Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012, everyone...

So the proverbial clock strikes twelve. Two thousand and twelve, that is.
I have lived to see my thirty ninth new year in what has been a rather colorful lifetime so far. Perfect timing for an upcoming mid-life crisis.

This new year's eve seems a bit mixed up for me. Many things to be happy about this past year, but many things are left hanging, and some matters are being pressed into directions i don't want, and will never be ready for. Oh, and i missed my first Maverick Christmas Party.

2011 marks another year of resistance to forces attempting to put changes in my life. It also marks the first year Margaret goes to school, where i found myself staring forlornly at the back of her head as she walked away from me and into her classroom for the first time. The wheels of her growing up have officially begun turning, and they'll gain more momentum as she goes on through what i hope will be a good life that i could somehow provide her. For a moment, i am filled with much dread, but the undercurrent is still joy.

The wife and i have begun designing our new home with the help of a friend. The new place that will be our home for the remainder of our lives, perhaps. But more on that this coming year.

The Maverick manpower expanded by a whopping ten percent, which brings the additional manpower to an impressive total of... two people. Yeah, the percentage sounded nice for a while there, huh? But in a house of 20 heads at last count, hitting 22 is still a bit of a stretch. After all, the biggest headcount we ever hit was 23. Here's to hoping we don't implode again like we did the last time.

The searing rekindled flames between me and the wifey have settled into a nice, comfy and steady burn. Fates willing, we'll burn softly all through to the remaining decades together. With the added bonus of the occasional "group hug" that Marge now orders us to do. That started this past 2011, too.

So has it been a good year? Yeah... Group hug, please.

'catch you later.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Letters to Marge (Chapter 28): Happy halloween...

Dearest Margaret...

It's been a whole two months since my last post on this blog. Oh well, life seems to have taken over...

And i know that i said i had decided on ending this series of letters, i guess today i finally found myself bored enough without anything particularly intesting to write about, so i decided yet again to do another one.

You called me on the phone a while ago. A simple, short phone call that wasnt particularly earth shattering, nor memorable. We didnt talk about food, movies, books, politics, or even your mother. But it sure made the day of one bored dad who had to sit and wander around the store all day while you, mom, and a handful of others went to the beach. Paying my dues, i suppose...

But you called. And you made my day. Thanks, sweetie,

Around a couple of decades from now, when i've become for you the pest your mother swears i am when i'm not looking, nor listening, please give me a call once in a while. By then, you and i can talk about food, movies, books, politics, and yes, even your mother. Or, you can just ring me up to say hello-how's-life-dad-sorry-gotta-go. And i would answer and tell you that i'm doing just fine. Probably shorter than that shampoo commercial that just flashed on your screen right this very second. But believe you me, that phone call will always make my day.

So, here's a note to future Marge... Call me. Please.



P.S. Happy Halloween!
P.P.S. call mom, too, while you're at it.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Underachieving PNoy and the house of cockroaches...

So what has President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III done so far in his presidency?

Hmm… an easy question for some, especially the ones looking for actual infrastructure, and possibly more than a few bills, laws and whatnots… they mostly say that this man has not done anything worthwhile in his so far fourteen months in office.

No new roads, no new parks, no new lamp posts, no new road islands with monogrammed tiles (Hi, there, Herbert!), and stolen shots of his presidential desk show that he is not drowning in paper work. Such an underachiever of a president is Mr. Aquino, a.k.a. P-Noy. Boo hoo..

News flash: I ain’t crazy about ‘im. He ain’t the best thing since chopped liver was served to hippie vegetarians and unwitting Jehovah’s Witnesses. But I think he’s on to something.

I’ll keep this short and sweet by way of an analogy…

disgusted? you ought to be.
i know i am.
Imagine inheriting a house, and while you’re looking around, you find many nooks and crannies of crazy slam-your-ass-in-the-grass epic level cockroach infestation. What do you do? Would you ignore it and go on shopping for new furniture? Would you readily schedule the delivery of your brand new big-as-the-fucking-wall TV? Or perhaps run over to the mall and look into some lovely new bathroom fixtures?

No. if you are a home-owner of worth, you will go batshit crazy squashing every bug in sight and smoking out all those hiding in the corners.

As batshit crazy as PNoy ought to be after swearing himself in as president.

Once the bugs are gone, THEN let’s start thinking about the color of the new carpet.

‘nuff said.

‘catch you later.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Myth of the Human Body (A Bare Bones Exhibit)

see how too much msg in your food
really causes dehydration?
For those of you with a tinge of Necrophilia (not the sexual kind), and have always wondered what doctors, medical students and undertakers see on a semi-day-to-day basis, hop on over to the Neobabylon Building along Bayani Road in Taguig and catch "The Myth of the Human Body," the exhibit which has been extended until the end of this year 2011.

