Monday, May 31, 2004

All Hail Arnel Salgado!

When I read that Marlon got three Arnel Salgado books, I was gripped with envy that’s delectable to chum.

We first read about Arnel Salgado through Jessica Zafra. Thanks to her articles extensively quoting Arnel’s novel, The Fireless Inferno, we were treated to a whole new world of writing. No Melanie Marquez, no Angelica Jones, no Eddie Gil could match Arnel’s command of the English language. In his hands the Queen’s English is tweaked, twisted, turned inside-out… and transformed into something transcendental.

Behold and bow down to his power!

[1] “Mirasol…oh…Mirasol, the first time I saw you… I want to own you on the whole endurir!” Full of phantasy Greg whispered. He was been indulged building an air castle, and felt an amusing ease as he imagined the happiness which for a moment he was with Maria Mirasol who was reaching with him the distant sky and together dines on the sweetness of the depth romances… (p.20)

[2] On the East, the Aurora Borealis illuminated the night and the moon full of blithe was moving on the west delibling its beauty as the morning sun attempted to light the nocturnal period which brought the Corderos to dirge. (p.56)

[3] The fished river had been altered with sorrow and the water creatures expressed their woeing sympathy to the body bouying with the water together with the silts. The ired river produced a tyrant waves which even the hardest metal made ship could be wrecked because of its seethed anger that seemed avenging the demise of their saviour. (p.79)

[4] He found himself by the way awoke when he opened his two scarlet eyes lacrimating trickedly… His memory couldn't probe what had happened about his yester-epoch… but a clairvoyant and a future life vision infrerged to his Extra Sensory Percention… (p. 110)

[5] “Eh…Whither now is she?” Alexandria verified as she picked up a glass of strawberry juice and smoothly as she tried to solace her arid esophagus… she drinked and later took a sandwich with a slice of a spam and cheeze placed amid the two pan like the clouds that located at the middle of the world and heaven. (p.186)

[6] She was beautiful like the flowers consumed by fire, her love was sweet that made me suffer from diabetes, she was warm I almost felt the heat of her caress now. Her lips were smooth and her tongue was very luscious like the meat of a beef.

[7] from “The Hidden Grace of Sufferings”:
The devil shows his virgin teeth
but his tongue is a whore.
It tastes almost everything
including the hosts, the whore,
the core and the corn—
but he is now a priest
and his genital is eaten by the scrotum.
He cannot love.
He cannot fuck.
He cannot sex.
He cannot pump.
His is useless. It is whore.

The above quotes and poem I got off the Internet. Most came from Jessica Zafra’s article “The Purple Prose of Baguio” in website. The poem came from a blog discussion on erotic poetry. And one was even quoted in a German discussion board! Arnel Salgado, international artist? Gods be praised!

Thanks for the Pussy

Thanks to captainpurple (via Marlon's Hotel), I have Shrek 2’s Puss-in-Boots in my computer. Thanks to Kervs, I have Puss in my cellphone. It’s great to be greeted by Puss’s pleading yet oh-so-cute googly eyes every day.

This weekend Mommy insists we watch “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”—I already have a Harry wallpaper on my PC. And then it’s Spiderman 2.

Hurray for summer movies!

You Can Choose To Take This with a Grain of Salt

They say life is about choices—hair cut, detergent brand, drink size, with or without cream, and who will be bottom this time. We make a multitude of choices from the moment we wake up to the time we sip our morning coffee… or tea or Coke Light or vodka or chardonnay.

Then there are things we have absolutely no control over—the weather, family members, sexual preferences, and Madonna’s next reinvention. And as much as we want to take control over Kris Aquino’s choices of romantic partners—and her mouth as well—we’ll be better off resurrecting Adrian Zmed’s career.

But even in the face of things we cannot control, we are still confronted with a choice: do we accept things graciously, or do we rage, rage into the dying light?

In the end we need to make choices that we can live with for the rest of our lives. At 38 years old, maybe I’m way into the second half of my life. That means I must choose wisely from hereon.

Of course bad choices will still be chosen. Unavoidable circumstances will not be avoided. But one can choose to take responsibility and move on. Or one can choose to have selective memory all of a sudden (“You mean we had unprotected sex?!”)

As for me, I choose to add years to my life by imbibing the “only the good die young” philosophy. Hey, maybe The Fates will side with me here. At least I’ll have wicked fun as I hop, skip, jump and bitch my way into the sunset.

