Thursday, October 30, 2008


I’m being haunted by Nick, Brian, Howie, Kevin and AJ.

Yesterday, I refreshed with the new watermelon float (where’s the green apple float!) of McDo and a large fries over lunch because I needed to get out of the office lest my head explode. Then, while in the middle of nibbling the cream, the boys started singing I want it that way, admittedly my favorite Backstreet song, or any boy band song for that matter. Two more songs played, Drowning and Quit Playing Games.

C’mon, the boy bands really had it their way when it was their time. I remember buying the first BSB album on cassette when I was Grade 6, the one with Get Down in it, which we eventually danced during Christmas parties those times.

After a mañanita for our Chairman the other day, a forgotten Filipino tradition which I only knew about this week where a bunch of birthday wishers greet (pester) the celebrator at the break of dawn with bygone songs, the assigned group arrived at around 6 am in the office with time to kill. So I grabbed a pillow and immediately looked for a BSB song on the net and dozed off in my desk. I dunno why the hell a BSB song popped into mind and so today I am haunted. Maybe it's hounding me to really consider that botched career? Jeez, heavens forbid.


Speaking of botches, my Tawi-Tawi trip is one. Goodbye Sheik Makhdum, islands, seaweeds, and lantsas see you next time, promise. So much for finally being at the southernmost tip of the Philippines. Photos courtesy of Ate Sarah.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The whole nation is crumbling to bits, millions of pesos can now slither its way to Moscow courtesy of perennial schmucks, plus the much-awaited confrontation with a fertilizer scam pig, err, king, and Anabelle Rama wants fucking yacht for crissakes. Come hell or high water and the miracle of Sto. Niño, give her the goddamn yacht! Jeez, whatever the fuck is happening, I too am miserly stuck in a quagmire.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Back in grade school, we had an infamous schoolmate whom we call Vizconde (yes, after the Vizconde massacre). She always had a ruffled hair covering most of her face and some missing front teeth and I dunno if that made everybody call her that. She also acts weird and sometimes opens up her skirt for us to see her panties. Perhaps what’s weirder is that everybody seem to believe that she has a small penis (or penis-like appendix in her female organ).

The use of she is based on the empirical data that she wears a skirt as uniform and fairly looked more of a girl. I remembered seeing her play basketball with the boys, in her skirt, or takyan, the vernacular term for sipa only with a piece of hardened alloy as base, which was a very popular pastime during recess with us boys.

Vizconde was the first person to come to mind when I read Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. When I picked up the book, I had a remotest idea that the character already symbolized the title, that the subject matter is one of gender identity crisis, which when u think about it becomes more complex in a hermaphrodite’s case as the story of the novel’s protagonist would imply, when all I was thinking of Middlesex was a city in England or Michigan.

(Interestingly, I'm currently reading Strange Tribe by John Hemingway, grandson of Ernest. It's a family memoir, so personal that it traces the similarities between John's father Gregory's cross-dressing deviance to early hints in Ernest childhood and even in his literary works.)

If Calliope Stephanides, the engaging narrator, is a living person, his/her life would be perfect fodder for the media. Life would be a living hell and she would be the most talked about person in recent history. That’s because we don’t know of any famous, living or otherwise, hermaphrodite whose life is very much an open book. Or nobody, perhaps in Hollywood or any famous personality, would evidently expose his or her genitals as a proof of his/her hermaphroditism and create public morass.

Pages flew like leaps of calendar leaves in a generation – three in fact. For Eugenides cover three generations of the Stephanides family, from pre-war era in Mt.Olympus to the raucous 60s, it captures the very essence of Cal’s search for meaning: profound and immense, sometimes beyond comprehension.

The New York Times says in the back cover that Cal is an amalgam of one of Holden Caulfield and maybe that’s why the narrator is engaging – it seems like Cal is talking right in front of us. Cal’s discovery in every twist and turn of fate is like ours too. Her condition solicits not one of sympathy but understanding and a mesmerizing sense of bewilderment.

But because Eugenides’ epic journey of perhaps everyone seeking acceptance out there is not just one of biological or genetic idiosyncrasies, not just of a search for identity, but for meaning, acceptance and a rightful place in an already peculiar world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

dark, menacing times

I want to say that The Dark Knight is one of the best films this year. I don’t care if it gets overlooked in the award foray but the second installment of Christopher Nolan's reinvention of the caped crusader is also one of the best things to have happened in comic book hero adaptations. But then, it would be difficult to shrug off a film that is now the second highest grossing film of all time, wouldn’t it?

