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, October 29, 2008

Stupid Cupid

Once upon a time there was a boy named McVie who grew up thinking that love was what he saw on television and in the movies. But then early on he fell for straight guys who couldn’t love him back the way he wanted them to, and so he got tired. Then he fell for guys who could love him back, except that they didn’t or weren’t interested or were already with someone else, and so he got even more tired. One day he decided that falling was tiring, so he kept himself above it all. He chose to fuck others up before the others could fuck his heart up. Every hook-up ended in a get-up-and-go, and being a third party was no problem for him so long as there was an escape clause (and he often invoked it by the third meeting). He hardened his heart so that no amount of falling will ever hurt him again.

And then McVie met him. He was funny and articulate, and his eyes sparkled every time he looked straight into McVie’s eyes as they talked. And despite everything, McVie thought: I could fall for him. And he did.

One day McVie entered his car, deep in thought; he had been debating with himself practically the whole day whether to tell the guy or not that he was interested in him. He was so preoccupied that only after he slammed his door shut did he realized that there was someone seated on the passenger’s side of the car. McVie squealed in surprise. It was a child. Or rather he looked like a one year-old wearing diapers. Except the child sprouted a pair of wings and a silly looking bow on his right hand.

“Hello McVie,” the child spoke, and McVie squealed again. The child’s voice was that of a grown man. “Sorry to startle you,” he continued. “I’m Cupid, and you’re my heir.”

Right there and then McVie found out that while he was not the son of this strange being sitting beside him in the car, he was the chosen one to replace Cupid once his time was up. “Each Cupid can only stay on the job for about a century. After that we have to pass on our duties—and our bow, our arrows and this almost-revealing diaper—to the next chosen one. How were you chosen? Simple. You’re the only one who remained unaffected even when hit by my arrows.”

McVie was flabbergasted. “But what about…?”

“This new guy you’re interested in?” Cupid butted in. “That happened without my help. Again, proof that I found my rightful heir.”

“Wha—?!” For the third time McVie squealed, and this time Cupid cupped his ears and winced. “Hey, can you tone down on the squealing?” he said. “It’s not becoming of a future Cupid.”

Too much info, too much info, kept running in McVie’s mind. He closed his eyes and gripped the steering wheel to keep himself steady.

“Oh don’t worry about it,” Cupid reached over and patted him on the shoulder. “There are perks to the job, you know. For one thing, you’ll live for centuries. Instead of growing older, you’ll look younger and younger every decade. Eventually you’ll always have baby-smooth skin.” McVie’s eyes widened, and Cupid laughed out loud. “C’mon, it’ll be easy, I promise,” he continued. “You’ll just get your instructions from me as to whom and where. You go there, you take aim, you shoot; nothing to it. And you don’t need to practice shooting. Those arrows fly straight and true to the target. You’ll never miss.”

As if that will make things better, McVie thought.

But then Cupid leaned forward and whispered. “Oh and one more thing,” he said, and suddenly there was an edge to his voice. “Don’t you dare think for even one nano-second to use those arrows to make your crushy-wushy fall for you. Because if you do…” and as Cupid’s voice trailed off, it was replaced by another sound.

McVie heard it first before he felt it. Suddenly the car started shaking and the lights in the basement parking blinked on and off. Car alarms went off as the earthquake crested, then slowly subsided.

To McVie’s credit, he resisted the urge to squeal.

“Very good!” Cupid patted his shoulder one last time. “Okay, I’m off! It’s about time I started enjoying this planet. I’m thinking Madagascar…” and he placed the bow and a quiver of arrows on McVie’s lap. Then he looked at McVie straight in the eye. “Don’t worry kid, this is your destiny.”

McVie blinked. Cupid was gone.

On the passenger seat was a gaudy Valentine’s card. McVie picked it up and opened it. It had two names plus the time and place. McVie blinked again. He had only an hour to get to the place.

This is your destiny. Cupid’s voice rang in McVie’s head again, but this time it sounded suspiciously like Darth Vader’s. “Looooook, I am your father,” McVie whispered to himself. Absent-mindedly he turned the key in the ignition, and the engine—and a Beatles song—roared to life; apparently, he hadn’t switched the radio off. Eleanor Rigby was playing full blast: “Aaaah, look at all the lonely people!”

