Monday, December 29, 2008

Four Years and a Funeral (3 of 3)

For anyone who's actually checking this shit out, here's the third essay I wrote in connection to Maverick...

* * * * * * * *

Four years down this winding road of a dream begun, as soldiers have come and gone, I am left wondering not if the battle goes on, but if the war actually ever was.

This week I say goodbye to four such soldiers. Okay, so one of them is still hanging around for another week, but we’ve done the whole pat the back, bump the knuckles and pound the chest routine so often, it was starting to get stupid. One of them walked away once, came back and probably woke up one day finding something missing. She’s going back out to look for it. Maybe one day she’ll come home again. Depending of course, on what she will decide is home.

"...I thought we had enough goodbyes. But fate has a way of bringing things in bunches..."

Every now and then, we find people who believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. And it’s these times when dreaming is worth it despite the fear of falling with your face down in the mud, arms outstretched and legs splayed all over. I found one not too long ago. She’s leaving, too. But not before having come back over three years ago, and helping me build the house that many have come to call home, and the menagerie that many have come to call family. She flies off to other dreams in a week. And in her eyes we know she carries with her a piece of us. But that is nothing compared to what she leaves with us, and the echoingly big shoes she has left here to be filled by someone else.

I thought we had enough goodbyes. But fate has a way of bringing things in bunches. And when we got that phone call that quiet morning, we said goodbye to someone who was unfortunately beyond the whole pat on the back and bump the knuckles routine. An unassuming guy, who knew his fate early on, and faced it with courage, honest smiles, and some of the most twisted jokes this side of town. Arguably one of the best creative minds I’ve ever met, and one of the kindest souls that ever existed. God Bless that kind soul.

One evening, we went to spend a few moments in his week long wake. I watched faces puffy with grief, and eyes that sparkle with tears and respect. Faces of those who will keep hanging around and hanging out. And right there, my memory jogs back to newer faces who have come these past two years. I find myself welcoming again, however belatedly others who have come to share the dream. Some who have chosen to test the waters, some who just follow the tides, and maybe a few who are just sailing through, and every so often, some who seem to really believe.

Life goes on. For me, for those who remain, those who have just come on board, and for those who journey on elsewhere both around and beyond. I sat there on a row of tables connected together, sat at by people no less connected, while nursing our fifteen minute beers. I smile to myself with the realization and reminder that thankfully for this bunch, the only thing bitter was the beer. A five minute toast and goodbye to the one who went on, nods all around, and I asked for the check. And soldiers… nay, PEOPLE… will come and go, but there is no such thing as too many fond farewells.

And no, dreams don’t really change. Our perception of these dreams do. And somewhere along the way, we perceive the dream not as a destination, but as the journey itself. Given even more meaning by the ones we meet along the way.


revised: 3/4/06 3:50pm

Saturday, December 27, 2008

First Maverick Christmas (2 of 3)

Here's the second of those essays that weren't really meant for blogging, but seemed to have been tailor-fit for it...

It’s only been a year since I’ve looked across the room and said my goodbyes to a family I once built and knew. But it seems like a lifetime. After the year that has been, I stood there among a new family that I’ve built with others, a new family bustling with new life, new hope.

8:12 pm, December 19, 2002. That night was our first Christmas party. It seemed simple enough to get there, I just didn’t know the shape we were going to be in when we did. This motley crew has fought well together, but not all battles were won. But as we have fallen, we’ve picked ourselves up. Bloody and bruised, but breathing…
…smiling, while shaking hands and throwing high fives among ourselves, who’ve stood together…
… and laughing, knowing we stand taller and stronger now than we ever have.

"...I wonder if they can smell my fear? My fear of failure, my fear of reaching out for this dream and not reaching it at all..."

I can’t really say if all these people really share the very same passion that I’ve built this thing on. I started this new company with the hare-brained illusion of gathering only the most passionate of people with me. And after the year that has passed, I am left asking myself if the kind of passion I showed and asked of them was more the wrong kind. A passion that bore the bitter foundations of my own sense of pain, loss, and resentment, perhaps? One that seemed to rejoice more in the news of loss and failure of others, than in our own little victories? It shouldn’t have been so, but for much of our journey, it was. And I can only thank these people for looking beyond that, and giving me their best. I wonder if they can smell my fear? My fear of failure, my fear of reaching out for this dream and not reaching it at all. The fear of letting these people fall victim to the hubris of a foolish and delusionary man hiding behind the thick, musky smoke of his own bravado.

If they did, it didn’t show. As the laughter went on, there were laughable efforts at singing tonight. Off-key anthems to cheers of what will be, what may yet become, and simply cheers of being in this journey I’ve begun. If they only knew, I’ve conquered my fears again and again every day to the music of their laughter, and on the knowledge of their faith.

Every now and then, I find myself tired. Feeling the weight of all this too much for my poor, twenty eight year old shoulders. Then I see her. My oldest friend, who I dragged out from a cushy job to help me keep these kids in line. And I simply can’t give up. Can’t fail.

Or at the very least, I can’t stop trying to not fail. We’ll keep at it and probably fall flat on our faces from time to time. But we’ll pick ourselves up from the grime and keep running. Over and over. And we’ll be back to sing more songs off-key… and laugh, laugh, laugh…

And there it was, laughter that bubbles from them like music to my ears…

I once heard that when all the laughter has died down, clowns are the first to cry. I’ve been a clown all my life. But tonight, the laughter is abundant… tonight, this clown is king.

(Restored 2008)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Montage Christmas (1 of 3)

Leaving my previous company was hard for me. It was a sea of mixed feelings. And before blogging was the norm, I chose to sometimes pound away into my keyboard for no real reason other than to let it out... Here's something I wrote on the morning after my last Christmas party with what was then called Montage Studios.

After the first piece and the emotional release it gave me, I wrote another one after my first Christmas party with Maverick, then another one four years later after the wake of our beloved copywriter, Almanz Manzano.

Here's the first of them


It was no ordinary Christmas party. It stood among the happiest and warmest parties I’ve ever been. It showed that this 6-year old advertising agency, where I have toiled since its inception was definitely going somewhere. It didn’t matter that we never won any awards, that we were always a few inches away from the deadlines and all, or that it sometimes seemed that the office was overrun by immature retards… or maybe that was the really good part. But it was definitely going somewhere.

It was December 22, 2001, 9:30 pm at a Japanese buffet restaurant 15 minutes from the office. We were in the middle of the office Christmas party. Everyone was laughing, eating and drinking their hearts out, and everyone was happy. I was happy.

And I was sad.

I was looking at all these people who are part of a young organization (by ad agency standards) that has withstood storm after storm, and the frequent horn locking of the bosses. I am one of the bosses. But only until the next seven weeks.

I am looking at them with my silent goodbyes and they didn’t even know it.

I’m a relatively young chap. Going 29. Recent survivor of the new millennium psychosocial phenomenon they call the “quarter life crisis”. But being in this agency, which I helped build for the past 6 years has made me see how easy it is to accelerate your age at one moment, and relive you childhood the next, as long as your heart was always at the right place. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I am doing one of my childhood hobbies for a living. But more than that, it was the spirit the organization cultivated and nurtured, a spirit of trust and belonging.

"...I walked across to my oldest partner... the one who was with me right from the very start of everything, and I toast him... for being the strong one for the past 6 years..."

For a 28 year-old hotshot, I looked at and loved all the staff as though they were children under my care. Never mind that, with the exception of the driver, who was 30, I was the eldest by only one or two years before the next guy. And it wasn’t enough that their salaries were paid and all. What was really important to me was that they become better people, not just better professionals (that’s easy, you can buy training anywhere nowadays), but better PEOPLE. And I promised myself way back that I will help them do that, whoever they are, and wherever they came from.

I will never know of course, if I succeeded, or even cracked their ice. But I honestly did give it my best shot.

