also showcase student talents under the direction of Ronan Capinding, the acclaimed young director of such plays as Middle Finger po and Ang Nilalang ni Victor Frankenstein.

Tanghalang Ateneo’s Hakbang sa Hakbang draws on dance movements from contemporary pop culture to capture the spirit of permissiveness that marks the play. This fusion of contemporary dance and Shakespearean text reveals as well the persona of the characters and the tone of each scene. Staged in the round, the play also gives audiences the experience of intimately witnessing the story unfold in their midst. One of Shakespeare’s problem plays, Hakbang sa Hakbang seeks a philosophy of morals beyond Puritanism and libertarianism.

Hakbang sa Hakbang opens on January 31, 2008 at the Fine Arts Exhibit Hall, 3rd Floor, Gonzaga Building, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Show dates are on January 31, February 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15 & 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm and February 2, 9 & 16, 2008 at 2:00 pm. This production is made possible by Intermatrix Document Solutions Inc.,, Heaven and Eggs, Cocorama, Seafood Island and Cello’s Doughnuts and Dips. For ticket inquiries and group bookings, please contact 09184733137 or 09188151218.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

See Sikil

Just saw Sikil (international title: Unspoken Passion), a gay-themed indie digital film shown at the IndieSine in Robinson’s Galleria. Now, a main peeve I have against most gay-themed films (especially dramas) is their penchant for killing off one (or two) of the main gay characters, usually one (or both) of the lovers. As in! What do they want to say, gay love is doomed? Only in comedies do they escape the Grim Reaper’s scythe, which I guess is why I stick to comedy.

But to my pleasant surprise, this movie directed by Roni Bertubin does not end with death. In fact it ends on an almost happily-ever-after. Almost.

clockwise: Wil Sandejas (top), Ken Escudero (bottom... and yes, this is also a hint as to what happens in the movie, but there’s a further surprise!), and Ashley Silverio

Enzo (played by my newest crush Ken Escudero, whose face I find distractingly cute) and Adong (Wil Sandejas, “er”-sexy but whose acting is distracting) are childhood friends. The former is secretly in love with the latter, who is more interested in another childhood friend, Melay (played by Ashley Silvero who shows of her considerable nipples in a wet t-shirt scene intended to—what for?!—placate the straight males in the audience... what straight male audience?!) Adong and Melay elope to Manila; Enzo follows. But in the city Enzo becomes a performer in sex videos and at gay joints (and apparently he is an in-demand performer—he can afford a decent townhouse unit).

One day he and Adong meet as performers in a sexy cowboy act (a tip of the ten-gallon hat to Brokeback Mountain); it seems that Adong, who is wily enough to know that his considerable manhood is his ticket to a better life, has become as a male dancer and boy-for-hire. Melay is long gone, having run back to her family in the province while leaving Adong with their love child. Enzo takes both father and daughter to his place, giving the director an excuse to go on an MTV-ish montage of the three playing “happy family” while cutting into close-ups of Enzo looking lovingly at Adong on the sly. He even kids his friend, “Don’t I get a kiss?” whenever Adong leaves for work. Cuteness ensues, and the predominantly gay audience swoons.

Is this a fairy (pun intended) tale for the pink audience? Hey, Hollywood churns them out by the hundreds; it’s nice to be able to get one for us once in a while. Besides, this isn’t a glossy fairy tale ala-Enchanted. The increasingly default setting of indie films (the grimy underside of the city) makes Sikil more down-to-earth; plus the not-so-neat plotting avoids a “happy-ever-after” ending. But for a change the movie ends on a high note. In furnezz.

There are some lapses in the script (in one Very Important Scene which was meant to be touching, the line uttered by Adong made me wanna scream out loud, “Whaddapakshet?!”), camera work (the jittery handheld was distracting in some scenes) and other technical aspects, but hey. At least this move managed to engage me enough without tripping off my What-the-fuck-were-they-thinking?! meter too often. Most movies of this milieu manage to make me snap out of it several times before the end credits roll. In Sikil I only rolled my eyes to the high heavens once.