McVie sighed and put the gear on first. But then a look crossed his face. “Oh really, eh?” he muttered out loud. Then he smiled.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Star-tling Mall

Who has been to StarMall Alabang, aka Metropolis Mall? For years we’d pass by it on our way to Tagaytay or Laguna but we never bothered to stop by there. I’ve always wondered what the inside of that mall looked like. I’ve also heard the ghost stories; they whisper of movie houses jam-packed with audience, but the ticket sales only show less than half of the capacity sold. You see, there used to be a cemetery where the mall is standing right now. I always wondered what happened to it.

Yesterday I got to visit the mall for the first time ever.

The moment I saw the winding driveway leading to the parking area, I knew this was a mall that had seen better times. The formerly white walls were dirty with soot and grime, and despite the fact that the parking area faces the outside, the atmosphere there was dark and dreary. Some mall entrances welcome you with open arms; here, the side entrances looked uninviting.

Inside I saw lots of space. The mall looked busy enough, with a noticeable size of foot traffic. I didn’t see the usual shops one sees inside an SM or an Ayala mall; maybe they were situated nearer to the front entrance, I supposed.

My two other officemates and I (we were there for work) went up to the 4th level, where we were greeted with a surprise. Actually it was the warm, sticky heat of the afternoon that greeted us. What, no aircon? Then we saw a full-sized, covered basketball court; I guess to save on electricity, the management decided that the sports area would be air-cooled. Also in the sports area were a gym, a billiard hall, and—whoa, this was the punchline—a boxing ring. So what if SM’s Mall of Asia has the biggest indoor ice skating rink—who cares about ice-skating, anyway? In the Philippines the three most popular sport are the three Bs: basketball, boxing and billiards. Bingo!

We attended our meeting. Afterwards I found the nerve to ask our host if she knew what happened to the cemetery. She was silent for a few seconds before blurting out embarrassed, “Now, how do I answer that question?” She eventually insisted that she doesn’t know what happened, but I don’t believe her.

Before we left StarMall, my female officemate decided to go to the toilet. Before she entered the ladies comfort room I warned her, “Check first if the woman standing beside you in front of the vanity area is actually alive.” She yelped and smacked my shoulder.

As we piled into my car, my art director looked around one last time and said, “You know, even if you didn’t tell me that there was a cemetery here on this lot before, I’d still feel there’s something off with this mall. The atmosphere here is sad, dark…” and here he groped for words, “…hindi maaliwalas.”

“Well,” I said, “SM only has a Mall of Asia. This one’s StarMall of Asia… and the Beyond.”

As we were pulling out of the parking lot, I thought I saw a man sanding in the shadows inside one of the abandoned stall spaces of the mall. He looked like he was staring at me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Watch, Hurry!

New trailer alert!

So why does it say "this year" at the end when press releases are saying it's opening on 2009?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Special Delivery

The DHL guy assigned to our area is kinda cute, in an –er way. I want to send a lot of hugs, kisses and more.

A Pleasant Surprise

Brian Eno is fast becoming my favorite Producer For The Moment. I recently discovered Surprise, his 2006 collaboration with the great Paul Simon (another one of my singer-songwriter heroes), and dang it, just like Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, his collaboration with David Byrne, I’m impressed. And pleasantly surprised: these days it’s becoming rare for me to discover an album that I can play from beginning to end without tuning out or skipping tracks.

Simon is know for his forays into different musical territories, and after he tackled world music it didn’t seem out of character for him to turn his restless attention to the electronic/sound textures of Eno. But it’s not as if Paul Simon was Eno-nized, nor the other way around. Simon’s songwriting is still very much his own, and the melodies he creates are still very much what you expect from him (though this time he’s shifted back to crafty pop). But filter this through Eno’s soundscapes and sensibilities, and you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a magical common ground.

In an interview, Simon says that theirs wasn’t an unlikely collaboration: “We had a lot in common. One of the things that we’re both interested in is attention span. At what point have you heard enough repetition in a song that you’re no longer enjoying it? Because Brian thinks about space and length, he had the same intuition about theme and variation.”

And it’s no surprise that the 11 songs on this album, all but one clocking in between 3 to 4 minutes, are mini-musical journeys that take you through surprising twists and turns. The shifts are subtle and sly, yet they manage to—here’s that word again—surprise. What an aptly titled album.

Simon’s lyrics are often obtuse meanderings, but written and sung with clarity and simplicity; that artistic tension is what makes his songs deserve several listening. Eno manages to wrap this all up with sounds that take unexpected shifts and tones that delight and keep your ears on their toes.

Surprise is an album I’ll be listening to again and again for the next few days.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tweet For Tat

I had this straight friend from school. He and I lost touch after we graduated. Recently he found me on Twitter and started following my Tweets.

