Monday, February 28, 2005

Weather I Like It Or Not

Schizophrenic ang weather these days. It’s still cold in the morning (as in, I still need a blanket) but by 9am the sun is blazing. By noon the heat is stifling. Kaya uso na naman ang ubo’t sipon. Buti lang I’ve restricted myself from going in and out of the office often.

I’m also feeling a little divided these days. Like the two fishes in my zodiac sign, a part of me is swimming upstairs while the other half is spiraling down. Maybe it’s just the weather affecting me. Or maybe it’s something more. Maybe it’s because Pil-Seung and Soon-Young is not showing anymore (it was already replaced by another kimchinovella) and I totally missed the ending of the series. Maybe it’s because we watched House of the Flying Daggers on DVD last night. Maybe it’s because there’s a 5-day shoot that’s staring us in the face and we’re having a hard time mounting it.

Ay leche. But this too shall pass.

Corrupted Lyrics

Sometimes on my shoulder makes me happy
-- to the tune of “Sunshine On My Shoulders” by John Denver

I can’t figure it out why I’m so
Got me feelin’ it.
I don’t know what it is,
But it seems she got me twisted.
I’m so
I’m losing control,
This girl’s got a hold on me.
-- to the tune of “Caught Up” by Usher

Na-feel mo na bang ma-finger?
Na-feel mo na bang ma-tow?
-- to the tune of “Love Is All Around” by Wet Wet Wet

“And the Oscar goes to…”

It’s Oscar Day today. Most gays look forward to two specials every year—the Miss Universe pageant and the Academy Awards. More look forward to the former for obvious reasons, but the Oscars are in a way also a beauty pageant (the dresses! the outfits!) of massive Hollywood scale. I can totally skip the Miss U telecast (my gay genes are warped that way), but I just have to watch the major categories of the Oscars. It’s the speeches.

Thanks to, I can take time out and skip certain portions of the telecast. Still, I enjoy watching two commercials over and over during the telecast: Pepsi’s new one starring Jericho Rosales (ang cute ni Echo! ang cute ng TVC!) and Nicole Kidman’s Chanel No. 5 TVC. This is the time of the year when Channel 9 earns the most via sponsors, kaya pagbigyan na nga!

* * * * *

Funny thing is I haven’t watched any of the five Best Picture nominees. The Aviator is still showing. Million Dollar Baby (the Best Picture winner this year) will open March 2. Finding Neverland and Ray are coming soon. Sideways typically came and went after, uhm, two(?) days. For some weird reason, this year’s batch doesn’t excite me as much. None of the frontrunners are as buzz-worthy as, say, any of the Lord of the Rings movies or even Titanic. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to sneak out once in a while this week. At least it looks like the Oscar win of Clint Eastwood’s movie will help keep it in the theaters for a longer period than Sideways.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Nelz: This One’s For You

At the christening of my niece, one of the ninongs was Aeus. So during the merienda afterwards, I had a chat with him. Another ninang, a friend of his, was with us.

Me: “Ay, kilala mo si Nelson, di ba?” He had a puzzled look, like he knew more than one Nelson and was trying to figure out which one I was referring to, so to help him further, I said: “Nelson Agustin?”

At last, recognition. “A, oo!”

Me: “Alam mo ba nasa Canada na siya?”

Aeus: “Talaga?”

I was enjoying my warm-up. Me: “At kasal na siya.”

Without missing a beat and not looking up from his food, he asked very innocently, “Talaga? May girlfriend ba siya?”

I thoroughly savored my split-second pause before I replied: “Lalake po ang asawa niya.”

Aeus looked up. Nelz, you should have been there to see the expression on his face. Ika nga ng MasterCard commercial: Priceless.

Ano daw ang reaction niya? “Ha? Puwede pala ang ganoon (gay marriage) sa Canada?”

In total fairness, mabilis naka-recover ang mama.

Grrr-rant Me (An Ear)

Nakanampoootcha, haaay naku! Ayoko na! I give up. Kung sino pa ang type mo, siya pa ang lalayo-layo sa ‘yo. At kung sino pa ang type ka niya, siya pa ang dedmatic ka. *sigh!* Story of my life. All those happy couples? Fakers. Mga fekkis lahat sila ever!

This has got to be the most immature episode in The McVie Show yet. And I love it!

Just a few hours ago in Bed, someone whom I was flirting with the whole night leans over and tells me, while laughing, “You know, you’re too smart for your own good.” Too smart? Gee, nobody told me when I was a kid that I shouldn’t be “too smart.” Too smart?! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!!! There are too many fucking stoooooooopid people already in the world, and you want me to not be “too smart” too?!

Shet. I need to get some sleep. It’s bad to ask me to come to work on a Saturday afternoon. Gets on my nerves.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Two All-Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickles, Onions, On A Sesame Seed Bun

(This episode has the longest title in The McVie Show yet!)

I’ve gone to his place three times already; last night I slept over there. He thinks I’m one funny guy. Sometimes he’d just look at me and start laughing. I’m beginning to wonder if I look like a clown or if there’s a big booger always hanging from my nose. When I ask him what’s so funny, he just smiles and hugs me. I know my nose is clean, so maybe I just look like Ronald McDonald.

Call me Big Mc.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

She Got That Right

I’m not a big fan of Miss Big Fanny, but Her Tushness has got me shaking my tush every time I hear her latest song, Get Right. This dance hit has one of the most infectious samples I’ve ever heard, an insistent horn that lodges in one’s mind and refuses to leave. (It’s on the same level as Usher’s Yeah! and Beyonce’s Crazy In Love.) The accompanying music video, alas, has a very trite concept—multiple Jennies in one block. Still, it’s a joy to watch her dance up a storm in high heels. And thanks to that unrelenting bleating, her music video becomes eminently more watchable. Nowadays she insists to media that she doesn’t want to be called “J. Lo” anymore. Looks like she’s trying to shake off her colorful past. Her personal life has always threatened to overshadow her musical career. Maybe with this song, she just might get it right this time.