I am watching the staff (I no longer feel comfortable calling them MY staff) play parlor games. Some of them are creative variations on old games, while a couple or so were good-natured rip-offs of TV game shows. And everyone was laughing, eating and drinking his or her hearts out, and everyone was happy.

And I am still looking across the room bidding my silent goodbyes. I can almost hear their laughter echoing in my head long after the merriment has ended.

The staff count has grown to thirty-two heads, including the three partners. Not bad for a 6 year-old agency. We had already surpassed what we aimed for when we first started, and were aiming higher. I am watching the smiles and the laughter on their faces, and I could feel their faith that this agency was aiming higher, and that it would get there. I know it will.

I walked across to my oldest partner (there are two), the one who was with me right from the very start of everything, and I toast him. I toast him for being the strong one for the past 6 years, for being the one who stuck through all the doubt, and for being the one who has helped make me a better person. We shook hands very firmly, like brothers who have survived through many battles together. Each knowing we will now fight our battles alone. But destiny does have a sense of humor, as well as irony after all, and we shall see. We shall see.

I looked at those happy, smiling faces over and over, asking myself how I could leave all this behind. Then I remind myself that I had to. The reasons are probably more personal than they are practical. And during the occasional spells of paranoia, I have deemed move mildly suicidal, professionally speaking.

But I’ve made up my mind.

I stand outside at the balcony here at my home; a short ten-minute drive from what will soon be my former office. I chose to live in this neighborhood mostly due to its close proximity to the agency. I am looking at the treetops scattered across the immediate landscape. I see the different shades of green of the different tress as they ruffle in the breeze, and I think that perhaps that was it. I had to get the right shade of green for me. The tree we planted and nurtured has grown so much, but perhaps I wanted to taste a different fruit now, and stand under another shade of green. Or maybe that’s all just an attempt to poetize my growing greed.

But I am not greedy.

However, at this point, I will surrender myself to the judgement of what I pray will be a long and healthy history of the organization I will leave behind.

And I pray history will repeat itself. But the next time around, I will no longer say goodbyes, silent or otherwise.

December 23, 2001
11:55 pm

Sunday, December 21, 2008

bits & pieces off my lousy phone camera...

In the process of clearing my phone of whatnots, I stumble upon a few things that I snapped in the past that I've always meant to write about but never really got around to doing so...

But before I delete them, here's a breeze-through...

One gray morning on the way to work, I found myself tailing a truck cab that had a sticker saying: "Government Project, DO NOT DELAY."

They should correct themselves and instead say: "PHILIPPINE Government Project, Do Not Delay FURTHER."

* * * * * * *


This being the Philippines, our more than liberal speech patterns, coupled with our multiple source-culled dialect have helped arrive at some rather amusing, if not altogether interesting business names...

And from time to time (far rarer than I'd wish...), one has the occasional presence of mind that lets one grab his phone (oh, will you look at that, there's a fucking camera!) and snap at a few things...

First is "Cocomo Nail Spa" that one can find at One Kennedy Place at Greenhills. Either they're Beach Boys fans, or they just thought this would be a cute shop name. Or both... I'd agree with either...

Next up is "SideWok," an annex of sorts to Reyes Barbeque. I'm guessing "SideWok" fries things in lieu of barbequing them. And them being a "side feature" makes the name amusing at least...

I found "SideWok" in the food court of the Greenhills' Theater Mall.

Other amusing names that I saw but wasn't able to photograph were:

- "Hair Force One" (a barber shop)
- "Pinoy Big Barber" (another barber shop with a logo designed like "Pinoy Big Brother")
- "LaBada Shop" (a laundermat with a logo designed like "the Body Shop")

There are many others out there. Before blogging became the "thing," many have been proliferated via chain emails... Oh well... Cheers to those...

* * * * * * *


To your left is a photo of a side view mirror reflecting an image of something called a "roving billboard."

These "roving billboards" have been done in the past in other countries. Most notably the United States, which we Pinoys desperately get a lot of our inspiration from.

Their main function is to help create brand awareness, while they:

1. Add to the already horrendous traffic of Metro Manila
2. Waste precious fuel just to help the truck owner get rich.
3. Add to the already montrous pollution level of Metro Manila (or the rest of the goddamn planet, for that matter...)
4. ...are not even really effective...

'think the planet's in deep shit? Well, these stupid things aren't helping...

* * * * * * *


In the course of approving and/or cashing checks in the store in Baguio City, I've come across some very amusing names.

I've cashed a check addressed to someone with the last name, "Doctor," who happily claims that she also has an aunt who is a real doctor. Thus, making her aunt "Dr. Doctor."

But that's a surname. What about parents who name their kids things like, "Kobe Bryant Reyes," or "Clark Kent Wong," or in this case "Phoebe Kates N------?" (Please note misspelled "Cates.")

Can children sue their parents for these things?

* * * * * * *

Catch you later...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book Review: “Up Till Now” by William Shatner with David Fisher

This Shat is Good Reading…

Some take only a couple of hours to read a book. Some take days or at most weeks. Me? I finished William Shatner’s Autobiography, “Up Till Now” in over half a year. That’s right, six months and three days from the moment I opened it until I turned the last page of prose.

But that by no means should imply that “Up Till Now” is a lousy read. On the contrary, it was a damn good book.

So why so long? Well see… the entire thing was written in a most conversational manner. Thus, making “Up Till Now” wonderful company during those lonely bus rides to Baguio City when Malou the wifey and Marge the baby didn’t join me for usual tour of duty.

So simply put, I saved the pages for company when I needed it most. And given how I’ve overplayed Shat’s Ben Folds-produced “Has Been” CD to the point of memorizing many of the songs, and after almost five seasons of Boston Legal (as of this writing, I’m only a couple of episodes into Season Five…), “Up Till Now” was made even more enjoyable for me since I almost automatically “heard” the book in my head with Shat’s trademark spoken word baritone phrasing.

"...Shatner never fails to happily remind the reader that he (Shatner) knows that he is best-known as Captain Kirk, and that his supposedly best days are behind him...."

In fact, it was almost like having scotch and cigars with Shat out on Denny Crane’s balcony after a long day. And you don’t rush a dear friend who’s telling you the story of his life.

But enough with intros and excuses… on to the review…!

* * * * *

Like most times, I pick up a Shatner product out of curiosity as to what he’ll do next, while expecting to be entertained by his mock indignations, which is topped off by his humorous self-deprecation.

And here in “Up Till Now,” like always, he delivers.

(Before anything else, I must state on record that in this book’s title is a pet peeve of mine. Not too ago, people began abbreviating “until” into “’til.” Which is understandable. Then some idiot/s started spelling the abbreviation as “till,” which is just plain WRONG. “Till” is a verb. It’s what a farmer does to land, dammit. But sadly, it’s commonness in usage has led to this grave error being an “acceptable” spelling… truly, the art in language is dying…”)

Shat, with help from novelist David Fisher takes the reader through an almost chronological recount of practically every stage of his career. From his early days as a bit player, to his struggles as an actor so poor he had to live in car. As a victim of a handful of bad breaks, including his game show filler days, to his slow rise to real stardom and nigh-ubiquity as Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. He also talks about his many shows, from the early “Defenders,” to “Barbary Coast,” “T.J. Hooker,” to “Rescue 911.” All while always dipping into his Star Trek chest at every opportunity.

Shat fans (like your truly) who’ve never picked up a bio on the erstwhile on-screen starship captain will find a lot of amusing anecdotes in “Up Till Now.” Some of which include some big stars of the stage like Walter Mattheau, up and coming hottie Heather Locklear, and many more.

Shat also takes us through the painful (and fateful) occurrences throughout his marriage with the late Nerine, and opens his then-bleeding heart to the reading stranger. Up to his search for and courtship to his wife, Lisbeth. Shat glosses over Boston Legal, and makes his sheer joy at the current state of his life shine right through the pages.