For those of you who are ignorant of Twitter, one does not need to be invited to be able to follow someone’s Tweets (meaning, he gets to read each and every Tweet message you post online). Once someone decides to follow you, you get an email notification that so-and-so is following you on Twitter.

When I received the notification that he was following me, I didn’t bother to return the favor. Until he messaged me that he was “felt bad” that I wasn’t following his Tweets. Of course, he was just kidding about being hurt—the usual lambingan of friends. Hmmm-kay, so I followed him.

Until recently, when I posted some sexually specific Tweets online. After that he Tweeted me directly, saying that he was getting too much information, and that he will “unfollow” me. At first I was fine with that. But then after that he sent a general Tweet announcing his “unfollowing” me and why. To be fair he didn’t identify who he was “unfollowing”.

That got me miffed. First of all, I didn’t point a gun to his head and demanded, “Read my Tweets, you twat!” Second, friends take you for who you are, the good and the bad, the similarities and the differences. The intervening years really drove us further apart, and I guess he just needed to know that I enjoy blow jobs in the morning for him to realize we’ve grown way, way apart.

But I suspected that all along, which was why I never bothered to follow him in the first place. I knew that his Tweets about his boringly straight, domestic problems and his geeky concerns were irrelevant to me. Whenever I read them, I just mentally filed them under “Background Info”.

But that was that.

And so without fanfare I “unfollowed” him in Twitter and deleted him in my other social network sites. Let’s call a spade a spade; once we were interested in each other’s lives. But we’ve moved on.

And that is that.

Random Photos

“Leigh & Joel” – she’s a little bit Light, I’m a little bit Zero. (Yeah I know, unflattering. So what.) Before it was difficult to figure out whose soda can was on the table. But ever since I switched to Zero, there was no more fear of interchanging soda cans.

Okay, so who approved the headline here? I never thought Lucky Me! endorses cannibalism. Say hello to instant Mommy noodles. Or this will give new meaning to the word papa-kainin. No wonder they called it the “Famealy Day”.

Finding “Out”

For the past few days I was a little out-of-sorts, thanks to several stressful and disappointing moments at work. That is, until I found out a little secret recently.

I’ve known this guy ever since he was still a student. I was asked by others a couple of times if he was gay, but I always answered truthfully, “I don’t know.” After all, at that age it’s not unusual for a person to still be confused. But then I confirmed that he is; not just confirmed, but confeeeermed. How? His partner confeeeermed it.

And honestly, I am so happy for him. I’ve always had this impression of him as an “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” kind of guy (or should that be “always the best man, never the groom”?), so to know that he’s had a boyfriend for more than a year just tickles me to no end.

Gay news is happy news.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Now here is something you don’t see often. The following TV commercial was made back in 2001 for the 17th AdCongress in Cebu. At that time I was not working in an ad agency, so I never knew about it until I stumbled upon it on YouTube recently. Watch it first before reading further:

My first reaction was, “Ay shet, commercial lang ito—ang cute ng guys!” Then I thought, “Hey, at least the gay context was shown in a matter-of-fact manner.” Too bad that the commercial was made by advertisers for advertisers, so it’s not surprising that only a few of the mainstream audience saw it on air. Then again, with many gay folks in the industry, it’s not surprising that this kind of work will get approved. After all, it’s all about which market you are talking to.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Impeach, Sabay Golly Wow!

And so for the fourth time in her presidency, PGMA is facing yet another impeachment complaint. I guess presidencies have recurring themes: for Ferdinand Marcos it’s cronies, abuse and Imelda’s shoes; for Cory Aquino it’s coup d’etat attempts and blackouts; for Ramos it’s the continuation of blackouts (and their eventual end) and whisperings of Baby Arenas; and for Joseph Estrada it’s gambling, drinking and other lord-like activities.

For the incumbent, impeachment has become a tired (but others will insist, necessary) theme of her presidency. A leading newspaper already stated this early that folks on both sides of the political fence are expecting this latest effort to go the way of the three previous complaints. That doesn’t bode well for this latest one. And after its failure, there will be another failed attempt to grab power by force, perhaps using another upscale hotel or condotel as the venue. I pity the poor front desk manager who will star in the episode here in The McVie Show.

Hay, bilog ang mundo ng Philippine politics. Can we stop and get off?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Trailer Alert (Again)

There is something tragic and romantic with this tale of unconventional love. Not only are they quite young, but they also have differences in their, uhm, lust for life.

This is one movie I would love—and dread—to watch.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Straight And Confused

An online friend, let’s call him Crab Megan, asked me over IM: “What situation is easier to get out of—falling for a straight guy, or falling for a guy who’s confused?”

