Monday, May 31, 2004

My Palm, My Library

The Da Vinci Code. Digital Fortress. Angels and Demons. The Name of the Rose. Foucault's Pendulum. The Left Behind Series. And now, Katherine Neville's The Eight. Thank God for Palm Pilots!

Friday, May 28, 2004

Rotten Tomatoes

99.5RT wasted an invite on me. They're throwing the biggest summer-ender party ever with 24 of the hottest bands in attendance. And as luck would have it, I won't be able to be there!
How fun.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Humbug! It's Bah-lentine's Day!

***Written a couple of V-Days ago***

When Valentine's Day swings around, as it mercilessly does year after year, every one of us is supposed to be in nirvanic bliss while wrapped
in the arms of our loveydoves. Right?

But tell me, without any trace of b.s., do you know of anyone who actually feels even moderately blissfull whenever VDay unceremoniously arrives?

Not the millions of people unlucky enough to find themselves WITHOUT
warm bodies beside them during this trying time. Heck, it's bad enough
that they have no partners, but the media also has to make them feel
like subhumans fit to be recycled into biscuits. I mean, if you're single and all you see on television are cheeeeeesy Valentine's Day specials with images of
hot-to-trot couples ready to rip each other clothes at a drop of a hat, Valentine's Day becomes about as fun as undergoing an open-heart surgery.

You think people in relationships have it any better? Ha ha. How fun is it to be brainwashed again and again by the media to BE A GOOD LOVER and to buy this and buy that and to go for a date here or go for a date there. The subtext being: You don't blow some dough, You are a bad bad lover and that you should be thoroughly guilty of your inadequacy and that you should go hang yourself.

But supposing you cracked and you did give in to the commercials, and have
decided to troop to the nearest mall to get your loveydove a gift, you think
it's smooth sailing from then on?

No way.

Now you would have to summon all your available strength to fight the growing sense of corniness welling up inside you as you see other guilt-ridden people crowding the store. As you all awkwardly and embarrassedly check out cheesy Hug-Me Bears and even cheesier I Trust And Love You giftwrappers, you find yourself
handcuffing your own limb to a railing to keep yourself from running out of the store in shame.

Oh you're right, there are indeed people who are extremely happy during VDay. And these are Sylvia who owns a flowershop, Henry who has malls all over the darn place, Fe who sells jewelry, Larry the restaurateur, and Albert with the lady who says SHHHHHHH.

So what do we do to these heartless opportunists who cash in on this cornball occasion at our expense?
Well, apart from pulling them by the hair and dragging them into the streets --
let's make them listen to Peabo Bryson and Air Supply all day.

That'll learn 'em.

Gotta go now, have to pick up a Hug-Me Bear before you buy them all up.


***I wrote this piece two days before the elections. If people think that Bro. Eddie's debacle has made me hang my head in shame, think again. I have made a bold stand and I am so proud of it I could burst. Understand this, GMA may hue and cry that she won but no rigged result can ever shake my belief. Gloria Arroyo may prattle on and on about the GNP and the GDP but she knows diddley-squat about righteous leadership. I still maintain that when you put a scalpel to it, you'd find at the very core of the country's woes a rotten and dark heart that knows not the light of God. For the first time in my life, I have felt that the Philippines is a sad, sad country full of people incapable of understanding. Now I understand what it means to cast pearls before swine. ***

It's not very easy to explain. The mammoth rally yesterday had
something that mere adjectives are powerless to capture. But what
the mind and tongue cannot describe, the goosebumps spoke of

Your hair would stand on their ends too if you witnessed
Christians, Moslems,and indigenous tribal people dissolving
into each others' arms, begging forgiveness for
centuries of slaughtering and slandering each other.

You'd get goosebumps too when you realize that for the first time
in history, there now is a real chance for everyone who
call these islands home to bury all bitterness and start
living in peace with each other.

You'd stand in awe too when you see millions upon millions of
people braving the blistering summer sun to inundate the Quirino
Grandstand like a vast ocean rippling with currents of change.