I watched it four times in the theatre, with one outing a treat. And immense wonder and disbelief fills me every time. The Dark Knight in jayclopsiswatching.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Man of faith.

As with the Philippines, religion in the U.S. pretty much has a say in the course of the election campaigns, more evidently with the Obama-McCain match. Though as to influencing using religion as tool, our lot is more shameless and blatant of recent times. We have our presidentiables attending prayer rallies and also acting as if they too have been suddenly possessed by the Holy Spirit. Make way for the anointed one!

Unfortunately, haters gripe over Obama’s seemingly lack of strong religious foundation or his unorthodox way of Christianity, which can be “politically problematic”. His schism with Trinity United Church and Rev. Wright, erstwhile spiritual counselor (?) and head of TUC has also escalated into a religious bout that has in some way created a perception of a confused leader.

In a lengthy article in the July issue of Newsweek, writers Lisa Miller and Richard Wolffe cited a survey which reveals that around 12 percent think Obama is a Muslim and many perceived he was raised in a predominantly Islamic home. I remember chatting with a friend from Long Beach, California (who I surmise a Republican) a few months back and though I can vaguely note all the details about the conversation which was regarding the U.S. elections, I think it was something about this perception of Obama.

Indeed, Obama has been exposed to Islamic culture because of his stepfather (his father, who is said to be an atheist, left them at 2). His mother, whom Obama referred to as an agnostic, took him and his stepsister to Buddhist temples while in Indonesia andalso attending Catholic masses. In Hawaii where he spent high school, the family would also spend time in the United Church of Christ congregations. His readings also say a lot about his influences: St. Augustine, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Luther King, among others.

Obama has upheld Christianity saying that “the emotional and intellectual” is joined in a powerful sense. He is touched by the Christian story and tries to align his actions with the teachings but traditionalists have often accused him because of his confused, modern brand of Christianity. Obama believes redemption only through Jesus Christ but also he says that the Golden rule is a very important guiding principle for him.

No religion offers one single truth and Obama is well aware of it. His search, his life, his journey is very American.

“I’m on my own journey and I’m searching,” he said. And, “I leave open the possibility that I’m entirely wrong.”

His honesty is courageous. His admittance is audacity. And I admire him for that.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Justice hotdogs

We can argue to kingdom come the merits of the case (but of course I wouldn’t do that because I’m not a lawyer), the sincerity of the act of pardon or the executive privilege which this curmudgeon from the department of justice hotdogs, whose idea of electioneering does not include dispensing cash to barangay officials who deserved it anyway even if it is election fever, said is all but executively and prerogatively exclusive which in saying attributes godly omnipotence.

The grief over the death and outrage over the decision however are beyond the limits of our comprehension but it is for the family to bear for the rest of their lives.

I remember watching an episode of Justice, where Victor Garber and Kerr Smith, talked after a trial over a bunch of hotdogs. Garber’s character said something about the similarities of justice and hotdogs. How we love them served hot and fresh and juicy but we never really got to care how it is being made.

Monday, October 06, 2008

rated XX

Warning. This will prolly gross you out. But I need to let it out like some kind of pent up c-men of a disappointingly long ejaculation process. See this doesn’t happen all the time. I mean it doesn’t happen all the time since fuckable looking girls are hard to come by in jeepney rides recently, I dunno why. Speaking of fuckable though, there’s this scene in Margot in the Wedding where Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are talking or arguing about being fuckable, or something to that extent. So that’s where I got the word fuckable.

But anyway, on the way home after the booktrip I just talked about, there was this petite girl with really nice plump breasts, not the papaya type which I don’t like, that I think if I cupped them with my hands it would really feel nice. But she’s not petite like it would make me a fucking pedophile; I think she was about my age though, mestiza complexion and all. I could’ve mistaken her for someone I barely knew by face but I dispelled the idea. I must’ve stared at her long and hard enough, though I keep on glancing at my books, that she turned sideways, her hair covering most of her face. That’s when I noticed another chick beside her, much younger, say 16, who’s also equally fuckable-looking. Menage-a-trois: liquidating the cobwebs of my mind, imaginary steamy and ecstatic copulation fogging the glass walls of a vintage car shuddering like there’s no tomorrow.

