Sunday, June 26, 2005 A.D.
Toy Conned and Devilishly Happy
I don't have any intentions of making it a weekend rule, but for the second week, I found myself in a sea of people who lose all individual thought when finding themselves in proximity with similarly minded organisms. If I were an advance-planning flu virus, I'd know where to start a breakout next year. Everybody practically smelled like everybody else, and it wasn't a good thing. While I was the unwilling recipient of many an elbow at last week's music festival, being in the presence of black-shirted, glue-sniffing city jail types, I observed that I was better equipped to be the giver than the receiver this time at the 4th Toys, Collectibles and Hobbies Convention. You see, despite being a professed geek, I think I've already been bullied many times in my formative years to effectively dish out bully techniques. Trying to find something interesting (but hoping that it wouldn't be too expensive), I bullied my way through the toy-obsessed throng to the different stalls that were set up to effectively induce claustrophobia in children who wander away from their ill-advised parents. Note to parents: toy conventions are not for kids.

I first spotted a stall with retro memorabilia. They were selling Beatles pomade for PhP350 and Coke Russell yoyos for PhP100. I found the pomade cute, but doubted that I would find a use for it anyway even if the contents were still good and greasy. As for the Coke yoyos, I already have a good collection of better engineered ones and the ones they had on display weren't in the best condition anyway. Scrounging through the other stuff they had, I found this one item that I haven't seen since prep school. I remember finding a 10 peso bill half submerged in a urinal, picking it up by a dry corner and instantly cashing in my dirty money for a coke and a bag of Jack n Jill whatever at the cafeteria. After receiving the presumably more sanitary change of 5 pesos, I headed for the school supplies store where, for some time, I had been eyeing these Marvel cardboard stand-ups that they had displayed. They sold for PhP2.50 each so I picked the two more interesting characters, being Iron Man and Thor, who I think were made interesting only by the fact that I didn't know who they were. There were five in the bag, with the other three being Spider-man, Hulk and Captain America. They would have collectively retailed for PhP12.50. The toycon stall, manned by a familiar-looking guy in his 40's, offered a bunch of the stand-ups for merely 25 pesoses for the set of five, bagged in their original flimsy supot, slightly discolored, but looking every bit as I remembered them. They bore 1978 copyrights, were labeled as party favors, and looked as if the machines that printed them have long been outdated. It was like digging into a pair of old jeans and finding forgotten cash, so I simply had to get two bags because I definitely would open one and keep the other mint-in-supot. It was probably nostalgia for the most part, but it was cheap nostalgia, and that made it even better. I feel as if I paid more for these things when I was six years old, because thinking about it, I essentially defiled my delicate fingers with anonymous biological secretions all in exchange for cardboard cutouts. That's almost like self-pedophilia, and pedophilia, according to most priests, is not a good thing.

This is what the stand-ups look like (they may not look as good now, but it used to be that kids would whore themselves for these):

Dodge wanted to get a bag of these stand-ups but ended only buying these things at the convention despite staying for a few hours:

This Turtle Toddlers set is basically a late birthday gift from him. I wasn't able to find these when they came out locally, so thanks!

Lastly, here's the haul that did me in... an exclusive Muppets Sweetums figure.

Supposedly released in limited quantities late last year, this 10-inch tall hairy monster is still available from but can only be shipped within the states. I'm lucky that my friend Unleashed brought in an extra because the retailer was giving me hell when I tried to purchase one early this year. Sweetums is the only figure I need to round out my Muppets collection, so I'm doubly grateful. To add icing to the plastic cake, Unleashed tossed in a free Santa she-devil bobblehead. A she-devil would have been enough, but dress her as Santa and she becomes bobblehead gold. I personally think that it's pretty handy to have a 5-inch Santa she-devil bobblehead around the house, particularly for moments when one feels the urge to sing Satanic Christmas carols to a plastic avatar with an oversized wobbling head. I also get reminded of this one Christmas when I traded 37.5% of my soul to Satan for a bootleg Transformer from Taiwan because I didn't receive a single gift that I liked. I remember that I ended up paying 42.5% because he threw in a bag of Marvel Hero Action Stand-ups into the bargain. I figured that the additional 5% was better than having to dip my fingers once more into other people's liquid byproducts.

