Thursday, March 31, 2005

Do The Curly Shuffle

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I’m a sucker for catchy cool taglines.

So I decided to play songs in my iTunes in shuffle mode just to get a feel of what it would be like if I had an iShuffle. It started with Enya, moved on to a Fatboy Slim dance tune, then ABBA. It also segued from Pet Shop Boys to George Winston. Surprisingly, since I chose all the songs, they all appeal to me. So this random playing is actually quite exciting. I have no idea what will play next; all I know is I’ll like the next song cuz it’s part of my selection.

What I also love about iTunes is that in shifting from song to song it overlaps the ending of one with the beginning of the next. Galing! Parang DJ sa radyo.

The only “downside” I can see is if I have passengers with me who may not like certain tunes in my selection. Then again, hey! They’re my passengers, noh. Tiis sila kung ayaw nila ang Dancing Queen!


The heat’s sizzling outside. They say temperatures will go even higher still. But in our offices, the temperature is blissfully cool. I still need to wear my jacket after few hours of staying inside. Thank god for our editing machines.

What’s also keeping me cool is my iTunes. I’ve already managed to upload 168 songs totaling 11 hours, 45 minutes, 46 seconds. I think I still have a long ways to go to fill up an iShuffle. But for now I can enjoy the greatest hits of ABBA, B-52’s, Fleetwood Mac, Erasure, Fatboy Slim, Pet Shop Boys, The Cure, plus singles by other various artists. To think Lola Madonna’s not there yet!

So I’ll continue to burn, baby, burn while outside it continues to burn, baby, burn.

A Year After

Tomorrow is my dad’s first year death anniversary. One year ago my mom shook me awake to help my younger brother carry my unconscious dad to the nearby neighborhood clinic. One year ago I had to call my boss early in the morning to tell her I won’t be coming to work. One year ago two different people from our neighborhood claimed they saw my dad going to church to attend the morning mass; one even saw him praying at the Blessed Sacrament chapel.

My, how time flies.

Now my younger brother is married and lives in Ayala Alabang with his wife’s family; they both have a 3-month old daughter. My dad never got to see his latest grandchild. My boss is now retired, having decided at age 40 to devote her full time to raising her two young daughters. Today there are no more sightings of my dad.

My mom is coping with the loss of her lifetime partner. Death did them part. At first we were worried of her high blood pressure and occasional dizzy spells. Now her ailments seem to have diminished. She rarely checks her BP these days. I still have to convince her to have her gall stones taken out. That’s a major operation that needs to be scheduled properly.

Between my mom, my other brother, my sister and me, we’ve taken over the various tasks my dad used to handle. My mom relies on me most of the time to drive for her should she need to travel, but she can always ask my brother or my sister in case I’m unavailable. I notice my mom now clears major decisions with us; we often say yes to anything she proposes anyway.

It seems death had a way of bringing us closer together. When my lola died, the whole family went back home to Bohol to bury the last of our grandparents. After that we seem to look forward to the next occasion when all of us could be together. Baguio, Subic, the beach in Iba, Zambales… we delighted in family outings. When my dad died, whenever my mom called for a family gathering, it was easier to get everyone together. The road trip with my younger brother and sister last Holy Week would not have been possible two deaths before.

I’m sure that as the years progress we’ll be busier with our own lives, and it’ll be easier for us to say no to family invites. But I’m pretty sure we’ll still be able to rely on one another if anyone of us gets into a tight fix. We’re the McVies.

“Food” Fight

Gimik, The Reunion is showing on television. I haven’t been paying much attention to it, though once in a while I would glance at our monitors to see how young Diether Ocampo looked like with his crew cut, or how innocent Mylene Dizon was back then, or how not much has changed with Jolina Magdangal through the years.

But one scene caught our attention because of a line from the dialogue. The set-up: Diet and G Toengi are sweethearts who suddenly discovered that she cannot bear children. The two are helping out in the restaurant owned by the late Rico Yan (looking fresh and oh-so-delectable). Diet enters the kitchen to follow up an order. G Toengi and Mylene are in the kitchen, trying to cope up with the deluge of food orders.

(The following dialogue is not verbatim, but it’s close. I think.)

Diet: O, bakit kilawin yan? Nasaan na yung sisig? Kanina pa naghihintay yung customer!
G: Teka, teka, sisig ba? Eh nakikita mo na ngang natataranta ako eh!
Diet (blowing his top): Ang problema sa iyo, hindi mo na nga maayos-ayos ang mga order ng cutomers, hindi ka pa magka-anak! (A pause as Diet realizes his mistake.) Ay, sorry. It just slipped out.

(Diet walks off. G Toengi follows and grabs his arm.)

G: “It just slipped out”?! Sa gitna ng kilawin at sisig, “it just slipped out”?!


iThink, Therefore iShuffle

I’m making the somewhat painful transition from Windows Media Player to iTunes. “Somewhat painful” because I’m so used to the speed in which WMP can rip music from a CD. iTunes takes more than twice that speed to import music from CDs. I hope I could load a lot of songs into my computer because I plan to get me an iShuffle.

There, I’ve said it.

My recent road trips during Holy Week have made one thing painfully clear to me: Orlando’s cassette deck had become inadequate for my wants. Not needs, mind you, but wants. Now I want a digital source for my music while driving Orly.

Truth is it’s still somewhat a toss up between a mini iPod or an iShuffle. In terms of memory size, I only need an iShuffle. But the mini iPod allows me more choices in the order of listening to songs. What if I want to shift from Enya’s ethereal sounds to New Order’s hard-driving techno? In the iShuffle I’d be pressing the skip button blindly until I reach a New Order song. But I think the difference in cost between the Shuffle and the Pod will be enough for me to embrace the former.

