Thursday, May 28, 2009

Starlet Nights

Spent a night out with the boys a couple of days ago. The thing about hanging out with the boys is, it's a lot like a day in the beach – you can just kick your shoes off, sit back and enjoy. You can eat all you want and cuss all you want and not have to pretend to be anyone other than your cheap, dirty self – and you go home still as friends anyway.

I realize we've actually managed to see each other more or less monthly this year. There was the Eheads concert (except for D), the late Saturday night when we invited ourselves over to J's house, the last-minute decisions to meet up in Trellis and now Cafe Juanita. So it wasn't like before where we wouldn't see each other for months on end so when we do we barely have enough time to catch up on everything. This time, nothing major has happened since the last time we were together, so we just talked about everything and nothing.

For some reason R decides he wants to buy a house in Baguio. And of course we throw our all-out support on this noble endeavor of his bcoz we know fully well we will be able to use that house any time we want to (hahaha). J confides how he has stumbled upon old emails from long-gone office personalities detailing their various illicit (albeit not-so-secret) affairs. D wants to start up a business, like a resto or something. I pass on this bcoz I'm so broke with all my savings and salary going into our silly little house project. He also narrates how he creatively gets the maids to stop dipping their fingers into the yummy bacon we got from R. We all beg and bug R to give us more. Me, I eat for the most part. And every now and then I make it a point to gloat about my strictly 9 to 6, so-much-less-stressful days at work (hahaha). (For instance, R demands to know how come I know the whole mechanics of the Ashton Kutcher one-million-Twitter-follower bet against CNN. My reply: Dahil may time ako!)

I get this brilliant idea to set R up with an SM girl. She'd be perfect in every way except that she wears neon green eye shadow and would clap her hands every 10 minutes or so and yell, “Happy to serve!” Hahaha.

Mostly the boys ogle the youngish, preppyish beauties in a birthday celebration at the next table. (R laments for the nth time how come he didn't end up with same such girl friends.) Mostly they pick on my outfit (how it blends with the whole Mediterranean ambience of the resto) and throw general, unsubstantiated accusations of how I gleefully step on other people to get whatever I want. Mostly we talk about our mutual fantasies of being richer and classier and better-looking.

Being the conscientious, socially aware citizens that we are, we extensively discuss about the burning issues of the day – i.e., the sex videos of the good doctor. The boys heave a lot of sighs in the course of our discussions, which I interpret to convey their awe and envy of the guy. I come right out and admit to having a small crush on the guy's butt. If he would only let me touch the thing and if only I knew my litigation practice, I'd represent him pro bono. (R says I'm not the first girl he heard comment on the luscious-lookingness of The Butt.)

We ruminate about the magnitude of 42 sex videos and the joke circulating in texts, that Aling Dionisia is Video No. 23. Hahaha! The guy will be so knocked out dead by Pacquiao before he even gets to show up at NBI.

I remind them about the time we sneaked into someone's room (J's, I think) to watch the uncensored version of a love scene between this starlet and this actor-now-senator who jumpstarted the whole scandal with his privilige speech. [Ugh. Politicians are the biggest hypocrites of all time. They're even conducting a senate inquiry in aid of legislation about the thing. At least two senators had the good sense to say an inquiry is unnecessary bcoz there are already several pending bills on the matter. Gosh. They really have nothing better to do, do they? This is why I feel an almost audible break somewhere in my rib cage every time I look at my pay slip and see just how much of my hard-earned salary is going to this friggin government.

A lot of people are being big hypocrites on this whole issue, is what I think. As if nobody else in the whole darned country except for the doctor involved has any unusual sexual proclivities. I concede that it's wrong that he recorded the girls without their consent, and it's a big shame some asshole/s uploaded the videos in the internet (this is the bigger crime in my own humble opinion), but the sex was all consensual and loving and pleasurable as far as I can see. Nicole's rape was a much graver crime, but I never saw it generate even 1% of the outrage all of these friggin politicians all the way up to Malacanang now seem compelled to express. Can you imagine Barack making any sort of comment whatsoever should a similar sex video surface in the US involving, say, Paris Hilton? Ugh. Only in the Philippines. The land of the people who like to pretend they're squeaky clean and oh so missionary and who are so quick to call other people names like sexual deviant and maniac and pervert. What ever happened to letting him who has no sin cast the first stone? Last time I checked, the Bible was still applicable.

