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)

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Love & Relationships Fabcast, Part Two

And now, part two of our epic and fairly long discussion on love and relationships among men.

One by one, the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery tackle the questions: Why do I look for love? Why do I go into a relationship?

On a personal note, I noticed that Migs and Tony found the discussions “heavy” and a bit on the “cheesy” side. I agree on the cheesy part, but I don’t think it was heavy; as usual, silly side-comments abound.

Listen and enjoy!

Download Part 2 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Love Is Strange” by Everything But The Girl
“Love Montage” from the soundtrack of Dying Young by James Newton Howard
“Theme from Beauty And The Beast” by Lee Holdrige and Don Davis
“Theme from Somewhere In Time” by John Barry
“Love Theme” from Forever Young by Jerry Goldsmith
“Theme from E.T. The Extra-Terrestial” by John Williams

Death Becomes Us

“Hellooooow?! Deeeath!” – Remington, “Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington”

* * * * *

I see how affected some of my friends are when they come face to face with death, and I ask myself: Am I lucky that, early in my life, I have experienced several deaths of very close loved ones that I now have a matter-of-fact acceptance of death? Or am I doomed because I’m unmoved when it comes to loss?

I rarely am saddened by news of death these days. Instead, I’m often more shocked, but only because of the unexpectedness or the suddenness of death. If it’s expected, like when my grandmother died of old age, I even see it as a happy occasion, for at last she was at rest (increasingly in her last years, she had trouble moving about, her memory was increasingly slipping and she had started addressing people who had been long gone). When my dad died, I actually felt happy for him because he himself told us how ready he was to meet his Creator. I was sad more for my mom; it’s a good thing that she showed us how resilient she was in the days after, so that I stopped worrying about her.

Some might be shocked at my unfazed reaction in the face of death, especially of someone who is not really close to me. They may even view this as callousness on my part, and perhaps to a degree they may be right. But what may be callous to some is merely matter-of-fact to me. And if one would go all meta-physical about it, death is but a part of life. Face it, that is the reality of death.

I realize that I am neither lucky nor doomed. We cope in different ways, and they are all valid so long as it works for you and that you are not hurting yourself and others in the process. Sadness, anger, numbness or even indifference—all are but ways of coping with the reality of death.

So don’t expect me to go all weepy at your funeral because I won’t. Besides, you’re dead already.

Last Order Sa Korean Grill

It’s been some time since the Fabcasters had time to bond with one another, so on Christmas day we decided to have dinner at a Korean grill near Tomas Morato. Migs, Gibbs and I were the first to arrive, and we decided to order ahead instead of waiting for the others.

For appetizers they trotted out kimchi, pickled onions and a delicious shredded lettuce salad. For our main course, we chose grilled pork and beef belly. To eat them, one takes a piece of grilled meat and put it on a lettuce leaf, add chopped fresh garlic and onion if one so desires, roll the lettuce and eat it with bare hands. It’s a bit high-involvement, but hey, it also seems so healthy. We asked the waitress to grill the meat for us at a nearby table, since we weren’t sure of our grilling skills.

We were nearly finished with our initial batch of appetizers when two more friends arrived and joined us for dinner. So Gibbs called a waitress over.

“Miss, puwede pa bang dagdagan pa ang appetizers? Puwedeng dagdagan yung lettuce?” he asked.

Ay, leetus? Sige ba, sir!” replied the waiter. Then he turned and shouted into the kitchen, “Isa pang leetus!”

I turned to Gibbs who was beside me, then to Migs. We were all grinning.

After a while the main course was all grilled and ready to serve. The waitress placed the plate in front of us and proudly announced, “Ito na po ang inyong beef billy.”

There was a second of silence, then someone repeated what she said. “Ah, beef billy?”

Opo sir,” she replied. “Beef billy.” Then she proceeded to finish grilling the pork belly.

“Okaaay,” I said.

Gibbs wanted to order drinks, so he called a waiter over. The waiter took Gibb’s order, then asked us if we wanted to order drinks too. “Water na lang,” Migs said.

Isang Coke Zero at tow-big,” the waiter repeated our order then left to get them.

Then the waitress placed on the table our last order. “Eto sir,” she said, “pork billy.”

We all nodded. “Aaah, pork billy.”

She walked away, done with her grilling duties.

Gibbs turned to us and said, “At least consistent sila.”