The option to buy a non-Apple MP3 player is there, but because they don’t have the cool factor of Apple, I’m not really exploring that option seriously. (Yes, they’re cheaper. Not cool at all.)

So now I’m enduring the longer process of importing songs in iTunes, sometimes enduring the pauses and lags during the process. (I have no idea why they happen. Argh!) It’ll be days before I can sufficiently fill my iTunes with enough songs to fill an iShuffle.

I’m counting my tracks before they’re shuffled.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

DJ Culture

Driving home last night while listening to Fatboy Slim’s album Live On Brighton Beach got me thinking. (I do some of my best thinking behind the wheel. I’m amazed I haven’t hit anyone or anything yet.) The album is a recording of Fatboy Slim’s set in front of a huge rave crowd. The producers wisely inserted some of the ambient live sounds of the crowd cheering at certain points during the set. And I thought, what awesome power a DJ can have over a huge number of people at one time! No wonder they say that God is a DJ.

And I looked back at my attempts at DJ-ing in TA parties. And what I realized is this: it’s not about power (TA parties rarely have more than 50 people in attendance), but about responsibility. Whenever I start spinning, I am keenly aware that the life of the party is in my hands—and in my extensive CD collection. What I remember most vividly is the whoop! of the crowd when I start playing a big dance hit. There were times when I’d look at the crowd having fun, couples dancing together, bodies entwined, people flirting with one another. And a wave of self-pity would descend on me: “Damn, how about me? How can I have fun when I’m panicking over what song to play next?” But then a drunken reveler would approach me, request for Macarena, and stagger off back onto the dance floor as I cue the song. And when the first bars of the song start blaring (“Tan! Tan! Tan! Tan-tan!”), I forget about feeling sorry for myself. In fact, I forget about myself for the moment and instead focus on the others. And I revel in spreading joy, happiness and temporary insanity… even if for a few hours.


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“So then I took my turn
Oh all the things I’ve done
And it was all yellow...

D’ you know, you know I love you so
You know I love you so

I swam across
I jumped across for you
Oh all the things you do
Cause you were all yellow”

-- Coldplay, “Yellow”

Text Tales

[A] Can You Say, “Pushy”?

Around two months ago, I received an email from a 20-yr old from St. Benilde. Let’s call him Mike (not his real name, of course). Mike saw my profile online and wanted to meet me, see if “maybe we can be friends.” I’ve since met him twice (and for the record, we only talked over coffee), and on the second meeting I was pretty sure he’d be a handful. Days before Holy Week, Mike was bugging me about my plans; he wanted to spend the weekend with me. I was able to ditch him totally, and I thought maybe I heard the last of him. Early this evening while I was driving to Megamall to watch Robots, Mike sent me an SMS. The following is our text conversation, done mostly while I was driving down EDSA.

Mike: Musta na!

Me: Eto back at work.

Mike: He he he! Ako din kaya, finishing touches nalng 4 my thesis, defense n me, anyh0w, san k nga pala nung h0ly week, iniwan m naman ako! :-(

Me: Ah mostly on a road trip with family, some friends.

Mike: W0w, family oriented k ha! Nga pala, na mis m b ko? Kc, mis n kita eh, pramis, walang stir

At this point my eyebrows were raised. Missed me? He never entered my mind even once the past four days. And why are all his letter “o”s changed to zeroes? Must have something to do with our phones. It took me a while to compose my reply.

Me: I’m concerned with how intense you are, and how your needs are different from mine.

It didn’t take him long to text back: So! Wat d u mean?

Me: It means I’m not looking for a relationship with anyone right now.

A pause. Then his text message came in.

Mike: But we can still be friends naman dba?

Ahhh. I have to be diplomatic about this. No sense being unnecessarily nasty or blunt.

Me: It’s possible. Let me make this clear now: most of my friends are the low-maintenance type. So if you’re not the emotionally needy type, then perhaps we can be friends.

Mike: D ko ma gets joel, tagalugin m0


It took me several minutes to compose my next text. What I really, really wanted to text him was this: “For a Benilde student, your poor grasp of rudimentary English is appalling. Grab an English dictionary.”

Instead, I texted him: Wala akong kaibigan na demanding.

Mike: Bkit? Kailan b ako nagng demanding sai0? Ah ok, nung h0ly wik? Tama b ako!

Before I could reply, “Kelan? How about NOW?!” another SMS from him came in.

Mike: Needy type!? Bkit? Kailan b ako nang hingi sai0?

I took a deep breath and gripped the steering wheel tighter. Let’s be gracious and kind, I told myself. I waited until I had parked at the Megamall basement, gone to Teryaki Boy and finished giving my order to the waiter before I composed the following reply.

Me: Right now you’re being pushy. Why don’t we give this a rest, time to calm things down, okay? We both still have work to do.

Mike: Ok! Lam ko busy k lng cgur0! Anyh0w, just text me if u have tym n 4 relati0nship! Nyt

Oh no, I groaned inwardly.


[B] The Graduate

Walking to my car after watching the movie Robots, I received the following SMS from a number that’s not in my phonebook.

+639272034817: Mare hppy graduati0n!

Hmmm. I’m really getting irritated with all these “o”s to zeroes conversion.

Me: I think you have the wrong number.

+639272034817: Cn0 kb tlaga r u kidding?kc im sure na dme ngka2mali ng #.

Umakyat ang dugo ko. Puta ‘toh, questioning me if I knew who I was?! Was I kidding daw?!

Me: Who are you congratulating ba? I’ve graduated years ago.

+639272034817: Tgasan p0 ba kau i mean saan lugar p0 2?gwa p0 #.2 ng kumare k0ng tga sbang p0.