Throughout the book, Shatner never fails to happily remind the reader that he (Shatner) knows that he is best-known as Captain Kirk, and that his supposedly best days are behind him. This he does through frequent digressions from his topic on hand in the form of hawking Star Trek memorabilia through his website . Not too different from how an old man’s thoughts fly off mid-conversation, further reinforcing the conversational feel of the book. But Shat strips himself down to his bare soul while talking about his many near-misses, and how he makes no qualms about enjoying the level of fame and popularity he now has. He knows he can be the biggest joke if he lets himself be it. But rather than watch you laugh at him, Shat hangs his own picture on the wall, and joins you on the couch as you both laugh along at it.

Added bonuses are the pages of photos from many stages in Shat’s very colorful career. One of which even made my wife exclaim that she didn’t expect Captain Kirk to have been as handsome as he was as a young man.

Without knowing how much of the words are truly Shat’s and which passages were by David Fisher, one still finds many lines that show many facets of an actor who has more than paid his dues.

On his childhood…
“I was a lonely kid. I’d walk to school by myself… I would send myself valentines… those would be the only ones I would receive…”

LA Comedy Club
“…it will be funny because they will get that I’m Captain Kirk who thinks he’s funny, but he’s not funny, which is why he will be funny…”

On his early acting…
“…until that day, I didn’t know there were nineteen different ways to say no. Is that how you want me to say it? No. No? No. You mean no? Yes…”

On directing
“…on a film set, the director isn’t God – he’s the one who tells God to run across the parking lot, leap onto the hood, and grab hold of the wipers and hold on…”

On marriage
“…what happens is that the person without power loses their self-respect, their whole entity becomes less, and the reasons their partner fell in love with them disappear…”

As with most things related to William Shatner, fans pick them up out of blind loyalty, while others might browse through it just to marvel at how this oddball still manages to be lucky enough to have a major career at this stage in his life.

But whichever one you are, I must recommend this book if only for its sheer entertainment value as the story of the struggles and eventual triumph of a man who started as an actor, and now stands as among the icons of popular culture.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Manny the Distractor...

The Filipino people are happy again for just another day. And you can bet your bellybutton lint Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will capitalize on this. For the first time in weeks, maybe even months, we’ve got one solid piece of good news on the papers, radio and of course, tv.


The Malacañang spin doctors get themselves day off from having to get the public to think of new issues to cover up any other issues that have any potential at all at boomeranging back to Gloria.

All they have to do today, tomorrow and the next few days is have Gloria bark about the so-called Filipino spirit “that triumphs over adversity, and against the odds…” (or something like that. The presidential spin docs were always particularly good at clichés.) Gloria will urge the countrymen to feel good about themselves, to feel proud that a Filipino has again proven that we can compete globally, and totally make the euphoric Pinoys forget for one moment that while Manny’s bringing home a gazillion bucks, Gloria’s keeps on tucking away even more.

And Manny’s providing the best distraction on earth… but hey, cheers to the PacMan…

Catch you later…

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gloating Day...

I am currently browsing my files and stumbled upon some old pro-bono work I do for the Manila Jaycees, which I'm a part of.

These are a few of my favorites. A few other favorites, like the backdrop with Chavit, and one of my definitive favorites, the one with Mayor Alfredo Lim will turn up here soon as I find them...

The one here that I did for the souvenir program of the Manila Jaycees' 60 Induction Ceremonies with the diamond seems very simple. And that's where the trick is. try clicking in to view the design a bit closer and pay attention to the diamond facets, where I threw in a few major historic Jaycee events along with a handful of the most eventful presidents.

I am still called upon to try and top this. Honestly still haven't...

This other one is no biggie. I just like how the colors turned out...

This last one for the JCI Paralympics event I also really like... Left a lot of space where I gave it to someone else to fill in the sponsor logos and other details...

Shameless Plug #120608: COMDDAP Manila Expo 2008

This post is kind of late... But hey, better late than never, right?

Anyways... one of Maverick's favorite clients, the Computer Manufacturers, Distributors and Dealers Association of the Philippines (COMDDAP) is holding its annual COMDDAP Manila Expo... In lieu of an explanation, I've attached a brief video that Maverick did for the opening day... (please pardon the compressed quality... a bigger, smoother and more proportioned file wouldn't hook onto blogger for some reason...)
For anyone who might ask, another group did the the print material and visual concept for this campaign. Maverick did the media planning and placements, press management, and consequently put together this flash video for the kick-off day. Hint hint hint... there's a link to Maverick's website on the blogroll. And although it's still under construction, there's contact information there, just in case.

COMDDAP Manila Expo 2008 will be on from December 4 to 7 at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia complex... yeah, this year, wise ass...

Catch you later...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Movie Reviews: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa /Bolt (Cartoon Overload)

This past week and a half found me and the wifey catching two animated movies. Passed up Brad and George’s “Burn After Reading” for totally lighter fare by taking on the sequel to “Madagascar.” Then went back a few days after to find “Burn” already pulled out, and settled for the “Truman”-esque cartoon pooch “Bolt” voiced by John Travolta.

So in order of viewing…

The events in “Madagascar, Escape 2 Africa” almost immediately follow the first movie, and our zany zoo animals are immediately found preparing to board a patched up plane hooked up to “the biggest slingshot they’ve ever seen.”

And the “plane” was put together and crewed by the four animal stars of the movie, and I don’t mean the lion, giraffe, hippo and zebra. I’m talking about the bad-ass penguins. The Tom McGrath-voiced Skipper-led posse of penguins easily steal the show and provide the no-holds barred humor, while the others pretend to build a story the audience has seen before in another cartoon about a lion and his father, produced by a studio represented by a mouse…

Without being burdened with having to carry the movie, the penguins spit out one-liners faster than those crazy Indians with machine guns running around Mumbai. Those critters easily provide the funniest moments of the movie.

But that’s not saying the others didn’t do a good job. But one can’t help but notice that the supposed stars are merely playing to type. Ben Stiller as Alex is again the lovable delusionary who wins in the end. David Schwimmer as Melmar is the love-sick puppy (or rather, giraffe) who can’t get his balls together to face the girl, but gets her in the end. Chris Rock is again trying to show the world he’s worth something and is somebody. For Better or worse, Jada Pinket Smith, while a big enough celebrity in her own right, doesn’t have any typecasts to fill. Otherwise, I’m sure the writers would’ve used that as well.

The late Bernie Mac does a good job, while I feel that Alec Baldwin wasn’t really given enough opportunities to show his comic chops. Sasha Baron Cohen is also playing something to type. That of the clueless oddball...

So Alex gets accepted by the pride after a traitorous coup attempt by Baldwin’s character, and takes his rightful place by his father’s side (voiced by Bernie Mac), Melman and Gloria hook up, Marty finds his “identity,” and the penguins are still cool.

And yes, they all lived happily ever after… (cue “Circle of Life…”)

The movie just left me wanting more penguins…


We saw “Bolt” the night prior to my usual Baguio trip. Indulged the wifey to a “date” before I went off. Was drowsy as hell, even to the point of having napping spells in some parts of the movie. But hey, it’s a movie with a mutt for a star. The wifey and I love dogs, so there…

Like the titular character, “Bolt” was as fluffy a movie as anything the Mouse House would make. Not particularly funny, save for the obsessed fan represented by the hamster in the plastic ball bouncing all over the place. Of course, the stars here are John Travolta voicing the main four-legged protagonist, alongside a little girl voiced by Miley Cyrus, better known to some as Hannah Montana. But hey, hamster steals the show…

But the premise to “Bolt” is actually interesting. See, Bolt is an actor dog in a TV show about a superpowered dog. He’s been trained to react in certain ways to do his job in the show. And through careful stagings by the crew, Bolt has been made to believe that he really does have superpowers. Otherwise, he’d get scared and run away from the “villains” like regular dogs. So the main character is in a TV show but he doesn’t know it. “The Truman Show,” anyone?