* * * * *

My gulay. The saxophone riff for Get Right was sampled from a James Brown song. No wonder it sounds sooo funkieee! Panalo!

And true enough, I’ve proven that I’m not a fan of Miss Ex-Half Of Bennifer. I only like two tracks in her album, and they’re both the Get Right cuts (the second version has the prerequisite “added rap part” featuring rapper Fabolous grafted unto the song’s intro and instrumental break). If it weren’t for the additional DVD (with videos for both Get Right tracks and a boring—as in, really—“making of” feature), I wouldn’t have bought her latest album Rebirth.

Equal Rights Can Kill

(Someone sent me the following email.)

Barbara Walters of 20/20 (USA-ABC Television) did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked 5 paces behind their husbands. She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands.

From Ms. Walters’ vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even further back behind their husbands and appear happy to maintain the old custom. Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, “Why do you now seem happy with the old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?”

The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes and without hesitation said, “Land mines.”

Much Keanu About Nothing

A lot of people say that Keanu Reeves cannot—nay, doesn’t—act. Can he, really? Is what he does in his movies “acting”? First off, let me say that I found him deliciously cute during the early part of his career (the Bill & Ted and Private Idaho era). But as he grew older and thinner, his sex appeal diminished for me. So my assessment of him is not tainted by any “ay-type-ko-siya” bias. By the time he did The Matrix, I found him handsome but very wooden, very flat. It’s like his personality disappeared. He took very varied roles, from drama to comedy to action; he worked in small films as well as Hollywood behemoths. But despite all that variety, Keanu always comes off as inscrutable, like you cannot find a man behind the character. He is a hollow man, filled with words from a script and actions from a director’s blocking. I suspect he actually acts, except that his features are so passive, even his eyes do not show the inner workings of his mind. And yet he remains picture-perfect, always camera-ready. Ultimately, Keanu is a star if not an actor. Call him Mr. Hollowood Star.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hang Loose 2

Thank god I didn’t get to see any cute naked hunks today, so no one noticed how “free” and “relaxed” I was the whole day. Masarap din pala yung pinakakawalan ang mga boys ko paminsan-minsan. Parang silang mga ibong nakawala sa hawla. A-hahahaha! I’m a briefs guy, but I also own a couple of boxer shorts and also boxer briefs. Mukhang mapapadalas ang paggamit ko ng mga iyon.

Hang Loose

Oh gosh. In my rush to leave the house this morning, I forgot to pack in my gym bag a change of underwear. So imagine my shock after workout when I found out that I don’t have a clean pair to wear for the day.

So now I’m, uhmmm, hanging loose in the office.

Of course I could go to the nearby Crossings Department store and buy me a new pair. But somehow there’s something exciting and kinky-fun in strutting around the office with nothing in between me and my Levi’s. I just hope I don’t get an erection in public.

Monday, February 21, 2005

So On Sunday, God Rested

Actually, I watched Constantine Sunday afternoon. I went to Shangri-la Mall because I was told the new theaters there were fantastic. Well, they are: aside from the great incline (for better sightlines) and surround sound, they have some of the biggest screens around. As in! In most theaters, one just looks steadily ahead; here, one has to glance to the left and right just to take in the full view. And I was already seated somewhere in the middle towards the back! Tarush. Plus the crowd there is a whole lot better than at Gateway. The Araneta-owned mall has Greenbelt-like theaters, but the crowd is sooo Ali Mall. Your inner snob will not like them when they’re talking out loud during the movie.

Anyway, back to Constantine. First, a confession: when I heard that Keanu Reeves was playing the lead character in the Hellraiser comic series, I was skeptical, if not downright disappointed. Why did these people choose a star instead of an actor? Keanu is great to watch from any angle, but his emotional gamut runs from A to B.

And yet! After watching the movie, I suddenly had new respect for the director. His casting of Keanu was, I think, inspired. No one else in Hollywood has the combination of looks, popularity, box office clout (Reeves can open a movie much bigger than Depp) and an irony-free acting that may look wooden in another movie but in here looks quite… cool. Whoa! Nobody can do “jaded cool” like Keanu. Whether he’s confronting an angel or a demon, his countenance doesn’t change. He’s the ultimate “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt” guy.

Other signs that Keanu pulled off the role: [1] he wasn’t eaten alive in his scenes with the charismatic Tilda Swinton as Angel Gabriel; and [2] Rachel Weisz, otherwise a very competent actress, actually looked like she was putting too much effort when placed beside Keanu; compared to his Zen-like acting, hers was a signal no. 3 typhoon.

The movie is also eye candy in more ways than its handsome cast. The effects are gorgeous to look at; not surprising, since the director came from music videos. Definitely it’s a fun movie to watch, despite the metaphysical ek-ek. Its theology may bother your parents who were weaned on pre-Vatican II precepts, so don’t bring them along. Its message of how the lines of good and evil are actually more blurred than we thought is something that they shouldn’t worry about, especially when every day they’re getting closer to buying the farm.

Saturday, God Was Very Busy

I was asked to DJ a cast party last Saturday evening. The last time I DJ-ed was at the TARUGO (Tanghalang Ateneo Reunion, U Go!) party last December; before that, it was many years ago since I last played music at a party. So my skills were quite rusty then; naka-apat na sablay ako that night. So when I was asked to be Mr. DJ last Saturday, I accepted because that gave me a chance to redeem myself. In total fairness to me iisa lang ang sablay ko, at hindi pa teknikal (meaning sablay sa pag-press ng play, o pag-cue ng music). I chose the wrong song, thinking kakagatin ito ng mga bagets. Eh wiz type pala nila, kaya flop! Most of them cleared the dance area, although may isa o dalawa na umattempt na patulan ang kanta (hindi ko na sasabihin kung anong song, nakakahiya eh). But aside from that, patok ang mga choices ko of songs to play.