Hay naku. Time to cut this short.

Me: You have the wrong number. This is an office phone.

And that was the end of it.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Holy Week, Batman!

Last year we spent our Holy Week at my dad’s wake. This year I wanted to go out of town, but unfortunately the plans Phillip, Jong and I were making for that long weekend kinda fell through. So we improvised. And I was able to save money this Holy Week—all the better for a beach trip!

Maundy Thursday
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With Phillip in Tagaytay with his parents, Jong and I decided he shouldn’t hog all that cool air all by himself. So off we went on a simple road/food trip up Tagaytay. First stop, Mushroom burger. It has been years since I last tasted their burgers. Memo to me: get the one without the scrambled egg next time. Next, coffee at Bag Of Beans. I’ve been to the place several times before, but I always stayed at the small store upstairs. I had no idea they had a garden café until Jong led me to the place downstairs. Ooh, what a romantic setting! That afternoon however kids ruled—there were so many families trying to escape the heat of the city that the garden looked like it was over-run by live garden gnomes. After that we tried to hook up with Phillip, but we didn’t have the means to get past the Highlands gate. So we just decided to while the time and traffic away by watching the sun set—and admiring the volcano and lake view—at the ridge. On the way home we stopped by the Shell station where Jong couldn’t resist Colonel Sander’s secret recipe.

Good Friday
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This is the day Jesus Christ died for our sins. So I decided to be a bit subdued and visited Leigh and my inaanak Luc at her place in Mandaluyong. The kid was asleep most of the time, like most 3-month olds are. I saw the Star Wars cover photo in Vanity Fair—the final fold-out took my breath away! Leigh was also able to download using Limewire the mash-up of Alicia Keys’ “Karma” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious”; Depending on who labeled it, the mash-up’s title is either “Superstitious Karma” or “Karma(stitious)”. I also decided to swing by F, where I went egg hunting two days before Easter.

Black Saturday
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My brothers and sisters have made it our annual Black Saturday activity: go on a road trip going around Laguna Lake. Our route is via Antipolo, Morong and Pililia, Rizal, then on to the Laguna towns. We stopped at Paete to look around the shops. There we also had lunch at Exotik, the roadside restaurant with the exotic fare (they also have the usual ones) and a gigantic boa constrictor which, the maitre d informed us in a conspiratorial whisper, is being used in GMA-7’s new fantasy soap, Darna. The snake travels to Manila via an airconditioned van twice a week for tapings. This year we decided to swing by Lake Caliraya to enjoy the cool lakeside breeze (it was slightly drizzling when we got there). Then on we went for chocolate, kalamansi and dessert at Ernest Santiago’s 83 Café and Gallery in Pagsanjan. Then we dropped by UP Los Baños, where we bought white cheese and low-fat milk. Then we had an early dinner at Joe, an Italian restaurant with a very American name and numerous Irish paraphernalia on its walls. Talk about multinational. We then suffered through slow-moving traffic in Pansol, Calamba. By the time stopped by for coffee at the Shell Station in South Superhighway, it was already 8:45pm. We got home a little past 9:30pm. We left the house at around 8:45am; we were on the road for almost 12 hours. We traveled a total of 233.7 kms that day. At the start of that day I thought I could still drop by Bed in the evening; instead, I dropped off to sleep in my bed.
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Easter Sunday
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Easter Sunday was a pool party day to celebrate my nephew finishing grade school. My brother and his wife reserved this private pool in QC for us. Unfortunately the reservation was from 10am to 8pm. So I had to wait until 2:30pm before I swam—skin specialists have advised people to avoid prolonged sun exposure between 10am and 2pm because that’s when the UV rays are at their harshest. We had Yellow Cab for lunch—another food trip! I had four big slices of roasted garlic and shrimp before I told myself, “Enough!” Me and the treadmill have a week-long date starting Monday. In the evening I wanted to watch a movie, so off I went to Megamall. Upon parking I discovered to my horror that I left my wallet at home! Thank god I had enough coins in Orlando to pay for the parking fee. So goodbye movie, hello home. But when I got there I was so saying-na-sayang that I left the house again and headed straight to F for more egg hunting. But this time my eggs were the ones hunted down. I must say my Holy Week really ended on a high “note”—with a bang!

Heck, who needs Puerto Galera, huh?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Oplan X: Day 3

Miss X was talking animatedly to three of her workmates near her desk. I wanted to see her reaction to the following text: Sge n lts b txtm8s. 6220 dn fon k. D b cmptble tyo? (Sige na let’s be textmates. 6220 din phone ko. Di ba compatible tayo?)

I was watching her from afar when she received the SMS message. She was the one talking when her phone buzzed. She finished her animated story then proceeded to read the message. Then she complained out loud to her companions: “Tingnan mo ‘to! Naka-lima o anim na yata akong text mula dito. Gustong makipag-textmate!” She showed the message to her companions. One of them asked, “Baka naman wrong number.” And Miss X added, “At hindi 6220 ang phone ko, noh!”

They continued to talk about it but at a lower volume, so I couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation. So I moved closer to catch what she’s saying. The last thing I heard her say about the topic was: “Feeling ko kilala ko yung nagte-text,” as she placed her phone inside her bag again.

Meanwhile, one of our co-conspirators sent Miss X an email showing the features and a picture of the Nokia 6220. It was sent yesterday. So far we haven’t heard Miss X talking about it with her workmates.