And yes, he gets out in the “real world.” How it happened, I don’t know. Must be the part where I dozed off… but when I came to, he was already out there, lost, and desperately trying to find his way back to Penny, his little girl co-star voiced by Miley Cyrus. All throughout his search, he makes friends with a cat and a hamster. But what kept this from turning into “Homeward Bound, the Incredible Journey” is that until almost the last part, Bolt sincerely believes he has powers. Neutralized temporarily by Styrofoam, which he believed to be his kryptonite…

His realization and how he overcame it was done quite well. John Travolta communicates the transition between overconfident superhero to anxious would-be powerless hero excellently. Miley Cyrus is… Miley Cyrus… Didn’t do so bad, but no big deal for me.

Great for kids. Lessons to be learned, and a decent sprinkling of funny parts. Mostly from the hamster…

Speaking of teen stars voicing cartoons, after an overload of “High School Musical” trailers, I must strongly suggest to the producers of any upcoming Chipmunks sequels to use Vanessa Hudgens’ talents. It’ll be a walk in the park for the sound engineers since she already sounds like a goddamn chipmunk. Pretty though… especially that beautiful preteen photo of her in the buff… if she plays a chipmunk, I wouldn’t mind her having my nuts…


That’s all for now… catch you later…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Riding Back Home...

I had maybe five to ten minutes of battery life on this stupid machine, so I have to make this count…

Now check this out! Not even a week’s worth of reruns of Russell Peters’ racist stand-up gigs were going to prepare me for this bus ride tonight… I mean, this trip back to Manila was like a fucking United Nations convoy… I was already half-horrified by very traditional-looking (and probably traditional-smelling) Indian family sitting a row behind me, so I directed the airconditioning ventilator go full blast on my head to chill out any potential smell. Then lo and behold, I got me four sushi eaters chattering their way down the aisle.

So there I was, already marveling at the racial diversity (there were the Pinoys, naturally, and there was little old biologically Chinese me), then this Backstreet Boy church choir whitebread reject hops in with some fellow Pinoy exchange students. And I’m sure there’s a Korean somewhere… probably the trunk… those guys turn up anywhere… Wow… the only things missing from this ride were the complimentary curry rice and wasabi…

Oops… power giving out…!

Catch you later…!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Little Gloria

There’s a little girl named Gloria Arroyo,
The dirty president of the Philippine archipelago,
Who has the thickest face beyond belief,
Who uses her economic talents to become a thief.

Her government has been the country’s tragedy,
Where graft and corruption underscore every strategy,
And it seems as though her every official’s intention,
Is to indulge their lives at the cost of the nation.

From the policemen who live on every bribe,
To congressmen who’s greed no one can describe,
To generals who indulge in a luxury Russian tour,
While there’s not even enough rice to feed the poor.

We have undersecretaries who steal nine-figure sums,
Who shared it with the rich, not with the farmers and slums,
He went into hiding somewhere else and now he’s back,
But the government can’t even get the investigation on track.

There is a scandal in the government in every direction,
But they always promise to change when there’s an election,
Then they seem loud and active for a few precious days,
After which they all return to their greedy ways.

Now Gloria’s been such a pathetic sight to all,
As she tries to get Barack Obama for even a courtesy call,
And she’s been snubbed many times this past week alone,
The poor little bitch can’t see him or even get him on the phone.

Because it seems that the new president the U.S. elected,
Is a much more smarter man than we expected,
He probably knows the magnitude at which Gloria steals,
About all her corrupted ways, and her many shady deals.

We hope Gloria keeps stalking Barack, because it’ll really hurt,
For her to realize she’s being treated like nothing but dirt,
Maybe one day she’ll wake up and stop playing dumb,
And realize the joke of a president she’s already become.

vh1 agrees with me... uh... wow...


I got me one of those usual vh1 email updates and i find this article:

Now in the absence of another Gloria potshot piece (although i have a few brewing in my brain all the time), and the lack of anything I feel like plopping down to whine about, I just want to gloat...
Most bloggers (like yours truly) find our opinions pretty personnal and usually subject to so many flying eyebrows who doubt our "journalistic" credibility (i know I do...). So it feels extra sweet to find a "major" pop culture reference (e.g. vh1) spitting out lines echoing what we humble bloggers say over a handful of days after we do.

i feel so... LEGIT... bwahahahaha...!

Catch you later...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Movie Review: Quantum of Solace (Bond's Back...whoopee...)

Daniel Craig’s second outing as Agent 007 shows him slowly morphing into the more familiar mould of Bond (yawn…). Where Sir Sean Connery has always embodied the “perfect” James Bond, despite being Irish and not British, everyone else found themselves a little niche in the Bond mythos by way of injecting their own little thing into the role. Roger Moore had that deadpan thing, Pierce Brosnan had wit, and Timothy Dalton was known for being the least entertaining of the lot… oh, right… there’s also George Lazy… something…

But despite the supposedly subtle differences of portrayal, Bond has always been suave, polished, and in most cases, even handsome. Now Craig broke that polished mould with Casino Royale by presenting the world with a more testosterone-y, angrier and definitely more physical Bond. With technology in its current pace, the only way to make gadgets truly interesting was to go steampunk on it. So the current team on the James Bond movies wisely took the high-tech aspect of Bond and put it the background. And since Daniel Craig is still young and apparently more physically fit than Mr. Brosnan, they turn him into muscle-bound Bond, or “Muscle-Bond” for short… His very first scene as Bond in “Casino Royale” being the Parkour chase set the tone for what kind of Bond Craig was going to become. Truly, a new Bond, if not something new altogether (Jason Bourne, anyone?).

But this time around in “Quantum of Solace,” Craig is in a tuxedo once too often, if you ask me. But hey, it IS supposed to be a James Bond flick, right? But they ditched the shaken Martini in favor of something that had a very thin slice of lemon peel or something…

In “Quantum,” they continue the trend of slightly more realistic world-threatening plots. Hatched by assigned baddie Dominic Greene, played by Mathieu Amalric, the world-domination plot revolves around cornering a country’s water supply and so on… Greene is part of a conglomerate with a lot of shady deals known as the Quantum Organization. They do deals with various governments and blah blah blah… what’s new?

Jeffrey Wright as CIA spook Felix Leiter looked just a wee bit uncomfortable this time out. Probably because of the storyline, but he was definitely more enjoyable to watch in Casino Royal.

Of course they not only give the typical action flick junkie the obligatory car chase, they also present a boat chase, and a plane chase. Along with the usual helping of hot Bond girls. This particular Bond girl is to my liking. Olga Kurylenko is exotically gorgeous, and has given me someone new to obsess about for a while… or maybe it was the tan…

Since I’m trying to maintain some semblance of respectability on this blog, I can’t post the lovely photos of Miss Kurylenko here. Except maybe for my standard visual support photo… write me and perhaps I will be kind enough to share the fruits of my googling… or maybe I can just be absa-tively generous and share the link…
The above link is actually a treasure chest of man-goodies…

Over all, “Quantum” wasn’t bad at all. But it seems that although Daniel Craig started off as the Bond reboot, the character’s trajectory seems to be headed to familiar ground as Craig’s Bond becomes slightly less physical, and probably no longer as angry. The budding friendship between his Agent 007 and Dame Judi Dench’s M seems to indicate that the “loose cannon Bond” everyone’s been looking forward to seeing whenever Craig slips into the Bond tux, the Bond car, and the puts on the Bond watch will be gone by the next movie.

Still a must-see to familiarize yourself with Olga Kurylenko.

Sorry, folks... no pot shots at Gloria Macapagal Arroyo...
Catch you later...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008



That’s all it took to hold an election in a country of over three hundred million people…


To decide who will hold the highest office in the free world…


For a gracious man to stand up and concede like the officer and gentleman that he is…


…is impossible for the Philippine government to get anything done.

But in ONE FUCKING DAY, former Agriculture Undersecretary Joc Joc Bolante and his “doctors” can conjure up a hundred and one illnesses to try and avoid facing the senate.

