Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Fall Of Manila

Thursday, Sept. 28

The night before there were warnings already—Typhoon Milenyo would hit Metro Manila directly at around noon the next day. But we had a pre-production meeting at 9am Thursday for a shoot on Saturday. So storm or no storm the meeting pushed through. In the middle of the pre-prod the typhoon knocked the Luzon power grid down, plunging Metro Manila into darkness.

After the meeting we moved to Rockwell Mall for lunch. But we still had to go back to the office. Waiting for our service we watched nonchalantly as Milenyo battered the Nestle building. When we were pulling out of Rockwell the tent flew and crashed right in front of us. Had we been a few seconds earlier the tent would have smashed on our side.

We got to the office at the height of the storm. I was at the corridor when I heard the walls creaking. It was the building swaying in the wind. It was sooo cool. Instead of freaking me out I was actually assured because now I know we’d survive a strong quake.

By 3pm things had already quieted down.

When we stepped out of the office at around 7:30pm to look for dinner only the restaurants on People’s Support were fully lit, drawing people in droves. Walking around the block, we saw the streets littered with leaves and branches and guard posts thrown around. The whole thing felt apocalyptic, like I was expecting zombies to start appearing from the darkness. After dinner I called home. My brother said the power came back on at around 8:30pm.

We left the office at around 10:30pm. Along EDSA north-bound a huge billboard had fallen towards the street. On my way home I saw so many fallen trees; some I never realized were there because I took them for granted.

When I reached our village, the whole place was dark. There were no trees on the streets but the power was off. When I got to our street, lo and behold—the streetlights were blazing. Lucky us our street is connected to a grid that was not down.

While our street looked so normal, the rest of the metro looked broken and bowed.

Friday, Sept. 29

Seen in the light of day, our street wasn’t spared of Milenyo’s fury; it’s just that the darkness helped hide the damage. The trees were all bent and askew due to the strong winds.

Everyone in the office was complaining about how they had no water or electricity; word was that certain areas would be in that state for the next 5 days. Inside I was gloating: Go, Marikina, go! The city in the pink of health, says our mayor’s tagline.

My theory is that the valley helped blunt the typhoon’s full force. The Sierra Madres on one side and the city buildings on the other side blocked the winds. Whatever. We’re still standing.

The billboards though aren’t. A couple of really huge ones fell, causing massive traffic jams along EDSA. Thank god when we were traveling from Rockewll to the office no billboard fell on us. I could imagine the tabloid headline the next day: Advertising folks killed by advertising!

Saturday, Sept. 30

Slowly the metro is rebuilding itself. Most areas in the business district of Makati now have power back on; the traffic lights are working again. Fallen trees are being cut and cleared away. Life goes on.

I wonder if Bed is open tonight.

Ang Pagdadalaga ng Ang Pagdadalaga

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Is it just my imagination or does the re-mastered Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Olivero have new scenes in it? It sure looked like it when I watched it at SM sometime this week.

The re-mastering made several previously dark scenes a lot clearer, and not just visually. I’ve seen this movie thrice already. But this time there were details I saw for the first time, and scenes previously seen suddenly seemed to have new meaning. I didn’t realize that Maximo burned his brother’s t-shirt; I mean, I got that thanks to the dialogue at a later scene but I never realized that the movie actually showed Victor the policeman seeing Maximo burning the evidence.

And did they also rework the soundtrack? It too seems sharper than the previous versions. Ambient noises were now clearer, so it really helped add to the atmosphere of the whole movie.

Watching it for the third time was the charm; it was more moving now that I was seeing it—as in really seeing it. When Maximo whistled along with Victor towards the end, I realized only then that it was the closest the two came to kissing one another. Touching movie indeed.

If you haven’t seen Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Olivero on its third—and technically best—incarnation, then shame on you. This version is Maximo in full bloom. Watch it before it gets too old.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I Have Always Been A Storm

It’s 1:20pm, and Typhoon Milenio (who the hell thinks of these names?!) is wreaking havoc on the city. We’re still in the office preparing for a pitch. We’re on the 20th floor and the whole building is fucking swaying. I first noticed it at our hallway—I could hear the walls creaking. I placed my hand on the walls—the whole building was moving. Cool!

We’re in the conference room; outside the rain has subsided into a drizzle. On the way here I saw huge trees uprooted all over Makati; plus I saw on two separate occasions two motorcycles lying in the middle of the road. I regret not bringing my camera today.

I love stormy weather.

Monday, September 25, 2006

McVIE’s TOP 10 (for the week of 18-24 Sept. 2006)

The following are the songs that were on repeat-play the whole week last week in my iPod.

10. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley – Still crazy after all these weeks for that song. But it’s on the way out now.

9. Gone Til November by Wyclef Jean – Old song that I immediately liked the first time I heard it. It’s only now that I was able to download a copy on MP3.