I'm normally beyond getting worked up over politicians and current events (my motto being they can't piss me off if I don't care) but seeing the seedy likes of Bong Revilla and Jinggoy ganging up against (poor, bedraggled not to mention uber cute) Hayden was just a little too much for me and I just had to insert all of that somewhere in this blog.]

So anyway. J and R get into an argument over who spotted Katrina first to be the next big star. They reminisce about the good old days in the law office when they watched Starstruck in R's trusty portable TV. R is happy that his early favorite Nadine Samonte is still around. J boasts that even then he already predicted Angel Locsin was going to make it big.

Oh, we also discuss intellectually stimulating subjects. For example, we spend a good deal of time trying to figure out who D claims was the leading lady of Gardo Versoza in Machete and who he says was one of his favorite boldies in the 90s. Rita Avila? Rita Magdalena? Sabrina M? Anna Capri? Criselda Volks? Ches has joined us by this time and contributes many of the names. Somebody even says Katrina Paula whom I honestly have never heard of. Eventually D himself figures out his lady love to be Priscilla Almeda.

But then J thinks of another puzzle, the name of the boldie who was in Live Show and was a member of the Iglesia Ni Kristo and was last heard graduating from school. R also recalls she was called “Papaya” (for obvious reasons). J Googles it up in his Blackberry, to no avail. (This is one of those crisis situations where it's completely of no use to be Number One in the Bar.) We all know who exactly we were talking about and could see her face clearly, but none of us, not even with our combined showbiz knowledge powers, could remember her name. Dang.

We refuse to leave until we figure it out. There are maybe less than 10 customers left in the resto at this time. Even Edu Manzano and Reli German have gone (strategizing for a senate run, we suspect). R and I were whispering and giggling bcoz the waiters have long been giving us the evil eye. Their thought balloons probably read something like, Give up on the mystery starlet and go home already so we can also finish up our job here!!! I told R I'm sure they'd never believe we were a bunch of lawyers the way we have been boisterously talking about bold stars and sex videos and cracking up over phrases like masipag magtrabahoand “mapagbigay” the whole night. Hahaha.

Eventually we decide to say goodbye and leave the resto before we are bodily carried out. The next morning I text the eminent showbiz guru Regie about our problem. He not only knows the name of the girl, he even knows what she's been up to since that last news on her graduation: she's been doing this networking service for OFWs or something. (You're da man, Regie! I'm not worthy...)

I text the boys that our mystery girl is none other than Klaudia Koronel.

J is happy because we finally have the correct answer.

R thinks it's Ches who solves the puzzle and calls him a true fan.

D insists he still prefers Priscilla Almeda.

Monday, May 25, 2009

House Rules

Yoshi and I have been trying to come up with a list of our house rules since the past week or so. Here's what we've come up with, so far.

1.Whatever you do, don't touch my feet. As in mommy's feet, where I'm extremely ticklish. Some tickles you enjoy and make you giggle. Others you just hate and put a stop to right away. Touch my feet and see if I don't turn into an angry Incredible Hulk. Of course my wrath has never before discouraged the boys from tickling me where I hate it most just when I'm getting ready to turn in with a good book in bed. Groan. (I should have a stick that I could beat them all with.)

2.You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friends' nose. Res ipsa loquitor. (This is Yoshi's favorite rule, by the way. Never fails to make him giggle.)