In ONE FUCKING DAY, St. Luke’s was transformed from a major hospital, to the Satanic sanctuary of a government pup, who served the corrupted purposes of a mole-infested demoness holding the highest office in the Philippines…

In ONE FUCKING DAY, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the rest of Malacañang spend 6.5 million Pesos to keep the presidential house running…

ONE FUCKING DAY won’t be enough to cheat in an election. So a country of only ninety one million people takes a grand total of FIFTY FUCKING DAYS between voting day and the declaration of the "elected" official.

A lot can happen in ONE FUCKING DAY, huh?

Catch you later…

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Movie Review: Tropic Thunder (Stiller, Downey, Jr., Jack Black in one movie...'nuff said)

Time to pump up my street cred and tell the world that after a handful of local movies, both good and bad, the wife and I finally found the time and saw “TROPIC THUNDER.”

“Tropic Thunder,” Ben Stiller’s movie-in-a-movie satire grabs a handful of Hollywood stereotypes and clichés, throws in a few monkeywrenches and succeeds in making an entertaining movie. Entertaining, yes, but quite frankly not the huge tentpole event a few reviews have built it up to be.

At this point, everybody who’d care already knows the basic plotline of “Tropic Thunder.” Admittedly, this flick wouldn’t have as much appeal to me if it didn’t star Robert Downey, Jr. Here, Downey plays an over the top method actor who gets himself medically treated to look like African American for him to play a “black dude.” And it’s testament to the man’s skill that he is essentially an American actor playing Australian actor who had to play an African American actor.

Personally, Ben Stiller has done his “overtly-serious-it’s-funny” routine often enough for it to be his second skin. Not saying it wasn’t funny as always, but it wasn’t really such a big deal for me.

Jack Black channels his rock star persona and comes up with the drug-addled comedy star Jeff Portnoy, who made a name with a series of “Nutty Professor” style movies.

There were cameos galore. Of course, one of the most rewarding “surprises” (that the internet sort of ruined) was finding the oh-so-full-of-himself Mr. Tom Cruise actually look like he let his guard down and have a ton of fun. Mr. Cruise plays Les Grossman, a ruthless studio executive who so sleazy, I feel like a goddamn saint. Oh, and watching the man dance like an idiot through the closing credits just gave me newfound respect for Mr. Cruise.

Now here's where it gets interesting... apparently, they shot the film in Hawaii... i was kind of thinking they should have shot here in the P.I. Stiller could have done a World War II style story, instead of Vietnam, and shot right in Metro Manila!
Revenue for the locals! Global street cred! and maybe they can "accidentally" drop a bomb in Malacañang! Or how about a sequel? Imagine this...

Catch you later, folks...

Sunday, October 26, 2008


And now for the late news… (and we’re talking a couple of weeks late…)

Pinoy cops (General Dela Paz, were held up at the Moscow Airport for being stupid enough to have their entire cash stash in one place while traveling. Never mind where they got it (we’ll get to that later), but what they did (or didn’t do) is just another exhibition of the kind of brashness and brazenness the Arroyo term of government has been flaunting to the helpless public. Or maybe they're just plain stupid.

Too bad for them, the Russians aren’t easily swayed by “Manila’s Finest,” (or “Makati’s Pride,” or some other dumb tagline whatever city chooses for its lovely police forces.)

It also speaks volumes that after a whole week and a half, the Philippine government still hasn’t pinned down the culprits, or traced the exit path of roughly 6.9 million Pesoses. (yes, “Pesoses!” because there’s so much of it!).

A new excuse is that the money was supposedly allotted to buy intelligence equipment for the Philippine National Police. Okay, considering that they were stupid enough to get detained for this, I honestly don’t think 6.9 million Pesoses will buy enough intelligence to compensate for how fucking stupid they are.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

And we trust them to enforce our laws, fight crime (ah, explains the infighting in the police force), and maintain peace and order.

Oh, right… we DON’T.

Friday, October 24, 2008


They pulled out my uploaded “video” of Richard Page’s “The Best Thing” from my YouTube account. Last night, I got the email notification. A few clicks later, I confirm that it IS gone.

I’m not pissed, I’m not angry, But I do feel that it’s such a waste of opportunity. Not for me, not for Mr. Page, not for the record company that owns the rights, but for the gazillions who could have stumbled upon this fine piece of music that I honestly didn’t feel got the time of day it deserved.

Now I’m not a thoroughly diligent netizen, but my original intention was to put out little snippets and/or rare gems of pop that should have become big hits, but didn’t. Or at the very least, a few songs that I’m sure other people would enjoy if they only knew about it. I’m giving it one more shot by posting the video here on Blogger.

I have absolutely no intention of taking money away from Mr. Richard Page, who I am a fan of, nor from the record company. I merely like his music enough to go through all this fucking trouble.

Here it is again, before the copyright police find me yet again…

Enjoy a fine piece of pop...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

ACRONYM (Annoyingly Constructed References & Offending Names for You & Me) a.k.a. Why Smart Can Suck Big Time and Movie Review: I.T.A.L.Y.

It has been a harried catch-up week so far… catch-up week and a half actually. Since I got kicked out of the SSI last Wednesday after toiling for eight fucking working days for the self-proclaimed training demi-gods at Smart.

One of the reasons this entry took too long is because apart from playing catch-up with the rest of my life for the past 6 working days is that annoying acronym I had to force into this stupid entry title. You’ll see why in a bit…

Part 1: S.H.I.T. (Smart Haters & I... Together!)

So I was told I was going to be subject to the SSI… what I wasn’t told was that it was going to last a couple of weeks… so naturally, I was bitching my sorry ass off since the TS CEO dialed my CP to remind me not to go AWOL in the SSI, while she was LHAO. IMHO, the SSI was nothing more than a load of BS. They spoke in acronyms to make even the dumbest and simplest terms seem technical and sophisticated.

Basically, it was about CD’s, which were going to be demoted to PD’s, who had to see what their DSP’s will be going through so they can train them in the preparation of the DAR to run the BCP and the use of the PSF, and ORLN everything, while all with the assistance of the DBM’s supervised by the AM’s. Little did they know that some CD’s were going to be marked up to RD’s.

I mean, it was a miracle [those trainers'] heads fit in the hotel’s tiny elevator…

My brain was flooded with flashes of SOS wishing for myself to go MIA before I get declared DOA…

Acronym Glossary:
SSI – Smart Sales Institute
TS – Tiong San
CEO – Chief Executive Officer
CP – Cell Phone
AWOL – Absent WithOut Leave
LHAO – Laughing Her Ass Off
IMHO – In My Humble Opinion
BS – Bull Shit
SIM - Subscriber Identification Module

CD – Channel Distributor
PD – Provincial Distributor
DSP – Distributor Sales Personnel
DAR – Daily Activity Report
BCP – Basic Call Procedure
PSF – Persuasive Selling Factor
ORLN – Objectives, Results, Learnings, Next-step
DBM – District Business Manager
AM – Area Manager
RD – Regional Distributor
SOS – (this does NOT stand for “Save Our Souls.” The code that became "S.O.S." came about because it was an easily recognizable combination to serve as a distress call via Morse code, as in: dot-dot-dot... dash-dash-dash... dot-dot-dot... don't believe me? that "alternative" text message alert a.k.a. SMS sounds off as: dot-dot-dot... dash-dash... dot-dot-dot... which refer to the Morse code letters of SMS... but enough geekery...)
MIA – Missing In Action
DOA – Dead On Arrival
* whew! And these are the only ones I remember…!

They (Smart) make you go through 2-3 days of “class room” lectures, then send you out on field under the sun, rain, dust, smoke, and other undesirables that come crawling by for the rest of the other days... one has to wake up at the break of dawn, go on the road, sell SIM cards and Smart pre-paid load then head back to the “lecture headquarters” for “sharing” a la Alcoholics Anonymous all the way until around 9pm.