The kids grew up with the music of Spice Girls, early Britney, even Steps’ “5,6,7,8”. So ang saya-saya dahil na-retro sila sa mga yun. They were also into the latest R&B hits (like Usher and Ciara).

In the midst of all this, while I was “in the zone” and had the crowd lapping up each and every song, I received a text message from Phillip. He and Zeki were in Government. Shit! I couldn’t just leave the party; if I do, it dies.

Only then did I realize the truth behind the song: God is a DJ.

Still, I managed to meet up with them in Government. O say! Isingit sa sked ang lahat ng puwedeng maisingit. Ako si Mr. Singit. Phillip was blissfully buzzed. Zeki was… actually, I don’t know if he was bored or he was already contented with watching the people on the dance floor. Basta he looked cool in his black shirt. Anyway, it was my chance to dance—biro mo, I was at a party and the whole time I couldn’t really dance kasi busy-busy-han ang lola. Kaya dance ako sa Government! That is, after I quickly downed two glasses of vodka tonic—I needed the buzz kasi. At the cast party I was drinking beer, but intermittently. (One really needs to focus on the job at hand, otherwise sasablay.) So I didn’t even have a buzz when I got to Makati.

Properly buzzed, dance-kiti-dance ako.

After a while I noticed Zeki was alone. Where was Phillip? Nagpapaka-Good Samaritan upstairs. Well, maybe more of a Good-but-with-a-hidden-agenda Samaritan. Basta it involved a very drunk guy wearing white sando and jeans. How drunk was the sando guy? He told Phillip he was alone, but later on he wanted to find his friend. Hmmm… akala ko ba alone siya? Then again, maybe it was Phillip who was the really drunk one, and had his stories crossed.

Heniwey, mabuti na lang at nakaka-drive pa si Phillip pauwi without endangering Zeki and his car Amanda.

On my way home, I dropped by the cast party. Only a few people were still up, singing songs. The others were scattered all over the house, asleep. From the pairings and positioning of the people snoozing, one can tell who was interested in whom. Ah, kids! Ang saya.

The Laughing/Crying Mask

People who are funny more often than not have gone through much suffering, and have learned to use humor as a way of coping with pain. The more pain, the more practice they have using humor to cope. No wonder some of the funniest people hide some of the saddest stories.

Phantom Take 2

Because Mommy and Auntie wanted to watch Phantom Of The Opera, I ended up seeing the movie again. Strangely enough, I found myself enjoying it more the second time around. Yun lang nga, the dragging parts were even more of a chore to watch; as much as I love the song “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”, I fell asleep during that musical number. And while the Phantom was singing the reprise of “Masquerade” at the end (when he let the lovers go), I had this sudden insight as to maybe why I’ve remained single for so long. And this time I stayed to listen to the new song written especially for the movie’s end credits (thus providing the movie with an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song).

Learn To Be Lonely

Child of the wilderness
Born into emptiness
Learn to be lonely
Learn to find your way in darkness.
Who will be there for you?
Comfort and care for you?
Learn to be lonely
Learn to be your one companion.
Never dreamed out in the world
There are arms to hold you?
You’ve always known
Your heart was on its own.
So laugh in your loneliness,
Child of the wilderness.
Learn to be lonely
Learn how to love life that is lived alone.
Learn to be lonely
Life can be lived
Life can be loved

Now it’s clearer to me why I was such a Phantom fan when everyone else was going gaga over Les Miserables. I mean, “On My Own” and “A Little Fall Of Rain” are heart-breaking songs, but the Victor Hugo novel-turned-musical was way too miserable and dealt more with social and political issues. Phantom is in essence a story of unrequited love and a man who hides himself from the world out of fear.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Ten-Song Tag (from Leigh)

Random 10:
Wala po akong iPod, and it was just very recently that I’ve started putting songs in the Windows Media Player of my office computer. So I’ll revise the question to “10 songs on my current playlist, or running in my head these past few days” (in no particular order):
[1] You’ll Be Safe Here (orchoustic version) – Rivermaya
[2] Hari Ng Sablay – Sugarfree
[3] What You Waiting For? – Gwen Stefani
[4] Rich Girl – Gwen Stefani
[5] 1,2 Step – Ciara
[6] Caught Up – Usher
[7] Tell Me On A Sunday – Andrew Lloyd Webber
[8] Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again – Andrew Lloyd Webber
[9] Think Of Me – Andrew Lloyd Webber
[10] Get Right – Jennifer Lopez
Obvious ba that I’ve just recently watched The Phantom of the Opera?

What is the total amount of music files in your computer?
I’m still old-fashioned. I’d rather have my music on disc, not in a hard drive.

The last CD you bought was:
Actually I bought three at the same time.
Love. Angel. Music. Baby. – Gwen Stefani
Goodies – Ciara
You’ll Be Safe Here – Rivermaya
This explains some of the songs in my random list.

Five songs that you listen to a lot or mean a lot to you:
[1] You Choose by Pet Shop Boys
Don’t blame him for refusing your bid / He didn’t decide to love, you did. / Learn the lesson / Take the blows / You didn’t fall in love by chance / You chose / Play the sad songs / Sing the blues / You don’t fall in love by chance / You chose.
For me it was a great epiphany: falling in love is a choice. You may not be able to totally control your emotions, but you can control your actions.
[2] You Learn by Alanis Morissette
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend / You grieve you learn / You choke you learn / You laugh you learn / You choose you learn / You pray you learn / You ask you learn / You live you learn
I love the image of fire trucks just around the bend—you’re in trouble, but the solution is on the way. Living is a constant state of learning.
[3] Tell Me On A Sunday by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Let me down easy / No big song and dance / No long faces, no long looks / No deep conversation / I know the way we should spend that day / Take me to a zoo that’s got chimpanzees / Tell me on a Sunday please
The ultimate break-up song. It’s the gentlest yet firmest I’ve ever heard.
[4] Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
Eleanor Rigby, died in the church / and was buried along with her name / Nobody came / Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt / from his hands as he walks from the grave / No one was saved / All the lonely people / Where do they all come from?
Searing images plus a spare yet evocative string arrangement contribute to a powerful song about loneliness.
[5] Gumboots – Paul Simon
I said, “Hey senorita, that’s astute.” / I said, “Why don’t we get together / and call ourselves an institute?” / You don’t feel you could love me / But I feel you could.
This song is a great example of Paul Simon’s lyrical prowess—understated, yet rich in meaning. Plus the music’s great, his foray into South African music.