You'd get all choked up too when you realize that NOT ONE of
these people have been paid to go there, and that the only thing
that made them trade their comfortable homes of offices
for the sweltering Luneta was their deep love for their God and

You'd weep too when it finally hits you how utterly
greedy, selfish and rotten our leaders have been --
how they have raped the beautiful Pilipinas, turned her into a whore
and threw her into a squalid place of darkness and abject poverty.

You'd fight back tears too when you realize that we can shout
ourselves hoarse and mass up in EDSA until we run out of numbers for
People Power without our country getting anywhere -- unless our leaders have the fear of God in their hearts.

And finally, you'd praise and thank God too for stirring one man to move
out of his comfort zone to lead this fallen nation back into the
path of righteousness.

What I saw yesterday convinced me that we are standing
at the threshold of a deep and fundamental change in our society.
No traditional politician can inspire that kind of a massive and totally spontaneous
outpouring of support. Not Gloria Arroyo, who we fought for in EDSA 2 but ended up disappointingly just like the trapo she booted out of office. Not FPJ, who is surrounded by greedy puppet-masters who will plunge the country into deeper depths.
Certainly not Lacson, who still has not explained the disappearence and death
of his enemies. No, not one of them can fill up the Quirino Grandstand. Not even with
their much-vaunted machinery orchestrating hordes of "hakots".

There weren't any Sexbomb Dancers in sight. No one gyrated to Ocho-Ocho nor
Spaghetti. No one clowned around. But Bro. Eddie did not need any celebrities
to pack the millions in. Poor, rich, middle-class, Catholics, Moslems, Mangyan, T'boli,
born-agains, evangelicals -- all went there out of their own volition to witness history unfolding. All trooped to Luneta to make SWS, Pulse Asia, and other prostitute survey firms eat their words.

I love God. I love my country. I love my children. That is why on May 10,
I will vote for Bro. Eddie -- and then guard his votes with my life.

See you at his inauguration on June 30.

God bless the Philippines!

St.Joseph's Rules! (or Why I'm Glad My Folks Didn't Send me to St. Andrew's)

***Written a mighty long time ago****

This column could get me into major trouble with Andreans. You may have friends and relatives who went to St. Andrews. I myself have quite a number of college buddies who trace their roots to this school.

Sooner or later they will get wind of this article and that's why I'm not taking any chances. As soon as this column goes on-line, I'm packing a Beretta and bracing myself for tons of hatemail from the walking wounded. But ,dear batchmates, difficult as it may be, someone has to do the dirty job of articulating what we Josephians have known all these years -- that St. Joseph's is better than St. Andrew's.

Why? Read on.

•Girls! Girls! Girls!

St. Joseph's does not just have girls, but darn pretty ones by the truckloads. Pity those poor suckers in St. Andrew's. I mean, for Josephian boys, the unpleasant task of getting up and hauling themselves to school on chilly mornings was at least made a bit less painful with the promise of scoping those girls in the delicious blue and white uniforms. E sa St. Andrew's? Tell me, what's so motivating about seeing your male classmates' mugs day in and day out? It may be argued that St. Paul's is a stone's throw away. But who said they had prettier girls anyway? (Uh oh, now I'll really get it)

•Bamboo Organ

Whenever clueless relatives would make me repeat the name of the highschool I went to, I don't. I simply would tell them that it's the school where the Bamboo Organ, a very big deal in most parts of the world, is an ordinary, ho-hum thing that we got to see everyday. For extra shock, I would add that a classmate could casually saunter over to the instrument and play "Take on Me" whenever he felt like it. Two seconds later, ooohs and ahhhs of recognition fill the air. St. Andrew, on the other hand, is known as the school across St. Paul.

•Lantern-decked Acacia trees on the Church patio

For those who haven't experienced it, no explanation would suffice. For those who have, no explanation is necessary. Walking under the those acacia trees and looking up to see the small lanterns dotting the firmament like little stars is simply magic. Last time I checked, I didn't see any lighted acacias in St. Andrew's.

'Nuff said.