Okay, so that's my dutiful piece of plugging out of the way... Let's get to the real story...

The exhibit itself isn't bad. It's certainly a notch higher than me sneaking into the med labs in UST for kicks way back when i was a student. The fucked up part is "Myth" riding on Gunther von Hagens' groundbreaking "Bodyworlds" exhibit, when the exhibits were admittedly hand-me-down units bought out by some Korean investor. I also found the "myth" approach very corny, as it was merely done to shoehorn the visual concept of the exhibit hall itself into the show.

Brings a whole new meaning to the
term "wish i was dead."
But no, this isn't "Myth," this
is the real McCoy. There's the
oddball von Hagens to the right
of the corpses who are in heaven,
figuratively, as well as probably
I chanced upon some "Body Worlds" photos online aways back and found myself oddly fascinated with the idea of seeing human bodies peeled open and put in cool action poses. So when i chanced upon a poster for "Myth" which mentioned "Body Worlds" rather prominently, too promenently in fact, i totally flipped and bugged the wifey to go there with me. We eventually did, and i found myself just a wee bit disappointed. I pretty much got what i wanted, which was a bunch of corpses peeled up and shown. But they were far from the lovely, pink-muscled, bodies doing funky things like playing poker, riding horses, and even having sex. There were a few "standard" pieces like the skinned man, the high-fiving half man, and such... But these poorly preserved pieces made with Chinese cadavers were obviously not from von Hagens' collection... Most of the exhibit space was filled up with illustrative boards, and separated body parts. I suspect that these plastinated organs are merely salvaged from deteriorated full-body pieces. Hardly the witty, well-preserved exhibit known as Body Worlds. One other observation I made was that most Chinese farmers and/or dissidents/ victims of Communist human rights violations who were thrown into this exhibit mostly needed orthodontists. They also pretty much justified the stereotypical drawing of buck-toothed Chinese.

The supposed highlight of the exhibit was "The Red Man," which was the well-preserved plastic tracing of the entire human artery system using some red resin. It had the requisite glass enclosure with halogen spotlight, and must have been quite a sight when it was first completed. But... either due to poor shipping and handling, or the fact that such things were meant to happen anyways, so spare units/pieces were probably required... there were so many little pieces of intricate blood-vessel/nervous system lattices that were strewn on the floor of the glass casing. Quite depressing to see.

Cheers to the med student/usher who seemed like he did his best to make the show as interesting as he could, but the slight disarray and sometimes poor state of the exhibit pieces couldn't be covered up by enthusiastic talk.

'catch you later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CD Review: "The Hands of Time" (Gino Padilla), A Gem Buried in the Quagmire Known as Contemporary Philippine Music

Prepare for a dragging build up here, people...

Ages ago, it was on one of the very few instances when i joined the wifey in her late-night channel-surfing habits, when we stumbled upon a mestizo-looking singer who looked sort of like Gino Padilla on one of Sharon Cuneta's shows (I forget which one...).

Lo and behold, it WAS Gino Padilla.

The song he sang was "Keeping the Memories Alive," a fresh new track from his then brand new record called "Hands of Time." I was intrigued as the song had a good hook on it, and Gino Padilla's singing had always been flawless.  But hey, it was late-night TV, and like most late-show fare, one forgets stuff when one wakes up the following day to the sound of either the cellphone set as a loud alarm clock, or the wifey yelling repeatedly that you are already embarrassingly late for work.  Too bad for her i don't embarrass easily...

Fast forward to January, 2010... I was recovering from a life-changing chapter in my then sad excuse for a life, wandered into a record bar (one day, our children will wonder what a record bar is) and found "Let Me Be The One," a new album by Gino Padilla. That late-show performance from way back echoed back into my brain, and I quickly scanned the back for the song. No luck. But I picked up the album and have enjoyed all that music non-stop ever since. Read the review here. "Hands of Time" seemed to no longer be in stock, much less in print.

Through the fan/stalker's ultimate tool known as the internet, I managed to strike up a line of communication with Gino, and he generously sent me what i suspect is one of his personal copies of "Hands of Time." Endless spins on the CD player, and a year and a half later, here's the CD review...

Still there, reader? Good. Now let's talk about music... Good music.

* * * * * * * *

There's a reason "Keeping the Memories Alive," flooded back into my head over two years after the only time I heard it. It was simply a damn good song. Of course, it sounded and felt a bit like it was 1987 again. But hey, those were good times for OPM (Original Pilipino Music).