Who are you gonna pass this stick to? (3 persons and why)
No one. The buck stops here with me. I’m just too tamad to tag people. Those who wanna answer it in their blogs, please feel free to do so.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sing Tune A Do

Last Tuesday evening at a funeral mass for the father of a former officemate of ours, a female solo singer started to sing Lift Up Your Hands during communion:

“Life is not at all that bad my friend…”

I noticed her voice was wobbly, obviously out of age not grief. I also noticed she was singing at quite a high key. I turned to my companion (another officemate) beside me; her eyes were shut in prayer. So I just kept my mouth shut. Then the singer got to the refrain:

“And He said…”

Ay, tataas pa ito.

“…cast your burdens upon me…”

Her voice started cracking; she was struggling to hit the high notes.

“For the yoke I will give you is easy…”

Oh no, not again.

But then suddenly she spoke: “Please sing! Those who know the song, sing along with me!” “…and my burden is light….”

Ay, may ganun! I looked at my companion; she was looking at me too. We broke into uncontrollable giggling.

Later on after the mass, I asked my former officemate who the singer was.

“She’s my father’s sister, my tita,” she replied, then immediately added, “…who is one of the original members of The New Minstrels.”

Oh my gulay! Muntikan ko nang i-okray ang isang original member ng New Minstrels, ang isang tanyag na vocal group from the early 70s! Kaya may-I-reply na lang, “Ahhh, okey.” Sabay punta sa buffet table para kumain ng barbeque.

How To Deal With Homorassment

The following story is from my friend, Marlon.

This happened years ago when he was still staying in Cubao. One night walking home, he passed by a little mendicant girl who, upon noticing his sashaying, started harassing him: “Bakla, bakla!” At first he didn’t mind it because, heck, patulan ba ang bagets? But then the little girl started to run after him, her taunting getting louder: “Bakla! Bakla! BAKLA!”

Finally Marlon had enough. He slowed down a bit just so that the girl could catch up. When she was almost directly behind him, he suddenly turned around, bent down, pointed a finger almost at the girl’s nose and hissed quietly but emphatically at her:

“Eh kung kantutin kaya kita?!”

The poor girl scampered away, eyes wide with fright.

* * * * *

In fairness to Phlog, their updated look is a lot snazzier. I only have one new picture, though. I must go out-of-town again one of these days.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Doctor Quack Quack

I remember the time I went to see a shrink.

It was a few years after college; I was already working. Yet I was still grappling with coming out and a succession of unrequited romances. I was getting antsy—it felt like my whole world was caving in. I needed to see a professional.

While I have several close friends who are quite sensible and level-headed, I decided not to talk to them about my problems. Friends aren’t the most objective people to talk to; they have their own hidden agenda and interests to protect. Professionals just need to know that you can pay their fee. Sometimes you really need an outsider with nothing to protect to slap some sense into you.

At first I decided to talk to one of the Cenacle nuns (they were recommended by a priest during one of my last retreats I attended). She was very kind and listened well; best of all she never injected anything religious into our conversations. But she also didn’t ask for any payment, so after three sessions I felt I was taking too much of her time. So I asked her if she can recommend a doctor for me.

The shrink she recommended had his office along Taft Ave. I had to go there for about 5 sessions of an hour each. It was great! Snapped me out of the funk I was in. And because the sessions weren’t exactly that cheap, I had to snap out of it fast, hahaha!

Before there was a stigma attached to seeing a shrink. Nowadays it can be a status symbol, especially if you’re with the hoity-toity crowd. But stigma or symbol aside, seeing a shrink is something one can seriously consider. After all, they don’t tell you the solution; they merely help you figure things out on your own. And with that you can have peace of mind.

Mister Sungit

At least three guys have told me (after having sex in the bathhouse) that I was masungit-looking, which is why they hesitated to approach me in the first place. Last Saturday a guy who I met in Bed told me I looked like a mabagsik na pulis.

Oh god!

It’s my dad’s genes. If you see his pictures (especially when he was already in his 50s) his general countenance is one that’s often scowling, his eyebrows furrowed, frown lines prominent, lips on a downturn. No, he wasn’t an unhappy man. I think he was always squinting (he had glasses but often refused to wear them). My eyesight is still 20/20 (as determined in last month’s medical check-up), but I’m always thinking of something. And when I’m thinking, I tend to furrow my eyebrows and purse my lips. I think that makes me look sungit.

Of course, those who already know me say that I’m not masungit, that I’m actually an easy-going guy. Sarcastic, yes, but still an easy-to-approach kind of guy. Of course, at bars and bathhouses there’s not much opportunity to display my easy-going charm and sharp wit. Sheesh!

Memo to me: SMILE MORE.

Monday, February 14, 2005

A Musical With Little Lift

Watched The Phantom of the Opera, director Joel Schumacher’s attempt to put on celluloid Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical. The director has been accused of making the Batman franchise frivolous and fey. In response, he made two gritty films, Tigerland and Phonebooth (curiously, both starred the very sexy Colin Farrell). Schumacher should have retained his frivolity in his latest effort. Despite the sumptuous cast and production design, this movie needed more chutzpa in terms of direction and camera work. It needed the manic energy that fueled Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge. Maybe Schumacher felt he’d suffer too much in comparison to that Oscar-nominated musical. Only in the musical numbers “Notes from the Phantom” and “Primadonna” did the movie seem to lift a bit. Otherwise, the whole movie had a very heavy mood, like it was weighed down by all the gold and heavy textile of the sets and costumes.