•The smell of puto bumbong on nippy
December mornings

Freud was right about deep-seated memories unconsciously shaping our present thoughts and actions. I know this is pretty wimpy (and I'm crazy to be sharing this) but I have very vivid memories of getting misty eyed as I watched Misa de Gallo attendees stream out of the Church while the aroma of puto bumbong wafted to my nose. The experience seemed to me to be as close as you could get to Nirvana while still breathing this earth's polluted air. And that little snatch of memory might be the reason why to this day, I still get a quivering stiff upper lip whenever somebody serves me puto bumbong. As for St. Andrews, the only aroma that wafts to the nose is the one coming from the murky river beside it.
I mean, I don't care what eventually became of him. The man simply loomed larger than life. His towerering frame, his stentorian voice, the guttural way he spoke English, and the way he glowered at miscreants gave us the closest brush we could ever have had with the hooded frailes of Noli and Fili. Is that cool or what?! I used to get bored out of my skull during the mandatory Music Appreciation class Fr. Leo made us all sit through every Monday. But when friends and family began noticing that in addition to knowing dudes like Dvorak and Puccini, I was also peppering my speech with high-falutin words such as glissando, arpeggio, bel canto, and staccato, I was not sure I still hated the class.

I would pay a month's Internet subscription to anyone who could prove to me that St. Andrew's had a cura paroko as interesting as our Fr. Leo.

Girls! Girls! Girls!
OK, OK, I've a one-track mind.
Now I sit back and wait for the hate-mail.

Careless Memories


Yaaawn. Wet Monday morning in my Paranaque office. I drag my carcass in front of the PC and groggily grope for my mouse under a mountain of papers. I rouse up my US Robotics 28.8 Sportster modem, a tired old gizmo which has seen better days. Mercifully,it sputters to life.

As the caffeine in my third cup of Nescafe finally kicks in, I brace myself for the usual torrent of spams. No surprises here. Just the usual "FREE Membership with -- for just $35!" and a million other pieces of electronic junk.

Suddenly, I see an item that should have drowned in that cesspool of spams were it not for the very familiar name on the heading.

It's Benjie!

He's inviting me to join a service called the eGroups or something.
Duh, okay. Anything's better than reading mail from somebody named Naughty Nanette who says she gets all hot and ready very easily (in factl, as easily as you could type in your credit card number.)

So I click the hyperlink to the website and blindly follow the
instructions. After several fumbling attempts (in the process of which I manage to crash a server in Tegucigalpa), I finally, ehem, create an egroups account!

Thrilled at the thought of getting in touch with long-lost highschool
chums, I enter the members' section and promptly see a grand total of two members --Benjie and myself. Ha! Ha! You got me there, Benjie Boy.

But plant the seed Benjie did. In a month, the eGroups would grow so much bigger. So one June afternooon, my inbox, already bursting at the seams with mail from Naughty Nanette and the eGroups members, yields another pleasant surprise -- a letter from Eric proclaiming that our batch already has --dyaraan-- websites! Not just one, thank you very much, but two! The one in US managed by Eric & the one in Singapore run by Kai. And with
Eric buying a domain name out of a deep commitment to the batch with money coming from an even deeper pocket (I am not sure about that FRANK! -inserted by Eric), the batch site will be 100% independent, subservient to no one. Mwahahaha!

Faster than anyone could say ''bamboo organ'', everybody was furiously exchanging letters and posting embarrassing photos ;-) of themselves and their batchmates.

All of a sudden, I find myself making chika with Lorna in California,
getting Palm Pilot advice from Eric also in California, having on-line
confessions with Fr. Earl in China, and recalling highschool capers with Benjie in Pamplona. All of a sudden, I find myself writing an on-line column for any batchmate who cares to read it. All of a sudden, I find myself hunkered down before my trusty old Palm in clients' waiting rooms, restaurants, supermarket checkout counters scribbling furiously in hopes of meeting the deadline set by Eric-the-Webmaster- of-the-Universe.

All of a sudden, I feel so connected with my batchmates as the distance and culture that used to separate us get vanquished by the eGroups and the websites!