I didn’t take long to IM him back. As far as I’m concerned getting over a straight guy is a whole lot simpler, faster and easier. First of all, I’ve done that so many times that, for me, to use the immortal words of Mayor Ate Vi, I’ve “been there, been that.” Besides, you know clearly where he stands; he’s straight, and he’s not going to go for dick. That certainty certainly helps in getting over him. Why knock your head against a brick wall?

But with a confused guy, there’s always the “what ifs” and “could have beens” to deal with. What if he really is gay, but just can’t admit it to himself? Could you wait long enough for him to come to terms with himself? What if he ends up acknowledging he’s gay, but falls for another guy? The uncertainty makes it very difficult to figure out where you stand.

Of course, there will be people who would like the challenge. And there will be people who would say, fuck it, I’m going to take a chance even though it’s one-in-a-million. I say, best of luck to them. Maybe they are strong of heart and full of hope.

Life is complicated as it is. It depends on you whether you want to keep things simple or embrace and accept the complexity. Or do either one, depending on the situation and the person. Hey, didn’t I say life is complicated?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here Come The Girls!

Love the new Sugababes song, “Girls”. Perfect rampa song for a gay beau-con, hahaha!

I’m kinda disappointed that the music video is a straightforward dance video (the dance moves are slick and fun to watch though). They could have come up with something more creative than this.

Not Quite A Regal Film

Now here’s an interesting movie that they should show in Robinson’s Cinemas.

I Have A Froblem

I recently received a message in my G4M account, from ****25: pre I like u

Curious, I looked at his profile. His one and only picture showed a young guy, kinda cute. Says he’s single, lives in Manila and is sexually adventurous. Hmmm-kay. Then I read his profile message: simple understanding sweet prank

What a joke.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Parental Guidance

Since we were on the topic of sex, I turned to Leigh and casually mentioned, “I wonder if your sister has had sex already—I mean, I doubt if she’s still a virgin.”

It’s to the credit of either the chef at F Word that their beef tapa salad was irresistibly delicious, or Leigh’s unflappable sensibilities—and a sturdy stomach—that she didn’t choke on her food after I said that.

She turned to me and replied, “Er, I have no idea.” Then she laughed and shoveled more beef tips, onions, tomato and mango into her mouth.

“But haven’t you asked her?” I asked. Leigh’s older sister is an ob-gyne, so I assumed that a person who’s so intimate with sex organs and the consequences of sex would be very nonchalant and matter-of-factly bored with the subject.

Leigh shot me a look of exasperation. “No I don’t!” she said. “If she brings it up, maybe I’ll talk to her about it. But you know….”

“Why don’t you?” I probed further. “Wouldn’t you want to know? Aren’t you a bit curious?”

Leigh adapted a tone that I suspect she uses only for children and slow-witted clients. “Well you see, one usually does not think of one’s family in a sexual way. It’s just weird.”

“Well I have,” I said. “Especially the married ones with kids. I’m pretty sure they’ve done the deed. And even with my parents, ha! I mean, we’re seven kids, for cryin’ out loud!”

I think that’s when Leigh stopped eating.

* * * * *

The first time I realized that my parents were sexual creatures was when I was still a student. I really don’t remember exactly when—that’s how much I wanted to block the incident out of my memory. But I couldn’t completely delete it, so while I don’t remember what age I was, I do know that: [1] I was old enough to know about the birds and the bees; [2] our youngest sister was still young enough to be allowed to sleep in my parents’ bed at night (which she often does when she’s afraid of the dark).

Anyway, it was one weekend morning. My two sisters, both younger than me, and I were in our backyard. Out of the blue the younger of the two said, “I think Mommy and Daddy were fighting last night.”

When we asked why, she said, “Because Daddy was pinning Mommy down under him.”

I remember how it took a few milliseconds for the thought to register in my brain. I remember a vivid visual pop into my head, and my mind immediately swiping that visual away, as if an internal anti-virus alert had switched on. I also remember how quiet the older of the sisters was, as though she too knew the implication of what her younger sibling said. And I remember brushing aside my sister’s worries, saying something along the lines of, “Really? Well, maybe not. They looked okay this morning. They didn’t look like they were fighting.” Then I quickly invited them to climb our duhat tree to change the topic.

It took me weeks to embrace the idea that what my sister saw was what I thought she saw. There was no other explanation. And when I confronted the idea head-on, I realized that I could summon at will the initial vision I had when I first heard the news. What’s more, as the years progressed I could actually prolong playing the visual in my head.