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Happy Birthday Noee
I wanted to write you a poem but I couldn't find decent words to rhyme with your name.

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Statler and Waldorf From the Balcony
The two cranky geezers from The Muppet Show get their weekly review show.

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Saturday, June 25, 2005 A.D.
Smoke Gets in Your Bootlegs
Greenhills is one of the places that people with temper issues should avoid during weekends. I try to find reasons not to, except I often do find myself going there anyway, to merely end up stalking the parking areas for a decent slot and stringing invectives at lucky drivers who have found parking slots but who have arrived later than I did, and at people who walk nonchalantly to their cars without any intention of leaving, letting me conspicuously follow them to their parked cars without bothering to even let me know through the slightest gesture that they aren't going to be leaving after all. I keep promising myself that I would stay away from Greenhills during weekends, but you know the drill.

It started lunchtime just when I was only trying to find my way to the parking lot entrance. A silver Civic with rolled down windows, flashing hazard lights, and an insensitively blaring siren was bullyingly weaving its way through the traffic, prompting a lot of pedestrians to look at him with annoyed but questioning faces. The driver wore a rat-tailed mohawk, looking like a cross between a Samoan muscleman and a flabby beehive with barely fitting sunglasses. He was casually fiddling a cigarette between the fingers of his right hand, which he dangled outside the window for full contrabida effect. Between the way he held his cigarette and his loud siren, I easily came to the conclusion that I didn't like him. Someone from the sidewalk shouted, "Hindi ka bumbero!" which got a smirk out of me. He didn't look like he was on an emergency. It was then that EmCow remarked that, even for a Saturday afternoon, there were a lot of people positioned at the Shoppesville entrances. We were going to hit the gym over lunch, and I thought suddenly that we should have stuck to the Ortigas branch instead. Right about the time when the Samoan beehive turned a bend and we found our way to the parking lot entrance, it became clear that the people we saw clustered at the doors weren't going in but out. Grey smoke could be seen billowing from the general direction of Theater Mall and I realized that I was seeing my second Greenhills conflagration (with three having taken place only in the past ten years). This couldn't be good.

The fire didn't look serious at all, and the atmosphere wasn't really that tense as one would have expected. With the place being evacuated, I found that I had a veritable smorgasbord of parking slots to choose from, conveniently settling for one that was right across the gym entrance (which was a good block away from the fire). I actually had a good view of the fire from the weights area on the second floor but realized that the gym was the worst place to be monitoring a fire, what with the endless club music that they piped out through their speakers. Firstly, I had no clue at all that firetrucks were already making their way to the place because their sirens just blended in with the bleeps and sound effects. I also didn't notice that smoke was already blowing into the gym, probably because it was easy to assume that smoke machines were responsible. All I needed to party were a pill-popping DJ, an obligatory metrosexual, and a gaggle of sweaty half-dressed girls who could only look hot when under multicolored strobes. With a more active imagination, I'd have realized that I was merely missing the DJ and the strobes. I especially wished for the strobes, if only for the instant makeovers.

Looking out into the parking lot, I could see an exodus of vendors dragging sacks and boxes into waiting vehicles. Stranded salespeople were stationed wherever shade was available, and volunteer firemen from places as far away as Taguig, Malabon, Marikina, Cainta and San Antonio (among other places) were lugging hoses that looked like they were piped in from Penang (the restaurant, not the famed Malaysian city). It was surreal, to say the least, and lest I be accused of trivializing the incident, I was honestly moved at the sight. I am tempted to drop the joke that maybe God has a stand on piracy, but I am afraid it would be in bad taste. I am really tempted to, you see, but I won't.