All of a sudden, I finish my very first Careless Memories column!

Dear Classmate Arman

I know you're terribly homesick so I will make you
want to be here in the Philippines just a li'l bit more.
He he. Ang sama ko 'no?

I can't help but be gushy, pare. Last Christmas was probably
one of the merriest and busiest I've had in quite a spell.
It all started when Eric blew in from the States on the 23rd of
December, an event which set off an unbelievable chain of gimmicks.

And word got around fast. Within hours of Eric's arrival, as
early as 11am, in fact, Benjie, Amry, Mia, Gary, Jasper, Fr. Earl,
Kate, Ricky, Larry started gathering at Eileen's house
in Equitable Village. Just like old times, man, just like old times.
Kulang na lang, may biglang lumabas na mobile and started spinning
Boys Do Fall In Love remixed with Borderline.

The group lost no time catching up on each others' lives.
Embarassing Sheena Easton hair do's were recalled.
Cobweb-covered new wave songs were trundled out and
attempted to be sung. And sordid secrets were revealed.
They went on and on...and on.

And then yours truly arrived at 11pm, or twelve full
hours since the group got together. It was only a miracle
that those guys waited for me. Thanks for your patience!

I was still trying to catch my breath when the group decided
to hightail it to Planet Music. There, in the cozy darkness
of the VIP room, we all let loose -- belting 80's hits as if there
were no tomorrow. And after the dust has settled and all the
other guests have left, we reluctantly closed down the place
and bid each other goodbye.

Still another magical night was experienced by us
at Benjie's storybook wedding. The soul-stirring ceremony led by Fr.
Earl, the dreamy reception in the girl's quadrangle, were exactly
the stuff Drew Barrymore movies are made of. That was a class act,
Benjie my man. You scored a big one there.

The following nights saw us whooping it up in GameWorx, Gilligan's
Island, and Orange. But since this email is
waaaay too long already, to be continued na lang.

So Arman, my dear classmate, I know you're making
big bucks there in the Middle East pero sana naman
makadalaw ka sa amin dito once in a while.

Bibili na ba ako ng ticket?

PS. Amry, Mia, Kate, Eileen -- it was so cool hanging
out with you guys again. My wife had a blast.
Let's do it again soon. =)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Trystin' in the Tropics

5 jiggers vodka
1 can mango nectar
1 jigger triple sec
1 teaspoon blue curacao
1 teaspoon grenadine syrup
santambak na crushed ice

Combine vodka, mango nectar, triple sec and ice.
Let the poisonous stuff whirr like crazy in a blender
for about twenty seconds.
Pour into a highball glass.
Spoon in the blue curacao and grenadine
as toppings.
Throw up.

Magic Hour

I hear Harbor View beckoning once more...

Lala and I found ourselves there yesterday
during the "magic hour", as advertising people fondly
call sunsets.

It's the closest to Ibiza's Cafe Del Mar as I could
ever hope to find myself in without leaving Manila.

While dreamy chillout mixes flowed out of the sound system, pleasantly chilled SanMig Light flowed into my system.
All these while the redorange sun put on a gorgeous show in the horizon.

This, my good friends, it what transcendence is all about.

We have to check it out again, really.

Kuya Germs and Time Travel

It's all over, Mr. Hawking.

I think you'd better stuff your millions of research dollars into a
rev up that Four Wheel Drive wheelchair, and motor off to a nice little
retirement home with nurses who look like Laetitia Casta.

There is nothing left for you to do around here, Stephen --- I have
cracked the mystery of time travel.

And you're wrong, time travel has nothing to do with sending poor
quarks colliding with each other at high-speeds or forcing any other hapless
subatomic particle to perform circus stunts. And, thank God, neither does
it require the appearance of Scott Bakula anywhere.

The answer to the question that has eluded physicists is this:
travel is all about Kuya Germs.

You laugh. You think it's bull. But how else would you explain
last Saturday night when, for about ten minutes or so, I swear I travelled
back to 1986??