Now Voyager

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I’ve already fixed the engines. Excuse me, the “variable position warp engine nacelles” pala. More pics in The McView Point.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

As Promised

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As I’ve mentioned in The McView Point, I made a mistake of putting the engines on upside-down. I’ve since reversed the mistake.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Oplan X: Day One & Two

Okay, so there was a delay in the implementation of Oplan X: Make Klepto Praning Ever! Plus there was a change in stages.

Sunday afternoon I commenced stage one. Using my Smart SIM card, I sent her two SMS messages: Helo! Pwde b tyo mging txtm8s? (Hello! Puwede ba tayo maging textmates?) No reply from her.

Today, I had my phone on mute. As luck would have it, my desk is right beside hers (ah, Fate!) So I sent her another SMS: Hi! Sge n, lts b txtm8s. (Hi! Sige na, let’s be textmates.) A few seconds after, her phone buzzed. She read the message, then said out loud (addressing her deskmates), “Ano ba yan?! Sino ba ‘to? Gusto pang maging textmate!” Then she proceeded to delete the message.

An hour later, I asked one of my co-conspirators to come to my desk and “discuss” something with me while I sent the following text message: Hi. Lts b txtm8. Mgnda k nman. Mtalino p. D b my bgong 6220 k? (Hi. Let’s be textmates. Maganda ka naman. Matalino pa. Di ba my bagong 6220 ka?)

After a few seconds her phone buzzed. I had the vantage point of facing where she was seated. It was undeniable—a worried frown crossed her face. And this time, she kept quiet.

Knowing her very matalak personality, if she were innocent, she’d have reacted the way she did with the previous message—she’d have said something like, “Bakit ang kulit ba nito?! At akala pa yata niya na may 6220 ako!” And we never really publicized the model of the stolen phone.

A few minutes later, she excused herself and locked herself in our boss’ room (he’s on leave the whole week). Her press release? She has a headache daw, and she wanted to rest her eyes which were hurting because of the fluorescent lights.

We smell guilt.

Engage Indeed!

My Voyager is now on display at The McView Point—take a look! Unfortunately, Photobucket is down again (bahket?!) I will post a pic here when it’s up again.

Movie Pitch

Marisse, Evert and I came up with this silly movie pitch while having dinner at Chili’s Sunday evening. Maybe it was all that nachos we ate. Anyway we were laughing our heads off the whole time. We actually had another silly movie pitch idea years before: different scenario but same title. Fearing that someone else is already making a movie similar to what we thought of, we retained the title and came up with another plot.

Dead Spot
A black (and white) comedy

After losing his wife to cancer, a detective and his son moves into the suburbs. There his son befriends a stray Dalmatian. He allows his son to keep the dog to help the kid get over his mother’s death. Named Spot by its new owner, the dog turns out to be a friendly one. But soon the boy started noticing strange things about Spot, like how it growls in anger whenever it sees a phone. Plus the kid starts having these weird violent dreams, seeing a particular pet cemetery marked X on a map.

Meanwhile, a series of similar deaths have been occurring in the neighborhood, and the detective is called upon to investigate. A similar pattern is seen: usually the victim is using his/her cellphone when suddenly the signal disappears. He/she then is attacked by a vicious creature. Several witnesses also claim they spotted a very thin dog slinking in the shadows near the scene of the crime.

Upon further investigation, the detective finds out the real history of Spot: years ago its previous owner would use the receiver of an old rotary phone as a “bone” and would toss it for the dog to fetch. One day he tossed it onto the street and when the Dalmatian caught it, it was suddenly run over by a telephone repair truck. But its body was never found.

To test his theory, he places his cellphone near Spot—no signal! Suddenly a skeletal dog attacks the detective. Spot defends the detective from the attacking skeleton, and the creature runs away. Spot runs after it, followed by the detective and his son. They all reach the pet cemetery, the same one marked X in the boy’s nightmares. They spot the skeleton dog lying near a very old grave—its cross is already lying on its side, forming an “x”. X marks the spot! An old faded picture is still nailed on the cross—it was a picture of Spot! Turns out that the poor dog, like Bruce Willis in “The Sixth Sense,” had no idea it was already dead! X marks the Spot.

Sadly the boy says goodbye to Spot and lets him go. The dog gently lies down beside its skeletal remains… and promptly disappears. The sun rises. The detective’s cellphone starts ringing. He looks at his son and says, “Spot is at peace now. This grave is not a dead spot anymore.” He then picks up his phone. “Hello?” He hears a ghostly dog howl on the other end of the line. Scary music as screen turns black. End credits roll.

We already have the tagline for the trailers and posters: “See Spot? Run!”

Friday, March 18, 2005


Definition (from The wacky juxtaposition spawned its own kind of revolution, inspiring legions of the club remixes now called “mash-ups” – with one classic example being “Smells Like Booty,” in which Destiny’s Child wails over Nirvana’s classic dirge and drone. Mash-ups involves blending samples from two songs – generally, one song’s vocals atop another’s instrumental or rhythm track. The sum of the parts often surpasses the originals. The more disparate the genre-blending is, the better; the best mash-ups blend punk with funk or Top 40 with heavy metal, boosting the tension between slick and raw. Part of the fun is identifying the source of two familiar sounds now made strange – and then giggling over how perfect Whitney sounds singing with Kraftwerk.

Last weekend as I was driving down South Super Highway, 99.5RT aired this mash-up. It was the very first mash-up I’ve ever heard played on local radio. It was the juxtaposition of Alicia Keys’ “Karma” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious”—Keys’ singing over Wonder’s instrumentation. What a bitchin’ track! I’ve been trying to search for it on the net, but so far nada. But I was able to download “Drop It Ms. Jackson,” a mash-up between Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson.” Not as seamless as the Alicia/Stevie wonder, but interesting still.