It's too bad radio (and TV) didn't give too much airtime to the album, as balladeers like Gino don't seem to get much respect lately, and get their share of attention mostly as retro-nostalgia acts. But despite being an album produced in the new millenium, "Hands" comes across more as a delectable slice of 80's OPM seemingly dug out of someone's secret trunk of unheard-but-shouldve-been-hits.

Cuts like the album's title song "Hands of Time," "Find that Child Hiding in You," and a handful of others on the disc all sounded like they belonged in the airwaves when they were ruled by Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Raymond Lauchengco, Louie Heredia, and the Neocolours. If released back then, these would have been hits, and may probably be found nowadays in "Best of" OPM collections being hawked in Quiapo, and subsequently confiscated by the Optical Media Board.

Gino is obviously ecstatic about getting to record again. So ecstatic, that in addition to his personal thank-you song to his benefactor, Miss Sharon Cuneta, "Angel is Disguise," which was well-meaning, inevitably well-sung, but a bit sappy, the entire record sounds too damn happy. So happy in fact, that even the album's supposedly saddest song, "Let This One Go," where he finds the woman screwing around and eventually dumping him, doesn't sound remotely pissed and pained. It still sounded somewhat... happy.

But this record WAS cause for celebration for Gino, who came out of recording limbo with this album, and got to play in the sandbox known as the revival/remakes record market soon enough after this with the wonderful "Let Me be the One." now, people... THAT is still available out there. Do your ears a favor and go grab a copy now.

'catch you later.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Delayed Movie Review: Captain America (Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie... Hellooooo, Avengers...!)

hurry up with the
movie, already...
everyone's waiting for
the trailer where they
can see Bob Downey!
Chris Evans, formerly known as Johnny Storm a.k.a. the “Human Torch” has been refitted with another superhero costume. This time, his all-American beach-blond apple pie-ness gets him dressed up as Captain America. Based on the comics, he pretty much looked the part. And his vanilla good guy-ness seems almost perfect to play vanilla superhero Captain America.

Like most of my reviews, you guys can forget about finding a plot synopsis here. Look here instead… or here even... or perhaps here

Back yet? Good… let’s talk…

Hayley Atwell succeeds in making a military uniform sexy. Probably because of her well-endowed assets, but also probably because of that Brit accent.  Early on, I was half-expecting Hugo Weaving (who plays the Red Skull) to suddenly sneer: “Mr. Anderson…!” But no, he didn’t. Stanley Tucci is always a joy to watch, and him playing off Tommy Lee Jones' standard typecasting as a gruff old veteran works out pretty well.

The thing about "Captain America" that strikes me the most was how they justified the creation of the stoooopid flag-themed cheerleader uniform into something that was part of a sepia-tinged war propaganda without making the character seem queer in his choice of outfit.

Marvel seems to have found an effective standard template for their movies, wherein they choose an era/period, then splice in the superheroes and sci-fi to funky up the genre… then VOILA… interesting superhero flick with a period twist. It worked for X-Men First Class, it will work for Captain America.

News flash: it did.

‘catch you later.

P.S. the best part was the Easter egg trailer… AVENGERS ASSEMBLE…!
i know what i really need now...
it's war time, and i will invent
the push-up, wired bra for e-cuppers
and make a fortune!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pictures from the Other Side of the Valley

A long time ago, i have surrendered to the fact that i do not have the discipline to become a great photographer. My talent is marginal at best, and while i've taken a handful of decent ones in my time, i leave the real shooting to the pros.

But... i discovered a new route recently, after being assigned to cover in the other branch at the valley. And the scene seems so serene and the land seems so young... so i grab my underused camera, and take a few stops to snap the shots below (screened from a few more others)...

Pointless, hardly art, but what the hell...

Many scenes like this, where the clouds literally
touch the mountaintops.

green lushness like this doesn't last in the 21st century
this is a purpulous flowerus
same as the above.
i like purple. 'got a problem with that?
redus mountainside-us flowerus
(translation: it's a red flower growing on
the side of the goddamn mountain.)

the view before the descent into the valley...
the old volkswagen shop. used to be filled with... err... volkswagens.
converted to grayscale for "nostalgic" effect.
okay... so it isn't George Tapan... But hey... the shots weren't perfect, but the places were pretty, huh?

'catch you later.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Letters to Marge: Chapter 27 (See you in the future…)

Dearest Margaret,

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in here. You’ve learned how to sort of “really” talk for over half a year or so now, so what I might have written here before, I have been saying to you personally.

You should know that as of now, your mother and I classify you as quite noisy, but adorably so.