It's a bit too technical for laymen to grasp but here it goes. I
the TV on at around 11 pm. Still too early for the midnight movie on cable, I decided to check out what other stuff were out there.
So I zapped through a cockfight, an awards night, and a documentary on man's
quest for flight.

And then, from out of nowhere, German Moreno appeared on my
screen. Wearing a calamansi-green tuxedo and fuschia bowtie, Kuya Germs
flashed a wide grin, waved his arms a la Chorus Line, and in full pedophilic
mode, wailed "Walaaang tulugaaaan!!!"

Whereupon all the weird stuff began to happen.

As the opening credits of "Master Showman Presents" rolled in, I
my hair metamorphosing from its "deliberately-mussed-up, fresh-from-bed"
look to the brushed-up pompadour that Janno Gibbs had in the mid-eighties.
What the....

Then the Bellestar Promotion Dancers took the stage and started
to the tune of "There's no business like show business..."
Please understand, those Japayukis in their skimpy sequined costumes and
funny hats were pretty distracting so I did not, at first, notice what was
happening to my pants. But when I looked down, my loose-cut maong pants were loose no more.
Naging baston! Naknangtokwa.

And if I had any doubts left that I indeed went back in time,
everything was erased when I saw the next guests to be called in:

Jojo Alejar and The Tigers.

That's it. I was back in 1986.

How could I not be back in 1986 when right before my very eyes
The Tigers were doing the moonwalk to the tune of "Ma-ma-se, Ma-ma-sa,
Ma-ma-cu-sa" as if techno and house music have not been invented? How could
I not be back in 1986 when the stage backdrop was a crudely-drawn and even
more crudely-cut styrophor image of a rose as if Photoshop never existed?
How could I not be back in 1986 when Kuya Germs was handing out Bert's Tree
Milk Powder and AGFA Color Film to his guests as if he actually thought they
liked it? How can I not be back in 1986 when I was half-expecting Lilet to
and sing "I am the future of the world, I am the hope of my nation..."

Man, forget about particle accelerators or uranium-powered De
Loreans, park your butt in front of the TV this Saturday and let Kuya Germs
suck you
into a time warp.

Then I remembered that the cable movie was already underway
and zapped the channel. And just like that, I hurtled forward through
years and crashed back into 2001.

Could somebody please hand me my Dippity-Doo Gel?


Starbucks is the ultimate non-gimmick. No thumpin' music.
No laser lights. No booze. No wild behaviour. Starbucks is an elaborate
psychological trick played on unsuspecting millions all over the world.
Starbucks is marketing--pure and simple. Heck, Starbucks doesn't
even have the best coffee in the world (Figaro does, ha ha)

Notice the subdued lighting? The preponderance of earthy
browns and organic greens. The absence of synthetic blues
and yellows and reds? The calm interior? The folksy, down home
name and the New Age-y logo?

Everything's been calculated to simulate a return to the womb.
Starbucks makes piles of money feeding our neurotic need to be
in that blissfully innocent state of dark nothingness.
It's a climate-controlled, make-believe haven where innocence
could go on even if the politicians are robbing us blind and sending this country to the dogs.

Why do you think that Starbucks still packs it in at 3 am?
It's because after a night of excesses in clubs, drinking binges, and one night stands, people need to wash all
the impurities and all the guilt away.

But with frappe?

Friday, May 21, 2004

I'm a newbloggie and proud of it!

I'm what those savvy marketers refer to as an "early adopter", those who are supposedly slightly ahead of the curve, eagerly (and sometimes foolishly) plunging into new stuff earlier than the rest.

I was already on my third PDA back when declaring "I love playing with my Palm!" elicited sniggers. I've been Friendstering when most people were just getting the hang of egroups (well no -- but what a good way to drive home a point, aint it?). I was already enjoying the marvels of Bluetooth back when friends were imagining it to be some sort of a gross dental condition you get by compulsively sucking on ball pens.

So why am I late comer in the blogging scene?

Can I answer that tomorrow?? It's Mom's birthday tonight and I have to get the kids and the wife all ready.