Sunday, June 22, 2008

FOUND! (...but better lost.)

Crazy Business Ideas

I make no claim to be a business genius, but there are things even i wouldn't do...

Every now and then, we find people engaging in business and using their wit in full force (see Figure A). Sometimes, we have no idea why they allow certain things (see Figure B). And every now and then, we dread to imagine what kind of weed was smoked to lead to the creation of certain products (Figure C).

Personally, this one sounds like something I'd think up, especially when my mother in law becomes a topic of discussion. But again, not something I'd name a business, much less put up on a signage.
"Pussies & Bitches" was something I stumbled upon months ago when I met a friend for lunch at MetroWalk along Meralco Avenue. Don't know if it's still there, though...

This rather interesting business name was taken with a camera phone and emailed to me without any details.
Am tempted to think that someone manipulated the photo and slapped on the funny name. But judging from the paint strokes on the entire signage, it looks like the real thing.
Who knows...?

Now these... these are totally ingenius... from the borderline pornographically suggestive names, to the equally suggestive images that looked like they were scanned from a magazine...

I found "Peni Fresh" and "Fem Tight" on a regular Saturday at the supermarket (in my case, UniMart in Greenhills). So I am to assume that whoever came up with these products had an unpleasant evening that made him and/or her wish for this kind of soap.

Can you imagine how product testing is done?

First, they have to look for subjects who royally stink in their nether regions, sniff them to confirm that they do stink, then attempt to wash their privates, then sniff them again.

What's funny is the look the wifey and I got from the supermarket cashier when she scanned the items... or maybe, these things are actually triggers for a gag show, and pretty soon I will find my mug on TV as I made my unfortunate purchase... Of course, I bought them for the sole purpose of having and owning a permanent record of such an absurb product.

Of course, feminine wash products aren't really new. But the name... man... that's just crass... but the dick-washer soap... that thing even comes in "tutti-frutti flavor."

all for P26.75 a pop... literally...

initially wondered how long those things will stay on the shelves, only to google them and find that they have been out in the market for at least half a year...

But don't let me have all the fun... check out their own words in their very own, eloquently written website...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Movie Review: The Incredible HULK

Honestly not "INCREDIBLE," but not bad either...

At this point, nobody fucking cares about what I think about the latest big-screen installment /version of the “Incredible HULK.”

I don’t care. I enjoyed it and I want to talk about it. Especially that last part.

Let’s see now… screw Ang Lee… I didn’t see “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Faggot,” nor did I catch the fag-fest “Broke-Ass Mountain, ” so despite the extremely positive reviews of those movies, which supposedly gave Mr. Ang (or is it Mr. Lee?) the gravitas and street cred to try and give Marvel’s Jolly Green Giant the ultimate new age make-over by making him/it “sensitive.” I join the multitudes who wish to relegate that pathetic episode as a sad and ignored dream in the annals (or anals) of superhero movie-making. (see image of Gumby-on-Steroids, below)
So yes, it sucked. The only thing it had going for it was Jennifer Connelly, who was little more than eye candy there, and Nick Nolte who was just fresh off his police mug shot back then.

Eric Bana was in “Troy” even after riding Ang Lee’s brokeback, so Mr. Bana should thank his Trojan gods…

Oookay... where was I? not that anybody cares, but hey… my blog…

The film kicks off as some sort of sequel to the disaster that was the 2003 “Hulk,” and dutifully skips the whole origin part, thereby allowing the talented Mr. Norton give Mr. Bana the finger and go with the whole Bill Bixby bit of being on the run, while taking anger management classes in South America.

Now get this, Norton works at a bottled drink factory which accidentally had one bottle infected with his radioactive blood, and the U.S. army finds him! I mean, I can imagine the intel report:

“Sir, Mr. Stan Lee, who is credited with creating a ton of superheroes just got poisoned by a bottled drink, which appears to be radioactive after we’ve ruled out rat piss, rat shit, cat shit, poisonous insects, or Ang Lee’s spit as he may possible feel spite towards Mr. Stan Lee, because of the big flop that was the previous version of this movie, sir!”