8. Lawyers In Love by Jackson Browne – Again another old song downloaded. I missed this song; I was never able to buy the album when it first came out, and I can’t find it on CD anywhere here. I love the guitar and drums on this song.

7. Batang-Bata Ka Pa by Sugarfree – When Ebe sings, “batang-bata ka pa” repeatedly towards the end in his plaintive high-pitched voice, it always kills me.

6. I’m The Man Who Murdered Love by XTC – Love the lyrics.
There’ll be no more pain from broken hearts
And no more lovers to be torn apart
Before you throw me in your dungeon dark
Your honour, they’ll be putting statues up in every park

I’m the man who murdered love
Yeah, what do you think to that?

So dear public I’m here to confess
That I’m the one who freed us from this mess
Love won’t be calling at your address
‘Cause what you never had you never miss, I guess

5. Screwed by Paris Hilton – This is an interesting song. At first I thought, hey this is new for Paris: she sounds like a girl who concedes that she’s on the losing end of a relationship. “Boy meets girl and she falls much harder than him,” and so she’s screwed. But then later on I realized that the title has a double meaning: “Tonight, tonight, you’re gonna turn down the lights
/ And give me a little more room just to prove it to you.” By the time she’s jauntily singing, “I’m screwed, I’m screwed” in the fadeout, I was laughing my head off.

4. Haru (Widelife Club Mix) by Widelife – I fell instantly in love with the song when I first heard it played in Bed. It took me a while to get the artist and title. It’s 10 minutes long, but it never fails to get my pulse racing and my feet moving.

3. Losing My Mind by Liza Minelli and Pet Shop Boys – Probably one of the gayest collaborations of all-time, topped only by k.d. lang and Andy Bell’s duet of “Enough Is Enough (No More Tears).”

2. Hey U by Basement Jaxx – Super-infectious and silly. It’s the perfect happy music for driving.

1. Nothing In This World by Paris Hilton – Paris’ second single is mindless fun. Light in lyrics yet heavy on the beat, it’s a piece of pop fluff that’s easy on the ears and totally disposable. Plus the video is actually fun to watch.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Paris Is Calling

Courage is admitting to the world that I bought…

(dramatic pause)

…Paris Hilton’s album!

(Insert gasps, snickers, hoots or—dare I assume?—applause here, whichever matches your reaction.)

Okay, you done already? Good.

Foolishness is coming up with a review of it.

Okay, let’s think of this as an intellectual exercise. (God, I can’t believe I used the words “Paris Hilton” and “intellectual exercise” in the same entry.) So here goes.

* * * * *

Paris Hilton is one of those celebrities whose popularity is based more on ubiquitous media presence than talent. Right now she’s gained enough popularity—or notoriety, depending on who you’re talking to—to be considered as an “it girl” (lower case intentional) of the moment. But the clock is ticking rapidly. So what’s a girl like Paris to do?

Someone must have told her, “It ain’t over ‘til the rich bitch sings.” Paris, her self-titled debut, is a minor triumph of production, canny choice of material, and slick marketing. Welcome the vacuum-packed Paris Hilton! This album is supposed to transform her into a recording star. But listen closely to the album, and you’ll know right away that the real stars here are the producers and the songs—Paris is just the voice they hired to sing them. Did I say sing? There’s no way of knowing that. Before listening to the album I was wondering what kind of act Paris will follow. Will she be like Paula Abdul—not too talented singer, but with songs that have excellent production values? Midway through the album I was wondering if she’s more like Milli Vanilli—is she just a great pretender?

But back to the songs: there’s one for any demographic and genre. There’s the reggae-infused first single, “Stars Are Blind.” There are two funky-lites that’s reminiscent of early Britney, “Turn It Up” and “Turn You On”, complete with breathless delivery and come-hither lyrics like “don’t get so excited / cuz I might turn you on.” Want to hit the pop princess market? “Nothing In This World” mimics early Hillary Duff or Lindsay Lohan. For the rednecks, there’s the Western-infused “Not Leaving With Out You” complete with slide guitar—how very Shania Twain. How about going urban? “Fighting Over Me” features Jadakiss & Fat Joe. And then there’s “Screwed,” a guitar-pop-dance track that sounds very Roxette, all the way to the catchy sing-along chorus.

And they even manage a surprise for the older generation. In a strange case of marketing reversal, she has one song that’s targeted to an older audience. “I Want You” samples horns from “Grease” sung by Frankie Valli; people of my generation will get a kick out of it. Unfortunately the song is disappointingly flat; after the first giddy rush of excitement, the song fails to build up and just limply flatlines towards the end.

Oh and she also sings two ballads.

For me the biggest misstep is her remake of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.” There her vocal limitations are laid bare. The song’s true power lies in Rod’s gruff, teasing, spirited vocals. In contrast Paris’ breathless delivery lacks oomph; she sounds like she’s simpering. The song looses steam pretty fast.