To be fair, the DBM’s who acted as facilitators were cool. I got along with them. But man, there were those two pompous assholes in the training group… one of them was by the name of Raymond Chao (I think), and one of them was name Gil… something… he was referred to by many as “Naruto.” Heaven knows why… I mean, it was a miracle their heads fit in the hotel’s tiny elevator… and they were probably the reason the goddamn airconditioning seemed to be on overdrive…

(and yes, I deliberately put their names in here so they can google themselves and find this blog… bwahahahahahaha…!)

Anyways, Mr. Naruto and his one lousy lackey didn’t like me much. Found an excuse to get rid of me a week and a half later, then it was bye-bye Smart for me…

Part II: I.T.AL.Y. (I Trust And Love You) *bleh*! The Movie Review

The title alone was warning enough, but “Hellboy 2” and “Righteous Kill” were already off the screens (I blame Smart for taking away almost two weeks of my life), and the wifey was such a GMA-7 diehard that she nudged me to this pointless flick… I figured, “what the hey… the John & Sarah movie was a more than pleasant surprise, so maybe this would be one, too... the fact that a movie review on this had high-hit blog entry potential didn't hurt either...”

First case in point, the only really good thing I gained from the movie was that I am no longer exclusively obsessed with Maja Salvador. The picture-perfect Rhian Ramos totally blew me away… another gorgeous young thing I’d gladly get jailed for. But as of this writing, Miss Ramos celebrated her 18th birthday… BARELY LEGAL!!!

Jolina Magdangal finds herself finally given a break to work on a cruise ship, which apparently is like a very hokey version of the "The Love Boat," where almost everyone seems to be horny and lonely... The ship's population seemed extremely thin for a ship that size, and the passenger demographics seem totally off... I was almost wishing they'd have an Isaac on the ship who could pour me a drink until I forget those ninety minutes never happened... The movie’s plot was so thin and directionless that one had to just appreciate the European sights and imagine it was a cheapo travelogue to stop oneself from thinking it was an absolute waste of time.

Ironically, despite the movie being shot using Kodak film, over an hour had passed, and the story still had absolutely nothing that was developing...

Dennis Trillo as the male lead had about as much star-power as a one-watt light bulb, and Jolina Magdangal, while always a respectable entertainer had very little to work with. Even the comic talents of Rufa Mae Quinto were extremely under-utilized. I had always been allergic of the tendency of Pinoy movies to jam so many “artistas” into a single flick that nobody gets any decent screen time to play out their characters well enough. Ironically, despite the movie being shot using Kodak film, over an hour had passed, and the story still had absolutely nothing that was developing...

Unsurprisingly, the only one who lit up her time on-screen was the talented Eugene Domingo, although her best parts were already in the trailers.

But let me stop right here. I’ve said enough, and I would like to continue my Rhian Ramos fantasies…

I feel like a total cad for spending my time on I.T.A.L.Y. But hey, if I’m a loser for seeing the movie, you’re an even bigger loser for getting this far in this lousy review. So there.

Catch you later…

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eulogy for Tina C. Cosep...

Throwing in the Towel...

The first time I saw her, she was on her way out from the winding driveway of the offices of the former Montage Studios back in Horseshoe Village. I was coming back from a meeting, and I said to Ronnie the driver then that she seemed like a nice person. I was wondering whether or not we hired her…

It turned out that Tina Cosep as a secretary was bubbly, gregarious, and simply grabbed her assignments and went straight to the finish line. Of course, she made a couple or so mistakes here and there. Unfortunately for her, she was technically under my former partner Julius ( who never really cut people too much slack.

Tina was due for the hatchet.

That time, I was too busy to look for new people, and my side of the house in Montage always seemed undermanned. Tina seemed like a genuinely nice person, and I wanted to prove to my former partners that nurturing people (as opposed to whipping them like mules) can not only help improve those selfsame people, but benefit us in the long run as well… so yes, I told them to not fire Tina, and I took her in.

She did not disappoint.

As first observed, Tina was bubbly, gregarious, and when being taught, vigorously bobbed her head in acknowledgement of everything I said. Of course I knew she was listening since she probably got seven out of ten of what I said. And while she seemed to have learned a lot from me, she also learned a bit of my recklessness. But it was what it was, and it wasn’t bad at all. It was quite good actually. Good enough that I trained and turned Tina into a full-fledged account executive when I put up Maverick Advertising back in January 28, 2002.

There are a handful of people I’ve taken under my wing, who I’ve become quite proud of. Tina was one of them. Apparently, she was used to being left out in her life and fending for herself and her daughter Clarisse. After over half a dozen major soap-opera-style episodes in her life (getting knocked up early, dad had a second family, fire razed everything, etc…) I realized that while I taught Tina how to be become an advertising accounts person, she didn’t need anyone teaching her how to survive. At least I think I gave her a little room to stop from surviving and actually live for a while…

I also taught her that not everyone was out to get you. (Sometimes I think that’s a mistake…)

Tina left Maverick somewhere through 2004 (or was it ’05?). I honestly don’t remember, because when it seemed that Tina’s life was under way, she started to fade from us until she finally decided to put up a little something of her own.

A handful more soap opera-style episodes again later, I was told recently that Tina had found herself a nice, steady job in a cellular phone distributor, kept on dealing with whatever life threw her way, and still came out smiling at the end of the day.

So it was quite a shock to have been told that Tina had already been in Capitol Medical Center’s ICU for two weeks fighting for her life. Shocking because Tina shouldn’t have been in an ICU for that long, because if there was anyone who knew how to fight for her life, it was Tina.

But yesterday she lost the fight.

Cristina C. Cosep passed away last September 18, 2008 to complications from pneumonia. She left behind 3 beautiful children, friends who loved her more than family (no, that wasn’t a typo. And yes, that included me…), showed anyone who cared to pay attention that no matter what kind of shit life threw your way, you can still smile, laugh, then have yourself a nice day…

She was thirty one.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Every now and then, one has those days when NOTHING goes as planned…

Last Sunday was one such day…

I PLANNED to leave Baguio City earlier since the wifey and I had to take her father to the airport…

We PLANNED to take her brood over to Amici at Tomas Morato, where California Pizza Kitchen used to be, for a nice, relaxing dinner…

We PLANNED to hit Pampanga by mid-afternoon...

I PLANNED to hit the Maverick office running strong and hard this week and the next to give me and the team enough momentum for my rather long tenure by the end of the month when my brother heads for his European vacation…

I PLANNED to catch a movie at least twice this week starting Monday…

aaaaaaaaaand here’s the day…

I DID NOT plan on forgetting to get those low-end cellphones from the store for office use. But I did, so I had to wait until the store opened so I can grab a couple of those cheapo phones and get them signed on the receipts to my credit…

I DID NOT plan on having a flat tire while traversing Kennon Road at 11:30am…

I DID NOT plan on not having the necessary tools to get the spare tire unchained…

I DID NOT plan on finally getting the spare tire out, then finding it doesn’t have air…

I DID NOT plan on wasting two hours along Kennon Road while Dinos, the Harrison store’s Security Dispatch Commander drove down, then ran back up to the city to find a vulcanizing shop that worked on tubeless/radial tires…

I DID NOT plan on not having an honest lunch, and finding the first drive-through spot to my convenient right to be a KFC, which asked me to wait for around 15 minutes for my orders of Zingers, which the wifey turned down, and we were left with tiny chicken fillet sandwiches. NOT a proper lunch…

I DID NOT plan to waste a lot of my coming work week acting like fifth-grade dummies while SMART (yes, the telco) pretends that pre-paid load distributors have to subject ourselves to pointless lectures where only they will truly make all the money anyways…

I DID NOT plan to still be up tonight after a long drive…

Later, dudes…

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Blue Friday...