I’ve seen my dad in shorts sans shirt, so it was easy for me to extrapolate a visual. Out of respect, humility and a fear of not wanting to be turned on by my own father, I never bothered to fully imagine my dad’s endowment. I mean, I had mentally assigned to him something of an average length, width, and shape, but I never really needed to concretely “see” his willy; my visuals had no private parts exposed.

With my mom it was a little more difficult. I’ve never seen her without clothes; she never dresses up in front of us boys. At best I’ve seen her as she’s quickly slipping on a pambahay t-shirt; her back was always turned to everyone else, so I could only see her back, with a bra and shorts on. Besides, the female anatomy never fascinated me, ever.

So my parental coital visual was always a more vivid Dad and a blurry Mom. Besides, she’s pinned down under him, so that gave me a convenient excuse not to imagine further.

Thanks to my early practice with my parents, I learned how to do that to my other siblings, especially once they got married. There was nothing sexual about my imagining them; it was more of an “I wonder how they…?” curiosity. And my visuals were always of the PG-kind, all tastefully shot and blocked.

(I suspect my younger sister was traumatized by the experience. Still, that never stopped her from having pre-marital sex with her [then] boyfriend and getting pregnant. [She had a miscarriage; that blew her secret wide open. My parents insisted they get married as soon as she was well enough.] Perhaps that’s why she ended up the most problematic of us kids. That may be silly pop psychology, but I’ll take that explanation for now.)

Leigh’s Short Film

Making it was, literally, a walk in the park.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Back At SM City Marikina

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

I spoke too soon.

Hey Penshoppe people! This is how not to light your window display poster.

The title is just wrong.

Ang ganda pa rin ng lola mo, ha.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Emancipation Of McVie

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… you give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

– Neil Gaiman

* * * * *

I hate it. I stumbled upon this quote from one of my most favorite authors of all time, and it just… argh. Thank god I’ve moved on. Had I read this a few months ago, I’d have flipped. Well, you wouldn’t have seen me flip; I wouldn’t have let you. But my friends would know. And that’s why I refused to be your friend. I refused to be close to you, at least for now. I refused to be your hostage anymore.

I set myself free of you, and that’s that.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

McVie’s Most Favorite Episodes (Part 2)

When I came out with “Presenting TransGenders: More Than Meets The Eyeliner” episode last year, I thought it was just one of my throwaway episodes, a trivial tribute to the kick-ass Michael Bay Transformers movie. Viewing it again I only realize now how meta-referential I was with this one. And to think when I started writing it, I wasn’t trying to be funny; I was just looking for words that had the syllable “bot” in them.

This episode first came out 04 July 2007.

(You can view the original episode, with commentary, here.)

* * * * *

Presenting TransGenders: More Than Meets The Eyeliner

The KemBots, a new breed of sentient machines tasked with just one mission: to propagate beauty and sass throughout the universe!

The KuluBots, their mortal enemy, who are out to spread stress, worry and wrinkles to all sentient creatures who need at least SPF-15 level of protection.

The BeBots, a friendly ally to the KemBots, these sentient machines are also know as “fag hags.”

The Bi-Bots, a group of sentient machines that have their wires crossed somewhat; they swing from KemBot to KuluBot depending on the situation. In other words, palyado.

The CallBots, a breed of machines designed to entice the KemBots to ride them—for a fee. They are led by MegaDaks, a ten-wheeler notorious for filling up the whole length of Dakota-Harrison streets with the length of his, uhm, exhaust pipe. (After you go through his pipe—or his pipe goes through you—you’ll understand why it’s “exhausting.”)

The Vi-and-Bots, old-timer machines who remember the time when transistors were used, tubes powered television sets, and Vilma Santos and Edgar Mortiz were a love-team instead of a governor with a lot of beef and an executive producer of Goin’ Bulilit.

The Motocross Dressers, a specialized form of two-wheeled machines that transform into big sexy robots with huge hooters and a penchant for lip-synching. Currently they have the soundtrack of “Dreamgirls” on heavy rotation in their CD/MP3 players.

The Emoticons, they’re not really machines. They’re small pieces “of specialized ASCII art (usually two to five characters, always on a single line) used in text messages as informal markup to indicate emotions and attitudes that would be conveyed by body language in face-to-face communications. They are intended to be relatively simple to type, easy to recognize, and most commonly represent stylized facial expressions.” (from Wikipedia)

The Revicons, they’re multi-vitamins. (Product placement! Just like in the movie!)

* * * * *

Is it obvious I’m too busy these days?