Of course it’s possible that her youthful minions have no idea at all of Rod’s original version, and so they’re thinking, “What a cool song! It so fits her!” Maybe the best way to appreciate Paris is to listen to it in a vacuum. How fitting.

The Play’s The Thing

Last Saturday I was asked, along with four other TA alumni, to be a judge in Starting Five—Iba ‘To, the production showcase of the TA applicants’ theater workshop. It consisted of five short productions showcasing the acting prowess of TA’s new recruits—as well as the directing capabilities of five senior members and the playwriting efforts of two members. It was a very interesting set of productions. I was particularly struck by how dedicated and passionate the new kids were. And the level of production was a lot better over-all compared to previous years. All these bode well for TA in the coming seasons.

Our unanimous choice for best play was “Kulay Rosas Ang Dapit-Hapon Minsan Sa Isang Taon” while “Trabaho Soliloquies” and “Mga Guhit Ni Magdalena” alternated between second and third place.

I will explain the reason behind my choices. I speak only for myself and not for the other judges. Besides, a unanimous vote means the winner deserved to win hands-down. So anything I say here will not change our decision.

For me, “Rosas” was the runaway winner. I would even give the two leads, Exzell Macomb and Regina de Vera, the awards for best actor and actress respectively, while JJ Ignacio gets my vote for best direction. “Rosas” rose above the rest because of material, over-all execution and over-all impact.

“Rosas” is a foreign play adapted to Filipino by a fellow TA alumnus, the late RJ Leyran. Of the five scripts it is the one that’s been tried and tested. In fact the competition clearly showcased the importance of having great material—the better the material, the better the over-all production.

The subject matter of “Rosas” is really nothing new, but then so are the ones of “Soliloquies” and “Magdalena.” Boy and girl meet cute, fall in love but cannot be together, continue to meet cute in their idyllic hideaway (in the Manila Zoo), until reality steps in (in the form of the wife) and their fantasy world is brought to a bloody end. What lifts this piece is the tightrope act between the characters of Macario Sebastian III and the nameless Babae, as efficiently written by the playwright and as ably essayed by Exzell and Regina.

Exzell’s Macario was alternately sweet and scary; one couldn’t be sure if he’s really telling the truth or if he’s lying all along. To make a possible stalker appear sympathetic requires a delicate balancing act, and Exzell successfully—though sweating too profusely—pulled it off. And Regina matched him line per line; her Babae was believably naïve. The interplay between the two was a joy to behold. The two made us feel the push-and-pull of want and wariness; it was engaging to watch the two circle around one another, coming closer, pulling back, only to come closer again.

Also, the beauty of “Rosas” was that the blocking did not call attention to itself (unless on purpose) but served the story fully. “Soliloquies” and “Magdalena” had busier blockings, but their efforts showed; in contrast, the blocking of “Rosas” seemed seamless.

But for me what really clinched it for “Rosas” was the entrance of Macario’s wife. The premise of “Rosas” already had a hint of the unreal—how come she agreed to continue seeing him under curious circumstances? However Exzell and Regina were playing it real, so it was easy for me to believe in the situation. So when Macario’s wife Rose entered in all her surreal glory, it totally floored us judges. You see, Rose was played by a man playing a woman, but the production didn’t bother disguising it at all. In fact, it reveled in the sight—tacky wig, barely disguised dark manly skin, badly painted lipstick, and a man-voice pitched to an awkward and false falsetto (John Rabelas was inspired casting). That lifted the play to a whole new level of surreal. Now that’s impact.

And more importantly, it was a totally unexpected choice that did not feel gimmicky at all. In fact, in a twisted way it made sense (no wonder Macario couldn’t tell Babae about his wife). And if that weren’t enough: upon spotting Macario with Babae, Rose turns around in one big, unnecessary, unwieldy but ultimately fitting scoop, steps up on a bench and nonchalantly shoots her husband dead. How much more unexpected and surreal can one get?

“Trabaho Soliloquies” is about four individuals waiting for the results of a job interview; all of them are gunning after the same position. “Mga Guhit ni Magdalena” is about the oppression of women, as seen thru the eyes of three women from different generations.

“Soliloquies” and “Magdalena” are additive inverses of one another. Structurally they’re alike; both showcase ensembles with moments of soliloquies for every character. But while the former is light and funny, the latter is dark and serious.

“Magdalena” is the better executed of the two: the acting—both individual and ensemble—is more consistently excellent over-all, and the direction and blocking are more inventive. Ultimately it suffers because of the material. There’s nothing new being said; plus the play gives away its insights too early on. And while I applaud BJ’s direction over-all (his was the most inventive of the three), the onstage disrobing and faux-rape are, to quote Ate Vi, “been there, been that.”