“Could’ve been radioactive spider shit, officer…”

“No, sir! It’s definitely the Hulk, sir! Don’t’ screw with the script, Mr. William Hurt, sir! The drink has been traced to a factory in South America, sir! Where nothing is radioactive except for Mr. Norton’s blood, sir!”

* * * * *


Liv Tyler has always been a darling to me especially after those tear-jerking “goodbye-daddy” looks she did so much in “Armageddon.” But she seems to have gained quite a few pounds since then. But if only for still being pretty, and most especially for being the daughter of rock god Steve Tyler, Miss Tyler will always be sexy to me. And she looks smarter than Jennifer Connelly…

But while this movie didn’t have me howling and laughing in my seat like the flight scenes in “Iron Man,” Edward Norton did enough to carry the movie along despite whatever implausibilities the plot might have (please see the imagined exchange between officers above…). He brooded around just enough, he had that love-struck puppy stretch, a sense of humor about not being about to get laid, and is more convincing as a brainy professor than beefcake Bana.

I also liked the Hulk’s green color this time around. It wasn’t candy green, but more of “sick skin” green, which is somewhat more in the “real world pallete.” The jab at the purple pants was cool, too…

At this point, Marvel guessed right if they thought that the previous “Hulk” was such a forgettable flop that no one would care about making direct comparisons, and might no longer be able to, unless they want to go through the ridiculously pretentious “sensitive” Hulk movie again via DVD. Of course, someone who actually bought a DVD of Ang Lee’s “Hulk” deserves the pain of seeing it again.

The DVD’s of Ang Lee’s “Hulk” deserve their share of room in the Mexican landfill that contains Atari’s stupid E.T. game cartridges.

The best part about this new “Hulk” affair is that near the end, Norton almost appears to be enjoying his Hulk persona (even before the final scene). And to top it all off, this version of the movie brought the Hulk back to the category it belonged to: superhero. Screw the whole “tortured monster” bit, that died along with Chris Claremont’s X-Men. This is the age when one lives with the shit one is dealt and stops moping about it. Here, Norton’s Hulk was deliberately doing the work of the good guys. Not just doing things where people just gasp and think: “He’s friendly! He didn’t hurt the other guys!” and so on… Here, he’s there to help get rid of the bad guy (the Abomination), creatively slap his hands together to create a wind pocket to kill a fire, and go back to beating up the back guy. Just like us in the idiotic superhero-craving audience expect to see.

So I missed the Samuel L. Jackson cameo in “Iron Man,” which rolled in after all the credits. Apparently, I am not alone, and the guys at Marvel made up for it by letting Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark swagger in a bar in the end parts, and telling William Hurt about him “forming a team.” Cool.

Now I have always made it a point to tell whoever cares to listen, that I am a DC Comics fan, and that I enjoy reading about the Justice League more than the Avengers. But having said that, I will state here for whatever it’s worth that though I still believe DC dishes out more comics to my liking, they are definitely sucking at the movies. And while I’ve never cared about the Avengers as a comic book, Marvel’s got me drooling over the upcoming movie.

Friday, June 06, 2008

On The Road Again...

As I write this, I am back sitting in what I call the “bus-desperately-trying-to-act-like-an-airplane (complete with ersatz stewardess to boot).” I left my cap in the car when the wifey drove me over, and I’m now wondering whether or not it was foolish to turn down her offer to bring me back the cap or risk getting my skull frozen by the airconditioning.

It’s a Friday night and business is brisk in the Cubao terminal of Victory Liner. Throngs of people buzzing about the station. Either waiting for their ride, or hoping to catch a few vacant seats. Fat chance of that with the regular buses. Although the deluxe bus that I’m in (a.k.a. the “bus-desperately-trying-to-act-like-an-airplane”) isn’t filled to the aisles. Probably because they upped the ticket price to P700 from P600. Can’t say I blame them. Fuel prices are through the roof.