Then again, just one look at Ken’s mournful gaze aimed at his “er”-riffic friend and I toss my critical cap off.

* * * * *

Sikil is showing at IndieSine, Robinsons Movieworld, from January 16 until January 22, 2008.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Line

I placed my arm over his chest and snuggled closer. He looked up at the ceiling and asked: “So do you have a boyfriend?”

Ah, the perennial question. “Nope,” my perennial answer.

He waited a beat, and then, “But I bet there’s lots of guys waiting in line, hehehe.”

Ugh. When I heard that I just knew, just knew what he was hinting at. I’m not being presumptuous. It is years of hearing that particular plaintive pitch in their voices, that neediness creeping in between their words, the unspoken question: “May I get in line too?”

I crushed down the first thought that entered my mind: Just you try. Nope, he’s not ugly. In fact he’s kinda cute if you’re into moreno men and if you squint really hard. Several times. His body is neither thin nor fat, with muscles half-toned the natural way instead of bench-pressed to perfection. This guy looks like he can’t carry stuff heavier than his body weight.

But really, it was that note of neediness in that one line that made me leery. If this had happened a couple of years ago, I’d be overwhelmed with an urgent need to toss him out with a curt, “I have to shower already.” But I’ve mellowed. I turned to him and sweetly asked, “Wanna shower already?”

“Later, please? Let’s just rest after all that…” and he let his voice trail off.

Okay fine, why not? I said to myself. I’m in no hurry anyway. And as I snuggled my head on his chest, I caught a sharp whiff of his deodorant mixed with sweet manly sweat as my right hand traced that sexy trail of hair creeping from his belly button all the way down to his crotch. Yeah, I really am in no hurry at all.

Hooray For Friends

I have a friend, let’s call her Yha. I first met her years ago when I was still working at a different ad agency. She’s a product of a Fil-Japanese father and a very Española mother (when I first met her mom, the first word that entered my mind was prayle), so you can imagine how pretty and sosyalera Yha was. But she was also one of the loudest and proudest fag hags I’ve ever met. Our office barkada was composed solely of fags and fag hags; zero straight guys.

One day a lawyer started courting Yha. I happened to know the lawyer. He was a schoolmate of mine, although we were never close when we were students. But because he was courting Yha, I got to know more about him. “Hey, I didn’t know he’s a cool guy,” I told myself, revising my opinion of him. We’d drag him to gimmicks, out-of-town trips, and the like.

Then one morning Yha told us that she and my schoolmate broke up for real after a fight. Sure they’ve fought before, but this time it was different: too many differences, too difficult a relationship to maintain.

It was only months later that Yha finally revealed to us the real reason for the break-up: in their last fight, BF accused her gay and fag-hag friends of being “bad influences” for her. That got her ire. “Ah ganoon, ha?!” she told him. So she chose us and broke up with him instead.

In similar stories usually it’s the lover who’s chosen over the friends. Hooray for Yha, hooray for true friends.

Nowadays I want nothing at all to do with Mr. Attorney. In reunions, I can easily not pay any attention to him.

* * * * *

Sis, you’re already Miss Universe; go and play the part. Be gracious and wave calmly at the losers left standing by the side.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bed Redux

I went to Bed last Saturday after several months of staying away (yes, I can do that if I want to). It was strangely familiar; or maybe I should say strange and familiar. There were new faces but some old ones as well. Yet despite the change in cast, the play remains the same—same script, same plot, same endings. The actors changed but the characters remain the same.

And although I didn’t do a marathon, it was great to lose myself in dance after a long time.

* * * * *

Somehow in the midst of all those lights flashing and the beat pumping, and with my eyes firmly aimed at the sexy torso of a go-go boy dancing provocatively at an elevated platform in front of me, a train of thought chugged through my mind, drowning out some diva’s caterwauling over thumping house beats:

Will I end up as one of those oldies that enter such bars and the young ones go, “Oh no, here’s another one from the Jurassic era. I wonder who this predator will pounce on tonight?” Hmmm. Maybe I ought to shoot myself before I get too old for those places, hahaha. But then why should old gay guys think that they’re “too old for those places”? The stereotype of “old gay guys preying on young gay guys” has a straight version: the Dirty Old Man. So it’s not really a gay phenomenon but a male phenomenon.