“Soliloquies” also had nothing new to say; the joy in watching it is to see the actors pull off the comedy. Unfortunately comedy’s a lot harder than drama, and it showed. The acting was more uneven here, and while I applaud the effort and energy they bring to their roles, the individual actors weaknesses were more evident when they broke off into soliloquies. Still, their enthusiasm and discipline were engaging and infectious. And Trency Caga-anan’s was sure-footed and energetic. “A” for effort.

All three deserved the applause they got, but only “Rosas” managed to make my jaw drop—and ache because of all that laughing. For managing to charm, impress and ultimately surprise us jaded judges (and for making the line “Bear!” extremely funny), the play deserved the top spot.

Darkness Falls

After Sibak (1994) and Burlesk King (1999), director Mel Chionglo comes up with his third movie on macho dancers, 2006’s Twilight Dancers. Is it a case of third time’s the charm, or three strikes you’re out?

Dear Direk, let this movie be the twilight of peep-flicks disguised as social commentaries. Oh sure, the issues are updated. But still, when you train your camera onto those gyrating boys in their skimpy underwear and caress them longingly with your lens, one cannot help but wonder: what’s the difference between watching this movie and watching the real thing?

And when you go to the issues portion of the movie, you just show them but often don’t delve deeper. Your movie looks like a smorgasbord of appetizers. Do you need to tackle that many issues in one movie? Maisingit lang ba yung mga isyu tulad ng strikes, gun smuggling and institutionalized corruption?

Good thing Tyron Perez is engaging enough to watch. He is easy on the eyes and interestingly, registers very lightly on screen. This serves the movie well since it is he who threads the whole movie; put someone too intense or “heavy” and he’ll bog down the movie. And he really tries his darn best in this role; the effort sometimes shows though. But overall he manages to pull off a believable character who despite his background still has a level of innocence and naivety about him.

Allen Dizon has cornered the market for aging-sexy-actors-who-can-still-disrobe-but- thanks-to-age-and-experience-can-act-a-little-better-now. Just a little. Still Papa-licious for those who like their men a bit more mature and with heft, Allen’s character is supposedly a hot-headed guy trying his best to change his ways. Unfortunately his performance is too laid-back; his occasional outbursts make him look more sullen rather than ill tempered.

Lauren Novero is yummy to look at if you’re into swarthy “er”-types. Period. Too bad he only disrobes once. But he also has a playing-with-myself scene that stops short of masturbation.

Ana Capri acts up a storm as the mute wife of Allen Dizon. Acts up a storm even when only a drizzle is required. Her hands are incredibly all over the place—don’t mutes who do sign language have this economy of movement in their gestures? And what’s with all the grunting?

Joel Lamangan plays another one of those closeted-but-not-really local politicians with a penchant for cross-dressing and crossing off enemies permanently.

Was this film shot on digital? Was the cinematography purposely murky, like the world inhabited by macho dancers? Or is that more a lack of budget? And don’t get me started on the camera work. In the climactic scene wherein Cherrypie Pecache points a gun at one of the guys, the camera—obviously hand-held—is positioned near the ground. Then inexplicably it moves up, walks closer towards and to the right of the actors, and then settles down again. It’s as if the cameraman got tired of squatting and shifted positions arbitrarily. What the hell was that for?

Ah yes, Cherrypie Pecache. Thank god she’s in the movie. For the first time we have a strong female baddie in a film like this. She can convey the danger and the steel under her seemingly harmless exterior. But, but, BUT. There’s still something lacking. Is it intensity? Ruthlessness? She still looks like Cherrypie playing yet another character.

Direk, this whole macho dancing genre has grown tiring under your gaze. No profoundly new insight is presented, nor anything unexpected happens (one can spot the eventual murder of the union leader as soon as you gave him dialogue, for chrissakes).

Stop-dance ka na, direk.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Feeling Couped

In Thailand a coup d’etat is headline news for CNN and the BBC. In the Philippines a coup is a social event and an excuse for the everyday man to go on vacation. And the way our clients have been pushing us the past three weeks with work, work, WORK, part of me wishes for some socio-political-faux-military-quasi-religious “event” to happen. It’s just an “event” really, because no one is overthrown and nothing is changed. But that gives us an excuse to tell client, go screw yourself and your deadlines, I ain’t doin’ it cuz there’s a coup right now. And I’ll head straight to the mall to watch Mel Chonglo’s latest movie on macho dancers, Twilight Dancers. Or Channing Tatum (hot, hot, HOT!) in Step Up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ringing In The Years

Last Friday evening my phone died on me. Well, not really my phone since it’s actually Leigh’s. But she lent me her old phone because my real phone, the Sony Ericsson Z600, went zonkers a few weeks ago. Leigh’s was supposed to have been an interim phone while I looked for a replacement. Now that one is gone too.