Nothing big happened last Friday… but for some odd reason, the latter half of the day left me feeling just a bit… weighted… yeah, yeah… I can hear the fat jokes now… but seriously…

Then I backtrack to two things I stumbled upon that day, that have absolutely no direct connection and/or affect on me:

On an online news bulletin:
And it’s even more disturbing to think that for us to maintain some semblance of human comfort, we crank up the airconditioning, and refrigerate more stuff, and have more cars than ever before… so everything really goes up exponentially. The more the earth gets tired, the more we unknowingly fight back and cause even more damage. Just to stay comfortable… I am just as guilty as everyone else though…

Which really makes me wonder what kind of world Marge will be growing up in… I really must be getting old…

And on the Philippine STAR’s front page:
Right. If you ask me, the real “gag” is on the country for being presented a lousy show where the bad guys win.

Personally, I’m a little on the side of tired from throwing barbs at the iron maiden known as Gloria “Macapal” Arroyo (I honestly don’t think she deserves her father’s good name…)… It seemed fun at first, but the more one keeps checking on the Philippine government, the more one realizes how futile the whole affair of scrutinizing it is. Not to mention how blatant and brazen our officials have become.

It’s amazing how Gloria has seemingly bought the souls of everyone who can serve her purposes with 9-10 figure sums. Apparently, everything’s for sale when one is discussing things to the tune of hundreds of millions…

Taxes are up. The Chickenjoy meal’s priced like a thirds of Alfredo’s pepper steak. A liter of gasoline is one-sixth of minimum wage. And through all that, the tobacco companies have managed to keep a pack of cigarettes below thirty bucks (at supermarkets) by paying off the people who come up with the tariffs.

And the ice caps are melting, and the weather is getting freaky, and the free soup at corner cafeteria is getting more watery by the day.

And Gloria’s laughing with her goddamn mole all the way to the fucking Swiss banks…

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dark Superman... riiiiiight...

So I promised myself that my next post will be another one of my well-loved pot shots at GMA… but I missed the train, and took too long before shooting at Gloria’s last S.O.N.A… (which I prefer to refer to as C.R.A.P., or Creatively Redundant Address of the President). And anything I say now would probably sound like a redux of every other commentary pouncing on GMA’s every audacious claim…

So… I pounce upon something totally insignificant to the world… or come to think of it… something less insignificant than GMA’s SONA and far more interesting…

The suits over at DC Comics think they found the alchemic formula for comic movies… “Hey, since the grim and gritty “DARK KNIGHT” made a ton of money and broke box office records, let’s make Supes all dark and gritty, too! We can make Lois Lane a whore, who was a rape victim!”
Please ignore that last sentence up there…


oookay… assuming that you’re still reading this crap I’m spitting out and haven’t decided to dip further into the Rottentomatoes archives like I would’ve done, let’s get on with more…

One of the best Superman renditions of late is “All Star Superman,” where Grant Morrison and company go retro-sci-fi on Mr. Kent and remind us how a character like Superman with all his mythological baggage can not only be entertaining, but possibly even relevant… relevant in the sense that Superman can return to being a vehicle for the fantastic, the cosmic, and the strange… something where disbelief is not required for one to be entertained, but it will be overlooked in favor of chin-rubbing, provoked thoughts and even a slap on one’s own forehead to cheer such imagination for imagination’s sake…
"....Grant Morrison and company go retro-sci-fi on Mr. Kent and remind us how a character like Superman with all his mythological baggage can not only be entertaining, but possibly even relevant…"

Dear Mr. DC Suits… I mean… come on… Superman in a darkly hued suit, purplish hues, flying through to supposedly save the day… man, if someone dressed up like a faggot dominatrix in purple leather comes flying at me while I’m hanging on for dear life on a building ledge, I’d fucking let go…!

Call Grant Morrison for the next Superman movie… Heck, if I had the man’s number, I’d call him for you just to save the world from what already sounds like a lousy movie…

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Movie Review: WALL-E

More Human than Some Movies with Humans

It’s a love story. It’s a sci-fi movie. It’s a comedy. It’s a cartoon. It’s an environmental campaign. It’s a damn good movie.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes… and finally, yes.

After two weeks of noodling the wifey for time to catch WALL-E, we finally brave our lack of sleep and drive off to the Powerplant to catch Pixar’s latest dish. I’m pretty sure that at this point, nobody needs a synopsis on the movie (it’s on Wikipedia, people…). Come to think of it, nobody needs my review, but what the f… I’m writing it anyways…

WALL-E’s very plot heart is actually the classic poor, lonely but street-smart boy meets sophisticated, disciplined, upper class female. In this case, they’re separated not by bank accounts or social class, but by centuries of technological upgrading.

The character designs are simply fantasmic. WALL-E (Waste-Allotment-Load-Lifter-Earth-class) is clunky, yet seems practically functional. A robot that can express more emotions than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and is so lonely he counts a cockroach as a friend. Of course, in the case of Gloria M.A., she MARRIED the cockroach… oh wait… she’s an insect, too… so no real issue there… anyways… back to the movie…

EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) on the other hand, is simply gorgeous. I won’t be surprised if EVE was designed by the same guys Steve Jobs has chained to his mad design laboratory… from the sleek, white translucent shell that allows LED’s to shine through and/or subtly pulsate, to the hovering body parts, to the subtle expressions on the illuminated eyes on the tinted face-plate, EVE’s design is both coldly futuristic, yet warmly expressive at the same time.

The bleak, but threateningly possible depiction of Earth’s future barren state from too much consumer waste is nicely juxtaposed against the beautiful optimism expressed by practically every character at the sight of the plant… which almost sort of tells viewers that we can keep laying waste on the Earth long as there’s a single goddamn plant we can use to green up the planet.

"...[WALL-E] can express more emotions than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and is so lonely he counts a cockroach as a friend. Of course, in the case of Gloria M.A., she MARRIED the cockroach…"

As a formerly-ripped-but-now-pudgy guy, I find the depiction of obese, nigh immobile, tech-dependent blobs as future humans all too possible. With the world’s obesity rate, especially in developed countries simply going through the roof… Writers Andrew Stantonand and Jim Reardon totally did their homework on that one…

I absolutely loved the chase scenes… loved how they never the humans steal the show… love how WALL-E reminded me of Johnny 5 (remember him?) , loved how the Axiom reminded me of the Starship Enterprise, and most of all…

I loved how WALL-E’s ninety-seven minutes had more emotion and humanity than all the three Star Wars prequels put together…

Good night and thank you for reading through this crap tonight...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane (Not Me)


Tuesday. First official day with that desk empty and clean. Yep, Art Director Extraodinaire Michael A. Lorenzo was definitely out of the building.

No real fanfare, no sobbing, no loud drinking and no farewell partying… it was almost as if there wasn’t a real goodbye. But hey, I kid myself.

Six and a half years later, Mike remains the most consistent performer on the Maverick team. There were two other people apart from myself whom I built this company around, and he was one of them. Mike was everyone’s favorite. From the account executives, down to the admin staff… except for the occasional idiot who thought he could rival Mike’s skill and professionalism with his bravado. Mike was everyone’s favorite, and no one had a hard time seeing why… but hey, every morning he wakes up, something tells him he has to go to Dubai…

So here’s that simple nod of utmost respect, gratitude, and hopefully friendship of a true kind that will last for years to come. From me to him.

Cheers, bro… may you plant good roots in Dubai… and yes, I definitely wouldn’t mind you putting up Maverick Dubai. Like I said, you own the name as much as I do.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guest Concert Review: Tony Hadley (GOLD)

Ladies, Gentlemen, and everyone in between... i proudly present what i hope will be the first of many... I bring to you BROKEN RECORD's first guest blog!!!

Delivered by a first rate music lover, a vocalist par excellence, a one-time showband frontman, a Kundirana veteran, and a member of an almost-was boyband called Soul Purpose back in... dammit, i forgot when... and even he has chosen to forget that episode in his life...