Friday, February 11, 2005

A Very Long Engagement

Starring Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. They are to wed decades after they first met in 1970. After Princess Diana died in a car crash in 1997, Prince Charles waited eight long years before he got down on his knees and proposed to her. How very patient, how very British. (Then again, if one stands to lose a crown because of hastily marrying a divorcee after one’s beloved wife just died in a horrible accident, one would be prudent to wait that long.)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

McInfluential Music Acts 2

McVie’s Top 10 Most Influential Music Acts: Solo

I had a harder time listing this group. I guess I’m more of a team-player than a soloist.

[10] Ricky Martin
Okay, so I’m not a major fan of all of his songs. But the ones I like, I like a lot. Mr. Shaved Armpits helped me to not be embarrassed in liking dance songs with Spanish lyrics (like “Macarena”, hahaha!) Quintessential favorites: Maria, She Bangs, The Cup Of Life

[9] George Michael
Even when he was still with Andrew Ridgley, I knew Georgie was Wham! I also knew that he was with my team. I actually liked his solo efforts, especially the danceable ones, more than his Wham! hits. His songs are soulful and heartfelt (sometimes too much though). Quintessential favorites: Praying For Time, Freedom 90, Killer/Papa Was A Rolling Stone

[8] Alanis Morissette
Some of my personal anthems about love and relationships are from her breakthrough first album. She helped me go through some rough times dealing with (often) unrequited emotions. Even if she only released one album, that would have been enough. Quintessential favorites: Hand In My Pocket, You Learn, Thank U

[7] Barry Manilow
Hahaha, my age is showing! He was my favorite male artist back when I was in grade school. I remember almost crying when I heard “Ships”. And “Copacabana” was a huge hit with all of us. I could take even his ballads. These days his songs have this kitschy appeal. Quintessential favorites: Mandy, Weekend In New England, Read ‘Em And Weep

[6] Andrew Lloyd Webber
Technically, he’s not a solo act. But he writes the songs that make the whole theater world sing. And his tunes go beyond the stage; they enter not just pop charts but also the pop consciousness of people who don’t even know what an overture is. His songs are so pop yet so theatrical and dramatic they are my musical equivalent of comfort food. Quintessential favorites: Anything But Lonely, Memory, Tell Me On A Sunday

[5] Sting
After being the head Police-man for several years, Sting embarked on a solo career that was more successful than his acting career. He continued to write whip-smart lyrics, but flexed his musical muscles beyond the simple 3-chords-and-the-truth mentality of rock and roll. He incorporated jazz into his pop songs, and his music became as witty as his lyrics. Quintessential favorites: Fields Of Gold, When We Danced, They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)

[4] Janet Jackson
Miss Jackson (because I’m nasty) certainly made very hip, danceable songs, and her choreography broke the usual dance mold during that time. Whenever I’d DJ at a party, I always play a Janet Jackson song or two. But then she became nastier, and while her sound became increasingly irrelevant, she decided to take a page off her brother’s “Controversy as a Career Move” book and showed her boobie at the Super Bowl. The rest of her career is, pun intended, a bust. Quintessential favorites: Nasty, Love Would Never Do (Without You), Throb

[3] Prince
His Royal Purpleness, TAFKAP, the glyph symbol… what’s in a name? That which we call the Royal Purple Comeback would still make music that’s sweet. Prince wowed me with music that was controversial, feral, oozing with sex and danger—the perfect anti-Michael during the 80s. Now he’s this very stable, happily-married man while Wacko Jacko is, well, wacko. Talk about role reversal. Quintessential favorites: 1999, When Doves Cry, Kiss

[2] Michael Jackson
Okay, so he may be wacko, but no one can deny the cultural impact he made during his reign as King of Pop. Heck, I wanted to have curls like his! I wore white socks! I wanted the multi-zipper red jacket! But I stopped at the sequined gloves. Meanwhile, his songs and videos are forever etched in my mind. He’s a genuine thriller in more ways than the one involving little boys. Quintessential favorites: Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, The Way You Make Me Feel, Remember The Time

[1] Madonna
Hello, obvious ba? Gay icon. She made an art out of self-promotion and reinvention. And her music ain’t that bad too. She was a genius in picking the right people to work with on her albums and videos. Too bad she had lousy instincts when it came to her acting. Heck, can’t win ‘em all. Nobody’s perfect. Quintessential favorites: too many to mention

Runners-up (in alphabetical order):
k.d. lang – Thanks to her album “Ingénue” she merits a special mention in my list. Her song cycle of love found and lost is a treasure chest of anthems for every stage of a relationship. No wasted track.
Barbra Streisand – I’m actually a fan of her “Broadway Album”. That album alone has songs that I’ve used one time or another as my “song for the moment”. And aside from possessing some of the best pipes in the business, she has impeccable phrasing. They don’t sing ‘em like they used to.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

McInfluential Music Acts 1

Here I go again with my lists. I’ve attempted to list my Top 10 Most Influential Music Acts. What do I mean by this? These acts, whether solo, duo or group, created music which helped defined my taste in music. One way or another, their songs make up the soundtrack of my life.

I divided it into two lists: [1] duo or group; [2] solo acts.

Duo or Group

[10] New Order
The band formerly known as Joy Division was a major influence in the kind of direction dance and electronic music took during the 90s. I loved the way they marry cold and hard electronic sounds with the tortured singing of Bernard Sumner. Quintessential favorites: Love Will Tear Us Apart Again, Fine Time, Regret.