Which got me thinking about my phones in the past. If guys have ex-boyfriends, I have ex-phones. Presenting my callboys:

My first one was a Motorola Microtac.
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I got mine when they first came out. He was cute during his time. He was a lot less bulky than the first cellphones, those big unwieldy ones that couldn’t fit in your pocket. The Microtac could fit in your pants pocket—if you’re wearing loose slacks. Any pants tighter than those and you’d invite remarks like, “Is that a cellphone or are you happy to see me?” My Microtac lasted a little over a year. I remember I had to have my line cut because I couldn’t afford one anymore; I had resigned from my work and was planning to go full-time into theater.

My second phone was a Nokia 7110.
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I wanted a phone with a sliding cover that protected the keys. I always preferred cellphones that kept the keys either hidden or protected. Plus I had just watched the very first Matrix movie and there Morpheus contacted Mr. Anderson a.k.a. Neo via a Nokia phone similar to the 7110 except it was black. (Thanks to that phone, the movie now appears so dated.) That one lasted longer, about 4 years.

My third phone was a Sony Ericsson Z600.
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This one stayed with me the longest, around 6 years. And even then, it was only during its last year that it exhibited signs of old age; the phone would hang once in a while, and the audio would sometimes drop out. (It was the constant flipping of the clamshell that caused the contact to loosen up.) It was clearly my favorite; I collected about 12 different shell designs so I can mix-and-match my phone with my wardrobe, and for a while I actually did that every day—for a total of three days. By the fourth day I just got bored.

This is what Leigh’s Sony Ericsson T630 looks like.
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But now it just hangs. Whenever you switch it on, it never gets pass the SE logo forming before it hangs. I swear it sucks.

So now I’m reduced to making do with my sister’s spare Nokia 3530.
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I used to be ambidextrous when I had my personal SE and my office Nokia, but now I’ relearning the Nokia set-up. Besides, the 3530’s keys would test the patience of even a rabid Nokia user.

But what I really want now is another clamshell-type of phone, or one with a sliding cover that protects the keys. I dislike that extra step of switching on the “keys locked” pad. And since I’m more partial to Sony Ericsson, I’m now eyeing the Z610i. Me covet!
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Sunday, September 17, 2006

I Can’t Wait To Hear…


Love, The Beatles
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Sir George Martin, now a sprightly 80, glides into a small room at London's Abbey Road studios and takes a seat beside his son Giles. Just down the hall is the famous Studio 2, where, 40-odd years ago, Sir George and the Beatles created some of the greatest records ever made. The Martins—36-year-old Giles is also a producer, with a CV including Kate Bush and Elvis Costello—are here to put the final touches on an extraordinary new Beatles project, a so-called ''mash-up'' album called Love. The disc takes elements from more than 130 original Beatles tracks and meshes them together into a ''panorama of sound,'' as Sir George puts it.

Giles hits ''play'' on the console in front of him, and out blasts the Beatles as you've never heard them. The basic track of ''Lady Madonna,'' for example, has been superimposed onto drums and percussion from the White Album's ''Why Don't We Do It in the Road?'' and ''Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.'' Somewhere in this stew is Eric Clapton's guitar solo from ''While My Guitar Gently Weeps,'' plus other ambient noises and sounds. The effect is thrilling and contemporary. ''We thought, if the Beatles were together today, '' says Sir George, explaining the record's ethos, ''what would they be playing? That was always in our minds.''

Purists may regard the concept of Love as bizarre—if not a desecration of the Fabs' legacy. But the album has the support of all four Beatles custodians: Paul, Ringo, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison. According to Sir George, Paul told him that '''you could be more adventurous still, y'know....''' When Ringo heard the finished version of ''Octopus's Garden,'' ''his jaw dropped.''

Love started as a tie-in to Cirque du Soleil's ambitious Las Vegas show of the same name, but the potential to create a stand-alone album was always clear. Although the new versions of tracks like ''Get Back,'' ''Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!,'' ''All You Need Is Love,'' and ''Eleanor Rigby'' were manipulated with state-of-the-art digital technology, Giles stresses that the Beatles' artistry has been preserved. ''I would never try to put Ringo in perfect time,'' he says. ''It would sound horrible.''

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Two More

Okay so I lied. Well not exactly lied, since when I first listed my seven songs of the moment, I hadn’t downloaded yet the two songs below. But this morning I successfully, illegally downloaded the following songs and now I’m playing them on repeat ad nauseam. Why? So I’ll get bored with them faster.

What two songs are these?


That’s Paris Hilton’s brain-lodging doo-wooping in “Nothing In This World”. My favorite line is in the oh-so-sing-along-able refrain: “I can do what she can do so much better.”

The second song is so catchy, I dare anyone with a sense of rhythm to stay still while this song plays. It’s Basement Jaxx’s “Hey U”, a heady, foot-stomping, gypsy music-infused number. You have to hear it to believe it.