So far, it has been quite a wonderful year or so since my last e-letter. Your young achievements so far include:
- Finally starting to go to school.
- Going to ballet school
- Talking in fully comprehensible sentences
- Having seen the following movies in a cinema (in no particular order): Rango, Tangled, Mars needs Moms, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, complete with gorging on pop corn.
- You also like taking pictures

Little quirks you have developed so far include:
- Calling all forms of meat on the dining table as “Chicken”
- Learning to discriminate and prefer low-fat milk, because “mommy said…”
- Holding my head and face and turning me to the direction of whatever it is you’re talking about.
- Being an absolute camera-whore

Oh, and you have thus far been able to spell and write your name. Congratulations, baby.

But I am sad to say that this is for now my last letter to you in this series. Because instead of writing to you about things, I am currently able to say them to you face to face. A much better deal, frankly.

So while this letter seems to sound like a long-winded goodbye, it really is my “official” hello to a fully talking you (batteries not included, nor needed).

I love you.

‘catch you later.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hmm... Sa Tingin Ko Po Hindi Po Nagsisinungaling si Po...

"dammit... i should have rigged those
choppers to explode when FG
bought them for the campaign..."
The wife and i recently made acquaintances with a nice lady and her daughter with whom we hope to close a deal in the very near future. We found them to be very nice people. Obviously affluent, but not aloof nor snobbish. They were from an old family of means, and we found out that we shared the same hairdresser, the same dentists, but unfortunately, not the same veterinarian.

They also happened to be the family a former employee of mine married into. Someone who only recently re-found me on Facebook and added me. I had the good fortune of having met with the husband almost a decade ago.

Just today, i found out they were family to Archibald Po. Yes, THAT Archibald Po. The Archibald Po who had in his testimony another piece of the big picture of theft, corruption, and Philippine decay painted by the tag-team from hell known as Mike Arroyo and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

I read up some more about Archibald Po and reaffirmed my already titanium-hard belief that he was a man who had no reason to lie at this point in his successful life. Heaven knows that if there's anything Gloria, Mike and their ilk know better than buying anyone off, is their penchant for revenge, both the political sort, as well as the not so savory toss-you-on-the-side-of-the-road sort. So if i was Archibald Po, i might opt to keep quiet and go about minding my own business and stay out of the thinning crosshairs of the vindictive Arroyos. But i'm not Archibald Po. I'm either a chicken, or dont think my daughter's old enough for me to take these risks.

But Po did. Po is.
"Look, Mike 'oh... akala talaga nila
mahuhuli nila tayo 'noh?"

I wish him the best of luck. If you've read enough through this pathetic blog, you'd see my contempt for she who was president. I've somewhat gotten tired of shooting at Gloria. It sometimes feels like shooting a water gun at a very big, invulnerable cockroach with a mole. But they're going down. Bit by ugly bit... 'can't wait.

'catch you later.

Art... Right...

"But... but i'm a famous artist!
Of COURSE this is art... Look,
the TV news crews are here...!
Dear Mr. Mideo Cruz,

I did not see your exhibit as i am currently out of town. But i did catch a lot news coverage about you and your supposed work that was on display at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). I also scoured the net and discovered that you are quite an established artist, having held exhibits abroad in major cities across the world.

I therefore conclude that you are an artist. A real one. Now that that's out of the way...

But the bits and pieces i've seen of your exhibit at the CCP is sadly, not art. Not in my eyes. And mind you, my eyes are not untrained. I've worked in the advertising industry as a creative professional for over a decade and a half. And while i have not won Araw Awards, Clios, and whatnots, I have had many important people respect and pay decently for my creative work, as well as my creative opinion. So i would like to think that my opinion can be considered a qualified one.

And no, sir. what little i saw is not art.

Just because you are an artist, it does not mean that whatever you produce is "art." Even those celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain (my wife's favorite TV chef/food critic), Jamie Oliver, and even the guy from Wok With Yan, etc. cannot just claim to put anything on our plates and palates just because "they are chefs." In fact, as chefs, i believe they are responsible for helping put together things that will provoke, reawaken, our taste buds, but ultimately help uplift our understanding of food. Just like artists like you. Supposedly.

And what's more, i don't think they were even done artfully. i've seen many provocative pieces in my time, but the ones i call and consider art are the ones that were produced with some heart. Some real passion that a creative person like myself will feel when we see the pieces. But no, you just wanted to try your luck with something like this. And sadly, with your relatively successful international track record, you got away with it. The real culprits here are the idiots at the CCP who did not consider the sensitivities of the citizenry in accepting and putting up such a show.