[9] Fleetwood Mac
It’s the dynamics between ethereal Stevie Nicks, California rocker Lindsey Buckingham, and cool, breezy Christine McVie which makes Fleetwood Mac’s repertoire of songs an interesting mix. Together, they create pop gems that have their personal stamp as well as an unmistakable Mac-mark. Quintessential favorites: Gypsy, Tusk, Go Your Own Way

[8] The Police
Sting’s whip-smart lyrics combined with the very tight interplay between him, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland equals some of the smartest rock music in the 80s and early 90s. Quintessential favorites: Message In A Bottle, Every Breath you Take, King Of Pain

[7] Paul McCartney & Wings
Growing up I listened to the Beatles, so when they broke up I naturally followed the solo careers of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Paul was the most successful of the four; he was also my favorite Beatle. Sir Paul may be faulted for writing too many “silly love songs”, but he’s also proven to be capable once in a while to pull a more substantial pop song or two. Quintessential favorites: Listen To What The Man Said, Live And Let Die, Tug Of War

[6] Pet Shop Boys
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe spoke of gay men’s concerns masked (at first) in a hetero-ambiguous way. But their electronic music couldn’t mask their fey and gay spirit. I also like how Neil’s lyrics became more substantial without losing the smart play of words. Quintessential favorites: What Have I Done To Deserve This?, So Hard, I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore

[5] BeeGees
Starting as a gentler Beatles-wannabe in the 60s, the quintessential disco act of the 70s went on to make elegant pop music in the 80s and 90s as well. I remember biking home in a terrible rush because I heard the song “You Should Be Dancing” playing in our neighbor’s TV. Their songs have such elegant arrangements, it’s no surprise even their dance songs are backed by an orchestra. Now that’s disco music with strings attached. Quintessential favorites: Don’t Forget To Remember, If I Can’t Have You, You Win Again

[4] Electric Light Orchestra
An outgrowth of my love for Beatles music (especially during their “Magical Mystery Tour” era) is my fascination with another Beatles-wannabe group. Taking the rock-and-roll-band-with-strings-section one step further, Jeff Lynne had a whole string section backing his band up. Even during the disco era, ELO made danceable rock music. On later albums Jeff Lynne stripped down his sound, but his melodies and arrangements still sounded suspiciously like the Fab Four’s. Quintessential favorites: Don’t Bring Me Down, Don’t Walk Away, Endless Lies

[3] Abba
Why not? ‘Nuff said.
Seriously, it’s Swedish kitsch plus flawless tunes equals timeless pop classics. Quintessential favorites: Knowing Me, Knowing You, The Name Of The Game, The Winner Takes It All

[2] U2
The boys from Ireland have helped pushed the envelope for modern rock and roll. Dabbling in electronica, hip-hop, classical and other diverse musical influences, U2 was never afraid to push their music in brave directions, to go where the streets have no name. That they continue to rock on and reinvent is a testament to their staying power. Quintessential favorites: Pride (In The Name Of Love), Numb, Discothèque

[1] The Beatles
Hello, obvious ba? The earliest memory I have of any song is their Obla-di, Obla-da. With the album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, the Beatles did for pop music what Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 did to classical music: they burst the genre wide open and moved it in directions unheard of then. Ground-breaking, record-breaking, life-changing—they weren’t called the Fab Four for nothing. Quintessential favorites: too many to mention

Runners-up (in alphabetical order):
The Carpenters – The brother-and-anorexic team of Richard and Karen made music that, in a way, defined the 70s for me. Theirs was the music I’d hear on AM radio stations during afternoon siesta, usually with our Bisaya maid singing haphazardly along to it.
Daryl Hall & John Oates – They reached their peak in the 80s, with top 5 hits one after the other. Their songs are part of my 80s soundtrack, as are the songs of…
Duran Duran – Another quintessential 80s band. Their songs make up my soundtrack, while their videos define that era’s images.
Queen – Long before I realized Freddie Mercury played on my team, I already liked his band’s music. They made hard-rocking tunes that were irresistibly sing-alongable. Plus their set in Live Aid was one for the books.

Next time, the solo acts.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

All rise to celebrate the Year of the Wooden Cock!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My Current Top Local Song

It’s from the local TV series “Spirits”. I was driving home last night when this song started playing on the radio. Towards the end, when Rico Blanco kept repeating the line “you’ll be safe here”, I got a little teary-eyed. This song is like a reassuring pat or an arm around my shoulder.

You’ll Be Safe Here
[ Rivermaya ]

Nobody knows
Just why we’re here.
Could it be fate
Or random circumstance?
At the right place,
At the right time,
Two roads intertwine.

And if the universe conspired
To meld our lives,
To make us
Fuel and fire,
Then know—
Where ever you will be
So too shall I be.

Close your eyes,
Dry your tears,
‘Coz when nothing seems clear—
You’ll be safe here.
From the sheer weight
Of your doubts and fears,
Weary heart…
You’ll be safe here.

Remember how we laughed
Until we cried?
At the most stupid things
Like we were so high.
But love was all that we were on...
We belong.

And though the world would
Never understand
This unlikely union,
And why it still stands.
Someday we will be set free.
Pray and believe.

When the light disappears
And when this world’s insincere,
You’ll be safe here.
When nobody hears you scream,
I’ll scream with you—
You’ll be safe here.

Save your eyes
From your tears,
When everything’s unclear,
You’ll be safe here.
From the sheer weight
Of your doubts and fears,
Wounded heart…

When the light disappears
And when this world’s insincere,
You’ll be safe here.
When nobody hears you scream
I’ll scream with you—
You’ll be safe here.

In my arms
Through the long cold night,
Sleep tight.
You’ll be safe here.
When no one understands,
I’ll believe.
You’ll be safe,
You’ll be safe,
You’ll be safe here….

Put your heart in my hands,
You’ll be safe here.

I Remember Yesterday…

…the world was so young. I got the following off Rabbi’s livejournal:

if you read this journal,
even if i don't speak to you often,
post a memory of me.
it can be anything you want.
it can be good or bad,
just so long as it's happened.

then post this in your journal/blog.
see what people remember about you.

*McVie sings*

“Memory, all alone in the moonlight, I can smile at the old days, I was beautiful then….”

Go ahead, make my day.

Isn’t He Lovely?

Isn’t he wonderful? Isn’t he precious?