Damn. I ought to relearn to just dance and enjoy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Change Among Friends

I have this particular barkada: all the men are gay and all the women are fag hags. Most have known one another since college; some go even way back to grade school. When we celebrated the arrival of 2008 with a toast and wishes for the coming year, one of us, let’s call him A, mentioned that he was seriously considering exploring the fairer sex. He’s recently discovered a fascination for females that don’t involve dressing them up and doing a make-over; it was more carnal, he insisted. This elicited a round of “Yuck!” “Ewww!” and “Lesbianism is rampant! (What’s wrong with being rampant?)!” and lots of laughter and shrill shrieks.

Then A uttered a line that stuck to me for hours after. He said, “For the record, this is the only group who reacted with ‘Yuck’ to my news.”

Apparently A had told a different group as well as his colleagues in his office, and most were quite excited for him and accepting of his decision to try “playing for the other team”. The straight guys were especially happy for him.

What struck me was this: the friends who supposedly know A best and who know A the longest are also the ones who are most resistant to him undergoing a major change. Aren’t we supposed to support A? Aren’t we the ones who should be most understanding?

What I realized were two things: [1] The older your friends are, the more they have baggage about you, the harder it is for them to see you in a different light; [2] Change is harder to accept if there are no prior warnings, clues or hints leading to the change.

Of course towards the end of our toast we all told A we’d support him in whatever he plans to do. I guess the wine had gone to our heads by then.

* * * * *

Epilogue: just yesterday A told me he may be eating his words about going bisexual. I asked him why. He replied: “Mukha yatang malaking gulo at kasalanan yun kay Inang Kalikasan.”

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Smash You Like It

Before 2007 ended I accompanied Leigh and her family to Subic for a weekend get-away. It was also my chance to play the part of the good niñong to my godson Luc. We stayed at the Courtyard Inn. It’s actually a good choice of inn: strategically located in front of Gerry’s Grill, within walking distance from all the bars and restaurants along the Boardwalk, and just a block away from Freeport Duty Free. But what convinced Leigh to book us there was the come-on of free Wi-Fi in every room.

At the end of this corridor is a glass door that opens up to the parking lot at the side of the inn; my room is to the left, to the left. Perfect, I thought. Until I tried to open the door and found it permanently locked. Then I saw the sign:


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Love And Death

I blame Hollywood movies for two things: love stories and death scenes.

Growing up I believed in Hollywood love stories. Most of them run at a convenient two hours long, with a tried-and-tested formula: boy meets girl, boy loses girl usually through a misunderstanding initiated by the villain, boy clears things up with girl, boy gets back girl. Often they end with boy and girl in a tight embrace with lips locked, as the music score swells in time with the fade-to-black. Or fade-to-“The End”. And then come the end credits. To be fair, Hollywood just borrowed that from the original source: “And they lived happily ever after, the end.”

Ah Love, true love! It’s funny how some fairy tales and romance movies have the nerve to call themselves “a tale of true love”.

Of course now I know better. True love doesn’t fall neatly into the boy-blank-girl template; heck, true love may not even include a girl in the picture. True love can be very messy. True love is hard work. True love is not all romance and roses. And true love never ends in a fade out with music swelling in a triumphant crescendo. Sometimes true love ends in an abrupt cut; and then one realizes that one wasn’t watching true love all along, but just a dramatization, a fictionalized presentation, a pleasant distraction.

And then there are the death scenes. In Hollywood movies when a lead character dies, he usually has time to deliver a long monologue declaring his love for whoever’s arms are cradling him as he lays dying. And in turn the people around him reiterate their love for him—just in time before he slumps dead. For the longest time I thought, wow, a person’s dying scene is such a powerful tool. It forces people to declare their love for the near dead. It can even force the kontrabidas in the bida’s life to have a change of heart and bury the hatchet (whereas just a few scenes earlier they were dead-set in burying the hatchet—on the bida’s head).