I am of the Catholic faith. But I do not particularly like to pray before statues, touch them with my handerchief, much less kiss their ceramic bacteria-laden feet. But that's me. These sentiments do not mean I have to stand by the statues at the nearest church and stop people from doing the above if they want to, or believe they have to. That's called respect, dude. Religion is a sensitive subject for many because it helps them get direction with their lives. I don't agree with all of them, but i respect them. Respect, dude. As the famous Rico J. Puno would say in his shows, "Respect, please."

Oh well... Let's all move on from this.

'catch you later.


P.S. congratulations, dude. You got a lot of coverage. Bravo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Movie Review: Heh-Ree Pot-Tah (the Finally Final Chap-Tah... Or Rickman Really Rocks)

We are so in that they're bringing
the Smurfs back because we made
being blue look cool.
In writing and posting about a movie rather belatedly, we may be able to establish if: 1) the movie was memorable enough to leave stuff in my head that i can still write about days after, and; 2) i can still get hits on this patheric blog despite the fact that it's way late, and Potter readers are composed of billions of neo-literati kids who are blogging about the "Deathly Hallows 2" (which is effectively Harry Potter Part 2 of Part 7) endlessly among themselves.

So screw this, but what the heck...

We caught the Harry Potter finale on the very first day of showing, and proceeded to rediscover the magic that is Robinsons Movieworld in Galleria. The magic is that any movie, no matter how big and successful all over the movie-going popcorn-devouring planet will still face short lines (if any), and half-empty cinemas at the Galleria. And add to that the attractive prospect of not having a lot of shops in the mall worth the wifey's time and money, then you got yourself the perfect mall for the penny-pinching on-the-run corporate rat like me.

Now on to Hogwarts...

This movie doesn't pretend to be anything but a wrap-up session for the entire Potter series. Everything that those pre-pubescent Potter-phile aliens costume-playing in black graduation togas and cringe-inducing pseudo-British accents read will happen pretty much happened. And yes, i thought Harry was going to die. Don't care if he did, don't care if he didn't. But i actually walked into the cinema expecting a heroic Harry death scene and a horde of sobbing Potter-geeks blowing their pimply noses at the cinema lobby after the movie.
"No, Harry... i didn't screw
yer mom... But i had a wet dream
about it once, then i went ta
Dumblebore an' he proceeded
to tell me that i will hafta kill ya
in Book 7.

But no, we all got ourselves a happy ending, and the rightful redemption of Alan Rickman. Not Severus Snape. I don't give a rat's ass about Snape. But I've adored Rickman since "Diehard" (the one-man-army movie that spawned a gazillion pseudo-sequels and suddenly made Chuck Norris retro-cool for no reason and connection to the movie other than that he exists.). It was fitting that Rickman comes out the hero for once in his cool, sinister-English-guy career. Hell, terrorism was actually cool when it came with the name "Hans Gruber."

Now can we have Rickman playing a bad guy in an "Iron Man" sequel so Bob Downey can fight cool with cool and they can subsequently freeze and shatter all box office records together in an explosion of infinite cool?

So much cool...

'catch you later.

P.S. While I agree that Emma Watson grew up to be rather fetching, and that my having a daughter makes it so many levels of wrong that i "almost" found myself amused at the fact that the world practically watched her mammaries grow every half-inch for the past decade into a viewable cleavage, I must object to her objectifying and the mediarazzi putting her on a supermodel pedestal.
She is hot, yes. But she is extra hot because we all know she's mind-numbingly rich at this early point in her young life. And she looks all the more prettier, because Rupert Glint grew up ugly and Daniel Radcliffe seems to still haven't decided on whether or not the closet fits.
But i apologize in advance to Rupert Glint, who i've come to gather is a fine gentleman, like most Englishmen in the media. At least with him we're sure which bathroom he goes into.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Cirque was in Town (My Review of Cirque du Soleil's Varekai)

So the circus was in town. But not just any circus. This was Vegas staple showstopping Cirque du Soleil's wagon train version, Varekai. But before i could bellow to Aimee to: "FIND ME CHEAP TICKETS AT ONCE!!!" the indomitable Mia Lao informs me that she will generously transfer to me circus tickets gifted to her by some little company called BDO.

But there were only two tickets, and the entire area and the concerned dates had already been blocked off. No way to buy an additional ticket for Marge.

But there was a funky loophole...

"So here's the plan," i said, "we bring Marge, and tell those blowhards that she's only two years old, which should qualify her for free entrance on the condition that she sit on either of our laps." It seemed like a workable plan, until the day of the show when i noticed upon getting home that the wifey hadn't dressed the kid up. Bad sign.