But it still isn’t too bad a deal. For P295 more than the usual aircon bus fare, you get airline-style seats (couch, of course), a charming female bus conductor (who refers to herself as “stewardess,” complete with the body-hugging uniform and official-sounding PA system ‘we hope you enjoyed your travel with us’ announcements), a bottle of drinking water, your choice of crackers, and a built-in restroom (but imagine taking a leak in a moving bus running over bumpy roads and desperately, and sometimes vainly, trying to properly aim for the toilet seat, and you get an idea about what it’s like to walk in there…). All that in a neat, non-stop 5-hour ride to Baguio City.

Even better, you can drop by the Victory Liner terminal and buy your tickets (with specific seat numbers) way in advance. Thus, eliminating the hassle and horror of waiting at the bus terminal while inhaling all that sweet-smelling carbon monoxide from the buses that come in and out. Just arrive at the station at least 20 minutes from your scheduled departure time, hop into your comfy airline-style seats, and stare at the losers choking themselves to death through the humongous windows, while you wait for the bus to hit the road.

It’s also that last night of the wake of the former Julius Chua, who I will now refer to fondly as the “Pillar of What Was Montage.” He’s scheduled to be buried tomorrow morning (June 7, 2008), and somehow I can’t shake the feeling that I should have dropped by the Paz for one last time. But being the popular guy that Julius was, I’m expecting a record crowd tonight at the Paz. And I hate crowds. Ironically, the deluge I expect to happen tonight will bring me even more mixed feelings about my late friend. There will be the joy of seeing that he will live on in the vivid memories of many, but also really bring home the magnitude of the loss his death brings to the many people he knew and knew him.

Too late to change my mind and turn back now. Besides, I am grateful to him for too many things. Thus, I have a sinking feeling I will mourn him long after tonight anyways. But now, with the bus lights dimmed and I am truly alone for the first time in a while, I finally allow myself to shed that tear for him I’ve held back for a week.
(end of segueway)

I’m on my way to Baguio yet again for a week and a day. Alone again. Last time, the wifey was preggers. This time, we deemed little Marge still not ready for such a long ride. So I take the bus. Bought my ticket four nights ago to avoid the crush. (see Figure A to see said “crush”)

I’m on my way back up to the mountain city for a wee bit over a week to keep my promise to keep learning the ropes of the family store/s. To be honest, I enjoy the rides and am actually getting the hang of being involved in the family business. Of course, this doesn’t mean in any measure that my love for Maverick has diminished. Interestingly enough, God has been relatively kind. Business at Maverick seems to be looking up despite the hard times hitting practically any industry. Not good enough, but definitely looking up. Referrals have been happening yet again, together with the odd unexpected call backs from clients from a couple years ago or so. And better still, the “Mavericks” seem to have been weaned and are growing up.

Not sure about what will happen next given the two jobs I’ve taken on. But I’ve literally made my choice between them. Literally. my choice is to be between. I need both for very different reasons so I will take this double life as far as I can. The wife understands this and has been supportive. Let’s hope everyone else will be, too.

As for what will be left of me sooner or later, only time will tell.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Eulogy for Julius Yap Chua

The Comfort of Clichés

“When it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go…”

It’s a cliché one hears at a wake of someone young and in the prime of his life. It was a cliché one heard only too often in the wake of my late former business partner, Mr. Julius Yap Chua.

As some sort of online eulogy, nothing I can say will do Julius justice. But as business partners go, he was the best.