Nostalgia Trip

I was driving to work this morning when on the radio they played “Life in a Northern Town” by Dream Academy. Oh wow, what a nostalgic trip! Image hosted by I was suddenly transported to Baguio, circa 1982-83. We were all members of our college theater group, and Apa Ongpin, who was in charge of our lights, invited us for the summer at their family residence in the City of Pines. One afternoon we went to this particular peak where Apa claimed we could see the South China Sea. We parked Apa’s car and hiked to where there were huge rocks and boulders. We climbed upon them until—gasp!—we saw the magnificent sight of the sea shimmering way near the horizon. The sun was about to set. We had with us some bags of chips and a tape recorder. Jeez, a tape recorder, hahaha! Remember those? They were the one-speaker precursors of the boom box. We had only a cassette with us, George Winston’s December. We kept playing the cut “Variations on the Canon” while we watched the sun dip low. Fiery sunset combined with the ever-chilling air as dusk settled, with a solo piano score to boot. Image hosted by When the sun was almost gone, the clouds started rolling in. Suddenly we realized we were alone on some rock formation with the fog getting thicker and no lights. We decided to slowly retrace our steps, keeping just a few feet away from each other since visibility was suddenly down to less than 10 feet. Luckily Apa had wisely decided to stay in his car, and after a few minutes of walking we suddenly saw a ray of light piercing through the fog. Apa had wisely switched on the fog lamps on his car, and he honked his horn several times so that we can be guided to where he was. A few minutes later we were all safely in his car, driving back to the house.

The following year we went up again to Baguio, with the same theater group. Apa wasn’t with us though. We were playing “Life in a Northern Town” throughout the whole trip—on the way up, while we were there, on the way down.

Image hosted by Certain songs really leave their mark and become part of the soundtrack of my life. To this day whenever I hear “Variations on the Canon” and “Life in a Northern Town” I’m immediately transported back to the City of Pines. The memory of the scent of pines tickles my nostrils, and visions of the morning fog still linger at the corners of my mind. And I’m haunted by the ache of past joys, when life was simpler, friends were always there, and laughter came fast and easy.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Oplan X

So here’s the plan.

OBJECTIVE: Make Miss X praning, paranoid.
PURPOSE: Nothing will make her return the phone she stole. So we just want to make her so uncomfortable, she’ll want to resign.
PEOPLE INVOLVED: Just the three of us (Lotta and the victim excluded) who know that Miss X was the one pinpointed by Lotta’s “friend.” By limiting the number of people in the know, we can avoid detection.
Phase One: Send her an e-mail detailing the features of the Nokia 6220, to be sent by someone named Magna Nocum.
Phase Two: Using a new SIM card (I have one which I got for free when I bought my Nokia), send her text messages. First day: “Hi. Cn I b yur txt m8?” Second day: “Hi. Cn I b yur txt m8? May bgong Nkia 6220 k naman e.”
Phase Three: Leave a brochure of the Nokia 6220 on her desk.
Phase Four: Send the following text message: “Alam na ng iba sa office.”
START DATE: Tonight we commence phase one.

Then we watch her squirm.

P.S. – We have even more elaborate, diabolically evil plans (which involve making Miss X “kilig,” thinking she has a secret admirer), but we decided to simplify plans and trim them to their bare essentials. After all, may takot din kami sa Dios at sa karma.

New Phone

Well, well, well! It seems that every year our company phones are upgraded. All we have to do is give back our old units and choose from a slew of new ones. Image hosted by Depending on one’s rank and the phone model, our new phone can either be fully subsidized or we fork over a bit more to get the more expensive ones. Because my old unit was stolen, I have to pay for the loss of that unit. Fine, cheap lang naman yun, at depreciated na rin. I looked at the new models available. My phone of choice, the Sony Ericsson S700i, is out of my reach (at my rank, I would have to fork over Php14,000+ to get that unit). So I decided to go for the SE K700i. Not bad, considering it’ll be fully subsidized. I don’t need to pay for anything! Wheee! We’ll be getting our new phones within the month.

Now if only the company can start subsidizing iPods. (Plus, I hope Miss X doesn’t start eyeing my new phone.)

One On 1

It’ll be April 1 soon. It’ll be the first-year death anniversary of my dad. One year on April 1.

My mom has coped well with her loss. Yesterday she admitted that she had dreamed of my dad but only once. In her dream she was attending an induction of my dad at some church. She and my dad were seated when he got up for the entrance procession. My mom and the rest of the guests were then asked to sit near the back to make room for the inductees. When my dad came marching in, he saw that my mom wasn’t at her seat anymore. He stopped, searching for her. Mom was waving to him at the back, but he didn’t see her. My mom noticed that my dad was so much younger. “Ambata-bata niya, poging-pogi at tisoy na tisoy pa!” she said. I think it’s just the second time in my life that I heard my mom gush about how good-looking my dad was. I keep forgetting that my mom is like any other love-struck woman who ended up marrying the man she fell in love with. That she and my dad lasted for so many years can be attributed to a number of reasons: the institute of marriage, having children, social acceptance, shared interests, religiosity, etc. I guess it also helped that while my dad had an eye out for beautiful women, he never really strayed (or if he did, he sure kept it very quiet).

I don’t really miss him. I’m glad that he’s at rest already. And during his wake my officemate Lotta told us that my dad promised he’ll stay with us for a while just to make sure we’re fine. That’s why when an intruder entered our house a few months ago I’d like to think it was my dad’s ghost that frightened him away. I prefer to think he’s still watching us, guarding over us.

It’ll be April Fools soon. Maybe my dad will pull one last joke on us.

At Warp Speed

There! I bought myself the U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656 scale model. It was a lot more expensive than I remembered. It was closer to Php6,000. Eeep!