The fire was officially put out by 5pm, which was incidentally the screening EmCow and I caught for H2G2 (I just want to point out that the Promenade cinemas are amazing and the movie, funny). It was past 7pm when we got back out and the firetrucks have already gone. Shoppesville and Theater mall were still pitch black but Music Museum was noticeably lit up (for the M2M brunette's concert, I think). Just to add a final piece of irony to all this, it was steadily raining. I still won't drop the joke about God's stand on piracy. I am really tempted to, you see, but I won't.

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Happy Birthday Thads
A minimalist greeting: hey.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 A.D.
First Day F-words
With their latest single, Parokya ni Edgar has proven that they can write a song that is stabbingly infectious and hardly to be forgotten in the near future. I like to point out that a compulsive john can also use those same words to aptly describe a bout with gonorrhea.

The band has always delicately walked the fine line between stupid and clever, and it's sometimes difficult to completely make out the intentions behind their songs. Being known pranksters, I sometimes find myself asking if I am merely not getting the joke or if I am already being an unwitting victim. The first two albums were essentially comedy sketches presented through well written pop songs. The Christmas album was standard PnE fare. The 'third' album was brilliant and the fourth was hardly necessary. The last one was interesting though, as the band somehow distilled their musical philosophy into a fitting package, in effect plying into the homage-mockery genre pioneered by Spinal Tap. Like this fictitious band, PnE has often left many wondering about the certainty of some of their undertakings. It helps the band get away with a few things, like the otherwise criminal Mr. Suave, which they can easily write off as an homage-mockery to the OPM plied by Rico J. Puno and his contemporaries.

Their new song, which you've definitely heard by now unless you're deaf, is meant to be a commercial jingle for a deodorant. It's as irritating as a perennial jock itch, and I'm left asking the question if PnE purposely made it that way as some kind of statement on commercialistic crassness, effectively taking the route that the late Andy Kaufman would take (that is, going out of one's way to be annoying, and in that sense, becoming doubly annoying). The video is actually worse, but I won't get into that anymore.

I actually hold a certain respect for the band, and I have to confess to owning their albums (on cassettes) because I always wondered what they were going to do next. I will still probably get their next album when it gets released but I'm really hoping that the deodorant song gets excluded. It is not even funk in the musical sense. I guess they were intending for a double-entendre... that is fine by me because I can always smell something funny whenever I hear the song, and I know that it's not because someome has an arm raised in my immediate area.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005 A.D.
The Bloody Bleargh
It was a perfect eureka moment. I saw the bottle of Absolut Peppars where I left it after trying out a shot last week and I was fixing myself a glass of V8-ish juice right about the time. I figured, why the hell not?

I didn't really know what to do with the pepper vodka (thanks Itchy and Brent, btw), and I had a difficult time drinking it straight, what with the jalapeño flavor and all. It was probably not the best drink for me to have right after working out, but it did taste great, so...

The recipe:
1 part Absolut Peppars
4 parts V8 (I used Berri Harmonics Vegetable Juice)
1 part lemon juice

Mix everything in a glass with ice, then garnish with ten strips of bacon (because everything tastes better with bacon). Note: I actually didn't have bacon available when I fixed the drink, but I discovered the drink anyway so I can bloody well put anything in it.

Next up: The Bloody Stool.

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Happy Birthday Rosmo
I remembered. You probably did not.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005 A.D.
Meeting Miss Cindy
In my mind, it would start out with a proper introduction, after which I would say something witty to make her laugh. It went something like that too, with my friend Doiks taking care of the proper introduction and adding that I was dying for the longest time to meet her. That's not true, you see, as I was merely partially dying (which is partially living too, but that's beside the point). My witty retort came out like something between an incoherent grunt and an incoherent mumble. Luckily, she didn't laugh after. It was her fault anyhow... she almost touched my nipple, that's why. It was still a delight though - meeting her, that is, not the nipple part. I wish I just told her that instead, plain and simple. All the same, she was still very friendly and very gracious (and very sincere too, it must be said)... she even shook my hand (which, after much deliberation, will get washed). I would have angled for a photo-op (you know, bragging rights for the socially inept) except I left my camera in the car.