She proceeded to tell me how she really didnt think it was a good idea to put ourselves in the potentially embarrassing situation of having to convince people that Margaret the Soon-to-be-a-Giant was not the above-average sized three-year old she really was. So off we two went to the circus... Or the "Cirque" to be more specific (and pseudo-sophisticated).

And i proceeded to be blown away.

I won't bother to talk about the acts and the eye-candy quality of the sets and costumes since google can do a much better job of that than me. But yes, save for the earnest, but sometimes dragging clown segments, almost every acrobatic act was literally breathtaking. There was no such thing as wasted space on the stage as practically every corner had something interesting to offer to wandering eyes. The live music was excellently haunting and colorful, while the vocalists (especially the male lead) were either beautifully, yet wordlessly eloquent, or i should take up some Algerian lessons to get the so-odd-its-cool gibberish chant-singing a la Sting's "Desert Rose."

The fiery double-swing finale pretty much unhinged my jaw to the ground and made me drag it all the way home. And then and there, i had concluded that i had never found myself so properly entertained by so many suicidal foreigners.

Even the wifey was impressed.

By the time of this posting, the fantastic cirque troupe must be midway through their last and final set on this last night of their Manila tour. And tonight will be the last night that the Luneta cleaning crew will rub off tracks on the floor left behind by jaws like mine.

'catch you later.
a last look at the Grand Tapi-something tent
en route to the van...

P.S. My only regret on that show was the crowd not giving the troupe the proper send off for the evening by way of an extended standing ovation. They totally deserved it. But yes, i definitely stood in applause and respect.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pointless thoughts from last weekend... (071711)

Thoughts from last Sunday... posted just now.

It's Sunday, and we've done the basics... Went to church, had lunch with Pops, threw Marge on the Shang's carousel... And while i mindlessly sit in a couch somewhere while the wifey wanders around, and Marge is snoring away in her stroller, i reflect on a few things today...

* * * * * * * *

The priest's homily today was unnecessarily defensive. He was indirectly referring to the recent SUV story/"scandal" regarding the bishops.

Something about nobody being perfect and all... We get it, dude. You're barking up the wrong tree. The guys going to church don't care about the imperfections of the the church. Believe it or not, we understand.

One of my favorite priests, let's call him Father Artie, is probably one of the most imperfect priests in the world. He drinks, he goes to buy-me-a-drinkie bars, and he responds to friendly cajoling with the statement "tao rin naman kami..." News flash, he's a damn good priest who is loved by every congregation who he has served in. And his admitted humanity makes his wisdom no less valid in our eyes.

Another news flash: he's supposedly a qualified annulment lawyer, and he drives a handsome blue pick-up truck that the church issued to him for his use. I sure don't mind.

No apologies asked. None given. None necessary.

* * * * * * * *

A few minutes earlier, sleepy Marge knocked over a full cup of hot chocolate while trying to reach for it. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Except for Margaret's ego, and she was crying in embarrassment.
Because every other f*cking adult around us was staring at the little sea of chocolate with a four-legged island in the middle as though they had never spilled a goddamn drink all their pathetic lives. It's as though their children have never spilled drinks in public before. WASSAMATTAH, HYPOCRITES? A sleepy little girl deserves "the look" for designing Starbucks' Signature Chocolate Puddle? Go back to your pathetic excuses for lives, losers.
* * * * * * * *
'catch you later.
P.S. have a great week ahead, and do not stare at children who had accidents. Yes, you. i'm talking to you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Comic Book Review: The Filipino Heroes League, Book One (Better Value than a Two-Piece Chickenjoy Meal, which will cost pretty much the same, i think...)

After being underwhelmed by Summit’s “Underpass,” and left almost indifferent by the “Philippine Comics Anthology” despite Neil Gaiman’s name on the cover, I found Book One of “Filipino Heroes League” by Paolo Fabregas when I suddenly wandered into Sketchbooks at Greenbelt.

So this “Paolo Fabregas” guy who supposedly wrote and drew it was apparently THE Paolo Fabregas. Brother of hottie Lara, and son of cool actor guy Jaime. But we’re here to talk about the book… (of course, if this was at least 16 years ago, we might be talking about Lara… but blogging hadn’t really been done yet back then… but I digress…)

click me to see me bigger...
I was skeptic, to say the least, but the whole “third world superhero” thing sort of got me. That, and the image of masked men running into action on a pedicab. At least the image on the back cover told me quite clearly that whoever did this book doesn’t take himself too seriously (unlike the people who put together stuff for the two aforementioned books. More on them some other time).

