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)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Whozits And Whatzits Galore

When Disney’s The Little Mermaid first came out, I thought it was one of the gayest Disney animation movies to ever come out. (Of course I eventually realized that most of their animated movies were sooo gay.) Watching Han Christian Andersen’s Disney-fied tale, one is struck at how girls (and gay guys) can easily identify with Princess Ariel. But an obviously gay character was Ursula—she was just 8 tentacles away from being an underwater drag queen.

Her definitive song number is Poor Unfortunate Souls, and for me, her winning moment comes when she sings:

“And don’t forget…”

“…the importance of…”

“…body language! Hah!”

However, nothing beats Ariel’s moment in Part Of Your World (Reprise), where she sings, full of hope, atop a rock. And at that precise moment when she hits crescendo with:

“Part of your…”


The waves crash behind her and the wind dramatically billows her hair as she lifts her upper body up in time with the last high note. Hanep sa ending, yan ang dramatic! Until now, that image is still one of my most memorable in the Disney animation canon.

What’s your favorite Disney animation moment?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Tell It Like It Is

An excerpt from a chat I had with, let’s call him Champaca, an MGGFF-er, over FB:

Champaca: I hope l’ll find true love.

McVie: Ah well….

Champaca: Hehehe…  I want to be commited naman.

McVie: I think one does not look for true love. One just loves truly.

There was a bit of pause here. Maybe Champaca was busy chatting with the others in the MGGFF chat box.

Champaca: And love is not to search on to (sic)… it will come in due time. And God will bring me there.

I hesitated. I thought of quipping about God being a divine matchmaker, but changed my mind.

McVie: Actually love IS all around you.

At this point, I wanted to sing, “Na-feel mo na bang ma-finger? Na-feel mo na bang ma-tow?” but I knew that joke on Wet Wet Wet’s hit song will never translate well on chat.

Champaca: Maarte lang ako.

McVie: One just needs to learn how to recognize and appreciate love.

Champaca: I’m a perfectionist.

(Hay naku. Patay kang bata ka.)

McVie: There is nothing perfect in this world, including love. So as a perfectionist, you are bound to always be disappointed. And you will never find that perfect love. So... I guess you need to either relax and lighten up, or be prepared to be single all your life!

There was no reply for quite a long time. And just like that…

Champaca is offline.


Two things: Tron and Daft Punk! I am sooo stoked for this one.

I remember watching the original one on—wait for it!—Betamax! (Now you can breathe.) The special visual effects were so primitive that it was like watching first-generation Atari. Today they can do anything visually, including make Jeff Bridges look 30 years younger.

The first movie looked amazing for a teen like me, but the plot was so thin, no model would want to stand next to it. Now this 2.0 version looks and sounds stunning, but I’m ready to put my brain down on the chair beside me when I watch this. Hey, it’s just eye-and ear-candy; anything beyond that will be a pleasant surprise.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Taste Of Things To Come

My fearless forecast? This is going to be the next big indie.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Video Of The Week

This one really held my attention from beginning to end.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trip Lang

Londonboy and Tony accompanied me when I brought D to his hometown in Bataan for the semester break. It was, to borrow Tony’s tweet, a road trip, food trip and laugh trip.

* * * * *

From Makati, we drove straight to Bataan. We had a bit of discussion as to how D will introduce us to his family (he’s not out to them). We agreed on “church-mates” as our cover story. At the backseat Tony was practicing how to say, “God bless, po” while Londonboy declared he could pull off “straight-acting” if he limited his speaking to the bare minimum, like, “Yes,” “opo,” and “Good evening po.”

When we got to D’s place, we helped him unload his stuff from my car. We could hear him tell his dad and sisters, “They’re church-mates.” After unloading, his dad went to buy soda for us. When D served us the soda, all three of us had the same reaction: “Hu-whaaat?! Regular Coke?!” Later on we three confirmed that the first thing that entered our minds when we saw Dad walk in with the Coke Litro was, “Eeep, sugar!”

We bid a hasty yet respectful exit after downing one glass each. Our excuse? We wanted to reach Subic by dinner.

* * * * *

Dinner in Subic was at Texas Joe, a barbeque place along the Boardwalk strip. Great spare ribs and beef brisket we ordered.

Over dinner we were talking about whether we were successful in pulling off our straight “church-mates” act. Tony and Londonboy insisted that D and I were obvious because we acted so familiar with one another. “What?!” I was incredulous. “I didn’t make any physical contact with D the whole time!”