And as for you, dear viewer, you can choose to take me seriously... or take me out to dinner.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Excerpts from HOW TO BE A TV HOST

An Essay by Umberto Eco

Some time ago, I enjoyed a fascinating experience in the Svalbard Islands, when a local Academy of Sciences invited me to spend several years there studying the Bonga nation, a society that flourishes in an area between Terra Incognita and the Isles of the Blest.

The Bonga’s activities are more or less the same as our own, but they have an unusual insistence on the explicit, the declarative. They ignore the art of the implicit, the taken-for-granted.

For example, if we begin to talk, obviously we use words; but we feel no need to say so. A Bonga, on the contrary, in speaking to another Bonga, begins by saying: “Pay attention. I am now speaking and I will use some words.” We build houses and then (with the exception of the Japanese) we indicate to possible visitors the street, the number, the name of the occupant. The Bongas write “house” on every house, and “door” beside the door. If you ring a Bonga gentleman’s bell, he will open the door, saying, “Now I am opening the door,” and then introduce himself. If he invites you to dinner, he will show you to a chair with the words: “This is the table, and these are the chairs!” Then, in a triumphant tone, he announces, “And now the maid! Here is Rosina. She will ask you what you want and will serve you your favorite dish!” The procedure is the same in restaurants.

It is strange to observe the Bongas when they go to the theater. As the house lights go down, an actor appears and says, “Here is the curtain!” Then the curtain parts and other actors enter, to perform, say, Hamlet or Le Malade imaginaire. But each actor is introduced to the audience, first with his real first and last names, then with the name of the character he is to play. When an actor has finished speaking, he announces: “Now, a moment of silence!” Some seconds go by, and then the next actor starts speaking. Needless to say, at the end of the first act, one of the players comes to the footlights to inform everyone that “there will now be an intermission.”

For a long time I wondered what drove the Bongas to this obsessive clarification. Perhaps, I said to myself, they are somewhat slow-witted and if a person doesn’t say “I’m going now” they don’t realize that the person is saying goodbye. And to some extent this must have been the case. But there was another reason. The Bongas are performance-worshipers, and therefore they have to transform everything—even the implicit—into performance.

During my stay among the Bongas I also had the opportunity of reconstructing the history of applause. In ancient times, the Bongas applauded for two reasons: either because they were happy with a good performance, or because they wanted to honor some person of great merit. The duration of the applause indicated who was most appreciated and most loved. Again, in the past, wily impresarios, to convince audiences of a production’s worth, stationed in the house ruffians paid to applaud even when there was no motive. When television shows were first broadcast in Bonga, the producers lured relatives of the organizers into the studio and, thanks to a flashing light (invisible to viewers at home), alerted them when they were to applaud. In no time the viewers discovered the trick, but, while in our country such applause would have immediately been discredited, it was not so for the Bongas. The home audience began to want to join in the applause too, and hordes of Bonga citizens turned up of their own free will in the country’s TV studios, ready to pay for the privilege of clapping. Some of these enthusiasts enrolled in special applause classes. And since at this point everything was in the open, it was the host himself who said, in a loud voice at the appropriate moments, “And now let’s hear a good round of applause.”

But soon the studio audience began applauding without any urging from the host. He had simply to question someone in the crowd, asking him, for example, what he did for a living, and when he replied, “I’m in charge of the gas chamber at the city dog pound,” his words were greeted by a resounding ovation.

Applause became so indispensable that even during the commercials, when the salesman would say, “Buy PIP slimming tablets,” oceanic applause would be heard. The viewers knew very well that there was no one in the studio with the salesman, but the applause was necessary; otherwise the program would have seemed contrived, and the viewers would switch channels. The Bongas want television to show them real life, as it is lived, without pretense. The applause comes from the audience (which is like us), not from the actor (who is pretending), and it is therefore the only guarantee that television is a window open on the world. The Bongas are currently preparing a program created entirely by actors applauding; it will be entitled TeleTruth.

In order to feel that their feet are firmly on the ground, the Bongas now applaud all the time, even when they are not watching TV. They applaud at funerals, not because they are pleased or because they want to please the dear departed, but so as not to feel like shadows among other shadows, to make sure they are alive and real, like the images they see on the tiny screen. One day I was visiting a Bonga house when a relative entered, saying, “Granny was just run over by a truck!” The others all sprang to their feet and clapped wildly.