The story follows the adventures of the titular super team, who, at the point of the book’s supposed writing, are little more than a shell of its former glory. They are a typical government agency who are underfunded, undermanned, and somewhat a joke. Naturally, there are plotholes all over the thing, but the good intentions and self-deprecation more than makes up for those. The involvement of the government, politics, and the media make the story very, very Pinoy.

click me...
The characters are quite promising and might have interesting back stories if this series finds itself a willing investor, or even sponsors. The core of the team are: “Kidlat Kid,” the team’s resident speedster and joker. Easily the writer’s favorite. “Flashlight,” the current leader, and the only one of the “old heroes” that remains, is a chain-smoking womanizer. “Invisiboy,” the good-hearted dimwit/stiff, who can predictably enough, turn invisible.

The good: it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the dialogue isn’t hokey. The English is pretty much free of glaring grammatical errors such as those I found on “Underpass” and the “Anthology.” The characters could use some work, but the personality mix isn’t bad. Oh, and I would have probably gotten more of the “third world” feel if there was more “salitang kanto” peppered into the book. The Philippines is a bilingual country, so I would personally predict that this book could have been more effective if this was also bilingual. Perhaps a bilingual edition is in order for the local kids? Just a suggestion.

Paolo Fabregas could have gotten some help to come up with a more amusing set of powers, but chose to keep it simple enough for the hopefully supportive third-world reader. Good move. The subtle humor is also distinctively Pinoy, but understandable enough for any reader.

The story was amusing enough to keep me reading until I finished the book in a day and a half, which is more than what I can say for other local comics.

The bad: The art wasn’t “bad,” but given the world-renowned talent of Pinoys in the art field, this could have been better. With all due respect to Fabregas, the storytelling was effective, but the faces and body language were inconsistent. My non-professional advice to Fabregas: you have a strong concept, bro. Write it, pencil in some breakdowns, and find someone else to finish up the art.

The book should also have been published in the typical comic book size to give it a better comic book feel. But that’s trivial.

The verdict: if this book gets more support, then it might have legs, and even a real life. With local pulp comic serials virtually gone, there is a void that needs to be filled in the local literary world. Best of all, this book wasn’t trying hard to be smart, clever, preachy, or even artsy. It simply had a concept, and carried it through into an entertaining enough story. Yes, it was far from perfect, but it was actually fun.

At only two hundred bucks, it was worth a try, and honestly wasn’t a waste.

Hell, I’d buy the next chapter right now if it was out. You should, too. But buy this one first.

‘catch you later.

For more information, check out:
* all images are protected by copyright of the creator and/or publisher (or something like that). just don't mess with them so my ass won't get sued.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Things I would have tweeted while in China...

All these railings and bannisters
in the Forbidden City are made
purely of marble.
So if you're wondering
where we Chinese lost ours,
you know where to look.
Things I would have tweeted while we were in China last May:
  • it's amazing how most buildings in Beijing are covered in tiles. So I assume the pervading bathroom-like smell is psychological.
  • but despite having made most of their city look like a bathroom, why do way too many mainlanders smell like they haven't bathed in days?
  • sandstorm from the gobi desert. Can't see a single cloud. I think the pollution is deliberately made by the communist government to prevent people from seeing silver linings.
  • I'm also guessing that the gobi sandstorms caused the mainlanders to evolve chinky eyes.
  • the tour guide just pointed out the main government building to our left. Looks like a Buddhist temple.
  • It costs 200k rmb fine for an additional kid due to the one-child policy. Abortion is cheaper and probably more legal.
  • Walking around Tiananmen square. Hope no one starts a revolt or we get gunned down.
  • Why hordes are lining up to hang out at place where the people got slaughtered is beyond me.
    tiannanmen square
  • warming up in the van after trekking through a small section of the Great Wall. Damn freezing without a jacket, but the sheer scale is awesome. This is one of those few times that i can honestly say that the postcards totally understated the real thing.
  •  i have officially experienced and therefore confirm that facebook, twitter and youtube are inaccesible in Mainland China. Mark Zuckerberg can now lay claim to having the dictators of 1.6 billion people officially afraid of him.
    the fatter guy on the plane
  • flying out of Beijing. Cant... Move... Arms... Damn... Obese... Guy... At... Left... Of... Plane... Seat... But if the plane crashes, you will save me, because you are soft and large and will weather any impact. But you stink.
  • finally in Hong Kong again. Can't make snide remarks in Tagalog on ugly and fat people. You'll never know if they're Filipino. Too many Filipinos. 
China entry officially over.