I was in Cubao yesterday. I took the day off because I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t go to work but went to Cubao instead, mwhahahaha. I headed straight for the specialty toy store on the second floor of Ali Mall. When I got there, it was gone! The space had been vacated; there was no sign saying where the store’s new location was. Frustrated, I decided to walk aimlessly for a few minutes while I figured out what to do next. Luckily, I stumbled upon their new location—it was on the first floor!

Gusto ni Lord na bilhin ko ang Voyager. Kaya binili ko agad-agad. Which was a good thing—that was the last stock they had. And to think their shop was technically not open yesterday; they had just moved in that morning, and they were still sorting out their stuff. But I guess I had this look on my face when I peered in and asked them, “Bukas ba kayo?” that made them answer, “Yes, po.” It took them a few minutes to make out a receipt for my purchase.

So now Captain Janeway’s ship is safely in my room, albeit in several pieces. Knowing me (knowing you, ah-haaaaaaah…) once I start I won’t stop until I finish the whole ship. So I’ll just work on it this weekend.


Ghosts Busters Update

Last Tuesday after the theft was discovered, we asked our Admin to send some security personnel over to conduct a desk-to-desk search. Unknown to us, Lotta had already told two other officemates the identity of the thief. So these two plus Lotta were watching the movements of the thief while the security personnel were going through their search.

Later that evening these two decided to tell me the identity because of an incident that happened earlier: when I was trying to call Admin to get them to send security to conduct the search, I approached several officemates to ask for help. One of them was very reluctant to do so. She even said, “Huy, wala bang employee rights na ma-va-violate sa search na yan?!” In exasperation I blurted out loud to the others, “Ito talaga si Miss X, ayaw tumulong! Akala mo tuloy siya ang magnanakaw!”

It turns out it was Miss X whom the ghost identified as the thief!

Well, well, well!

When I said that statement I was just joking out of annoyance. But the two who already knew Miss X was the thief were taken aback by what I said. So they decided to tell me what they knew.

It also made sense that Miss X, who often goes home promptly at 6pm, waited until 7pm before going home. That was when the security people finished their inspection and left our office; during the inspection, they posted a guard who would inspect the bags of people going out of the office. She waited until the guard left.

So now we’re conniving what to do next.

First, we have to find out if Lotta’s “friend” is wrong or right. We’re asking Lotta to get more details from her “friend”; the more damningly specific the details, the better for us. But given how Miss X behaved the day of the theft, she’s now our prime suspect. And we want to lessen her chances, if not stop her altogether from victimizing another one.

We want to scare her silly. I thought of leaving an anonymous note on her desk, like an “I know what you did last summer” type of note. My officemates are thinking of getting a new SIM card and start texting her everyday, “Nabenta mo na ba yung 6220?” Or maybe leave a brochure of the Nokia 6220 on her desk everyday.

I thought of a more elaborate, more dangerous scheme: announce to everyone that we already know who the culprit is, and is giving him/her until Monday next week to quietly return the phone. Otherwise we will whisper to everyone one at a time the identity of the thief. If Monday comes and the phone isn’t returned, we’ll start the whispering campaign. But here’s the twist. We’ll whisper to Miss X someone else’s name (we’ll get the approval and connivance of that person, of course). To the rest, we’ll whisper Miss X’s name plus the name we’ll whisper to Miss X. That way, if Miss X asks them who the thief was, they’ll mention the name given to her. That way everyone can be wary the next time Miss X approaches their workplace, but without tipping her off that we know she’s the thief.

Tonight over dinner we the plotters will meet and discuss what we’ll do. I’m thinking of stealing Miss X’s phone in retaliation. Well, we’ll see later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ghosts Busters / M & M

This afternoon an officemate lost her cellular phone. She had left the phone unattended for a few minutes at her desk; when she came back, it was gone. We’ve had similar incidents in the past of cellphones being stolen, so we immediately suspected theft. And given the location of the victim’s desk, it was most likely that the klepto was one of us. Unfortunately, no one saw who did it. The only way to bust this klepto is to ask for help from our resident ghosts.

So we turned to Lotta, our officemate with the third eye, and asked her to find out from her “friends” what exactly happened to the phone. True enough, one of Lotta’s “friends” not only confirmed that the phone was stolen but also named the person responsible.

Now Lotta is in a difficult position: on the one hand, she refuses to divulge the identity of the klepto, for how can you make a case against someone when your only witness is a spirit? But on the other hand, how can Lotta remain silent and possibly allow the klepto to strike again? To make matters worse, Lotta told us that the klepto knows that she can identify the thief.

We’ve been trying to get Lotta to reveal to us the identity of the klepto but she adamantly refuses. We’re almost sure we’ll never see that phone again, but maybe we can get Lotta to change her mind yet.

* * * * *

On a lighter, sillier note: Melanie Marquez strikes again! In an interview with Ces Drilon in tonight’s episode of Pipol, she was defending her loss in the recently-concluded Mrs. International beauty pageant: “I didn’t promise that I’ll bring back the bacon!”

Much later, on living a happy life: “Just follow the Ten Commandment.”

Iba talaga si M&M!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Seen This?

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Scenes from our summer station ID: Piolo and Bernard hanging on the side of Jones Bridge, Geoff & Heart looking like they’re in a Close-Up commercial, Maricel drumming, the Quizons clowning around, AiAi with Ati-atihan dancers, and dancing in the streets of Quiapo.