Okay, so he’s not that singkit, but he’s sooo adorable just the same.

Oh yeah, speaking of singkit… advanced kung hei fat choi!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Birthday Victim

You can spring this birthday prank on someone. This is our version of a “Birthday Victim Extreme Edition”. We just pulled it off today on one of our officemates, Chloe.

First, one of Chloe’s friends in the office contacted her boyfriend and clued him in on the prank. Next, our officemate Clyde started texting Chloe using her personal cellphone number, a number Chloe doesn’t have in her phone directory. Clyde pretended she was Chole’s boyfriend’s other woman, and started to “harass” Chloe. She texted lines like: At last I got your number. Hindi ako nakikipaglokohan sa iyo. Hindi ako manloloko, kundi ang boyfriend mo. Yes, I may be a bitch pero ako ang bitch na sinasamba ng boyfriend mo.

Ang taray!

Anyway, Clyde as the “mistress” told Chloe she didn’t want a fight, but she needed to meet with her that afternoon because she had “important things to discuss” with her. They agreed to meet at the nearest Starbucks. Come rendezvous time, we hid inside Starbucks while another officemate of ours accompanied Chloe outside the coffee shop to wait for the mysterious mistress. Then, as a final prank, Clyde called up Chloe on the phone while she, along with the rest of us, crept up from behind her.


Yes, we are an evil bunch. Just make sure the celebrant is the kind who can survive this kind of cruel stunt.

Close Encounter of the Showbiz Kind

I peeked into their on-going photo shoot for their new show. Mark, the executive producer, decided to introduce me: “Aaron, this is Kuya Joel, he’s the promo specialist, este, promo supervisor for comedy.”

Fuck. Why do production people always refer to us as “kuya” as if we’re related?

Aaron stood up from his seat and offered his hand. I took it and shook it.

Oooooh gosh! I’m shaking Aaron’s hand! I’m shaking Aaron’s hand! Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Then he spoke: “Hi, po.”

“Po”? Po?! Shet. Puwede ba ‘wag mo ako galangin?!

Hay naku. The kids of today…!


PAKINGSHET!!! That kid is not 19 years old pala!
He's only 15 years old.


Bitay ito!

Pil-Seung & Soon-Young

I’m really getting addicted to Korean/Chinese/Japanese tv series and movies. And my current favorite is a Korean soap opera that I stumbled upon one Sunday morning while channel surfing. The title of the series is Pil-Seung & Soon-Young, and like Lovers In Paris, the recent Kimchi-novella that was a big hit here, this soap isn’t an all-out weep-fest but instead has many light, humorous moments.

The titular characters are the ones on the left. Pil-Seung is a simple provincial lad. What he lacks in smarts he makes up for with a big heart. He meets and falls in love with Soon-Young, a woman working as a clerk in a giant supermarket chain (think SM). But she has her heart set for the head of marketing of that supermarket chain (played by the actor on the right). Things get even more complicated when Pil-Seung is discovered to be the heir to the chairmanship of the giant supermarket chain. (Hey, told you this is a soap opera!) So now Pil-Seung is the boss of both Soon-Young and the marketing head. And that’s not all: to help him into his new role as head of the company, Pil-Seung is given a teacher (the girl third from the left); she eventually falls for Pil-Seung.

Love quadrangle itetch!

Most of the light moments are supplied by the actor playing Pil-Seung. He’s not really that good-looking, but he possesses great comic timing and isn’t afraid to look ridiculous for the camera. Which of course makes him look even cuter in my eyes! He’s now the latest in my long line of chinky-eyed crushes.

Hay naku. Now I really wanna go to Singapore or Hong Kong or Seoul.

Of Commies and Shootings

On the front page of the Inquirer today, photos of the first gay marriage in the New People’s Army, between a 21-yr old and a 54-yr old. My god, the Reds have turned pink!


Imperialista, ibagsak! Dikaturang Arroyo-US, patalsikin!

(P.S. -- Thanks to Jong’s blog for the pic.)


Yesterday afternoon I attended my very first photo shoot party. Hu-whaaat? you may ask. Well, it’s a really inventive way to mix business with pleasure.

My friend, let’s call him D, is a struggling newbie photographer in Manila. In a city with a surplus of professional shutterbugs, he knows he’ll have a hard time breaking into the market. At the same time he also needs to further improve his photo skills. How will he do that if he can’t have people posing for him?

He found the solution in, of all places, Friendster. He noticed how a lot of Friendster pics are slap-dash pics that don’t do justice to the person. D thought, if people had access to professional photographers, they’d want their pics taken by them and post those pics on their Friendster account.

Thus, the photo shoot party was born. D invited his friends to invite their friends over. At the same time, he contacted several people through his Friendster account and invited them over. So D gets to practice his photography skills, the guys get to have better Friendster pics, and people get to swap cards, contact numbers and—maybe, who knows?—body fluids much, much later on after the pictorials. Think of it has having the dynamics of a gay orgy without the orgy, of course. There’s a lot of shooting load going on, but we’re talking loads of film. (Weeeell… actually, digital ang gamit niya.) D wants to keep the pictorial as “clean” and professional as possible—he’d better, because his boyfriend always tags along in every shoot.

There were about 15 of us in the room. There were two couples who had their individual photos taken as well as with their significant other. With matching kiss and hug pa ang posing nila. D asked me to join in just to observe, but I ended up mugging for his camera towards the end of the shoot.

Because D limits his invitees to only gay men, we were all very supportive when one of them, let’s call him Marc, asked to be shot nude. As in totally in the buff. So we dimmed the lights, and Marc posed gamely for D. Too gamely, in fact—he stroked his dick so that in several shots he had a raging hard-on. (Pretty decent size, I’m sure my dear viewers would have wanted to know. Maybe five-and-a-half inches, thick enough.) Most of us put on a blasé attitude, although some of the younger ones were obviously tickled pink. Of course, if Marc had been very buff and very good-looking, we all wouldn’t be as blasé as we were.