Pink Floyd's got nothing on THIS wall.
 'catch you later.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Delayed Movie Review: Thor (Why Chris Hemsworth Must Die)

For the record, i was once ripped. Totally.
Just to get that out of my once-ripped chest.

I have a stinking suspicion that Chris Hemsworth is not a real human being. His uncanny resemblance to a certain Mr.Pitt suggests that he is a clone. Hence, all these drooling women are fools, and the clones must die or expire into a puddle of Australian goo. Chris Hemsworth must die.

I have also started hearing some buzz from the unenlightened that the Hemsworth performance as Thor seems to be at par with that of the great Bob Downey Jr. as Iron Man. That is pure blasphemy. Bob as Iron Man is unparalleled except by the late Chiristopher Reeve as Superman. But Reeve gets handicap points for his spinal cord injury and the fact that he has kicked his bucket. So Bob now remains in his own stratosphere.

Grand sets, nuanced performances, and Sir Anthony Hopkins turn the cosmic/mythic/fish-out-of-water schtick into a story that simply works. Screw realism, this is a superhero movie that was entirely in clear and present danger of turning into "Clash of the Nordic Titans" but pulled it off quite nicely.
The guys at DC can take notes here and finally get their Wonder Woman project out of the shelf and off the fucking ground.

'catch you later.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Birthday to me again... 2011

Well now, I’m not sure who else among you is out there. But hey, here I am again. I’m not sure for how long, nor for how often, but I’m back.

Just came home from another all-you-can-eat dinner with a bunch of guys who can no longer afford to eat all they can or they get sick, weak, and die. Dinner was on me since I just turned 38 yesterday. Another dinner filled with old friends, old jokes, old stories, a few new reactions to those old stories, and pretty much just sitting there glad to be reminded that there are things in the world that haven’t really changed all that much. Sometimes that’s the biggest thing old friends do anyways. So happy birthday to me. Whoopee.

Seriously. Whoopee. Pardon me for excluding exclamation points here, but I really am happy today.

I take stock of my life and I have absolutely nothing to complain about except being 5 foot 5 inches. And even that is solved by an old pair of Nike Shox, along with looking for shorter people to hang out with.

Life still isn’t perfect, but it really shouldn’t be anyways. You just have to keep staying interested, as well as hoping and working to make things better. You stop doing that, you’re a zombie.

* * * * * * * *

After turning myself in to be dragged around the Medical City like a lab rat for the better part of Friday, celebrity doctor Oyie Balburias hands me the proverbial clean bill of health today. I’d be jumping for joy if my knees weren’t so shot, and I wasn’t at least 20 pounds overweight.

Had my teeth cleaned last Saturday, then a haircut. Spent the rest of the entire weekend drifting through town with the wifey and the kid. Margaret’s starting ballet this week, and the wifey’s just learned to cook up Spanish food. So what me worry? Absolutely nothing.

Whoever you are, welcome back to Broken Record.

‘catch you later.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Another Day in Disneyland 050211

Drenched in sweat, baking in the sun, lining up to see two giant rodents. Marge and the wifey are "patiently" waiting in benches flanking the giant rat gazebo.
Lots of fellow sweaty Asians in the long line with me.

Lao Hu Chi
The Chinese profess to abhor the West, particularly the Americans. But they sweat it out for almost an hour queuing just to spend a few stupid seconds to have their chinky-eyed pictures taken with one of the most prominent symbols of America's conquest of the global culture.
If us Chinese with roots in the Mainland are really that much better than the Whites, then how come I don't see people lining up for photo ops with a "Lao Hu Chi" mascot?

* we'll be right back after a short music video break (no multitasking on this stupid tablet...)

Malou mercifully hands me an ice-cold bottle of water in a plastic bottle that claims to be biodegradable.
Almost our turn. Dammit. All this for a lousy picture I can photoshop. Hell, I get paid decent money to photoshop shit like this.
Almost at the mice... Almost noon... Almost melting...

Between the crazy humid heat and the crazier ice-your-brains-out air-conditioning in the outlets, Disney Hong Kong will end up giving you a cold and kill you. And then there's the out-of-their-minds food prices, which might make you opt to go hungry. And I sincerely suspect some of the Koreans we've run into are infiltrators from the North who are all about nuking half the planet.
There's war, famine, pestilence and possible death.
So given all that, you can imagine how they might have based Disneyland on the Book of Revelations and run the hell for your pathetic life.

Marge is napping and the wifey is bored, so I fart my way through a ride in Space Mountain. The next riders should beware the Roast Pork Nebula!
Tinkerbell was awfully friendly, but looked like a fag.
My biceps hurt.

Goodbye, Mickey... We're heading back to the hotel.

'catch you later.