3.There's still tomorrow. I say this, oh, only about 60 million times a day. I say it when they still don't wanna stop eating their mac and cheese even after 3 bowls of the thing, or when they've been watching TV hour after hour and never tire of Handy Manny or Animal Mechanical or Little Einsteins, or when they're still playing and walking around and babbling and basically making a ruckus long after midnight. Like there's no tomorrow and it's the last night of the world. Gosh, these kids just never run out of energy I have the good sense to send them to work in some stressful job in some highly competitive company while I stay home and watch Playhouse Disney the whole day.

4. Only mommy gets kissed on the lips. This is a fairly new regulation, issued only several days ago after Yoshi demonstrated his new kiss to me, full on the lips and complete with head movement. (He is so banned from watching any more TV.) We had to explain how this is not only indecent but also swine-flu inappropriate. Ches told Yosh, you're allowed to kiss other girls on the lips as soon as you make your own money. (I am so all for that.)

5.Leave Bootsie's Kitty alone. This is my ancient blue Hello Kitty pillow that Boots has made into his little security blankie. Yoshi never paid it any attention before, but since Boots LOVES it, then Yoshi makes it a point to grab it away from him. It's the way of brothers and kids in general, I think. It's cruel and pointless, so we always have to remind Yosh to leave Boots alone with his fixation and go figure out his own. (Oh but even adults do this, I think. It's like in a shoe sale where somebody eyes the pair you're holding, so then you head straight to the cashier and pay for it even if you haven't even completely decided whether you even like the thing at all. The only reason you want it is bcoz somebody else wants it. Tsk tsk.)

6.There are more important things in life than TV. There are days when there's just no prying Yoshi away from the TV. He's staring at the screen like a zombie and barely moving in his seat you'd think he was a part of the furniture. He doesn't care if we're going to the mall or a party or whatever. So we had to teach him a lesson on the many other things in life that are more important than TV. If you ask him now what's more important than TV, he'll say family, and friends, and health. But he'll also say Ben 10 and magic powers and superheroes. Which brings us back to TV all over again. Groan.

7.You don't need 60 million books. Or Happy Meal toys. Or any other kinds of toys. Or any other thingamabob for that matter. This is particularly relevant when we're malling and Yoshi insists he needs another Dr. Seuss story, or another X-Men movie, or another big tub of Play Doh. Which is why I don't like bringing the boys along when I shop for my clothes and shoes and bags. Coz then when they see me in my buying sprees I sort of lose all sense of credibility to lecture on saving up and not being materialistic. All of it just goes out the window like that.

8.Make me Aling Dionisia when I grow old. I wouldn't want my kids to take up boxing (I have always maintained it's a barbaric sport, even if it's the only sport Pinoys have been exceling in lately) but I sure would love living the life of the old momma whose kids gift her with chunky jewelries and hefty shopping allowances and lavish (albeit bordering on tacky) birthday parties without her having to say a single word. I've started psyching them up for it pretty early in the game – never too frequently driving home the message that I do everything for them and buy them all they want and hence they should be nice to me when I'm old – so now Yoshi knows to promise he'll buy me a bracelet when he gets his own job. Ha. We shall see.

Yoshi insists on including “No tantrums” in this list of rules. I roll my eyes at him and tell him, between him and Boots, “No tantrums” has got to be the most unenforceable rule of all time. He'll have a hard time spelling “unenforceable” yet, but with the way he giggles gleefully, I'm pretty sure he knows exactly what it means.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Smoty Bots

Everyone seems to have the same first impression about Boots: that he's The Quiet, Behaved One. Of course, this is all before they see him in action.

Boots is The Energizer Bunny Part II (Part I being Yoshi). He was barely pulling up when he discovered the shelves where we put kuya's books and discs and he would throw away every single thing on the floor every night without fail until I sold the darned bookshelf to Thom just as we were moving house. Now he's moved on to spilling kuya's flash cards and Happy Meal toys all over the bedroom floor. As soon as he's emptied the boxes he's bored and pursues some other exciting (=destructive) acitivity. It's not even like he's looking for a particular flash card or toy; the sole purpose of the entire exercise as far as I can see is To Make A Mess, nothing more. Groan.