After the shoot, D told me to invite my friends who may want to have their Friendster pics upgraded—for a very minimal fee—Php500 yata, I’m not too sure now. (Oh yes, the shoot isn’t free. The payment covers part of the venue rental and the CD where D will burn your pics in.)

So, anybody interested?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

My Current Local Showbiz Crushes

Shet, pabata ng pabata sila! I think I’m turning into a pedophile.

On the left is JC Cuadrado. Ang square ng name niya, noh? A-hihihihihi! Seriously, one can be reduced to a giggly-girl when face to face with him. And take note… I almost saw him shirtless! Had I entered the men’s room five minutes earlier, I would have witnessed the yummilicious sight! Haaay!

On the right is the runner up to this “talent” star search recently conducted by our network (take note the quotation marks). Aaron’s only 19 years old! (I wonder if all he ever wanted was love.) Actually sungki ang ngipin niya, at hindi rin naman siya masyadong magaling umarte sa drama. But he dances well (he looks like he’s really enjoying himself while dancing) and he can do a mean comic screaming faggot role—very un-PC and cliché-ridden, but despite all that he pulls it off. Joskopo, at 19 years old manamis-namis pa ang kanyang… ahem.

Between the two of them? Why NOT?!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Friday Snapshots

In the Feb. 07, 2005 issue of Newsweek, there’s an article about the Chinese actress Sylvia Chang. The article mentions her role in the Hong Kong-Singaporean film Rice Rhapsody as a Singaporean mom with two gay sons who is determined to make sure the third one turns out straight.

What an interesting premise.


The product is JJJ Papaya Whitening Peeling Cream. It is a Chinese product. According to the package, it is a “clean out horniness whitening” cream. It promises “one minutes dispel horniness”.

Sumasakit na ba ulo mo? Wag ka, meron pa!

On the side it says:

Efficacy: This papaya whitening peeling cream by use of natural plant papaya withdraw the essence, vitamin B3, Vc, and mulberry extraction distillate, availability wipe off face die cell, restrain melanin, strengthen cell renovate, restra in melanin and blemish, skin whitening, look brand-new.

Use: Days for sub-two, first shall face wetness, and weild the product gently knead, then with cleanly water washing.

Notice: avoid into eyeball, if immodesty, shortly washing for cleanly water.

Methinks Arnel Salgado of “The Fire Within” fame has found work in China. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just lie down for a while. I think I have a headache.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


We have an officemate, Hilda, and her English is one of a kind. This afternoon we heard an officemate ask her: “Huy Hilda, nag-da-drive ka na pala?”

Hilda’s nonchalant reply? “In a way.”


Last night I watched Chris Pablo’s second digital movie, “Bathhouse”. His first effort was “Duda”, which was also an independently-produced digital movie written and directed by him. I was hoping that with his second effort, he could have shown improvement as a writer and director.

To be fair, this one is more confidently directed. But his writing sucks.

Basically, it’s his dialogue. He writes as if they weren’t characters but thesis statements and conclusions. And although his insights into why people frequent bathhouses aren’t new nor deep—nothing that can’t be explained in a paragraph of an essay—he states them instead of showing them and letting the audience arrive at their own conclusions. His screenplay is didactic, pedantic, and just plain ick. For example:

Scene: lead character, a 19-year old newbie, is in the shower room of the bathhouse, fully-clothed, water running all over him. He’s devastated because he was just rejected by his ultimate crush, the love-of-his-life. A naked customer comes in and takes the shower next to him, all the while complaining loudly about a previous encounter. (Take note, he didn’t even raise an eyebrow upon seeing a fully clothed, fully drenched guy beside him.)

Naked customer: Ngawa-ngawa-ngawa… pakipot pa eh sex lang naman hanap nating lahat dito eh!

19-yrs old (looks forlornly at him): But I only wanted love!


But still I’d support movies like “Bathhouse”. It’s good that there are those who are pioneering digital movies here in the Philippines. And bravo to those courageous enough to tackle gay themes on film. What they do is to help raise the bar on independent films. Who knows, I might just decide to make one myself. If I do and you see one of the characters there say, “But I only wanted love!” you have my permission to shoot me.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Snail E-mail

Today I just received an email from Jong, asking me about Bohol. The weird thing is this: his email was dated Jan. 19, 2005; I got it in my inbox only today, Feb. 02, 2005.


Heniwey, Jong, I emailed you both at your office address (methinks it is) and your gmail address. Tell me immediately—whether through here or email—if you received my reply or not. Sayang naman if late na ang sagot ko. I want you to enjoy your trip to Bohol.

P.S. Your Batanes pics are great. Makes me wanna go there.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Pubic Appearance

There are perks to working in a major network. Like for instance this morning, I saw Diether O.’s pubes. Yup, that’s right.

You see, we taped him and the rest of The Hunks for a promo spot for their upcoming new show. We asked him—very nicely—to push down his pants so that we can show some skin that’s just a little bit below the belt line; we were expecting him to pull it down on one side. What we didn’t ask him to do was to pull down his pants just above his crotch—he decided that on his own. Thus, the pubic appearance.

When we were previewing the material, the female editor beside me squealed, her sensibilities offended. But I’m pretty sure part of her was titillated at the sight. His pubes were quite neat-looking, not bushy-bushy this-way-and-that. Actually his crotch area looked like he smells really nice and neat, like a combination of Ivory soap and light sweetish sweat.

I think I wanna go on a Diet.

Nag-u-um-angst Ako

Alam niyo, hindi ko na talaga alam, ha. Bakit wala nang nagpa-participate sa inyo? Bakit walang nagre-react? Kailangan ko bang maging magnanakaw para magreact kayo? Kailangan ko bang pumatay ng tao’t i-post ang details dito? Wala na bang nanonood ng The McVie Show? Boring na ba ako? Corny na ba ako? Are you not entertained?

Down ba ang Haloscan?