For almost six amazing years, he was the yin to my yang, or the yang to my yin, whichever it took to strike the nigh-perfect balance of personality and character the combination of us represented. We both operated differently, from opposite sides of the character spectrum. He came from a manufacturing background courtesy of their family business, Panama Plastics, better known in the market by the brand Panaware. His views as an employer were almost clearly Oriental, and his sense of scope anchored on practicality provided our partnership with a foundation of stability. On the other side, my years spent under the wing of Kenneth Quintal of the pioneering design firm Duane Quintal Associates, planted and nurtured in me a decidedly Western perspective, both as a future manager, and into the bold, if sometimes reckless frontman I would become. Where I would run the field and lead the troops into battle, Julius made sure the fort was in something I could proudly bring our spoils home to.

Together we worked hard, and we played hard. We began as business partners brought together and left behind by other erstwhile partners. We earned each other’s respect the hard way, and grew to become friends. Julius and I were practically joined at the hip, running a three-legged sack race, while still sharpening our respective horns just to let the other guy know where we both stood. But while the horns did lock, blood was never drawn.

There were times we hated each other’s guts, shook our heads and walked away. But it was just work. It was always just work. He was a friend to me in every sense of the word, a business partner to end all business partners. And best of all, he never hesitated to let me know how much he believed in me.
At the start of great times ahead (standing from left: Julius Yap Chua, Abraham Kho Tan; seated from left: the author, Miguel G. Belmonte, Miss Grace Glory Go. Circa 1998)

For what it’s worth, I will state here on record that I did not leave Montage Studios, Inc. (now Montage Advertising Corporation) because of Julius Chua. Heck, if there were a few reasons that made me lean towards staying, he was almost on the top of that list.

Then the war between Montage and what was to become Maverick began. I had never had a more worthy competitor.

I had always said that business partners are not too different from long time dates or engagements. You get it on and you get into some good times. If you’re lucky, you get a few years of good times. But when one decides that the partnership is over for whatever reason, there will sometimes be the full intent of maintaining a friendship, but somehow, the awkwardness will be hard to overcome.

I mean, the very center of your relationship is the business. You may grow to genuinely enjoy one another’s company, help each other through women troubles, drink yourselves silly just to round up a day, and even send the other guy extra cash to check himself out of a motel he slept the night through with some woman whose name he doesn’t even remember (it happened, I swear…). But when the mutual concern for the business is gone and you part ways knowing you will compete sooner or later, then yes, it gets awkward.

We started running into each other again in the Manila Jaycees where both of us apparently maintained rather active memberships. It was there that we gingerly renewed conversations, albeit in a casual manner. Testing the waters, so to speak. The waters seemed safe and even warm. It was there I found out that he had finally found a lady to commit himself to. It was also there he confirmed that he had let go of the race we had and ceased active participation in Montage. In between puffs of Marlboros, and the repetition of the open-ended invitation for an evening of women and wine like days of yore, it was also there that we quietly knew that the bonds were still there.

It was also through the Manila Jaycees that Julius and I were supposed to officially work on something together again. He volunteered to sponsor the print production of a round of newsletters to promote his new printing company, Rex Magnus. I was spitting out the design. I was looking forward to it. I was looking forward to working with my old partner again.

A handful of weeks after, I received the calls late at night from fellow Jaycees asking me about the rumor of his accident. The very next morning, I called up Susan of Panama Plastics, and she ruefully confirmed it.

Julius had a zest for life and adventure, enjoyed the company of his fellow men, enjoyed the company of beautiful women even more, and to people he called friends, he stood tall, true and he never left us out.

The cliché states that when it’s our time, it simply is. But with his pending marriage in January, a new business venture just laying groundwork, old friends whose company he still had to enjoy, and other old restarted friendships left to chart again, it was plain to see it was not the time of Julius Yap Chua. Damn the clichés and the empty comfort they desperately, but futilely bring. This is one cliché that was clearly a lie.

He taught me a lot, but the greatest lesson he gave was one friendly command in three short words that affect every major decision I’ve made in my life: “Be a man.”

Jules, I toast you. YOU are the man.

Julius Yap Chua died of a freak scuba diving accident on June 1, 2008. He was 33.