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, January 29, 2012

The 2012 New Year Fabcast, Part Two

Here is the second part of the question-and-answer portion, replying to the queries that the listeners posted on Migs’ Facebook.

As usual, the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery do more than just answer questions. Listen in as we have fun with and make fun of one another.

Listen in and laugh with us as we tackle the second set of questions.

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:

“Ask” by The Smiths
“Une Very Stylish Fille” by Dimitri From Paris

Thursday, January 26, 2012


One of my all-time favorite movie trilogies is The Matrix. As a movie, I think only the first one stands out as a complete film. The second and third installments feel like one big sequel that builds on the first movie. Taken in totality, the story and the telling of Neo versus the machines suffer from too much smarts and the weight of its own importance. But the three films contain numerous *Scenes I Can Watch Over And Over Again Without Getting Tired Of Them. These are kick-ass fight sequences that are so well staged that I get a visceral kick even after having seen them so many times.

Of course who could forget Bullet Time? When it was first shown in the climactic battle in The Matrix, people’s jaws dropped. Before that scene, Neo and Trinity had a kinetic battle at the building lobby; the non-stop action, the slowing down of the action, and the intricate fight choreography were already brilliantly executed in that heart-pounding sequence. But they were just a front-act to the gasp-inducing surprise that Larry and Andy Wachowski had in store in the rooftop scene.

That shot was so groundbreaking that many copied or parodied it after the movie opened. And that’s why when I watch it now, there is no more of the surprise and shock value that it had when I first saw it.

But there is one particular fight scene in The Matrix Reloaded that gets more and more impressive the more I watch it. It’s the Chateau Fight scene with Neo versus the goons of the Merovingian. It is the perfect blend of action and art. (The still on the left is my most favorite shot in the whole sequence. It still takes my breath away every time I see it.) I particularly love how the pulse pounding music fits the classy surroundings while pushing the action forward. (And the irony isn’t lost on me too—it’s funny how an art-filled location gets trashed by violence that’s almost artful.) The action is relentless, and unlike other fight scenes (most particularly the one with Neo versus a hundred Smiths), this one doesn’t make use of a CGI Keanu.

My most favorite fight choreography in the whole sequence? The one pictured on the left shows Neo twirling weapons with two opponents on both his sides. This particular move made the brawl look more like a graceful dance.

As I’ve said, I find The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions a bit too tedious to watch from beginning to end. But the action sequences especially on Reloaded are definitely repeat-worthy. Whoa.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Coke Dupe

When the video went viral before Christmas of last year, so many of my Facebook friends posted the video on their walls. All of them had positive comments about the video, saying that they were touched or they cried or they remembered their loved ones. Some also said that it was a piece of great marketing.

Truth be told, while I was watching the clip for the first time, I found myself getting teary-eyed, especially upon seeing the surprised reactions of the family members when they saw who was at the door. And who wouldn’t be touched? The reactions were genuine and true. If they’ve never seen their son or their mother for such a long time, wouldn’t they be overjoyed? Wouldn’t tears flow?

However, after seeing the whole clip I walked away feeling not as bowled over as some of my FB friends were. In fact I didn’t bother sharing the clip on my FB timeline. After a while I started asking myself, “What was wrong with the Coke commercial? What was about it that left an uneasy feeling in me after watching it?”

Then it hit me.

It was the staging of it all, how manipulative, how calculated it all was. Even the scoring was brilliantly executed to give the viewers the emotional rush: pensive at the start, when the OFWs were narrating their sad state abroad; upbeat excitement as they head home, then plaintive solo piano to further emphasize the natural sounds of surprised gasps, joyful squeals and tearful speeches; and finally, an uplifting score to match the happiness in the end.

What bothered me even more was how certain shots were obviously staged, maybe even directed, especially in the “happy-ending” scenes were the Coke products were oh so prominently displayed. It’s clear that the subjects knew they were being filmed. Sure, they may not have known the arrival of their loved one, but still, the mere presence of a camera crew alone will have an effect on their behavior. And that gives the production people the license to “stage” certain shots, knowing that their subjects will react in a manner expected of them when their being filmed by Coke:
“Here’s the lechon, clap everybody!”
“We’re having a family meal together for the first time in years, clap everybody!”
“Coke is being served, smile everybody! Laugh!”
“Okay now, group hug!”

Yes, even I fell for it. The surprise and the tears were genuine. But beyond that, everything about it is manipulative. Had they resorted to hidden cameras, I’d grudgingly give them props for that; at least the subjects had no idea they were being filmed.

When the viral clip of the 100-year-old sharing the secret to happiness started doing the rounds on Facebook, I saw how the woman giving birth was so akting-na-akting. So I said, “Cut the crap, Coke.”

Monkey Business

One day D announced that he was thinking of going into business.

“What kind of business?” I asked.

“I don’t know yet,” he frowned. “All I know is that I want to have a business of my own.”