You have to be careful with a raging hard-on in jeepneys unless you have bag or carry-on luggage to cover up that growing tent up your crotch, or you have to mentally come or hastily think of un-perverse thoughts to pacify Mr. Wiener and not parade himself to unsuspecting passengers. Luckily for me, I always have my khaki messenger bag. That’s its other prurient purpose. Note of emphasis: this doesn’t really happen all the time, really.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

There will be books.

For the past two weeks, up to today, I have amassed a total of 13 books from booksales, 12 since I will be reselling one to a colleague upon his request, which I will then borrow in some distant future. That’s some kind of record for me, which doesn’t mean that I have to beat somebody else’s or even mine, because I haven’t set such a shitty record. Especially with the fact that every time I’m mulling the idea of picking a book I’m wracking my head senseless of the actual nearest possible time I will be able to pick it up, this time actually reading the damn book. And whenever I get into such argument with myself, which is every time, I justify the purchase with the selfish geeky argument that someone will have picked it up in another hour, day or week. Despite the seeming obliviousness of this generation to the wonder of books, one can never discredit the fact that if you decide to let go of that fateful meeting with a rare, yellowed Thomas Pynchon novel like The Crying of Lot 49, somebody who have been itching for the same book would pick it up the next day.

The ones I bought at a local mall atrium booksale over a period of one week are truly gems, because, all of them are sold at 20 pesos: a cover-torn copy of Alex Garland’s The Beach, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood a new version of which is sold at NBS for more than 500 pesos, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth and John Le Carre’s The Looking-Glass War since I didn’t try hardest to look for The Spy who came in from the Cold. (I have long been meaning to read, make it pick, a Le Carre book because it’s practically everywhere in booksales and they say The Spy is the quintessential spy novel.)

At another mall, which sold books from the price range of 89-189 pesos: The 9/11 Investigations edited by former Newsweek editor Steven Strasser, a compilation book of the 9/11 commission reports and other relevant interviews. Pegged at 189 which is not bad actually if you think about it.

At an NBS in a local mall, where a massive flood of hardbound books caused me extreme excitement and a real decision-making pain in the ass: Ray Bradbury’s The Cat’s Pajamas: Short Stories, Paul Auster’s Travels in the Scriptorium which is also sold in paperback in the same store at 359 pesos, John Hemingway’s Strange Tribe, A Family Memoir, Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, Alan Greenspan: The Age of Turbulence and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. 99 pesos each.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Webs of gibberish

Two months ago I read Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho which makes me feel like a geeky loser having read it at such a later time, like the past two months, given the reputation (notoriety) of this novel in contemporary literature. But even if I read it in college or even early on in high school, I wouldn’t have appreciated its depth and the themes which it criticizes. I guess I don’t need to bore you with how the novel seems to suck you in despite its plotlessness and how it titillates you and makes you feel like a perv for wanting to see more of Patrick Bateman’s all too-detailed gratuitous sexual violence in the pages. As they say, some things are meant to be read. Which is why so many, even critics alike were led astray by the novel’s bluntness lambasting it as trash and accusing Ellis of pornography that they actually lost track of the social critique it was meant for in the first place, like commodification and the increasing gap of social classes as a result, the rise of the urban bourgeois, the loss of identity in a seemingly economically flourishing era, etc. Psycho is set in New York and Bateman’s world is Wall St. heaven. The indestructibility and stability of Ellis’ stylishly concocted world will be comical if placed in the vulnerability of the current times. Recession and bailout, hell even sub-prime mortgage, would remotely surface in the superficial discussions of self-absorbed financial execs, Bateman et al. But even if such were discussed, as vague terms, in that particular economic pinnacle, the wide gap would have alienated the blue-collar layman from giving a flying fuck about how economic slowdown would actually allow them to live decently.

Last night, I watch the government’s economic panel sling back answers from supposed intelligible queries and stories out of these landed up on front pages of national broadsheets today. For the past few weeks, we too have been engrossed in the US economic situation attempting to make sense out of it, out of our lives as Filipino citizens (and at least for me not that successfully) but in the end, Juan dela Cruz won’t give a flying fuck (I purposely repeated those two words). John Cassidy in The New Yorker aptly puts it: “As an exercise in crisis management, it is potentially disastrous—and, to the rest of the world, dumbfounding”. But what am I really talking here anyway that none of the thinking people already know? I think it just goes to show that we are still bridging, and that’s why we don’t bridge the gap, it’s because it is always burned. In the world of American Psycho, the insignificant are further marginalized and the economically important continue to slobber with whatever there is to consume.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f—king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f—king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f—k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f—king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f—ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Renton, Trainspotting