Since he started walking at around 14 months, he's usually down from the bed the minute he wakes up, without so much as a little stretch or yawn. This is early morning at 6 or so, and no one else is even up, but already he's climbing up the cabinet, or putterring in the box where we put his Crocs, or reaching out to unplug the fan, or trying to dial some random number in my mobile (hopefully not my bosses'). The dirtier, more dangerous the deed, the more he can't resist doing them, it seems. (Oh, but I guess this is true even for some adults.)

And now that he's begun to talk, Peace and Quiet is ever more an alien thing in the waking hours of the household. Yoshi sits there blabbering about his latest all-original horror/action/fantasy story, while Boots toddles around while spewing all the new words he's learned, like daddy, mommy, kuwa or kuka (for kuya), Ann (we teach him to say Ate but he just says Ann), popcorn, Tang, Coke, borrow, Barney, Kitty, dog (Garci is "Gaki"), brush. (The cutest is ice cream which he somehow pronounces as "i nee".) Between Yosh and Boots, Ches and I can barely hear each other when we attempt to have some decent conversation over dinner where we're even sitting close together, so then we just shut up and eat. Sigh.

This is why I never worry when my kids are a little late walking or talking or managing other developmental milestones compared to other kids their age. Coz I've learned that once they start - they never, ever stop. Ches likes to joke that they're a lot like me in this regard, coz I'm famous within the family for not saying a word until I was three, so he says I've been trying to make up for that bit of a lag by going a mile a minute and never once slowing down with my chatter for the past 30 years or so. (Ches likes to believe he is so funny. Duh.)

We see little bits of ourselves in the boys (Yoshi's eyeball rolling and tantrum throwing are so me, for example) and little bits of themselves in each other, but we think for the most part they are uniquely their own persons. They barely even look alike. Yoshi was this roly-poly baby with curly hair (our very own Michelin mascot), but Boots has these sturdy limbs and hair that stands up on end and dimples high up on his cheeks. I tell Ches, Boots is probably going to be one of those heartbreaker types who get by on the basis of their good looks. I'm biased of course coz I'm his mommy. But then even Tita Heidi said she can hardly wait for Boots to grow up so she can see just how gwapo he'll turn out. And Ann reports that even Sexbomb Ira (Aira? who lives next door to us in our rented apartment) exclaims how cute he is everytime she sees him and cannot resist pinching both his cheeks. (Gosh, my one wish is for my kids to be healthy and happy and kind, any other good traits beyond those we consider as big bonuses.)

Yoshi was never into thumb-sucking or keeping a blankie, but Boots is at it until now. His right thumb qualifies as a deadly weapon with the sheer number of sharp calluses in the thing. (Ches exerts efforts to wean him, but I don't have the heart coz Mom says I was the same and thumbsucked my way to kindergarten.) And he's appropriated for himself my baby blue Hello Kitty pillow from way back (back when I was still single, I think) as his security blanket of sorts. When we spend the day out it's the first thing he looks for when we get home, and as soon as he gets hold of it, a kind of pure, palpable happiness spreads all over his face. (Happiness he doesn't even show upon seeing any of us.) So then we've taken to just bringing the thing along wherever we go. Kitty is I think the first intelligible word we heard from him, even before Mommy or Daddy. (Groan.)

Yoshi loves to sing as much as Boots loves to dance. Yoshi is the sweet and clingy type and loves to be carried even now (at 30+ kilos and about 10 kilos overweight), but Boots seems more independent and would kick and flail until he's put down on the ground. His definition of happiness seems to be the freedom to walk. So then our evening walks in the neighborhood have ceased to be the relaxing post-dinner activities they used to be, and have become action-packed adventures in chasing after him and getting him out of the way of cars and cats. The thing is, he never just walks or ambles along leisurely; the minute you put him down, he brings his arms to his sides (like he's some superhero arranging his cape behind him) and speeds away. His favorite place is this house that has two blue lights in front in Matulungin St. We have yet to manage to leave those friggin blue lights without him throwing a full-fledged, all-systems-go tantrum. They're the equivalent of Yoshi's beloved fire hydrant in Masikap, his favorite friend to visit in the neighborhood for several years.