“If you want to succeed,” I offered, “then I suggest you choose something that you’re genuinely interested in, so that what motivates you is that interest, not just the money.”

D crossed his arms and thought. He always has this far-away look in his eyes when he’s deep in thought. “I wonder….”

“How about raising dogs?” I suggested. “You love dogs.”

D’s eyes lit up. “Yeah! I could breed chow-chows.”

The brainstormer that I am, I tossed around several ideas as well. D also threw in his thoughts.

“Food business is always good. How about operating a food cart in school?”
“Sandwich guy? But the sandwiches are made-to-order.”
“Internet café.”
“Set-up major DOTA matches.”
“Selling DVDs.”
“Selling vitamins.”
“Selling drugs.”
“Selling tapa, tocino at tuyo.”

And then it hit me.

“I know na!” I exclaimed. “How about an all-male, all-hunk, carwash? They must be shirtless while washing cars.”

D laughed. “But most car owners and drivers are male!”

“So?” I replied. “The guys are for our enjoyment, hahaha! Besides, the word will spread like wildfire among the bekis. Soon all beki car owners will go out of their way to have their cars washed at your carwash. Even if their car gets a small smudge, they’ll say, ‘Oh! My car’s so dirty already. I must have it washed now!’ even if they were there a couple of days before.”

D was giggling and shaking his head.

“I wonder what will be the name of the carwash?” I wondered out loud.

“Wash & Wait.”
“Wait & Watch While We Wash.”

“I know!” I said. “Wash Your Karu-mihan.”

And this will be the peg:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Numbing Numbers

Recently the Department of Health announced the 2011 figures for HIV infection in the Philippines. The numbers show that they nearly doubled from 2009 to 2010, and tripled in 2011. This is particularly dismaying if one considers that all around the world the rate of HIV infections have been on the decline.

But despite all these statistics being circulated, it seems that the numbers just increase the awareness level of the people, but they do not translate to a change in behavior. I just look to my close friends’ behavior, and I see that what prodded them to be tested was not knowledge of the statistics, no matter how alarming they are. The tipping point was when we started knowing friends and acquaintances that were HIV-positive. And when some of them started dying, that’s when the disease became really real. It may not have reduced the fearful possibility of being positive, but it sure was the added push that made them finally take the test.

Which is why I wish that more HIV-positive people would voluntarily come out with their status. They need not come out to the general public; in fact, I’m thinking more of them telling their immediate close circle of friends (and family, if they can handle them as well). It’s the big difference between just being a statistic versus having an actual face of the epidemic.

Yes, it is still a personal choice. And yes, no one has the right to disclose someone else’s HIV status. Which is why I wish more would volunteer. I think when people are able to put an actual face behind the disease, that’s when the fight against HIV transforms from the impersonal to the personal.

And then people hopefully will act.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The 2012 New Year Fabcast, Part One

Brand-new year, brand-new Fabcast! The Fabcasters and members of the peanut gallery meet up on the first of January 2012 to bond and record.

Migs posted on Facebook for listeners to send questions for the Fabcasters to answer. So for the first part we go through the questions and answer them in rapid manner—and in the usual rambunctious Fabcaster way!

So listen in and enjoy the first set of questions and answers.

Click below:

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Firework” by Katy Perry
“Ask” by The Smiths

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Love Yourself Café 2: Friendship & Love Among Men

Last year we held the very first Love Yourself Café, with the initial topic of “Love and Relationships Among Men.”

On the Love month of February, the second Love Yourself Café will take place, this time with the topic of “Friendship and Love Among Men.”

Our experience with the first LY Café was a very fruitful one. Many of those who joined the first Café expressed interest in joining again. As a facilitator, I felt that 3 hours was still too short a time, and I was happy to note that some took the extra effort to extend the connections made and kept contact.

Each Café session is, of course, a work-in-progress, and we’re always on the lookout on how to improve the next from the last. We’re looking forward to this next session.

For those who are interested to sign up and join, please go to Manila Gay Guy’s post here. It has instructions and links on how to register.

Hope we see and hear from you at the Café!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It’s More Fun

When the Department of Tourism unveiled its latest campaign, “It’s More Fun In the Philippines,” the online reaction was immediate. Typically of Filipinos, there were lots of ayes as well as nays, although I must say, unlike the previous “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” fiasco, there were more ayes than nays with the newest campaign. And as usual the quick-witted ones tossed off funny and pun-y parodies left and right.

I’m not concerned that Switzerland had an “It’s more fun” campaign back in 1951. I’m also not bothered that people are having fun of the line, regardless if the humor is good-natured or scathing, whether at our expense or not. Let’s face it, we make a joke out of most everything. Besides, the fact that people have taken the slogan and are running away with it proves how, truly, it is more fun in the Philippines. When you crowd-source something, expect a multitude of results. But trust that out of all that, gems will rise to the surface.

The following definitely will not, hehehe.

As you can see, I just wanna have fun. 