Ho, ho, ho.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Love & Relationships Fabcast, Part One

After The Love Yourself Café, Migs had the Fabcasters and some of those who were also involved to a discussion on “Love and Relationships,” which was also the theme of the first Café.

While all five Fabcasters were present in the Café, sadly two of them couldn’t make it to the Fabcast recording.

This discussion turned out to be the lengthiest one for 2011. I’ve broken it down into four parts to make the downloading or listening via streaming more manageable.

Download this Fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Tara’s Theme” from the soundtrack of Gone With The Wind by Max Steiner
“Georgetown” from the soundtrack of St. Elmo’s Fire by David Foster
“My Life Would Suck Without Someone Like You” mash-up

Sunday, December 25, 2011


D has a particular gait, a shuffle almost, that he does when he’s particularly happy. It’s like a cross between a penguin and someone who’s constipated, or at least one who’s in dire need to do number two. His head swings left and right, and his steps are in small shuffles. He usually has a shy grin on his face as he shuffles, and when he stops, he more often than not says something like, “Yay!” or a variation thereof.

I know D needed to be home in Bataan for Christmas day, but I also know how difficult it is for him to get a bus ride home. So a week before Christmas I offered, “Let me drive you to Bataan.” I’ve always loved driving, and I don’t shy away from long road trips. Given his work schedule, he gets off Saturday morning, so we can only leave after his work.

7am, day before Christmas, D woke me up. “Let me just get my things and we’ll go,” he said. He packed just enough clothes for three days, and he counted the hundred-peso bills he’d distribute to his pamangkins. A quick shower and change into shorts and a t-shirt, and I was ready.

EDSA traffic wasn’t as heavy, but there were expected bottlenecks, especially in the areas where the provincial bus stations are located. But once we got to NLEX, it was a smooth ride all the way. D took a nap from my place to our first pit stop at a gas station. After that we were listening to music and watching the Luzon flatlands whiz by. I decided to skip San Fernando and the other Pampanga towns before Bataan because I didn’t want the holiday traffic and the slow, ubiquitous tricycles that slow down the drive. So I took SCTEX, which I think was also the first D passed through there.

“Wow, ang ganda ng view!” he yelled excitedly, as we saw the mountain ranges of what we suspect is where Subic is located.

Prior to the trip, I didn’t even check Orlando’s oil and water; I only had his tires inflated and his gas tank filled. I trusted he wouldn’t break down on me.

We got to the Dinalupihan exit, and after a few minutes we were at the plaza of D’s hometown. There was a convenience store nearby and I decided to buy a bottle of water to drink on my trip back to Manila.

“Thank you, hon! Happy holidays!” D beamed at me. He then grabbed his bags, including a paper bag containing shampoo for his dog May, and got out of Orlando. “Wala ba akong naiwan?” he looked around the back seat. “Do one final check,” I said. “All here!” he happily declared.

“See you in a few days,” I said to him.

And then he walked to the front of the convenience store, where the pedicabs were waiting for passengers. No, not walked; he shuffled his happy shuffle. I saw him flag down a pedicab, and waited until it drove away. Then I drove away.

At a constant, leisurely pace of around 80kph on the highway, I made it in around 5 hours (shorter had there been no traffic on EDSA leaving from and coming back to Manila).

I felt like Santa bringing a special gift to a family in Bataan. It was one happy road trip all the way.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Space

There’s something to be said about having a place of your own. It’s your own personal physical space, your domain. There, you are the master of your keep.

When I was still living with my folks and siblings in Marikina, my bedroom was my sanctuary. My mom used to call it Joel’s sanctum sanctorum, and everybody knew well enough not to enter there without permission.

When I first moved out and rented a room in Makati, I was sharing a two-bedroom condo with a female friend. We had separate bedrooms (both had their respective bathrooms), and we were only three in the house (she had her maid who took care of her two pugs). So we pretty much kept mostly to ourselves, except during breakfast and Saturday lunches.

Then I moved to a studio-type unit still within Makati’s CBD. My stay there was pretty great; it was fully furnished, and within walking distance from Greenbelt. However, such a great deal came with a caveat—I had it only for almost half a year, and when the lease ends the owner was going to claim it for his use.