I decided on the way home that to avoid having to repeat that embarrasing incident, I should have a ready spiel for the next time I get introduced to another celebrity. I rehearsed it many times while I was alone in the car so I can faithfully reprint the entire thing here: "Hello. I promised myself I would say something witty if I finally did get this chance. As you can see, it's not happening. It really is a delight to meet you though. Please don't touch my nipple or the area surrounding it."

In my mind, that will work, and I hope I get to test it out soon.

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Bleargh was There - Fête de la Musique 2005
The annual music festival sponsored by Alliance Française de Manille has only gotten bigger with each successful staging, with this year's event held at El Pueblo in Ortigas and having the logistical nightmare of a setup by letting over 150 artists/bands play on eight separate, genre-specific venues from 4pm to 4am straight.

The crowd was huge, and by huge, I mean anatomically conjoined. It also has to be stated that said huge crowd was also sweaty, and by sweaty, I mean emitting foul noxious clouds. It was all good though, as it was still a celebration of music all across the world. Never mind that there was nothing close to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, we still got frottage, frapuccinos and pogi rock (I like to state on record that I'm not a fan of the genre). I got to hang around with the shooting MTV crew a bit and got to meet a few people in doing so... most notable was 'Tenga,' probably the closest local approximation of the Rainbow Man (you have to google for pix, sorry), who is arguably the world's most (in)famous screen squatter. Tenga wore pointy rubber ears and carried a sign that read 'Define Love.' He gave away calling cards, courtesy of his 'manager,' and even had a small following among the throng. He has a well thought-out gimmick, I thought. I might be giving him too much space than he's worth by even mentioning him here, but these are the sorts of things that I enjoy (in a popular anthropology context at least).

I had to leave a bit early (mainly because it got too crowded for me), but I waited for my youngish cousin to finish watching Hale's set by the Pony booth near the Alternative stage in Podium (Hale being the pogi rock band of the moment... I never realized they were that popular). Funnily, I saw more friends inside the Podium mall proper than outside where the bands were playing, so the little trek to the parking floor took almost an hour after all the impromptu conversations. After a relatively sane drive home, I found myself posting this little bit. After another sentence, I found myself retiring to the bedroom where I dreamt uninterruptedly of frottage, frapuccinos and pogi rock (I like to state on record that I'm not a fan of the genre).

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Thursday, June 16, 2005 A.D.
Lonely But Never Alone
The office is about thirty minutes away from home on a holiday. On rush hour, I'd be lucky to get one and a half hours. I used to go to work really early (like 6:30 early), thanks to EmCow's daily 8am meetings, and the trip usually only took us 45 minutes, after which I slept in the car for a few hours to make up for the deprivation, ensuring that I still maintained an overall air of corporate delinquency by showing up late at the office regardless.

That was then... EmCow has since gotten her place in Salcedo and I've been driving by my lonesome to and from the office for the past couple of weeks. I'm still as delinquent though, but only because I have very good reasons to avoid being in the office physically for an eight-hour stretch. Without any incentives or imperatives whatsoever to get myself out of the sack early, I've gone back to the rush hour route, driving solo for a ridiculous amount of time and learning new four letter words for those detestable bus drivers. It also doesn't help that my CD player, after more than three years of activity, has finally decided to sputter every so often just to drive in the point that I should listen to the radio sometimes. All my CDs have started to sound like remix versions. A skipping CD player is the last thing that I need, especially since I have only recently discovered that I still know all the words to 'Informer.'

The timing for relearning the tolerance for rush hour driving couldn't have come worse, with the rainy season just around the corner and the schoolyear just starting. It is a boring trip, to say the least, and I can only take pleasure in the occasionally skipping song or in counting billboards, particularly those of a former presidential daughter who will only be called Kristina A. due to recent events. The car has started to appear bigger from the inside, even with various stuff strewn about. I also think that I'm starting to see things that aren't there. Just this morning, I drove to work with four guys named Jhon, Jhonjhon, Jingles and Lambda. Like any decent morning driver, I refused to talk to them because they were imaginary. I decided instead to use ancient Chinese rituals to curse the bus driver to the front who was unloading passengers by the foot of the flyover. If things would go as I intended, Mr. Bus Driver will find out on his next birthday that his only daughter had been impregnated by some bisexual shabu addict with a malignant hump. Jhonjhon and Jingles found it too harsh, Jhon and Lambda, on the other hand, heartily approved and even sang along with the skipping 'Informer' refrain. God bless my beautiful mind.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005 A.D.
Superman is a Dick
A collection of old comic covers and panels that are just wrong. People actually believed these were harmless once upon a time. Check out 'Seduction of the Innocent.'