I cannot say that the Bongas are our inferiors. Indeed, one of them told me that they plan to conquer the world.

Rhythm of the City Hit Back!

On Fridays 99.5RT FM plays the old hits. I especially like it when they play certain songs that only RT played before, hard-to-find songs that I always associate with the FM station I grew up with.

The following are some RT classics which I’m dying to get a copy on CD.

[1] Give Me Back My Heart by Dollar
I think this is a great break-up song. Certain ex-lovers would do well to listen to the lyrics:
I feel so silly when I tell you
I gave you all I had
Seems so empty when I say that I love you
But now I can see you were not for me...
So give me back my heart
That's all I have to live for
Give me back my heart
That's all I had to give you.
I know I'll never be in love
No I'll never be in love again.
There were so many times you whispered
(I miss you so I miss you so)
You always said you cared
I never knew that you could be so far away
But now I can see you were not for me...

[2] It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin
The one RT played is a remake of a Leslie Gore original. Barbara Gaskin provided the vocals while Dave Stewart (who eventually will form the Eurythmics with Annie Lennox) did the instrumentation. I liked how he rearranged the song and made it more desperate yet fun. I especially liked how the song opened with her singing over and over:
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to…

[3] The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit
This 1939 African pop hit has many remakes. The most famous is a 1961 cover by The Tokens. But the 1982 version by Tight Fit is the one I fell in love with when they played it over RT.

Haaay! Ang tanda ko na.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Echoes Of A Blog

Oh my god. I just unearthed a piece I wrote three years ago. It’s an unfinished journal chronicling a weekend at a beach in Zambales with the backdrop of the infamous “EDSA 3” in 2001. Here it is.



The people at the EDSA Shrine are calling it “EDSA Tres.” I call it a travesty, but that’s a word 90% of the people there won’t understand. Okay, okay, so I shouldn’t make fun of them being poor and ignorant bayaran-na-jologs. Let’s not widen the ever-increasing gap between the rich and poor. Let’s just push Miriam Defensor-Santiago off the plane since she lied about jumping off without a parachute.

However, I want to push them all away from my mind right now. Tomorrow the whole McVie family is going to Iba, Zambales for four days of sun, sand, swimming and sunburn. Jologs be damned!


Woke up at 3:15 am. Oh my God, that’s the same time the dad always woke up in “The Amityville Horror.” (Okay, for those who haven’t read the book nor watched that horrid movie version starring Margot “Can you read my mind?” Kidder, I’m sorry you won’t get this bit of pop reference.) Will be driving the family car. The others will ride in a rented van.

Pulled out of Marikina at 4:30 am. Already the Balintawak traffic is slow moving. Why are there so many vehicles out on the road this early? Later on my brother will report that he saw several trucks and vans with pro-Erap rallyists going out of Metro Manila. For a little R-n-R before going back later that night, I suppose.

I wonder what makes North Diversion Road a “diversion”—all those construction obstructions? Anyway, it’s hell going through Bulacan, but after a while the traffic lightens. Pampanga is a breeze, although there are some traffic choke points. Then it’s Subic, where we stopped to have breakfast at Wimpy’s Burger, located near the bus depot. I wanted to pass by SUBAC, but decided otherwise. Then it’s two more hours before we reach our destination—La Playa del Norte Beach Resort!

Since we arrived lunchtime, we decided to wait ‘til 4pm before swimming. The text messages kept coming in—the jokes about the mangmang and tanga amassing on EDSA; the call for gays to join Ernie Maceda and Jude Estrada at “EDSA 3” by wearing pink; the uglier the face, the bigger the amount paid to the supporters. It occurs to me that all this text messaging isn’t helping us any. It widens the ever-increasing gap between the rich and poor. And it is a major killjoy to our family vacation. Well, not quite… I look at my 9-yr old nephew and 5-yr old niece as they frolic blissfully on the sand and splash with abandon. Ah the innocents.


Today is the birthday of Martin “Gonz” Gonzalvez (TA Batch ‘88.) I know another batchmate, Alice Mendoza, will be celebrating her birthday soon (she’s a Taurus like Gonz, but I forget the exact date.)

We’re a little peeved because the resort does not receive any newspapers, and while they have cable, the only TV set is in the hut of the resort owner. So I rely on the text messages from friends in Manila.

And that's where I stopped, unfinished.