Ah Death, such power you wield! No wonder that, at an age when I was very insecure and wondered if anyone really loved me, I went through a phase (sometime around grade six all the way through high school) wherein I’d imagine my own death scene. The cause of death should be slow-acting; instantaneous death will deprive me of a final monologue. So no death-via-bazooka-aimed-point-blank-to-the-head. Usually I get fatally shot or stabbed while doing a heroic act, like blocking the bullet from hitting someone. A heroic act is necessary because it makes my death a noble one and gives people an excuse to declare their feelings. So for me, death was the ultimate love-detector test.

Of course now I know better. When a taxi plowed through my best friend in front of Sto. Domingo Church, none of his friends were beside him when he died a few minutes later at a nearby hospital. When my younger brother had a cardiac arrest at four years old, he died at the hospital; at the time of his death I heard a knocking at my bedroom door similar to how he knocks, but when I opened the door there was no one there. When my dad died he was sitting peacefully at the living room couch; we had to carry him to the car and bring him to the hospital to confirm that indeed he was dead. No dying monologue, no declarations of love.

Ah Hollywood, such power you once wielded over me. But now I know better.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The First Fabcast For 2008, Part 3

This is the third and last part of the podcast. These are personal opinions of a group of guys who can agree to disagree and yet remain friends. Not everyone sees things in the same way; thus we enjoy hearing other people’s views and discuss, sometimes heatedly but often with much humor.

Click below and enjoy!

The First Fabcast for 2008, Part 2

And now here’s part two of the First Fabcast for 2008. More laughter, more advice and more music thanks to Gibbs’ two wonderful CDs that he gave to us as Christmas gifts: “Soundscapes” and “Friends and Lovers”.

Click below and enjoy!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The First Fabcast For 2008, Part 1

Last Friday we recorded the Fabcasters’ first podcast for 2008. And with us was a very special guest who opened up to us—or should I say we pried it from him?—about his soon-to-be long distance relationship.

Jokes are tossed around, worries are expressed and strong beliefs are revealed. Click and enjoy part 1 below!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Let’s Play A Game

Who here remembers Manhole?

I know what you’re thinking, you floozy. But let’s take your mind off the gutter first and talk about a game that took its inspiration from the gutter.

From Wikipedia: “Manhole is a game first appeared in the Game & Watch Gold series in 1981, in which the player must close the manholes before the pedestrians fall through into the sewers.”

I remember this was the very first Nintendo we ever bought. I got so into it. The number of pedestrians and the speed in which they moved varied throughout the game, but normally the faster the speed the more pedestrians came in. Early on I figured out that the trick was to focus your eyes on the peripheral action: one must know which of the four sides a pedestrian first appears onscreen; then one should remember in sequence the other pedestrians that follow.

I wanted to always have the highest score among us siblings. Three misses and it’s “Game Over”; the highest possible score was 999. Whenever I see my high score topped by someone else, I wouldn’t stop playing until I wiped the previous high score off.

One summer I was so bored I decided to just play it for fun—no pressure, no particular goal. For the first time I broke the 900 points mark. That got me excited. But since I got that far without even intending to reach it, I screamed to myself, “Waaaaaait! Don’t get too excited! Just relax, take it easy, and just play. Just play, dammit, just play!” I roughly pushed away all “You’re not gonna make it!” and “Can you really hit the all-time highest score of 999?!” thoughts away and just concentrated on my peripheral vision. I remember somewhere in the 950+ I already had two misses; one more left. “Evil thoughts and distractions, AWAY!” I said one last time. And. I. Just. Played.

975… my god, the pedestrians are coming in fast and furious… 980… they f*ckin’ won’t let up…! 987… lord, don’t… 990… don’t… 995… 998… 999! Oh good lord.