Should have been the linchpin of what became Jeremiah (THAT boyband...)... the inimitable (assuming anyone wants to imitate him in the first place)... Mr. Carlo Emmanuel Rodriquez Balingit!!!


Tarnished "GOLD"
by Carlo E.R. Balingit

Before anything else, I would like to warn you that I can’t write for shit and stuff I do get to jot down always end up a tad skewed, largely due to the fact that I just write things as they come to my head. You are reading this horrendous essay simply because the blog’s owner asked me to contribute my experience hoping that this initial contribution will start a chain of other contributors filing up his blogspot and hence turning his little corner of the cyberspace into a e-pop culture phenomenon… blah-blah… dream on…
So here goes the tragedy.

Pre-e-e-esenting, Gold! Ex-Spandau Ballet Tony Hadley (and John Keeble) in concert at the Araneta Coliseum… Ok, ok, gig’s up, I admit I belong to the minority that is anti Duran-Duran and pro Spandau Ballet, so shoot me for being TRUE (pun intended).

Really looked forward to this show, after all, unlike the last time Tony Hadley was in town, this time he had John Keeble with him (in idiot math that sums up to ¼ of Spandau Ballet.). Like, hell yeah, that’s as close to the full band as it’s ever going to get—me thinks.
Arrived at the venue a little under 7pm, since I thought that parking was going to be a bitch. Rumaged through the concession stands for snacks, and snuggly tucked myself ever-so-firmly on my seat… and waited…

and waited…

and waited…

and waited…

Then miraculously at a little over 8:40pm the house lights were turned down and the front act started their, uhm, act. Can’t seem to remember the band’s name, but what I do remember is that they sang the much personally despised PCSO radio/tv jingle. Seeing as this irritating form of so-called lyrical prowess is what made them famous (duh?), they covered that as well as a song entitled Miss, and a not so bad instrumental number… so ends act one.

Act two (yes, there’s a second act.). Now the second act was a bit interesting. This band of merry men go by the name Sabado Boys (Saturday Boys). Former front men for various local bands who have made a mark In the local band scene. These people being Luke Mijares, Paolo whatever, Mike Chan, DJ Mike, The Frestyle guy who looks like Aiza Suigerra and Jimmy “no-talent-whatsoever-so-help- me-god” Bondoc. As much as I’d like to dwell on how most of these guys were actually good and that Jimmy Bondoc deserves a spot in musical hell, I would rather just save that for some other time and move on to the main act… (Jimmy Bondoc deserves a spot in musical hell!)

After both acts, the venue is once again shrouded by darkness. As the crowd clap and hiss waiting for the main act to start. There was a 2 second chord struck by the back-ups, which the crowd thought was the beginning of the show, but unfortunately it was only a sound check conducted on the mikes… the audience once again begin their hissing. I mean I could relate, I’m getting tired of waiting myself—haha.

Then, small blue penlights start running all over the stage, as the hissing change into cheer. Then “BAM” vocals sound in unison with the instruments and the hair on the back of my neck. Then as the music played I saw Spandau’s front man take the limelight… I gasp and tell my star-struck self—damn he’s old.. and damn he’s fat. Now it’s sad since my brain isn’t cooperating with me and I can’t remember what the opening act was… was it She’s highly Strung or Lifeline? Honestly it didn’t matter I was re-living my musical teen years and that was enjoyment enough. Tony then took a break to greet the crowd and thank everyone for the very warm welcome with thank you, salamat, cheers capping each and every spiel.

I’d like to say that each song was delivered the way I remembered them but in truth Mr. Hadley improvised on the stanzas, which for me gave the song a breathe of new life. He covered all the Spandau songs like True, Round and Round, and my personal favorite Through the Barricades. Personally, though old, I think he has vocally matured well, technique has improved drastically, not that he needed improvement.

What came unexpectedly for me was when he started covering songs by other artists. U2’s “With or Without You”, a Duran-Duran song that I just can’t remember, an excellent version of Mike Cohn’s “Walking on Memphis”. Which started me thinking that “normally” once an artist starts filling in his show with songs that he never covered before, doesn’t it only show, if not prove, that his career fell so short that he does not even have enough material for a 90 minute show. Well, regardless of the fact, Hadley still “has it”.

Mr. Hadley improvised on the stanzas, which for me gave the song a breathe of new life.

Now going back on the “old” comment… lemme move-on to John Keeble. Now the guys was more wrinkled and bald but man, the way he assaulted those drums you’d think he was 18. Truly, Keeble proved that he can still hack it.

The show was closed with Gold as the crowd cheered to one of the most famous Spandau Ballet songs, and was later followed by two encore numbers that I have never heard.

All-in-all, the show was “enjoyable”. It brought a lot of people back into a time they well remembered, and I think… or would like to think, that above everything else that’s what music is really all about. Making each person lay back and relish our own lives personal GOLD (again, pun intended.).


I would like to thank Carlo Balingit for sharing his time, creativity and endless love for gay music. I hope you guys enjoyed the above review as much I tried... (kidding!) it was great!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Movie Review: A Very Special Love

Fluffy, Cheesy, But Thankfully Not Corny...
I did something totally uncool. In fact, I’d like to believe that it was so uncool, it has come around full circle and actually become cool…

I took the wifey to see John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo’s “A Very Special Love.” (See what good advertising can do…!)

Perky-cute regular girl-next-door meets nasty-mannered rich boy dreamboat, they grow on one another, they hook up, they find something to fight about, they make up, and they live happily ever fucking after… So don’t expect to be totally wowed plot-wise… (hey, who does…?) The plot however, thin as it was did serve as an excellent vehicle for the obvious chemistry between Mr. Cruz and Miss Geronimo. And while it wasn’t Pulitzer material, it wasn’t too cheesy to the point of pukability either. And the stars make the hundred and ten something minutes cruise by quickly. Cheers to Director Cathy Garcia Molina...

"...whatever [Sarah] may lack in the physical hotness department, she more than makes up for with some effortlessly sunny charm that makes you want to root for her..."

So John Lloyd is now finally given a “mean guy that the nice girl is after” role as opposed to his usual “nice guy who eventually gets the girl…” roles, and he pulls it off. Greatly in part because the eternally affable, likable and totally accessible Sarah G. is a half or so step down the food chain in the looks department, especially playing off John Lloyd’s mestizo scowl. I mean, imagine Bea Alonzo in Sarah’s perky middle class girl role and you can easily see that it won’t work with her rather upper class looks…

Now I admit I don’t tune in to ABS-CBN often enough to consider myself a worthy assessor of Sarah Geronimo’s talent, but I must say that her starring self-effacingly endearing turn in this rom-com exhibits her potential to turn herself into our less glamorous version of Cameron Diaz. The main difference of course is that Sarah doesn’t have Diaz’s supermodel looks and figure, but she remains attractive in her own “cute-but-not-drop-dead-gorgeous” girl next door way. And whatever she may lack in the physical hotness department, she more than makes up for with some effortlessly sunny charm that makes you want to root for her even in the scenes where she makes an absolute doofus of herself…

But while the movie lights itself up whenever the leads get together, the rest of the talented cast provide very little but talking wallpaper. But one didn’t catch the movie to see Rowell Santiago pretend to have a straight guy swagger. Halfway through chuckling and even occasionally laughing out loud at the movie, one will begin to notice something almost strange… the movie’s funny without being slapstick!

I suppose my strongest beef with the movie is the stupid title, which was most likely chosen to also promote Sarah Geronimo’s new album of cover songs that Viva acquired the rights to. I mean, guys… a movie’s title helps in a movie’s cool factor. Not in this case, people. “A Very Special Love,” c’mon!!! Geez…

Without any apprehension, shame, or pretension, I highly recommend the movie. It’s still showing, people.
somebody fire the stylist who gave Sarah that stupid oldish hairdo... didn't do the fledgling movie star any favors...
this flick proves that one does not need to wait for the Metro Manila Film Festival to make (and see) a decent, entertaining Pinoy movie...