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 A.D.
Skyrockets in Flight
I like to take this opportunity to address the unsung heroes of modern Philippine economy. They bring in precious foreign currency to our shores while eking out a living in a different time zone and sacrificing personal contact with their loved ones. I'm talking, of course, about call center representatives. You can call them technical service representatives or customer care specialists or whatever, but for the sake of brevity, they will be called call center representatives.

Call centers are a growth industry, and for all we know, they're still growing (the classifieds can attest). I used to work along Emerald Avenue in Ortigas so I've had my share of personal encounters. FYI, Emerald Avenue is now known as Ortigas Jr. Avenue. That name change won't matter in the slightest bit because the other Ortigas Avenue is apparently older, and the government arm in charge of continually changing street names thinks that if you so much as confuse the two streets, then you are a moron who deserves to pay more taxes. I digress though. I still visit Emerald Ave. - excuse me, Ortigas Jr. Ave. - regularly, and I still catch the good call center folks lined up in front of all the building entrances, even during the oddest hours. That's hard. Please realize that by making them work the graveyard shift, we are essentially robbing them of a nightlife. A nightlife! It's a funny little thought, but if you consider it, most of us who are not tasked with working those early hours probably take our nightlives for granted. These people can't even catch a last full show, for crying out loud... and don't even get me started on happy hour.

After hitting the gym (along Ortigas Jr.) last Saturday afternoon with EmCow, we chanced upon a small bar across the street. The place was dimly lit, and whatever light can be gleaned from the partially open door had a very artificial feel to it. Dance music can also be heard from the street. The place was packed (take note that this was 2pm on a very hot day), and some people (smokers, I assume) were outside, sitting under large umbrellas, with buckets of Super Dry on their tables. It did look like a private party, but only because it was daytime. These people, for all intents and purposes, were on their after hours R&R. EmCow also went on to tell me about her sister, a call center rep herself, whose team went on a summer outing and ended up night swimming at the beach. Cheap offshore labor has made vampires out of our yuppies.

Don't knock them though... they probably earn more than you do. Given their unique schedules, they probably spend less too, especially since 7-11 and Mini Stop fare comes pretty inexpensive. They also don't get to experience rush hour traffic, which is a big plus. Those alone should be worth the price of having your internal clock knocked out of order. I do wonder if they get afternoon curfews.

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Monday, June 13, 2005 A.D.
Dodgy-looking Comic Book Characters
The writers go through a dozen of the most ridiculous looking comic book heroes and villains a la Mr. Blackwell.

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Sunday, June 12, 2005 A.D.
Bleargh was There - Juan dela Cruz: Ang Pagkalas

My ears are still ringing, and I remember suddenly that I still have wads of paper napkin stuck in my ears. I just watched the Juan dela Cruz reunion and the corners of my mouth are still twisted in an attempt to smile. The show was different from the concerts I've grown accustomed to of late. For one thing, the crowd was composed of different age groups, where characters from the hippie age mingled with Makati punk types and families with children were hardly an exception. Despite the volume, a welcome sense of space presided and it was easy for me to weave through the crowd with my old faithful Coolpix in hand. It felt like an outdoor festival.

Enjoying the concert was easy for me. I never kept my rock leanings secret, and Juan dela Cruz, after all, is the greatest Pinoy Rock band from the 70s (the best era in rock, IMO). This was their first major gig in 7 years and I was lucky enough to find VIP tickets to the event. I was doubly 'lucky' that I was able to score a production pass at the venue even if I had to assume the identity of one 'Lucky,' whose name was written on my pass.