What happened next? The score went back to 001. There was one very slow pedestrian, seemingly limping his way from left screen to right screen.

I continued playing.

When I hit the 900+ mark I said to myself, “What if…?” And when I hit 999 again I said, “Wow. Second time in a row.” I played until I got to a score of 15 or so. Then I deliberately put the game down and didn’t pick it up again. Ever.

That was the first and last video game I enjoyed playing. Prophetic choice of game, really. Cuz when I’m in the bathhouse, I put my peripheral vision to full use and I know the right buttons to push and I know which manholes I can—oh, let’s get our minds off the gutter again, shall we? (Just for now, at least.)

Thursday, January 03, 2008


One of my resolutions for 2008: more audio & video posts. And to start, here’s the one-minute-and-forty-seven-second long version of the “This Sh*t Is Bananas!” bentahan with friends at The Farm.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting “Hollabakla (The Bentahan Mix)” by Gwen Stefani feat The Stefunnies!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Pawn Da Replay

Going to Subic one cannot miss this little town called Lubao in Pampanga. It forces you to pay attention to it because of the traffic; the narrow national highway becomes even narrower thanks to the very busy town center. Huge buses stop to let off their passengers, their sheer size blocking off half of the street. Delivery trucks, backing in and out of factories and stores on the side of the road, block the whole street causing pile-ups that stretch all the way to the next town. And worst of all are the tricycles; they all seem to have a top speed that’s just fast enough to overtake a pregnant woman walking. In heels. Who’s just about to give birth.

But I suspect the residents of Lubao recognize this, and as a concession to the travelers who would like nothing better than to bulldoze their town off the map, they decided to make the crawling through their place rather entertaining. How? Apparently, Lubao is the cosmic pawnshop center of the universe. (Phillip, whose family is into the pawnshop business, immediately noticed that when we went to Subic last year.) Passersby will be amazed and amused to discover that almost every other establishment at the busy town center is a pawnshop. One can just imagine the cutthroat competition amongst these pawnshops. So much so that they’ve started offering something extra for doing business with them: Libreng sabon sa bawat sangla mo! (Free soap every time you pawn something!) said one banner; Libreng noodles sa bawat sangla mo! (Free noodles every time you pawn something!) claimed another. Pretty someone will come up with pasa load as their promo offering. I wonder what other offerings will they come up with: eggs? Bags of lahar? Copies of Mark Lapid’s “Saging lang ang may puso!” movie?

Speaking of which, there is a dance mix of “Saging lang ang may puso” and it’s out now!

Check out the music video:

Now that shit is bananas!

Season Seven: The Season Of Freedom and Choice

Welcome a brand new year! And with it, a brand new season: The McVie Show, now on season seven. A season doesn’t last a year, folks. It only takes me months before I get bored with the layout, get antsy and change things. Notice though how the changes between season six and seven aren’t too drastic: a shift from right to left, a new banner, additional intro. For some the changes are subtle; others will consider them inconsequential. What matters is that I see something new.

The start of 2008 is The Season Of Freedom and Choice. Will this be my underlying theme for the rest of the year? Maybe I’ll change mid-year—change theme, change season. Who knows? After all, the only thing constant is change.

And so to start the year, let me leave you with an early Oasis song:

I’m free to be whatever I,
Whatever I choose
And I’ll sing the blues if I want.
I’m free to say whatever I,
Whatever I like
If it’s wrong or right it’s alright.

Always seems to me
You only see what people want you to see.
How long’s it gonna be
Before we get on the bus
And cause no fuss?
Get a grip on yourself,
It don’t cost much.

Free to be whatever you,
Whatever you say
If it comes my way it’s alright.
You’re free to be wherever you,
Wherever you please
You can shoot the breeze if you want.

Here in my mind
You know you might find
Something that you,
You thought you once knew.
But now it’s all gone
And you know it’s no fun…
Yeah, I know it’s no fun…
Oh, I know it’s no fun.

Whatever you do,
Whatever you say,
Yeah I know it’s alright.

– “Whatever”, Oasis