Friday, January 06, 2012

It’s More Pun In Da Philippines!

In honor of the Department of Tourism’s new international campaign, here is my proposed sub-campaign for it, with matching examples! The following are taken from the site Kapisanan Philippine Centre:

Beauty parlor in San Juan: “Cut & Face”
Wholesaler of balut in Batangas: “Starducks”
Fast food in Nueva Ecija: “Violybee”

Pampanga resto: “Mekeni Rogers”
Internet café: “Cafe Pindot”
Laundromat in Manila: “Summa Cum Laundry”
Laundromat in Sikatuna: “Star Wash: Attack of the Clothes”
Petshop in Kamuning: “Pakita Mo Pet Mo”
Bakery: “Bread Pit”
Bank in Alabang: “Alabank”
Boxing gym: “Blow Jab”
Tombstone maker in Antipolo: “Lito Lapida”
Copy center in Sikatuna Village: “Pakopya ni Edgar”
Beerhouse in Cavite: “Chickpoint”
Internet cafe in Taguig: “n@kopi@”
Kambingan: “Sa Goat Kita”
Salon: “Curl Up And Dye”
Lugawan in Bulacan: “Gee Congee”
Shoe repair shop in Marikina: “Dr. Shoe-Bago”
Shoe repair along Commonwealth: “SHOEPERMAN: we will HEEL you,
save your SOLE, and even DYE for you”
Petshop: “Petness First”
Flower shop: “Susan’s Roses”
Taxicab: “Income Taxi”
Car repair shop: “Bangga ka ‘day?”
Aquatic pet store in Malolos: “Fish Be With You”
Laundry shop: “Wash Your Problem”
Chicharon store: “Chicha Hut”
Neighborhood pizza store: “Pizza Hot”
Barbershop in Cagayan de Oro: “Pinoy Big Barber”
Salon: “Hair Dot Comb”

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Love & Relationships Fabcast, Part Four

As we gently wrap-up our kilometric Fabcast on “love and relationships among men,” we ask each and everyone, whether one is single or committed, to give a message to their “loved one.” (Take note, Kuya Law calls out the name of someone who’s the “inspiration of the LGTB community.”)

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Love Today” by Mika
“The Days Between” from the movie Stepmom (1998) by John Williams
“I Didn’t Know I Was Looking For Love” by Everything But The Girl


I know I’m not whole, and I will never be whole. I will always be incomplete, ever learning, ever curious, ever striving to improve. I will fail and falter, and I will make mistakes. But that goes with the territory.

And I know I cannot do this alone.

Never stop learning. Never stop being curious. Never stop trying to improve.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Changing Seasons

Noticed the new header? New year, new season. It just seems appropriate that 2012 marks my 12th season of The McVie Show.

No, I have not been blogging for 12 years. If you check out below my header, I started blogging Jan. 20, 2004. Seventeen days from now, my blog will turn eight years old. So I have seventeen days to play around with the new look of my blog (yeah, including the header; I can still change it if I want to). I know, I know, I should just debut everything on Jan. 20, right? Well, I’d like to think of this as the beta stage.

I think even the content should have some changes. Never stop learning, I say. So brace yourself. Change is inevitable.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Love & Relationships Fabcast, Part Three

The Fabcasters and the peanut gallery continue to tackle the questions “Why do I look for love?” and “Why do I go into a relationship?”

Towards the end, you can hear Kidlatdakila bid the group an early farewell because he still has to take the last bus to Laguna.

Watch out for the fourth and last part, when we all wrap-up this epic recording.

Download Part 3 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” by Diana Ross
“Love Me For A Reason” by Boyzone

The Question

I come to the party late and alone. People have already been mingling in groups, some flitting from one cluster to the next. I make my way from the welcome booth at the entrance, to the table just outside the backyard, to the living room, then to the dining area and kitchen. At each area I stop and say hi to the people I know. And all of them ask me the same question:

“Where’s D?”

At first I answer, “He’s a callboy eh.” For those who get it immediately, that reply is sufficient. For those who display puzzled look on their faces, I explain further: “He’s working right now at the call center. You know, night shift.”

This is the MGGFF Christmas party, so there are people there who know me personally (and vice versa), and those who know me by online reputation. Even the latter ones ask me the question, or variations thereof:

“Where’s your BF?”

“Where’s your other half?”

“Is D not with you?”

After a while I get tired of giving my silly “call boy” answer, and just cut to the chase. But even that gets tiring pretty fast.

Then it dawns on me. They do not even bother to follow up their “Hi, Joel!” with, “How are you?” or “What’s up with you?” or “How was your Christmas?” or “Long time, no see!” Instead, why are they all looking for D? Is it a must for couples to come to parties together? Are we a packaged deal? And more importantly: AREN’T YOU GUYS EVEN HAPPY THAT I’M HERE?!

Whoever started this two-become-one thinking has got to be bonkers.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Out With The Old, In With The New

2011 was as it was. Let 2012 be as it will be.