“But remember when you were looking at the family pictures in the sala?” Tony pointed out. “You asked D if he had any pictures there. No straight guy would ask another guy for his pictures!”

“Especially baby pictures,” Londonboy chimed in.

I wanted to drop my fork. “Eeep! Oo nga noh.”

Then D texted: My dad said Londonboy is gay. Ang hinhin daw kumilos… bwhahahaha!


Tony said, “Tanungin mo si D kung tinanong ba ng dad niya kung mambababae tayo sa Subic?” I texted Tony’s query.

D replied: Sabi nga mga bakla ata kayo… wah… my gaydar tatay ko…!

Double toink!

* * * * *

Then we went to Angeles, Pampanga to witness the nightlife. Tony brought us to the Coffee Academy, where majority of the baristas and the waiters were eye candy. (Local eye candy, yes, but still eye candy!) And a cup of coffee that fetches for a hundred-plus pesos in Starbucks only costs 65 pesos there.

We then moved on to Zulu, a garden café/bar that had a breezy, relaxed ambiance, very affordable pints of frozen margarita mango and pizza with ultra-thin yet crunchy crust, it’s almost like a cracker. Yummy! We ordered the Lucban longganiza pizza, which had generous servings of that delicious sausage plus salted egg and lots of cheese. The whole time we were ogling at two of the waiters. One was a short guy with a very cute boy-next-door face (Tony said he was in a television commercial before) while the other one was a bulky hunk who, while past his prime, still had a hunky-daddy aura to him.

We stayed until past midnight, drinking despite the liquor ban. I liked the vibe of the whole place. It’s beki-friendly despite the mixed crowd.

* * * * *

And the prettiest quotable quote came from Londonboy that night: “Kaya siguro ako mahilig sa natural na guwapo, kasi pagising sa umaga eh mga guwapo pa rin sila.”

Triple toink!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Me McLikey!

(From Ads Of The World here.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Song To (Subtly) Slash Your Wrists By

Songs about love that are too obvious in their “I’m hurting!” message are a dime a dozen and are screeched ad nauseam in karaoke/videoke bars everywhere (insert Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” here).

However, when it comes to feeling sorry for myself, I prefer to wallow in not too shallow ways, especially with my song choices.

Thus, when “Getting Away With It” by Electronic came out at the end of the 80s, I thought it was perfect. First, Electronic is a duo composed of two members from seminal 80s groups, Bernard Sumner of New Order and Johnny Marr, ex-guitarist of The Smiths. Add to that the guest vocals of Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys, and you have an 80s electronica super-group.

And the lyrics!

I’ve been walking in the rain just to get wet on purpose.
I’ve been forcing myself not to forget, just to feel worse.
I’ve been getting away with it all my life (getting away).

I remember the time when it was such a narcotic high to wallow in self-pity. And the more I focused on how miserable I was, the more I felt that the pain was all worth it. So I did things to keep me wallowing, like walking in the rain and not forgetting. I needed to justify all that pain, all that suffering and all that wallowing.

However I look it’s clear to see,
That I love you more than you love me.

Yes, that was my biggest, longest-running angst growing up, spanning seven straight guys then countless gay guys who were either taken or not interested.

I hate that mirror, it makes me feel so worthless.
I’m an original sinner, but when I’m with you, I couldn’t care less.
I’ve been getting away with it all my life,
Getting away with it all my life.

The line about being a sinner was especially poignant when I fell for guys who were with other guys. That tug-of-war between doing what’s right versus doing what I wanted was especially delicious at that time. Age and experience made me realize how much time and effort I’ve wasted.

I thought I gave up falling in love a long, long time ago.
I guess I like it but I can’t tell you, you shouldn’t really know.
And it’s been true all my life.
Yes, it’s been true all my life.

Of course, after being burned once, I said to myself, “Never again.” Hah, famous last words. After a while I was telling myself, “It’s been true all my life,” and I actually believed in my own press release.

I’ve been talking to myself just to suggest that I’m selfish
(Getting ahead)
I’ve been trying to impress that more is less and I’m repressed
(I should do what he said)
However I look it’s clear to see,
That I love you more than you love me.
Get away with it...
Get away with it....

Yes, I was just being self-indulgent and selfish.

Now that I think about it, “Getting Away With It” is a song you don’t really slash your wrists by. Instead, you just slowly poison your heart—and your mind—until you actually think you really are getting away with it.

But you really don’t.

* * * * *

Below are two video versions of the song. The first one is shot as if they’re in the studio.

The second one is an example of New Order’s video aesthetics: no concept, just special effects, with lip-synch sometimes unapologetically obvious.