Juan dela Cruz is essentially the trio of Joey 'Pepe' Smith, Mike Hanopol and Wally Gonzalez. It can hardly be contested that they are rock legends, each in their own right, and collectively as the only 70s Pinoy Rock band who still manages to stay in Filipino consciousness, thanks to their excellent musicianship and sharp but casually tossed lyrics. The group dynamic is uniquely Filipino, and it's easy to see how they developed a crossover appeal, having personas that run the gamut of genre archetypes. Pepe Smith, lanky and reed thin, personifies the nihilistic rock 'n' roll attitude. He grips the microphone stand with a swagger that's typical of early punk frontmen, channeling Iggy Pop and another Joey who went by the last name 'Ramone.' He dispenses comic spiels with a noticeable chemical slur and a sincere rapport with his fans... the guy has more charisma in his big toe than most bands combined and he's not apologetic about it, on and off the stage. Mike Hanopol, on the other hand, is better known for writing anthems, having been responsible for many 70s hits that are still highway stop videoke staples. As a songwriter, Mike displays a unique connection with Filipino pop culture, transcending the music to become a cultural icon himself. His songs have become imprinted on the Filipino mind, and it's tempting to compare him with one Lito Camo in terms of public appeal, but it has to be noted that his songs have been playing on our minds for more than 20 years and the comparison therefore falls short when considering that bit. Lastly, there is Wally Gonzalez, guitar god exemplar. He's a throwback to the golden age where the riff ruled almighty and solos were centerpieces. Playing his role with a knowing precision, Wally weaves through the songs effortlessly, deftly handling his Stratocaster - rock's AK-47 - to punctuate the soundscape with flurried staccatos and drawn-out sustains without being overbearing. The tricky part about being a Pinoy guitar god is that one hardly gets deified and the veneration that is accorded the likes of Page, Clapton and Beck is thus rarely given. It is only apt, in my opinion, as the greatest respect that Filipinos give is not adoration but fellowship, and with the Filipino as everyman Juan dela Cruz, Wally can be considered the everyman's guitar hero.

The show started a bit late, owing to some logistical problems that resulted from the previous function at the World Trade. Following a brief AV intro detailing the band's legacy, the three took to the stage in black (no less) riding Harleys and immediately opened the show with the brief 'Maskara,' to segue into a rousing 'Kahit Anong Mangyari,' reminding everyone that the band, despite the hiatus, was never really gone after all, much like the Pinoy Rock that they pioneered. It was during that moment that I finally took in the fact that I was actually watching THE Juan dela Cruz band in concert. I've watched Wally play countless times in different gigs all across the metro (sometimes even with Pepe). I've also seen all three of them hang out backstage that night, even getting to chat with each of them a while, but that precise moment of merely seeing them together on stage just blew me away - Wally on the far left stoically strumming his guitar with the steely confidence of a legend, Pepe centerstage, clad head to toe in black leather with his appendages flailing like a maniacal marionette's, guitar dangling precariously from his wiry frame, and Mike to the right, with a bandana replacing his trademark beret, belting out the chorus with that familiar rasp. It just blew me away.

In no small part, the supporting musicians also contibuted to the wonderful concert. The setup was comparable to that of the Allman Brothers, utilizing two active drummers (Wendell Garcia, formerly of Barbie's Cradle, was one), a keyboard player (jazzman Wowee Posadas), a bassist (virtuoso Dondi Ledesma) with the guitar and vocal parts being ably handled by the three core JDC members. The concert also featured several guest performers, starting with Joonnie Centeno (vocalist for Wally's current band) who played harmonica on 'Mamasyal sa Pilipinas,' followed by the lovely pair of Kat Agarrado (Wally Gonzalez Band/Sino Sikat) and Hannah Romawac (Sessionroad), who sang alternate turns on a crowd pleasing 'Divisoria.' Sandwich/Kjwan frontman Marc Abaya then took the stage for a brutal take on 'Palengke,' to be followed several songs later by Lourd de Veyra on 'Nadapa sa Arina' with a delivery similar to his Radioactive Sago Project stylings.