That’s all. (said in a very Miranda The-Devil-Wears-Prada kind of way).

Friday, September 15, 2006


List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your LiveJournal along with your seven songs.

In alphabetical order:

1. Batang-bata Ka Pa – Sugarfree
2. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
3. Doo Bidoo – Kamikazee
4. Haru (club mix) – Widelife
5. Maneater – Nelly Furtado
6. No More Drama – Mary J. Blige
7. SexyBack – Justin Timberlake

Actually I’m into Madonna’s live album, I’m Going To Tell You A Secret, Beyonce’s album B’Day, Paul Van Dyk’s album The Politics of Dancing, and Conversations, the series of podcast interviews from (the interview with Daniel Handler a.k.a. Lemony Snicket is particularly hilarious and fun to listen to again and again).

I don’t play tag.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tie The (k)Not!

Before I was just dedma about them, but now I love Brangelina:


Brad Pitt won't marry Angelina until same-sex couples can

Hollywood actor Brad Pitt has said in an interview released last Friday that he will not marry Angelina Jolie, the mother of his newborn daughter until all gay couples in the US can legally tie the knot. “Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able," the 42-year-old actor told Esquire magazine for its October issue.

Last year Academy Award Winner Charlize Theron told reporters she would not marry boyfriend Stuart Townsend until gay and lesbian marriage was legalized.

What a great excuse not to tie the knot.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

“Shallowww… is it me you’re looking for?”

I’m wearing my brand new pair of Rockport waterproof black leather shoes for the first time. I have a couple of major presentations today to client, and I had only 5 hours of sleep and I was harassed the whole day yesterday so I decided to wear something nice and comfortable. Shit, I’ve been harassed with work the past three weeks and counting! Clients are scrambling for their last-quarter sales push, and they’ve kept me very busy. Which I suppose is a good thing, because I’d rather be harassed professionally not personally. And so far my personal has been peachy-keen. Going by “The Devil Wears Prada” philosophy, I should be fired soon. And speaking of Prada and the devil, I subscribe to the notion that looking good outside—even if it’s just the shoes—will make one feel good inside. Not that my Rockport pair is stunning enough to kick Prada off the shelf; in fact, it’s really quite an ordinary pair of black leather shoes. But I looove the Rockport comfort.

Susme, ambabao ng episode na ‘to! Ambabao! Babao! BABAO! Juliuuuuus! (Forget Tin-tin!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ask Me A Silly Question…

While chatting on the net:

* * * * *

HIM: “Am I pangit?”

ME: “ANO KA BA NAMAN?! Anong klaseng tanong yan?

Seriously, no you are not. You’re not guwapo, but “not guwapo” doesn’t mean you’re pangit.”

* * * * *

Anyone who asks me is really asking for it, hahaha.

But seriously, I was being honest. Isn’t it sad that for most people, “not handsome” equals “ugly” but “not ugly” is rightly seen as “not necessarily handsome.”

I swear, we uglies of the world should unite!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Paris Is Burning

Gasp! was the collective reaction when Paris Hilton’s first single, “Stars Are Blind” hit the airwaves. It shocked people that she was, er, singing; even more shocking was the fact that the song was decently listenable. On hindsight it is a cannily produced and cannily released first single—it’s very difficult to go wrong with reggae, and the production was slick enough so that Paris sounded like she knew what she was doing. Okay, okay, so it really sounded like she had a lot of electronic help, but they managed to not make it that obvious. (Having a sexy—albeit uninspired—music video also helped add buzz.)

But this morning I was shocked when I heard on the radio her second single, aptly titled “Nothing In This World.” Nothing in this world prepared me for it—the song actually sounds good! Her singing seems surer and more confident here. It plays like a very decent Hillary Duff song, or an early Kelly Clarkson album track.

What’s going on here? Is Paris on her way to become an honest-to-goodness recording act (notice how I purposely used the words “recording” and “act”)? Is this a function of diminished expectations from the listening audience? Methinks Paris, like Jessica Simpson, is perfecting the dumb-blonde brand approach to self-marketing: the lower the expectations, the more wow-reaction they can elicit from the audience. In which case, they—if not their handlers—are actually brilliant strategists.

Introducing Paris’ latest song, Delamar (of RX93.1’s Chico & Delamar fame) said, “She’s here to stay, get used to it.” Yes, stars are blind and nothing in this world has meaning anymore. The Apocalypse is officially here.

Things That Made Me Go, Hmmm!

The men’s toilet on the 20th floor of our building is situated at the end of a long corridor. Because there are four different tenants on the same floor (including our company), the bathroom is a fairly busy enough place, with people coming and going.