You choose. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cause And Effect

Because I wanted to be cool and do the right thing, I looked for a proper trashcan to throw my small trash bag while walking to the office this rainy morning.

Because the first trashcan I saw was at the sidewalk along Ayala, I had to go near the curb to throw my trash.

Because the can was so near the curb, I got splashed when a speeding bus hit the puddle of water on the road.

Now I’m shivering in the arctic-level air conditioning in our office, with a shirt wet with sweat and rainwater.

Sigh. I never thought living in Makati would be this cool.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Having Said That

It’s really different when he does “that look” on me: he tilts his head down a bit, with his eyes looking up at me; quizzical lines crease his brow, while the sweetest smile curves his lips. It’s as if there’s a twinkle in his eyes. He’s neither questioning nor being playful; there’s this anticipation, a waiting pause, like a puppy with his tongue out, looking up at his human and asking, “Woof?”

My heart melts at the sight of unadorned trust and love: simple, no multiple layers, no complex undercurrents.

* * * * *

It’s really different when my mom turns to me, her eyes searching for signs on my face, as she defers to me for the final decision. “Ikaw, ano?” she asks me.

When both my parents retired, and my older brother—the first born—had already left the coop to head his own family, my parents turned to their second child—me—to have my say on family decisions. And when my dad died, my mom deferred family decisions to me. From the small things in the beginning—where to go, where to eat, when to go home to Bohol—to later on major family decisions, my mom treated me as the padre de pamilya. Even now, when I already am staying at a place of my own for about a year now, she still defers to me whenever I come to visit Marikina.

My mom’s love has no equal: steadfast, knowing, all-embracing.

* * * * *

One time I was with a group of friends out for dinner. No special occasion, nothing fancy; we happened to just text one another if we were free that night. We wanted to try some cheese fondue that night.

I eat fast, so I usually am done while everyone else is still finishing his food. I looked at my friends, all fairly new ones; one I met about a year ago, the others a few months after. I have yet to know them well, but already I know that these are good people. Complex? But of course! Neurotic? We all are, in our own little way. There’s still a lot to know about them, as they about me. And I just had to blurt out to them, “I like this.”

Newfound friends are entertaining, evolving and exciting.

* * * * *

My friend G is someone I’ve known since high school. We rarely meet these days; he’s too busy running the department that he heads. And yet, whenever we meet, the months in between simply disappear; it’s as if we just saw each other yesterday.

My friend L is someone I know since college. She’s someone I look up to, being more talented and more successful than I am. And yet, we also have this personal relationship wherein we complement one another. She’s terrible at directions, while I’m like a taxi cab driver. She’s excellent in languages, while I always fall back on clichés and trite phrases. Whenever she and her family need a “man” to accompany them to family vacations, they call on me. Whenever I am in dire need, she’s one of the first ones I turn to.

My college-theater friends are several batches younger than me. I got to know them when I was already working. I directed them for Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when they were still college students. We all clicked, and they’re a hilarious, sensible, sharp, creative, driven, supportive bunch. They may be scathing in their jokes with one another, but they will always cheer each another on. And when we all meet (which is rare these days, everyone’s so busy), we tell the same stories while making new ones.

The irony with friendship is this: the ones who stay with you for life are the ones whom you can actually take for granted.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Many Loves

“Iba pa rin ang pagmamahal ng isang boyfriend.”

So many times I’ve heard the above argument before, when I was still single. Certain people, when they find out I’m single, say something stupid, like, “Ay, walang nagmamahal sa iyo?” which I then refute, citing the love I get from family and friends. And after that is usually when they say that line.

Yes, they are correct. The love of family and friends is different from the love of a boyfriend. But I always maintain that romantic love can never really be justly compared to love of friends and family; it’s apples and oranges. One love isn’t necessarily “better” than the other.

Experiencing all those many loves is what makes us richer persons, and the more love you experience, the more blessed you are. What does it profit a man if he gains a jowa but is estranged from his own family?

When friends find out that my 44-year-long Single Since Birth status has been broken, they ask me, “So how is it, not being single anymore?” And they’re beside themselves with excitement, as if anticipating a breathless, gushing, romance-filled answer from me. What they get is this: “It’s really no big deal. As in, really.”