So, wala pa rin ba sa inyo ang nakapanood ng summer station ID? Curious lang ako sa mga reactions ninyo, so if you’ve seen it already, please react away.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Last Saturday I was debating with myself whether I’d buy this as a birthday present for myself. Image hosted by It’s Php5,200 if I buy it at this specialty toy store in Festival Mall and Php4,400 sans shipment costs if bought on the net. Bakit mahal? It’s a snap-together kit, requires no more painting, and has a lighting system (batteries not included).


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Greet Me!

Happy birthday to me! I don’t look 39 years old. Place your greetings below.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Summer’s Here!

If you guys want an idea of what I’ve been working on these past two weeks, going to the beach and all that, tune in this Sunday at around 2:15p.m. You can choose from any of the following channels: Channel 2, Studio 23, ANC, CinemaOne, Lifestyle Channel, or MYX.

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Out Of The Blue

A guy I met a few years ago in Blue Avenue sent me a text message this morning.

Commercial break: Blue Avenue was this gay bar in Makati, located very near where Government is today. On the outside it looked like any other two-storey apartment in Makati. The only sign that it’s Blue is the blue light coming from the second floor window which signaled that the bar was open. On the ground floor were the bar and gym (daw!); on the second floor were the viewing room (where g-films are shown one after the other) and several grope rooms. Last year they closed it down. The apartment today is back to what it’s supposed to be. I often see the owners of Blue at Bed, dancing the night away. Remember the orgy party I stumbled into a few months back? The owners of Blue were the organizers of that party. Now back to regular programming.

After we met in Blue, we exchanged numbers and actually went out twice afterwards. Then I did not hear from him again for almost seven months. That is, until this morning when I received his SMS.

Blue Guy:

My reply: Ok lang. Long time no hear from you.

Blue Guy:

Tumaas ang kilay ko. Nairita ako. More than the use of “me” (as in “kakauwi me”), more than the periods instead of spaces between words, more than the demanding tone (as in “musta na?” for the second time)… nobody texts me with all-underlined!

So I fired back: Eto I’m seeing someone na. What did you do in Cebu?

Well, that shut him up. He didn’t bother to answer my question at all. And I hope that’s the last I hear from him.

* * * * *

Wow! After more than an hour, Blue Guy replied.

Blue Guy: wow.congrats…,GMAkaparin.b?

Hay naku. Sablay pa rin siya. Ako ang hari ng sablay, ako ang hari ng sablay....

Reply naman me: Hindi GMA. The Kapamilya station.

Blue Guy: sory.pwde.bko.aply.dyan.khit.PA.lang?

Ahhh! Now we’re getting into the heart of the matter.

Answer naman me: Sure. Just give your resume at our HR Dept.

Blue Guy: san.dyan? sinu.hanapin.ko?

And there you have it! Bingo!

Text naman me: Just go to the guard at the gate and tell him you’re submitting your resume to HR. Sorry, I cannot make lakad.

What I really wanted to say was this: Sorry never make lakad me eh.

Diss Content

According to the World Values Survey, Filipinos placed sixth among the happiest nations; furthermore, we are the only Asian country to be in the top 10. In a different survey by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, Inc., the Philippines ranked the second most corrupt nation in Asia.

There must be a connection there somewhere.

Are we happy to be corrupt? Does corruption lead to happiness? Or are our come-what-may, “bahala na” attitude allow for corruption to flourish because we’ve accepted it, nay, embraced it as part of life?


Suddenly discontent seems desirable.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Deadly Musical Fruit

Bohol is in the headlines again today. Bohol Students Die of Food Poisoning. 28 to 30 students died after eating fried cassava yesterday. Apparently there’s a kind of cassava crop that naturally has cyanide. If not properly skinned and cleaned, the dose can be lethal.

Immediately what came to my mind was: “Bohol! The land of tarsiers, Chocolate Hills, and killer cassavas!” Or how about: “Kamoteng kamatayan!” (even shorter: “Kamotayan!”) Or: “Try our cassava—they’re to die for!”

Being Boholanos, my parents love the stuff. They never fail to mention that during World War 2 all they ate was kamote. Thank god I didn’t get my parents’ fondness for cassava cake or kamote. I never knew that the musical fruit could also be deadly in a non-olfactory way.

* * * * *

Erratum: To be strict about it, the “musical fruit” is kamote, while cassava is kamoteng kahoy. Those are two different crops. To be fair to the lowly kamote, the musical, olfactory-challenging fruit isn’t the deadly one, it’s the cassava. The title should have been “Killer Kamoteng Kahoy” or “Cassava Kills” or something like that. Obviously towards the end of my post I mixed up the two.

So all you kamote-que lovers, go back to eating your favorite snack. It’s cyanide-free.
-- (McVie, 11 March 2005, 9:15p.m.)


Yesterday I received an SMS message at 12:19 p.m. It came from someone not in my phone directory. There was no name, only a number: +639272034817. I will reproduce the text message in full, caps and all: ATE LINDA BUNTIS AKO 2MNTHS.

(Promise! Totoo ito! I even saved it in my phone archives just to prove to people that it’s true.)

I was flabbergasted upon reading the message. I also took pity on the sender. After taking a pregnancy test, her pregnancy text was wasted on a wrong number. So I replied immediately: Hindi ako si Ate Linda. Sorry pero wrong number.

That got me thinking. For such an important message, why text only? Why not call Ate Linda directly? (But thank god she didn’t call me; that would have been even more surreal.)

When I showed the message to my officemate Edsel, he said, “Maida yan! Can’t afford niya ang call, kaya text-text na lang.” Puwede, di ba?

Anyway, a few minutes later I received another SMS from her: SORRY MALI KO.