Guilty Pleasures (Music)

There’s music you like which you can defend critically and there’s music you just like for no reason at all. Then there’s music you’re ashamed to admit you like, with or without reason. Here are some in my shame-list. Since I cannot bring myself to rank them, I’ll just list them down in no particular order.

All By Myself by Eric Carmen
Forget about the Celine Dion version, the original is one of the favorite tunes played while men in skimpy underwear gyrate onstage to it. (Their favorite artist though is Bon Jovi, hands-down.) When that pause comes and then the drum beats that Thug!-dug!-dug! Dum! and he goes, “All byyy myyy-se-e-eeelf! Don’t wanna live all byyy myyy-self anyyymore!” I go gaga inside.

I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
Forget about Dolly Parton’s original, this re-make blasts that little country ditty out of the radio. And like All By Myself, the money moment comes towards the end… when the song pauses, there’s a singular drum beat, and then that uber-famous wail: “And aaaaayyy-I-ayyyy…!” and, well, you know the rest.

Groovy Kind Of Love by Phil Collins
At first I found the rearrangement interesting: he took the song’s 60s hippie, drug-induced feel and morphed it into an irony-filled 90s tune, at once hopeful and mournful at the same time. But the more I heard it, the more it dawned on me that this is just one lazy song. Still, whenever I hear it on the radio, I can’t switch the dial. Perhaps it’s because I like mashing the lyrics of this song with a Dee-Lite ditty: “Wouldn’t you agree / Baby you and me / Gotta groove is in the heart….”

Making Love Out Of Nothing At All by Air Supply
Okay, any song written and produced by Jim Steinman begs to be included in this list. But I have to admit that the songs Total Eclipse of the Heart and Read ‘Em and Weep work because the bombastic arrangement fits both Bonnie Tyler and Barry Manilow. Those two I can defend… kinda.

It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, while fitting for screeching Celine, is just too silly lyrically; even more so with Meatloaf’s the-title-is-as-silly-as-the-song I Will Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That). Besides I don’t like listening to those two. But Air Supply just begs for a heartfelt sing-along inside the safe confines of your car while on a lonely rainy drive.

And still speaking of Air Supply….

All Out of Love by Air Supply
Maybe it’s that 12+ seconds-long held note in the end. Maybe because it’s their first number 1 Billboard hit. (Their first hit Lost In Love I like too, but not that much.) Maybe… oh heck, whatever.

• Any Electric Light Orchestra song, especially Midnight Blue but with the exception of Don’t Bring Me Down
“I will love you tonight / And I will stay by your side / Loving you / I’m feeling midnight blue.” It’s the official anthem of “chi-mini-mini-mayni-mays” (domestic helpers) everywhere in the Philippines. Wow.

What are your musical guilty pleasures?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Fear Factor

When I was a very young kid, I was afraid of monsters: giant creatures, Godzilla, vampires. My two all-time vivid nightmares involved chases. One had a dinosaur chasing me down endless corridors. The other had Dracula running after me all over this cavernous movie house. He wanted to get his hands on this jug of blood I was carrying. Years later as I was remembering that dream, I thought, “Hey, why didn’t I just drop the damn jug and leave it?” but it was already way, way too late for that. I had grown up and realized those monsters weren’t real.

As a child I was also deathly afraid of strong winds. Blame it on an over-active imagination, inadequate knowledge of the weather, and reading one too many Drama In Real Life tornado stories in Reader’s Digest. Every time strong winds would blow, I’d cower and scream, “Hangin! Hangin!” (“The wind! The wind!”) But I eventually outgrew that fear.

A little older, I was afraid of flying cockroaches. Ooh, I hated those critters. They’d drive me nuts; they’re so agitated I couldn’t tell where they would land... more often than not on me! I wasn’t a sharpshooter, so killing them with a well-aimed slipper was not only difficult, it meant the roach would take flight again to escape the Sandal-bida missile. But then I discovered the power of the aerosol insecticide. And so my fear of flying bugs diminished.

Growing up loveless, my biggest fear was, “What if I never meet anyone for me?” So every night I silently prayed, “Lord give me a lover!” (which incidentally is the title of an old black-and-white Pinoy film.) But years passed and I learned how to be comfortable with myself. Now I don’t fear loneliness—I’m rarely lonely when I’m alone cuz I got me.