The sun still rises in the east and sinks in the west. The J.O.s still pile up on your desks. Clients can still be unreasonable, and deadlines will always hound you. A perfect fried egg is still amazing, and soft, gentle rain pitter-pattering on the roof will still lull you back to bed. A clogged toilet bowl is still an embarrassing inconvenience, as much as a clogged nose is too. New babies are born, while the young and the old die. Before, whenever things get me down, I used to look to my family and friends and think, “They make it worthwhile.” Today they still do, but now that list has grown by one more.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Don’t Be Bitter, Be Better

It started with Dan Savage and his hubby making a video targeted to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender kids who have been bullied or are experiencing bullying for being “different.”

From there rose the It Gets Better Project, wherein other LGTB adults uploaded their video messages. The movement struck a chord; even straight people submitted their videos and support. Celebrities also chimed in.

Interestingly, The Trevor Project has a similar call, especially for suicidal youths. The project provides a lifeline and a live chat. There, celebrities have also given their testimonials.

* * * * *

Growing up I knew that I was different. But I was smart enough to know how to avoid being bullied or teased. I knew that I had to avoid being called bakla (despite me pushing at the back of my head the possibility of me being gay) because everything and everyone I saw around me told me that being gay was a sin, was wrong, was condemned. I knew I couldn’t be macho or astig, so I had to look for the one thing I could pull off without the bullies labeling me “gay.”

I became studious. Yep, I couldn’t be a “nerd;” that was also an invitation to a different kind of taunts and teasing. But “serious in his studies” was still an acceptable level; it meant I wasn’t too smart, but I needed to do well in school because my parents demanded it so.

I also became interested in science (and science fiction). It gave me an excuse to read (and thus be left alone). For the “cool” factor I watched sci-fi and was fond of spaceships and aliens.

Yes, I could be different, but the “acceptable” different.

Luckily I had an older brother who was popular with everyone, and so no one wanted to mess with me. Luckily I didn’t need glasses so I didn’t look too nerdy. Luckily I had ordinary looks—any closer to weird or funny or ugly and I’d be laughed at. Luckily I also had good, not exceptional nor failing, grades—my ordinariness helped shield me. But yeah, I think it was my popular brother, mostly.

But does it really get better? Well, I was never bullied, so the question for me takes on a different meaning. Yes, it does get better, but only when you get to accept yourself. And to be friends with myself, I realize it really helped that I became friends with other gay guys. I had others I could turn to. I had a support system. I knew I was not alone.

I know that the “It gets better” campaign is aimed at the youth, especially the bullied ones. It gives them hope, but I was wondering if hope is enough. I am more a problem-solution kind of guy; if there was a problem, yo! I’d solve it. “It gets better” just sounds passive to me. I mean, yes, it’ll do for the moment; at least I don’t give in to despair. But then comes the inevitable question: “But what about now?”

If it were up to me, this is what I’d quietly whisper to gay youths who are bullied or feel discriminated on, or feel like outcasts: “Get smart.” Outsmart them if you can. If you can’t beat ‘em, find a way around ‘em. You are not alone—but first, you have to make sure you are not alone. Seek others. Find friends. Find support.

It gets better, if you can be better.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

On The Radio

Monday evening on my way home after a happy dinner with friends, I switched on to 103.5 WOW-FM. The DJ on board was Tina Ryan, and she had her own peanut gallery in the booth (it sounded like they were 5 or 6 more people). She was taking in callers, and one of them was a guy named Butch. He didn’t sound like a guy; in fact, I thought he was either an old woman or a gay guy.

DJ: “Ano pangalan mo?”

B: “Butch po.”

DJ: “O Butch, ano ba ang trabaho mo?”

B: “Ano po… BI po ako.” (He pronounced “BI” as “bee-eye.”)

Huh? I thought to myself. B-I? B-I, as in “bad influence”? Or D-I, as in dance instructor? Or did he really mean B-I, as in “bi” or “bisexual”? Apparently DJ Tina and everyone else in the booth weren’t sure either.

DJ: “Ano nga raw? BI?”

B: “BI po, as in bisually impeyrd. Blind po ako.”

Ooh, I smiled silently. Visually-impaired.

Everyone in the booth said, “Ah!” and became immediately gracious to Butch.

DJ: “Ay, ok lang yan, Butch! Wala namang problema kung blind ka!” And everyone in the booth agreed.

When she found out that Butch worked as a masseur, Tina Ryan invited him to join them in the booth the next time.

DJ: “Next time punta ka rito’t maki-party sa amin sa booth, masaya yun!”

Butch hesitated. His voice trembled, and I could hear his embarrassment clearly. “Eh hindi ba naman ako ma-out of place, eh lahat kayo nakakakita habang ako’y BI?”

A split-second pause, then everyone in the booth reacted at the same time. From above the din, Tina Ryan’s voice could be heard.