While Yoshi was obsessed with shampoos and discs, Boots is fixated with my wallet for some reason. He loves pulling all the cards out and waving them around. Which explains why one of the first words he learned were ID, SSS, BDO and money. And he never gets tired of it too. With most toys, they play with it twice or thrice and forever lose interest, but my wallet seems to have a special kind of hold on Boots so that he just has to have it everytime he sees it peeking out of my bag. And gosh, I give it to him all the time if it makes him behave for one minute. And just as long as he doesn't lose my payroll ATM.

He's a daddy's pet thru and thru. It's daddy he goes to when he wants to be danced to sleep and it's daddy he looks for when we get home from work and it's daddy who can make him giggle louder. But I'm not worried coz Ches says Yosh was exactly the same at that age, but then he grew up and became all mine. So I'm just biding my time, twiddling my thumbs and letting daddy have his 15 seconds of fame. (Ha!)

Yoshi was the baby whose birthdays we celebrated with a feast every month. But with Boots the 14th of the month passes and nobody even remembers he's turned 13 or 17 months or whatever. Yoshi was the baby who got rushed to Dr. Goy if he so much as missed a single bottle from what he normally takes. But Boots could be staging a mini hunger strike thru-out the day and our attitude would be like, kakain din yan pag nagutom. Yoshi was the baby who had countless shoes to match every color of his outfits. Boots has been wearing the same purple Crocs that he got from my favorite boss at his baptism. (Altho a Spongebob Crocs in the next bigger size is lying in wait for his feet to grow.)

So then Ches and I make a conscious effort to love Boots even more than we already do, to try and make up for all the injustice that naturally comes with being the second child. It's been working, I think, bcoz Boots hardly looks like the long-suffering, underdog, martyr type, and seems well on his way to being The Brat Part II.

So, no, Boots is not exactly the quiet, behaved one. He's a different one, altogether.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Team Manila came out with limited edition Eraserheads shirts every Saturday in March since the Final Set concert (the second Saturday in the Rockwell store, and the last two Saturdays in the MoA branch). It's the coolest shirt ever. It has the date of the concert in front, the letter E on the sleeve, and the entire set list printed at the back. The sales guys told me that, on the Saturdays they released the shirts, the stores were mobbed as soon as they opened and 200 pieces were gone in less than an hour. People also lined up for hours for the autograph signing with Raymund. You'd think it was the concert all over again.

So of course I was up and early that last Saturday that they released the shirts in MoA. I was No. 32 on the list. Which means I also got one of the 70 concert posters they gave away. I got shirts for Ches, Rhoel, Jon, Regie, Nico and myself – all identical maroon ones exactly like what Raymund wore at the concert. Nico is afraid to wear his bcoz it's so special and said he'd probably just preserve it for posterity. I too belatedly realized I should've gotten myself two – one for wearing and one for keeping. And of course it's now too late to buy more, since that was already the last time Team Manila was coming up with the shirts. (It's the whole essence of limited edition, after all.)

So then I got this brilliant idea to search for other Eheads shirts. After all, we saw a lot at the concert and, certified mall rat that I am, I'm positive they didn't come from mainstream shops. I think of them as the shirt version of indie films hahaha. And I was right – Eheads shirts are all over if you only know where (and I guess if you have a lot of time) to look. I got me an Overdrive shirt that comes in this chocolate shade that I like. I also got this orange Back2(Me)Us shirt that even says Weeweewee. I also found one that says Shake Yer (E)Heads but it is out of stock in the meantime. The best of the bunch is something called The Eheads History Shirt a.k.a. The Eye Chart Eheads Shirt. It takes the form of an eye chart and lists the title of all of the band's albums from Ultraelectromagneticpop to Carbon Stereoxide. Currently no girl sizes available tho but I'm happy just being able to buy it for Ches and Rino.