After that came a new kind of fear: Am I capable of handling an exclusive relationship? I’m 38 years old and many of my ways are quite set. I’ve been flying solo for most of my adult life; am I still capable of allowing someone to share in my personal space? Sharing my time, energy and effort—that’s easy. Sharing my life—that’s different. (Sharing my hard-to-find CDs and DVDs? Never!)

For years I’ve conquered my fears, sans tears. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself, hehehe!) This latest fear is just one more challenge to confront, one more obstacle to overcome, one more summit to surmount, one more… you get the picture.

Strangely though, this is fear has lost its bite in recent years. Oh it can still nag from time to time. But mostly it just sits there quietly in one corner, meek and almost toothless now, letting off an occasional whine (or two) to remind me of its presence.

One day I may face the fear head-on and know for sure if indeed I am capable of sharing my life with someone else. Or maybe one day the fear will just vanish, become irrelevant altogether. Maybe I will realize that there’s really nothing to fear at all.

If that day comes, I’m sure a new fear will take its place.

We need monsters to slay. Let there be monsters!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Public Service Announcement

The McVie Show is proud to announce that viewers can now easily participate without having to join Blogger.

Audience Participation is now via HaloScan, just like in the first season.

My dear audience, go participate!

Solitude Standing

Solitude stands by the window
She turns her head as I walk in the room
I can see by her eyes she’s been waiting
Standing in the slant of the late afternoon

And she says “I’ve come to set a twisted thing straight”
And she says “I’ve come to lighten this dark heart”
And she takes my wrist, I feel her imprint of fear
And I say “I’ve never thought of finding you here”

I turn to the crowd as they’re watching
They’re sitting all together in the dark in the warm
I wanted to be in there among them
I see how their eyes are gathered into one

Solitude stands in the doorway
And I’m struck once again by her black silhouette
By her long cool stare and her silence
I suddenly remember each time we’ve met

And she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame

(with apologies to Suzanne Vega for rearranging her lyrics)

I'm Having Neil Gaiman For Lunch

My officemate saw me walking out with a paperback in my hand and he goes, “You’re having lunch alone, as usual!” as if it was the most incredulous thing he’s ever seen.

Most people are uncomfortable eating alone in a public restaurant. For most parts I don’t but sometimes it depends on the restaurant. I have no problem being alone in fastfoods and small restos. I prefer a venue wherein I can quietly blend in the background. I like to be left alone with a good book and good food—lunch time for both mind and body.

A physical and spiritual oasis in the middle of a hectic day: that’s lunch time, and that’s why I guard mine jealously.


“What a lovely template you have for Season 2!” – Leigh Reyes
“…ganda ng season 2 look mo!” – Marlon Rivera
“…the layout is easier on the eyes.” – Nelz Agustin
“Two enthusiastic thumbs up!” – Roger Ebert, Ebert & Roeper
“Looking good!” – Entertainment Weekly

Thank you for appreciating the new look of The McVie Show, Season 2. I just chose it though; I didn’t design it. There were other template designs offered by Blogger, but the more elements in the design the longer it is to upload the page. Thus I went with simplicity.

I like the clean look, and I’ve always been partial to a white or bright background.

Thanks to Leigh for providing the picture and the url site.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch

So I come back to work after two weeks and here’s what greeted me: out of the four format IDs that our station has produced, only the Comedy Omnibus didn’t make it as a finalist in this year’s Promax competition to be held in New York next month. What is Promax? It is television promo’s Oscars, just like the Clio is advertising’s summit.

And only my work didn’t make it as a finalist. Yup, it’s the one with the “Joke, joke, joke!” ending.


Humor was too local. Conceptually weak—could’ve been stronger had talents acted mock-serious instead of merely posing for beauty shots. And it had el cheapo production values compared to the other three promo plugs.

Those were the things going through my mind when I found out about it… justifying, rationalizing. But in the end, it’s very simple: it didn’t make the cut. Oh well, next time.

It grates… for now.

Joke. Joke. Joke.

Blog Ko 'To!

Second season: time for some changes.

Nope, it does not mean I go all sugary sweet or I rant and rave on-line. The second season of The McVie Show will remain true to the spirit of the first season.

It's just that I realized with my dad's death there have been major shifts in my life, and I want to reflect that in my show. (To think a tremor struck Bohol a day after I left to go back to Manila, but that's beside the point.)

Okay, okay... truth be told, my reason isn't really all that dramatic: I just fell in love with this new template. But I'm not HTML-savy, and the people I know who do are busy with their own lives, so I just created a new blog using this template.