As with most concerts I've attended, each song just bled onto the next one in succession. I seem to develop short term memory loss with these events, and I can firmly attest that it's not pharmaceutically induced... I just easily get excited, that's all. I did save the setlist on my cellphone, so I can still clearly point out the highlights. I particularly enjoyed the rockers 'Sarap ng Buhay,' and 'Kagatan,' as well as the lilting blues rendition of 'Balong Malalim.' The extended jam that was 'Rock 'n' Roll sa Ulan' was memorable thanks to the guitar workouts that permeated the song, followed by the classic 'Beep Beep,' which probably drew the strongest reactions from the crowd. I also found myself enjoying the downtempo boogie of 'No Touch' and the less polished version of the doowop-ish 'Panahon.' Wally also played his stirring signature track 'Wally's Blues,' and Mike later took a solo turn as well with the stomping 'Hanopology.' They capped off the set with, aptly enough, 'Himig Natin,' where they called back all the guest performers (sans Marc Abaya, who had already left by then) to sing the well loved anthem with Pepe (one wardrobe change later). For the encore, the band performed the song 'Ang Pagkalas,' which was purposely composed for the reunion. I was wondering for several moments why there seemed to be something wrong about the song and realized that Pepe wasn't singing his verses at all. It struck me that he probably forgot the lyrics, being a fairly recent piece, but he made up for this little blunder toward the end when he actually came up with lyrics on the spot. That's shock and awe for you... even their mistakes left me amazed.

I can go into further details, although that would delve into the dreaded realm of needless gushing and extreme nitpickery. True, there was a general air of nostalgia, and even a sense of taking part in a timely tribute, but at it's heart, the gig was a rock 'n' roll show, and to be overly critical is one way of missing the point. After all, even when injected with serious musicianship, grandiose production and larger-than-life spectacles, rock 'n' roll is really all about having fun, and we can thank the Juan dela Cruz band not only for reminding us of that, not only for proving that they can still cut it, but most importantly, for showing us how to do it properly, especially when it seems that we sometimes keep forgetting.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005 A.D.
Whipped Cream Lady
One of the most memorable album covers from the 60s was that of Herb Alpert's most famous LP, featuring a sexy brunette slathered all over with whipped cream. The model on the cover is one Dolores Erickson and you can check out her aptly named site through the following link:

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Happy Birthday Karl
I remember sitting next to you when I started on this job. I still sit next to you in a way, but I've since then learned how to appreciate this thing called a 'divider.'

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005 A.D.
Garfield Fan Reviews Aged Garfield Edibles
No lasagna.

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More or Less Extreme Makeover
After all the bad hype surrounding their initial plans to 'extremize' the Looney Tunes lineup, Warner Bros. decides to soften things up a bit and goes on to clarify that the new series, titled Loonatics, will merely draw inspiration from the classic characters. Apparently, whiny internet fanboys can still exert some form of influence over the Man.

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Happy Birthday Brian
It's probably childhood amnesia, but I think I've known you since I first discovered my long term memory. I then realize that you're my cousin, and that seems to explain a lot, specifically why we share the same middle name.

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Monday, June 06, 2005 A.D.
Happy Birthday Joey
I wasn't able to catch you at your desk today, but I did look at the pantry fridge!

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Sunday, June 05, 2005 A.D.
Epilogue to a Waterlogged Conspiracy
The plan was for the rain to fall in minimal spurts to ensure a lower temperature come dinnertime. Of course, being a de-facto disciple of Murphy, not only did it rain, it poured. It rained cows. It was a cute little detail that the showers came around the time when all my friends were on their merry way to my place, simply confirming their initial complaints that I live in a less accessible but much warmer Siberia. They brought their ordeals onto themselves, I think, having probably whined the entire week about the trip they were expecting. Still, for them to traverse submerged areas in bumper-to-bumper traffic for double (or more) the estimated traveling time, I should say that their feats alone are worth a flood of thanks. Many sopping thanks to all the conspirators!

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Happy Birthday Chong
I've known you for almost nine years! I've tried avoiding you for eight and a half.