I next rented a room in this old four-bedroom house in Iba Street, Quezon City. It was a huge house, so our landlord rented out three of the rooms. It was okay at the start; Migs was also a housemate of mine. But soon after he moved out, and the other rooms were soon rented out to others. When I left, there were 5 more people in the house. Even though it was a huge house, we had to share in the common bathroom. It didn’t help that one of them was a female; when she left a pair of her panties and bra hanging on the shower curtain rod, I muttered to myself, “That’s it, time to move.”

So now I’m in a fairly new one-bedroom condo unit in Mandaluyong. I’m nearer to Makati now, and when our office moves to Shaw next year, I’ll be one MRT station away from the office. It’s barely furnished, but at least it has a queen-size bed, aircon, refrigerator and water heater for the shower. Because of the holiday season, I haven’t had time to fix things and buy stuff, so my belongings are just piled willy-nilly everywhere. In the next few months the bulk of my spending will go to furnishing the place up. I will need to be prudent about it; I am merely renting, after all.

Still, I had one of my most relaxing sleeps ever on the first night that I slept alone in my new space. I finally have my sanctuary again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Marry And Bright?

Some people have asked me to push for gay marriage here in The McVie Show. Yes, I agree with you that there should be no more discrimination of marriage; why should marriage be only for heterosexuals? As far as gay marriage is concerned, I don’t have a problem with the “gay” part.

However, I don’t believe in marriage, not unless there’s divorce.

I’m fine with the idea of two consenting adults agreeing to be united, and the state acknowledging their union and awarding them with certain privileges and benefits. But to lock in two adults with no way out is, I believe, a concept that has lost its relevance to me because it is not grounded on reality. Yes, there will be couples who can make it ‘til Death do them part. But not all marriages will succeed and survive.

In fact, I’d rather just live in together. If you last, then congrats; if you don’t, well, at least untangling need not be messy and drawn-out.

Walang Iwanan, Help CDO & Iligan

Donate to the Philippine Red Cross at:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Knocked Out

Thursday evening we had our office Christmas party, and for the third year in a row I was one of the hosts for the event. We had boxer Brian Viloria, reigning WBO Flyweight champion, and his wife as special guests. We got him to pick out the grand raffle winner. He even stayed on and danced the night away with us—and boy, the man can dance. Brian is such a down-to-earth guy. And compared to that other boxing champ who is also a politician, Brian’s much easier to deal with and comes with an entourage of only one, his better half.

On Friday afternoon he and his wife drop by our office for a courtesy call. While he and his wife were talking to our bosses, I tweeted the following: “Brian Viloria in da hawz! He and his wife brought Krispy Kreme for the whole dept. He even personally offered me a doughnut. Ang cute niya.”

And then few minutes later, he tweeted back: “It’s nothing really. Merry Xmas and Happy New Years to you and (our office).”

And then I received a notification via email that he had started following me on Twitter.

And then I died.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Adele Is Not A Party-Pooper

“Why is there no music? There should be music! Where’s the DJ? Where’s my music? Where’s my music?!”

That was my officemate in charge of our company party, in her I’m-in-charge-and-panicking mode. It was the start of the party, and the early guests were plenty. They were our clients and business partners, and we made sure the food was plentiful, the alcohol flowing, the raffle prizes numerous and the entertainment continuous. But the hired DJ who’s supposed to play music during dinner was still stuck in horrendous holiday traffic. How do we put our best foot forward when we already tripped at the start?

She was looking at me for answers. I was at the control booth; we were going to use my laptop to play our AVPs later, so my Macbook was already hooked up to the system. I pulled up my iTunes and said, “I’ll play something.”

Suddenly, my fantasy of being a DJ became a reality. Okay, okay, so I wasn’t using professional equipment and the music transitions weren’t seamless. But for the first time, I was playing music for a major party. Eeeee! Hahaha!

Siyempre fineel-na-feel ko ang pagka-DJ, noh!

I started with the safe choices, the current hot dance hits: “We Found Love” by Rihanna, “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5, “Sexy And I Know It” by LMFAO, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. I wasn’t too worried about my musical choices anyway; after all, the guests were either busy eating or schmoozing with one another. I guess because of that, I decided to push it a bit.

First, I decided to play David Guetta’s “Titanium.” Sure, it’s not a pop hit, and I’m sure most of the guests weren’t familiar with it. But David Guetta is David Guetta, and his music practically screams, “Party!”