Ms. +639272034817, I hope your pregnancy wasn’t a mistake, and that you and Ate Linda are happy with the impending birth. If your baby is a guy, can you name him McVie?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Litter Bugged

There were three of us waiting for the elevator on the 13th floor: me, a guy who bought food from the café on the same floor, and a girl carrying several files. When the door opened I let them enter first. That’s when I noticed that the girl dropped a piece of paper on the elevator floor, a receipt. I caught her notice the paper on the floor but she decided not to pick it up.

The door closed. I looked down at the piece of paper littering the otherwise pristine elevator floor, then back up to her face. She was ignoring me and the paper. Dedma ever. I considered several options:

Polite: “Miss, you dropped your receipt.”
Bitchy: “Do you want me to call your yaya to clean up after you?”
Smug: “Ahem. Littering is so inconsiderate.”
Pa-saring: (to the guy) “Ay, ang ibang tao diyan, o! Hindi marunong magtapon ng basura ng maayos!”
Pa-subtle: (ala-dumb blonde) “Hihihih! Miss, uh, is that paper yours? A-hihihihihi!”
Long-winded: “Miss, may dumi ba ako?” (You can either wait for her to react or not.) “Kasi buti ka pa, may basura… sa sahig!”

I was still busy thinking up of another option when the door opened and she stepped out of the elevator. The receipt was still on the floor. I glanced at the guy beside me; he apparently was unbothered by the piece of paper on the floor. I wanted to pick up the paper but stopped myself. What would the guy think? That I’m a neat-freak? That I’m a sanctimonious prick? That I’m actually a well-dressed janitor working in the building? I decided to wait for him to get off his floor.

When the door opened and he stepped out, I moved closer to pick up the paper. But then three other people stepped in. I was standing in front of the receipt. Oh no! Now I can’t pick it up. Worse, now they’d think it’s my piece of litter.

When the elevator got to the ground floor, I hurriedly stepped out; five other people were going in. I decided to leave that piece of litter for them to figure out what to do with it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


(Warning: spoiler alert!)

After watching the Oscar Best Picture nominee Sideways, I thought Alexander Payne wuz robbed. Sure, I haven’t seen Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator, but many have already said it wasn’t his best picture. Personally, I think Sideways was the better made, more compact, more fully intact, more engaging movie than Clint Eastwood’s very upbeat boxing-and-death movie. Maybe because in Sideways, even if no one dies, not everything ends happily-ever-after; plus, its characters are so relatable. In Million Dollar Baby, who among us can easily relate to being a quadriplegic, or to being an angel of death and mercy? Well, Academy members who vote, apparently. Then again, it’s not surprising to know that Hollywood is full of people who can’t act on their own and who do mercy killing all the time. Ah! No wonder Sideways lost for Best Picture.

Feel Like A Million Bucks

(Warning: spoiler alert!)

After watching Clint Eastwood’s feel-good movie of the year, Million Dollar Baby, I felt like jumping for joy off the 15th floor of our building. Notice how the movies directed by him are so positive? In A Perfect World, Kevin Costner befriends his kid hostage and gets shot right in front of him. In Bridges of Madison County the lead characters may have “done the nasty” on the bathtub, but they don’t end up with one another. In Mystic River everyone is morose or worse, have no sense of humor. In Unforgiven, Morgan Freeman gets killed. After Freeman's character stopped a beating from happening in Million Dollar Baby, I was half-expecting him to be lynched while he was watching the title bout on TV. It is to Eastwood’s credit that he restrained himself from killing off his film partner yet again. But a death still occurs in the movie, and what started out as a female Rocky turned into a moody debate on mercy killing. By the time the lethal injection was administered to a lead character, I felt like killing myself too. That Clint Eastwood sure knows how to make his viewers feel like a million dollars.

Friday, March 04, 2005


I’ve read a lot of biographies of comedians and funny people. One common trait most of them have is how they use humor as a mechanism to cope with pain and suffering. While most people will scream, rant and bawl their eyes out, these people would rather spin things around and make it into a joke, a funny anecdote.

I remember the 1988 movie Punchline, an early Tom Hanks starrer (with Sally Fields in her post-“You like me! You really, really like me!” mode). Hanks plays this guy whose dream was to be a stand-up comic, but his doctor-father wants him to follow in his medical footsteps. In one pivotal scene, Hanks delivers a star-making, gut-wrenching performance: one night as he stepped onstage to deliver his routine, he spied his father enter the comedy club and sit down to watch him. At first he stammered and faltered with his routine. Seeing that his routine was dying, he started talking about his father, how his dad once tried to make him interested in medicine by waving a dead pet in front of him, terrifying him to bits. What was fantastic about that scene is how Hanks managed to spit out his rage towards his father while trying to put a comic spin on his story. Of course no one was laughing throughout the scene, but everyone was riveted. It was such a powerful soul-baring scene.

When I saw that scene, I thought, wow, astig. I think it was then that I made a conscious decision: I will wield humor as a sword and shield.

Tom Hanks was never nominated for that role. Maybe it’s because his character falls for Sally Field (playing a married mom). Ewww. She may get top billing because she was the bigger star then, but the movie totally belonged to Hanks.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Photographs And Memories

Shit, Photobucket is currently down. So I can’t post the pictures I took yesterday of JC Cuadrado. Well, not in here anyway. But do click on The McView Point. He’s there.

* * * * *

Yesterday’s shoot went well. It was blazing hot, but hey, we were on the beach. I had an eyeful of JC plus AJ. What’s with all these cute boyz and initials anyway? Maybe I should call me McV (wow, feeling cute!)

* * * * *

May latest dagdag pa sa The McView Point! Ngy-arap ever ito!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Life’s A Beach

We’re going to the beach tomorrow! We’re going to the beach tomorrow! Unfortunately, it’s work. But still. It’s the beach! Wheee!