Around Tuesday last week, I was brushing my teeth right after lunch; my officemate was also brushing his teeth at the sink to my left. When I bent forward to spit into the sink, I felt a gentle gust of wind brush my right ear. I looked up immediately; to my right is already the wall. I stared at the ceiling, looking for an air conditioner vent. My officemate noticed the puzzled look on my face and my looking around, and simply said: “Hindi. Meron.”

I immediately knew what he meant. You see, that particular officemate of mine is extra-sensitive to things supernatural; he can sense a presence more acutely than most.

“Really?” I asked. “Where?”

“He’s now standing by the door. He likes to do that a lot—blow on someone’s ear.”

I stared at the door. There was no one. I couldn’t even feel or sense anything. “What does he look like?” I asked.

“An old man in black.”

“How come only now?” I asked. “Whenever I’m here by myself nothing happens.”

He shrugged. “I dunno.”

I finished brushing my teeth. “Well, at least I can now say I’ve experienced a physical manifestation of an unearthly presence,” I told my officemate then quickly stepped out of the bathroom before he could.

* * * * *

Friday evening I arrived home very late to find the lock to my door partially stuck. It would only go in half of the way; if I forced the door closed, I’d be stuck inside my room. My towel, which I often leave on the chair near my bed, was missing. I thought, someone who came in and took the towel—most probably to have it washed—must have turned the knob too hard and got the lock stuck. Since it was past midnight and everyone else was asleep, I decided to just leave things as is.

Next morning the lock was still partially stuck. I went to my mom who was in the kitchen and asked her, “The lock on my door is stuck. Do you know who went into my room?” My mom went to check out the problem for herself. My sister was watching TV in the living room; I decided to stay there instead.

Several minutes later my mom came back to the living room and said, “Now your door cannot be locked shut.” Apparently my mom forced the door closed—and trapped herself inside my room. She called for help to no avail, because we couldn’t hear her above the noise of the TV. Good thing she saw a cutter and a pen on my table; using them she was able to MacGyver her way out. Unfortunately in the process, the lock was now stuck all the way inside. Even if one shut the door, a gust of wind can easily swing it open.

What a hassle, I told myself, but because it was a lazy Saturday morning I decided I’d just buy a new lock later that afternoon. So I watched TV for a few more minutes, checked my email then headed for my room to inspect the damage.

The door was closed. I turned the knob. It was fine. The lock was unstuck and working properly. I tested it a couple of times. It was as if last night and this morning never happened.

I went back to my mom in the kitchen. “My lock is fixed now. Did you do anything to it?”

She shook her head. “When I left it, it was stuck way inside. And I’ve been here in the kitchen the whole time since.”

My sister was in the living room still watching TV. My younger brother was in his room. Neither of them would dare enter my room without asking permission first. My aunt was in the garage outside. That’s everyone accounted for.

I told my mom, “I think Daddy’s still fixing stuff around the house.” Mom just smiled and went back to cooking.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Blurring Lines With Words

There’s a new term going around that may threaten metrosexual.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome heteroflexible.

Unfortunately I cannot claim ownership of the term. I came across it in someone else’s email; she in turn admitted that she just read that somewhere. So there.

But what’s funnier is another term she heard along with “heteroflexible.” The term is: “Bi now, gay later.”


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Experiencing Jeff

Now, isn’t Jeff Corwin cute?
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The Great Gender Bender

On 2009 it will be my high school batch’s 25th homecoming anniversary, which I suppose is a big deal because even if it’s still three years away plans are already afoot. But even with all these preparations, I believe it will be very difficult to top our 10th homecoming.

You see, during our 1994 homecoming we discovered that our all-male batch had turned co-ed!

The venue of the homecoming was at the high school auditorium. When it was almost time for the activities to start, a curvaceous woman sashayed towards the registration table. The guys who spotted her from afar started ribbing one another in anticipation and whispering: “Pare, who’s date is that?” The female registration staff manning the table thought to themselves, “Oh, her boyfriend or husband must be just parking the car and she just went ahead of him.”

When she reached the table, she breathlessly whispered, “Roman, section 4-D.” Jaws dropped, breathing stopped; there was a collective oh-my-god. Our Roman was now a Romana.

Apparently after college Roman started the process of changing his gender, with his parents’ consent and financial support. And so six years later she pulled off the sweetest revenge: she managed to turn on the very same guys who in high school were turned off by his effeminate manners and his homosexuality. In fact, the running joke that night was guys asking one another, “So, did you lust after her before you found out she was Roman?” “Really? Well, (insert name of guy) was turned on by her after he found out she was Roman, hahaha!”

Now imagine topping that! Come out to the batch? That’s oh sooo yesterday. The only way I can think of topping that is if Romana comes to our 25th reunion—as Roman again! If changing of gender were as easy as changing one’s mind.

Her impact so stunned everyone that, deep into the evening’s activities, when another curvaceous woman in a stunning red dress and plunging neckline entered the venue, people started asking one another, “Uh-oh, is she a batchmate of ours too?”