Then I went with the kinda-safe-but-not-really choice; I played one mash-up after another. First was a Britney-Rihanna-JLo combo, “S&M Against The Floor.” Then a LMFAO-Ke$ha-Britney Spears-Lady Gaga-Katy Perry mega-mash-up, “Party Rock Anthem.” I was playing a third mash-up of Madonna-Lady Gaga-Pitbull, “You Know You Want Love Celebration,” when the idea hit me.

What if I play Adele at a party?

I mean, who would have thought that the woman responsible for an increase in emo levels worldwide would have a place at a party? Sure, I have heard of dance remixes of her songs, but I didn’t have any of those in my iTunes. I only had her album, “21.”

Still, why not? There’s “Rumor Has It” after all.

To prepare for Adele, I first played Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” and Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” first. And then I took a deep breath and clicked PLAY.

Thump! Thump! Thump! Thu-thu-thump! Thump! Thump!
Oooh! Oooh!
She ain’t real…!

Hey, it works! Go Adele!

Too bad I couldn’t run onstage and copy the steps of the Troubletones from Glee, but that would be too much.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Pride Fabcast, Parts 1 & 2

Part One:

Here the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery tackle the question of Gay Pride. Are we proud of being gay? What is it that we are proud of? We asked each and every one to say his piece. And it’s very interesting to hear twelve different points of view, twelve different takes on gay pride. From still staying in the closet to being out in the open, from the creative field to the corporate world, twelve different voices speak out their learning and their truths.

This Fabcast was recorded on the same night as the “Prude Fabcast,” thus there was no more roll-call. For the record, the Fabcasters are: Corporate Closet (aka CC), Gibbs, McVie, Migs and Tony. And the members of the peanut gallery for this recording are: Dan, Dean, Inye, Joms, Londonboy, Luis and Paul (aka Iamtofuboy).

Download part 1 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
“Born This Way (DrewG & Brian Cua Dirty Pop Mix)” by Lady Gaga
“Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Part Two:

Let me tell you an interesting side story regarding this particular recording.

Before we began recording for that evening, Migs realized that he had forgotten to charge the rechargeable batteries of his digital recorder. So while he was charging them, he asked CC for an extra pair of disposable AAA batteries; those were what we used to record the “Departures” and “Prude” Fabcasts. Unfortunately the disposable batteries were from CC’s TV remote; he warned us that the batteries were kinda old and may not last until the end of the recording. (If you can recall, in part one there was a pause and then you’d hear me—which was then echoed by Migs—ask out loud, “Teh? Na-re-record ba?” That was us checking to see if CC’s batteries had died in the middle of recording.)

We continued to record, segueing seamlessly into the “Prude” fabcast. When we finished with that, we decided to proceed and record the “Pride” Fabcast. At this point Migs took out the disposable batteries and replaced them with the partially charged disposable batteries of his. He figured that, given the number of minutes they were charged, the batteries could last for at least one more recording session.

Cut to near the end of the recording: Migs, as a joke, asked AJ out loud, “AJ, are you proud of being gay?” And I, along with several others, immediately chanted the by-now classic lines of Roderick Paulate from the movie, Zombadings: “Charoterang isprikitik, umappear ka vahkler. Magpa-feel, magpasense, ditey sa baler. Witiz shokoley ang udangchi ditey. Sa fezlaboom mo marz na super kalerkey!”

I remember laughing out loud afterwards and continuing the discussion when suddenly Migs stopped us and announced that he saw the battery indicator light of his recorder blink out. “Naubos na ang battery!” he exclaimed. And when we checked at which part the disposable batteries died, it was right after he asked AJ his question. We managed to record “Charoterang isprikitik, umapp—” and then silence. We had to borrow another pair of disposable batteries from CC to finish the recording.

I guess for this recording, the Fabcasters were all present.

Download part 2 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Queer” by Garbage
“Thanksgiving” by George Winston
“Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” by Diana Ross
“Redemption Song” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Fairly Smooth Ride With A Few Bumps

“The Road”
Directed by Yam Laranas
GMA Films

Beautiful cinematography, masterful evoking of mood and clever storytelling structure by Yam Laranas. But why do some characters act like they’re following a script and not their inner motivations? Thus certain illogical moments break the spell and remind viewers that they are just watching a movie. Carmina Villaroel is a hoot, and child actor Renz Valerio is so adorable. I was too distracted by his crooked smile and pinch-worthy cheeks to be scared during his portion of the film. And what’s this?! Jaclyn Jose, underused?! The horror!