What I love about these shirts is, they were no doubt made by and for Eheads fanatics. How does a girl resist an Eheads shirt when its sales pitch goes something like, “Hurry! Supplies as limited as Ely's patience for Raymund's antics!” Hahaha. And only true blue fans will be able to figure out what the shirts are saying, much less appreciate how clever the designs are. It's like a little private joke comprehensible only within the fandom. So then when I wear the shirts and I see someone eyeing it first with a curious squinting of the eye and then a faint smile as he begins to understand I smile back bcoz I know this person is One Of Us.

It's comforting to know there are many other Eheads groupie types like myself out there. And much more psychotic too. I was envious of these other people who posted Eheads pix so clear and luminous I was sure they were taken either really up close or using really pricey camera gadgetry. (Ely has never looked so hot in his pinkish long sleeves and dark tie and little boyish curly hair. Some were even comparing him to Lee Min Ho, the Korean super cutie in Boys Over Flowers. You love Ely for his songs and all, but now there is all his new hotness too to contend with. Groan. How does a girl stay sane under the circumstances?)

But then I read that the people who managed to get right in front of the stage were at the venue as early as 3 PM. Gasp. A full five hours before the official start of the concert, and in the blistering Manila Bay heat too. (Sheesh, and I thought I needed to get a life.) Ches and Jon and Malen and I on the other hand came in so late – the MTV VJs were already well into their spiels – and there was no other place for us to stay but towards the back end of the Silver A portion. (Good thing I got our tickets early or we would have been even farther at Silver B.) Hence my pix are all these pitiful little shots taken from the video screen and not even direct from the stage, bcoz from where we stood we could hardly see the screen much less the stage. Groan.

And I bet the people who were there at 3 PM were the same ones who caught all the stuff thrown by the Eheads from the stage – everything from guitar picks to drum sticks to sneakers to jackets. I'm sure they are now fiercely clinging on to their own little bit of Eheads memorabilia. I read about how a near-riot broke out among the 6 six people who claimed to have caught Ely's Levis jacket, and they ended up dividing the thing into 6. The whole issue on the propriety of cutting up something as sacred as Ely's jacket became so heated in the blogs and websites you'd think they were debating the merits of nuclear disarmament or something.

There was even a girl who blogged about how she cried unabashedly upon seeing the Final Set billboard in Edsa being brought down. And this guy who wrote that he'd pay and line up for any Eheads concert even if it was only for 10 minutes. (I'll be right behind him.) There's also Harold in the office, who painstakingly wipes my desk with alcohol every single morning since Lani informed him I'm asthmatic, and who it turns out has been a big fan since he was in high school. His Lola who brought him up passed away recently, so he went to her wake in the province, and was proud to report to me that the one thing he thought worth keeping from all the stuff in his Lola's house was his Cutterpillow CD from way back, barely still intact and working.

On the other extreme are people who are clueless about the Eheads and end up getting all the luck. I know this executive in the office who got to sit in the bleachers in the VIP section courtesy of her husband who somehow got the seats for them. I saw those bleachers from my office window and they're about three rows of seats that could accommodate maybe 15 or so highly-privileged people. (I was thinking maybe the Eheads' grandparents or something who couldn't be expected to stand the whole night.) Wow, when you get a seat like that, you don't have to be at the venue by 3 PM, coz nobody else can take your seats, no matter how late you come in. And the heartbreaking part is: this executive said she and her husband “recognized” maybe two or three songs from the concert. Life. Is. Not. Fair.

Well anyway, I'm setting my sights beyond the bleachers and VIP section after I read an article by this media person who had an All-Access Pass. Which allowed her entry into the Eheads' tents and see stuff like Raymund handing out kiddie versions of the Team Manila shirts to the Eraserkids (meaning the children of the Eheads). That is The Life. So maybe I'm not such a slacker after all, coz I have just managed to set higher goals for myself: yesterday, VIP tickets; today, All-Access Pass.

I've never had an affair, but it's probably a lot like being addicted to the Eheads –it's complicated, heart-wrenching, but you just can't stop.