Turned out she was Jenine Desiderio, our entertainer for the night. Poor girl.
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“Do I look like a drag queen to you or what, huh?!”

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Masaya ngayong ang lahat ng mga buwaya sa Kongreso.
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Steve Irwin, a.k.a. Mr. Crocodile Hunter, died after a close encounter with a stingray that unfortunately had more sting than ray. When Steve swam too close on top of it, the stingray lashed out its tail in defense. The barb of the stingray—which can reach 10 inches long and is poisonous—hit his chest and plunged straight to his heart.

I’m not a particularly big fan of Steve Irwin; I find him alternately amusing and annoying. The man from Down Under is so over the top with his energy level that it’s tiring to watch him. Besides, Jeff Corwin is cuter and hunkier than him, and I don’t get tired watching Jeff. But I did feel sad when I heard the news. Steven Irwin may be the most recognized and the most vocal (literally) animal conservation advocate around. Say what you will about his too-close-for-comfort stunts and his over-the-top commentaries; they made him a high-profile celebrity and helped increased awareness about animal conservation.

Oh well. Now it’s Jeff Corwin’s time to shine and be the top banana amongst all these animal guys on TV.
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Monday, September 04, 2006

Eight Days Equals One Lengthy Episodic Episode

My dear viewers,

It has been more than a week (a week!) since I last posted an episode here in The McVie Show. Last week was hell week as far as work was concerned; it was a cruel reminder that I have a day job and it’s not writing about shonga people or the loss of Pluto or chenelyn chuvanes chikahan. Heck, this day job is what’s funding The McVie Show, hahaha. So yeah yeah blah blah whatever—at the end of the day, suck it up and take it like a man.

* * * * *

Speaking of shonga here’s a sign at the Chesca Clothes Shop in Glorietta:
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I guess they wanted a sign they can still use after the sale, huh?

* * * * *

And I’ve decided to start compiling a list called Song Lyrics That Make McVie Go Hmmm. To start, here’s a line from one of my favorite acts, Erasure. This song isn’t one of their best, but it was a big hit here in the Philippines thanks to a particular dance step created for the song. Here’s the opening line of the Erasure song “Always”:

Open your eyes
I see
Your eyes are open


On another level is Snow’s one-hit wonder, “Informer”:

Informer you no say daddy me Snow me I’ll go blame
A licky boom boom down

You likey “licky boom boom”? Me likely no likey.

* * * * *

For those of you who are fond of the alcoholic drink Tequila Rose, I was surprised to find out that they’ve recently repackaged it. Plus they’ve added two new flavors too.

Here’s the old bottle:
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And here’s the new packaging and two new variants:
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For the teetotalers in the audience, Tequila Rose is strawberry cream liqueur with tequila. Yumminess! I’ve seen the new bottles in Rustan’s but I’ve yet to see in stores here the two new flavors: Java Cream (Tequila Rose plus coffee) and Cocoa Cream (Tequila Rose plus chocolate). I’m intrigued—I can imagine strawberry and chocolate flavors mingling, but strawberry and coffee? Mmm! Yet another reason to get tipsy on Friday and Saturday evenings!

* * * * *

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For those who are fans of Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events (the books, not the movie), the thirteenth and last book will come out appropriately on Friday the 13th of October 2006. “The End: Book The Thirteenth” is quite the appropriate title. Plus one can’t help but notice the pun intended in the title—yes, one should book the thirteenth of October because that’s when book the thirteenth will go on sale.

It has been a great series; I don’t quite remember now how I stumbled on this series, but from the moment I flipped through the opening pages of book 1 I knew I would fall in love with the series. It is unrelentingly unfortunate and funny.

The author Daniel Handler insists that a main theme of this series is how an attempt to put a narrative framework on events can lead to disappointment simply because there’s no narrative at all to begin with. Thus “The End” can actually end up with as many questions still left hanging. Mr. Handler obviously is not a big fan of closure; unfortunately, he may be right because Life isn’t always cooperative. There may be events in our lives wherein we must provide our own closure because if we wait for others to provide the closure, we may end up waiting in vain. Walking away, letting go, saying goodbye—those are actually empowering acts. “There’s no greater power than the power of goodbye” sang Madonna, and for once I think her Kabbalah lessons are paying off.

In his podcast interview on Handler intriguingly mentioned that the very last word in the thirteenth book is “Beatrice”; for those in the know, Beatrice is the (dead) woman for whom the 13 books are dedicated to. Prior to the release of the last book, on Sept. 2006 they will come out with “The Beatrice Letter” which may or may not give clues to the mysteries surrounding the Baudelaire’s most unfortunate events.
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With these two books the Baudelaire saga will come to an end. Or will they really? On October 2006, be prepared to say goodbye.

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