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Friday, June 03, 2005 A.D.
Veni, Vidi, Vomit
Pervasively present Kris Aquino announces her engagement to twenty-three year old ballplayer James Yap today. As if this wasn't interesting enough, this announcement came a few days after fellow poor little rich girl Paris Hilton's engagement.

If anything, Kris' hemorrhoid-inducing omnipresence has pushed me into learning Zen calming techniques, particularly that of clenching and unclenching my sphincters in time with the universe. I can sympathize with the congresswoman who wanted to have Kris' Bench billboard (beside the Quezon Ave. flyover) torn down due to being indecent, but I do like to tell her that the billboard isn't the indecent party involved at all. You can surround Kris with rainbows, teddy bears and fluffy clouds, dress her up like Mother Teresa, have her pose with Barney and a boys choir, and the resulting photo will still be indecent.

There's also something markedly wrong how ad agencies can think of remaking Kris' image into that of a sex symbol's. I know she has lots of unresolved issues, but I doubt that they can be worked out by epidermal overexposure anyway. It is her right as it is anyone's, I guess, having probably discovered plastic surgery and how to finally be confident about her sexuality (was she ever unconfident?) , but I know I would feel more comfortable if she didn't flaunt her rights for the world to see, especially not via a giant billboard that I have to pass by everyday on my way home.

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Happy Birthday Jake
Where have you been lately? You don't have to answer, but I'm sure it's not your cubicle. I'm hoping the old boy gets his toys today.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005 A.D.
In Other Gagging News
After thirty years of hiding, Deep Throat finally reveals himself to the public. Funny since I've always thought that Linda Lovelace was Deep Throat all this time. This revelation will be a bit hard for me to swallow.

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Blue and Fuzzy
I just want to show the world what my team gave me for my birthday.

(it wasn't my intention to set Grover's crotch on fire with my birthday candle)

This came doubly boxed (in a mailer and a window box), with cake to boot. For those who care, this is a convention exclusive Super Grover, released in limited quantities by Palisades Toys to drum up interest in their upcoming Sesame Street line. The cover art is painted by none other than Alex Ross, and the figure itself can be transformed from Super Grover to his mild-mannered alter-ego, Grover Kent (phonebooth included).

Unfortunately, the team heard wrong because what I really wanted was a super groper. I get lonely sometimes so some super groping will do me a lot of good. I cannot complain though, because I now have a six inch hairy beast to keep me company whenever I get lonely again. Thanks!

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005 A.D.
Overheard in a Gym
Guy1 (wearing striped cycling shorts): "... most beautiful ass in the world, I swear!"
Guy2 (outside my peripheral vision): "Hmm... are we thinking about the same person?"
Guy1: "I think so... most beautiful ass in the world, I swear!"
Guy2: "Where's he been lately?" (I think I hear a misused pronoun.)
Guy1: "In Canada, I believe."
Guy2: "What's he doing in Canada?" (Guy2 has a problem with pronouns, I start to think.)
Guy1: "Married."
Guy2: "Married?"
Guy1: "He's married to some guy in Canada, I heard... most beautiful ass in the world, I swear!" (The pronouns were fine, apparently.)

I started to believe that whoever that guy is, for some grown man to have to swear three consecutive times about his backside, he's indeed got the most beautiful ass in the world, probably enough to make all men instantaneously lose their Y chromosomes at its mere proximity. Too bad then that he's already married to some guy in Canada because I would have found the perfect opportunity to test the boundaries of my heterosexuality.

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How Lightsabers Work

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Happy Birthday Ivere
What doesn't kill you can only make you stronger but partially dead. I'll gladly choose option B anytime, and I can rightfully say that it has been an enriching, if partially killing, friendship. It's not anything unusual though - there's the customary Caesarean appendectomy, the occasional math contest, the standard suicide threat, the regular bouts of breakdown, the EQ eureka moments, and the usual psycho-babble that high school cases share whether they like it or not. Someone has written a very bad script, and for both of us to be in it at once is a cosmically funny thing. I'm still thankful that I'm in it though.

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