DJ: “Hay naku, bakit ka ma-a-out-of-place? Jusko, wala namang pinagkaiba natin eh.”

B: “Ay talaga ho?” I could hear him getting excited at the prospect of meeting his idol.

“Oo naman!” Tina Ryan’s voice turned even more gracious. She was really going out of her way to make Butch feel comfortable on-air.

And then she said it.

DJ: “Butch, napanood mo ba yung ‘Daredevil’?”

The others in the booth grew silent.

B: “Po?”

OMG, I said out loud to no one.

DJ: “Napanood mo ba yung pelikulang ‘Daredevil’ Butch? O di ba parang ikaw si Daredevil, at ako naman si Elektra!” And she giggled at her own clever comparison.

I think someone from the peanut gallery leaned over to Tina Ryan and spoke to her. Butch, however, was nonplussed.

B: “Ay oo napakinggan ko na po yung buong pelikula…”

…and that’s when it dawned on Tina Ryan.

DJ: “Ay, sorry sorry sorry sorry, oo nga pala, sorry sorry sorry sorry…!”

Sometimes if you make a mistake live, you are so dead. Lahveet!

P.S. – The next evening I listened in again on her program and Butch was on again. It looks like he’s going to be a regular caller on her show. When he was wondering what costume he’d wear for Halloween, she joked, “Daredevil?” Hahaha! She has fully recovered from her gaffe, and all’s well that ends well.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Night Of Balls And Sweat

I’ve never really been an athletic guy. In grade school I could never get the hang of dribbling a basketball, or kicking a soccer ball, or even hitting a baseball. But damn it, I took to volleyball like, well, a gay guy. And in a basketball country, what’s gayer than being good at volleyball?

Well actually, I wasn’t the best volleyball player in class—that would be Mark and Ting, the two guys who not only had the talent but also the height. And they were in the varsity team. They could spike. My lack of height, jumping prowess and irrational fear of being good at using my wrists (oh no, a “gay” dead giveaway!) made me an inadequate spiker. So I excelled as a tosser and stopper. But the two were tasked to whip our class team in shape for our intramurals, and they were strict taskmasters. In fact, so strict that they succeeded in leading our grade seven class to volleyball champion. The champion class would then vote who among them is the Most Valuable Player in volleyball. Because the whole class resented Mark and Ting for being taskmasters, and I played the Miss Congeniality the whole quarter, the class voted me. And that’s how I became the volleyball MVP on my last year in grade school.

Ang galing ko pala mambola.

So when the MGGFF people decided to organize a volleyball game, I jumped at the chance to play again. After grade school I never really played again. Well, a few times in high school and college, but that was that.

On my first game I was surprised that my 44-year-old body still remembered most of the moves that my grade school body mastered. It took a while for my body to recall them (“It’s all coming back, all coming back to me noooooow…!”) but after a warm-up game or two I was already diving on the concrete (if at Dumlao Gym) or wooden (once at RFM) floor of the rented court. I was surprised too that I survived two games with nary a mishap.

Yesterday evening at the third MGGFF volleyball get-together, I dove to save a ball and landed much too hard on my right knee. The pain shot up and quickly spread all over my body. For a few seconds my knee was pulsing in pain. Good thing there was a natural pause during the game, and everyone’s attention was on the ball. For a moment I couldn’t bend my knee without pain. But it quickly passed, and soon I was diving again on the floor.

After the game we trooped to Home Depot in Ortigas. After our midnight dinner, some of us headed to O Bar. It was already past 1am, and the place was packed. The moment we entered the front door, what greeted us was a thick wall of noise, heat and sweat. We bullied and squirmed our way to the bar, where we got ourselves Tanduay Ice (which ironically was lukewarm—must be the heat). I sweated buckets during the volleyball game, but a few feet from the entrance to the bar and I was drenched in sweat—mine and I guess everybody else’s whom I passed by on my way. It was like the sauna of Fitness First, but with clothes. Mostly. Good thing dancing was limited to shaking in place; thankfully, my knee wasn’t subjected to further stress.

A game of volleyball followed by dancing and rubbing elbows (among other body parts) at a gay dance club on a Saturday night—what could be gayer than that?

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Winds Of Change

First it’s the season of raids on gay-friendly establishments.

Now it’s the Catholic Church threatening excommunication for the President and everybody else who may decide to let the Reproductive Health Bill pass. And now Carlos Celdran is the lightning rod to this explosive topic, his arrest being the jolt that will move people to act.

Really now, it is time we talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s time to do things. It’s time for change.